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Magnolia, TX, USA | Member Since 2004


  • Company Man

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Joseph Finder
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Nick Conover, the son of a factory worker, is the CEO of a major corporation in a company town. Nick, once the most admired man in Fenwick, Michigan, is now, having presided over massive layoffs, the most despised. A single parent since the recent death of his wife, he's struggling to insulate his 10-year-old daughter and angry 16-year-old son from the town's hostility.

    James says: "Nail-biting suspense"
    "I read a hundred novels a year..."

    I read a hundred books a year, most of them thrillers, and I'm a very picky reader. I abandon half the books I start because they just don't hold my attention. Bearing all this in mind, COMPANY MAN just claimed a firm place on the list of the top ten thrillers I've read. Ever. It's a pressure cooker of tension from the beginning and it never lets up. Finder has become one of those few authors whose next book I anxiously await.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • Vanished

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Joseph Finder
    • Narrated By Holter Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Nick Heller is tough, smart, and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator - exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed. Desperate, with nowhere else to run, Nick's nephew, Gabe makes that call one night.

    Earl says: "Excellent weaving and unexpected"
    "Major disappointed..."

    I'm a HUGE fan of Finder, a fan who always eagerly awaits his next, but this one is weak. The mother and son are so whiny and bratty and obnoxious that they're unsympathetic. The protag also has major flaws; a prime example is when he visits his father in prison. He desperately needs info from his father, but engages in childish sarcasm and obfuscation for far too long.

    Then there's the narrator. OH. MY. GOSH. I wish I had read this one with my eyes instead of ears because this guy is one of the most annoying narrators I've ever heard. The whiny, nasally, trembling voices grate on my spine like fingernails on a chalkboard. How does a major release like this get to market without SOMEONE saying, "Whoa, we have a problem?"

    Audible seriously needs to bust up the review process into separate components for content and narration.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Executive Privilege

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Phillip Margolin
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis

    When private detective Dana Cutler is hired by an attorney with powerful political connections, the assignment seems simple enough: follow a pretty college student named Charlotte Walsh and report on where she goes and whom she sees. But then the unexpected happens.

    Lu says: "Entertaining"
    "Mediocre for Margolin - TERRIBLE Narrator"

    I'm a major Margolin fan, but this was far from his best work. In fact, I think it may be his weakest. I had the ending figured out less than halfway through. Characters not as developed as in his other books.

    The worst thing: the narrator. Bad voices. Inconsistent voices. What really grated on my nerves, however, was his tendency to enunciate the words "a" and "the." So unnatural.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Final Theory: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Mark Alpert
    • Narrated By Adam Grupper

    Columbia University professor David Swift is called to the hospital to comfort his mentor, a physicist who's been brutally attacked. With his last words, the dying man gives his former pupil a seemingly random string of numbers that could hold the key to Einstein's last and greatest secret: Einheitliche Feldtheorie, The Theory of Everything.

    Jerry says: "Such a mixed bag..."
    "Such a mixed bag..."

    The idea of a lost Theory of Everything is a nice premise. The writing is
    more than adequate from a style perspective. He also did an admirable job of
    working in twists that are so important to a story like this. The pacing was
    good, and the science was nicely handled. Then there are the problems...

    A character engages the safety on their revolver. (Revolvers don't have
    safeties.) A character "smashes" a computer on the floor and, voila, we have
    parts everywhere. Among these parts, he is able to spot the hard drive
    because it looks like "a turntable with glass platters." He proceeds to
    smash the platters into tiny shards. Good grief. Every time an author does
    something like this, it yanks you out of the story and it takes time to
    reestablish the immersion. I find this way too often with authors who
    obviously have zero understanding of things of the real world, whether the
    topic is cars, guns, computers, etc.

    The more troubling issue with the book is the ultra-poor character
    development, both on the micro and macro levels. On the micro level, there's
    just little there to make one bond with the individual characters. They're
    stereotypical and wooden. On the macro level, the evil government is after
    the poor innocent little people while an evil Master Killer stalks them, as
    well. Yawn.

    Finally, although it contributed absolutely nothing to the story, the author
    had to take time to inject his liberal politics. The evil vice-president
    with a crooked smile has to run the country for the "boob" from Texas.
    Again, yawn. Maybe the author found this cathartic, but it's an incredibly
    stupid thing to do in a book that has nothing to do with politics. By
    including elements like this, he added nothing to the story, but did manage
    to insult any conservative who happened to have bought and read his book.
    Not smart to alienate half your market for no reason other than your own
    need to "vent."

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Blasphemy

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The world's biggest supercollider is locked in an Arizona mountain. The Torus was built to unlock the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of heaven?

    Mary R says: "Enthralling!"
    "What a disappointment."

    For years I have been one of Preston's most avid fans, affording him status as one of my rare "Automatic Authors," writers whose books I automatically buy without even reading the description, so I take no pleasure in writing this review.

    First, the narrator is terrible at everything except the narrative. Character voices sound like something out of a low budget teen movie.

    As for content, the overall story is the only reason the book gets even two stars. It's an interesting overall premise with abysmal execution. The characters are hackneyed caricatures.

    Most disturbing is the seething hatred of Christianity that boils just below the surface throughout the book. Atheistic fervor = good. Navajo mysticism = good. Politicians = good. Then there are those dang old evil Christians. Aside from a casual Catholic who in the end doesn't have conviction enough to challenge an all-out attack on the core of Christianity, every single Christian is depicted as either a fraud, a whack-job, a murderer, or a terrorist. No matter what you think of Christianity, for Preston to portray such a massive group of his fellow citizens in this way is absurd and totally lacking in believability. It's so over the top as to make obvious the fact that he did zero research aimed at creating believable Christian characters.

    As a Christian myself, I found Blasphemy to be utterly offensive, but I also am extremely dismayed to see such poor craft of writing from one of my favorite writers. I read many many novels that have characters and story elements I may disagree with, yet I can still appreciate the quality of craft. This one is a sad failure on virtually every front.

    18 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Secret of the Temple

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Sussman
    • Narrated By Gordon Griffin

    When the body of hotel owner Piet Jansen is discovered amid the ruins of an archaeological site by the Nile, it looks like a routine investigation for Inspector Yusuf Khalifa of the Luxor Police. But the more he learns about Jansen, the more he is reminded of the brutal murder, some years earlier, of an Israeli woman at Karnak for which he always suspected the wrong man was convicted.

    Barbara Ferrini Hilfiker says: "wonderful book"
    "What a pleasant surprise..."

    When I saw a number of comparisons to The DaVinci Code, I (as a Christian) almost steered clear of this one. Man, I'm glad I didn't. This book is EXTREMELY well written. Characters are deeply drawn, layered, complex. Plot is smoothly executed. At 20+ hours, it obviously contains a lot of detail, but the detail adds much to the story instead of dragging it down. I'll keep an eye out for more books from this author for sure.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Consent to Kill

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    For years, Mitch Rapp's bold actions have saved the lives of countless Americans. His battles for peace and freedom have made him a hero to many, and an enemy to countless more. In the tangled, duplicitous world of espionage, there are those, even among America's allies, who want to see Mitch Rapp eliminated. They have decided the time has come.

    Timothy says: "One of the Best Stories I've Ever Heard"
    "Minor problems in an excellent thriller..."

    First, this is an excellent thriller overall. Gripping, well paced, solid character development, and more accurate in the factual elements than many. It's definitely worth the listen.

    Minor glitches: Flynn seems to forget having covered things, and occasionally repeats himself. Like virtually every writer on the planet, he describes the smell of Cordite in the air following gunfire, while Cordite hasn't been used in modern ammunition for MANY years. There are a couple other issues, but they're minor and certainly not enough to spoil a great read.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Black Maps

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Peter Spiegelman
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    John March is a former cop now working as a P.I. in Manhattan. Haunted by his past, work is what keeps him sane, but his current case threatens to have the opposite effect. It involves an attempted extortion; an investment banker with some serious skeletons in his closet; and a money launderer diabolically adept at both psychological and physical intimidation.

    Jerry says: "Incredibly mixed bag, this one..."
    "Incredibly mixed bag, this one..."

