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Mike

Semi retired / worked mostly Nonprofits. Lv Blues into Rock & Roll Lv mysteries (mstly Pol procs) Lv Baseball / Played til 55 - umpd til 63

Bethesda, MD, United States | Member Since 2005

81
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 39 ratings
  • 433 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
2

  • The Gun Seller

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Hugh Laurie
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (173)
    Story
    (172)

    Cold-blooded murder just isn't Thomas Lang's cup of tea. Offered a bundle to assassinate an American industrialist, he opts to warn the intended victim instead - a good deed that soon takes a bad turn. Quicker than he can down a shot of his favorite whiskey, Lang is bashing heads with a Buddha statue, matching wits with evil billionaires, and putting his life (among other things) in the hands of a bevy of femme fatales. Up against rogue CIA agents, wannabe terrorists, and an arms dealer looking to make a high-tech killing, Lang's out to save the leggy lady he has come to love...and prevent an international bloodbath to boot.

    connie says: "May he write on!"
    "Not Fair"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Disclaimer: I'm a major Hugh Laurie fan. I enjoyed Fry & Laurie, found his portrayal of House good and better than the series, to say nothing of his fabulous album.

    This is a wonderful listen. A good tale, with quite a bit of humor. What is interesting is that Laurie has, so far, resisted the temptation to write "the next chapter".

    Again, if you enjoy a fun read, that will drive you to the turn the next page, this is a pick for you.

    I have to wonder if it might have been even better, if Laurie had done the narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Talking to the Dead: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Harry Bingham
    • Narrated By Siriol Jenkins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (84)

    At first, the murder scene appears sad, but not unusual: a young woman undone by drugs and prostitution, her six-year-old daughter dead alongside her. But then detectives find a strange piece of evidence in the squalid house: the platinum credit card of a very wealthy - and long dead - steel tycoon. What is a heroin-addicted hooker doing with the credit card of a well-known and powerful man who died months ago? This is the question that the most junior member of the investigative team, Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths, is assigned to answer.

    mindusq says: "Not the best thing I've ever read, but..."
    "Buy this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is very difficult to write a review of a book, like this. I almost don't know who to credit more, the author or the narrator. Frankly, if it were allowed, I'd give many more than 5 stars.

    Trying not to provide a spoiler (very difficult), in what should be a pretty straightforward procedural, I suddenly find myself looking at this more as a character study, or a series of such that comes to a not unexpected and logical conclusion...just not the one I was expecting.

    Ms. Jenkins provides the absolute right voice for a young heroine trying to find herself and her voice in a situation for which she was not brought up or, for that matter, educated.

    At this point, I can only hope that this is the start of a series. It is certainly valid as a stand-alone, but I want to know more about our detective, who has the potential to out Morse Morse.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Big Silence

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Stuart M. Kaminsky
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    The Big Silence takes Lieberman and his Irish partner, Bill Hanrahan - the Rabbi and the Priest, as they are known on the streets - on a journey that will test their consciences to the limit. When the young son of an informant in a governmental witness protection program is kidnapped and a grisly death occurs, they will have to make some hard choices to make things right. Told with compassion and with the keen insight into the human psyche, The Big Silence is gritty, compelling...and unforgettable.

    Mike says: "Better than most police procedurals"
    "Better than most police procedurals"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I almost cannot express how much I enjoyed the story. Between the cops relating the daily grind of working the streets, finding "solutions" to crimes/events and having lives to live, without fabulous looking babes with DD bras, 22" waists, and faces that belong in a fashion magazine, but realistic personal demons it really provides a view of what it must be like to be a cop in Chicago (or any big city).

    On the other hand, the narration was somewhere between irksome and awful. The narrator's voice is fine, but the mispronunciations are totally inexcusable. I understand the difficulty of pronouncing seldom used words/phrases like "Alte Kakker" ( see: Michael Wex to better understand). On the other hand, words like "Kippah" (Hebrew, not Yiddish) is pronounced "Key-pah" not "Kehpa". That should have been caught. What is worse, if you've ever lived in Chicago, is Devon Avenue. The county in England is pronounced "Devvon", as did the narrator. The street in Chicago is pronounced D'von. There are many other examples of this sort of seriously bothersome mistake.

    Of all of the audio books I've listened to, this is the worst, by far, example of this sort of problem. I don't know if the problem is purely the narrator or that no one from Audiobooks or the publisher is not double checking, but it was bad and frequent enough to spoil the listening experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Pattern Crimes: Foreign Detective, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By William Bayer
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    It begins when the strangely marked body of a young prostitute is found just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. A similarly disfigured corpse of an American nun turns up. Then an Arab boy. As the list of victims grows, their only apparent connection is the bizarre markings on their bodies, it appears that Israel is facing its first serial murder case.

    Literaryxplorer says: "Fabulous!"
    "It's Complicated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I do have one, sort of, gripe with the narrator. There are 1/2 dozen characters with Russian accents. The problem is that in the narration, there is very little distinction between the characters. Since it probably would have been nearly impossible to provide enough differentiation between the various voices to make each individual. I think that the only answer would have been to use different narrators.

    As to the story, I enjoyed it immensely. Of course, I'm relatively familiar with Israeli, Middle East, and Jewish history and the variety of belief systems within the spectrum of Judaism. As to the politics and alliances within Israel, I don't completely understand them, but then I'm confident that even the journalists that comment on these sectors, to say nothing of the various governmental analysts (no matter which country) have no true handle on what goes on. In other words, it could easily be amazingly confusing for many readers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Every Dead Thing

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By John Connolly
    • Narrated By Jeff Harding
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (29)

    Former NYPD detective Charlie "Bird" Parker is on the verge of madness. Tortured by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, he is a man consumed by guilt, regret, and the desire for revenge. When his former partner asks him to track down a missing girl, Parker finds himself drawn into a world beyond his imagining - one where 30 year old killings remain shrouded in fear and lies, a world where the ghosts of the dead torment the living....

