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James

Sterling, VA, United States | Member Since 2007

ratings
26
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
1

  • The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine: An eShort

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Ballard and his considerably younger lover, Sandrine, have been brought together by a shared erotic obsession of the darkest kind. As they travel down a remote part of the Amazon River on a luxurious yacht, they spend their days indulging in their macabre pastime. Through a haze of pain and pleasure, the lovers are witness to a series of increasingly sinister portents, dreams and visions that haunt their claustrophobic and disturbing world. With Peter Straub's signature, breathtaking twists and an astonishing climax, you'll never forget The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine.

    James says: "Very Incomplete Story, Major Editing Error"
    "Very Incomplete Story, Major Editing Error"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Ballad of Ballard and Sandrine better?

    The ending came completely out of the blue and, although it was, for lack of a better word, macabre, it lacked any punch whatsoever. It was simply too strange and too tenuously connected to the main body of the story to have the desired, spine-chilling effect. Additionally, either Audible or the publisher made a major editing error, namely, by repeating verbatim the section entitled 1982. I verified this by checking the ebook version. All in all, this is not worth the money and certainly not worth a credit.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Peter Straub again?

    Yes. I liked both Black House and the Talisman, Straub's collaborations with Stephen King, and I have read, though not listened to, Floating Dragon, which I also liked. Straub is one of those authors who can tell a very good, rich story, when he wants to, but he also seems to be a bit too enamored with his own talent at times and to pitch his writing more toward the professional literary critic crowd rather than the intelligent reader of good fiction who nevertheless doesn't feel the need to untangle an extremely intricate plot while reading a good book for fun.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    He didn't do a particularly great job with Sandrine's voice, and his presentation made both characters come across as relatively pretentious, which, perhaps, was acurate.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I know Straub is capable of doing much better than this, and, of course, there is absolutely no excuse for the massive editing error mentioned above.


    Any additional comments?

    Steer clear of this one. Buy the ebook, if you really want to read it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Koko: Blue Rose Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (107)
    Story
    (110)

    KOKO. Only four men knew what it meant. Now they must stop it. They are Vietnam vets — a doctor, a lawyer, a working stiff, and a writer. Very different from each other, they are nonetheless linked by a shared history and a single shattering secret. Now, they have been reunited and are about to embark on a quest that will take them from Washington, D.C., to the graveyards and fleshpots of the Far East to the human jungle of New York.

    bionichands says: "7 hours in and I am done"
    "A Decent Book In Need of a Much Harsher Editor"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I generally like Straub's work, although he has been known to lard on the back story far more than necessary. As some of the other reviewers have already pointed out, Straub does this in Koko as well, though I found the back story itself, much of which consists of flashbacks to the experiences of various characters in Vietnam, to be interesting in its own right. I did not find these flashbacks hard to follow, though I could see how some readers might. However, I hit the point about a third or so into the book when I started wondering whether there would ever be anything resembling suspense in it. There is some suspense, especially toward the end of the book, but Straub has done far better both by himself (Floating Dragon, for instance) and in collaboration with Stephen King. The narrator was solid, but he lacked gravitas, and his emphasis in reading certain sentenses simply did not fit the context very well. All in all, I would recommend this book with some reservations to those who can listen at double speed or faster, so that the first seven or so hours take closer to four.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shining

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Campbell Scott
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2137)
    Performance
    (1989)
    Story
    (2011)

    Jack Torrance's new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he'll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote...and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

    Kristin says: "Don't expect the movie..."
    "A Great Supernatural Story with a Slow Start"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Shining starts off somewhat more slowly than many of King's other works, but it is more than worth pushing through the initial chapters to get to the meat of the plot, which revolves around the growing sense of dread and ultimately much worse visited upon the Torrance family by certain not very nice spirits inhabiting the Overlook Hotel, an isolated playground for the rich and aimless in the Colorado Rockies, where Jack Torrance, the father, is hired to serve as winter caretaker. Although there are some heart-pounding horror story moments, the reason this book shines, as it were, is the depth of the characters and their attempt to make the best of an increasingly gloomy and ultimately perilous situation. Few writers can do character development in the midst of a story featuring the supernatural as well as King can, and even fewer can make a five-year-old kid one of the heroes of a novel without coming across as overly sentimental and fluffy. Scott does a solid job narrating this book, although some of his regional accents were less than convincing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2309)
    Performance
    (2065)
    Story
    (2047)

    Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

    DMT says: "My favorite Reacher story yet"
    "Another fast-paced Reacher Thriller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Never Go Back the most enjoyable?

    Dick Hill is a solid, though not spectacular, narrator, but the story grabs you right away and keeps pulling you along as if you were holding onto a runaway train for dear life. Although Reacher is widely seen as primarily an action hero who beats down every bad guy he finds--and indeed he does a good job of doing this when he needs to--his attractiveness as a character comes from a combination of this tough-guy exterior with a very sharp, analytical mind that can crack difficult cases. He is not simply a muscle-bound avenger, and if Child wanted to, he could easily write several more Reacher books as compelling as the first 18.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The book begins with Reacher taking down a couple thugs supposedly sent to run him off by certain, at this point unknown, figures in the military, and it just gets better from there. I would, however, recommend reading some of the prior Reacher books before this one to get a sense of his character and background, but if you haven't, then this book will stil be a fun thrill ride.


    What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

    He did all the characters and accents reasonably well, and his pacing matched that of the plot.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Reacher books aren't particularly moving in an emotional sense. They're just fun.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is well worth a credit, but to be honest, you may as well buy it in print, if you don't have the credits to spend on it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Stand

    • UNABRIDGED (47 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6320)
    Performance
    (5580)
    Story
    (5629)

    This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.

    Meaghan says: "My First Completed Stephen King Novel"
    "The best post-apocalyptic novel I have read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, without any reservations. If you like dark, although by no means unrelentingly dark, fiction with vivid, truly lifelike characters, a classic clash between good and evil, albeit with some nuances, a lot of death and destruction, and some, but not a ridiculous amount, of supernatural activity, then you will love this book. The narration was solid without being truly great, but the narrator did not detract from the story and did some, though not all, of the regional accents quite well.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Stand?

    There was a memorable moment in virtually every listening hour of this book. For whatever reason, I found the appearance of a character called the Trashcan Man to be particularly memorable. He was, at once, a destructive, nihilistic figure, but to call him evil would be an oversimplification. He did not so much want to hurt people as simply to watch things burn and explode, and he had a compelling psychological back story.


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Gardner did the best job with the New England accents, so probably Fran's father.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, several moments, especially toward the end. I will not discuss them to avoid spoiling the plot, but I will say that this book touches upon a wide range of facets of the human condition, everything from small-minded bigotry and viciousness to the insecurities of unpopular teenagers to the struggle to love and serve an often harsh and inscrutible god.


    Any additional comments?

    I am a Stephen King fan, but even if you don't care for the horror genre or all the childish fantasy nonsense on the market these days, this is a truly worthwhile listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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