Denver, CO, USA
When you read this novel, it will become clear why my headline is written as it is.
NOS4A2 is a story you won't want to miss. Well written, with a fresh, compelling storyline. A chilling start, and then it slows a little, but that is just necessary for information gathering, and character building--which all comes together with dizzying speed. I literally could not stop listening - everytime I put the ipod down to do something else, I couldn't wait to get back to it.
At times I completely forgot I wasn't listening to a Stephen King novel, but I guess it is only normal that his son would have picked up some of his style over the years. Joe Hill is an excellent author, as shown by his many publications so far. This one is my favorite.
Charlie Manx is a really bad man of 100+ years old, who loves Christmas, and claims he has to "save" children from bad parents by kidnapping them and taking them to his Christmas Land to live. Unfortunately, most of the parents are killed or maimed in the process, unless they are saved to be used for "fun" games by the children in Christmas Land. One of the children who Manx kidnapped, escapes. Known as Vic (Victoria), she was a scrappy, tough kid who had a knack for "finding" things that were lost -in a way that even she didn't understand. Her gift becomes more clear to her as she grows into the strong and determined adult who fights the evil Manx to protect those she loves. It's hard to write a review without divulging too much information, but I haven't given anything away here, as this is all information you get quite quickly.
This is the first novel I've listened to narrated by Kate Mulgrew--and what a talent. She has a real grasp on what each character should sound like, and puts her heart and soul into it. I will definitely check out other works by her.
I feel lucky that so many King horror stories seem to primarily take place in my state of Colorado (Misery, The Shining, the Stand, etc) as does this one. I can picture where all the action takes place, as they are loosely based on actual locations or structures, which makes them deliciously creepy to read.
A special treat at the end of this novel is Joe Hill speaking about his writing, some favorite authors, and a little about growing up in the King household. Very interesting.
I've been missing the wonderful voice of Robin Sachs since he passed away, which led me to browse the audible section for his works. I always loved his portrayal of Harry Hole from the Jo Nesbo detective series, which is now being narrated by John Lee. He's good, but can't replace Robin Sachs.
The Last Werewolf turned out to be a fantastic choice. A grown-up, sophisticated, story with the slashing and gashing and blood thirsty violence wrapped into a handsome, charming 200 year old werewolf named Jake. This werewolf has standards. He kills only when necessary, and other than that once a month occurrence, leads a pretty ordinary, if wealthy life. His best friend, Harley, is a human!
"It's official," Harley said. "They killed the Berliner two nights ago. You're the last." Then after a pause: "I'm sorry." He deliver's the news to Jake at Harley's place; Jake sipping his 45 yr. old Macallan and smoking a Camel. Jake is tired of living and wants to just give up. He's lonely for other wolf companionship, and he's seen it and done it all.
Harley's arguments --you've got a duty to live, just like the rest of us, and --you love life, because life is all there is, --don't really convince Jake that life is still worth it --but something happens which does convince him. A great twist to the story!
This book has a compelling storyline, interesting characters, wit and humor when you least expect it, and the wonderful narration of Robin Sachs. Not one to miss!
Note: I understand the followup book to this one is not very good; apparently the narrator doesn't do it justice. I'm hoping they re-record it with someone else, as this could be a great continuing series.
The combination of the amazing author skills of Daniel James Brown--along with the outstanding narrating ability of Edward Hermann--blew me away!
These nine athletes pull together in a quiet determination in preparation for the greatest achievement of their lives. They didn't have the money of some of the other teams, or the best clothing or living arrangements--what they had was some of the most remarkable resolve to maintain their goals and support for the team --each and every one of them. Not to be left out is the shell builder, George Pocock, who had as much influence on the boys as anyone. His dedication to making the perfect shell is quite a story in itself--I found out much more about this sport than I thought I would.
Listening to the winning race was breathtaking. I knew how the race ends- we all do - but I wasn't able to keep from being nervous and cheering the American team on as though I was in the stands. That is what this narrator does--just like in Unbroken, he pulls you in.
Everything came together at that time in history--the right team, the right coach, an amazing shell builder, and their combined efforts to achieve a once in a lifetime moment.
A must listen!
I found the propaganda efforts in Germany one of the most disgusting parts of the story--the fake front they were able to put up for the world during that time was nauseating -as well as Hitler's efforts to unfairly give advantages to the German team over the other's --this was a very small portion of the story, yet had to be included. It makes this story even more amazing.
I recommend listening to Still Life With Crows before this novel, as it gives the necessary back story for Corrie Swanson-- other than that, this could work as a stand alone novel.
Most of this novel takes place in Roaring Fork, Colorado (Aspen-like exclusive mountain resort.) Ms. Corrie Swanson takes the spotlight, now a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is on a mission to write a thesis on some grisly deaths (murders?) which happened in the town decades ago. The deaths are supposedly revealed in a long lost Sherlock Holmes story which was never published.
As Corrie tries to investigate by examining the bones of the long dead victims, she is met with resistance from the town leaders, and must be rescued once again by Pendergast. He arrives in town with his usual flair, and then stays on to make sure things don't go awry. At the same time, a serial arsonist has started burning down the mansions surrounding the main square, leaving the owners inside. It is a particularly horrible crime, as the bodies reveal what terror they must have gone through.
Overall a pretty decent story--however, I didn't find the character of Corrie very enjoyable in this one. She has continued on with her defiant, immature nature which came out in her first appearance in Still Life With Crows --but in that story she was a teenager. Hopefully Preston and Child will give her more depth if she is to continue as a character in future novels with Pendergast.
I have enjoyed David Sedaris wit for many years-he has kept me chuckling and lifted my moods with his sly and clever way of talking about his family, friends, and adventures. This book is full of his heartfelt experiences that take on a humorous slant because of his wit, but also because of the way he narrates--listening to him is the very best way to "read" his books.
However, something he wrote recently has me wondering about his ability to write about his family in such a stark (and as it turns out probably true) account of his family's personal issues. I was really saddened to learn of the suicide of David Sedaris sister, Tiffany. Last month he wrote about it in an essay in The New Yorker, and I was surprised that he claimed not to know what could have driven her to such an end--because in this book which came out in 2004, he clearly knew what her life was like. I, probably like most other's, laughed at his account of her living situation which he described as an apartment like a "revolving junk shop" and her kitchen floor which had been stripped of it's linoleum and left with tar paper as a floor. Tiffany, he said, had wanted to show him her artwork -mosaics that she made out of bits of pottery taken from the trash, but he could only think about how her apartment needed cleaning. I assumed he surely was embellishing his tale of such a dismal, unhappy life, but as it turns out, it was probably close to the truth. So, he clearly knew his sister, but says in his article that he had not talked to her for about 8 years (just about the time this book was published.)
Nothing is ever as black and white as it may appear on the surface. Many people deal with hardships, heartache and sadness with laughter--it is a gift to themselves and others' at times. I look forward to listening to his new books, however, maybe I'll appreciate his talents a little differently in the future.
One good thing about this book--the author's did a decent job of making it non-partisan.
I'm not sure what caused this book to be so disappointing to me--was it the narrator who was so flat and dry, or the actual way the material was put together? It seems like the plan was just to comprise a chronological list of events, and then just read down the line and check off each one.
There wasn't any real excitement or anticipation - which was definitely there throughout Game Change. For political junkies who almost memorized every speech, gaff or event of the last election, I think this book will be a let down. If you weren't glued to the political news programs, and didn't know about all the "inside shenanigans," you will probably enjoy it more. I have heard that people who read the actual book (vs listening) found it to be a lot more engaging.
Even though I found it half as good as Game Change, I couldn't give it 2.5, so had to round up. There are only a few reviews of this book on Audible so far, and I will really be interested to see what other's thought.
Elizabeth George and her Lynley series have kept me entertained for years--and I was really looking forward to this one. It seemed to run off the track a bit from what is typically expected with Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers solving crimes and bailing each other out of all sorts of situations.
This story is mostly based on Barbara's neighbor, Azhar, and his missing daughter, Hadiyyah. She was taken to Italy by her mother, Angelina.
Barbara jumps in with both feet to help him get Hadiyyah back. Ignoring her superiors orders not to get involved (this is nothing new) she seems to lose all sense of reason and concern for her own life and job this time--and Lynley is not a great deal of help.
One source of frustration in the first half of the book are the Italian phrases which are never translated for the reader, even though I could sort of understand what was being said from the rest of the conversation. Still, it was almost enough to make me stop listening--almost. The second half was much better and after all was said and done, an interesting story.
I haven't given up on this series yet--however--if the next novel doesn't return to some of the flavor of the original Lynley novels, it will probably be my last.
I never miss a John Grisham story. I love them, eventhough I know his basic theme is so often the same and just reworked to incorporate a few changes here and there. Rich white guy dies, leaves fortune, cuts family out of will, and hires a lawyer to make sure his wishes are carried out (in this case Jake Brigance.) The publisher's summary gives us all the information to set the stage for the legal battle to ensue---so I won't go into details.
Overall I thought this novel was pretty bland and didn't have any of those "aha" moments I expected--UNTIl toward the end when I literally could not put the ipod down as I had to see what happened. Everything is explained as the lawyers find a lost piece of the puzzle-- the last deposition was gripping and heart wrenching.
Great performance by Michael Beck too!
I was so looking forward to this novel, as two of my favorite Turow books, "Innocent" and "Presumed Innocent" are so rich in the details and drama of courtroom action. However, this story does not put the spotlight on the judge or attorneys.
Overall this is a complex story of two Greek families over a 25 year period. You need to pay close attention to get the numerous characters straight in your mind at the beginning, or it is easy to become lost. The two main players are Paul and Cass Giannis, identical twin brothers.
I found this a difficult review to do since there is so much going on, but I've condensed it to the following:
The story starts in 1982 at the home of Zeus Kronon during his annual Labor Day party. Among the guests are Lidia Giannis and her twin boys who are 25 at the time. The Giannis family and Kronon family have a shaky history, especially between Lidia and Zeus, but that doesn't keep their children from being friends. Unfortunately that day turns out to change the future of both families lives. Zeus Kronon's daughter, Dita, is found murdered in her bedroom after the guests have gone home, and Cass Giannis is quickly arrested on circumstantial evidence. He agrees to a 25 year sentence if he can serve it in a minimum security prison. No trial is necessary and the deal is agreed to.
