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Alicia

Baltimore, MD, United States | Member Since 2008

78
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 34 reviews
  • 52 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • The Duke's Children

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (103)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (90)

    Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium and former Prime Minister of England, is widowed and wracked by grief. Struggling to adapt to life without his beloved Lady Glencora, he works hard to guide and support his three adult children. Palliser soon discovers, however, that his own plans for them are very different from their desires. Sent down from university in disgrace, his two sons quickly begin to run up gambling debts.

    Virginia says: "Heaven On A Stick!"
    "For the saga-phile"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of Trollope's more domestic novels in which he focuses on characters we already know from their regular appearances in the Barchester novels. Action revolves around "Planty" Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, who tries to cope with the emergent independence of his three willful children after the death of his wife. Trollope lets the dynamics of the central personalities be the story. Simple motifs become engrossing through the author's great gift for drawing the reader into the motives and emotions of each character.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jack Finney
    • Narrated By Kristoffer Tabori
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (303)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (139)

    On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loves, and the world as he knows it.

    Jenna says: "Warning!"
    "Survival is everything"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jack Finney lets us contemplate the reason for existence in "Invasion". Ultimately, both man and alien will destroy anything and everything in the battle for survival. Is the human craving for emotional soap opera more valid than the pod changeling's simple instinct to exist?
    "Invasion" concludes with a "Now what?", and, also, a "So what?".
    I like a book whose ending suggests many intriguing possibilities.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Philip Carlo
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1038)
    Performance
    (458)
    Story
    (461)

    Richard "The Ice Man" Kuklinski led a double life beyond anything ever seen on The Sopranos, becoming one of the most notorious professional assassins in American history while hosting neighborhood barbecues in suburban New Jersey. Now, after 240 hours of face-to-face interviews with Kuklinski and his wife and daughters, author Philip Carlo tells his extraordinary story.

    Eileen C says: "You must buy this audio only if..."
    "Don't we all "compartmentalize"?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Richard Kuklinski represents an extreme case of the ability to compartmentalize. It's the way we all instinctively protect our reason, justify our actions, hide our real intentions, and bolster our amour propre.
    I found this story fascinating in the way it juxtaposes our ideas of what constitutes conventional behavior with the life led by a career killer. Considering Kuklinski's terrible childhood, it is remarkable that he ended up leading such a "normal" life.
    Philip Carlo's does an excellent job of reporting Kuklinski's story with the minimum of editorializing or moralizing. He is not the typical criminal biographer writer who equivocates by hauling out the "evil" formula while delectating yet another grisly morsel. Carlo presents a factual and non-hypocritical story of one man's long-lived career as a delectatehired killer, conducted for decades, under the radar.
    Sucking on horror is the great American past-time, but The Ice Man is much more than a feast for the horror junky, it is an odyssey into the extraordinary parallel world of organized crime.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Kiss Before Dying

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Ira Levin
    • Narrated By Mauro Hantman
    Overall
    (274)
    Performance
    (240)
    Story
    (241)

    Now a modern classic, as gripping in its tautly plotted action as it is penetrating in its exploration of a criminal mind, it tells the shocking tale of a young man who will stop at nothing--not even murder--to get where he wants to go. For he has dreams; plans. He also has charm, good looks, sex appeal, intelligence. And he has a problem. Her name is Dorothy; she loves him, and she's pregnant. The solution may demand desperate measures.

    karen says: "Nothing like a classic....."
    "Story begins well, weakens, ends with a whimper"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is no work of genius, contrary to the critical/biographical introduction lauding Ira Levin.
    The intro prepares the reader for great things which, for me, were not delivered.
    Many novels start strong, because the author expends his all at the start. The back and forth story grows convoluted and vague and the characters do not really develop, rather, they become more superficial and unconvincing: it is difficult to empathize with anyone; a good writer draws the reader into the emotions and motives of all the characters.
    As the book progresses, Levin's straight-forward style degenerates into purple prose and drags on tediously toward a makeshift and anti-climatic end. A Kiss Before Dying is a story that doesn't know where it's going.
    A real classic in the noir genre is is James M. Cain's Double Indemnity, a superb tale of the criminal impulse infecting ordinary people. Levin's "Kiss" just doesn't make the grade.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Habits of the House

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Fay Weldon
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (133)
    Story
    (131)

    As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife, Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

    Cindy says: "A Downtonlike story read by my favorite narrator?"
    "Aimless, silly and unlistenable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is not the fault of the narrator, but entirely that of the author that "Habits" is rubbishy drivel.
    It is pieces of shapeless verbal frippery like this book that makes me wonder anew at the dreck that gets published. I bought this Fay Weldon on an Audible $4.95 sale, mistaking the author for one recommended by a friend. "Habits of the House", not worth a plastic penny.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Minotaur

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Barbara Vine
    • Narrated By Rosalyn Landor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (110)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    As soon as Kerstin Kvist arrives at remote, ivy-covered Lydstep Old Hall in Essex, she feels like a character in a gothic novel. A young nurse fresh out of school, Kerstin has been hired for a position with the Cosway family, residents of the Hall for generations. She is soon introduced to her "charge", John Cosway, a 39-year-old man whose strange behavior is vaguely explained by his mother and sisters as part of the madness that runs in the family.