    Mike says: "Horrible narration"
    "Horrible narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I actually enjoyed the book. It was classic Connolly, with maybe even a bit of Dave Robicheaux's South Louisiana tossed in, for good measure. Not great literature, but a much better than average detective novel.

    The real problem was with the narrator. Yes, I know that he made no real attempt to add a serious Louisiana accent, and I can deal with that, since some accents are very tough to get right. Or, in the case of a Scottish accent, if you get it right, the narration is totally unintelligible. The problem is that there were 1/2 dozen words that he completely mispronounced. Since some of them were place names and not just N'Awleans, but when he mispronounces Metarie, Ponchartrain, etc. and they are words/place names that come up repeatedly, it's like fingernails on a chalk board. It should have been basic research to check on those names.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Wings of Fire: Ian Rutledge, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Samuel Gillies
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (113)

    When reclusive war poet Olivia Marlowe and her half-brother, Nicholas Cheney, die together in their ancestral home on the Cornish coast, it looks like suicide. The grieving relatives gather together to discuss the fate of Barcombe Hall, when another shocking death occurs. Inspector Rutledge, who is still shell-shocked from his experiences in the Great War, is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate. Rutledge is soon convinced that the answers to this baffling case lie within the family’s secret history.

    Mike says: "Both History and Mystery"
    "Both History and Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Todd writes the tale of a detective, back from the First World War and struggling with his own demons. As a "Who Dun It", this book stands on its own. Without throwing out unnecessary Red Herrings, Todd keeps the question of the perpetrator (if there really is one) up in the air until very close to the end.

    Even better, he paints a, presumably, accurate picture of rural English life between the wars. I've spent much time studying that period, but only as a historian. I, more or less, understand the economic forces that drove events. The personalities that dominated the country are part of my every day vocabulary. To read about the lives and attitudes of those who lived there and then, how they looked at those returning from the war, how they lived with a changing world and where they would look for leadership.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Dissolution: A Novel of Tudor England Introducing Matthew Shardlake

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By C. J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (761)
    Performance
    (655)
    Story
    (662)

    This riveting debut set in 1534 England secured C. J. Sansom’s place “among the most distinguished of modern historical novelists” (P. D. James). When Henry VIII’s emissary is beheaded at an English monastery, hunchbacked lawyer Matthew Shardlake is dispatched to solve the crime. But as he uncovers a cesspool of sin, three more murders occur - and Matthew may be the next target.

    Grcla says: "Very good"
    "Not a pleasant place and time to live"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was a history major in college, with an emphasis on other than US history. I spent serious time studying medieval and post-medieval history, did major papers on the development of the British navy. Of course, most of what I studied was the actions and lives of "those who mattered". Remembering that this is not a nonfiction book, it is a good window into that time and place.

    What it does is provide a fun read, with a number of not too predictable twists and even better, a picture of part of what life was like in an area away from the action, at a time when the world was in more turmoil than even today.

    This is certainly worth a listen, on a number of levels.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Moon Over Soho: Peter Grant, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (708)
    Performance
    (653)
    Story
    (651)

    Body and soul. The song. That's what London constable and sorcerer's apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho's 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body - a sure sign that something about the man's death was not at all natural but instead supernatural. Body and soul - they're also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho.

    Tango says: "Very Entertaining"
    "More of a good thing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, I'm getting better at understanding English, as opposed to American. But...there are a number of "pop" references that I had to think about or check on. Maybe I'm getting too old, but it was worth it.

    The narrator's ability to use different voices remains a virtual wonder, particularly as more characters are introduced into the arc of the story.

    After reading this, 2nd in the series, I can't emphasize enough the advise that you read the series, beginning with the first book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1259)
    Performance
    (1147)
    Story
    (1145)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Maybe not for everyone."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, a disclaimer. When I watch British Mysteries on TV, I often need to turn on the closed captioning, to understand what is being said. Truth is, I speak American. This book is definitely in English.

    The story is a fun combination of Police Procedural and Fantasy (I think that is the proper term). If you enjoy both, you need to read this book.

    The reader does a fine job of delineating the various characters, primarily using various regional accents. He also does a good job of presenting women's voices without using falsetto.

    This is the first of a series, which is tied, not just a series of individual books, so it's better to read them in order. I've read the first three and enjoyed each.

    23 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • 14: Taylor Jackson Series #2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By J. T. Ellison
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (31)

    In the mid-1980s the Snow White Killer terrorized the streets of Nashville, Tennessee. Then suddenly the murders stopped. A letter from the killer to the police stated that his work was done. Now four more bodies are found, marked with his fatal signature. The residents of Nashville fear a madman has returned, decades later, to finish his sick fairy tale. Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson believes the killings are the work of a copycat killer who's even more terrifying.

    Mike says: "Mediocre at best"
    "Mediocre at best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sorry, but I really had trouble fighting my way through the whole thing. The timeline was weird and didn't make much sense, in that often too much happened in too little time to be realistic.

    There was a horrible error made about 1/3 of the way through the book. It was so stupid and so unforgivable that it simply kept preying on my mind.

    Somewhere about 2/3 of the way through the book, it dawned on me that much of the driving essence for many characters was right out of "The Girl Who..." (Steig Larrsen). That did me in.

    BTW, the performer was OK, not great. Her "Southern" accent varied from Tennessee, to Southern Virginia, to Texas. Didn't make much sense.

    I've enjoyed other of the series, but, that probably killed it, for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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