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Charles Atkinson

Don't miss the Bino Phillips series by AW Gray. They are largely unknown, but as good as any ive read!

Greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2014

2025
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 340 reviews
  • 618 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2015
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628

  • Gutshot Straight

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Lou Berney
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (406)
    Performance
    (340)
    Story
    (338)

    When Charles "Shake" Bouchon, professional wheel man, walks out of prison after a three-year stretch for grand theft auto, he's got only two problems: he's too nice a guy for the life he's led and not nice enough for any other. So he says yes when he's asked to run a simple errand for his former boss and lover, Alexandra Ilandryan, the formidable pakhan of the Armenian mob in Los Angeles.

    Richard Delman says: "A whole lotta fun."
    "Great writing, awesome narration, great story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lou Berney has created the coolest hero I've encountered since Elmore Leonard's Chili Palmer in Get Shorty. And thank goodness for talent like Eduardo Ballerini to bring this story to life.

    The story is suspenseful, fast paced and believable. Absolutely one of my favorite books!

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Impasse: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Royce Scott Buckingham
    • Narrated By Allan Robertson
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    Forty and facing a midlife crisis, Stu Stark has lost his mojo. He simply gave up after being fired from his prestigious job as a prosecuting attorney for losing the biggest case of his career. So when Stu's best friend gifts him a one-week trip into the Alaskan wilderness to rediscover his manhood, Stu thinks it just might do him some good. But after a horrible week, Stu is crushed when he realizes no one is coming back for him.

    Marci says: "Really great with just a couple of flaws"
    "A Truly Great Crime/Revenge Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So what makes this one so good? Well there's quite a few things. It moves quickly and builds momentum as it goes. There is the impending sense of doom the reader faces in the lives of each character. The contrast between shallowness and depth of character, hard work and laziness, ambitition and greed, innocence and guilt that flows through virtually every chapter of the book. It is well written and extremely well read.

    I cant help but compare this to The Count of Monte Cristo on several levels. To go further in the camparison would reveal too much. Suffice to say it is a very clever plot with a unique take and entirely new subject matter.

    I cant imagine any fan of the mystery/thriller genre not enjoying this one.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Where All Light Tends to Go

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By David Joy
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (86)

    The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually.

    Marci says: "Perfection"
    "David Joy just may be the next Cormac McCarthy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    From the first paragragh i was completey captivated by and invested in this novel. It had been in my wish list for some time though i wasnt sold on it until I read the review by Marci from Portland. Once again an Audible reviewer has guided me to a real masterpiece.

    I compare this novel to the works of Cormac McCarthy, principally No Country For Old Men and All the Pretty Horses because Joy's sense of landscape and directness reminds me of those two great works.

    The novel is wriiten in the first person. An 18 year old Appalaicia boy, Jake McNeely tells us his story in real time. His father is a meth dealer, his mother a junkie, yet from the beginning I felt assured he would prove to be a young man of great depth who would rise above all the troubles caused by his family's poverty, hatred and ignorance. The question is, will he?

    Because it it is written in the first person the narrator is even more important. MacLeod Andrews is masterful here. Hes a young actor from Louisville, Ky. His performance was as good as any ive experienced on Audible.

    Cashiers, NC has become a playground for our country's wealthiest and most powerful citizens. Its a small town Southwest of Asheville near the SC and Ga borders. Its also in the same vicenity where the fugitive bomber and murderer Eric Rudolph escaped a huge federal manhunt for years back in the 90's. There is a stark contrast within the area's population, something the author refers to throughout the story.

    Top Author/Novel/Narration Combinations
    (In no order, strictly off the top of my head)
    McCarthy/No Country For Old Men/ Tom Stecschulte
    Beautiful Ruins/ Ballerinie
    Portis/True Grit/ Donna Tart
    AW Gray/Bino/Joe Barrett
    Cameron/ Midnight Plan of the Repo Man/ George K Wilson
    Barre/Peter Pan/ Jim Dale
    winslow/ DawnPatrol/ Ray Porter
    Winslow/ Winter of Frankie Machine/ Ray Porter
    Penny/ inspector Gamache series/ Cosham
    Alders-Olsen/ Dept Q series/ Malcolm
    Nesbo/ Harry Hole series/ Robin Sachs and now John Lee
    Stockett/The Help/ lamia, turner and one more i cant think of...
    Slaughter/ Coptown/ Kathleen Early
    Berney/Gutshot Straight/ Ballerini

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Three Musketeers

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Alexandre Dumas
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1253)
    Performance
    (979)
    Story
    (989)

    Mixing a bit of seventeenth-century French history with a great deal of invention, Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of young D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades, Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Together they fight to foil the schemes of the brilliant, dangerous Cardinal Richelieu, who pretends to support the king while plotting to advance his own power. Bursting with swirling swordplay, swooning romance, and unforgettable figures.

    A. A. Green says: "What Fun!"
    "Remarkable Wit, Suspenseful and Entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wonder how many of us have actually read this clasic. Too many of us think we know the story from the movies, but I assure you it is far more clever, witty, complicated and suspenseful than any film rendition.

