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chris

I am exploring Scandinavian mysteries but also like mysteries set in other parts of the world. I also like reading Literary Fiction.

United States | Member Since 2011

41
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 44 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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  • Borkmann's Point: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Håkan Nesser, Laurie Thompson (translator)
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    An ex-con is brutally murdered with an ax in Kaalbringen. Then the body of a wealthy real estate mogul is found, also the victim of a violent attack. There appears to be a serial killer on the loose, and Chief Inspector Van Veeteren is called in to help the local police. As details surrounding the grisly murders are collected, Van Veeteren finds little to go on. But then there's another murder, and shortly thereafter one of Van Veeteren's colleagues, a promising female detective, goes missing.

    chris says: "Brooding, compassionate and mysterious"
    "Brooding, compassionate and mysterious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really like Nesser. His heroes are thoughtful, compassionate men and women. The mysteries he crafts keep you guessing. You can't figure them out easily. If you love Nesbo and splashier, action oriented mysteries with tormented detectives and graphic violence, you may not like Nesser overall.

    Inspector Van Veeteren is an intuitive detective, and a big believer in letting all the information roll in until you reach that point (Borkmann's point-- listen to the book to hear more about it) when you can solve the crime. This is not flashy business, no fist fights nor jumping from roof tops, just mood, clever plotting and likeable characters. Simon Vance does a great job as narrator.

    This mystery is about an axe murderer so there's some gory parts but the sensitive style and substance of Nesser ensures that this book will make you care and think.

    Nesser is one of the most dependable Scandinavian mystery authors. He's always interesting and satisfying!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • The Deep Blue Good-By: A Travis McGee Novel, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By John D. MacDonald
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1223)
    Performance
    (1027)
    Story
    (1036)

    He's a self-described beach bum who won his houseboat in a card game. He's also a knight errant who's wary of credit cards, retirement benefits, political parties, mortgages, and television. He only works when his cash runs out, and his rule is simple: he'll help you find whatever was taken from you, as long as he can keep half.

    Michael Cavacini says: "An Entertaining Start To A Classic Series"
    "Love the Trav and Hate the Trav"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story





    Love the Trav...

    These are classic novels in the history of U.S. pulp and they are classic Americana. MacDonald is a great writer, almost too good for writing beach thrillers. His novels contain riffs on human nature and good and evil that are powerful, poetic and memorable. McGee is iconic, like the archetype of the gold-hearted gun fighter of the wild west, because he is a rugged individualist whose life is dedicated to help the weak and victimized. The stories have great flow.

    The villain in this inaugural book is a great evil character. By the end of the book you are so ready for McGee to kick his derriere up and down the beaches of Florida.

    Hate the Trav...

    Don't forget that these books were originally published and became WILDLY popular in the 1960's and 1970's. That is why MacDonald and McGee are a bit out of step for 2012 and beyond. Listening to The Deep Blue Goodbye this week I am struck by the old fashioned and often embarrassing treatment of women in these stories. The ladies are often described as meat, nothing less and nothing more. It's very old school.

    If you're a fan of Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford novels, you need to know that Travis McGee was, basically, the model for the Doc Ford universe.

    Robert Petkoff is an excellent reader for these books. I remember listening to Travis McGee when Darren McGavin was the performer, back in the 1980's and 1990's. McGavin was great, such a singular character and voice, but Petkoff is wonderful... Petkoff's voice is rugged, clipped and no-nonsense. It suits the first person narration great.

    They're working on a Travis McGee movie now, and there's talk that Leo DiCaprio might play McGee. This will create a resurgence of interest in one of the greatest thriller writers of the 20th Century.

    Just know, going in, that these books are set in the past and they are set in a different mindset.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Gotham

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Lyndsay Faye
    • Narrated By Steven Boyer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (543)
    Performance
    (469)
    Story
    (472)

    It is 1845. New York City forms its first police force. The great potato famine hits Ireland. These two seemingly disparate events will change New York City. Forever.... Timothy Wilde tends bar near the Exchange, fantasizing about the day he has enough money to win the girl of his dreams. But when his dreams literally incinerate in a fire devastating downtown Manhattan, he finds himself disfigured, unemployed, and homeless. His older brother obtains Timothy a job in the newly minted NYPD, but he is highly skeptical of this new "police force".

    Joanne says: "A wonderful book"
    "Good Book."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this well put together historical mystery but I thought it was a bit long. Lots of research in the book. Steven Boyer is a great voice.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Neon Rain: A Dave Robicheaux Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3011)
    Performance
    (1819)
    Story
    (1812)

    New York Times best-selling author James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux novels began with this first hard-hitting entry in the series. In The Neon Rain, Detective Robicheaux fishes a prostitute's corpse from a New Orleans bayou and finds that no one, not even the law, cares about a dead hooker.

    S. Sand says: "The perfect combination of author and narrator"
    "The Superlative Reviews are Right"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my first James Lee Burke experience and I'm delighted. The superlative reviews for the Dave Robicheaux series and for Will Patton as a performer are all true. Burke is a cut above most writers of mysteries.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mind's Eye: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Håkan Nesser, Laurie Thompson (translator)
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (85)
    Performance
    (71)
    Story
    (70)

    Chief Inspector Van Veeteren knew that murder cases were never as open-and-shut as this one: Janek Mitter woke one morning with a brutal hangover and discovered his wife of three months lying facedown in the bathtub, dead. With only the flimsiest excuse as his defense, he is found guilty of a drunken crime of passion and imprisoned in a mental institution.

    chris says: "A GOOD MYSTERY"
    "A GOOD MYSTERY"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I usually don't like mysteries that jump around and don't stay focused on the detective.

    This mystery focuses on the point of view of a murder suspect and also the detective. Still, the writing and plotting is so good, and the detective appealing, so it did not matter. I really eased into this book without any trouble and enjoyed it tremendously.

    The narration is excellent. Van Veteeren is, on the surface, not very interesting, but then we realize he is weirdly intuitive. He's quite likeable ultimately.

    This is not a novel full of insane serial killers and gore (although it has its graphic parts). It's not Jo Nesbo (thank God, I think Nesbo is horrible). It's not frenetic and freaky like Lars Kepler (The Hypnotist). It is more in line with Henning Mankell, though Van Veteeren, based on this one novel, does not seem as troubled as Wallander, and is not put in as many adventure type situations.

    Bottom Line: Nesser is a smart writer and this book is very solid and satisfying. The mystery is smart and keeps you interested. I am looking forward to experiencing the other books in the series. I'm saving them and I'm going to pace myself so as to not burn through them too quick.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Roseanna: A Martin Beck Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Maj Sjöwall, Per Wahlöö
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (222)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (114)

    On a July afternoon, the body of a young woman is dredged from Sweden's Lake Vättern. Three months later, all that Police Inspector Martin Beck knows is that her name is Roseanna, that she came from Lincoln, Nebraska, and that she could have been strangled by any one of 85 people. As Beck narrows down the list of likely suspects, he is drawn increasingly to the enigma of the victim, a free-spirited traveler with a penchant for the casual sexual encounter.

    Patty B says: "Skip the audiobook and read the book..."
    "Surprisingly Good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    [This review contains no spoilers about the plot or details of the mystery]

    I say "Surprisingly Good" because I should not have liked this as much as I did.

    I should not have liked it because I think Tom Weiner's narration is too fast and clipped. Sometimes, his voices are grating. At first I did not think I could get over it, but I did and kept on listening. I'm glad I did.

    I should not have liked it because the detective is a pig to his wife. I don't need my detectives to be nice people, but his childishness was annoying and painful to hear about. In this troubled marriage, I felt sorry for his wife and had little compassion for him. But still I stuck it out.

    Ultimately, what made this novel surprisingly good was a surprisingly good mystery. One of the key clues was clearly the inspiration for one of the key clues in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I guess Larrson read this book and one part of it stayed in his brain.

    The novel is a police procedural set in the 1960's (the book was written in the 1960's). It is clever and well plotted. At the end it is really exciting and fun.

    There is one stretch that was tough to get through: a series of interview transcripts with Q and A. The performance of that made me want to scream. Thankfully it was not more than 30 minutes.

    This and other books in the series are priced very reasonably. For fans of Scandinavian murder mysteries (Hakan Nesser, Henning Mankell, and others), this series is an important inspiration. If you're hardcore about mysteries set in this part of the world, you have to read this series which is pretty much the beginning of the tradition.

    The novel begins with a prologue by Henning Mankell, which explains why the series was so groundbreaking and important and well done. I left it for last. The cover image used for this book was annoying and sloppy. Every time I turned on the audiobook I had to look at a fat bare foot in the grass? Give me a break. A minor detail, but a grating one.

    I was genuinely surprised at how much I liked this novel because I was not crazy about the narration. It felt too fast. I will continue with this series however because it was sharp and clever and I think I could get used to these characters.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Light in August

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (1606)
    Performance
    (1088)
    Story
    (1085)

    An Oprah's Book Club Selection regarded as one of Faulkner's greatest and most accessible novels, Light in August is a timeless and riveting story of determination, tragedy, and hope. In Faulkner's iconic Yoknapatawpha County, race, sex, and religion collide around three memorable characters searching desperately for human connection and their own identities.

    FanB14 says: "Perseverance in Face of Cruelty"
    "Exciting, Disturbing, Rich"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would recommend this book for two reasons: First, because it is a profound and deeply moving (and disturbing) exploration of the legacy of slavery in the United States. Second, I would recommend it because Will Patton's narration is fantastic. He has an easy, warm style, unaffected and natural. I am going to seek his other performances out. Faulkner was one of those writers that everyone talks about, he's one of the giants of American Literature. For a long time I've been wanting to read him and I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to experience this audiobook.

    There are NO spoilers in what follows because I don't want to ruin it for others. But here's some more details:

    The novel, which is set in the 1930's, starts out with a young pregnant girl traveling to Jefferson in search of the father of her unborn baby. Once there, the story essentially shifts emphasis and focuses on a few men in the town, one of the named Christmas, who is very enigmatic. It is the story of Christmas which takes over for much of the middle of the book, before a return to Jefferson and the situation of the pregnant girl. There are other great characters: for example, a disgraced preacher called Hightower who has been forgotten by the town, and his friend Bunch, a hardworking, decent man who, as it turns out, is very lonely. There's also a middle aged woman living on an unkempt plantation. They are interesting people who are portrayed with depth and compassion.

    The novel is not entirely linear and there are parts that are very meditative, descriptive and philosophical. Those parts are mostly entertaining because the writing is so rich but I confess that the second to last chapter, which I listened to twice, did me in, I just couldn't quite absorb it entirely. Other chapters were simply electrifying.

    If you like straightforward, plot driven novels which go from A to B to C, then this book could be a slog. If you like reading modern classics and you're OK with some jumping around in time, with passages of rich description and psychology, then you'll love this.

    Most importantly, Will Patton really sells this story. Thanks to his voice and talent I could get past the challenging parts and experience this great story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (723)
    Performance
    (635)
    Story
    (635)

    A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.

    dumbclub says: "Excellence"
    "Surprisingly Poignant"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Involuntary Witness?

    The protagonist of Involuntary Witness is very likable and warm. He is a man whose life is falling apart and the novel tells the story of how he fights back, through the defense of a client accused of murder.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have never listened to Sean Barrett before, but I will again. He is an exceptional performer.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Sean Barrett's performance of Abbou, the Senegalese man accused of murder, was surprisingly moving. That character seemed so real to me, my heart went out to him.


    Any additional comments?

    I am definitely coming for more books in the Guerrieri series. Carofiglio is a great find.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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