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Jane

Chicago, IL, United States | Member Since 2010

654
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 353 reviews
  • 353 ratings
  • 628 titles in library
  • 80 purchased in 2014
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  • Ask the Parrot

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Richard Stark
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Racing through the backwoods of Massachusetts and on the verge of being taken down for one of the biggest and most disastrous bank heists the state has ever seen, Parker runs right into the barrel of a gun pointed from the wrong side of the law. A quiet and angry recluse with only a silent parrot for company in his seclusion, Tom Lindahl saves Parker from the police dogs, but enmeshes him in yet another in a long line of dubious, highly dangerous, but seriously profitable jobs.

    Jane says: "Ok. Not as good as some of the others,"
    "Ok. Not as good as some of the others,"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    but I still enjoy reading Parker.

    Parker is in the woods fleeing after a robbery. A local guy Tom sees Parker and realizes he’s one of the robbers. Tom wants Parker to help him rob a racetrack. Tom introduces Parker to other locals telling them Parker is a friend visiting. Parker joins the locals as they hunt for Parker. It’s pretty good watching Parker interact with various local people.

    Minor complaint. A security guard sees car lights at an unusual time. He goes to investigate, but the author did not tell what happened as he investigated. (Or maybe I missed it.)

    The narrator William Dufris was ok, but not good for this series. He made Parker sound too ordinary.

    THE SERIES:
    This is book 23 in the 24 book series. These stories are about bad guys. They rob. They kill. They’re smart. Most don’t go to jail. Parker is the main bad guy, a brilliant strategist. He partners with different guys for different jobs in each book.

    If you are new to the series, I suggest reading the first three and then choose among the rest. A few should be read in order since characters continue in a sequel fashion. Those are listed below (with my star ratings). The rest can be read as stand alones.

    The first three books in order:
    4 stars. The Hunter (Point Blank movie with Lee Marvin 1967) (Payback movie with Mel Gibson)
    3 ½ stars. The Man with the Getaway Face (The Steel Hit)
    4 stars. The Outfit.

    Read these two in order:
    5 stars. Slayground (Bk #14)
    5 stars. Butcher’s Moon (Bk #16)

    Read these four in order:
    4 ½ stars. The Sour Lemon Score (Bk #12)
    2 ½ stars. Firebreak (Bk #20)
    (not read) Nobody Runs Forever (Bk #22)
    2 ½ stars. Dirty Money (Bk #24)

    Others that I gave 4 or more stars to:
    The Jugger (Bk #6), The Seventh (Bk#7), The Handle (Bk #8), Deadly Edge (Bk#13), Flashfire (Bk#19)

    GENRE: noir crime fiction

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hidden Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (434)
    Performance
    (372)
    Story
    (367)

    Six months ago, Lucas Davenport tackled his first case as a statewide troubleshooter, and he thought that one was plenty strange enough. But that was before the Russian got killed. On the shore of Lake Superior, a man named Vladimir Oleshev is found shot dead, three holes in his head and heart, and though nobody knows why he was killed, everybody - the local cops, the FBI, and the Russians themselves - has a theory. And when it turns out he had very high government connections, that's when it hits the fan.

    Ed says: "Davenport is all business in this one"
    "If you love this series then this book might be ok"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    but I was not taken. It dragged.

    Maybe it was just a hard-to-work-with-plot and uninteresting characters. Everyone keeps secrets from Lucas - good guys and bad guys. Even Nadia his partner does not tell him things. It was a slow process of puzzle solving. The ending was lackluster. It was not wrapped up well, but I didn’t care much. I was glad it was over.

    Main plot:
    A group of Russian families has been in the U.S. for decades. They consider themselves spies for Russia even though they rarely have contact with Russia and don’t do much. They kill a Russian. Nadia arrives from Russia to investigate and works with Lucas.

    Female characters.
    I don’t like the way the author writes women. He makes them weak, incompetent, or not smart in order to make Lucas look good. I don’t require strong smart heroines in everything I read. It’s ok to have weak characters in either sex. But make the main female character quirky, unusual, or something. So far in the three books I’ve read, I come out with an empty feeling about women. They are cardboard.

    Here’s an example. Nadia and a guy are in a room. Killer enters and shoots the guy then runs out. Lucas is nearby, hears gunshots, and sees the killer running. Lucas goes to Nadia and sees the guy shot. Lucas calls 911 giving information, tells Nadia to stay with the guy, and then runs off to chase the killer. Lucas is a good runner and gets close to the killer. Why didn’t Nadia do anything? She could have called 911. But no, Lucas has to delay his chase to make the phone call while Nadia stands there and watches. Why couldn’t Nadia chase the killer? Nadia is a Russian agent, not a shrinking violet fragile female. She’s cardboard.

    I was eager to read about Letty, a 12-year-old Lucas meets in book #14 (the previous book). She shoots a rifle and traps muskrats. I hoped she would have a bigger role in this book, but she had no role. The only thing said was Lucas was her guardian.

    I was impatient with Nadia’s dialogue. She asked too many word meanings which dragged the dialogue. Examples: “The others were tarnished and even had some, I don’t know the English, green coloring on the brass.” “How do you say...” “What’s this ‘upside’?”

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    Richard Ferrone was good for general narration and men, but not women. He made them sound weird.

    Genre: mystery suspense thriller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Naked Prey: Lucas Davenport, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (261)
    Story
    (264)

    In Naked Prey, John Sandford puts Lucas Davenport through some changes. His old boss, Rose Marie Roux, has moved up to the state level and taken Lucas with her. In addition, Lucas is now married and a new father, both of which are fine with him: He doesn't mind being a family man. But he is a little worried. For every bit of peace you get, you have to pay - and he's waiting for the bill. It comes in the form of two people found hanging from a tree in the woods of northern Minnesota. What makes it particularly sensitive is that the bodies are of a black man and a white woman, and they're naked....

    Ruth says: "Meet Letty West!"
    "3 ½ stars. Questions not answered."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Letty could have been better. Last half was good entertainment.

    I read book #1 in the series and did not like the womanizing element of Lucas. In this book #14 he’s married, so that should be less. But his female characters come across as cardboard. Part of it is women desiring men, but I don’t see men having intense desire for women. The men are magnets and don’t do anything to earn the attraction. It’s male wishful thinking. It’s a subtle undercurrent. I accept the author’s choice to not have smart, strong, competent women in his character mix. But at least give me something sassy, quirky, or unusual about some women.

    The opening murder scene had me glued to the page. Then it was slow creating the back story about everyone. But the last half was top notch. Very engaging. But, when it was over I was confused. I did not know who did what or how in the kidnappings. Who told Sorrell about Deon and Jane? What happened to Joe Kelly?

    I was disappointed with Letty but only because of my expectations. She is 11. Lucas meets her in this book and she supposedly continues as a character in future books. But I read the next book (#15) and she had no role in that. Letty traps muskrats for money and carries a rifle. I was hoping she’d have an unusual attitude or ability. But her dialogue and behavior were like a regular person - kind of flat.

    I was happy that justice was done and the bad guys “got it” in the end.

    I really liked the following. Someone was wondering who was more likely to commit a crime. “Deon was this ocean of want. He wanted money and he wanted dope and he wanted cars and he wanted clothes and he wanted to go to Vegas and LA and he wanted season tickets for basketball. Lauren didn’t seem to want anything. He didn’t seem to care about anything or even do anything other than sleep with Katina.”

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    Richard Ferrone was good in a lot of ways, but I did not like some of his female voices – especially Letty. I also did not like some of his interpretations. For example “What does that mean? She growled.” He read this as a whine not a growl.

    Genre: mystery suspense thriller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Still Life: Chief Inspector Gamache, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

    meg says: "Great new series"
    "2 ½ stars. Not a good fit for me."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    My mind wandered.

    Part of the problem was the audiobook narrator Ralph Cosham. He read in a monotone voice.

    The first half dragged, but things got interesting in the last third. Ruth likes to collect suffering, to create suffering, and to be around suffering. That intrigued me. I wanted more with her. The author wrote “people who have been hurt a lot either pass it on and become abusers or develop great kindness.” I liked that idea. I wish the author did more with that.

    Agent Nichol was a new assistant to Gamache. She was incompetent and lied. Because of her incompetence the wrong will was read and the wrong people took possession of the deceased’s house. They messed with evidence. I was angry at Nichol. I wanted more pain and punishment to her than what she got. But I was equally disturbed with police procedure. An outside investigator is called in to investigate a suspicious death. He allows a suspect to take possession of the deceased’s home? And he does not search the home for evidence because the suspect doesn’t want him to? And he accepts that? That is INSPECTOR STUPIDITY. I don’t want to read that.

    I wanted to see the killer’s words and reactions after he was caught. But that was not shown, which means I did not get to feel good about justice for the bad guy. I needed to know more about him – more character development.

    Genre: mystery.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Silence for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Simone St. James
    • Narrated By Mary Jane Wells
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    In 1919 Kitty Weekes - pretty, resourceful, and on the run – falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House - its plaster is crumbling; its plumbing makes eerie noises; and strange, cold breaths of air waft through the empty rooms.

    Jane says: "2 ½ stars. Weak story."
    "2 ½ stars. Weak story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Below average for the audiobook narrator’s accent.

    The narrator used an English accent that bothered me. The phrase “look what I got” sounded like “loo wha I gah.” A little of that would be ok, but not the whole book. I enjoy books using the elegant upper class British accent, but not what was used here. On the other hand, the narrator was good with emotional interpretations and general narration.

    The best part of the story was the character development. I enjoyed the interactions among the person in charge, the nurses, and the patients.

    The story is told in 1st person by Kitty. I would have preferred 3rd person. Kitty pretends to be a nurse to get the job. I did not like her enough. I was not intrigued with her enough. When she pondered something, I didn’t care about her feelings and perceptions. For example “I spent a long moment breathing in the clean night air and watching the few trees winking in the moonlight. How long had this day been, a year? two?” That’s a nice sentence, but it’s almost like I didn’t want to hear her talk.

    As to the story and events, the first 2/3 was kind of slow. The last 1/3 was better. The events and actions were not different or special enough. At the end I felt the author threw in some sex and romance that felt out of place. There was not enough prior relationship development.

    There were two ghosts. One was bad. The resolution of the bad ghost was unfinished. I saw no logic for what happened with the other ghost. I was unsatisfied.

    Genre: paranormal mystery with suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killer Secrets

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Lora Leigh
    • Narrated By Mackenzie Heart
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    As the illegitimate son of Diego Fuentes, Ian Richards faces danger at every turn. Neither his father nor his fellow Navy SEALs knows which side he’s fighting for - or against. Which is exactly how the game must be played…until Agent Porter enters the picture.

    Jane says: "Steamy hot sex. Poor plot development."
    "Steamy hot sex. Poor plot development."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Audiobook narrator’s breaths annoyed me.

    I’m in the minority here. A lot of my friends liked this. One friend said she loved this “in print” but “kept drifting off in audio.” So maybe that’s part of my problem.

    I read 30% and stopped. It’s characters thinking, talking about things, and being intense. Lots of threats, warnings, and orders to others. There is almost no action. There is no doing of anything. Ian deserted the Navy SEALS and is now developing a drug business in Aruba with his father a cartel guy. Ian wants to find the terrorist Sorrell. But so far, there is no action.

    When Ian sees Kira he says “I want you to leave Aruba.” She doesn’t. The next time he sees her he says the same thing. Another time he says “You’re not supposed to be here.” That was their main conversation.

    THE GOOD PARTS:
    Hot steamy sex scenes. It might be worth reading just for that. They are explicit and graphic plus pain. Ian pulls her hair, spanks her, ties her hands. There is self pleasuring and back door action. The focus is “male domination.”

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    Mackenzie Heart had very good interpretation and sound, but she needs a different microphone or sound equipment. Her breaths were too loud. They were distracting.

    Genre: erotic romantic suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • One Good Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Susan Wilson
    • Narrated By Fred Berman, Christina Delaine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (349)

    Adam March is a self-made “Master of the Universe.” He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. But there is a price to be paid for all these trappings, and the pressure is mounting—until the day Adam makes a fatal mistake. His assistant leaves him a message with three words: your sister called.

    Shelby says: "A cynic and a cynical dog - PERFECT!!"
    "3 ½ stars."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An angry man changes his life to one with less anger. The dog has a supporting role, not the main part.

    I have complaints, but it’s a thoughtful book and above average.

    I’ve read a number of books in the women’s fiction genre, but almost none in men’s fiction. This is the latter. It’s about a man with anger and abandonment issues. He is extremely successful in the corporate world and then loses it all due to an angry action. He loses his job, his wife, and his money. He’s now living alone in a cheap apartment, with no job, and miserable. A judge sentenced him to twenty hours a week serving food to the homeless. By the end of the book he changes his attitude and other things. He has more forgiveness and humility in his life. And it’s a better life.

    The dog is a secondary part of the story. I had just finished reading a fabulous true story about a dog before reading this. (The Dog Who Could Fly by D. Lewis) So I was a little disappointed with the dog part of this story. I wanted more man-dog relationship. The dog and man don’t meet until almost half way through the book. This story was less about the dog and more about a man with problems.

    The dog is a pit bull. He was raised in a cage and trained to fight and kill other dogs. This dog had better people skills than Adam. Even though the dog was never given love or care, somehow he instinctively knew that his doggie smile and calmness would get him better treatment from strange humans.

    PAIN AND THE ENDING:
    Something brutal and horrible happened to the dog. That “torture” was the main idea that stayed with me after reading the book. I wish the author had not done that. It totally took away from the story. The dog survived which gave us “the official happy ending” but it was a tear jerker. Not feel good. I was sad because the dog suffered.

    CLIFFHANGERS ANNOYED ME:
    The author annoyed me with cliffhangers at the end of scenes or chapters. For example, there is a major problem and then all of a sudden Adam gets a phone call with the answer or resolution. Then the author switches to another scene or topic before coming back and telling us who called and what was said. I don’t like being manipulated that way. I prefer scenes be finished to normal conclusions.

    DIVORCE SETTLEMENT:
    You’ll need to suspend disbelief on this one. The shrewd businessman gets nothing from the portfolio and none of the three houses?

    POINT OF VIEW:
    The chapters alternate between Adam’s and the dog’s point of view. Adam chapters are 3rd person. Dog chapters are 1st person. I usually don’t like 1st person, but this worked because it was easy to know whose mind we were in.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATORS:
    The narrators were very good. But note that Audible listed them incorrectly. The narrators are Fred Berman and Rick Adamson.

    Genre: men’s fiction, dog fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dog Who Could Fly: The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero Who Flew at His Side

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Damien Lewis
    • Narrated By Derek Perkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    An instant hit in the UK, this is the true account of a German shepherd who was adopted by the Royal Air Force during World War II, joined in flight missions, and survived everything from crash-landings to parachute bailouts-ultimately saving the life of his owner and dearest friend. In the winter of 1939 in the cold snow of no-man's-land, two loners met and began an extraordinary journey that would turn them into lifelong friends.

    Jane says: "4 ½ stars. Audiobook needs a pdf file for pictures"
    "4 ½ stars. Audiobook needs a pdf file for pictures"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow. Wonderful. Fantastic Story. True story about a dog and his loyalty and love with his owner.

    I was so captivated. Could not stop reading. A pilot Robert was shot down by the Germans in 1939. There he met abandoned puppy Antis who would die if not rescued. Robert crawled for hours to safety with the puppy in his shirt. This is one of those truth is stranger than fiction stories. Amazing things happen. It’s nonfiction but embellished with assumed/fictionalized dialogue. I liked the way that was done. It made it more enjoyable.

    The story is about the dog Antis from 1939 until Hitler surrendered in 1945. The epilogue states that Antis did some heroic things after the war during Robert’s travel from Communist occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain. That was one sentence. I wish the author wrote more about that.

    I’ve heard and read about psychic events here and there. I want to believe those things exist. And this book reinforces my belief. In one episode Robert is on a plane. Antis is at the base. At 1 am Robert is wounded. At that exact moment Antis began howling and grieving in a way he had not done before.