    I had listened to another audio version of this book many years ago, but knew John Lee would bring it to life far better this time around. His timing, clarity, distinction of the character voices are excellent.

    Do yourself a favor, listen to this classic and be taken away to the gallantry and intrigue of France in the early 17th century.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Code Name Verity

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Wein
    • Narrated By Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2343)
    Performance
    (2101)
    Story
    (2101)

    Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong....

    Suzn F says: "Haunting, Beautiful, Exquisite, Special Book"
    "Tremendous, exhilarating and unique. A must buy!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How can a WWII spy novel be unique? Ive read the best of them including the entire works of Higgins, Follett, Greg Ilse wrote a great one, Forsythe too. So I was skeptical and even a bit weary of the subject matter even though its been several years since i read a WWII novel. Cynthia's review tipped me this might be special, and i am so grateful it did.

    For some of us, there are times in our lives when we experience a special relationship where the synergy of both personalties, self esteem, intelligence, ingenuity and drive creates something greater than the relationship itself. Ive seen and experienced it in sales, several friendships and in marriage. This is the story of two remarkable young British women who meet and work together just before the beginning of WWII. Individuallly they are smart and resourceful, though each is exceptional in different ways. They become best friends, but their relationship results in a much larger, more deadly force for Brittain against the Nazis.

    The narration is eloquent. The narrative is sharp and funny.

    This is a remarkable accomplishment.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • True Grit

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Charles Portis
    • Narrated By Donna Tartt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2091)
    Performance
    (1243)
    Story
    (1250)

    Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.

    Tommygaus says: "So worth it!"
    "A Western Masterpiece Read By USA's Best Author"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was taken back at the extraoridnary writing, as was arguably the 21st century's most gifted author, Donna Tart. She wrote a short essay at the end of this title in which she rightly labels this work a masterpiece. She's not alone. Roald Dahl called it the best book he'd read in a long time at the books release in 1968. She puts True Grit on the same top shelf as Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Wizard of Oz, and even the works of Poe.

    Most of you will be familiar with this story because of the two blockbuster movies it produced. You may be tempted to pass on this because both movies were fairlly true to the book. Please dont make that mistake! Tartt rightfully points out that because of the success of the movie, ("which is good enough but could never do the book justice.") the book failed to be recognized for the classic it is..

    Ms Tartt is a native of Mississippi and understands the dialogue and subtle diferences between the type of southern accents represented. Her narration is simply worthy of a masterpiece. Theres really no better way to put it.

    This will always be one of my favorite audible experiences.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Man Offside

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By A. W. Gray
    • Narrated By Chris Andrew Ciulla
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Ex-Dallas Cowboy Rick Bannion has been through the revolving prison door for drug trafficking and now hunts bail-jumpers. His old friend Jack Brendy has just been busted by the Feds for smuggling cocaine, and when Brendy's wife approaches him seeking a favor, Rick jumps at the chance to help. The favor? - keep the government's sleazy informer off the stand. Unfortunately, when things go wrong, Rick finds himself in the crosshairs of the Feds.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Poor narration harms this story."
    "Poor narration harms this story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First the good news. The story revolves around a former Dallas Cowboy offensive lineman of the 70s, infamous for jumping offsides on 3rd and goal in the NFC championship game, subsequently losing the game and the team's chance at the Super Bowl. (Hence the title.) He was further disgraced when he was convicted of Federal beef soon after. Once again an overzealous US Atty and his FBI minions over reach and over play their hands, providing plenty of fodder and mystery. Its a fun romp through the dark side of Dallas and the Federal Government's manipulation of laws under the guise of the War on Drugs in the late 80s- early 90s.

    The narrator gives the main character a Bill Paxton southern accent with John Wayne's pace. I like both actors, but the result is that it comes across like the man is slow witted or brain damaged. Most of the bad guys, both redneck and black are way over done as well. In action scenes the narrator over does every sentance.

    AW Gray's Bino series features great narration with perfect timing that enhances his characters and his remarkable wit. When the timing is lost, so is the humor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Moving Day

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Jonathan Stone
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (413)
    Story
    (406)

    Forty years’ accumulation of art, antiques, and family photographs are more than just objects for Stanley Peke - they are proof of a life fully lived. A life he could have easily lost long ago. When a con man steals his houseful of possessions in a sophisticated moving-day scam, Peke wanders helplessly through his empty New England home, inevitably reminded of another helpless time: decades in Peke’s past, a cold and threadbare Stanislaw Shmuel Pecoskowitz eked out a desperate existence in the war-torn Polish countryside, subsisting on scraps, dodging Nazi soldiers.

    Joe Crescenzi says: "What a fantastic story... a real treat!"
    "You Will Love This!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I almost want to stop here. Moving Day was one the best and most unique audio book experiences I have had in years. And ive had quite a few.

    A combination of irony, narrative, depth of character, a great story and perfectly timed narration is what makes this so perfect. For example in most of the other 5 star thrillers i am always attracted to the quick witted banter between characters. Here we are treated to a third party narrator taking us deep into the depths of each character. Remember the old Disney movies of real wild life where the only dialogue was the narrator walking you through each scene? Moving Day is something like that, only so much more in depth.

    The motivation of the characters and the story itself is revealed through the author's use of irony. I actually word synced this book with kindle so id have it written form. I am just an avid reader, not a critic, but think the use of irony takes this novel from a great thriller to a literary classic.

    In virtually every great book Ive read I fall in love with the characters and long for more of the same. That is not the case in Moving Day. I rushed to its conclusion and was as exhausted as I was thrilled. The depth of character was so dark, rich and personal i felt more like a voyer.

    This is sure to be a popular movie, perfect for Eastwood or some other agiged superstar. Thats great for Stone, but i think the real thrill is in the reading...or listening!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Prime Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By A. W. Gray
    • Narrated By Charlie Thurston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Lackey Ferguson met Marissa Hardin once, the morning he signed on to build a bathhouse at the Hardins' fancy Fort Worth home. But when Marissa is found brutally murdered, Lackey becomes the number-one suspect in a trumped-up case, while a sexual psychopath runs loose. Desperate to find the real killer, Lackey must evade arrest while keeping an eye on his fiancée - who may just be the killer's next target....

    Charles Atkinson says: "America's most underrated author deserves attentio"
    "America's most underrated author deserves attentio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Prime Suspect is the 7 th novel I have listened to by Gray and one of the best. Like the previous 6 novels, its sharp, funny, gritty and unique. Ive already listened to each of the 4 Bino Phillips novels twice and chances are I'll do the same with Prime Suspect. I am not sure why Gray's novels werent as popular as Connelly's and others, but I have no problem placing Gray among the best Ive read.

    Prime Suspect definitely fits in the police procedural category, but it is more of farcical expose' on the short comings of procedures and our legal system. Heres what i mean.

    A young, naieve contractor, Lackey Furgason is trying to seal the deal on an extravagant bath house addition in one of Dallas' wealthiest neighborhoods. He meets with the lady of the house and picks up a deposit check for $15000 and leaves. However, the husband has hired a killer to murder his wife. Naturally Lackey is a person of interest, but rape was involved with the murder so the husband is not a likely suspect. Instead of investigating the murder, the police are locked in on investigating Lackey.

    The characters are wonderful, as is Gray's masterful storytelling. I felt like i was watchig a great movie throughout the entire novel.

    The narrator was adequate, but i found myself liking the voices he gave to each character more the longer i listened. And he picked up the irony and comedy as well as anyone Ive listened to. So i give him 3 stars instead of 2.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • She's Leaving Home

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs)
    • By William Shaw
    • Narrated By Cameron Stewart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    London, 1968: The body of a teenage girl is found just steps away from the Beatles' Abbey Road recording studio. The police are called to a residential street in St John's Wood where an unidentified young woman has been strangled. Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen believes she may be one of the many Beatles fans who regularly camp outside Abbey Road Studios. With his reputation tarnished by an inexplicable act of cowardice, this is Breen's last chance to prove he's up to the job.

    connie says: "refreshing period Brit police procedural"
    "Probably a great one to read! Narration lacking..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a tough one to review. The story was really good, smart and funny, but as they say about humor, timing is everything. I get the feeling Cameron Stewart's timing and voices, especially of women, were so off and over the top i found myself cringing whenever he used them. If id read it myself i have no doubt this would get better marks.

    It has everything to be a great police procedural. A likable though flawed, and smart detective. Great synergy between the police team. Good contrast between good and sloppy police work. Sharp wit and humor.

    In the end i dont think its a waste of time or money. Its very likely to be a 4-5 star listen for most people.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Black Site: A Delta Force Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Dalton Fury
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (942)
    Performance
    (863)
    Story
    (868)

    Meet Kolt Raynor. A Delta Force operator and one-time American hero, he is still trying to make sense of his life - and duty - after a secret mission gone bad. Three years ago, in the mountains of Pakistan, Raynor made a split-second decision to disobey orders - one that got some of his teammates killed and the rest captured. Now he’s been given a second chance to do right by his country, his men, and himself. But Raynor’s shot at redemption comes at a price.

    Alex - Discerning Consumer says: "Exciting and Vivid!"
    "No Super Hero, Just a Great Operative"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ive listened or read too many thrillers featuring great characters with almost super human abilities. I liked them all, but it seems to me Mitch Rapp, Jack Reacher, the Grey Man, etcetera have been too good to believe. So I purchased Black Site with some prejudice.

    What led me to this book was the author's recent background as Delta member himself. It was a wise decision.

    The hero here is a decorated, but disgraced combat veteran who becomes a drunk after he leads his team into an ambush. He's called back into action because he is expendable. What follows is a tough and gritty adventure that leads to his own redemption. It is an extremely accurate tale of espionage and warfare.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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