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I absolutely love the characters in Touchstone, but I didn't find the story as compelling as some of King's other works.
Bennett Gray, the "touchstone" of the title, is meant to be a main character and is surprisingly sidelined in the action. He's there, tagging along at a number of points, but not really part of the action if that makes sense. This is a disappointment as he's more interesting than some of the others, but it also makes for a bit of awkwardness as you wonder just what the point of him is at times. His unusual skill in heightened awareness or rapid cognition aren't really used in the "dectection" of the mystery, but rather as a secondary plot.
Lead dectector, Harry Stuyvesant, is also complex and likable, plus there's a good, if somewhat obvious, villain.
The weak point here is the plot. Unfortunately, the end doesn't really surprise. This is in part because the lead suspect is a) announced as such from the start, and b) gets very little screen time. And there are very few other options as to who it might be. The main plot detours from it's original focus, and the secondary plot doesn't tie in well, so it's a bit of a jumble in places.
In the end, you want to know more about the characters, want to know what happens to them next and really want a better book for them ??? all of which is happening as King says "The book I'll be writing this year  is set in Paris, 1929, and is about some of the characters from Touchstone."
Jefferson Mays was a fine narrator, though something felt "off" to me about his voice for Bennett Gray. Nothing specifically wrong with it, but just not how I "hear" Bennett. And his voice for American Stuyvesant was a good effort, but sounded stilted especially with Harry's constant use of slang.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Like all of Ms. King's stories, this one unfolds slowly and deliberately. Usually this serves to build suspense, but it didn't work so well in this story. There were a few places that I found rather tedious and just couldn't wait to get past. Overall, though, it is a good story, rich with scenic detail, history, and interesting characters.
Narrator Jefferson Mays did a very good job with the material. He has a strong masculine voice, but was still able to do the female voices convincingly. He carried off the various British accents very well.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Laurie R King's book, as in several of her other books, centres around the First World War. It takes place in 1926, just before the General Strike, but all her characters have been affected by the War. Her main character is an American Bureau of Investigation agent, in England to track down an anarchist bomber. It is a story involving the rich and radical, with country house weekends, beautiful and dedicated women, a deeply injured officer, a really unpleasant English bureaucrat and a charismatic supporter of the working class.
All read beautifully by Jefferson Mays.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful