Child's latest is entertaining, if not up to the high standards set by his best collaborative efforts with Douglas Preston (I thought the two authors explored an archeological mystery far more successfully in Thunderhead) . In The Third Gate, Child takes an interesting mix of subjects ranging from near death experiences and scientific exploration to an ancient curse, sets his story in a typically remote location and spins a well-paced, exciting tale. Fans of books like The Ice Limit, Riptide and Deep Storm should have a good time with this one. I did!
... but you can expect an excellent book. Ian Caldwell's novel concerns family, faith, friendship and more than a little internal conflict about the importance of doing the right thing. It's also about just what constitutes the "the right thing" in the first place. A death lies at the center of the story but it's not an action-packed thriller or a Dan Brown-like puzzle to be unravelled at a breakneck pace. However, it is compelling and it's setting and characters are fully-realized.
Jack Davenport does a superb job as narrator. His performance is among the best I've encountered over years of listening to audiobooks.
Adams is a talented writer, as anyone who read his previous book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, can attest. He writes with wit, enthusiasm and a healthy skepticism (arguably a little too healthy at times) and although the enduring mystery of Atlantis lies at the heart of this book, it's really Adams' journey to learn about that mystery, and the fascinating people he encounters and interviews along the way, that make it such a good read/listen. Through those people, serious, devoted researchers into Atlantis, we get some insight into possible locations for the fabled land while also developing an appreciation for why they search. Adams develops that appreciation too, and eventually, he's drawn into the search and dreams of finding Atlantis himself.
The end, of course, is unsatisfying, as it must be without a real resolution on the subject. Atlantis remains an unsolved and much-debated mystery but this book provides an excellent, entertaining overview and it's anything but dull or dry. Highly recommended.
Andrew Garman does an excellent job as the narrator.
Wright paints a very ugly picture of Scientology, it's founder, L. Ron Hubbard and more than a few people associated with the cult. I found the book simultaneously fascinating and depressing, because despite some of the dark, disturbing places it goes, it's truly interesting and informative. The "Prison of Belief" is an appropriate phrase to include in the title because many of the people described in the book really seem to be prisoners of their own fanatical devotion to a strange religion founded by troubled former pulp science fiction writer. It's hard to believe Hubbard could inspire the devotion he inspired. It speaks to the desperation many of us have to understand the world and ourselves as well as to our ability to blind ourselves to what we don't want to see.
The book some of the celebrities associated with the cult in a very unflattering light and it left me feeling angry with them and angry at our own government for not only allowing some of what's been reported by former Scientologists to go on but for allowing an incredibly well-funded cult to bully their way to tax exemption. Money and fanatical devotion are powerful tools indeed!
I found the reading by Morton Sellers adequate but it certainly takes nothing away from this book. Recommended... but you may want some lighter reading afterwards.
It probably deserves a rating more like 2.5 stars rather than just 2. The premise is fun and the story owes an obvious debt to tales like Stephen King's "The Mist", which Brian Keene acknowledges in the novel. Keene shows a flair for character and the story moves at a good pace but eventually it succumbs to it's own baser instincts, going for horror cliches rather than something less conventional and potentially more satisfying. Giving in to those baser instincts is part of the point but regrettably, I was laughing at a few moments where I think the tension was supposed to be at it's highest.
If you're looking for lightweight (but not lighthearted) b-movie thrills, you might enjoy this one. Otherwise, I can't recommend it.
Eric Medler does an excellent job with the narration.
Forget the "Gone Girl" comparisons and just accept this book on it's own merits, which are considerable. It's a cleverly constructed novel that will keep you guessing and it features some memorable, and memorably flawed, characters. We get the story in first person from from 3 of them: Rachel, Megan and Anna, and all 3 are narrated wonderfully by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealy and India Fisher. Some listeners may find the characters difficult to relate to but I found their character flaws interesting and those flaws help make the book's central mystery plausible and compelling. Highly recommended.
Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes is a charming, sometimes appropriately frightening and even gruesome children's tale. The author is willing to take the book to some of the dark places adults don't always want to believe great children's fiction should go and in doing so, with both wit and originality, he creates genuine drama. The book certainly owes a debt to similar tales of the fantastic that have come before it yet from it's premise to it's conclusion, it has a personality all it's own. It's as clever and resourceful as Peter Nimble himself.
Michael Page's reading is absolutely superb.
Narrator Eric Dove does what he can with this short novel but even with his excellent reading, and at a mere 6 hours, I found it tedious. The premise plays out as predictably as a bad B-movie, with few surprises and many familiar tropes. The writing is fine, the reading is excellent but the story itself left a lot to be desired, at least for me. Seed was a disappointment.
Simmons practically makes his setting into a major character in this subtle, unsettling novel set in Calcutta, India. Song of Kali is mysterious and though-provoking and like some of the best horror, a bit ambiguous. Simmons doesn't spell everything out for the reader and that works to the novel's benefit. This book is definitely worth a credit and the reading by Mark Boyett is superb.
My expectations may have been too high going into this novel. It's an entertaining book but I found it overly long, bordering on tedious at times, especially because in essence, it's a pulp novel filled with larger-than-life characters. The Alienist takes a bit too much too much time to get where it's going.That said, the historical setting is interesting and Carr practically makes turn-of-the-century New York into an additional character.
George Guidall's reading is superb, one of the best I've ever heard for an audiobook. He brings the characters to life, raises the tension in scenes where it's appropriate and overall, just does a fantastic job.
I've always considered The Shadow Out of Time one of Lovecraft's better tales. It's as much a science fiction story as a horror story, although the mind-bending experiences of it's protagonist would be enough to push anyone's mind to the brink of madness.
This story probably isn't the best starting point for a Lovecraft reader (try The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow Over Innsmouth or The Call of Cthulhu if you're just getting to know HPL) but it's one of his most carefully constructed tales and it gradually builds to a ripping climax.
Mike Vendetti's reading of the story doesn't ruin it by any means but it ranges from good to lifeless to distracting. At times, he does a fine job but he repeatedly struggles to pronounce words correctly. Some of them are Lovecraftian creations but he has as many problems with good ol' English as he does with words like "Necronomicon" (how can anyone be allowed to read Lovecraft for an audiobook if he can't pronounce the name of that infamous tome correctly?).
Anyway, I don't mean to be too hard on the man but this isn't the sort of reading that truly enriches that material like, say, the readings of Wayne June, which I highly recommend.
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