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Charles Atkinson

A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...

Greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2005

1220
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 304 reviews
  • 582 ratings
  • 1184 titles in library
  • 110 purchased in 2014
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  • Threat Vector

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy, Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Lou Diamond Phillips
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3672)
    Performance
    (3214)
    Story
    (3229)

    Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in the People's Republic of China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Quiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan. The Ryan administration is determined to thwart China’s ambitions, but the stakes are dangerously high as a new breed of powerful Chinese anti-ship missiles endanger the US Navy's plans to protect the island.

    Jean says: "Spies and a counter espionage"
    "The Clancy that gave us Clear & Present..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the most intriguing Clancy novel in a long time. The very real threat of the Chinese, (see yesterday's headlines of Japan and China) and cyber warfare is as fascinating as it is threatening. No one researches better than Clancy and few know military operations and capabilities more than him.

    Better still, the suspense in this novel is top rate, on the same level as his earlier novels. Lou Diamond Phillips is the perfect choice for this work. His characterizations are spot on.

    In his recent works, Clancy has been criticized for his politics. This is not the case with this book at all.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Tight

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1067)
    Performance
    (395)
    Story
    (397)

    This novel by Carl Hiaasen, author of Tourist Season and Native Tongue, begins as most thrillers do, with a killing. But this is no everyday, hum-drum, garden variety killing. Our hero, Nick Stranahan, a 42-year-old private investigator who has killed five men and been married five times, skewers his attacker's aorta with the razor-sharp bill of a stuffed marlin.

    Chris says: "Skintight"
    "Another Fun Romp Into the Absurd"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another fun novel featuring former cop Mick Stranahan, a man who has killed as many men as he has former wives. That would be 5 , at least in this novel. Mick is gifted with an overwhelming amount of common sense along with an uncommonly accurate ability to size people up quickly.

    As is the case with many gifted heroes in literature , he has an equally extreme weakness that keeps his ego in check. He has the lowest possible immunity from falling in love with whoever he sleeps with. Thus he has had 5 ex wives, all cocktail or diner waitresses.

    Another common trait of Hiasson novels the absurd lives of his villains. In this case the story begins with a former nurse scheming to extort money from her former employer, an unethical quack plastic surgeon, by threatening to expose his killing of a young college girl several years back. To validate her claim while diverting attention away from her actual scam, she plays on the vanity of an egocentric investigative reporter and points all involved parties to a former detective who worked the case years ago. One Mick Stranahan.

    Suddenly we are in the world of plastic surgery as viewed by a wonderfully talented, cynical humorist, an ex reporter, turned columnist turned novelist. Let's face it, it is a world of extreme vanity, sexually charged, enormous egos, even larger insecurities...and little oversight by the medical community. There is no shortage of material here for Hiasson to work with.

    I love the characters, the humor, the relationships and most of all I enjoyed the whole experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Skinny Dip

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By Stephen Hoye
    Overall
    (2406)
    Performance
    (645)
    Story
    (656)

    When Chaz Perron's wife discovers that he is running a scam (posing as a marine biologist to doctor water samples so that an agribusiness tycoon can continue illegally dumping fertilizer into the Everglades), he pushes her overboard from a cruise liner. Unlucky for Chaz, Joey survives clutching a bale of Jamaican pot. Rescued from the Atlantic by a former police officer, Mick Stranahan, she decides not to report him but instead haunt and taunt him, with Mick's help, by playing dead.

    Phillip says: "Summer's Best Read"
    "Cupboard bare? Time for Hiasson!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    this is my second review, because somehow the first, a brilliant effort, just disappeared. So forgive my brevity.

    I'm really struggling trying to find new authors and series in mysteries and thrillers. Then I remembered how much I liked Double Whammy and Striptease. Skinny Dip is just as much fun.

    I was 100% invested in all the characters. It is one of best stories I've come across.

    Again, I just don't have the stamina to rewrite a decent review, what you should know that I loved every second of this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Three Days to Die

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John Avery
    • Narrated By Joseph Patrick O'Malley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    HE DIDN'T MEAN TO OVERHEAR ...but he did. HE ONLY HEARD A FEW WORDS ... but he heard too much. HE RAN ... but he was followed - a mistake that would turn thirteen-year-old Aaron Quinn's, and his beautiful, courageous, single mother, Ashley's, worlds upside down. THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING ... when Aaron is stolen from his mother by a psychotic killer and thrust headlong into a dark underworld of armed robbery, prostitution, and death.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Ridiculous and truly stupid characters wreck it..."
    "Ridiculous and truly stupid characters wreck it..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise is great, two boys stumble into a gang of robbers, overhear plans for robberies and are discovered. They're on the run and only their wits can save them. Only they are nitwits. Their parents are nitwits. Turns out the bad guys are nitwits.

    They don't call the police, no one does. At least not when it would make difference. The mother successfully escapes half naked, but is phoned by her the kidnappers and takes herself completely out of the story by going to a motel where they'll find her. No police. It turns out she's beautiful and they want to have sex with her!

    One of the bad guys was a black man, a successful surgeon two years earllier who was wrongfully sued for malpractice and lost his license. Now he's full ghetto robbing banks and kidnapping kids. The book doesn't go any deeper than that with his character and that's was the final straw.

    I am embarrassed I listened to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Privileged Lives: Vince Cardozo, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Edward Stewart
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    In a private suite at a New York hospital, Beatrice “Babe” Vanderwalk Devens awakens from a seven-year coma. The socialite and fashion designer is stunned to learn that her husband, Scottie, was brought to trial twice - and acquitted - for her attempted murder. Across town, the naked, mutilated body of a young man wearing a black leather bondage mask is found in an empty apartment in the Beaux Arts Tower, high atop the Museum of Modern Art.

    cristina says: "A bit long-winded, but entertaining nevertheless"
    "New York in the 80s, How low can they go..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well I finished it! I was captivated by the New York socialite culture and its history that Stewart intertwined so well in this sordid tale of depravity. I was particularly drawn to the character Babe Vanderwal and the mystery surrounding her coma.

    The story also revolves around the most depraved sexual addictions I've ever encountered in a book. Though it's never glorified, it is revealed as a thriving subculture of NYC. It includes sex with dead people, pedophiles, rape, murder, all while being filmed. Only beastiality was missing. I wonder why? Anyway, the first wave of the HIV epidemic has begun, a detail that ties many of the different lives of the characters together.

    Christian Rummel does a brilliant job narration. He has to have the widest and most accurate range of voices and accents of any narrator I've listened to. If not for his work, I might have given this experience a 2 star rating.

    It's a good mystery, with some good police work and great characters. But there is also an undercurrent of self hate from most every cast member that literally drips from each scene. It's definitely not a feel good novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Pain Scale

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Tyler Dilts
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (26)

    Long Beach homicide detective Danny Beckett can’t escape the pain. It’s everywhere: in the injuries that earned him a year-long medical leave; in the suffering of every victim he’s ever encountered; in the agony of his past. But he must keep the pain at bay to prove he still has what it takes to do the job. So it’s only fitting that his first major case back is a gruesome one: A California congressman’s daughter-in-law and grandchildren have been brutally murdered, and the carnage is some of the worst Danny’s ever seen. Is it a mob hit? Political retribution? A random sex crime? Nothing quite adds up….

    Charles Atkinson says: "its a Zero with the circle rubbed out."
    "its a Zero with the circle rubbed out."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story started off strong, but quickly became convoluted and ended in a whimper. There's are truly horrible triple murder and the introduction to what seemed like a great police team. However, a far fetched government conspiracy of sorts begins to reveal itself.

    It's enough to say I am grossly disappointed with this novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Advocate: The Advocate, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Teresa Burrell
    • Narrated By Summer Rona
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    For Sabre Orin Brown, life is good; she has it all...or would have, if only she could solve the mysterious disappearance of her brother. The search for her brother and her career as a juvenile-court attorney collide when she defends a nine-year-old whose father will go to any length to obtain custody. Sabre finds herself immersed in a case with too many unanswered questions. Her quest for the truth takes her coast to coast and five years into the past.

    Kathi says: "Close--but not quite a page turner"
    "A good story, but a really weird hero..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All of us look for certain characteristics in books that determine whether or not we like them. This one has a good story, an intriguing mystery, but is sorely lacking a likable hero.

    Here's my rant about the advocate, Sabre Brown. Remember it's purely subjective on my part. First is her ridiculous name. Second is her weird and inappropriate relationship with her married best friend and law partner, Bob. It's not sexual, but it is far too intimate for two attractive young attorneys who work so closely together. They call each other honey and have cute nicknames for each other, have lunch daily....it goes on and on.

    Finally, though she is beautiful and kind, she does not have a single friend other than Bob. No exaggeration, not one single relationship. In the first chapter, part of the back story is that she is devastated by the loss of her older brother, which certainly makes sense. However, Ms Burrell lays it on way too thick for my taste.

    We all know of real and fictional attorneys, especially early in their career, forgoing their personal life to jumpstart their careers. It's understandable, if unwise. Sabre is literally a child advocate, extremely gifted and sensitive. I love that about her. But this is fiction and I felt she was hugely undeveloped as a person.

    The story is fascinating and makes the book worthy of your time. It's complicated and complex and deserved more attention than the author gave it. It has a hurried ending and unsatisfying explanation of what finally occurred.

    Summer Rona, the narrator, has one of the most pleasant voices I've encountered on Audible. Her accents are good and she did men very well. I was disappointed with the sound production, letting us hear pages turn and her wetting lips in the middle of sentences. Still, it was a strong performance.

