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Eva Gannon

Chicago, Illinois, US | Member Since 2006

  • 89 reviews
  • 335 ratings
  • 769 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014

  • Lay Down My Sword and Shield

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney Hackberry Holland yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat - and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers.

    Cat F. says: "The Publisher's Summary is Anemic"

    The title of this review expresses my ambivalence between the quality of the writing and story telling, and my intense dislike of the main character. The four star rating is largely homage to Burke's writing, and his bringing to life the farm worker's struggle for fair treatment. It's also in appreciation of the light he casts on the type of people who succeed in politics, and why.

    There are scenes between Hack and Veresa that are drawn with a surgeon's scalpel, and you can almost feel the blood oozing out of your own pores. Similarly, Hack's brother's complaints have the ring of truth and I longed for him to throw Hack out on his drunk butt.

    Hack's political career is drawn from the headlines. The lurid details of his drunken escapades can be found in the real reports of politicians' misdeeds, sorry to say.

    Hackberry Holland is an abhorrent character. He's a selfish, self-absorbed, egotistical, alcoholic who blames all of his problems on other people. In many ways, he's stereotyped, as are the women with whom he interacts.

    He falls into the farm workers struggle not out of principle, but in an alcoholic binge. I would have had more respect for him had he had some principle about it.

    Yes, he was a POW in a Chinese camp and his treatment there defies comprehension. Burke describes it extensively, and in great detail. Too much is given over to this, so much so that it felt like mere sensationalism, a disappointment from a writer of Burke's ability.

    Will Patton does his usual excellent job narrating the book.

    Although overall I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure I'll read any more books featuring Hackberry Holland.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Island: Gideon Crew, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David W. Collins

    Gideon Crew, brilliant scientist, master thief, is living on borrowed time. When his mysterious employer, Eli Glinn, gives him an eyebrow-raising mission, he has no reason to refuse. Gideon's task: steal a page from the priceless Book of Kells, now on display in New York City and protected by unbreakable security. Accomplishing the impossible, Gideon steals the parchment - only to learn that hidden beneath the gorgeously illuminated image is a treasure map dating back to the time of the ancient Greeks.

    Melinda says: "Maybe this one should have stayed lost..."

    This book is like skipping stones across the surface of water. It makes ripples, but only marginally holds your attention.

    The plot of the book is, well, pretty silly. Columbus didn't discover America, Odysseus did. I don't want to write a spoiler, but it goes downhill from there. Details aren't developed. For example, ants rain down on Gideon, getting in his hair, crawling in his ears, but we never find out how he gets rid of them. A nit? Maybe, but I expect better from Preston & Child, at least a few words saying "Gideon did blah blah and got rid of the ants still infesting his hair." This is just an example, the book is full of them.

    I won't return the book because I finished it, but I won't recommend it either. I'm not sure I'll read any more Gideon books either.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Top Secret Twenty-One: A Stephanie Plum Novel, Book 21

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Janet Evanovich
    • Narrated By Lorelei King

    Trenton, New Jersey’s favorite used-car dealer, Jimmy Poletti, was caught selling a lot more than used cars out of his dealerships. Now he’s out on bail and has missed his date in court, and bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is looking to bring him in. Leads are quickly turning into dead ends, and all too frequently into dead bodies. Even Joe Morelli, the city’s hottest cop, is struggling to find a clue to the suspected killer’s whereabouts. These are desperate times, and they call for desperate measures.

    G. House Sr. says: "Stagnant Stephanie - Plodding Plot - Not great"
    "Perfect Summer Book"

    This is a perfect book for a summer read. It's got a good plot with some nice twists and turns towards the end, sympathetic characters, it's performed well, and it's very entertaining.

    There's a good dollop of humor, as in most of the Stephanie Plum novels. The chihuahuas are a nice touch. Ranger gets some depth to him, and the "babe" exhalation takes on some meaning.

    Lorelei King is one of the few narrators who can give voice to the opposite sex. Without seeming forced or affected, she uses separate and entirely credible voices for Ranger and Morelli.

    This book isn't great literature and it won't tax your mind, but if you're looking for light summer reading that is just plain fun, you can't go wrong with Top Secret Twenty-One.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Wayfaring Stranger

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is 1934 and the Depression is bearing down when 16-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends as Weldon puts a bullet through the rear window of Clyde’s stolen automobile. Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, escape certain death in the Battle of the Bulge and encounter a beautiful young woman named Rosita Lowenstein hiding in a deserted extermination camp.

    Marci says: "Near perfect. One of Burke's Best."
    "Three Strikes And Out For the Hollands"

    First, I listened to Lay Down My Shield. It was a shocking departure for James Lee Burke, the character of Hackberry Holland two dimensional and unlikable. The I read Feast Day of Fools. Not sure where that Hackberry fits in, but he was slightly better.

    Now, Wayfaring Stranger featuring Weldon Holland. And I think I'm done with the Hollands. I love Burke's Dave Robichaeux series, gorgeous prose, tight plotting, and fully developed characters, the master at his best. At the end of Glass Rainbow, I sobbed as I'd lost my best friend, so great was the impact of the book.

    The Holland series is another matter. Weldon is another two dimensional Holland, all brass and balls, but not too smart. His motivations are superficial in a macho kind of way.

    Similarly Rosita Lowenstein seems more of a plot device than a real character. And don't get me started on Linda Gail! Are we supposed to believe in this woman who places her husband's well being in the hands of her lover as if he had any responsibility? Clara is a caricature. Roy too, is improbable, but a bit more believable as a spoiled rich kid, although that's a stereotype too.

    The plot is just a bit too convenient too, the Nazi film reels in particular. The Bonnie & Clyde thing seems more of a publicity stunt, a way to gin up interest in the book, rather than an integrated aspect of the plot.

    Finally, the master's prose seemed overheated in this one. The superficial Holland is presented as quite the philosopher and astute political observer. And he does quite a bit of it too, offering up dissertations on everything from the meaning of life to ecological disasters.

    It grieves me to post such a review of James Lee Burke's work, I hope he'll write more books that don't contain any Hollands.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Winter People: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jennifer McMahon
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, Kathe Mazur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, 19-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary....

    D. says: "Get past the narration of the first chapter"
    "Good Book Spoiled By Poor Narration"

    I almost stopped reading this book because the narrator was so annoying. Because it got good reviews from reviewers I respect, I bought the Kindle companion and read the book.

    The narrator reads the beginning in a breathy voice that got on my last nerve. I suppose she thought it sounded childlike, but it was simply irritating.

    The story hops back and forth between present and past. The narrator made it incomprehensible. I was totally lost. Once in the Kindle book, I had to begin over again to get the story sorted out.

    I'm glad I did, it was a worthwhile read. The plot is novel, the characters realistic and engaging. The ending provides an interesting twist on immortality.

    I recommend this book, but only on Kindle or in print.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Valley of Amazement

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Amy Tan
    • Narrated By Nancy Wu, Joyce Bean, Amy Tan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Shanghai, 1912. Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city's most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a "virgin courtesan." Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West - until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

    Pamela J says: "Just could NOT get past the ugliness"
    "A Disappointing Bodice Ripper"

    It was hard to read this book as anything other than a romance, bodice ripper type of novel. It certainly isn't up to the standards of Tan's previous works. Viewing it as a well written potboiler (is that a non sequitur?) allowed me to keep reading. Had I been looking for meaning, I would have put it down unfinished.

    The characters are almost caricatures, who learn little if anything, and what they learn is predictable. Even the main characters aren't particularly likable, and it's hard to identify with them.

    The plot is predictable, and long passages are just boring. This may be because it's larded with minutiae; some description is necessary, but Tan takes it to ridiculous, and somewhat dull, levels.

    There are many passages where the reader can just skim through at a good clip, without losing anything necessary for comprehension.

    The use of three narrators saves the book and weighted in the balance when I was deciding to stop reading or not. The breathe life into the characters, and add interest.

