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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 2007

1727
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 262 reviews
  • 368 ratings
  • 785 titles in library
  • 32 purchased in 2014
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  • The Black Echo: Harry Bosch Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4966)
    Performance
    (2946)
    Story
    (2945)

    For LAPD homicide cop Harry Bosch - hero, maverick, nighthawk - the body in the drainpipe at Mulholland Dam is more than another anonymous statistic. This one is personal. The dead man, Billy Meadows, was a fellow Vietnam "tunnel rat" who fought side by side with him in a nightmare underground war that brought them to the depths of hell.

    Daniel Mcafee says: "What a Terrific Book"
    "Had to start at the beginning of Bosch"
    Overall

    I wanted to read the Bosch series from the start so I picked this up. It was nicely paced and the characters were believable.

    The twist in the story was a bit predictable and the IAD investigation which fills a large part of the storyline is not really explained/justified and I finished the book still unclear as to why Bosch is so "bad" that he needed to be investigated.

    I didn't really enjoy the military sub-storyline (it wasn't quite political but had a tinge of politics), and don't understand the antagonist's motivations even though they are spelled out at the end.

    The narration is good.

    I'll read the next in the series because I suspect Bosch will turn into a very interesting character.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michelle Alexander
    • Narrated By Karen Chilton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (399)
    Performance
    (341)
    Story
    (344)

    In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.

    Jeremy says: "An essential read. A horrifying reality."
    "Perhaps it is more about poverty than race..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a way it is too bad the author aligned the book so closely to Jim Crow and brought the argument forward only in terms of racism. The argument really should have less to do with racism than with poverty and a lack of hope.

    Yes, more blacks are in jail than other races, especially considering the racial makeup in America. Yes, the prison and policing systems are money making engines. Yes, the war on drugs is a lost cause. And, yes, probably, it was all sculpted to be the way it is.

    But that doesn't change the fact that it is the abject poverty and lack of hope or opportunities that is the source of the problem. Born poor and inner city, raised on the streets, attending sub-standard schools, not having any realistic hope of ever pulling yourself or your family out of it... that is the problem. If people had hope and opportunity, they would not turn to drugs or crime, and they would not get a criminal record which further condemns them to a life of poverty.

    Changing post-prison reception or perception is not the solution. Crushing the process that impoverishes entire segments of the popluation is the solution. End the abject poverty, show some light at the end of the tunnel, and millions of boys turning to men will not be committing crimes simply to survive.

    The narration is fine. There is a specific phrase that is repeated pretty much every chapter which was a bit annoying and redundant, but... I suppose that was the writer's thesis. It was educational enough, but probably too narrowly focused to see the real problem.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: A Gray Man Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2144)
    Performance
    (1915)
    Story
    (1934)

    Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.

    Julius Butcher says: "Fits well into the series"
    "Guns and deception = suspense and butt-kicking"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ahh... some butt-kicking mind candy.

    No deep morals here, no lectures, just lots of guns and deception.

    It is probably the best of the Grey Man series... the author has matured, and his characters' actions have become more realistic.

    It is not truly a vigilante justice story because the good guys are not really good guys, and the bad guys are not really bad guys, and there isn't really anyone you'll want 'punished' for their bad behaviour. But it does have lots of action, a bit of suspense, decent characters, and a solid wrap up.

    You won't need to have read the others in the series to read this one. The author doesn't really repeat parts from the other books either, so if you did read them, you won't see much of them repeated here - it is a new story. And while it is not Lee Child's Jack Reacher, it is a decent fill in.

    The narration is very good, there is some swearing, some non graphic, mostly gun-related violence, and no sex.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Remaining

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By D. J. Molles
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    Overall
    (1894)
    Performance
    (1778)
    Story
    (1785)

    In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Someday soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission....

    Mike Naka says: "top notch! highly recommended!"
    "Better than expected, except for how it ended"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will start by mentioning the thing that bothered me the most about this book: it just stops. Reading along and... suddenly it is over. There was no real indication that there was an end coming up. Doesn't mean that it was not a logical place to stop, just that there was no real build up and denoument that lead me to think the end of the book was coming.

    Other than that, it was a reasonably well-written zombie novel. Yes, it works with the standard clichés and the characters are pretty run-of-the-mill. But there is some satisfying vigilante action, some zombie action, and some militant faction action.

    What more do you want from a short and quick read? It ain't literature folks, it's a zombie book. And a relatively well written one for that. I will read more in the series.

    The narration is good, there is some swearing, no sex and the violence isn't graphic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By William Hertling
    • Narrated By Rob Granniss
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (226)
    Story
    (233)

    David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence. David and his team are initially thrilled when the project is allocated extra servers and programmers.

    Matthew says: "Short but defintely sweet"
    "Skip it. Too formulaic with flat characters."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ummm... okay.

    It was not very well written, and I think this poor writing (specifically dealing with character development/behaviour) took too much away from what, otherwise, might have been an okay story. Maybe.

    It is a lot like Daemon except, of course, much more lecturey and person-does-A and then person-does-B formulaic. The writing simply didn't flow, and there was little suspense.

    This might be because the characters were not very distinct or "real" feeling, so... basically, we don't care what happens to whom or why... they all sound the same, so it is hard to tell if it was person one or person two who had something happen to them.

    Was the techy component good?... well... it was better than the character development, but... again, it was written so stiltedly that it felt like I was reading a how-to manual. And I don't know that the tech was as "cutting edge" as it thinks it is. Sure, it's not "real" at the moment, but this author certainly isn't the first to use a self-actualizing AI as the premise of a story.

    And the sub-title makes no sense at all. Oh well, live and learn. I won't be looking for any more books by this author.

    The narration was okay. There is no sex or gore and the language is too dull to even have much in the way of swearing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Free Fall: A John Ceepak Mystery, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (421)
    Performance
    (365)
    Story
    (364)

    “I didn’t do it!” is something cops hear all the time. But when the plea comes from a close friend who’s fallen on hard times, it’s tougher to ignore, especially for young Officer Danny Boyle. It’s the start of another action-packed summer for the wisecracking Boyle and straight-arrow cop (now chief of detectives) John Ceepak down the Jersey Shore as they do their best to help Danny’s friend, a young nurse who claims she has been falsely accused of aggravated assault by a prestigious Sea Haven doctor.

    John S. Johnston says: "Just another great Ceepak book"
    "Back on track with a solid Ceepak storyline"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had been disappointed in the book just before this one in the series. I thought in that book Danny was getting tiresome, and Ceepak was not featured very much. This book has gotten back on track.

    The mystery is a bit more detailed than usual, and there is a huge personal component to the story that had been missing in the last book. Some things were resolved in a very unexpected (but much welcome) way... I am not sure what this will mean for the next book in the series (assuming there is one), but I think the resolution here was fitting, and necessary.

    Otherwise... the tone and pacing, and mystery level of this novel are pretty much the same quality as they were in the other books in the series: A+.

    The narration is excellent. There is some minor swearing, no gore and no sex.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mask of the Swan: The Fearless

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Terry Maggert
    • Narrated By Rebecca Cook
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    When three lovers take a vacation after losing a fight with an elegant monster named Elizabeth, their time for healing is cut short by a new threat…innocent blood will spill. Reaching for the crown of Hell, Elizabeth gathers Archangels around her to fuel her power-mad ascent-but she has powerful enemies who will fight her every step of the way, including Delphine, the 2,400-year-old succubus hooker who knows that inside her beautiful body rests a very human soul.

    crazybatcow says: "An urban fantasy that reads like literature..."
    "An urban fantasy that reads like literature..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay... I hate to admit it, but... I looked up the author on the internet because I was convinced it was a female writer (it is not). Why, you might ask, did I wonder this? Well, because the female characters are fully realized, and not just objects to be rescued, and the main (male) character is sensitive and responsive - like a woman might want a man to be - rather than crass and manly like many 'action' heroes are.

    Of course, Ring is not really an action hero, and this novel falls into the urban fantasy genre, not the action genre. But it is only urban fantasy in that some of the characters are immortal... the story itself, and the main characters, all have a feeling of realism. In fact, the biggest reason why this novel doesn't really feel like an urban fantasy is because of the quality of the writing, and the lack of 'cheese'.

    Maggert has fantastic vocabulary. The book almost feels like literature, but it is not dense or heavy - it just has a lovely use of language. There is some non-graphic sex, which was well-placed and... I don't recall any swearing.

    Overall, this book is actually better than book one was - and that's saying something since book one was pretty good. This one has a more concrete resolution, and characters which are consistent internally and over time as well. It was not a cliff-hanger ending, but I will read any more in the series. I think that if you were going to pick up this book, though, you might enjoy it more if you read the first book first since the characters will make more sense if you do - and this is definitely a character driven novel.

    The narration is terrific. It's a female narrator for a male main character, but don't worry, she doesn't narrate the men in "falsetto", and each of her characters are distinctly voiced.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Undead Haze: Undead, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Eloise J. Knapp
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (90)

    The apocalypse just got worse. When remorse drives Cyrus to abandon his hidden compound he doesn't realize what new dangers lurk in the undead world. He knows he must wade through the vilest remains of humanity and hordes of zombies to settle scores and find the one person who might understand him. But this time, it won't be so easy. Zombies and unpleasant survivors aren't the only thing Cyrus has to worry about. Not anymore.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "It has been worth the wait"
    "As realistic as a zombie book could be..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It is actually a bit better than book one. It is a mature, non-hack-n-slash zombie book - well, there is some hack-n-slash, but it is not so much against the zombies as it is against the other survivors.

    In fact... it is almost like the zombies are just a side concern of the book. There is only interaction with them when necessary, and all the 'bad guys' here are other humans. Zombies are sorta treated like mosquitoes: very annoying, you try to avoid them, and kill them when they're close enough, but you won't be digging out the fogger to spray the forest around you.

    Cyrus does spend a little too much time thinking about how sociopathic he is (or is not as the case may be), but I suppose that is also part of his narcissistic nature.

    Is the, err, religous extremism realistic... no, not really, but it is as well written as such a theme could be. And these fanatics are as believable as anything else is in a zombie apocalypse. It is well-paced overall, and the characters are actually pretty well-fleshed.

    The narration is very good, there is some swearing but overall, it is not particularly graphic or gory. I will keep my eyes open for more books by Knapp.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Syndrome E

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Franck Thilliez, Mark Polizzotti (translator)
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (90)

    The classic police procedural meets cutting-edge science in this huge international best seller. Already a runaway bestseller in France, Syndrome E tells the story of beleaguered detective Lucie Henebelle, whose old friend has developed a case of spontaneous blindness after watching an extremely rare—and violent—film from the 1950s. Embedded in the film are subliminal images so unspeakably heinous that Lucie realizes she must get to the bottom of it—especially when nearly everyone who comes into contact with the film starts turning up dead.

    Just Jen says: "Unique and entertaining, an absolute must."
    "Strong beginning, peters out before it concludes."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got this book on sale and had no idea that it was part of a series, but after some investigation, it turns out that it is: this makes more sense... Sharko did not feel like a 'new' character here, and I kinda wish I had read the back stories before this one.

    That being said, I really enjoyed the tone (dark), the vigilante-feel, and the flawed characters in this book. The first part of the book is better than the latter (and final) parts of the book. The pacing changed from an un-folding story to a 'lecture-style' exposé. And the vigilante component just goes away. In fact, the resolution of the story is based on the description of events by several 3rd parties (some of whom are added in at the last minute) rather than by the detectives discovering clues that lead to the resolution. And I think there are a few too many characters... some just popping in long enough to set the stage for the next scene, and then they disappear (or are killed) .

    Originally, I hadn't realized that it was a translated book, but even that makes more sense now - some of the wording is, ahh... heavier ... than it would be in a North American written novel. And the settings and travel methods are definitely European.

    I am actually going to go read the previous books in the series now... I really like Sharko as a main character - he is so different from the usual detective.

    The narration is very good and there is no graphic violence or sex in the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodshot

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Cherie Priest
    • Narrated By Natalie Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (227)
    Story
    (226)

    Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist - even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files: documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the frozen outskirts of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta.

    Eivind says: "A notch above"
    "Made me want to go find the next book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really enjoyed this book. When I finished it, I immediately did a search to see if there was another in the series, or at least with the same characters. It is uncommon that I enjoy a book enough that I will seek out others by the same author rather than continue through my current reading list...so that might be 'nuff said.

    Naw... I'll add more. The main character is strong and independent and non-whiny (nice change for female leads in urban fantasy) and while there are men in the story, she is not dependent on them being around to save her. There are some decent supporting characters - none of which are stereotypical. In fact, it is almost like Priest thought about what *would* be stereotypical in this genre, and twisted them to something else completely.

    The ending was not as resolved as I would have liked it to be, but it was not a cliff-hanger, and, of course, it is book one (of two at the moment)... so I suppose there has to be something to resolve to warrant book 2. And I will go out now and get it!

    The narration is very good and it was not particularly gory or graphic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Trapped: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4819)
    Performance
    (4415)
    Story
    (4439)

    After 12 years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave. Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge - but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief.

    Katherine says: "Trapped"
    "You'll keep reading just for Oberon"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I took a bit of a break between the previous book in this series and this one. But I am very glad that I came back to it. This was one of my favourite instalments so far...

    There was a bit of romance that I think any series readers would have already seen coming. I don't know that it added anything to the story, however. It was not detailed or graphic and, actually, the sex scenes were treated more like interlude between events... something that was there just to give the sense of time passing.

    There is plenty of Oberon too. Not so much that he got annoying, but enough that it was pretty funny when he did 'speak up'. There was just a bit of mythological history in here; quite a bit less than some of the other books in the series. I liked that Hearne didn't try to turn it into a myth text book.

    The story is told via a series of vingette encounters with the 'bad guys' and I have to admit the overarching storyline that held these little segments together was a little on the sparse side. It felt mostly like: attack A, escape and investigate, attack B, escape and romantic interlude, attack C confront the source and resolve.

    Hah... even saying all that, I still really enjoyed this book. The pacing is terrific, Oberon is terrific, even Atticus has some decent one-liners. I don't think you'd enjoy it nearly as much if you hadn't read the rest of the series. There is no cliffhanger, but I will be reading the next in the series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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