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Alan

ratings
215
REVIEWS
21
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
21
HELPFUL VOTES
58

  • Spiral: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Paul McEuen
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (109)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (64)

    When Nobel laureate Liam Connor is found dead at the bottom of one of Ithaca, New York’s famous gorges, his research collaborator, Cornell professor of nanoscience Jake Sterling, refuses to believe it was suicide. Why would one of the world’s most eminent biologists, a 86-year old man in good health who survived some of the darkest days of the Second World War, have chosen to throw himself off a bridge? And who was the mysterious woman caught on camera at the scene?

    Andrew says: "Unbelievable, implausible plot"
    "Makes you think you should be taking notes."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Too much science and too little character and plot development made this more work than pleasure. The narrator tried to make up for it with melodrama but overdid it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Wayfaring Stranger

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (667)
    Performance
    (604)
    Story
    (605)

    It is 1934 and the Depression is bearing down when 16-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends as Weldon puts a bullet through the rear window of Clyde’s stolen automobile. Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, escape certain death in the Battle of the Bulge and encounter a beautiful young woman named Rosita Lowenstein hiding in a deserted extermination camp.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Outstanding Addition to the Holland/Texas Saga"
    "Almost a bullseye"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think James Lee Burke is in a very small category of elite contemporary fiction writers with the likes of Adrian McKinty, Michael Gruber, and Nelson DeMille. There's nothing about this effort that makes me think differently. The writing is excellent. The story is good. The characters are mostly what I've come to expect from this author. And Will Patton is the ideal choice to narrate James Lee Burke. He does not disappoint.

    Still, Burke's books tend to be very dark, peppered with philosophical ruminations about the essence and manifestations of evil. So it was with this one. What was missing for me was the comic relief from the constant barrage of depressing events, recollections, and story twists that a character like Cletus provides in the Dave Robicheaux series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Death on a High Floor

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Charles Rosenberg
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (789)
    Performance
    (695)
    Story
    (699)

    On the 85th floor of a glittering high-rise in Los Angeles, Robert Tarza steps into the lobby of the Marbury Marfan law firm to discover his partner Simon Rafer lying in a pool of blood - an ornate dagger plunged into his back. Robert had worked with Simon for decades, and their relationship was fraught with conflict. But he never imagined he would wind up as the prime suspect for his colleague’s murder. As the evidence stacks up against him with frightening speed, he quickly falls from his respected position to that of a criminal dragged through the tabloids.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Excellent Mystery, Brilliant Narration"
    "Very enjoyable book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was the best courtroom drama I've listened to or read since the old Richard North Patterson books. The author is clearly a skilled and experienced trial lawyer. The narrator has quite a range of voices and does an excellent job. The only reason I didn't give the story 5 stars is that I felt there was a huge hole in the explanation tying things up at the end. I'd lay it out, but that might spoil things for other listeners, and it doesn't affect my recommendation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pleading Guilty

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Scott Turow
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (64)

    When Gage & Griswell's star litigator suddenly disappears - along with $5.6 million of its most important client's money - the assignment of locating both goes to Mack Malloy, a 50ish ex-cop, almost ex-drunk, and partner-on-the-wane at G&G. Mack's search takes him into the inner sanctum of his firm and through the shadowy heart of the city itself, on a path that soon runs him up against his longtime nemesis as he plucks the threads of a dangerous web of corruption, deceit, and murder.

    Marian says: "Great novel"
    "No, I didn't miss with the mouse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm a Turow fan. He's a superb storyteller and writes knowledgeably about the law and lawyers. I feel like I personally know most of his characters. But I would do my best not to know the central figure in this book (I just finished it and I can't even remember his name). This is a fine story, well told. The narration is very good. But I could not stand the protagonist. I had to listen to hours (no exaggeration) of this guy whining about what a loser he is in all areas of his life. In real life, a guy like this would send me running inside 20 minutes. Excuse me, I have some important sleeping to do. If he were actually a colleague of mine, I would hide every time I saw him coming at me in the hallway.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Michael Lewis
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    Overall
    (2410)
    Performance
    (2142)
    Story
    (2163)

    Michael Lewis returns to the financial world to give listeners a ringside seat as the biggest news story in years prepares to hit Wall Street....

    Darwin8u says: "Making the system deliver on its promise."
    "If you have $1 in the market, this is a MUST read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Michael Lewis is a great story teller. He is a former Wall Street bond trader. He wrote books on the financial crisis and one you may have heard of, "Money Ball". This book confirms everything you ever suspected about Wall Street. They consist of a f***ing den of thieves. It's disgusting.

    Since around 2007 every trade you've made, or your pension fund has made, or whatever mutual fund you're in has been robbed. No fooling. What happens is when you decide to make a buy and click the button, computers receive the information in microseconds and buy the stock ahead of you and then sell it back to you in a few more microseconds at a higher price. Ever wonder, like I did, why you were getting such bad fills?

    So one brilliant guy from Canada figures it out. He gives up a $2 million a year job to form a new stock exchange (the IEX) because it's the right thing to do. When's the last time you heard that as a motive? Read/listen to it and act on it in your own best interest.

    The 3 stars on performance is just that there's not a lot for the narrator to do, except read. Also if you are offended by obscene language, be prepared to hear it. Even if you feel that way, by the end of the book, you will be using it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Falcon Seven

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By James W. Huston
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (104)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    A U.S. Navy F/A-18 flying over Afghanistan is suddenly diverted and ordered to bomb a building in Pakistan, where a meeting between al Qaeda and the Taliban is taking place. After destroying their target, the fighter jet is immediately hit by Stinger missiles and the pilots eject over Pakistan. They are captured, assaulted, and dragged through the streets of Peshawar. The world is on edge.

