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Would you listen to The Night Gardener again? Why?
Yes. It is a great story well read by the author.
What other book might you compare The Night Gardener to, and why?
I would compare The Night Gardener to Homicide: Life on the Street by David Simon. Both are the product of the author spending a significant amount of time embedded with an actual homicide unit and both have fascinating small details that seem to have come from this valuable experience. They both have an impressive verisimilitude. Particularly in the characterisation of the investigators, who are less crusaders and more workmanlike than television depictions would lead us to believe.
What does George Pelecanos bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Pelecanos reading highlights the humour of the dialogue, particularly the banter between the detectives.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Pelecanos' ever strong characterisation never fails to draw an emotional reaction from me. The sad truth of the central mystery and the elegiac description of a later death both moved me.
Any additional comments?
The abridgement of the story seems to have taken something more than just length away - I enjoyed the original book more. Pelecanos is a little quiet as a voice actor so turn it up!
The opening is a flashback so try and listen to the first couple of chapters when you begin the book or it may be a little confusing.
Usually I do not write reviews but for this audio book I will make an exception.
You will enjoy this book because it is one of those "keeps you on the edge of your seat."
It is a story that could have happened (good thing it did not) in real life.
The author who reads his own book is very good.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The New York Times to the contrary nothwithstanding, this is a boring book. I cared nothing about any of the characters, the plot dragged, and the book failed my litmus test: I was happy to have it over. For a murder mystery, when the reader doesn't care who dunnit, you've got a problem. In fact, this was one of the few audio books that I seriously considered unplugging well before the end. I stayed with it, but I get no prizes for determination. It was a mistake.
I read and listen to a lot of books, and do not expect to experience only winners. But what astonished me was Mr. Pelicanos' decision to be the reader. He is absolutely monotonal, and while the book's lack of action is a material fault, the flat delivery only exacerbates the problem. Mr. Pelicanos sounds like he is depressed. Really. And that's contagious. There are a number of wonderful readers out there and it difficult to understand why the publishers chose an unqualified amateur. Did the author insist? Were they trying to save a few bucks by not hiring a pro?
Pity the poor listener.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful