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crazybatcow

I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

East Coast, Canada | Member Since 2012

1941
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 284 reviews
  • 390 ratings
  • 870 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2015
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  • Fire Study

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Maria V. Snyder
    • Narrated By Gabra Zackman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1400)
    Performance
    (618)
    Story
    (621)

    When word that Yelena is a Soulfinder - able to capture and release souls - spreads like wildfire, people grow uneasy. Already Yelena's unusual abilities and past have set her apart.

    DKay says: "More please"
    "A slight disappointment..."
    Overall

    I enjoyed this series very much (Poison Study was the best of the 3). It has a strong female lead character who is fully fleshed out, it has no profanity, a decent romantic thread, and an engrossing set of plots.

    This final entry of the series - Fire Study - was the weakest of the 3. I found that it had a few too many "recaps" (i.e. re-introducing characters from previous books, and a couple times even characters/events from earlier in this book were recapped) and a few too many scenes with obvious "moral lessons".

    It felt like the author lost track of who her audience was: if someone were reading book three, they probably already read the other 2 so why the recaps? and... we weren't force-fed moral lessons in the first 2 books, so why make them so obvious add-ons in the 3rd?

    The best part of books one and two is that you felt like it was a fantasy written with a mature adult in mind, this one feels like it was written for a younger audience.

    But it's still a good story, and a nice wrap up for the series...

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Quarantined

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Joe McKinney
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (82)

    The citizens of San Antonio, Texas, are threatened with extermination by a terrifying outbreak of the flu. Quarantined by the military to contain the virus, the city is in a desperate struggle to survive. Inside the quarantine walls, Detective Lily Harris is working burial statistics duty at the Scar, San Antonio's mass graveyard, when she finds a murder victim hidden amongst the plague dead.

    crazybatcow says: "It's a viral outbreak quarantine. Zero zombies."
    "It's a viral outbreak quarantine. Zero zombies."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay. First things first. This book has nothing to do with zombies. Absolutely nothing...

    What it is: a murder/detective story set in a city that was quarantined because of a viral outbreak that kills nearly 20% of the people it infects.

    It was pretty realistic... well, the setting and goings-on (riots, looters, fear) that occur within the quarantined city was realistic. The belief that a government would be able to successfully seal off a city with flown in barricades before someone "escaped" to spread the virus to the rest of the country was a bit on the naive side. When the virus that ends up jumping species to wipe out 20-30% of us finally does arrive, it will be spread much much too fast for any government to lock it down as quickly as they do in this story.

    It wasn't very original, or stunningly written, but it was a decent story, with engaging enough characters that they don't really drive you crazy. The main character was female, and the author does need a bit more experience living as/with a woman because the woman here is written as a stereotype... (i.e. an entire scene is written around her having a bath and shaving her legs... like that would be a priority in a virally infected world where she has a murder to solve). I won't mention the lame sex scene (it should have been left out it was that pathetic). And there are periodic (and fortunately short) tirades about women's self-esteem as affected by magazines, Republican suppression, and evil organizations who would rather let millions of people die than lose out on potential profits. You won't be left wondering how the author feels about any of these topics.

    Anyway... it's a quick read, with some insights on what "real life" might be like in a quarantined city... and what challenges a detective might face while trying to solve a murder under these circumstances. I'd read more by this author, as long as I was prepared for uninspiring characterizations and a heavy reliance on stereotypical physical descriptions and behaviours.

    I didn't mind the narration - it wasn't intrusive, and I didn't notice any mispronunciations (other than a couple HWO instead of WHO), but, then again, I'm not from Texas. It is not gory or graphic and I don't think there was any swearing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Vicious Circle

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Mike Carey
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    Overall
    (659)
    Performance
    (391)
    Story
    (394)

    Felix Castor has reluctantly returned to exorcism after the case of the Bonnington Archive ghost convinced him that he really can do some good with his abilities ("good," of course, being a relative term when dealing with the undead). But his friend, Rafi, is still possessed; the succubus Ajulutsikael (Juliet to her friends) still technically has a contract on him; and he's still dirt poor.

    Cather says: "A worthy sequel"
    "Hard-boiled detective story, with ghosts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is a hard-boiled detective story, in an urban fantasy setting. Oh yeah, and includes ghosts/demons/undead as "citizens". The lines of good and evil don't follow the traditional paths: here some humans are bad, some undead are good, and some of each are the opposite.

    The story is a bit slow to pick up... I actually got a bit frustrated with the delay in the story gearing up because I had selected this book for a trip and didn't have any alternatives handy, and I wanted an immediate escape from flight delays. I think the delay was to set the backdrop and introduce the main characters of Felix's world.

    Fortunately, the story does pick up not too far in, and once it did, it became a very engaging mystery/detective novel. The mystery Felix is trying to solve might be non-traditional (ghosts), but the detective-procedural was actual pretty "normal". It was traditional hard work and a few hard knocks that allowed Felix to solve the mystery, not a deus-ex-machina.

    I think if you read the first book in the series and liked it, you'd like this one at least as much, maybe more since there isn't as much time fleshing out the world. If you hadn't read the first book, though, I still think you can start with this one and not be lost for long - the slow part at the beginning sets up the world sufficiently for newcomers, and the detective story is completely stand-alone.

    The narration is very good. It is not gory or graphic and I don't think there was much (if any) swearing. If you liked the first couple Joe Pitt (vampire) books by Charlie Huston - (only the first couple, they got lecture-y by the series end) - this has a very similar tone/humor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cold, Cold Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1509)
    Performance
    (1312)
    Story
    (1306)

    Adrian McKinty was born in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. He studied politics and philosophy at Oxford before moving to America in the early 1990s. Living first in Harlem, he found employment as a construction worker, barman, and bookstore clerk. In 2000 he moved to Denver to become a high school English teacher and it was there that he began writing fiction.

    Alan says: "What a stunning book"
    "How much is story, how much narrator?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay... I'll be honest by saying that I delayed writing my review and, at first, I got this series mixed up with Stuart Neville's... I thought it might have been only because they are both set in Ireland but... I think the main characters are similar as well, and the books have a noir tone to them, and, of course, Doyle narrates both of them. Excellently, btw.

    That being said, this is an interesting and engaging series, even though it is a bit thick with Irish politics and the "Troubles" which are foreign to someone of my age and nationality. I am vaguely aware of the circumstances of Ireland in the 80s, but never lived them, so the stage set for this story was not at all familiar to me.

    So, if you were to look at the reviews of the paper version of the book, you might find that some reviewers had a little rant about the veracity of some of the author's settings, I didn't read this book for historical accuracy and am okay not knowing any better. And I have no idea why some readers found the author's writing style or language choices to be pretentious... maybe they were reading it as a literary exploration of Ireland during the 80s and saw things in it that weren't really there? Or maybe it's as simple as Doyle making the story come alive in his narration and those who read the book in paper form missed all this.

    Fortunately, I read this book hoping it was a noir detective story... and that's exactly what it is. It is dark and violent and a bit confusing as to what motivated people to behave the way they did, but that's what makes it worth reading - to figure it out. I bought the rest of the series on Audible for full price as soon as I finished this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Germline: The Subterrene War, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By T. C. McCarthy
    • Narrated By Donald Corren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (90)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (74)

    One hundred years from now, Russia and the United States are at odds again. This time the war has gone hot. Heavily armored soldiers battle genetically engineered troops hundreds of meters below the icy, mineral-rich mountains of Kazakhstan. War is Oscar Wendell’s ticket to greatness. A reporter for the Stars and Stripes, he has the only one-way ticket to the front lines. The front smells of blood and fire and death—it smells like a Pulitzer.

    crazybatcow says: "A military sci-fi that isn't sci-fi at all"
    "A military sci-fi that isn't sci-fi at all"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is a military sci-fi that doesn't include weapon-porn (so we are not subjected to what size rounds fit in which type of gun, nor how many revolutions ammunition might make in a gun barrel, or the armour penetration per inch by weapon type, etc). I like military-ish fiction that doesn't include gun/military enthusiasts' fantasies, so this book fit the bill for me.

    Sure, some of the military stuff was glossed over, and some of the sci-fi was glossed over... and really, it wasn't all that sci-fi-y. It's almost like a straight up "look, I survived an atrocious war even though I came out scarred" novel. There was nothing in it that is outside the current realm of possibility: although some of the tech might not actually exist yet, the theories behind the tech does.

    But the book isn't really even about war, it's about the people impacted by war...

    The main character isn't a soldier. And that means we get to see a very long war from an alternative point of view. I also think it allowed Oscar to be better written, and more humanized than he would have been if he was a proper soldier. i.e. there was no real harm in him being high as a kite in the midst of battle since he wasn't really supposed to be there anyway.

    The story is actually one of growth and maturity: it's the maturation of one man - because of, or in spite of, a horrendous war background. There is some (not overly moralistic) message about how war scars people psychologically, and how our veterans may not receive the respect and help they require after returning... particularly in circumstances where the "war" has slipped from the front page.

    The narration is fine. Surprisingly, there is not much gore or swearing, and there is no detailed sex. The story is wrapped up completely at the end.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Teckla: Vlad Taltos, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Steven Brust
    • Narrated By Bernard Setaro Clark
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (183)

    Soon after the events of Jhereg, Vlad becomes embroiled in a struggle between the House of the Jhereg and a group of revolutionaries that his wife has joined.

    Ron says: "Rebel Uprising"
    "Oh my! Not even close to what it should be..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hmmm... after reading the first book in this series, I immediately bought the remainder of the books because I figured they would all be similar in quality and tone. Now I am worried that I was mistaken.

    The first book was a noir vigilante book set in a foreign (fantasy) world. The second was more along the lines of an almost-noir detective novel, and although there was not much vigilantism, the dark theme remained. This one was... well... a soap opera-y philosophical fiction. It had no detective work going on; it had no noir; it had no vigilantism. It was more than a bit on the lecture-y side (oh, look how bad "THE MAN" is and how the "system" controls us) and involved the main character essentially pacing back and forth (literally, from one side of town to another, and figuratively in trying to figure out his wife) and bemoaning the apparent breakdown of his marriage (in the face of her struggle against governmental control of "the people").

    See my disappointment? It is missing all the features I enjoy (vigilantes, noir, detectives) and includes some of my main pet peeves (morals and lectures). And what was left - man pulling his hair out over relationship breakdown - really didn't tickle my emotional armpits. I simply didn't care. Maybe I'm callous, or maybe Brust simply is better at writing noir than emotional pieces.

    I really hope the next one is back to the good stuff because this one was just not worth reading. If this had been the first book I'd read by Brust, it would have been the last. In fact, I'm half tempted to ask for my money back because I feel like I was ripped off - I thought I was buying a noir fantasy with vigilante overtones and I got a philosophical political treatise instead.

    The narration is fine. There is nothing gory or graphic and I don't think there is any swearing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rise Again Below Zero: Rise Again, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Ben Tripp
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (170)

    Billions died and rose again, hungry for human flesh. When the nightmare reached Sheriff Danielle Adelman's small mountain community of Forest Peak, California, it was too late for warnings . . . forcing her to lead a small group of survivors out of hell, all the while seeking her estranged runaway sister at any cost.

    Mike Naka says: "wow! much, much better than expected!"
    "Strong characters, but story meanders a bit..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well... I gave 5 stars to book one, and started to give only 4 stars to this one. Then I re-thought my assessment and have to say that this book is nearly as good as book one (caveats follow, and key word is "nearly").

    Of course, if you have read book one, you pretty much have to read this one too because, otherwise, you will never know what happened to Danny. (If you did not read book one, don't read this one first, it won't make nearly as much sense.) If you liked book one for its realistic characters and zombie action, you should probably find this one stands on equal ground; it is as good in that sense as the first book was.

    So, why is this book not quite as good? Only because there was a bit too much mid-story filler about Danny on a bender which didn't add anything to the story line, and the zombies just brushed on the edge of being too extreme. Yes, I know, they are zombies... but... we expect zombies to fit within certain parameters, and the survivors' responses to them to also fit within these parameters; in this book, however, it just "got a little weird". (hah... got a little weird... in a zombie book... hmmm...)

    But, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the shift in the zombie - we'll call them "attributes" - was sort of a logical progression, given how they started. Though I don't think I can accept the late-story acceptance/attitude of "zombies are people too". (I sort of wonder if this theme was meant to have some moral behind it... but since I ignore morals in stories, I'm not sure if that was the intent, or just my interpretation of certain events.)

    Anyway, the story is wrapped up in the end - though maybe not the way we would have preferred it to be. The narration is very good. There is a bit of swearing, a bit of zombie "messiness" (aka gore), and no detailed sex. If there was another book in the series, I'd buy it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Swords of Exodus: Dead Six, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Larry Correia, Mike Kupari
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (967)
    Performance
    (904)
    Story
    (904)

    On the far side of the world, deep in former Soviet Central Asia, lies a stronghold called the Crossroads. It is run with an iron fist by a brutal warlord calling himself Sala Jihan. He is far more than a petty dictator, for Jihan holds the fate of nations in his grasp. To save a world slipping into chaos, Jihan must either fall or be controlled.

    Doug D. Eigsti says: "....Valentine and Lorenzo Battle at the Crossroads"
    "If you liked book one, might as well get this too"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book immediately after finishing the first book in the series, and, as soon as I finished it, I looked to see if there was a third book I could buy.

    It is a very good, action-packed and mostly realistic pseudo-military novel. If you've read the first book, this is nearly as good, though it does have some scenes that just brush on the supernatural (well, there is nothing supernatural in it, but some of the events are just a bit beyond believable, and, while we aren't given any concrete examples of supernatural actions, we are led to believe such actions did occur "off-screen").

    It still focuses on the same two main characters and there are a few more side-kicks than in book one. The point of view also switched between them a bit more frequently than in book one. There were a couple occasions where it was difficult to tell which of the characters (Lorenzo or Valentine) we were following. There is also a bit more political - anti-terrorist - rhetoric in this book. It didn't quite go over the top, but... there were probably a few too many comments regarding the evilness of terrorists (yes, of course, terrorism is bad, but in an action novel I don't really want to feel like I'm being lectured on the subject).

    All in all, I quite enjoyed it. Even the ending seemed fitting, and I hope they do a third book in the series - I'd buy it if they did. The narration was as good as in book one. There is some violence, mostly non graphic, and some swearing; no sex.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Swarm: Star Force, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By B. V. Larson
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4196)
    Performance
    (3835)
    Story
    (3847)

    Kyle Riggs is snatched by an alien spacecraft sometime after midnight. The ship is testing everyone it catches and murdering the weak. The good news is that Kyle keeps passing tests and staying alive. The bad news is the aliens who sent this ship are the nicest ones out there.

    Lamonica Johnson says: "If Micheal Bay Wrote a Sci-Fi Novel..."
    "Adolescent - and I don't mean YA"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is absolutely nothing like what I expected. I thought it was a military sci-fi where they battle space aliens. Oh... well... technically, it is a military sci-fi where they battle space aliens. But it feels more like a college boy's fantasy than anything that might come close to what would really happen in such a situation.

    I'm all for new and novel ideas. I like the concept of the aliens, and how the ships arrived, and what the humans had to do, and how they fought the aliens at the end of the novel but... and it's a big but... the characterizations were absolutely ridiculous. A college professor ends up saving the world because he is smarter than everyone else... sure, okay, I can deal with that. But... a guy watches his kids die, tries to save them and is all agitated about if they will survive and then, voila! problem solved by the entrance of a nude woman. Yep... naked woman solves all problems just by appearing in the story - and then no more whining and hair-tearing over the little issue of his dead children.

    Sure, a couple times while his is stealing furniture and complaining about his lack of decorating options, and fantasizing about having a cold beer, he thinks of his dead children, but only in passing... after all, nearly 2 whole days have passed.

    And I won't even get into the other space ship captain and the earth responses to the situation - after all we know that a college professor knows more and is smarter than the entire forces of every country on earth - it's not like any nation would have experienced trained military leaders and/or technical geniuses that these brand new captains could rely on.

    But... to be honest... the single biggest issue - which has probably tainted my entire review - is that women in this book have about the same value and intelligence as a beer. And if there was a blow up doll on board, I'm pretty sure the cold beer would be worth more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rise Again: A Zombie Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Ben Tripp
    • Narrated By Kirsten Potter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (423)
    Performance
    (382)
    Story
    (379)

    Filled with adventurous human drama-and shocking inhuman horror - Rise Again is a vivid and powerful debut novel of the zombie apocalypse.

    Tilo says: "This book is really good"
    "A zombie story that has real people in it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So... you're thinking, yet another zombie book. Well, yes and no. It is another zombie book and zombies are bad, and people are bad when the world falls apart - at least many of them are... but... this one is actually better written than a lot of the more recent zombie schlock out there - particularly in how well the people are written. Of course, there is the standard zombie gore and hack-n-slash, and this part is not very different or unique, but... the characters are distinct and real, and they behave in mostly normal ways. They don't suddenly become super heroes, and the women are not just there to be raped then rescued (or rescued then raped)...

    Sure, the women are rescued then raped - it is still a genre novel and the author relies heavily on the stereotype behaviour of humankind (dare I say "men"?) post-apocalypse - but the women are not ONLY there for that. The main character is a strong woman (non-lesbian too, nice change to see a female lead that isn't portrayed as a pseudo-man). Sure, she is flawed and damaged, but most male protagonists are as well...

    The author actually made me care what happened to the people in the story - this doesn't happen very often in zombie books; normally I just read them for the action and zombie bashing and don't really care which of the "survivors" survive until the end of the book because we aren't usually able to tell them apart. In this case, however, we want at least the main character and her original entourage to survive... because... well, we like them.

    The narration is seamless (you will forget it is being narrated). There is zombie gore but it isn't particularly graphic. There is some swearing and no sex. There is a bit of a twist at the end, but it isn't truly a cliff-hanger: I bought the next book in the series at full price on Audible as soon as I finished this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Morgue Drawer Four: Morgue Drawer, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jutta Profijt
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (272)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (237)

    Shy, but scrupulous, he is happy working as a coroner in the Cologne morgue - until one of his usually taciturn “clients” starts talking to him. It seems the ghost of a recently deceased (and surprisingly chatty) small-time car thief named Pascha is lingering near his lifeless body in drawer number four of Martin’s morgue. He remains for one reason: his accidental death was actually murder. Pascha isn’t too keen on the good doctor, considering the tidy manner in which his body was dissected upon the autopsy table.

    Patricia says: "My first read by this author"
    "Actually couldn't care less what happened..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book... I guess I thought it was an urban fantasy where the main character solved crimes, or sought revenge, etc...

    What it really is is a story about a guy we don't like very much being as annoying after death as he must have been in life. I'm actually not sure why this book was as unenjoyable to me as it was... I think it must be that the main character is so unlikeable and annoying that, really, I didn't care that he was dead, or if his murder got solved. In fact, I think I spent about half the book hoping Martin would figure out how to exorcise the main character so he'd leave the story.

    Not that exorcising the main character would have made the story much better, just less annoying - it was a plodding, bumbling investigation that was "solved" mostly by luck (well, actually, it was solved because the author wrote it that way, not due to any investigative skill of any of the characters). There was no way for readers to figure it out on their own, since there are no clues or investigative nuggets in the story for us to follow... just a lot of whining and complaining by characters we don't like... until... voila! solved!

    Maybe the good parts got lost in translation? I dunno. But I won't be reading any more in this series. The narration is fine. There is nothing graphic, and only a minor amount of swearing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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