    David says: "Simply Excellent"
    "This is a difficult book for me to rate"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed the opening of the book and was disappointed with the ending. The author takes on a hot button issue: the U.S. position on the Treaty of Rome and the recognition of the International Criminal Court to try war crimes. The situation he creates is one where a large number of civilians are killed by U.S. personnel who are "only following orders." There is a serious debate among the characters on the position of the USA (which is to reject the treaty). It actually is a debate. This is not one of those books where the author constructs a story around his personal view.

    But here's the rub. The book builds towards a trial. And I got to expect a Richard North Patterson courtroom battle. But the story descends into a Stephen Segall movie. It left me wanting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Morning I'll Be Gone: Troubles Trilogy, Book 3 (Detective Sean Duffy, Book 3)

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (554)
    Performance
    (497)
    Story
    (487)

    It's the early 1980s in Belfast. Sean Duffy, a conflicted Catholic cop in the Protestant RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), is recruited by MI5 to hunt down Dermot McCann, an IRA master bomber who has made a daring escape from the notorious Maze prison. In the course of his investigations, Sean discovers a woman who may hold the key to Dermot's whereabouts; she herself wants justice for her daughter who died in mysterious circumstances in a pub locked from the inside.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "One of my Favorites"
    "First time for less than 5 stars for McKinty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this man's work. His two trilogies are as good a body of work as any contemporary author. Plot, characters, dialogue, metaphors, even soliloquies are excellent. I've read both trilogies and all the stand alone thrillers. There's not one I wouldn't recommend, or listen to again. And Gerard Doyle is a remarkable talent. No accent is beyond his ability. Female voices, no problem.

    So why the 4 stars? Not because the writing is flawed. Honestly, this is as good as it gets. But, there's always a "but" isn't there? This is the 3rd book of a trilogy. I expected some closure for the main character. There was at the end of the Death trilogy. That satisfaction is missing here. The trilogy just ends, sort of fizzles. It's like a chapter is missing. Maybe I expect too much.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Broker

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1453)
    Performance
    (379)
    Story
    (380)

    In his final hours in the Oval Office, the outgoing President grants a controversial last-minute pardon to Joel Backman, a notorious Washington power broker who has spent the last six years hidden away in a federal prison. What no one knows is that the President issues the pardon only after receiving enormous pressure from the CIA. It seems Backman, in his power broker heyday, may have obtained secrets that compromise the world's most sophisticated satellite surveillance system.

    Amazon Customer says: "Why all the bad reviews?"
    "Disappointed Grisham Fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thoroughly enjoy most Grisham books. This one, not so much. First, he leaves his area of expertise, law, for espionage. Second, and for the first time I can remember, I really did not care what happened to the main character. Third, the book bogs down with Italian lessons. I got the feeling he wrote it so he could deduct the cost of learning the language.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Magic City: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By James W. Hall
    • Narrated By Richard Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    A simple black-and-white photograph, taken during the 1964 Clay-Liston fight in Miami Beach, sets off a modern-day murder spree that reaches from the quiet neighborhoods of Miami to the back corridors of the White House. When the last remaining copy falls into the hands of Thorn, a Key Largo recluse, he and everyone he loves become the targets of madmen and trained killers, each of whom has his own powerful motive to see the photograph destroyed forever and its secrets kept hidden.

    M. Anderson says: "Magic"
    "A thoroughly ordinary effort, at best."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The basis for the plot is preposterous. If you don't slap your forehead and yell "What??" when it's finally revealed, you just aren't paying attention. It reads as though it was cobbled together the weekend before a deadline in a freshman composition class. The characters are 2 dimensional and the story line is riddled with inconsistencies and improbabilities, not the least of which concerns the photo around which this whole mess pivots. It was taken by a professional nearly 50 years ago at one of the most famous sporting events in history. It was chosen by the photographer as part of an exhibit. Yet, for the story to gain any traction, the reader must believe that only one copy has made its way into the hands of someone other than the photographer. As for the narrator, imagine James Earl Jones heavily overdosed on quaaludes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Return: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Gruber
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (66)
    Story
    (69)

    The real Richard Marder would shock his acquaintances, if they ever met him. Even his wife, long dead, didn’t know the real man behind the calm, cultured mask he presents to the world. Only an old army buddy from Vietnam, Patrick Skelly, knows what Marder is capable of. Then, a shattering piece of news awakens Marder’s buried desire for vengeance; with nothing left to lose, he sets off to punish the people whose actions changed his life years earlier.

    Alan says: "Outstanding"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gruber's stories are all superficially different from each other. Characters, story locales and threads are, with a single exception, not repeated. What they all have in common is some supernatural overlay that ranges from obvious to subtle. What they also have in common is good writing. I have never read a book I enjoyed where the author could not handle dialogue. Gruber can. In this book he weaves together a wide variety of characters in a tangled plot of the full range of human qualities and foibles: love, guilt, revenge, hope, passion, and the quest to give meaning to one's life. The story takes place within the drug cartel wars of western Mexico into which the protagonist injects himself. It was thoroughly enjoyable. The narrator is superb. He is quite clearly fluent in Spanish, moves easily among male and female voices and, in the lead character sounds exactly like George Clooney.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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