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  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Susan Elia MacNeal
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed debut, Mr. Churchill's Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain's beloved royals against an international plot - one that could change the course of history. As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5.

    A. Dyer says: "Bring back Wanda McCaddon as narrator"
    "good period thriller"

    I enjoyed both of these witty novels featuring Maggie Hope--a combination of social and political commentary and thriller (of the less intense sort) set in England at the start of WWII. This second book, however, is marred by the quality of the reading. I hate to say anything negative about someone who did such an admirable job in many ways, particularly her use of different voices for various characters, but her sing-songy cadence sentence by sentence was so distracting that at times I found it hard to listen. I persevered and I'm glad I did,but unless Duerden can overcome this very unhelpful vocal tic, I can't recommend books read by her.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • First Family

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Camp David, USA. A birthday party turns into a nightmare when a child is snatched after the celebrations. The First Lady enlists the services of Sean King and Michelle Maxwell to bring the child home safely. But she and King share a past. Years ago he saved her then senator husband from political disaster. And this may not be all that passed between them. With Michelle still battling her own demons, the two are pushed to the limit, with forces aligned on all sides against them.

    jerry says: "Outstanding as always"
    "Sloppy writing, terrible sound effects"

    Baldacci is a pro who knows how to cook up an intricate plot and keep the narrative ticking away like a bomb. BUT this book reads like a first draft, complete with cliches and grammatical errors, poor character development and stilted dialogue. I can't help but think that if he had taken another six months to work over the plot and character elements and goose his writing style, this could have been a stunning thriller.

    The performance is another issue. McLarty's voice has range, but his delivery can be oddly stiff. He is not the problem, however. The faux suspenseful background music was horrible and intrusive. Even worse were the appalling sound effects--like the machine gun spatter--that accompanied the most dramatic scenes. Not just unnecessary but ridiculous, bordering on grotesque. I've never encountered this before in an audiobook and I pray I never do again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Feast Day of Fools: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Celebrated crime master and two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke returns with a gorgeously crafted, brutally resonant chronicle of violence along the Texas-Mexico border. Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town, meting out punishment and delivering justice in his small square of this magnificent but lawless land. When an alcoholic ex-boxer named Danny Boy Lorca begs to be locked up after witnessing a man tortured to death by a group of bandits, Hack and his deputy, Pam Tibbs, slowly extract the Indian man’s gruesome tale.

    Melinda says: "Shoot Out at the More-Than-OK Corral"
    "Compelling story fabulously performed"

    James Lee Burke is a splendid storyteller whose novels feature complex and unpredictable plots and vivid, morally conflicted characters. He also has a gift for language rarely encountered in genre writing. He surpasses himself in both style and content here. However--and it's a big however--the book was in desperate need of editing and could have been cut by one-third, simply by eliminating some of the weather descriptions, half the metaphors for the look in the bad guys's eyes, and three-quarters of the main character's flashbacks to his war years in Korea. Not that the language and the message weren't powerful, just that he says the same thing too many times.

    Nonetheless, Will Patton's truly amazing reading makes any repetition worth listening to. He brings all the characters to life convincingly. I've listened to many recorded books and this was the first time I felt compelled to look up the reader/actor--who I then recognized from films and television. I was dazzled by his talent, which dovetailed perfectly with Burke's narrative.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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