I was and am a huge fan of Geoffrey Neil's first book, Dire Means. I've recommended it to friends and family who have all enjoyed it thoroughly. Unfor...moreI was and am a huge fan of Geoffrey Neil's first book, Dire Means. I've recommended it to friends and family who have all enjoyed it thoroughly. Unfortunately, Human Resources was a miss for me. While it was an easy, quick read with few lulls in plot, it just didn't do anything substantial to me as a reader. I found the plot and characters to be very mundane, predictable and one-dimensional, the arc of the story very flat and aimless, and I was disappointed in the direction of the story and its conclusion as well.
Three points that were especially disappointing:
1) Character development was very poor. Particularly, the antagonist - Morana - who was a very interesting character introduced in Dire Means, concluded Dire Means with depth, intrigue and potential. I was excited to hear from Geoffrey that Morana would be featured and developed in HR. however, what started as such an interesting character was a very flat, generic bad guy in this book.
2) The story begins by showing how this particular illegal operation works - what they do, how they do it, their industry and clientele. It's fascinating. Rather than show more about this operation, the perspective flips and the other 90% of the story showcases how a particular "mission" of this operation brings about its undoing. With such a fascinating setup, it seemed like a real miss to tell the story from a different perspective. It's difficult to explain all of this without a spoiler, so it's a vague critique. Geoffrey - if you still want feedback on future things, you can certainly message me.
3) The editing on this book was careless. Typos are few, but grammar and sentence structure are all over the place. The further into the book, the more frequent the errors - as though an editor lost interest further into the book and stopped proofing carefully, several sentences mix up pronouns, repeat words or have improper syntax. It made an already frustrating book all the more difficult to finish as each error pulled me out of the book to try to gather an understanding of what the author meant to say.
I was really rooting for Geoffrey's second book after how much I enjoyed Dire Means. While I'm glad I read it, I wouldn't recommend it. I'm hoping Geoffrey takes another risk with his next book; this one felt like a safe, though sometimes silly outing.(less)
I found Dire Means thanks entirely to the Storybundle.com Mystery & Suspense bundle earlier this year - something I bought intending to give as a...moreI found Dire Means thanks entirely to the Storybundle.com Mystery & Suspense bundle earlier this year - something I bought intending to give as a gift to my mother-in-law, an avid mystery reader. While I find myself more easily satisfied in a good history book or sci-fi piece, something made Dire Means stick out among the other books in the bundle and I found myself hanging onto it even while letting the others go on as gifts.
Dire Means grabbed my interest immediately. The first six or so chapters detail something happening without an explanation. Suddenly, the book changes settings and writing styles completely to begin a character story about someone previously unmentioned. I spent the remainder of the book juggling two fascinations: 1) who is this new character and why do I find myself relating to him so much; and 2) how in the world does this character get tangled up in what transpired at the beginning of the book? The result of the two fascinations combining was an inability to read a magazine, preview another book, watch a TV show at night or listen to music on the treadmill in the morning until I had completed this book.
Geoffrey Neil's writing style was easy to read, his story was easy to care about, his characters were easy to love and hate (depending on the character, of course) and his narrative moved at just the right pace and chapters broke at just the right places that I was never bored and always telling myself, "Well, I can't stop here! One more chapter..."
I've said nothing to the plot or morals of the book, both of which I loved. Get Mr. Neil's book - as well as his latest, "HR", as I have just done - and enjoy the ride. He'll surely be a great author to follow as he continues to work and grow.(less)
A dark and rich perspective on a deceitful and mischievous vice-presidency. Angler approaches the Cheney years by topic rather than chronology, which...moreA dark and rich perspective on a deceitful and mischievous vice-presidency. Angler approaches the Cheney years by topic rather than chronology, which means larger principles addressed earlier in the book are seen later in other topics. Terrorism, economy, oil, Katrina, 9/11, all are covered individually so full attention can be focused on issue rather than circumstance. As a result, it is uniquely visible how Cheney manages, copes, delegates, and reacts by issue. A clear pattern emerges with Cheney's approach to just about everything. The secrecy of his years in office is unveiled in a way that is both disturbing and rewarding. This insightful take on the 2000-era politics is incredible.(less)
Another great A.J. Jacobs book that'll leave you with more information than you know what to do with. A.J. finds a unique way to integrate his work an...moreAnother great A.J. Jacobs book that'll leave you with more information than you know what to do with. A.J. finds a unique way to integrate his work and his personal life to form a great look at the mind of A.J. Jacobs. He weaves stories he finds in the encyclopedia with anecdotes from his childhood, his relationships with family, and his approach to marriage and eventual fatherhood. Pick up anything A.J. Jacobs writes; you'll be glad you did.(less)