    Susan B. says: "Top notch Barbara Vine"
    "Trendy Rendy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Minotaur started out fairly well, although I am not a fan of first-person narratives, the lazy authors fall-back. But soon the meandering tale of "family secrets" became wearying and Kirsten, in the character of narrator, grew flatter by the page. How can someone who is supposed to be a cartoonist write an epic tale without a trace of wit, humor or irony? I have known many, many professional cartoonists and, to a man (or woman) they are founts of comic mots and outrageous witticism and are especially adept at black humor. Then, comes the trendy autism theme which seems like a how-do-I-get-out-of-this-mess plot device, ending in dull summary. Is Ruth running out of steam, or does she just not want to send us her very best anymore?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1370)
    Performance
    (1197)
    Story
    (1200)

    Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

    Larry says: "What a great book."
    "Interesting story until the epilogue-but "evil"?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Never having been much interested in the much-hyped Manson saga, I selected this recording when it was on a $4.95 Audible sale. Manson is what makes it all interesting; the fact that he was then, and still is, a source of fascination for so many. As the author says, if this were a work of fiction, the story would not be sensational. Truth, because it is truth, is stranger than fiction. If there had been no murders of an especially gory type, Manson's story would not be of exceptional interest. In the late sixties there were plenty of vagrant young folks experimenting with drugs, free-love and the communal experience. It was just the right group of people with the right catalyst (Manson) that brought about the crimes that riveted popular attention, like rubber-neckers at a colossal accident. A bored populace loves vicarious horror and the murders were better than any fictive cinematic production. While I found Helter Skelter interesting, I could hardly attend to the author's repeated pronouncements of "evil" upon Manson, etc. Highly disturbed, aberrant, but what the heck is "evil"? This is a child's word, a bogeyman catch-phrase, and I found Bugliosi's frequent use of the word simplistic and lazy and his moralizing tiresome. People always accept the mores of the moment as all-in-all, and are ever ready in a Babbitty way to distance themselves from anything overtly different in concept or behavior. If there is such a thing as "evil', try the blithe acceptance of the fact of the extermination of the indigenous peoples by the white invaders and the theft of their lands to make the good ol' USA. We accept the USA's ongoing wars of aggression upon civilians all over the world. By comparison a cluster of gory murders by criminal oddballs is just one of millions of violent crimes that go on every day, held in indifference by the general sensation-seeking public. Nevertheless, Helter Skelter was worth $4.95.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Alfred Lansing
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1836)
    Performance
    (1194)
    Story
    (1200)

    In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.

    Thomas says: "The best book I've had"
    "Remarkable story marred by Prebble's histrionics"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing must be experienced; a living adventure conveyed through the author's words. This engrossing book is especially vivid due to the wealth of extraordinary factual details drawn from the survivors' own records of this horrific struggle for survival.
    The problem with the recording of this fine work is Simon Prebble. He was the wrong narrator, someone like George Guidall would have made this recorded version perfect. Prebble's voice has a supercilious quality, plus a sing-song cadence from over-emphasizing every few words as if they were italicized. A work of this length based on a truly "incredible" adventure does not need his hyped-up narration. The words, so masterfully set down by the author, do not need Prebble's familiar and generic histrionics, suited to pot-boilers like those by Dick Francis.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life

    • UNABRIDGED (36 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jon Lee Anderson
    • Narrated By Armando Durán
    Overall
    (393)
    Performance
    (186)
    Story
    (190)

    Che Guevara was a dashing rebel whose epic dream was to end poverty and injustice in Latin America and the developing world through armed revolution. Jon Lee Anderson traces Che's extraordinary life from his comfortable Argentine upbringing to the battlefields of the Cuban revolution, from the halls of power in Castro's government to his failed campaign in the Congo and his assassination in the Bolivian jungle.

    Matthew says: "Encompassing and Fair Look at an Historical Man"
    "Che lives!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What human being has lived so thoroughly in his life, his mind and his posterity? This biography of Che Guevara is fascinating and inspiring. Che's sense of mission, his clarity of purpose, his strength and humanity are revealed in his words and actions. A real martyr to the cause of human rights, Che predicted the future {present} global struggle against the crushing war machine of US imperialism which would move to enslave the world. El Che vive!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Indemnity

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By James M. Cain
    • Narrated By James Naughton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (29)

    Tautly narrated and excruciatingly suspenseful, Double Indemnity gives us an X-ray view of guilt, of duplicity, and of the kind of obsessive, loveless love that devastates everything it touches. First published in 1936, this novel reaffirmed James M. Cain as a virtuoso of the roman noir.

    Marv says: "a solid listen"
    "Cain, still the crime master!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Double Indemnity; when Cain is good, he is brilliant. Who else writes crime like this-sudden and gripping? Not word that doesn't drive the story forward with a you-are-thereness few writers can rival. Crime in Cain's novel is like an impulsive, illicit passion, when it's done, the partners separate in mutual disaffection. The intricate insurance scam and murder plot is masterful. Cain's style is odd yet apt and he can write dialogue with the real rhythm of speech and remarkably, Cain's language doesn't feel dated. I found that the terse, controlled tone of the narrator, James Naughton, exactly suited Walter Huff, telling us just how it was, his nightmare venture into crime.

    And Audible, bring us MORE of the fabulous James M. Cain!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Hook

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Donald E. Westlake
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Bryce Proctorr has a multimillion-dollar contract for his next novel, a trophy wife raking him over the coals of a protracted divorce, a bad case of writer's block, and an impending deadline. Wayne Prentice is a fading author in a world that no longer values his work. He's gone through two pseudonyms, watched his book sales shrivel, and is contemplating leaving the writing life. Proctorr has a proposition: If Prentice will hand over his unsold manuscript to publish under Proctorr's name, the two will split the book advance fifty-fifty. There's just one small rider to the deal....

    Nancy Wells says: "Horrible"
    "Westlake at his darkly humorous best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Hook vies with The Axe for first place on my list of Donald E. Westlake favorites.
    Along side the basic story of two men colluding in crime, The Hook gives an insider's (Westlake's) satyric view of the publishing world.

    Westlake is a master at understatement when he scripts two amateurs plotting murder. And what an easy-going, likeable hitman he creates!

    Great book! Great narrator!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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