Very good suspense. The ending was barely happy enough for me. This is not a fun and entertaining read. It’s suspense. We get to know many people in the town of Jerusalem’s Lot, which is well done and interesting. Good dialogue and events. I needed to take notes to remember them all, which I didn’t mind. The vampire Barlow and his human servant Straker are bad. But the thing that upset me the most was the mother who beat her ten-month-old baby. Other unpleasant people included a mean bus driver who would unfairly force some kids to walk home, and the married woman who sexually enticed a 22-year-old telephone line worker. He was reluctant to have sex with her, but she was difficult to refuse. There are many negative people but also some good people.
My favorite part was 11-year-old Mark. He was into comic books and monster action figures. Instead of disbelief when he sees the first vampire, he immediately plans to trick it by inviting the vampire in and then presses a crucifix to the vampire’s skin. (I’m shaking my head that he just assumed what was in his comic books would work. What if these real life vampires were different from his comic books? But what he did worked! Wow!) There were several situations where Mark was surprised with danger and reacted and attacked in his own unexpected way. I was impressed! He was at the age of kow-kapow-attack-back instead of cautious thinking or fearful hiding or fleeing. I was considering 3 ½ stars for this book, but Mark is the reason I rounded to 4 stars.
WHAT WAS MISSING?
I wanted a more complete ending. I wanted more about the survivors at the end - something toward their future.
The prologue is about 16 pages. It’s better to read after the book not before. Reading it before the book raised questions and was not helpful. After the book I went back and read the prologue and it made sense and I felt good about it.
CAUTION SPOILERS (This is what I wanted to know before I read the book):
When many people are killed or turned into vampires, it’s not as depressing as one might expect. Partly because there’s not much grief or time spent on good people being hurt. In the end Straker and Barlow are stopped which was important to me. As to other happy ending issues, some good guys died, but other good guys survived.
The narrator of the book is Ron McLarty and he does a good job. I love the Audible narrator who introduces the book at the beginning of the tape - don’t know his name. He’s much better than other Audible introducers.
DIFFERENT EDITIONS OF SALEM’S LOT:
If you plan to read the physical book (not the audiobook) I suggest you buy the Illustrated Edition published in 2004 and/or later. It has deleted scenes at the end which are not in the audiobook. Other reviewers liked them. One of those scenes is about a gang of rats in a basement. That was not in this audiobook.
Genre: paranormal suspense
Good plot with abusive husband. Narrator not for me.
A good story about ordinary people who turn into something different but they are still ordinary.
Two stories are told. 1: Dolores is married to an abusive man. I loved her strength about it. I loved what she did to make him stop hitting her. I wonder if more women could do that.
She threatened to hurt him while he slept, and he believed her. Of course I did not like that she was forced to kill him, but it was a good story about how and why she did it.
2: Dolores works as a housekeeper for wealthy woman Vera. Vera becomes bedridden and Dolores becomes her caretaker. Vera was mean. I liked hearing about their relationship: ordinary people doing un-ordinary things.
I enjoyed the first story more than the second. I want happy endings, and this barely squeaked by as happy enough for me.
The entire story is told in first person which I did not like. Dolores is telling her story to the local constable/police-guy Andy. It was hard to lose myself in the story because of that.
The actress narrating had an elderly voice which fit the character (Dolores is 65 when telling her story), but it wasn’t pleasant. There was a grating quality to it. I prefer a softer voice.
Genre: relationships fiction, abused women
Characters were nice people but not compelling enough for a story.
My mind kept wandering. A lot of conversation about ordinary things. Characters did not interest or intrigue me. Stella likes to organize and manage things. Logan is creative and artistic with his landscaping but appears disorganized in other things. I wasn’t drawn to the relationship. The sex scenes didn’t do anything for me.
The plot surrounding the ghost was not well developed and not finished. They hired someone to go through old records to discover the story behind the ghost. He started, but the book ended before he worked on it.
The narrator Susie Breck was ok.
Genre: contemporary romance with a little paranormal
This doesn’t have the wow or really out-there with the unexpected, but it was enjoyable and entertaining.
Dev is a 21-year-old college student taking a summer job at an amusement park. I liked reading about the people he met and the things he did. There’s a little mystery, a little paranormal, a scary part with a killer, some unexpected things, and a happy end. My thoughts were Stephen King sure is a good story teller - even after all these years.