    This book has an excellent premise and the story is executed with intrigue and suspense. Unfortunately, it also has a couple of problems: First, the protagonist has a stupid streak that makes him hard to root for. He does idiotic things and then repeats them. This being a first novel, I'm hopeful that the author will improve his character development going forward.

    The second problem is huge: The descriptions. Oh my, let me see if I can find the words to accurately describe this problem. This author describes EVERYTHING worn by EVERY character in EVERY situation, and he does it EVERY time they appear. By page 100, I was ready to scream, and this problem is pronounced enough that I won't make it through his future books if they're the same way. I have no idea what he was thinking, and it's unfathomable that the publisher didn't insist on paring this practice back during the editing process.

    NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, is left to the reader's imagination. Each time a character appears, he describes every stitch of clothing, from the shape of boot heels to the style of earrings to the color of hair ribbon, the hairstyle, the pants, the shirts, the blouse, the scarf. Matters not if they're walking down the street or staring into the muzzle of a gun, he's gonna tell us EXACTLY what they're wearing. If there are a group of people present, he ticks through each one like this. It's not limited to characters, of course. We get the same level of minutiae for every building, every room we enter, and basically every piece of furniture in every room. It's utterly maddening, and it's made worse in the audiobook format since you can't skim through this nonsense.

    I want to like this author because of the good story and interesting premise. I can only hope that someone somewhere helps him understand the seriousness of this problem. Reading is about visualizing, about imagination. It's not television and it's not necessary to try to turn it into that kind of experience.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Flash Point

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By James W. Huston
    • Narrated By Adams Morgan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Sean Woods and Tony Vialli are F-14 pilots stationed aboard the USS George Washington in the Mediterranean. During a port call in Naples, Vialli falls for a beautiful woman he meets on a train who tells him she's Italian. She finally reveals she isn't Italian at all, and lures him out of the country to visit her. Vialli submits false leave papers, swears Woods to secrecy, and flies off to see her.

    BRUCE says: "Liked this book"
    "Authentic military fiction..."

    There's plenty to like about FLASH POINT, especially for fans of authentic military fiction. Huston has the jargon down pat, and it's obvious he either spent a lot of time on an aircraft carrier, or knows someone who did. It's a good storyline, populated with well-developed, realistic characters. Unfortunately, it's not without problems.

    First, a specific audiobook issue: The narrator. In addition to the "aristocratic" tone of voice that's totally out of place in a novel like this, he has a tendency to speak very slowly at times, and he often makes the problem worse by leaving long gaps between sentences. On the flip side, he'll often leave no extra space at all between scenes. The end result is one sentence takes place on an aircraft carrier and the next may take place halfway around the world, with zero transition for the listener. These spacing issues may be the fault of the audio editor, but it's supremely irritating.

    Another problem is the fact that it was obviously written before 9/11. Events are described as fantastic, and they may well have been considered so before 9/11, that are now mild by comparison to what we've actually experienced. This isn't the author's fault, of course, but it still affects the reader/listener experience.

    The worst problem, however, must fall squarely to the author. He has a habit of of getting on some issue and just refusing to let go. He goes over it and over it and over it and over it and over it, as if the reader is just too dumb to understand it the first time through. Or the second. Or the third. Characters will get into a discussion/debate on something, and they just say the same things many, many, many times. To an avid, intelligent reader (the very type of reader who buys and reads long books like this), this is beyond irritating. It's downright offensive. Mr. Huston is truly a good writer and I very much want to remain a fan; I hope he addresses this problem in the next book.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Memory of Running

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Ron McLarty
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.

    Neal says: "Funny and Fascinating, A Wonderful Book"
    "Not even my kind of book..."

    This really isn't my favored genre, not even close--I like thrillers, and I have a real penchant for techy thrillers--which makes my five-star rating all the more remarkable. I don't care what kind of book you normally read, take a chance on this one and you won't be disappointed.

    I'm also a writer myself, and as my own craft has evolved over the years, I've become more and more critical, harder and harder to please. I only finish around 40% of the books I start these days. Add all this up, and you have a real winner. I just couldn't find anything wrong with it. TMOR drew me in fairly early and by around chapter five I was totally hooked.

    McClarty has built splendid characters and crafted them into an unusual tale that really really really speaks to the human soul.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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