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BSquared67

Adelaide, Australia | Member Since 2008

60
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 20 reviews
  • 164 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
2

  • Never Look Away

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Linwood Barclay
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Cummings
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    It starts with a trip to a local amusement park. David Harwood is hoping a carefree day at Five Mountains will help dispel his wife Jan's recent depression, black moods that have led to frightening thoughts of suicide. Instead, a day of fun with their four-year-old son Ethan turns into a nightmare. When Jan disappears from the park, David's worst fears seem to have come true. But when he goes to the police to report her missing, terrified that she's planning to take her own life, the facts start to indicate something very different.

    BSquared67 says: "Top thrills"
    "Top thrills"
    Overall

    I like thrillers that have an air of normality about them and don???t go too over the top with explosions and other silliness and Never Look Away fits that bill well. At its heart it???s a story of a family where all is not what it seems and plays on the sorts of fears that all of us might face at some time. It took me a little while to ???get into??? Jeffrey Cummings??? narration as he used a wide variety of voices and some of the ones for minor characters were a little odd-sounding. However after the first 20-30 minutes I was totally absorbed and Cummings had made the book whatever the audio equivalent is of a page turner.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Finders Keepers

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Belinda Bauer
    • Narrated By John Sackville
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    At the height of summer a dark shadow falls across Exmoor. Children are being stolen from cars. Each disappearance is marked only by a terse note – a brutal accusation. There are no explanations, no ransom demands... and no hope. Policeman Jonas Holly faces a precarious journey into the warped mind of the kidnapper if he's to stand any chance of catching him. But – still reeling from a personal tragedy – is Jonas really up to the task?

    BSquared67 says: "Great writing but implausible story"
    "Great writing but implausible story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It's the third book in a loose series and if you've read the first two you can't help but roll your eyes a bit that the same small part of England is once again the scene for unspeakable crimes, especially when the same family that has been victimised before (by completely different evil doers) is once again under attack. So I'd have liked the author to branch out a little.


    Do you think Finders Keepers needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. I think it's time for this author to move on to other characters and settings. She is a great writer - witty and accurate in her human observations and really draws the reader into a world - but I don't need to read any more about evil in Shipcott.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By M. R. Hall
    • Narrated By Sian Thomas
    Overall
    (5)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Two young British students, Nazim Jamal and Rafi Hassan vanish without a trace. The police tell their parents that the boys had been under surveillance, that it was likely they left the country to pursue their dangerous new ideals. Seven years later, Nazim’s grief-stricken mother is still unconvinced. Jenny Cooper is her last hope. Jenny is finally beginning to settle into her role as coroner for the Severn Valley; the ghosts of her past that threatened to topple her, banished to the sidelines once more.

    BSquared67 says: "Not terribly original"
    "Not terribly original"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story was serviceable enough but never fully engaged the ‘must know what will happen next’ part of my brain because it seemed fairly obvious from the outset what the overall outcome would be. The set pieces that took place along the way, including those in the courtroom, were competently written but, for me, failed to surprise and felt too much like they’d been assembled from a few newspaper headlines rather than looking at any particular theme or idea in any depth. Issues like the treatment of Muslims after September 11 2001 and the reaction of western governments to the growth of extreme terrorism were given lip service which brought out nothing new or insightful and left me unfulfilled.

    The Disappeared isn’t terrible but I just didn’t find it very original or thought-provoking.

    Sian Thomas is a terrific narrator though. I’m normally wary of narrators who choose to do foreign accents (they can border on the offensive) but it was well done here and at times the best thing about the fairly dull courtroom scenes.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Birthdays for the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Stuart MacBride
    • Narrated By Ian Hanmore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (54)

    Five years ago his daughter, Rebecca, went missing on the eve of her 13th birthday. A year later the first card arrived: homemade, with a Polaroid picture stuck to the front – Rebecca, strapped to a chair, gagged and terrified. Every year another card: each one worse than the last. The tabloids call him The Birthday Boy. He’s been snatching girls for 12 years, always in the run-up to their 13th birthday, sending the families his homemade cards showing their daughters being slowly tortured to death.

    BSquared67 says: "For those who can stomach strong violence"
    "For those who can stomach strong violence"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Stuart MacBride and/or Ian Hanmore?

    I would definitely listen to another book by this narrator but as for the author I'd be more picky. This book was very violent, gratuitously so in my opinion, and I didn't think much of the plotting or the main character. I'm prepared to give the author another go because there are hints of writing that I do like (particularly the humour) but I'm wary of more of the same.


    What about Ian Hanmore???s performance did you like?