    Overall, I don't recommend the book. I bought the companion Kindle,and without it, would probably not have finished the book. I did, but was glad to be done with it.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Whole Enchilada: A Novel of Suspense: Goldy Bear Culinary Mysteries, Book 17

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Diane Mott Davidson
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    >Goldy Schulz knows her food is to die for, but she never expects one of her best friends to actually keel over when she's leaving a birthday party Goldy has catered. At first, everyone assumes that all the fun and excitement of the party, not to mention the rich fare, did her in. But what looks like a coronary turns out to be a generous serving of cold-blooded murder. And the clever culprit is just getting cooking. When a colleague - a woman who resembles Goldy - is stabbed, and Goldy is attacked outside her house, it becomes clear that the popular caterer is the main course on a killer menu.

    ChihuahuaMomma says: "BEST book in the entire series."

    I've read all the books in this series, and was looking forward to this new release. What a huge disappointment. I've tried twice, and just can't finish it; it just doesn't hold my interest.

    The plot is thin, and presented in a scatter-gun manner. The details are uninteresting: the whodunnit doesn't beg to be solved.

    The characters are similarly uninteresting. Goldy, always a scatter brain, is no longer charmingly so; she's just irritatingly stupid.

    The performance is similarly annoying. The sotto voce so often used is just boring.

    Goldy has been a favorite for light reading since I picked up the first audiobook. This was to be a swing book between heavier reading, but I couldn't force myself to finish it. A light book should hold the reader's attention.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Redeemer: Harry Hole, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Christmas shoppers stop to hear a Salvation Army concert on a crowded Oslo street. An explosion cuts through the music and the bitter cold: One of the singers falls dead, shot in the head at point-blank range. Harry Hole - the Oslo Police Department’s best investigator and worst civil servant - has little to work with: no suspect, no weapon, and no motive. But Harry’s troubles will multiply. As the search closes in, the killer becomes increasingly desperate, and Harry’s chase takes him to the most forbidden corners of the former Yugoslavia. Yet it’s when he returns to Oslo that he encounters true darkness....

    Charles Atkinson says: "Best Modern Detective Series on Audible!"
    "Narrator Rains On Harry's Parade"

    Redeemer might be another excellent book in the Harry Hole series, except that the narrator does such a poor job as to make the book hard to follow. I almost stopped listening several times, but it's Harry Hole, and I don't quit on Harry!

    I know we're used to Robin Sachs, and I was entirely prepared to cut John Lee some slack because inevitably he'll be compared to Sachs. I'm sorry to say that after finishing the book, I'm not prepared to cut him any slack at all. His narration of this book was unacceptable, standing on it's own, without comparison to Robin Sachs.

    John Lee doesn't do voices. This makes it difficult to follow the characters. The book skips between characters and places without transition, so I often found myself wondering which "he" was speaking, and where, and about who/what. The transitions weren't marked by pauses of suitable length either, again, making the book hard to follow. Many times I was simply lost, and kept rewinding until I thought maybe I was back in sync. Sometimes it wa just a lost cause and I had to plow on.

    This is a shame, because there are good themes and good character development in this book. The title isn't empty, but a theme that runs throughout. In this book, Harry himself seeks personal redemption.

    I found myself getting mad at Harry sometimes. Mad at his inability or unwillingness to get sober and stay sober. Maybe Harry's mad at himself for the same reasons, and that's one reason he seeks redemption. Decide for yourself, I won't give away the book!

    We also wonder about the future of his love for Rakel, Is there a future at all?

    This almost felt like it might be a last book in the series. I hope not.

    If there is a next book, I do hope they'll try a different narrator

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Insane City

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Dave Barry
    • Narrated By Dave Barry, The Gza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Seth Weinstein knew Tina was way out of his league in pretty much any way you could imagine, which is why it continued to astonish him that he was on the plane now for their destination wedding in Florida. The Groom Posse had already sprung an airport prank on him, and he'd survived it, and if that was the worst of it, everything should be okay. Smooth sailing from now on. Seth has absolutely no idea what he's about to get into.