The cover with a frightened sexy redhead does not fit the feel of the book.
The narrator Michael Kelly was very good. His voice sounded like a 21-year-old which fit the story well. I wondered what his accent was. He said contractions in a way I wasn’t used to, for example the word didn’t: I say dident, he says didnet.
Genre: mystery and general fiction with paranormal
A bunch of people make stupid assumptions which dragged the story, but great job on the monster (dog).
I really enjoyed the first half - getting to know various local people with different stories. For example: a guy who drinks too much. When he sees his friend the dog he says “Hello you son of a whore.” I like watching people say and do things I never would.
The second half has Cujo imprisoning Donna and her son in the car in the heat for a couple of days - growing closer and closer to death I was frustrated during that part because everyone was making stupid assumptions. No one did anything smart. I don’t mind some characters doing stupid things, but this was too many. The dog was the smart one. All the other characters are questioning or saying I wonder where so and so is. Or I wonder why this or that. And then someone else says oh it’s probably such and such. So the first person says you’re probably right and does nothing. As a result, no one visits the farm which would save Donna’s life. The cops, the husband, the dog owners, the mailman, the neighbors. Everyone assumes something that keeps them from going to the farm. I felt impatient.
The ending was partly happy, but also sad.
I rounded to 4 stars because it’s a creative, amazing idea for a monster - the huge rabid dog. I liked that we were in the dog’s mind at times. That was a treat. I loved the way the author developed and described local people, their motivations, feelings, and actions. I laughed at the way the author wrote about the imaginary monster in the closet scaring the little kid.
I did not like the narrator Lorna Raver. Her voice sounded elderly, gravely, and at times irritating. The most irritating was when she spoke as Tad being whiny or scared.
Genre: suspense thriller
I’ve loved some of Koontz’s books: Watchers, Lightning, and Intensity. This book was not for me. I couldn’t read it all. I read the first third and the last several chapters. The entire story (from what I read) is the guy Mitch and his wife being helpless victims. It starts with the bad guy kidnaping Mitch’s wife and making it look like Mitch killed his wife. The bad guy then forces Mitch to do things. Mitch was a helpless victim throughout the book. Finally at the end, with a moment of luck, there’s a happy ending for Mitch and his wife. The author does not tell what happened with the money, police, and other things at the end.
This book was similar to Velocity because of the helpless victim throughout the book. Velocity had a killer planting evidence on the guy’s property multiple times and threatening to call the cops each time. I didn’t like either one of these stories. I prefer the protagonist be able to have some control over something. I want a different plot.
The narrator Holter Graham was good.
Genre: suspense thriller
At the end my feeling was: not a wow, but very fulfilling.
I’ve read 13 books by Nora Roberts. I was averaging 3 ½ stars for her books written in the 1990s. But then I gave 4 ½ stars to Angels Fall (2006) and now to this (published 2012). Is she getting better? I’m surprised. Too many authors seem to tire out or write repeats of the same stuff after a while. Not Ms. Roberts. Maybe I’ve been picking the wrong books to read. But now, I’m going to look for more.
The best part was “the characters.” I was sooo drawn to Liz/Abigail. A favorite trope for me is a smart woman, who overcomes odds, and is not a helpless victim. I loved her vulnerabilities and her strengths. I liked reading about her, thinking about her, and listening to her. I pictured the author losing herself in the character Liz, to come up with such fitting dialogue. Brooks was so fun. He was oblivious to her walls. He just kept pursuing her, chipping away at her walls.
This story has wonderful relationship development. It has good guys doing smart things to outwit bad guys. Bad guys do smart things too. I like that the author did not use stupidity. Instead the author had a character’s personality with weaknesses cause conflict, not just doing something stupid.
The narrator Julia Whelan was very good.
Genre: romantic suspense
but it did not work for me. The narrator made it worse.
It was dragging and dragging. Finally at about half way through I stopped reading and jumped to the last two chapters.
I might have liked it better if I were reading as opposed to listening. The narrator used a strong Croatian accent and an Icelandic accent. The accents were not enjoyable. There’s a reason TV anchors sound the same - it’s pleasant for the majority of the population.
There was one scene I found funny. Andro was a crazy gay boy who jerked off two men at the same time, one Serbian, one Croatian. The author said “It was the strangest image I have from that f***ing war. If we had gay nations there would be less wars.”