Jump ahead to 2008. Paul Giannis is running for mayor. Cass Giannis is about to get out of prison. Dita's brother, Hal, a wealthy businessman, is against it and starts a media campaign to stop his release. This is where the real story starts. Hal asks his head of security, Evon Miller and a former homicide detective, Tim Brodie, to investigate and see if they can turn up any new information from the murder 25 years ago. Hal has never been convinced that Paul wasn't involved in some way, and is using the suggestion of his involvement to stall his campaign for mayor.
Back and forth the story is slowly revealed to us over time, from the Labor Day party and the actions of people on that day, then back to the present and what the investigation is turning up.
I liked the story, and it had enough momentum to keep me listening. The only small complaints I would mention are 1) the narrator is ok, but gets a little monotone, and 2) there is a lot of extraneous material that just goes nowhere. This is mostly related to Evon's girlfriend who keeps popping up throughout, and has no real relevance to the story.
Turow did keep me entertained throughout. There are a ton of suspects- - it is never really clear until almost the very end who murdered Dita and why. Recommended!
I'm not as impressed with this sequel to "Pines" as I was hoping for.
I kept waiting for something to happen that would bring me back to the suspense of the first book, however, the first half is taken up with getting the reader acquainted with the characters and attempting a re-cap of what happened before. The second half didn't live up to my expectations either, but there was a bit more action.
**Listen to "Pines" first --there is too much information you miss in the 2nd book.
Very difficult to write an adequate review for this book without spoilers. The Secret Service Agent, Ethan Burke, has been made the new sheriff in town. He still doesn't agree with the town folk being watched 24/7 as there are hidden cameras and video links in all homes, streets and businesses. Also, everyone must have a chip implanted so they can be monitored at all times. However, he has been given a look at what is outside the electrified fence that surrounds the town--and knows it to be far worse than what anyone expects. Of course some of the people don't believe there is any danger, and they are never really told the truth-- so they escape--but they never return. For those who try to escape, but don't succeed, their fate is just as gruesome.
I didn't know this was going to be a trilogy when I listened to "Pines," and now that I have started, I probably will have to listen to book 3 as we are left with a BIG cliffhanger in book 2. Seems everybody has to do a trilogy these days, and it isn't always successful. The trilogy "The Strain" is a good example of the first book being great, and it went downhill from there. I'm going to hold out for a better conclusion with "Wayward Pines."
A big plus is the narrator--he does a great job.
**Note**I understand this is being made into a tv series for 2014, which I could see as being pretty good IF it is well done. However, I usually don't find that to be the case in "made for tv" mini series.
I never thought I would listen to Will Patton without thinking of Dave Robicheaux. However, his skill as a narrator wiped Dave completely from my mind with this book. Perfect Narration!
The story did not scare me like "The Shining" did 30 years ago, but it certainly did not disappoint with the constant tension waiting for good vs evil to collide. I wasn't much more than a kid myself back then, so maybe I've toughened up over the years.
Mr. King keeps coming up with new bad guys, and though a lot of his stories involve the same players (innocent child + adult as the good guys who must prevail to save the world), I find it refreshing that the monsters aren't the same. The scariest monsters, of course, are the people who really exist and we would normally trust due to their ability to mask their evil hearts. In this sequel we have just that sort of monster, the retired polyester crowd who travel around the country in their expensive RV's and wear t-shirts that proclaim their love for children. This group, The True Knot, let by a six foot tall raven beauty called "Rose the Hat, is really much older than they look. They all give themselves nicknames like "Heavy Mary, Crow Daddy, Steamhead Steve, Jimmy Numbers, and Tommy the Truck." Tommy used to be "Tommy the Wagon," but they need to keep up with the times, and this gives an indication of just how old Tommy is.
Their only reason for living is life itself, and the only was they can maintain life is by killing children who possess the "shine" and drink in their essence (steam) when they die. The deaths are not easy or quick either. The children are slowly tortured for hours, and they scream until their vocal chords burst. This is the way the True Knot gets the best "steam"; the agonizing pain produces it.
Grown up Danny gets his chance to help a child with the "shine" much like Dick Hallorann helped him at the Overlook Hotel. Abra has the strongest shine anyone has seen yet. From the time she was a baby in her crib, she has been "shining" without anyone knowing.The True Knot sets their sights on Abra, and the chase is on. It all comes together in Sidewinder, CO, which is the sight of the Overlook Hotel, and the sight of another book, "Misery." A lot of King's novels overlap with bits and pieces of other novels, and this one is no different.
One thing this story brought me that I missed in the "Shining" was the element of caring about the people involved. It really got me when Abra woke up yelling "their hurting the boy." Her agony was heart wrenching! The character development is much better in this book, of course there is a lot more to work with.
Completely Enjoyable Listen!
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