    The changes in voices for the different characters were subtle but noticeable enough to make the book easy to follow. I do like a Scottish accent too.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Revulsion mostly. I've had my fill of serial killer books featuring tortured souls on disgusting quests that require the mutilation of innocent people - being a crime fiction fan I've come across a lot of these but am well and truly done with this particular sub genre. I've also had it with excessively violent blokes using their fists to solve every problem they come across.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was not for me but I don't think it's badly written. It just takes readers down a path I have trodden too often before.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Fuminori Nakamura, Satoko Izumo (translator)
    • Narrated By Charlie Thurston
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (100)
    Performance
    (91)
    Story
    (91)

    The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly that sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him; nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections.... But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life and offers him a job he can't refuse.

    Ki says: "Well, it is short."
    "Surprising. In a Good Way."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I???m not normally one for books told from the career criminal???s point of view. In most cases I???m not sympathetic to them, regardless of the real or imagined traumas that led them to their lives of crime, and I???m rarely swayed or intrigued by their angst or their revelling in the misery they inflict. So a story told by a pickpocket should not, on past experience, have engaged me at all but it did. It may have something to do with the fact that the eponymous thief (named only once as Nishimura) doesn???t delve deeply into the morality of his actions (aside from a claim to only steal from rich people) and certainly doesn???t spend time justifying himself. He is what he is and rather dispassionately tells his story which I somehow found more acceptable than the books which give lengthy reasons for a person becoming a life-long criminal.

    There is also, at least on the surface, is not a lot going on here in that rather than a major story arc the book concerns itself with an almost random slice of Nishimura???s life which is another reason I ought not to have been engrossed in the book as that kind of thing often irks me. But with THE THIEF almost immediately I did want to know what troubles would befall the narrator (there was never even a glimmer that his life would bring something other than troubles). Somehow his detachment and reserve made me hang on for the few tiny morsels that would provide insight into the man, his personal history and his ultimate fate.

    Some of THE THIEF borders on the surreal, the female characters are prostitutes or dead (downtrodden women are a feature of all the Japanese crime fiction I have read) and the ending is as ambiguous as it gets which are all more reasons why I would normally not enjoy a book. And yet I listened to the whole thing in a single sitting almost without noticing the time passing. I am glad to have read the book and would recommend to those prepared for something a little different.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Or the Bull Kills You

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Jason Webster
    • Narrated By Mark Meadows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    ‘Either you kill the bull, or the bull kills you’ - traditional proverb. Chief Inspector Max Cámara hates bullfighting, but one hot afternoon in Valencia he has to judge a festival corrida starring Spain’s most famous young matador. That night he is back in the ring, and what he finds on the bloodstained sand shocks the city of Valencia to its core. As Cámara hunts his prey through the streets and bars, firecrackers echo for the festival of Fallas, and the town hall election.

    BSquared67 says: "Transports you to the streets of Spain"
    "Transports you to the streets of Spain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Surprisingly, to me, the thing I enjoyed most about this book was its richly depicted setting which included more information about bullfighting than I could ever have anticipated being intrigued by. Which is why it is sometimes good to read things you think you might not like. Webster, who is not a native Spaniard but has lived there for twenty years and has published several highly acclaimed travel books about the country, really does bring the city alive for the reader with quite lyrical descriptions of the city, the festival, the food and the bullfighting. The two main characters debate the merits, or lack thereof, of the sport and one fills the other in in on any history and symbolism that might be relevant to his investigation and it is these exchanges that provide that allow readers to absorb information about a subject most of them probably know little about. I really liked the way this was done, especially they way it enabled Webster to present both sides of the debate without being judgemental.

    I was not as taken by the character of Max C??mara as other reviewers seem to have been which of course is a highly personal thing. Perhaps I have had my fill of alcoholic detectives who argue with their superiors and are, in the end, fairly self-absorbed (in this instance C??mara's inner life revolves around his worries over his fertility which I literally could not have cared less about).


    Did Mark Meadows do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Meadows' narration was very good, using a range of slightly different accents and genders but never going overboard, especially with the female voices as some male narrators can do.


    Do you think Or the Bull Kills You needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I know there is another one on the way which will be a boon for people who like Max and want to spend time with him. Although I like the way Webster depicts Spain I'm not sure I'll bother spending more time with him


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fallen: A Jade De Jong Investigation, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Jassy Mackenzie
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    When P.I. Jade de Jong invites Superintendent David Patel on a scuba diving holiday in St. Lucia, she hopes the time away will rebuild their conflicted relationship. Jade's dreams are soon shattered when David calls off their affair, forcing her into the arms of environmentalist Craig Niewoudt. But the next morning, romantic issues are put aside when a scuba diving instructor, Amanda Bolton, is found brutally stabbed to death.

