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Alan

Tucson, AZ, United States | Member Since 2003

65
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 287 ratings
  • 507 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • The Cold, Cold Ground

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1416)
    Performance
    (1228)
    Story
    (1224)

    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"
    "Outstanding!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been a fan of Adrian McKinty's books for a couple of years. He's a leading member of a group of writers from Ireland writing crime fiction. The "Dead Trilogy" is highly recommended but The Cold Cold Ground is his best yet.

    McKinty's style is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler and other writers of great crime fiction. Sean Duffy, the protagonist in TCCG, is so well-drawn that one might recognize him on the street. Duffy is very human, loves books ("Midnight's Children" in audio!) and music ("Venus in Furs"!) and is generally a good guy. He's a Catholic police detective in Northern Ireland.

    The book is set in Northern Ireland in 1981, during the famous hunger strikes. That is in the middle of the The Troubles. That historical backdrop is a fascinating setting for this book. Many readers will learn things about those times that aren't common knowledge. Unlike many popular authors, McKinty will not talk down to his readers, rather, he challenges readers with his thoughtful writing.

    The reader, Gerard Doyle, is wonderful. His narration adds greatly to this book.

    This is good story, a bit of a whodunit but the book is really about Northern Ireland's civil strife and Sean Duffy. Since this is the first book of a Sean Duffy series, I'm eagerly looking forward to book 2!

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Falling Glass

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (1451)
    Performance
    (1164)
    Story
    (1158)

    Richard Coulter is a man who has everything. His beautiful new wife is pregnant, his upstart airline is undercutting the competition and moving from strength to strength, his diversification into the casino business in Macau has been successful, and his fabulous Art Deco house on an Irish cliff top has just been featured in Architectural Digest. But then, for some reason, his ex-wife Rachel doesn’t keep her side of the custody agreement and vanishes off the face of the earth with Richard’s two daughters. Richard hires Killian, a formidable ex-enforcer for the IRA, to track her down before Rachel, a recovering drug addict, harms herself or the girls.

    Cheryl says: "Hold on to your seat!!!"
    "Great crime fiction!!"
    Overall

    Another very good book by Adrian McKinty, the Irish author of the Dead Trilogy (which featured Michael Forsythe as its main character).

    Michael Forsythe is a minor character in Falling Glass.

    Falling Glass, set primarily in Northern Ireland, has as its main character Killian, an Irish Traveller (also know as Pavee, a gypsy-like and nomadic group in Ireland). Killian is hired by the extremely wealthy, powerful and well-connected Richard Coulter to find Coulter's ex-wife Rachel and their children.

    McKinty is a good and entertaining writer who appears inspired by Raymond Chandler. Several chapter titles in Falling Glass are Chandler books, e.g., The Big Sleep. The style of writing, the fierce code that drives the main character's actions and the genre are all very reminiscent of Chandler.

    Falling Glass is fast-paced and very engaging. It is recommended to existing McKinty fans but also to anyone who enjoys crime fiction.

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Charlie Huston
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (167)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (44)

    Webster Fillmore Goodhue has found temporary work as one of the mop-up crew for the Los Angeles County crime division. In other words, he cleans up grisly crime scenes for the cops. When the daughter of a recent Malibu suicide victim asks for his help cleaning up after her brother has gotten into a little trouble, every cell in Web's brain is telling him to turn her down. But she's very attractive, and before he knows it, he's well on his way to getting his face kicked in.

    Alan says: "Funny!"
    "Funny!"
    Overall

    Do get this book if you want a modern, well-written, funny and insightful book about a man dealing with a terrible trauma. I've not finished this yet, but have already laughed out loud more than once. I am enjoying it!

    Don't get this book if words like a**h***, m*****f*****, etc. will bother you, as this book is full of such language. The use of the language is part of the books "charm" for me, as the characters are from the generation who are so used to such language that the meaning is lessened.

    Me? I recommend this book!!

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Spook Country

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By William Gibson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (599)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (148)

    Bobby Chombo is a "producer" and an enigma. In his day job, Bobby is a troubleshooter for manufacturers of military navigation equipment. He refuses to sleep in the same place twice. He meets no one. Hollis Henry, an investigative journalist, has been told to find him.

    wendy says: "Loved it"
    "Modern Thriller"
    Overall

    Gibson, well known as the founder of cyberpunk style of science fiction writing and as the person who coined the term "cyberspace" now is writing novels set in the present. As with Pattern Recognition, Spook Country is set in the present, with New York, London, Los Angeles, and Vancouver as locations. I liked the book for its use of very current language. For example, a character says to another something like, "I read your Wikipedia entry and googled you before I came to see you." Or, when the main character, Hollis Henry, turns on turns on her PowerBook, she gets a screen that says, "None of your trusted wireless networks can be found."

    The war in Iraq plays a role in the background of this book, and even Vice Presidents accidentally shooting friends while quail hunting is mentioned.

    The book involves three different stories that come together in the last third of the book. All of the novel's characters are trying to locate a certain shipping container, the contents of which are unknown to the listener and many of the characters until near the end of the book.

    The narration is competent and unassuming.

    I recommend Spook Country

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Absurdistan

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Gary Shteyngart
    • Narrated By Arte Johnson
    Overall
    (165)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (26)

    Shteyngart's second novel (The Russian Debutante's Handbook, 2002, was the first) is a wild ride that follows its protagonist and narrator, Misha Vainburg, from St. Petersburg (or St. Leninsburg as he prefers to call it) to a tiny country in the Caucasus called Absurdsvani.

    Alan says: "True Footrest Posse"
    "True Footrest Posse"
    Overall

    Absurdistan may take a certain type of listener/reader. I'm not sure all will enjoy it, as evidenced by the very mixed ratings on this website for the book. The humor is sophomoric at times (a positive in my view), scatological, sexual, political, religious, etc. In other words, it could easily offend lots of people. But, I enjoyed it!

    My header for this review is the name of a rap group in the book. When that name was mentioned, I laughed out loud. One needs to read the book to see why that was so funny.

    If one is familiar with accents, and Russian ones, then the narration may be annoying. It wasn't bad for me.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Bleak House

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (346)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (133)

    First published in monthly parts from March 1852 to September 1853, this novel follows the fortunes of three pedestrian characters; Esther Summerson, Ada Clare, and Richard Carstone. The story they tell embondies Dickens' merciless indictment of the Court of Chancery and its bungling, morally corrupt handling of the endless case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, giving the novel its scope and meaning.

    UU Ma says: "30 hours was too short for me"
    "Dickens on top of his form!"
    Overall

    After finishing this audiobook, I now must rank it as one of my favorite audiobooks ever. The story is marvelous and the narration is wonderful. There are many, many memorable characters.

    Note that the narrator, Robert Whitfield is the same person as Simon Vance and as Richard Matthews. He's clearly one of the best.

    Any problems with quality of the audio in this book have been cleared up entirely.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Lay of the Land: Frank Bascombe, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Richard Ford
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    With The Sportswriter, in 1986, Richard Ford commenced a cycle of novels that, 10 years later, after Independence Day won both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award, was hailed by The Times of London as "an extraordinary epic [that] is nothing less than the story of the 20th century itself." Now, a decade later, Frank Bascombe returns, with a new lease on life (and real estate), and more acutely in thrall to life's endless complexities than ever before.

    Daniel says: "Richard Ford, get out of my mind!"
    "Great book!"
    Overall

    I liked this book quite a lot. There were several times that I laughed out loud so I consider the book to be quite funny. There's a really funny part that takes place when the main character (1st-person narrative) ends up stuck in a lesbian bar while waiting for his car to be repaired. The author is able to make events funny, while drawing out the seriousness and trouble that clouds our lives from time to time.

    Not a lot happens in the book in terms of plot (at least until the last parts of the book). There are long and detailed descriptions of events, people, etc. that might cause many to call the book "slow." At first, that was a little off-putting, but eventually, I came to understand what the author was doing, and that style didn't make any difference to me at all at the end. I was sorry to have it end.

    Themes include observations about modern life, fatherhood, loss of a child, neighbors, divorce, selling, late-middle age, cancer and more.

    The narration was first rate. The reader put effort into different voices for each character, and did lots of accents (southern, midwest, East Indian and others) all of which I enjoyed.

    I recommend it.

    (There's a sixteen-mintute interview with the author after the end of the book, so it's not actually a 24 hour 57 minute book.)

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The Sound and the Fury

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (488)
    Performance
    (209)
    Story
    (207)

    First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling", the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers: the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin, and the monstrous Jason.

    W.Denis says: "Hang in"
    "Highest recommendation"
    Overall

    William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury is among the best audio books I've had the pleasure of listening to.

    The book is challenging, interesting and well-written. It's especially challenging in the first chapter, which is told in the first person of a severely mentally adult, in stream-of-conciousness style. I re-listened to that first chapter after completing the book. The book is interesting as a novel about the decline of a Southern aristocratic family.

    The narration by Grover Gardner is clearly among the best, if not the best, I've listened to thus far.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Judgment

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs)
    • By D.W. Buffa
    • Narrated By Dennis Predovic
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (98)

    When Judge Calvin Jeffries is found murdered in a courthouse parking lot, the crime shocks the community, but justice is swift. Soon a second judge is stabbed to death. Attorney Joseph Antonelli agrees to defend the accused. What he discovers challenges everything he knows about crime and punishment...and himself. Also available abridged.

    Michael says: "Buffa's Best"
    "A disappointing effort"
    Overall

    I was disappointed by this book. While I enjoyed the performance of the narrator, who was top-notch, the book itself was boring. I particularly was disappointed with the sub-plot involving the private life of the book's main character. The best parts of the book were the courtroom scenes.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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