REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 Narrator: John Macdonald
I was enjoying this very much for the first chapter or so, then I realized, several chaREVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 Narrator: John Macdonald
I was enjoying this very much for the first chapter or so, then I realized, several chapters later, that the entire plot was being based on an utterly unbelievable and overly-contrived premise - the kid's reason and refusal to tell the authorities where the body was hidden. I couldn't help my disgust at Grisham because he clearly isn't an idiot so why, I kept asking myself throughout the book, would he give us such an idiotic and unbelievable plot?
The reason given (by both the book and some reviewers) is that Mark is just 11 years old and he's terrified after seeing a man commit suicide and his kid brother going into trauma shock and some sort of coma. That's to be expected, but - and it's a gigantic BUT! - Mark is no ordinary kid going by his superior intelligence and street-smarts (even if a lot of knowledge came from watching movies and TV). Plus, he had the guts to go looking for, and hiring, a lawyer! How many 11 year old kids would do that? Just walk into a law firm and ask to hire a lawyer? The fact that he could do that, that he had the heart and head to even try to dissuade Clifford from killing himself, ought to have told Grisham this kid is way too smart to refuse all calls to tell the FBI where the body is.
A bit of background - and not a spoiler, IMO - in order to bring a case to trial, the FBI needs a body. No body, no crime. They don't know where the body is hidden but, apparently, they believe Clifford, the lawyer for the guy they're after, knows. Unfortunately, Clifford offs himself without revealing where the body is hidden but the FBI believes he told Mark. Only Mark believes, I don't know why, that if he tells the FBI, he is a dead kid. The mob will kill him if he talks.
So he only tells Reggie Love, his lawyer. Why Reggie never advises him that if he doesn't tell the FBI, he is in greater danger because the mob will definitely want to silence him. This, to me, was such a no-brainer yet NO ONE tries to explain this to Mark and show him the stupidity of his decision to remain silent. And the whole WitSec thing - that was so poorly depicted. Writers in this genre tend to stick close to facts even as they spin a fictional account, so I'm surprised and rather disgusted at the author's treatment of the WitSec program, as if it was common for witnesses to end up dying in the program. This isn't Mark's fault but the adults he is depending on and trusting - all it takes is to explain to him the ONLY reason his life is in danger is because the mob wants to stop him from revealing the whereabouts of the body. Once he tells the FBI, the situation completely changes. Mark is just an 11 year old kid, not someone who's in the mob and can turn informant in the usual way and needs to be killed so he can't reveal more mob secrets.
While the book is fast-paced and there were things I enjoyed, like Reggie's and Mark's relationship, my enjoyment was spoilt by the poor handling of the WitSec program as it is an important element in the story. The author chose to omit the fact that those in the WitSec program can choose to leave it any time. Instead, our emotional strings are played here at the end, to make Mark (and the reader) believe that he will never see Reggie ever again. And I'm to believe Reggie (a very good lawyer by all accounts) does not know this about WitSec or that since its inception in 1971, the FBI has not lost a single witness to retribution?
I'm just doubly annoyed because Grisham clearly has a talent for story-telling but not sufficient respect for his readers....more
REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; SEPT 14, 2016 Narrator: Anna Fields
After The Surgeon (a 5-star listen), this was an unbelievable bore. I don't know how many timesREVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; SEPT 14, 2016 Narrator: Anna Fields
After The Surgeon (a 5-star listen), this was an unbelievable bore. I don't know how many times during my listen I was tempted to abandon it (but talked myself out of it) and I'm going to have to set this genre aside for a while. Things didn't get interesting until the final 2 chapters and even then, the way it all ended was so anti-climactic.
The book isn't long - 9 and a half hours - but it felt interminable. Most of the 9 hours was filled with tedious technical jargon that only autopsy gremlins would love, much like those male-oriented books written by ex-snipers or spec ops guys giving every teeny bit of info about the weapon they were using. Gun porn. Forensics porn. Yawn.
Even Anna Fields, not a narrator I like, read the book in a monotone throughout and to top of the ho-hum rating, it's one of those serial killer books that give you the killer's internal monologue. Do most serial killer book fans like this and I'm in the minority?
The 2 stars are for Rizzoli not being such a bitch in this book, and for the FBI special agent, Gabriel Dean. Dean was the reason I finished this. I know Rizzoli and he get married so I wanted to know how they got together in the first place. How did someone like Rizzoli even fall in love? Well, I don't know because this isn't a romantic suspense so all they do is fall into bed suddenly and that was all. How they ended up getting married happens between this book and the next, I guess. ...more