Night Boat to Tangier: A Novel by Kevin Barry – #Audiobook Review – #TuesdayBookBlog

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

A Reading Ireland Month book 

Book Blurb:

From the acclaimed author of the international sensations City of Bohane and Beatlebone, a striking and gorgeous new novel of two aging criminals at the tail ends of their damage-filled careers. A superbly melancholic melody of a novel full of beautiful phrases and terrible men.

In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen – Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs – sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter, Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. This nocturnal vigil will initiate an extraordinary journey back in time to excavate their shared history of violence, romance, mutual betrayals, and serial exiles, rendered with the dark humor and the hard-boiled Hibernian lyricism that have made Kevin Barry one of the most striking and admired fiction writers at work today.

One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2019 
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book ReviewLit Hub, The MillionsThe Paris Review, and NPR 
Number One Irish Times Best Seller
Longlisted for The Booker Prize 

My Review:

Man oh man, did I miss the boat on this one! All those accolades, I figured it must be good. The blurb sounded interesting. Audiobook from my favorite library, what could I lose? Time—and at my age—that’s getting more precious.

I had an awful time with this one. For an audiobook some five and one-half hours, it just seemed to go on and on. I didn’t think I could get through it. Spoken in hushed, harsh monotones, and, finally, thankfully, it ended.

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin BarryAs mysteriously as it started.

What did I miss here?

A plot? Oops. Did I miss that? (Of course, it’s totally character-driven.)

Depth to the characters…well, certainly they were described and we understood by the blurb they were despots. Cue the heavy Irish slang, had to back it up several times but after awhile that got tedious.

Perhaps so literary it went zooming right over my head. Perhaps I didn’t give it the attention it deserved. Perhaps I was so bored, I just flat couldn’t get into either of the characters or their stories.

There were times when it seemed chunks of narrative had been edited out and no backfilling ensued.  I don’t want to characterize them as the dregs of society, but they were the dregs of society and if one of them was waiting for daughter Dilly, I feared for the character of the poor child, wondering what kind of childhood she might have had.

My first experience with the author. Have you read or listened to this book? Am I just ignorant or do you agree even somewhat? Can you cite a book by the author that you discovered profound and would recommend I try again? This one was just not the book for me and I’m giving it two stars simply because I did not DNF it.

Book Details:

Genre: Urban Fiction, Humorous fiction, Fiction Urban Life
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B07X6HL9JW
Listening Length: 5 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Kevin Barry
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Night Boat to Tangier [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing: 2 stars

Kevin Barry - Irish author
Photo of Kevin Barry, author appearing at the International Festival of Authors 2013. Photo courtesy of IFOA and Goodreads

The Author: Kevin Barry is the author of the novels Beatlebone and City of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. His awards include the International Dublin Literary Award, the Goldsmiths Prize, The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award and the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. His stories and essays appear in The New YorkerGranta, and elsewhere. He also works as a playwright and screenwriter, and he lives in County Sligo, Ireland. –This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition.

©V Williams V Williams

#TuesdayBookBlog

The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly – A Lincoln Lawyer Novel – An #Audiobook Review – #legalthrillers – (Mickey Haller #6)

The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly

A Reading Ireland Month book 4 leaf clover

Editors' pickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Thought the CE would enjoy reading this one for #begorrathon22 this year, as I read back on December 24, 2020 in audiobook form. We have both read a number of Connelly’s books in various series, this one a Lincoln Lawyer series novel. The CE usually has a different take on books than I and wondered how he’d see this one. So, while the book blurb has changed a little and Amazon’s “editors’ pick’ was added, here is his review with a redacted portion of my thoughts as well.

Book Blurb:

The Law of Innocence by Michael ConnellyLincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller must defend himself against murder charges in the heartstopping new thriller from number one New York Times best-selling author Michael Connelly.

Defense attorney Mickey Haller is pulled over by police, who find the body of a client in the trunk of his Lincoln. Haller is charged with murder and can’t make the exorbitant $5 million bail slapped on him by a vindictive judge. 

Mickey elects to defend himself and must strategize and build his defense from his jail cell in the Twin Towers Correctional Center in downtown Los Angeles, all the while looking over his shoulder – as an officer of the court he is an instant target. 

Mickey knows he’s been framed. Now, with the help of his trusted team, he has to figure out who has plotted to destroy his life and why. Then he has to go before a judge and jury and prove his innocence.

In his highest stakes case yet, Mickey Haller fights for his life and shows why he is “a worthy colleague of Atticus Finch…in the front of the pack in the legal thriller game” (Los Angeles Times).

His Review:

A defense lawyer has few friends in the prosecutorial department of most cities and states. Michael Haller is no exception. Some of his prosecutorial wins left the prosecutors fuming, as obviously guilty parties went free. A body in the trunk of his Lincoln was an event guaranteed to give Dana Berg, prosecutor, the opportunity to put this “scumbag lawyer” where he belongs. Animosity is a tangible spark of hate between them.

The Law of Innocence by Michael ConnellyThe body stuffed in the trunk of his car is a major drug mover. Clues on the body are few and far between. The body was obviously stuffed into the trunk of his car almost immediately after being killed. Drips of blood leaking from the floor of the trunk prompt a search of the trunk because of exigent circumstances.

Haller is innocent but with the murdered body in the trunk of his car, it was going to be almost an insurmountable task to prove he was not culpable. Fortunately, he has a very loyal and honorable group to support him, but knowing you are innocent and proving it are two different things. The task is further complicated because some of the people whose cases he represented and lost are out to exact a pound of flesh.

The judge, the Honorable Judge Warfield, has had a few dealings with Haller. She is not always happy with him but admires the way he advocates for his clients. Prosecutor Berg detests Michael and cannot wait to put him behind bars. Evidence that supports his not guilty plea is suppressed whenever possible. The defense is definitely an uphill battle.

Michael Connelly always writes an entertaining narrative that never fails to hold my attention throughout the read. I highly recommend it for a lesson in law and prosecutorial malfeasance. 5 stars – CE Williams

My Review:

◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊

I do enjoy legal thrillers and this had no small amount of legal battle both in and out of the courtroom. The maneuvering, crafting, and animosity between legal teams and judges is as eye-opening and about as fair as I’ve long thought it to be.

In this entry to the series, Mickey Haller is picked up after leaving a celebration with his defense team. The body in the trunk of his Lincoln means he won’t make it home that night or many nights that follow. He’s charged with murder—yeah—he didn’t do it.

The Law of Innocence by Michael ConnellyHe’s an attorney of no small reputation and he’ll defend himself, but it would appear the prosecutor has an air-tight case. Still, he has a considerable team behind him, including his half-brother Harry Bosch of the Bosch series fame.

Of course, he’s in lock up, which means he really needs to watch his back and procure “protection.” How to prepare for trial in lock-up? And I must admit that if I were on the jury, I’d take an instant dislike to him. I found him arrogant and narcissistic. A people user. The speedy trial thing—big debate. The plot gets ever more complex the deeper they get into the investigation. If he’s to be declared innocent—they’ll have to find the one who is guilty.

So, if it’s obvious he was framed, who is behind it? Guess we’ll never know. I also had a few other problems. The motive is pretty thin.  And what in the world was with the prosecutor? Dripping animosity.

With all that work, all that investigation, taking two steps forward and one back, then one forward and two back–no headway. Even when he was trying to thank those who wanted to help, he came off as insincere.

The narrative in first person started following the CoVid flight into the country and then Connelly got all political, naming names with his opinions—wha??? Then the Feds got involved and suddenly they were willing to drop the charges and the whole thing goes bye-bye. Huh? Did I miss something?

The courtroom scenes? Yeah, I do love me some good courtroom drama. It’s that little courtroom dance I’ve alluded to previously thinking of Richard Gere in “Chicago.” And most of those scenes kept me engaged. It’s entertaining when it isn’t annoying. 4 stars – V Williams

Book Details:

Genre: City Life Fiction, Urban Fiction, Legal Thrillers
Publisher:  Little, Brown & Company
ASIN: B088KQXXDL
Print Length: 433 pages

  • ASIN : B0852ZXJSD

Listening Length: 12 hrs 27 mins
Narrator: Peter Giles
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook and digital Selections)
Title Link: The Law of Innocence [Amazon]

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Add to Goodreads

 

Michael Connelly - authorThe Author: Michael Connelly is the bestselling author of over thirty novels and one work of nonfiction. With over eighty million copies of his books sold worldwide and translated into forty foreign languages, he is one of the most successful writers working today. A former newspaper reporter who worked the crime beat at the Los Angeles Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Connelly has won numerous awards for his journalism and his fiction. His very first novel, The Black Echo, won the prestigious Mystery Writers of America Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992. In 2002, Clint Eastwood directed and starred in the movie adaptation of Connelly’s 1998 novel, Blood Work. In March 2011, the movie adaptation of his #1 bestselling novel, The Lincoln Lawyer, hit theaters worldwide starring Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller. His most recent New York Times bestsellers include Fair Warning, The Night Fire, Dark Sacred Night, The Late Show, Two Kinds Of Truth, The Late Show, The Wrong Side Of Goodbye, The Crossing, The Burning Room, The Gods of Guilt, The Black Box, and The Drop. Michael is the executive producer of BOSCH, an Amazon Studios original drama series based on his bestselling character Harry Bosch, starring Titus Welliver and streaming on Amazon Prime. He is also the executive producer of the documentary films, SOUND OF REDEMPTION: The Frank Morgan Story and Tales Of the American. He spends his time in California and Florida.
The Narrator: Peter Giles is an actor and voice-over artist originally from Vancouver, Canada. His credits as an actor include The Life & Times of Tim, Portlandia, and Man Seeking Woman. Jack McEvoy is at the end of the line as a crime reporter.

©2022 CE and V Williams The CE and I

Have a good week!

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Let the Great World Spin - Banner

A Reading Ireland Month book

“The world spins. We stumble on. It is enough.”

Book Blurb:

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter-mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in best-selling novelist Colum McCann’s stunningly intricate portrait of a city and its people.

