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It's a bit of a challenge fairly rating a book that is fantastic nearly all the way through, but right at the end the writer drops the bundle and delivers a truly silly finale. My overall feeling about it is 'extremely enjoyable book.... but....'. The narration is brilliant. I'll be looking out for this narrator in the future. She's up there with the best and springs the characters into vibrant life. Writing wise, full points to Val McDermid for a wonderfully lively book that is very different from any other of her books. It isn't a crime novel, instead she focuses on the world of reality tv. It isn't a book with a lot of tension, but it's very enjoyable. Thoroughly worth hearing, but unfortunately let down by the implausible end which sounded like the writer ran out of time or ideas for finishing the book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Vanishing Point the most enjoyable?
The books had a few unexpected twists and turns and I was keen to continue listening to see what was going to happen next.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
The book was too long to listen to in one sitting - I did not realise at the time of purchase that it was unabridged so quite a long story. I did find some of the lengthy descriptions a little bit tiresome at times - I just didn't need all that extra information, and wanted to get on with the story! But I guess it did add to the visual picture you could form.
Any additional comments?
This is the first audio book I have listened to, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and am keen to listen to my next one!
What would have made The Vanishing Point better?
The plot is superficially strong (drawing heavily on an actual news story) but a number of loose ends or dead ends makes one wonder if the author lost interest in it or had to rush it out before she did a proper professional job. Two major questions among many: is the FBI agent intended as no more than a plot vehicle? If so, why are we made privy to her innermost thoughts? Were we not intended to sympathise/identify to some degree? If so, why is she just dropped mid-way through? The other question is harder to frame without giving away the ending, but perhaps I can say that I was amazed when the book ended abruptly, not so much because of the action, as the effrontery of the author in cutting and running without any kind of explanation, follow-up or resolution.
Has The Vanishing Point put you off other books in this genre?
Absolutley not, but I probably won't bother with this author again.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
She was OK.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Vanishing Point?
I would have wanted major changes to way in which the main protagonist's story is unfolded. She is in the custody of an FBI agent who ought to be trying to get her cut to the chase, not prose on about the back story. After all, there's a child out there somewhere. The noises off are insuficient to suggest that there is any sense of urgency. This whole section feels really odd. I would also have urged the author to do some major work on the ending.
Any additional comments?
I've read some of the professional reviews which are uniformly ecstatic at the brilliance of this author and this book. It's made me wonder how many of the reviewers had actually read it or, even more cynically, whether any of them would dare to write a negative review of a book by this national treasure.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
The story line, based on the relationship between a ghost writer, Stephanie, and her reality TV celebrity, Scarlett, is tedious beyond belief. The lengthy study of their growing friendship made me want to give up listening many times, especially as the narrator used the Australian rising inflection in her voice so frequently it became like listening to finger nails scraping on a chalk board. The thriller part of the book is hidden inside the main storyline and, although I persevered, its culmination is not worth waiting for. It seemed to me the author got fed up with it and, like a primary school child's story, decided that it would be better to end it with, "and then she died!". Don't bother!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful