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Gerard Doyle is one of my favorite narrators, and his work here is superb as always. But after listening to the first three hours of this book, I had to abandon the effort. The problem, in a nutshell, is that nothing happens. The narrative goes on and on in great detail about characters who are not especially interesting and whose role in the plot is never made clear. I have no doubt that, somewhere along the line, a story will actually develop, but my patience was exhausted. If I still can't discern a plot after investing three hours of listening time, I prefer to cut my losses and move on to another book. A disappointing experience.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
High Dive is based on the 1984 explosion of a bomb at an elegant English hotel where Margaret Thatcher was staying. But the book is a character study rather than a thriller. Jonathan Lee does a superb job of creating sympathetic characters, including Danny, the reluctant young IRA member from Northern Ireland who helps plant the bomb; Moose, the aging athlete (and high diver) who is now the assistant general manager of the hotel, and Freya Finch, Moose's daughter, fresh out of school and trying to choose what she wants from life. The novel shifts among the viewpoints of these three characters, focusing more on their romantic longings and their family relationships than on their politics. The book is full of small surprises that illuminate the characters' lives, starting with the opening scene, in which Danny is given an IRA loyalty test involving two beautiful dogs. And Danny's dealings with his mother, who lost her husband to the violence of British soldiers, results in one of the more shocking scenes in the book.
The author's perspective is broadly humanistic, underscoring the suffering inflicted by both sides in the Northern Ireland conflict. His focus on the human side of his characters, especially Danny, emphasizes the good in everyone, even those struggling with how to do the right thing.
The narration was good, although at times I wished there were more differentiation among the voices of his characters. Overall, a very enjoyable listen.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful