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Charles Atkinson

I am a blessed man!

Greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2005

ratings
543
REVIEWS
267
FOLLOWING
8
FOLLOWERS
354
HELPFUL VOTES
965

  • The Honourable Schoolboy: A George Smiley Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By John le Carre
    • Narrated By Michael Jayston
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (120)

    The mole has been eliminated, but the damage wrought has brought the British Secret Service to its knees. Given charge of the gravely compromised Circus, George Smiley embarks on a campaign to uncover what Moscow Centre most wants to hide. When the trail goes cold at a Hong Kong gold seam, Smiley dispatches Gerald Westerby to shake the money tree. A part-time operative with cover as a philandering journalist, Westerby insinuates himself into a war-torn world.

    Darwin8u says: "Conrad's Ghost Floats & Haunts this Sad Spy Novel"
    "Patience Pays Off With Le Carre!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you want a super hero and action that defies belief turn to the Reacher, Gray Man, John Rain or Mitch Rapp series. I've enjoyed all of those and more. But I find Le Carre's Smiley series more than clever and even challenging.

    I know reading this seems more like plodding at times, but in the end I found every moment, each conversation and every event has a purpose in this series. Indeed, even the remotest characters are used masterfully.

    Take your time and let Le Carre introduce you to real spycraft!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Becoming Quinn: Jonathan Quinn Series Prequel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Brett Battles
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (212)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (183)

    Meet Jake Oliver. The day will come when he's one of the best cleaners in the business, a man skilled at making bodies disappear. At the moment, however, he's a 22 year old rookie cop, unaware his life is about to change. In a burning barn a body is found--and the fire isn't the cause of death. The detectives working the case have a pretty good idea about what went down. But Officer Oliver thinks it's something else entirely, and pursues a truth others would prefer remain hidden - others who will go to extreme lengths to keep him quiet.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Excellent Story of How A Great Hero is Made"
    "Excellent Story of How A Great Hero is Made"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I purchased this 9 months ago and tried to listen to it. But I am impulsive and compulsive and did not give it proper attention. I know this because this time I started it from the beginning and was riveted for the next 8 hours of listening.

    It begins with a covert hit of some kind by highly trained professionals. The man in charge of cover up, called a cleaner, notes a few mistakes made during the operation, but is confident all loose ends are covered. But when a 22 year old rookie police officer begins noticing very obscure clues, the cleaner's job becomes infinitely more complicated.

    Fortunately for the cleaner, the rookie's inexperience and lack of authority renders his investigation useless by authorities. But the cleaner watches in amazement at the young cop's eye for detail and logic uncovers the truth of what really went down. But now another problem has reared its head. A key member of the hit squad wants the rookie dead.

    Thus begins the end of a talented police officer's career before it really began, and the recruitment and training of a professional cleaner in the covert world of espionage.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Ice: Harry Bosch Series, Book 2: Harry Bosch, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2653)
    Performance
    (1555)
    Story
    (1565)

    Narcotics officer Cal Moore's orders were to look into the city's latest drug killing. Instead, he ends up in a motel room with his head in several pieces and a suicide note stuffed in his back pocket.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "Good Listen"
    "This Is What Hooks You On Harry Bosch and Connelly"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read and/or listened to all of Connely's work. Until the recent influx of Northern European authors, he was easily my favorite novelist. It dawned on me that I could not remember all of the earlier Bosch novels so I picked up Black Ice through the Whisper Sync phenomenon that allows you to purchase the audible version so cheaply.

    Black Ice is essential to the Bosch series because it is truly a great procedural on its on. In the first chapter Connelly introduces his hero as the hard nosed outsider on the detective squad who never lets politics or personal gain interfere with his work.

    When the author came to Greensboro to promote The Overlook, (that mystery begins in Greensboro), he was asked about Harry's love for jazz. Connelly explained that when writing, jazz instrumentals are not the distraction that blues and rock, his first loves, are. In Black Ice we are introduced to Harry's love for the saxophone in particular. So I found the Coleman Hawkins & Ben Webster channel on Pandora. It's been remarkable background music while listening and working!

    Dick Hill is a huge improvement over Len Cariou, who is the narrator in some of the later books.

    As for the story itself, it's a great mystery with a great twist I never saw coming.
    Highly recommended!

    0 of 1 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
    Overall
    (76)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (69)

    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."
    "Outstanding Addition to the Holland/Texas Saga"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The combination of Burke and Patton is without peer. Personally I favor his Hackberry Holland series. This tale involves a cousin of the infamous sherif of Rain Gods.

    When I listen to Burke, his attention to landscape and remarkably eloquent descriptions of people, time and space, I find myself wondering if I am taking the natural beauty of my own surroundings for granted. I live in a beautiful city and state, but when I try to describe it, I find myself at a loss for words. Burke's words bring out the beauty and grace of places, and then delivers the impact from their desecration by industry.

    I read where a single, significant event in her childhood helped Flannery OConnor develop her genius in writing. Burke uses such an event in the life of his hero, Weldon Holland at age 16 to help define his character with his run in with Bonnie and Clyde. It's brilliant.

    This is great tale worth our time. Do not pass this one up.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Cop Town: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Karin Slaughter
    • Narrated By Kathleen Early
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (184)

    Atlanta, 1974: It's Kate Murphy's first day on the job, and the Atlanta Police Department is seething after the murder of an officer. Before the day has barely begun, she already suspects she's not cut out to be a cop. Her male uniform is too big, she can't handle a gun, and she's rapidly learning that the APD is hardly a place that welcomes women. Worse still, in the ensuing manhunt, she'll be partnered with Maggie Lawson, a cop with her own ax to grind (and a brother and uncle already on the force) - a strategy meant to isolate Kate and Maggie from the action.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Outstanding, Gutsy Crime Novel Read by a Master"
    "Outstanding, Gutsy Crime Novel Read by a Master"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having just finished three of the best crime novels I've ever read, I never expected Cop Town to be as good, if not better than Mr Mercedes, Nesbo's The Son, and Bombproof.

    Cop Town is a gritty story of the first police women to infiltrate the Atlanta PD in the early 70's. Someone called "the shooter" is killing cops at point blank range. The Atlanta PD of the 1970's was a force in turmoil with the integration of blacks and women into its ranks. No rock of bigotry is left unturned as the two main characters must dance around a smothering culture of racism, misogyny, homophobia to find the killer.

    There are sophisticated and powerful family systems in place that greatly influence the police work of the two main characters. Karin Slaughter masterfully weaves them into the tale with a depth of emotion I've rarely found in any crime novel.

    The reader, Kathleen Early is masterful, bringing every character to life and delivering the perfect pitch to every scene. This performance equals any effort of Ray Porter, Eduardo Ballerini and Will Patton.

    Please read Cop Town. It is Slaughter's best work and puts her in rare company.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Cobweb

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Neal Stephenson, J. Frederick George
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (224)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (114)

    When a foreign exchange student is found murdered at an Iowa University, Deputy Sheriff Clyde Banks finds that his investigation extends far beyond the small college townall the way to the Middle East. Shady events at the school reveal that a powerful department is using federal grant money for highly dubious research. And what its producing is a very nasty bug.

    Linda says: "loved it"
    "Great Storytelling With Great Suspense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It has great characters and a gripping narrative. I have to say the narration was 5 star when in character, but lacking otherwise.

    The setting is both a small Iowa college town and Washington DC at the beginning of Iraq war in 1990. Cobweb loosely refers to government bureaucracy interfering with and redistributing good intelligence work in order to fit existing policy.

    There's unforgettable characters in constant conflict with each other and everyone is "cobwebbed." I really did not want this book to end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Joyland

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Michael Kelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2922)
    Performance
    (2704)
    Story
    (2705)

    Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Joyland is a brand-new novel and has never previously been published.

