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It seems most people start out reading Luke Smitherd's books with "The Stone Man". For some reason, I read all the other ones first and only just finished this. I just have to ask myself, "What took you so long, idiot?" I think I was putting off reading it because I wanted one last book to look forward to. This seems to be the most popular of this author's books, and I guess I just had to be different.
This is one of the best books I have ever read.
It's one of those books where your hands are shaking as you read it and sometimes you notice you haven't taken a breath in a while. Make sure you start listening to it with plenty of time to spare because you will not want to stop once you start. It is nearly impossible to believe this was the first book written by this author because it is SO good, SO well-written, and just perfect. Now I'm gushing and must stop.
The basic outline of the story is that a stone man (or creature or object) appears in England and wreaks havoc throughout the country. It can't be stopped by any means known to humans and its purpose for being there is not known. As you get further into the book and some of the implications of the stone man being there do become evident, it becomes more real and scary. That's all I'm going to say about it. You just have to read it to appreciate it.
The characters are very well-developed. The two main characters are not perfect. They do heroic things, they do selfish things, they drink (a lot), and they don't even get along some of the time, but I was completely invested in them and felt a loss when I finished the book--like I had just left behind two people I really cared about.
I loved this book. It covers the gamut of emotions from sadness to happiness, from cowardice to bravery, from tragedy to hopefulness, and everything else in between. It can also scare the crap out of you.
Download this book and listen to it. You will not be disappointed.
The narrator is British, but I had no problem with the accent or those strange words that we use differently even though we're both speaking English.
One final thing. I saw another review that said, "... overly lengthy descriptions of break-ins and old men getting up from chairs." That really hit me when I read it because the scene referred to is one of the best in the book, in my humble opinion, and shows the dignity and courage few people possess.
49 of 50 people found this review helpful
Luke Smitherd- you are a funny guy. I loved the afterward and lo- your pleading worked - I offer this review-
This is an interesting book - the narration was very good.
I was immediately grabbed by the story - after all a giant stone man marching across England is bound to catch your attention.
The characters were fine and I enjoyed the concepts at the end- but I felt it was missing something - I don't know exactly what - either more delving inward or expanding outward. Perhaps more humor? Readers who want a definite ending and answers will resent the ending - I recommend it .
30 of 32 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Stone Man to be better than the print version?
I haven't read the paper copy but always prefer audio if the narration is good...and Matt Addis was perfect.
What did you like best about this story?
The mystery...I was hooked within the first 5 minutes and then couldn't stop listening to it. I wanted to make it last but ended up ripping through it in 2 days. If I was listening to it whilst driving I'd take the longer way home so I could 'just finish this chapter'. Now I'm annoyed that I've finished it too fast...but this is one that I will listen to many more times in the future. I also loved the fact that it's written by a British author and is set mostly in England and Scotland...I even found myself looking on googlemaps to see whether the transport museum exists and how far Coventry is from Sheffield!
Have you listened to any of Matt Addis’s other performances? How does this one compare?
This was the first Matt Addis audio I've listened to and I thought he did a brilliant job...I couldn't fault it. I loved his portrayal of the main characters, and he even did a decent female voice. He also sounded like he actually enjoyed reading the book which seems to be missing from a lot of the narrators I've come across on audible. After finishing The Stone Man I immediately looked for other audio titles by Luke Smitherd and on finding none I then went searching through everything Matt Addis has narrated to see what else I could listen to.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
yes... but I won't spoil the story by revealing them here, other than to say that I laughed in some places and was genuinely moved by some passages. I was also surprised in places when something happened that I really didn't expect...at one point I actually clapped my hand to my mouth and said 'oh s**t!'. So yes, I'd say that was an emotional reaction.
Any additional comments?
Make sure you listen to Luke's afterword at the end of the book and write a review. I've never written a review before because I always think nobody is going to be interested in my opinion but Luke's afterword made me realise how important ratings and reviews are, especially for self-published authors. I hope we see his other works available on audible soon.
35 of 43 people found this review helpful
Okay so I once again followed my normal process with a Luke Smitherd novel. It goes like this: Read the premise. Think to myself “there is no way he can make a compelling story out of that, at least I can finally write a bad review on him this time”. Then pontificate about this for some time and spectacularly fail to imagine how it could possibly be any good. Eventually read it anyway, struggle to put it down. Love it!
All I can say is that it really is a good thing for all of us that the grey matter between Mr Smitherd’s ears works rather better than the obviously second rate gloop that occupies the space between my personal wax deposits!
In my defence . . . that premise is . . . some bloke made of stone just up and appears in the middle of Coventry and starts walking in a straight line smashing stuff up. I mean, come on! Even as a five year old if good old Bernard Cribbins had started an episode of Jackanory like that I would have switched the TV off in disgust at being taken for such a fool. It’s just not acceptable for authors to ambush me with an excellent book when the blurb just sounds so flaming daft! Despite all the other positive reviews I still felt sure that I’d got him this time.
Of course that’s the problem with our Luke. You can’t trust him as far as you can bloody well throw him! Somehow, some way this is the best of his books that I have read yet. The sheer ordinariness of the setting, the basic humanity of the characters and the slowly revealed plot blew me away. This is an author that doesn’t need grand scenery, outlandish rogues for characters or to lay waste to one of the world’s best known capital cities to grab your attention. He does it with the sheer quality of his story-telling.
The narration by Matt Addis is first class. He conveys emotion and the tension of the situation in compelling tones and does almost sound like he’s going to crack up himself at some points. It is a very convincing performance. The book’s highlight for me was when our two main protagonists meet the Sargent, I don’t do spoilers so won’t go into more detail. However, the beautiful story-telling of the author and the fine performance of the narrator make this one of the most powerful scenes I have ever listened to.
So, Mr Smitherd, I am going to find a book of yours that I can read, feel able to criticise and write a bad review of it kills me.
This, quite simply, was never going to be it though. It just should have been given that awful premise, stone men rising up in Coventry . . . mutter, mutter, Bernard would never have done that to me. He cared for my sanity!
17 of 21 people found this review helpful
This is my first journey with Mr Smitherd and I'm happy to say it was in no sense a disappointment. Matt Addis as narrator was an excellent choice and had wonderful material to work with; quirky, difficult to categorise and very, very human. I imagine some readers might be uncomfortable with the degree of introspection the prime characters offer but I felt this enhanced the work rather than detracted from it and the plot itself was at all times interesting, engaging, gritty and realistically portrayed. There are no perfect people in this book but there are people all of us would recognise, sharing the same faults and fears and moments of nobility we all possess. The plot is allowed to unfold and never feels forced or contrived and is wholly unlike any other work I can bring to mind, so bonus points for originality.
Don't expect zap bang pow action sequences, space opera or shining knight characters who ride in and save the day. Instead, sit back and enjoy a book which you could wake up tomorrow and find you are living in the middle of.
May 12, 2017
Definitely entertaining. Sometimes felt like things were drawn out a little too long sometimes and some of the characters felt a little 2D. Couldn't stop listening to it though! Was a good listen.