Let the Great World Spin is the critically acclaimed author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s. 

My Review:

It was in August 1974 when 24 year old Frenchman Philippe Petit made it his “le coup” to illegally walk on a high wire across the top of the twin towers a total of eight times, the “artistic crime of the century.” And the feat was so bizarre, so over-the-top astounding that a film was released about it October 2015 called “The Walk.” I wrote a short article about the headline capturing story on July 2, 2016, not knowing that Colum McCann released this book in January 16, 2015. To be fair, I have not viewed the film.

It wasn’t long before I realized the book was about a particular group of people who may (or may not) have been impacted by this stupendous feat. The first half of the book is very slow, and for me, disjointed. I was trying to figure out how these characters had anything to do with the event that was unfolding before their eyes, or in some other unrelated capacity, connecting them. Indeed, for quite some time it didn’t.

It wasn’t a book about the feat itself or the man who walked the high wire. It was a deep-diving story that eventually begins to form a wire itself—uniting the stories of those five or six of the sixteen plus million people in mid-70s New York City.

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCannYou probably couldn’t find a more disparate group of people to dissect, from Irish priest (okay, monk), to mother and daughter hookers. Tillie’s story is graphic and profane but at least she finally breathed some much needed energy into a novel long in the tooth, reveling in finding a topic and expanding on it sixteen different ways, “the wind of the…, the trees of the…, the whatever…eventually just feels like filler to me and indeed, this narrative manages to extend beyond fifteen hours. Not a style I particularly enjoy—the constant philosophizing. It seemed dark, depressing. And when I thought it would get on with the story simply introduced yet another new character that was then studied to within of that life with no discernible bond to any of the previous characters.

I especially had a problem with the “Nam” references since the CE is a veteran of that era; we lived through it. But at least I could identify with the gold star mothers since I lost a brother during that time, not as a mother, but a sister. A pain that gradually dulls but never lets go and also gripped the mothers in this emotional support group.

The author does draw the characters finally together in a cohesive, sensitive manner—a study of the people, of the time. Perhaps not the event, but event driven? In the end, we also get the inside story of the judge, laid open and bare, warts and all, the storyline tied by his wife’s support group, while he’s ecstatic he got the defendant of the year in his court–sufficient to relieve his judicial boredom.

Well, mercy. One final stinging epithet.

Book Details:

Genre: Urban Fiction, Fiction Urban Life, Family Life Fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
ASIN: B00SC80QC4
Listening Length: 15 hrs 15 mins
Narrator(s): Richard PoeGerard DoyleCarol MondaJohanna ParkerRamon De Ocampo
Publication Date: January 16, 2015
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Let the Great World Spin [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three-point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

Colum McCann - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Colum McCann is the author of three collections of short stories and six novels, including “Apeirogon,” due to be published in Spring 2020. His other books include “TransAtlantic,” “Let the Great World Spin,” “This Side of Brightness,””Dancer” and “Zoli,” all of which were international best-sellers.

“Let the Great World Spin” won the National Book Award in 2009. His fiction has been published in over 40 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Paris Review and other places. He has written for numerous publications including The Irish Times, Die Zeit, La Republicca, Paris Match, The New York Times, the Guardian and the Independent.

Colum has won numerous international awards and has been a bestseller on four continents. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Irish association of artists, Aosdana. He has also received a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres from the French government. He is the cofounder of the global non-profit story exchange organisation Narrative 4.

In 2003 Colum was named Esquire magazine’s “Writer of the Year.” Other awards and honors include a Pushcart Prize, the Rooney Prize, the Irish Independent Hughes and Hughes/Sunday Independent Novel of the Year 2003, and the 2002 Ireland Fund of Monaco Princess Grace Memorial Literary Award. He was recently inducted into the Hennessy Hall of Fame for Irish Literature.

His short film “Everything in this Country Must,” directed by Gary McKendry, was nominated for an Academy Award Oscar in 2005.

Colum was born in Dublin in 1965 and began his career as a journalist in The Irish Press. In the early 1980’s he took a bicycle across North America and then worked as a wilderness guide in a program for juvenile delinquents in Texas. After a year and a half in Japan, he and his wife Allison moved to New York where they currently live with their three children, Isabella, John Michael and Christian.

Colum teaches in Hunter College in New York, in the Creative Writing program, with fellow novelists Peter Carey and Tea Obreht.

Colum has completed his new novel, “Apeirogon.” Crafted out of a universe of fictional and nonfictional material, McCann tells the story of Bassam Aramin and Rami Elhanan. One is Israeli. One is Palestinian. Both are fathers. Both have lost their daughters to the conflict. When Bassam and Rami learn of each other’s stories they recognize the loss that connects them, and they begin to use their grief as a weapon for peace.

In the novel McCann crosses centuries and continents. He stitches together time, art, history, nature and politics in a tale both heartbreaking and hopeful. Musical, cinematic, muscular, delicate and soaring, Apeirogon is a novel for our times.

Sign up for Colum’s newsletter: http://bit.ly/mccannsignup

Website: http://www.colummccann.com

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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