RaveAssociated PressThe story of the shipwreck and its aftermath features scenery-chewing characters, unexpected twists and an almost unimaginable amount of human misery. Grann...tells it with style. He manages to wring maximum drama out of the events and sketch out nuanced portraits of key players on the doomed ship. Journal entries made on the voyage gave Grann a window into their thoughts and fears.
PositiveThe Associated Press... a jaunty tale of jaw-dropping greed at the dawn of the 20th century ... The cast of characters involved in the conspiracy is large, sometimes confusingly so. But Starobin is able to paint a vivid picture of the mining camps and of Nome, Alaska, then a muddy boomtown filled saloons, dance halls and men dreaming of a big score.
PositiveNorfolk Daily News (UK)Weingarten admits the book idea is a stunt but professes his love for stunts that tell unexpected truths ... Weingarten is an extraordinary reporter who mines vivid details from 33 years ago. Readers experience what people said, how they moved, what they thought. He claims to have conducted more than 500 interviews for this book, and it shows. The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing can turn a phrase, too ... In one sense, this is book is like the proverbial box of chocolates. Some stories are better than others. The story of a murderer’s heart being transplanted hours after his death is gripping and haunting. The tale of a girl who grew up to be a tell-all blogger is neither. But the book adds up to something greater than the individual stories. People on that long-ago winter day experienced anger, pain, tension, happiness, doubt, satisfaction and hope. At his best, Weingarten taps into the wonder of what it is to be alive.
MixedThe Associated PressHarris is a fluid writer who expertly sets the scene and then turns the screw bit by bit to build tension. The book subtly explores themes of faith, the risks of technology and the power of the state to control knowledge. There are engaging characters ... the end of the book seems kind of abrupt after some 300 pages of patient, methodical buildup. The villain gives a monologue that ties up some loose ends and then the book seems to just stop suddenly. It feels like a roller coaster ride that ends before that last big plunge.
Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
MixedThe Associated Press...the authors extract what they can out of the historical record to tell a colorful story giving the reader a sense of Revolutionary-era Manhattan. The writing is punchy and the chapters are short, though the authors have an annoying habit of ending every chapter with a cliffhanger, even when they have to contrive one. One big obstacle in telling the story is a lack of source material about the precise nature of the plot against Washington. It was a secret, after all ... That story is almost certainly apocryphal. But what was the most likely plan? Scouring the existing evidence, the authors come up with a conclusion that seems as good as any that can be drawn more than two centuries later.
MixedThe Associated PressThere are a few laughs in this book, billed as a \'sortabiography,\' but it mostly reads like a casual memoir of someone who still can’t quite believe his good fortune ... Readers looking for firsthand insights into the inner workings of that landmark show will be disappointed. They might even wonder if some of the book’s pages stuck together, since Idle barely touches on how the group of outsized personalities managed to create so much lasting comedy. A lot of the book is consumed with the many famous and fabulous people he hung out with, among them George Harrison and David Bowie. And a lot of pages are devoted to recounting his high-profile performances of Bright Side. It gets repetitious. But Idle can be insightful. His chapter about his relationship with the late comedian Robin Williams is especially poignant. But the chapter highlights how the book is most interesting when Idle writes about what he noticed instead of listing what he did.
RaveChicago Sun TimesKurson’s conception-to-splashdown reporting had the cooperation from the astronauts and their wives, giving him invaluable details of what happened inside the astronaut’s capsule and in their homes below. Most readers already know how the mission turned out (success!), but Kurson builds suspense around a mind-bendingly complex and dangerous journey.