Jun 12, 2017

Audio Review: The Whistler by John Grisham

As with all my reviews, there are NO SPOILERS included

I always considered myself a dedicated John Grisham fan even though I did taper off from reading a few of his books in the late 2000's. But I picked up again with SYCAMORE ROW which was released the summer of 2013. (Has it really been 4 years?!) As you probably know, that book was a very rare sequel to his breakthrough novel, A TIME TO KILL. That is what ultimately led me to read Grisham again and I'm glad because I really enjoyed getting back into his writing. It made me realize how much I missed it. So when THE WHISTLER came out, I didn't hesitate. Like SYCAMORE ROW, I also chose the audio version.

THE WHISTLER takes place in the Florida Panhandle, which is a change for Grisham, as most of his settings are in Mississippi.  At the core of the story is judicial corruption. Lacy Stoltz is an investigator with the Florida Board of Judicial Conduct, or the BJC. She is not a cop, but a lawyer and it is her job to look into complaints filed and see if there is grounds to investigate. Lacy and her partner meet with a man going by an alias and tells them he has evidence of a judge that is 'in bed' with a developer, known to be a part of the Coast Mafia, that built a resort and casino on Native American land and are now helping themselves to money generated by the casino. An investigation is underway and it promises to be a case like no other.  But like all mafias, these people will do anything to keep from being caught. Lacy understands from the start how dangerous this investigation could get, and when someone close to her is murdered, she is more determined than ever to bring all of the culprits to justice.

MY THOUGHTS...

ON THE STORY:  As I began listening, there was a bit of confusion with getting all of the players straight in my mind. There were aliases being used and so many details that set the stage. I really had to pay attention to make sure I had everything right in my mind. Once I did that, the story wasn't hard to follow at all. It was classic Grisham all the way through and I enjoyed it.  That being said, this book didn't exactly have me on the edge of my seat like others have done. It was a good story, totally believable and realistic, just not the heart-pounding stuff I love from him. For that reason, I'm glad I chose the audiobook. If I were actually reading, it may have felt a little slow in places. I did think that writing a story involving casinos on Native American land was a great idea and very current to our times. I had seen an interview with Grisham where he explained he didn't have a cause he was fighting for with this book, that he wrote it for the pleasure of writing. But I feel like there is truth to this story.

I liked the character of Lacy and fell in with her immediately. All of the the characters were portrayed realistically, even the ones I didn't like. I actually wouldn't mind seeing Lacy Stoltz show up in future books. I think the BJC and it's employees could be a great backdrop for possible future stories.

ON THE AUDIO PERFORMANCE:  The narration was done by Cassandra Campbell and this is the first book I've heard her do. She did a great job and I liked the way she kept a smooth, steady pace. I will definitely put her on my list of preferred narrators as I listen to more and more audiobooks as my sight worsens.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

On Goodreads, I gave this book 4 stars. If I were to get more specific, I would say it's on the lower end of that score. The narration helped me to decide on the final rating. Speaking as a Grisham fan, I'm glad I read the book even though it didn't grip me like some of his others. I do plan also to read his new book, CAMINO ISLAND. I will end with saying that though this was far from my favorite Grisham novel, I still enjoyed it and if anyone asked me, I would recommend it, but also let them know I didn't find it overly compelling.

THE WHISTLER by John Grisham
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Audiobook Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: October 2016
Length: 13 Hrs 10 Mins


Jun 11, 2017

The Sunday Salon: I'm Still Here!

I feel like I've made more than one comebacks in the last year, but here I am again! Happy Sunday and Happy Summer as well! It's been four months since I last posted on the blog but it's been a busy time for sure. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've relocated to Columbus, Ohio and I'm all settled in and as of this past week, I'm back online with my antiquated computer, thanks to my brilliant cousin, Shawn. It feels so nice to be up and running again. Though I haven't been on the blog, I have been reading and listening to audios. Here's what I have in store in the coming weeks on the blog..

I will have my review of John Grisham's THE WHISTLER. I listened to this one and I really enjoyed it once I got all of the characters straight. I'll be posting my thoughts in the coming days. I also will be featuring a new release in a week or so of a new book called THE CONFUSION OF LANGUAGES by Siobhan Fallon.  This was an interesting book that is very current, topically, because it centers around two wives stationed in Jordan with thei Armyr husbands. Cultural differences are front and center in this novel. I don't want to say too much more, but look for my review on June 27th, its release date.


I'm currently listening to the latest release from Jeffrey Archer and his Clifton Chronicles Series.  Through the last seven years readers have followed Harry Clifton and his family since the 1920's. I'm not finished yet, but right now we are in 1985. It has been an wonderful journey with politics, espionage, humor and suspense to name a few.  THIS WAS A MAN is the seventh and final installment. I plan to have that review in the coming weeks as well.


I also will be sharing thoughts on some other books I've read that are not newly published, but are very good reads. In the last months I've been doing more pleasure reading than newly published review books. I hope you will come back and see what I've had on my book shelves.

I'm so thankful to be settled here in Columbus, the place where I was born and spent my young years. I'm near my mom's side of the family and I love spending time with them. I'm looking forward to a great summer filled with lots of fun and books. Please come back and visit often!

Feb 4, 2017

New Year, New Adventure!

After taking a brief hiatus from the blog, I am back, once again. I hadn't really planned on being absent for so long, but with the holidays and all that goes with it, time flew by. So, here we are, already in the second month of 2017! Though I haven't been posting, I did do some reading, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Along with the changes happening out in the world this new year, there are also some changes going on in my life as well. As some of you may recall, I made a big move last Spring from Florida to my home state of Ohio. After living in the Sunshine State for over 35 years, it was a big adjustment. Since April of 2016 I've been living in a little town called Amelia, outside of Cincinnati. I have friends living here and it has been nice being around them but I feel like another change is necessary, so this Spring I will be relocating about 90 miles north to Columbus, where my family lives and close to where I grew up as a child. This will be my final move and where I plan to stay. I have my mom's side of the family there along with many friends I grew up with.  Every couple of months. I've been visiting there, but I think it's now time for me to make the move.

So you see, along with the holidays, I've been busy making moving/living arrangements which severely cut into my blogging time. Now that everything for the move has been finalized, (except for the packing! Yikes!) I plan to get caught up on some reviews that I've got stacked up. They will most likely be mini-reviews though. For those aware of my retinal disease, it is still actively progressing, and I have noticed more loss of sight over the last few months, but I am still able to read from my Kindle and I am still listening to and loving my audiobooks.  I plan to continue reading and blogging for as long as I can see the screen. Last month was my 9th year of blogging! I still get enjoyment from it along with a sense of purpose that is very important to me. It helps me to get up every day without feeling like I don't have anything to contribute. Losing my sight is something I deal with every single day but having books to read or listen to and my blog to share my thoughts gives me a boost that you can't imagine. And when I can't see the printed page any longer, I will concentrate soley on audiobooks. But until that time, I am grateful for every single thing I can still see. Actually, reading is the easy part. The hardest thing is the blog. I do okay until Blogger makes changes to to the platform, then I'm lost. I also have a very hard time keeping up with the mouse. It is as big as I can make it but my eyes don't focus together any longer so a lot of times, by the time I find my mouse, I've forgotten what I was doing! Ha! It takes me a lot longer to post things. I will probably have to cut down on the amount of links included because those really eat up my clock. That being said, let's move on...

To get things started off, here is a quick review of an sudiobook I listened to last fall. This one slipped through the cracks and I only recently realized I hadn't written a review.



END OF WATCH, as you already know, is the third and final installment in the Detective Bill Hodges trilogy. It began with the explosive MR. MERCEDES, and continued with FINDERS KEEPERS. In this final book, the title pretty much says it all. I'll start by reiterating that I'm not exactly a die-hard King fan like some of my fellow bloggers, but I have read a few. This trilogy was a side-step from his usual horror themed books as it was more crime fiction than horror. I can say that totally for the first two books, but in END OF WATCH, there was much more of the typical King that we've all known. Mind control was a big part of the conclusion of this story.  And for me, I didn't mind it at all. The other two books focused mainly on the crime aspect but near the end of FINDERS KEEPERS, it was evident something else was beginning to take hold. It was a seamless transition and fit the story well.

I loved that all of the characters from the first two books were also present here. Bill Hodges was a great character and his relationships with his fellow crime-busting partners were special and genuine. The story wrapped up nicely, leaving no questions unanswered. Though this was not my favorite book of the series, I enjoyed it just the same. MR. MERCEDES was the best book in my opinion.

As far as the audiobook, the entire trilogy has become one of my favorites of all time. That is due to the extraordinary work of the narrator, Will Patton. He used his voice expertly to bring life to each of these characters, never missing a beat and all being so distinguishingly different. Bravo to him!

I would highly recommend, not only these books, but the audio versions as well. If you have a long trip ahead or are looking for something different to listen to, I suggest giving them a try. They will suck you in and time will fly!

END OF WATCH
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published: June 7, 2016
Length: 12 Hrs 54 Mins