I did not like the ending. The main guy/narrator is shot. We don’t know if he lives or dies. It was not funny.
The title is misleading because it is such a minor part of the story. Toxic enters a girl’s messy home to hideout. He cleans it before she arrives home.
Genre: humorous crime fiction
Don’t do the audiobook - terrible narrator. Read the paperback or ebook.
Sadie and her children spend the summer with Aunt Dody and cousins. Sadie is recently divorced. She doesn’t want a new relationship, but she is attracted to Dody’s gorgeous neighbor Desmond.
I really enjoyed this. I smiled a lot. I liked being in Sadie’s head. I loved her interaction with her cousin Fontaine, a gay interior decorator. I enjoyed the developing relationship with Desmond. This was not a powerful wow story. It’s a pleasant, everyday people around you kind of story. There were several conflicts caused by Sadie making inaccurate assumptions and jumping to wrong conclusions. Those were nicely done. But one of them bothered me - toward the end Sadie was mad at Des for something that she should not have been mad about.
Sadie has some low self image problems and does some silly things. I was fine with that, but some readers might prefer a stronger heroine. This book has a chick lit feel, but it does have a romantic happy ending. Although I wish there were more romance and declaration of love at the end.
The narrator Lori Reyes was a huge problem. She had a terrible, high-pitched screechy voice for Dody and the children. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard. I cringed every time she used that voice. She would be a good narrator if she NEVER raised her voice to a higher pitch. Her natural voice and low voice for men was good.
Genre: contemporary romance, divorce
but the second half is exciting, engaging, and felt good at the end.
A lot of the story is cliched characters - done too many times before and predictable. The Vice President had no brains and followed whatever his smarmy chief of staff (Dallas King) told him to do. Dallas made all decisions based on polls, public opinion, and future election possibilities rather than something intelligent. Those parts pulled the story down - made it drag.
The bad guy was evil in all ways - and then lucky when things went wrong. I was annoyed with how easily he got away. His actions have been done before, nothing special or different.
But, the parts with Mitch Rapp were excellent fun. The last half was best, when Mitch was making decisions and taking action. Mitch is the smart, effective, undercover guy. His physical description - he won the triathlete Ironman competition.
A few times the author annoyed me with too much jumping around in the middle of crisis scenes. I’d prefer some of them completed rather than interrupted. For example, a good guy is secretly doing something near a bad guy. Then the scene switches to military leaders elsewhere discussing what to do. The author was artificially drawing out suspense. Not all of this was bad, but when I get mad at the author and think about the author in the middle of a story, then it’s not good.
The ending was rushed. I wanted more development of things.
I had trouble deciding between 3 and 4 stars. I finally went with 3 because I don’t have any desire to read more in the series. This was a tough call, because the last half was clearly 4 stars.
The narrator Nick Sullivan was good.
Genre: action suspense thriller, terrorist
I was angry at the author for one part. He had good characters do something bad that did not fit their motivations. It was unreasonable and illogical for those “good” characters to do what they did. Some good guys attacked someone, tied him, and took him to a remote location. He believed they were going to kill him. The guy escaped - barely. Later he learned they just wanted to talk to him. Well, why did they tie him? It felt like a trick by the author to mislead the reader.
The book has a lot of fear, anxiety, and stress. But most of this is done by having bad cops or FBI threatening and hurting civilians (like planting evidence and threatening jail) (or bad cop forces A to do something and when the regular cops arrive bad cop says “I’m a cop he’s the bad guy”). I’m ok with stories about bad cops, but it seemed like the easy way to provide stress. I prefer being surprised or seeing someone do something smart. I didn’t feel that here. I didn’t have any wow moments. The kinds of things in this book are the kinds of things done a lot.
Minor plot annoyance. Good guys talk to a woman. Woman says that when she saw Fowler, he was with another man. Good guys should have asked the woman to describe the other man. They did not. They left. (I was shaking my head. That’s not smart.) Later in the story they go back to the woman and ask her to describe the man.
I wasn’t drawn to the characters. I wasn’t buying their relationship. Elmore Leonard did it so much better in “Out of Sight”, escaped con flirts with and interacts with female US marshall.
The narrator Christopher Graybill was ok, but some of his voices were irritating.
Genre: mystery suspense
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