This book COULD have been truly outstanding. A GOOD editor could have made the difference. The book is constructed shifting between "Now" a...moreMaybe a 3.
This book COULD have been truly outstanding. A GOOD editor could have made the difference. The book is constructed shifting between "Now" and "1348". The medieval setting is fascinating, BUT there are places where the medieval portions DRAGGED as he went into TOO MUCH detail and all too many others where terms the average reader would not know were not at all explained or obvious from context. I wanted to skip entire paragraphs. In the Now portion Tom, the hostorian protagonist, idiosyncratically spouts phrases in NUMEROUS modern and ancient languages, from Latin to Russian to others I cannot even identify.Often these clearly do not matter, but at other times it DOES, and the translations are not given.In one very emoitional scene Tom and his gorlfriend are having a serious confrontation and Tom says something in Latin that 1) even a well-educated reader or someone like me whose lastLatin was 40 years ago would not recognize, and 2) is important. The drama of the scene is ocmpletely interruped as the reader wonders that Tom just saidn and thinks perhaos they should google it ((I did.). This is a BAD flaw.(less)
Beautifully written, lots of attention to little deatils, e.g., chapters featuring the police had a date in format 8.01.2007, whereas chapters featuri...moreBeautifully written, lots of attention to little deatils, e.g., chapters featuring the police had a date in format 8.01.2007, whereas chapters featuring the female protagonist had dates Teusday,August 7, 2007, in a fancier font.
I was interested in the characters. Often in a psychological thriller I find many of the characters unliekable and do not want to know more about them.
Two flaws: 1.ending came a bit out of left field and had too much coincidence. 2. I wanted to know some more about some of the back story with Charlie that was referred to repeatedly. I later learned that Charlie had been in Hannah's previous book. This can be a challenge to an author: how to tell readers things in book 2 without spoiling book 1 for those who have not read it.
SPOILER POSSIBLE BIG FLAW SPOILER: WHY did the police not ask at the school if they had the name and address of Amy's father?(less)
Edward Eklund expressed it better than I could.I agree with his general remarks and also about whihc if the stories were best. I'm surprised that Van...moreEdward Eklund expressed it better than I could.I agree with his general remarks and also about whihc if the stories were best. I'm surprised that Van Rijn was a popular character even in the "old days".(less)
The premise for this book created a two-level thriller. First, award-winning writer Jeffrey Deaver wrote the first chapter of an international...moreThe Book
The premise for this book created a two-level thriller. First, award-winning writer Jeffrey Deaver wrote the first chapter of an international thriller, challenged 14 colleagues to continue the story a chapter at a time, and assumed the ultimate challenge himself of tying up all the loose ends in the final chapters. The complicated plot (details in the product description) winds around the globe with munificent mayhem and bountiful betrayals before settling in the Baltimore-Washington area. Second, a major part of the thrill was to watch each author devise plot complications for later authors to unravel and to see how the later authors handled the material presented to them.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this collaborative approach. Not knowing how the later parts of the story will develop, neither the author of a chapter nor the listener/reader knows which new concept will become a main linchpin of the story and which will not be followed up at all. A listener/reader faces this type of challenge even in normal thrillers, but in a normal story conventions of good writing keep complete red herrings down to a more reasonable number. It can be fun and frustrating at the same time. In The Chopin Manuscript, lead author Jeffrey Deaver did a marvelous job of tying up loose ends masterfully, given the many strange and sometimes unlikely turns of the plot. There were several plot elements that were outstanding in my mind as lacking in credibility until Deaver explained them in the denouement.
As international thrillers go, the plot was probably not significantly more complicated or unlikely than the norm, and some of the characters were engaging,, such as the nineteen-year-old Polish violinist who is swept from being a street musician in Rome to being abducted internationally as part of an apparent terrorist plot.
If, as I did, you hoped this book would introduce you to some new authors whose work you might like to try later, you will probably not have that goal satisfied. For the most part the chapters were not really long enough to give you a good sense of the author's style, with a few exceptions such as the author whose lovingly portrayed scene of mayhem in the Dulles airport clearly told me what kind of writer HE is or Lisa Scottoline's chapter, which, at the other extreme, focused on the personal reaction of a young woman who sees all her plans for her future life being destroyed through no involvement of her own.
For the most part, although there were differences in style, the writing was compatible enough to flow fairly well, but there were some jarring dissonances, most notably to me two authors' tendency to have all the characters use profanity profusely. Some people talk that way, but if they do, it is consistent, and to have a character say “f---” multiple times in one chapter and not at all for a number of chapters after is disruptive.
The Audio Production
The reader did a good job with expression and with the many accents of the international cast of characters. He mispronounced a few words, and in this case I do not believe they were “britishisms”. Which brings up another issue: WHY was the narrator British? All of the authors with whom I was familiar are American, as was the protagonist. There were no British characters. A British voice is neither as neutral or as easy to comprehend as an American one for American listeners, and in this case I think it was not the best choice. Good reader, but not for this work.
My reaction to the technical aspects of the audio was mixed. There were unobtrusive but effective musical interludes to show the transition from one scene to another, in place of the space between paragraphs that normally fill that role in print. On the other hand, there were several places where the break between CDs could have been much better chosen, e.g., so that a chapter or a scene would begin at the beginning of a CD. The endings seemed very arbitrary, although there clearly was a lot of leeway---the last CD was only 44 minutes long, whereas some of the others were more than 70 minutes long. There was plenty of room to move things around.
Finally, since this was a collaborative effort, it is natural for the listener to want to know which author did which sections. At a list price of $29.95 I would expect at minimum a package insert or listing on the package of a Table of Contents with the authors listed next to their chapters.
Despite its flaws, this audio book is entertaining and engrossing enough to make a long car trip seem much shorter, and that makes it worth your consideration(less)
I had looked forward to this book, hoping i9t would be whimsical and fun. It just wasn't clever enough to hold my attention,, and I just stopped readi...moreI had looked forward to this book, hoping i9t would be whimsical and fun. It just wasn't clever enough to hold my attention,, and I just stopped reading t after about 75 pages, which is rare for me.(less)