Jason Pinter's debut novel, The Mark is an excellent example of the common man embroiled in decidedly uncommon circumstances. Here, as with the best of the subgenre, and in the model of Hitchcock, Henry Parker's personal ambition is the character flaw that lands him in the middle of murder, corruption, romance, and, not coincidentally, the biggest story of his life--if he can only live long enough to write it.
Pinter deftly winds the tension tighter and tighter until it seems that Henry, if not the reader, too, will break from it. Ultimately, that same driving ambition which put Henry's life at risk may be the only thing that will allow him to survive.
Noah Plener's gravely diction adds a dark, yet youthful voice to Pinter's prose. This book proves Pinter is a worthy modern addition to the crime noir pantheon.
Evan Greenberg's laconic narration and the fuzzy-headed thinking of the title character quickly gives way to slam-bang action that keeps the reader on the knife-edge of suspense. Through it all, The Deputy's stubborn goodness engages and sustains one. This book is well worth the listen.
This is a somewhat topical story about religious fanaticism in America dragged down by an unsupported mysticism. Sorry, anyone who is more of a believer than I am. I respect your beliefs--this story, not so much.
Howsomever! Luke Daniels is a superb narrator with a broad range of voices and characterizations. His performance as the television evangelist Tim Trinity of the title is note perfect. As a narrator, I'd follow Luke anywhere!
This second installment in Baldacci's John Puller series delivers as expected with the nearly indestructible Jack Reacher analog doing great things in search of swift but ultimately noble justice. Sadly, the audio version here is blemished by Hachette's Audio's inability to let the story stand on its own. It's bad enough that they feel compelled to use a woman's voice for the female characters rather than letting the always reliable Ron McLarty simply read the words. Orlagh Cassidy is a perfectly good reader and I would be pleased to listen to a book that she read. However, her Southern drawl is indistinguishable between the two female supporting characters and thus, adds nothing to helping a listener keep them apart.
But, the worst is the incomprehensible compulsion Hachette has to overlay the book's narrative with cheesy music and comic-book sound effects. Why not leave the sounds of punches, kicks and gunfire to our imaginations--where they belong! I've witnessed fights. I've fired automatic weapons. I can supply the appropriate effects on my own, thank you. And, my imagination syncs up the sounds much more closely than do these ridiculous "oofs", "rat-a-tats" and "splats".
Hachette's cheap audio theatrics blemish an otherwise perfectly decent escapist adventure thriller.
Not only does John Scalzi deliver an affectionate skewering of the space opera genre in general (and Star Trek, specifically), but in the manner in which his audience has come to expect, he exceeds the premise and goes totally meta on us--and to wonderfully funny and touching results. His pal, Wil Wheaton's reading is perfection itself. And given Wil's ST:TNG connection AND that Red Shirts is dedicated in part to him, Wheaton's narration deftly underscores the meta-meta theme of the book. Bravo to both of them!
I'm a Michael McGarrity fan and I like his Kevin Kearny universe. This is a waaaay prequel that delves into the Kearny ancestry between the Civil and First World Wars. I was looking for some insight into what made Kevin Kearny...Kevin Kearny. Perhaps I'm asking too much. But, I'd like some foreshadowing and such. Not there. Not really. So, this story must be taken on its own merit and the result is a standard cowboy yarn. Not bad. Not terrific. Just okay. That is all.
Hey, don't get me wrong--this is a perfectly decent sci-fi yarn. But, it's only that. Decent. Not much more. But, Stefan Rudnicki's narration elevates the story beyond itself. I enjoyed this audiobook quite a bit, all the while knowing that it was more for the narration than the simplistic story, unbelievably plot twists and cookie cutter characters. Rudnicki. You da man!
Eugene B. Sledge's first person account of his time as a Marine in the Pacific during World War II is an honest and deceptively simple portrait of the combat soldier. Written later in life as a exorcism of the demons of his war memories, it is ublinking and unswerving from the truth. Eugene is a sensitive, caring youth placed in hellish circumstances under impossible conditions. He doesn't avoid the uncomfortable truths about war that it seems each generation must learn for itself: callow, inexperienced or uncaring leadership, friendly fire, how the brutality of combat leads to the dehumanization of the enemy and how splattered with mud and the flesh of others, it becomes all the same in the crucible of Pelilieu and Okinawa.
One of the source books for the HBO miniseries, "The Pacific," this is the place to start if you are interested in delving deeper into the real person--man and boy--behind the character so movingly portrayed by Joseph Mazzello.
Bob Leckie's "Helmet For My Pillow" is one of the two books that inspired the HBO miniseries, "The Pacific." Rather than evoke the noble yet flawed character so winnningly portrayed by James Badge Dale, Leckie's work comes across as overwritten and stilted. Leckie, a journalist before the war and after, seems incapable of simply telling his tale. He has shaped his story and his vocabulary for the audience he perceived reading it in the year of its publication, 1957. To our ears, more than 50 years later, the language and style is, at best, anachronistic and, at its worst, discordantly false (See? I can use fancy words, too!).
Anyone interested in the backstory of "The Pacific" or in an accurate and moving tale of the Marine in the Pacific campaign of World War II is much better off looking to Eugene B. Sledge's "With the Old Breed," as fine a story of the combat soldier as ever told.
Baldacci is a solid and reliable writer who delivers with the intricacies of the classic procedural plus the excitement of the classic thriller. Ron McLarty delivers a compelling narration. The problem I have with this production is this: we don't need the bumper music--trust me, the narration is more than enough to keep us engaged and involved. The music is merely distracting and, frankly, insulting. The other complaint I have is with Orlagh Cassidy's voicing the female characters. Orlagh herself is great--I like her voice and would welcome her narration as a standalone of any appropriate novel. However, the addition of a second, female voice is nearly as distracting as the bumper music. This is an audiobook--not a radioplay. I am perfectly content with a male voice reading female dialog and vice versa. Just not necessary.
Lawrence Block is one of my favorite mystery writers. But, about 50 years ago, writing under the name, "Jane Emerson," Block subspecialized in erotic mystery fiction. This is one of those books. If that's your thing, more power to you--no judgment here. I'm a fan on Block's gritty, dark, wryly humorous mysteries. This just ain't one of them.
Publishers: this isn't the way to build your reader base. Mr. Block: if this a contractual thing beyond your control, fair enough. However, if you are a party to this misguided attempt to drum up sales, please reconsider in the future.
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