Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon 477 pp.
I wanted to like this book. And if I had read it instead of listening to the audiobook, chances are I would have. It has stuff I like in a novel: a wise-cracking snarky protagonist/Jewish mother/fraud investigator, a murder mystery, billionaire tech moguls, embezzlement, terrorists, Russian gangsters, black ops, secret agents, and a "deep web" virtual reality program (think Second Life but sinister) all in the time period just before and after 9/11. The story was all but destroyed by the narration of actress Jeannie Berlin who sounds like Penny Marshall doing Laverne on a bad day. Mispronounced words, weird inflections, and disjunctive sentences that stop and start as if she paused at the end of the line instead of the punctuation mark made this an unpleasant listening experience. Why did I keep listening? I don't really know. I deserve a cheroot, which is not pronounced chair-root. I encourage people to read, not listen to, this book.