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Tony B.

Shelburne, VT USA | Member Since 2007

  • 11 reviews
  • 83 ratings
  • 189 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2014

  • The Scarecrow

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paper to write the definitive murder story of his career. He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

    P. Giorgio says: "Depth & Breadth"
    "Great newsman fiction from Connelly"

    As a big fan of Audible's collection of Harry Bosch and Lucas Davenport novels (by Michael Connelly and John Sandford, respectively) I found this novel to be a very good continuation of Connelly's Bosch series. What really struck me as most impressive is the way Connelly has built a whole group of characters around the LA cop beat and newspaper scene. Bosch, of course, is at the center and gets an unnamed nod in the Scarecrow. There's another mention of Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, and Bosch's half-brother. But front and center in this book are LA Times reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI agent Rachael Walling. Both know Bosch, but it's their relationship and teamwork that really add the spark to this book. There's a creepy villain, as usual, and a couple of plot elements that the reader is privy to that the main characters have to discover the hard way. This book is classic Connelly in every way.

    The reader is very good and voices the characters very well. I found his voice very easy to listen to. The reason I only gave this four stars, though, is that there are some serious flaws in the direction of this product. The reader flubs several pronunciations, voices, and phrasings throughout the text. This is to be expected, after all the guy is doing 10+ hours of reading, but the director should catch these and suggest "we take that last paragraph again." The production is good, with excellent audio quality throughout and engaging snippets of suspenseful music at key points.
    I enjoyed this book a great deal. Classic Connelly.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Deliverance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By James Dickey
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

    karen says: ""A river runs through it...""
    "American Literature in an Adventure Genre"
    Any additional comments?

    I downloaded James Dickey's Deliverance because I'd never seen the movie and was looking for a relatively short, entertaining listen to fill the space between detective thrillers from Sandford, Burke, and others. Deliverance filled the bill nicely in giving me something to listen to, but came up relatively short on entertainment. I found the story to be engaging and if I was looking to have deep thoughts about the implications of one man's struggle against the wild and other men I probably would have enjoyed it more. In other words this novel is justifiably considered part of the body of American literature rather than a "beach read".

    The book really is all about the story and the implications of the protagonist's actions on his future and on the reader's thoughts. The characters themselves, other than the main character Ed, are at best very shallowly developed and at worst simply mute cardboard cutouts. The antogonists are hillbillies, not really the evil villain type; yes I get that it gives you something more to think about but I would prefer something more satisfying when they meet their fate. And for a novel set in a wild rapids river, there is very little action or suspense. Really as I was listening to it I just concluded, "This is really good writing and a decent story but it's not very exciting. Maybe it would do better if someone creative made it into a movie."

    That said, Will Patton's performance is beyond compare and for me, and is the high point of the audiobook. Patton narrates the Dave Robicheaux novels from James Lee Burke and his laconic, accented reading style suit both Burke's and this novel really perfectly.

    Bottom line, a decent listen especially if you like modern American literature in an adventure setting. For me, I can't wait to hit play on the latest novel from John Sandford, which just came out!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Two Graves

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    After his wife, Helen, is brazenly abducted before his eyes, Special Agent Pendergast furiously pursues the kidnappers, chasing them across the country and into Mexico. But then, things go terribly, tragically wrong; the kidnappers escape; and a shattered Pendergast retreats to his New York apartment and shuts out the world. But when a string of bizarre murders erupts across several Manhattan hotels, NYPD Lieutenant D'Agosta asks his friend Pendergast for help.

    G. House Sr. says: "Whiplash from the emotional rollercaster"
    "Excellent Conclusion to the Helen Trilogy"
    What did you like best about this story?

    An excellent wrap-up to the so-called Helen trilogy by Preston and Child. There is so much packed into this novel that it would be impossible to write a good review without giving away some aspect of the plot. Suffice it to say that many story lines going all the way back to the Enoch Leng "Cabinet of Curiosities" book are tied up and explained. All of tho old characters are here - at least the ones who haven't been killed off in prior novels. And even one who ... Oops. Plus some new faces that had me saying, "Wait! Did I know these people??"

    Rene Auberjonois simply IS the voice of A. Pendergast. His impeccable narration is the perfect complement to Preston/Childs' intricate plot and detailed writing.

    A most enjoyable listen indeed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Reversal: Harry Bosch, Book 16 (Mickey Haller, Book 3)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles

    Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.

    Andrew Pollack says: "Brilliantly executed"
    "Bosch, Haller, and McPherson Team Up"

    In this latest installment of the Harry Bosch/Mickey Haller series, author Michael Connelly weaves a "Law and Order" style tale. Haller has switched sides in the courtroom and is now a prosecuter, teamed with ex-wife Maggie "McFierce" McPherson. Mickey, retained for political purposes, brings in his half-brother Harry and the trio are off trying to bring cold-case murderer Jason Jessup to justice.

    I'm a fan of Connelly's work - The Lincoln Lawyer, the book in which Haller first showed up was my first Audible book. I thought he did a nice job with this one, weaving the well-known characters together and picking up Bosch's story where he left off at the end of last year's "9 Dragons". Connelly employs the same style as he did in the Bosch and Haller books before they knew each other: Bosch sections are narrated in the third person voice while Haller sections are told in first person. There are stubs of sub-plots in the personal interplay between Harry, Mickey, and Maggie - as well as their daughters - that are subtly done and clearly offer potential for future novels. The LA setting and LAPD involvement lend the same gritty urban background to this work as they do to Connelly's other Bosch/Haller books.

    As others have observed I was somewhat disappointed in the ending of this book and that is the reason I gave it four stars instead of five. Unlike Connelly's other books, this one has a slow build with the interplay between courtroom drama and street investigation that seems to end too abruptly and too easily. I actually listened to the climax of the story twice, though, because I wanted it to last longer. And I thought the overall resolution at the very end was a little less satisfying than it could have been as well.

    Production quality is up to Audible's usual high standard. Peter Giles does an excellent job of narration even though for me Len Cariou will forever be Harry Bosch's voice persona.

    Overall - nice job, good read for Bosch/Haller fans.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Prey: A Lucas Davenport Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Very early, 4:45, on a bitterly cold Minnesota morning, three big men burst through the door of a hospital pharmacy, duct-tape the hands, feet, mouth, and eyes of two pharmacy workers, and clean the place out. But then things swiftly go bad, one of the workers dies, and the robbers hustle out to their truck-and find themselves for just one second face-to-face with a blond woman in the garage: Weather Karkinnen, surgeon, wife of an investigator named Lucas Davenport.

    Erin says: "Entertaining & Edgy"
    "Sandford Back In Fine Form"

    John Sandford returns to his previous form in this new novel about Lucas Davenport and the Minnesote Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. All the elements of classic Sandford are here. A vicious crime and a gang of miscreant criminals. A Minnesota winter. A side plot that could be its own novel. Plenty of Davenport. Virgil Flowers. What more could a Prey fan ask for?

    I thought that a couple of Sandford's previous efforts, centered around a political convention held in Minneapolis, were really one book that had been split into two just because it could be. In other words, my view was that these two really should have been one book. But in Storm Prey, along with the last Virgil Flowers novel, Sandford has returned to the greatness he showed earlier in the series.

    This story is well told and moves along at a very nice pace. There is one key side plot, one or two incorrect roads that Davenport and the team take just to keep it realistic, and a couple of very clear recapitulations of the whole story at a couple of points so that the listener can keep it all straight.

    As usual the narration by Richard Ferrone is just excellent. I agree with a prior reviewer that Eric Conger's narration of the Flowers novels is a good switch for that series, but no one does Davenport like Ferrone. Others here have knocked his French accent - not hard to see why - but it really wasn't a big issue for me.

    Overall, thanks for another Prey novel. This one felt much more like the early books in the series to me. Good show! Five stars.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Bricklayer: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Noah Boyd
    • Narrated By Michael McConnohie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you're about to fail...and there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer. The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He's an ex-FBI agent who's been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable - and more deadly - by the hour.

    Lenne says: "Good story, very good narrator"
    "Joe Friday meets Kevin from Home Alone"

    I purchased this title from Audible right away after reading a glowing review in my local Sunday paper's book section. The review appeared right next to the NYT Best Seller list and the reviewer concluded his writing by saying he couldn't wait for more books in this new series.

    I found this book to be adequate but it won't be on the NYT best seller list any time soon and I don't think I'll be likely to purchase any future installments.

    The book's main character is a "retired" FBI agent who, in comparison with all of the book's other characters, has super powers of reasoning and physical prowess. The setup early in the book is promising but does in hindsight give away to book's very formulaic nature: retired agent gets pulled in by the very bureaucracy that drove him out in the first place and finds a way to overcome it once again to defeat the bad guy.

    There were two important aspects of this book that just didn't work for me. First the characters seem to be straight from the '60's or 70's and kind of comic bookish in nature. The female lead is especially curious: somehow she managed to become an FBI Assistant Director but gets weak in the knees when Our Hero (the bricklayer) is around. Most of the lines of their dialog (Her: "Bet you say that to all the girls who get shot around you.") are transparent attempts at witty flirtatious banter but are just hard to take. Second, I found the many "traps" set by the bad guy to be just too improbable. Worse yet, Our Hero knows that things are being set up but just continues to walk into danger and somehow cleverly escape. The first time is not bad but after this happens about five times it seems kind of unrealistic.

    The narrator is good in a 1950's tough guy kind of way and there are no notable production glitches. I finished the book because it does pick up a little near the end. For those interested in this genre, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rough Country: A Virgil Flowers Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Virgil's always been known for having a somewhat active, er, social life, but he's probably not going to be getting too many opportunities for that during his new case. While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, he gets a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort.

    Ruby says: "Extraordinary Plot Twists"
    "Sandford Does Not Disappoint as Flowers Blooms"

    Sorry, couldn't resist. When Sandford first spun off the Virgil Flowers novels, my reaction as a dedicated Davenport fan was "oh no, please don't distract your efforts from the next Davenport novel!" I listened to the first Flowers novel (Heat Lightning?), though, and really enjoyed it. This latest story is no different. As always, Sandford spins a complex plot with an unknown killer in an unusual situation in the Minnesota north country.

    As is often the case in Sandford's work, there are many characters and while they give the novel a sense of reality and complexity it is somewhat difficult to keep track of them all (a special challenge for an audiobook). In my view the way many of the characters are in the spotlight for a short time and then kind of fade away quickly leads too strongly to the real villain by a simple process of elimination in the reader's mind. That said, though, I really did not figure this one out until Virgil did. And when that key clue came to light - mentioned almost in passing - there was an AHA! moment that made the whole book worthwhile. And there was a twist at the very end in one of the book's key sub-plots that really got me. Others will see this coming but for me it was a bolt from the blue that again made the book really enjoyable.

    Eric Conger does a perfect job of the narration. For me his voice is now as much a part of Virgil Flowers as Richard Ferrone's voice is of Lucas Davenport. Production is flawless, well directed, and clear and easy to listen to.

    If Sandford holds to his usual cadence there'll be another Davenport story to listen to later this year, and another Flowers story at the beginning of 2011. I already can't wait. Thanks Audible for bringing back one of my favorites.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Paranoia: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Joseph Finder
    • Narrated By Scott Brick

    Adam Cassidy is twenty-six and a low level employee at a high-tech corporation who hates his job. When he manipulates the system to do something nice for a friend, he finds himself charged with a crime. Corporate Security gives him a choice: prison or become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor, Trion Systems.

    Karen says: "Clever and interesting."
    "A Willing Suspension of Disbelief ..."

