This book has everything - mystery, interesting characters, political and social history, juxtaposition of obscene wealth and obscene poverty, the family at the centre of the story and the players who enter and leave the scene are all fascinating. And it is all true! The narration is masterful: Gareth Armstrong's voice and pace are a perfect match for the tale, and his different tones and accents for the different characters are a welcome added dimension. I bought Black Diamonds after enjoying Catherine Bailey's, 'The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery'. I would find it hard to choose between the two, both top reads!
Anyone who enjoys true crime and/or Ann Rule will enjoy this typically Ann Rule re-telling of a series of ghastly murders. The only difficulty for me was that there are so many young victims their lives and deaths tend to blurr, despite the fact that Ann Rule deals with each of them separately and with sensitivity and respect. So many sad lives, so many tragic endings, and one man who got away with it for so long. A gripping story well told and well read.
This is a book for Tudor buffs and novices alike. Even if you're very familiar with the five Tudor monarchs, you will enjoy the characters who made up the extended Tudor family and who played minor or major roles in this period of history but are so seldom mentioned. I enjoyed re-hearing the familiar stories and some I had never heard before. Leanda de Lisle is an excellent writer, and Sandran Duncan is just the right reader for this book.
Beyond the fact that Bobby Fischer was once world chess chamption, I knew zero about chess before reading this book. Nonetheless I found Frank Brady's biography of this most unusual man fascinating. Knowing nothing meant that almost everything in the book was news to me so I was always keen to know what happened next and there wasn't too much chess detail so I was always able to follow what was happening. The author purports to correct some myths and offer some new insights - I don't know whether that is true or not, but it all adds up to a remarkable story of a genius with some outstandingly unpleasant characteristics and attitudes. One problem: the book ends before the inheritance is determined by the court leaving the reader up in the air. Authors really shouldn't rush to print before all the facts are in. If you don't know what happened, Wikipedia will fill you in.
Ray Porter is a top narrator, just right for this subject matter.
This is true crime with a difference, the story of a troubled man who confessed to crimes he didn't commit and, in some cases, which hadn't even taken place. The details of how he came to be convicted and the role of the professionals who dealt with him become progressively more chilling, and had me glued to my iPod. This story is less about Thomas Quick than it is about the professionals in his life: it is an exposé of gullibility, group-think, lack of professional ethics and all-round professional incompetence of the highest order. The only hero here is Hannes Råstam who is an example par excellence of investigative journalism. What a shame he died so young, but so good that he lived long enough to complete this book.
Full marks to narrator Peter Noble, whose reading cannot be faulted. His voice and accent are a pleasure to listen to, and his 'acting' of passages of quoted speech is very impressive. I don't speak Swedish but his pronunciation suggests to me that he is a native speaker and he moves effortlessly between English and the many Swedish and Norwegian names. His reading was, for me, the icing on the cake of a gripping book.
A must-read for true crime buffs, but above all for anyone involved in criminal justice, psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy, or policing. And journalists will surely be inspired by Hannes Råstam.
My interest in this book waned until, some time in the 19th century, I stopped listening. It features a broad range of characters besides the Devonshires, and plenty of background, for example the civil war, so the characters are expertly placed in the setting of their times. But I would have liked more on the Devonshires themselves and less on the high politics and wars in which they were involved. Apart from Bess of Hardwick and the notorious Georgiana, it was the men in each generation who dominated the story - perhaps more on the women would have made the book more enjoyable for me. I think a reader would have to have a high level of interest in English political goings-on to find this book really enjoyable. It is well written and must have taken a huge amount of research so high praise for Roy Hattersey. It is competently read by Michael Jayston but with very little alteration in tone or mood it gets to sound rather boring before very long.
True crime readers will not be disappointed. Anyone wanting a quick overview of the Stella Nickell story may not be happy with all the detail which Olsen has meticulously tracked down and recounted, but if you want all the ins and outs of the plot and the characters, this book has it all. I wasn't counting, but this family must be in the race for the highest number of house moves and taking up temporary make-shift accommodation with friends or family, the most partner swaps, the most one night stands, the amount of alcohol consumed, and general bad parenting. On the other hand, they were either in work or looking for work, family (except mothers and daughters) were close-knit and stood by each other through thick and thin, and there was always a friend they could turn to in a crisis. Fascinating family, fascinating plot, intriguing outcome. Olsen's research is painstaking and he writes well, although the interweaving of the stories of the two victims' families was a bit confusing at first. Also I felt a bit of the story was missing in my version because it went straight from the jury room deliberations to after the verdict had been handed down which left me baffled about when the verdict had been reached and even more baffled about the phone call to a juror and possible re-trail which were being mentioned. I went back and listened to that section again to make sure it wasn't just me, but it still seemed that part of the book just wasn't there. It is very competently read by Kevin Pierce - a simple straight-forward emotion-free narration - just right for this type of book.
This book held my attention until the premature ending. We meet the prime suspect and his neighbours and neighbourhood, and we get a good idea of what they are like and what their life is like. Then the victims and what happened to them are introduced in chronological order - the presentation here is like a list of crimes recounted by a police prosecutor, no frills, no unnecessary information, just the cold hard facts. The problem is, the book ends before the case ends and we are left with a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of the case against the suspect. The publisher should have waited for the conviction or acquittal before putting the book out. It's like ending the story of the Three Pigs just after the the big bad wolf huffs and puffs but without waiting to see if the house falls down. The Paul Christy is an excellent narrator - just the right voice and pace for a crime story.
This book is compelling and poignant. The title says it all: it's the story of a massacre, people's memories of it, the consequences and, finally, justice and a sad but heartwarming final scene. It held my interest all the way through and I 'read' it in one session. It is well written and the narration is perfect. You get more than your money's worth with this book.
For the first part of this book I had two very strong opinions - I was impressed by how beautifully it is written, but even the best writer must have something interesting to say and I just wasn't grabbed by any of the anecdotes and incidents from Hilary's childhood. But by the time she started university I was captivated, and her experiences with the medical profession are heart-breaking and recounted with such honesty I was fascinated and felt very privileged to be witness to everything she had gone through. The middle and end made up for the beginning so, overall I'm very glad I stayed with it.
This book has it all - plot, characters, surprises, suspense, rollercoaster of emotions - sadness, horror, sympathy, amazement, incredulity, frustration, anger. In short, the book has everything you could want to keep you interested. I took every opportunity to do something during which I could keep listening. I was a bit taken aback for the first few minutes by Richard Ferrone's narration but after a very short time I loved his voice and his presentation. He's just right for this book.
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