    Sylvia says: "It is Barry - it is Florida - it is INSANE!"

    If you like the Bachelor Party movies, you might like this book. The book is absolutely silly with the flat, stereotyped characters stumbling from one hackneyed situation to another. If this is the best Dave Barry can come up with after 10 years, he needs to rethink his calling.

    He should also rethink narrating his own audiobooks. His performance if somewhere between lousy and just OK.

    I was looking for light fare to transition between books, but this certainly wasn't it. It's light, but not particularly amusing.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Bat: A Harry Hole Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Harry is out of his depth. Detective Harry Hole is meant to keep out of trouble. A young Norwegian girl taking a gap year in Sydney has been murdered, and Harry has been sent to Australia to assist in any way he can. He's not supposed to get too involved. When the team unearths a string of unsolved murders and disappearances, nothing will stop Harry from finding out the truth. The hunt for a serial killer is on, but the murderer will talk only to Harry. He might just be the next victim.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Probably the best of this remarkable series."
    "Don't Read This First"

    Had this been my first Jo Nesbo/Harry Hole book, it would probably have been the last. Harry isn't the same character he is in The Leopard, or The Snowman. He's much more tentative here, less forceful as a character. When he falls off the wagon, it's hard to keep going because he's not just a sloppy drunk, he allows himself to be physically damaged, with a foolish grin on his face. Hard to imagine the Harry of The Leopard behaving in such a manner, even when drunk. He's less self-aware, and less willing to challenge the authority of the police department.

    The plot of the book is fairly simple, and the actual killer is easy to suspect very early on. Without giving it away, the manner in which the killer "gets his" is a surprise, but I had a feeling it was also a facile ending, one designed to appeal to a mass market.

    The narrator, not Robin Sachs of the later books, saves this book. We hear the correct pronunciation of the both the author's and the characters names. Jo isn't Joe, but more like Yo. Nesbo is more like NesBuh. Hole isn't pronounced at all as spelled, but more like HullUh. His tone and pacing are excellent throughout. He differentiates the characters nicely.

    Several times I was tempted to pull this out of my ear. I'm glad I didn't because it's the first book in the series, but it wasn't easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Two Graves

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    After his wife, Helen, is brazenly abducted before his eyes, Special Agent Pendergast furiously pursues the kidnappers, chasing them across the country and into Mexico. But then, things go terribly, tragically wrong; the kidnappers escape; and a shattered Pendergast retreats to his New York apartment and shuts out the world. But when a string of bizarre murders erupts across several Manhattan hotels, NYPD Lieutenant D'Agosta asks his friend Pendergast for help.

    G. House Sr. says: "Whiplash from the emotional rollercaster"
    "Pendergast Lost"

    The Special Agent Pendergast series is character driven; he is a shadow of his former self in this book, and the character we've grown to love is largely absent until the last five minutes of the book. His motivation for this absence involves the back-story of his wife Helen. It's very hard to believe that Pendergast, as he's been constructed over the series, would be so blind to evidence generated by his own wife. His usual hyper-awareness seems totally absent for her; she is truly a blind spot, and yet it wasn't so in past books. This back-story provides the plot of the book, and Pendergast's motivation, and because we expect a lot more of him, it's disappointing.

    This isn't one story line either. These other threads revolve around Constance, Corey and to a lesser extent, D'Agosta. They add nothing to Pendergast's mainline, and I wonder at their inclusion. Yes, it was interesting to fill in Constance's story, but unnecessary.

    The main story is lackluster not only because Pendergast is out of character, but because the plot relies on grisly details in parts to move it along. There's a lot of stereotyping so that most of the characters are also one-dimensional.

    Renee Auberjonois does an excellent job of narration. Without him, I'd have downgraded my overall rating to just two stars.

    I hope that Preston/Child aren't making the same mistake made by Cornwell in the Scarpetta series. Eviscerating a popular character that has sold millions of books carries the risk that loyal readers will use their dollars in search of more deserving works. I've stopped reading Cornwell; I hope that won't be the case with the Pendergast series.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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