    In the end, I listened to the entire book because I had to hear how it ended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bagmen: Victor Carl, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    At a low point in his lowly career, Victor finds himself skulking through the streets of Philadelphia carrying a bag full of money for an ambitious politician. It is a rotten job on the wrong side of anyone’s line, but with bag in hand Victor is suddenly hobnobbing with the city’s elite, filling his bank account, and having sex with the politician’s gorgeous and deranged sister. But just when Victor begins to think he’s got a future in the political game, one of his payoffs ends up in the pocket of a dead woman, and Victor goes from bagman to fall guy.

    Cholmondeley says: "The premise of the screw-up lawyer is promising..."
    "This is a fascinating, fun mystery."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Here is the latest of the Vic Carl series on Audible. This is my third Lashner novel, but the first I've read in the series. Apparently there are 8 Vic Carl novels, but Audible only offers 3 that are unabridged and 3 abridged novels.

    Vic Carl is an experienced attorney who gets no respect from his peers, judges and seemingly his clientele. He's plenty smart and quick witted, but success always seems to allude him. Suddenly he stumbles into a place where his talents, intellect and wit are not only desired, but highly valued. However, it's not in court or litigation, but in the sleezy world of political fixing. He becomes a bagman.

    This new occupation is where we find a truly whacky cast of political wonks, very much in the vain of Carl Hiasson or Elmore Leonard. So if you're looking for a serious police procedural, this is not it. Nevertheless Lashner delivers a complex and twisted tale of murder, betrayal and suspense.

    Patrick Lawlor does a great job in narration. However, his voice took a lot of getting used to, thus the 3 stars.

    This gets 3.5- 4 stars for wit, fun characters and a gripping mystery.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Barkeep

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (51)

    Justin Chase is the perfect barkeep, tending bar as he lives his life, in a state of Zen serenity, until Birdie Grackle, a foul-mouthed alcoholic, walks into his bar and makes a startling confession. Six years ago Justin’s life was ripped apart when he discovered his mother’s bludgeoned corpse. Now Justin’s father is serving a life sentence and Justin drowns his emotions in a pool of inner peace. But when Birdie claims he murdered Justin’s mother for cash, Justin is hurled back to the emotions, back to the past, and, most frightening of all, back to the father he tried to leave behind.

    Amazon Customer says: "The Barkeep"
    "Pour me another!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my second Lashner novel, The Accounting being the first one. Despite the mediocre ratings from other readers, I hoped the depth of character I discovered in the hero of the Accounting would also be found in the Barkeep's heroes. I was not disappointed.

    This novel is so much more than a great mystery. It's about redemption, new beginnings and facing the demons that chase us all. The heroes are everyday people who are placed in extraordinary situations.

    Luke Daniels did great with most of the characters, but there were a few whose character along with the voice he gave them grated on my nerves. Nevertheless it was very close to a 4 star effort

    This was a really fun book to read. It's very close to 5 star experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Hope: Gabe Quinn Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Keith Houghton
    • Narrated By David Doersch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (21)

    "Celebrity Cop" Gabe Quinn is back working Robbery-Homicide after a personal tragedy has left him emotionally bare. He's raw, but resolved to catch a serial killer stalking the streets of two major cities. With cryptic clues left at each crime scene, Gabe is faced with the seemingly impossible task of piecing together the bizarre puzzle - following signs that point toward a killer whose motive questions everything he believes in..."If you could save a million lives by taking one...would you?"

    J. Phillips says: "Amazing Fast Paced Thriller!!!"
    "Great until the ending destroyed all hope!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was indeed a fast pace thriller I liked very much until the end. In fact, the end made no sense, causing to me feel sure I'd missed something important. I was giving it at least 4 stars for great characters and good police work, but the ending ruined the whole experience for me.

    David Doersch was excellent as the narrator.

    Despite the two stars, I'll definitely give the author a second shot.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Billboard Man

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jim Fusilli
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    He saw in the rusted mirror the man he’d become, new scars and all. His wife killed, his family shattered, a man takes to the road, wandering lost and alone - except for the comfort of a kind of woman he can’t deny. When a tryst in the shadow of Arizona’s red rocks leads to murder, the man sets out to clear his name and corner the killer, unaware that a madman is on his trail - and the trail of his estranged daughter.

    Charles Atkinson says: "An Elmore Leonardish fast and fun read"
    "An Elmore Leonardish fast and fun read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book a lot, right up until it's abrupt and unsatisfying ending and despite a very irritating narrator.. In fact, it could easily be a 4 star book with a good narrator.

    It has a tremendously attractive hero, a deluded and entertaining cast of misfits, and an entirely unique story line. Let's just say if he'd make a series with these characters, I'd keep listening.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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