    TEARS:
    Antis died after a normal life span for a dog of fourteen years. Robert lived after that without Antis. At the end of the book I had a crying session. Antis lived a full life, but I still grieved.

    PICTURES:
    There are pictures in the physical book. I wish the author provided a downloadable pdf file for audiobook buyers.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    Derek Perkins did an excellent job.

    Genres: nonfiction, dog nonfiction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Double Indemnity

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By James M. Cain
    • Narrated By James Naughton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (54)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (30)

    Tautly narrated and excruciatingly suspenseful, Double Indemnity gives us an X-ray view of guilt, of duplicity, and of the kind of obsessive, loveless love that devastates everything it touches. First published in 1936, this novel reaffirmed James M. Cain as a virtuoso of the roman noir.

    Marv says: "a solid listen"
    "3 ½ stars."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not the kind of story I like to read, but it was different.

    It’s probably above average for readers who like hard-boiled crime fiction noir.

    It’s famous so I was curious. It’s told in first person by Walter Huff. At times he talks directly to the reader using the word “you.” Walter is an insurance salesman. He sounds like a good salesman – a smart guy. But he’s a dweeb or goof or something odd when it comes to love. He talks to a woman a couple times and claims he’s in love. Something happens and he is immediately out of love. He talks to another woman a couple times and says that is true love. And when he loves someone, murder is just something to do for them. Weird. But I like weird things.

    Although, his murder motive is not just for love. Huff claims the big score appeals to him. And since he’s an insurance guy he knows how to get around the problems.

    The main story is about two people planning a murder. They are the bad guys. We are never in the murder victim’s head. We are in the good guys’ heads just briefly – when we listen to insurance company executives discuss the insurance claim. That part was a little boring.

    I did not like the ending. It was disappointing and vague. I had to make assumptions. It was bad news for the bad guys, so I suppose that makes it a happy ending for good guys. But I wanted something more.

    This was written in 1935-36. There’s something neat about the dialogue. The writer did not grow up watching TV, movies, etc. So he sounds different from contemporary writers. I liked it. There is a directness about it.

    It is a third the length of a regular novel.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR:
    James Naughton was excellent.

    Genre: crime fiction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Reliquary: Pendergast, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2421)
    Performance
    (1511)
    Story
    (1504)

    Hidden deep beneath Manhattan lies a warren of tunnels, sewers, and galleries, mostly forgotten by those who walk the streets above. There lies the ultimate secret of the Museum Beast. When two grotesquely deformed skeletons are found deep in the mud off the Manhattan shoreline, museum curator Margo Green is called in to aid the investigation.

    Jim says: "An unsurpassed thrill ride"
    "2 ½ stars."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed book 1 (Relic) but this not so much. My mind wandered frequently.

    Book 1 was a complete story about a beast who killed humans. Book 2 is about beasts who are related to the beast in book 1. Book 2 has a lot of time in underground tunnels and with the homeless. The story and characters were not as good as book 1. The people, what they did, and their motivations did not interest me.

    In an interview the author Preston commented that "RELIQUARY was probably the least successful of the "Agent Pendergast" books.”

    The audiobook narrator Dick Hill was very good.

    Genre: science fiction suspense thriller.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Relic: Pendergast, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4129)
    Performance
    (2570)
    Story
    (2598)

    Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum's dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human. But the museum's directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders. Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who - or what - is doing the killing.

    Snoodely says: "Non-Perishable"
    "Good entertainment. Good fun."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There were a few stupidity parts (below). But I was willing to accept them because overall it was a good read.

    1. The good guys know the beast has an acute sense of hearing. They are hiding behind a door which has an opening covered in cardboard. The beast is on the other side of the door. Why are they whispering? The beast can hear them.

    2. There have been murders. All museum employees are told never go anywhere alone and leave the building at 5 pm. So why does one female go somewhere alone after 5 which puts her next to the beast?

    3. A security guard calls on the radio asking for backup because he heard a noise. The dispatcher laughs at him and makes fun of him saying are you scared? Of course the guard gets killed.

    AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR - David Colacci was good.

    Genre: science fiction suspense thriller.

    OTHER BOOKS:
    This is book #1 in the Pendergast series. So far there are 14 books in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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