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Search tags: 7-mystery-thriller
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review 2017-07-22 13:02
The Andromeda Strain ★★★☆☆
The Andromeda Strain - Michael Crichton

Put together the most meticulous plans and bring together several brilliant and creative minds, but still nearly come to disaster through mistaken assumptions and mechanical and human errors, and be likewise saved by random leaps of logic and mechanical and human errors. Perhaps the most fun part of reading this, for me, is how plausible this seems, because all the characters involved behave like real humans do. Plus, having been written in 1968, Crichton is writing about cutting edge/futuristic technology that is now hilariously dated. Imagine a disaster nearly caused by

a communication failure, because an isolated team is relying on alerts that are transmitted to a machine that prints on a continuous roll of paper, but the paper gets jammed and nobody notices because the guy who’s supposed to check it just looks for software failures rather than mechanical and thinks, well, no news is good news.

(spoiler show)

 

Paperback, picked up at a used book sale. Good thing I didn’t try this on audio, as I expect that the frequent displays of lab test results and technical readouts would be horrible on audio. What would they do, just read line after line of figures?

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Tomorrowland 33: Read a book set in space or tagged SciFi on GR or a book that includes robots or cyborgs. The SciFi tag applies to this book.

 

Previous Updates:

7/8/17 - BLopoly pick

7/14/17 – 40/288pg

7/18/17 – 107/288pg

 

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review 2017-07-16 17:41
A Tap on the Window ★★★★☆
A Tap on the Window - Linwood Barclay

There were a lot of characters to sort through and mysteries to unravel in this story, but it wasn’t too complex to easily follow along and guess at, even on audio. The clues were ambiguous enough to keep me guessing through at least two thirds of the book, but it was satisfying at the end to find that I was wrong on a few of my guesses, due to some successfully planted red herrings. There’s a lot of moral relativism at work amongst pretty much all the characters, so this is not a book for readers who want a hero to root for.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive using the Libby app. Mark Zeisler provides a good performance – he sort of disappears inside the story, so I honestly didn’t notice much about his reading style. Which I guess is a recommendation in itself.

 

Previous Updates:

7/14/17 – 18%

 

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review 2017-07-16 16:22
Dead Bolt ★★★☆☆
Dead Bolt - Juliet Blackwell,Xe Sands

This second book in the Haunted Renovation mystery series was a fun enough, but distressingly heavy on Romance and light on Mystery. There were still some interesting tidbits on historical homes, though. I’m going to try the third book, but if it continues to emphasize goofy love triangles and sexual “tension”, then I’m outta here.

 

Audiobook via Audible subscription; Xe Sands’ performance is excellent as usual.

 

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text 2017-07-14 14:43
A Tap on the Window: 18%
A Tap on the Window - Linwood Barclay

So far, very intriguing.  A lot of characters have been introduced, but not too many to keep track of. 

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review 2017-07-13 16:22
The Chemist (DNF) ★☆☆☆☆
The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer

Welp, I gave it my best shot and powered through 25% before giving it up. It wasn't really terrible, but it was remarkably boring for something in the thriller genre. The MC is eyerollingly stupid.

(I mean, she seriously jumps to the conclusion that the subject she's been told to torture must have a multiple personality disorder as the most likely explanation for his radically different affect and body language. It was apparent to me, long before she even tortured him, that it was most likely that the government agency that had been trying to kill her for several years had misled her about the subject, and the guy was an innocent body double or close relative/twin or something. You can't tell me that she's never tortured an innocent person, or one who has no real information, before. That's patently unbelievable.)

(spoiler show)

The strong elements of Romance being introduced were also pretty off-putting

(especially in the context of a professional torturer and her torture victim)

(spoiler show)

But mostly, it was something about the prose. I've tried to think through it, but I'm not a literature scholar, so I probably can't articulate it well. There was just a relentlessly mind-numbing focus on telling the reader everything. She looks like this, she went here, she did these things, she drove this car, this is her strategy, she's taking these precautions and this is why. The author tells you EVERYTHING. Nothing is implied. Nothing is left to the imagination. The reader's senses are not engaged. Everything is explained, except a few clues about an apparent mystery that's not very mysterious. It was like listening to a technical manual being read aloud. After a little over 4 hours, I found myself engaging in stalling tactics to actually avoid listening to this book. 

 

All I know is that I'm only 15 minutes into another book, also in the thriller genre, and the difference in listening pleasure is just night and day. 

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive, using the Libby app. Ellen Archer's performance is okay. 

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