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I started with Landay's newest novel (Defending Jacob), which was a great listen. It wasn't a book that engrossed me right upfront, but by the time I was just past the middle point, I didn't want to stop listening. As impressed as I was with Defending Jacob, I was more so with The Strangler.
Landay has it down. He writes excellent, intriguing, fully fleshed characters. There's real drama here (as opposed to the melodrama you often find in sub-par mystery/crime novels). He's got a great ear for the way people speak (which shows with his character's dialogue). The story is excellent - there's never an instance of characters bending to plot; everything is organic, realistic, natural.
Not only is the writing really good, but so is the narration. Stephen Hoye was perfect for this book. He did such a great job that I actually browsed other books he'd narrated in hopes I'd find something that interested me (I haven't yet, despite the extensive catalog). There's quite a large cast of main characters here, as well as an abundance of minor players, and Hoye was able to lend nuance to each voice so that, almost always, you knew who was speaking even if the context didn't clue you in.
One evening, after driving home from work, I actually sat in my driveway, listening for an extra five minutes to a tense scene. I couldn't not know how that scene wrapped up before I tuned out for the day. And I couldn't wait to get back at it the next day.
I've got several hundred books in my audible library, and there are perhaps only half a dozen or so I've gone back to for a second listen (to name a few: Hearts In Atlantis, A Widow for One Year, Terror's Echo: Novellas from Transgressions, American Gods). Even knowing how this one ends, I'll be going back for a second listen. I even bought a used paperback edition to loan out to friends, that's how much I liked this book.
Both of Landay's other novels are good too, but this one was my favorite. I only wish he published more frequently.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about The Strangler?
I loved William Landay's later book, "Defending Jacob", so was excited to get this one. I've gotten about 2 hours into it, and frankly I can't get up any excitement to listen to it anymore. For starters, it's a period piece set sometime in the 40's or 50's, and those usually don't do it for me. For seconds, it's about a bunch of brothers that I find completely unsavory, in a family that I don't like very much. The mystery is about a strangler of women that I've never met and have no connection to. At this point, I just don't care who killed them or what happens to this family, so I'm setting the book down. Sorry Mr. Landay.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful