- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 21 hours and 14 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: November 28, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006FKNMX6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Grasshopper Audiobook – Unabridged
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But Vine made an error that, for a less well-known author, would have been edited out by a competent editor, and I wonder if this book is a case of an editor being too afraid to touch the work of one of publishing's 'greats'.
Vine constantly (and by that I mean every two pages at one point) prefigures what is going to happen. It isn't subtle. It isn't delivery of red-herrings. She tells you, over and over, what is going to happen next. Typically in a crude, wooden, first-time author delivery of "Little did I know that in two days time the cat would be dead/I would be tossed out of my apartment/the police would come and haul Jonny away/the moon would crash into the Pacific". I became increasingly irritated by these give-aways which completely ruined the plot tension because it soon became apparent that these were not red herrings, but Vine was actually telling you what was going to happen. The moon always crashed into the Pacific on time, and the cat was run over and Jonny hauled away by the police.
Vine is an experienced author - what did she think she was doing? Or should I be moaning at the editor, too scared to tell Vine that these ruined the tension?
I did like the plot, it was intriguing, but it was also a little unbelievable and I think both Vine and the editorial staff could have worked a little harder on that.
So, a little disappointing Ms Vine. A bit sloppy.
As a side note to the publisher - I read this in the ebook version and whosoever among your junior staff you asked to proof the book in its ebook form should be sacked. Many, many typos, lower case letters to start sentences, lack of dialogue quote marks etc.
I find it refreshing that Rendell/Vine writes about outsiders -- I get tired of reading about lawyers and academics. And these are middle-class outsiders, not so very far from many readers and our children. I found Clodagh believable if not entirely engaging, and Silver, her boyfriend, right on. An idealistic young man with an inherited income who does not distinguish between good and evil, but finds everyone interesting, and learns through experience observing the other young people in his flop of an apartment. He cannot imagine evil until he meets it...
That said, it does not really have one main story line, but multiple threads, without a central conclusion. That didn't bother me. If you enjoy a read you can really get your teeth into, this is for you. If you prefer a standard mystery formula, then maybe not.
Still, I could say the same about virtually any of Rendell/Vine's work. "Grasshopper" features rich characterizations and a fine narrative that carries the story rattling forward. Where it falls short of her earlier achievements is in the plot, which is contrived in places. Elements from previous works ("A Fatal Inversion," "King Solomon's Carpet", and "The Tree of Hands") are recycled here, less effectively than in the earlier works. Rendell always drops subtle hints about what is to come and makes extensive use of foreshadowing, but here the payoff is less than what her readers have come to expect. Usually she succeeds in delivering at least one jaw-dropping surprise per book, and puts in a vicious twist of the knife at the end. Unfortunately, she does not do that in "Grasshopper."
In spite of these shortcomings, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The central character in particular is believable and appealing, and as always the narrative is peppered with Rendell's keen observations of human behavior. I would recommend this book for those familiar with her work; however for those who are not, "A Fatal Inversion" or "A Dark-Adapted Eye" are better places to start. (For a very fast read, try "The Tree of Hands", or "Going Wrong.")