    Bella McGuire says: "The sweest and creepiest coming of age story!"
    "Really Good Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think it's fair to say this is a quickie by King standards. It's a very good one. Like most all of his work the characters seem more like old friends, people you know and like and hope the best for.

    It's a murder mystery set in an aging carnival type theme park in 1973 North Carolina. There actually is one here called South of the Border. Google it for a laugh. There's a very small supernatural element which has little to do with the story or it's outcome. In truth it would be a great thriller without any supernatural occurrences.

    Just sit back and let reader Michael Kelly take you back to 1973. You won't regret it for a moment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1280)
    Performance
    (1193)
    Story
    (1187)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

    Crystal says: "A Yawner"
    "Well Written, Well Read Page Turner!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like it's predecessor, The Silkworm features a remarkable synergy between ts two main characters. It's a romp through the London literary world, and if Gailbreth is at all accurate, Hollywood has nothing on this group of talented misfits.

    Like others, I flew through this one. You can't go wrong with Silkroom.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Gai-Jin: A Novel of Japan

    • UNABRIDGED (50 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By James Clavell
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (342)
    Performance
    (198)
    Story
    (197)

    A sequel to Tai-pan, this is the sixth novel in Clavell's Asian saga and takes place in 1862. The gai-jin (foreigners) have arrived, intent on doing business with the Japanese. With laws against the use of the wheel in carriages or carts, the Japanese, their tradition-bound Emperor, and competing warlords detest the foreigners, who have ruined the Chinese with the Opium Wars.

    Caleb says: "Good, just not as good as the rest of Clavell"
    "Epic Story, A Must For Noble House Fans"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No question this is not as good as Noble House, but its still good and fills in more than a few questions in the Noble House saga. What makes this a 4 star listen is the masterful performance of John Lee. His mastery of dialects, gender, and distinct characterization captures all the humor, drama and suspense Clavell intended.

    Noble House is one of my favorite books ever. This should be read first in the Asian series, followed by Taipan and Gai-Jin. King Rat, Shogun and Whirlwind may contain some loose connections with Noble House, but arent neccessary for a Noble House fan.




















    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Murphy's Law

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Rhys Bowen
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (602)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (522)

    Molly Murphy always knew she'd end up in trouble, just as her mother predicted. So, when she commits murder in self-defense, she flees her cherished Ireland, under cover of a false identity, for the anonymous shores of late 19th-century America. When she arrives in New York and sees the welcoming promise of freedom in the Statue of Liberty, Molly begins to breathe easier. But when a man is murdered on Ellis Island, a man Molly was seen arguing with, she becomes a prime suspect in the crime.

    Jan says: "Cream Puff Read"
    "Charming, but not my cup of tea."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    By charming I mean the author and her reader captured my imagination and held my attention throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoy the Royal Spyness series because I love learning about the aristocracy of prewar London. I suppose I am not so much taken with an Irish immigrant's adventures in America.

    This is a very lighthearted mystery series for those who enjoy such things.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Those Who Wish Me Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (101)

    When 13-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare. The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him.

    Janice says: "Fire on the Mountain"
    "2 Creepy, Killer Brothers Make for Great Suspense"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Remember the two creepy villians in the Bond movie Diamonds Are Forever? Well the bad guys here aren't Mr Wint and Mr Kidd, they are the handsome, blond haired, blue eyed Blackwood brothers, but they are every bit as creepy, resourceful and deadly. Like the Bond movie, they carry on polite conversation with each other, in front of their victims, even while inflicting great pain. Certainly Koryta used the Bond villains as his inspiration, and it works exceptionally well.

    Since I started with the bad guys, it's important to note they wouldn't be near as creepy and terrifying without the superb reading of Robert Petkoff. His performance is nothing short of magnificent.

    Another aspect that makes this novel so interesting is the woodsmanship and wilderness training explained through the Mai character and hero, Ethan Serbin.

    This is a fast, suspenseful read!


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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