    ... although normally a criterion reserved for sci-fi, is a prerequisite to enjoy this book. It's an attempt at high-tech fiction but the scenarios and characters' actions are so implausible that it borders on science fiction. The book begins with an action on the part of the protaganist, Adam Cassidy, that is pretty unbelievable. Amazingly, this act is never really questioned, challenged, or explained but it forms the basis for the entire plot development. As the plot develops, its twists are fairly predictable and it's not too hard to see the ending coming from about two-thirds of the way through the book. When the ending does come, though, it is ultimately rather unsatisfying and the literal end of the book is so abrupt that one would think the author ran out of paper for his typewriter ... or space on is hard drive, or whatever. I was left wondering what happened to the characters after the ending.
    All that said, though, I did not have any trouble hanging in through the end of the book. For all its predictability and cardboard-cutout characters, the plot is somewhat engaging and interesting. The author drops in a few realistic industry terms, leading me to believe he was either employed in high-tech at one time or did enough research in the area to at least know some of the lingo.
    I found the reader to be acceptable, not the best but not the worst either; good voicing and dynamics. Not hard to listen to.
    Overall I would say this was a bit of a guilty pleasure to listen to. I could tell that it was bad but didn't mind finishing it through to the end and even enjoyed it a little. But readers who are insistent on plausibility and well-researched characters and scenarios (think Michael Crichton or Dan Brown) will likely be disappointed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wicked Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Republicans are coming to St. Paul for their convention. Throwing a big party is supposed to be fun, but crashing the party are a few hard cases the police would rather have stayed away. Chief among them is a crew of professional stick-up men who've spotted several lucrative opportunities, ranging from political moneymen with briefcases full of cash to that armored-car warehouse with the weakness in its security system.

    Tony B. says: "Another winner for Davenport fans"
    "Another winner for Davenport fans"

    I have listened to many of the Davenport novels from Audible as well as Sandford's companion Flowers series. From reading prior reviews I expected to be a satisfied Sandford returning customer and I was not disappointed. This story moves along quickly and is not difficult to stay with as long as you don't try to remember all the details of each character (of which there are many, as other reviewers have pointed out). There are two weaknesses that I saw here, which I agree on with other negative reviewers. There is a lot of profanity and violence; for sure this is characteristic of the Davenport/Flowers novels and if you don't like that then you won't like this book. Second, and more importantly, the plot is a little thin ... this book is tied in very closely with the last Davenport and Flowers novels in the series and it almost feels like Sandford was trying to crank out as much as possible in as short a time as he could. I would have liked to seen a little more intricacy in the plot line. That said, though, I liked the book and would recommend it and purchase it again.
    No review of this book or the other Prey novels would be complete without mention of Richard Ferrone's narration. Ferrone's voice is perfect for these stories. He can portray the bad guys really eerily and gets the tough good guys nailed. His voice sounds like he's been gargling with gunpowder and it's perfect for these books. With this novel I found that I was looking forward to more Richard Ferrone as much as I was to more John Sandford and Lucas Davenport.
    Overall a great combination. In spite of some weaknesses, five stars.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Without Due Process: J. P. Beaumont Series, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By J. A. Jance
    • Narrated By Gene Engene
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    J. P. Beaumont must find the killers of an entire family before they get to his five-year-old eyewitness, who was hiding in a closet at the murder scene.

    Stephanie says: "another great listen from this duo"
    "Good solid police mystery but Harry Bosch it ain't"

    This was a pretty good listen and I personally enjoyed it enough to stay with it through to the end. The characters are engaging enough so that I can see how Jance has kept this series going all these years. The story line is interesting but not riveting. I would definitely recommend this for listening to especially for folks who might find Connolly or Sandford novels a little rough. Gene Engene does a nice job of reading, his style fits the characters well. The voices are a little contrived and it's kind of like listening to ten hours of a Wilfred Brimley oatmeal or life insurance commercial. If you like that style, you'll really enjoy Engene' reading. For me personally I would choose the Davenport or Bosch novels over this series. I have listened to many of those and their plots really crackle along in comparison to Beaumont's. Due partially to Engene's reading style and partially to Jance's writing, Beaumont comes off as kind of a geezer - even though at one point in the book he talks about his "oncoming middle age". He makes many more references, though, the the bone spurs in his feet and how much pain he's in. Another point to mention about this book: this particular episode is getting a little long in the tooth. Here we have "newfangled" cell phones and a fax machine as an example of the latest technology. The fact that the story is interesting at all is testament to Jance's solid characters and Engene's interesting reading style. There is a little bit of graphic description of the murder scene in the beginning of the book, and a few mild swear words throughout - nothing like the Connolly or Sandford books in this regard. Some folks might find this appealing but for me personally it kind of lent to the overall "geezer-lit" feel and made the police drama seem a little less realistic. Overall: not great, not bad, might recommend starting with one of the newer books in this series though if you were going to give it a try

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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