Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Christine Falls - Benjamin Black

Christine Falls
By: Benjamin Black
Published: 2006
Audiobook Read by: Timothy Dalton
My rating: Good

This was an interesting book and I enjoyed it but it just wasn't as good as I had hoped. I think my main problem with this book was the overall mood. I know it is a dark subject and not a feel good story but the oppressive feeling of despair and depression was just too heavy. There just didn't seem to be any characters that had the least amount of happiness about them.

This is a very well thought out plot and Benjamin does an excellent job of weaving this complex tale. He kept me guessing until the very end and twists and turns along the way held more than a few surprises. Quirke, despite his depression and propensity to drink too much is a likable character. His concern over the fate of Christine springs up out of nowhere surprising even himself with the way it inexorably drives him to find the truth in spite of the danger he knows he is placing himself in. As he is drawn deeper into the web of mystery and conspiracy, he not only learns things he didn't want to know about others, but also learns some surprising things about himself. His dogged determination is not deterred but rather strengthened by the danger he finds himself in. I learned a lot about what made him into the dark and somewhat bitter man he is in this story. He has suffered a lot and has many regrets that have left him with little to hang on to.

Phoebe is a great character. She is the only spark of fun in this otherwise dark tale, but even she is swallowed in the end by the depression of the story. It is interesting to watch her struggle with trying to please her family even though she wants something totally against their wishes. She turns to Quirke and he, being the man he is, causes quite a stir with his advice and actions. She sees an ally in him but I think he is just wanting to be left out of the whole thing. She loves him though, and values his support and approval. In the end their relationship takes a surprising turn that I was totally unprepared for. 

As the story progresses you begin to realize that there is a lot more than just the unfortunate death of a young woman. The web of conspiracy spreads from Ireland to the United States and encompasses some pretty powerful individuals. There are several side stories going on simultaneously that in the end merge surprisingly into one. It is a tale that shows just how small the world is and how seemingly insignificant details can end up being the most important.

I listened to the audiobook performed by Timothy Dalton. I must admit that being a huge James Bond fan I was looking forward to hearing how he would do, but at the same time I was worried that he was just a celebrity brought in to help sell the recording by association. I was very pleasantly surprised by his wonderful reading. He brought the story to life for me and I won't hesitate to listen to other books he might have read.

Overall, I liked the storyline and was pleased with the depth of the mystery. As I said at the beginning, I could have used a little break from the somber mood. However, it is still a good book and I wouldn't hesitate to give it a shot if you get a chance.

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