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Comparisons to Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code are valid, as much of Dry Bones is a scavenger hunt for clues to a murder. In my opinion, Peter May’s writing is stronger, particularly in character development. I never really got Langdon, but Enzo MacLeod – now that’s a flesh and bone character. Middle aged and a little worse for wear, he’s flawed, has made mistakes and has regrets. But he’s smart, intuitive and has a big heart. The supporting characters are also believable, with lives of their own aside from their roles in progressing the plot.
The one weakness in the story is how long it took to get through the scavenger hunt, which did little to suggest motive or possible suspects for the murder. It dragged us around Paris and the surrounding countryside, but the hunt was mostly engaging with unexpected mayhem thrown in along the way so it’s not wasted time. The final third of the story is where the dots get connected and it kicked into a new gear. Although the ultimate motivation for the murder was a little soft, the action was good.
I tuned into this series because I truly loved May’s “Lewis Trilogy” (sadly no longer available to Audible in the US), and wanted more of his writing. I’ve started with this first one and will continue on, definitely cherry picking the ones narrated by Simon Vance. His ability to give credible voice to MacLeod’s Scottish brogue, the various French characters, male, female, young and old, was a significant factor in relating to the entire cast.
69 of 71 people found this review helpful
I am always looking for new books in the mysteries and thrillers category. I tried this on a whim and am so glad that I did.
This is not the formulaic finding gruesome crime scenes and trying to put together the clues to find the killer. It's a cold case based on some dry bones and scavenger hunt type clues that lead to more bones with more clues. During the process of solving the old crime, there are some new victims and an array of potential perpetrators.
Enzo himself has an interesting professional background and personal life. He is challenged to this seemingly impossible task both intellectually and monetarily. He is urged on and abetted by the (good guy) challenger. However, he is also led astray by the bad guys.
I found this a delightful change in the murder mystery genre. I look forward to listening to all of the other Enzo Files books.
56 of 58 people found this review helpful
I was put off starting this series from Peter May because of rather lukewarm reviews. I did however finally take the plunge and I'm glad I did because I actually quite enjoyed. No this is nothing like the tremendous Lewis series - but then this isn't a dark,brooding tale. No it isn't as atmospheric as the Chinese detective series either - in fact the reviewer that said it was a cross between Dan Brown & the Famous Five wasn't actually far off the mark. For a bet Enzo is investigating a number of unsolved murders using today's forensic science (well loosely anyway) - and the books are just nice easy listening. Enzo does have a tendency to fluctuate between sounding like BIlly Connelly and Sean Connery, but he's a likeable enough character and the plots and clues a lot more probable than some books I have read or listened to. I cannot understand the complaints about Peter Vance's accents, I think the reading is excellent with just enough accents thrown in to easily recognise the cast of characters. No this may not set the world alight but its a decent enough series and well worth a listen.
29 of 33 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I would recommend, but would tell them I found the book entertaining, if a little predictable at times, and it went at a good pace with enough excitement to make me stay in bed one Sunday morning to listen to the last 6 chapters! Peter May writes about women from a man's perspective - I don't mean sexist, but more how he would like women to be than how they really are! (Work this out, men!) Nevertheless, I enjoyed his story and enjoyed his wry humour - maybe because I am a Scot and it is such a Scottish thing. Other writers criticise the accents - well, one narrator can only produce so many accents - as a Scot I found it quite authentic (West of Scotland). Also a lot of French used - seems logical to me as it was first printed in French, from what I can gather from internet, and why change those bits when it helps you to learn a bit more of the language of the country in which it is set. Good for those interested in France and happy to learn a bit about the language and country. I've spent a bit of time in France and found it all quite authentic, en fait.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
Kinda guessed half way through who the main perpetrator was/would be, but found the ending quite exciting - as mentioned above. The 'changes' in the family relationships were also quite predictable - but perfectly believable.
Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favourite?
Oh, Enzo! And it seemed to me that Simon Vance enjoyed being Enzo and tried very hard to get his character right - and I thought the accent was fine.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Maybe the loss of his second wife. He appeared to have discarded the first one easily enough but he didn't have time to get tired of the second one. Nor did he seem to have struck up any other long-term relationships in the 18 or so years since she had died, so maybe it was the real thing. (I'm a cynic!)
Any additional comments?
Peter May is not Georges Simenon or Ian Rankin, but I thought the book might be of interest to readers of these two authors. It was well written and I enjoyed all the bits of 'education' e.g. Champagne production; and the catacombs of Paris.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful
The character development and dialogue in this book were a little clumsy and underdone. The plot, though hard to accept, was reasonable for a basic murder mystery but I felt no particular interest in the characters and their action.
I will not purchase another book in this series, though some of the Scottish/Hebrides books by this author have been better.
Would you listen to Dry Bones again? Why?
Yes, it's an interesting and free flowing story, set in Paris. First time you are trying to visulize the places he writes about. Fortunately the author isn't overly descriptive, therefore isn't too distracting from the storyline. When reading for the second time, you can concentrate more on the storyline
What other book might you compare Dry Bones to, and why?
Compares well with Peter May's, Lewis Trilogy and Anne Cleeves, Shetland series
What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?
He has an easy listening voice, some of his characterisation are amusing. Reads at a good listening pace
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It's a fairly matter of fact storyline, however there are some amusing moments, for me I can't say there were any overly emotional moments
Any additional comments?
I personally like the way Peter May writes, he's subject matter varies, obviously does a lot of research, he's books teach you about the places where he's stories are set