    Bernadette says: "Crime mixed with failed romance"
    "Crime mixed with failed romance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I found the plot of THE FALLEN uneven, slow to get going really as several threads of unequal interest were set up, including a somewhat confusing tale about Jade trying to find the grave of her mother who died when Jade was a baby. For me the pacing was thrown off by the terribly obvious and drawn out clue-hunting, and then at one point I thought the book had finished and was rather astonished to find there were still 6 and a half chapters (a couple of hours) of the audio book left . The thread that deals with what happens after the diving instructor???s body is found ??? and the truly horrible plan Jade uncovers ??? was for me the best part of the book; responsible for a genuine OMG moment when it became clear what was going on.

    In the end it felt like the book didn't quite know what it wanted to be.A major thread dealing with jade's on/off romance with a married bloke took the book in a romantic direction that didn't interest me at all. At times it read like an old-fashioned whodunnit, though with De Jong making a bit of a fist of the kind of denouement that Holmes or Poirot could perform with aplomb. I cannot possibly, for example, be the only reader to have been internally screaming ???there are more than passengers on an airplane you dolt??? as Jade very slowly worked this out as if for an audience of dim-witted third graders. At other times the book read like a modern thriller with loads of action and heroine-in-peril scenarios. Personally I think this aspect of the book worked better, especially as it allowed the author to depict several aspects of modern South African life which was a real strength of the novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drowning: Patrik Hedström Mysteries, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Camilla Lackberg
    • Narrated By Eamonn Riley
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Christian Thydell has been receiving anonymous threats since he began writing his novel, The Mermaid. When one message, secreted within a bouquet of flowers, causes him to collapse at the book's launch party, crime writer Erica Falck is compelled to investigate. Erica’s husband, detective Patrik Hedström, meanwhile, is puzzled by the disappearance of Christian’s friend Magnus Kjellner. When a body is found frozen in the sea near Fjallbacka, he has a murder enquiry on his hands.

    BSquared67 says: "Not the best of the bunch"
    "Not the best of the bunch"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Camilla Lackberg and/or Eamonn Riley?

    I've read all six books in this series by Lackberg, the last four of these in audio format narrated by Eammon Riley. I didn't enjoy this instalment quite as much as the earlier ones but I'm happy to give the combination another chance as I did enjoy the earlier books so much (particularly THE ICE PRINCESS and THE HIDDEN CHILD). Riley is a terrific narrator and I do enjoy having the Swedish names pronounced for me :)To me this book took a long while to get going, with almost the first third concerning itself with the day-to-day lives of the series' long-running characters which grew a bit tedious, and the mystery itself was not as strong as with some of the earlier books.


    Have you listened to any of Eamonn Riley???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Only his other narrations of this series which I have enjoyed. This one is up to the usual high standard.


    Do you think The Drowning needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    As always Lackberg has left us with a cliff hanger ending which means, I assume, there is another book on the way. I must admit I find this practice a bit annoying but I will read the next one anyway.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Defending Jacob

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By William Landay
    • Narrated By Eric Meyers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    Andy Barber's job is to put killers behind bars. So when a boy from his son Jacob's school is found stabbed to death, Andy is doubly determined to find and prosecute the perpetrator. Until a crucial piece of evidence turns up linking Jacob to the murder.

    Minnie says: "How far would you be prepared to go for your child"
    "Not bad by not quite up to the hype"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Defending Jacob? What did you like least?

    The part of the book that dealt with the impact of Jacob's arrest and trial on the Barber family was the best aspect for me. The family sort of imploded under the pressure and this was well depicted and poignant, especially if you consider that the impact would have been the same regardless of the boy's guilt! I wasn't so taken with the individual characters who I found a little unbelievable (how could such a warm, loving, outgoing person as Laurie Barber end up with not one friend to stick by her through a crisis for example?). I also found the thread about inherited propensity for violence poorly dealt with.


    Would you be willing to try another book from William Landay? Why or why not?

    Honestly I'm not sure, perhaps so but I won't be at the head of the queue.


    What aspect of Eric Meyers???s performance would you have changed?

    Nothing, I really enjoyed the narration and was especially impressed with his voice for Jacob. It's hard for adults to 'do' teenagers but Meyers does it well.


    Did Defending Jacob inspire you to do anything?

    Never commit a crime? But seriously, no.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fun House: A John Ceepak Mystery, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Chris Grabenstein
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (369)
    Performance
    (327)
    Story
    (327)

    What if a reality TV show like Jersey Shore set up production in the fictional seaside resort Sea Haven? What if hitting the gym, tanning, and doing a little laundry aren't the only things the contestants get into? By-the-book officer John Ceepak and his wisecracking young partner, Danny Boyle, have to babysit the buff and boozy kids partying it up in a Jersey shore rental house for TV’s summertime hit Fun House while simultaneously trying to stop the rowdy kids from breaking the law up and down the beach. But even Ceepak and Danny can’t stop one young cast member from being murdered—and others from being threatened with the same fate.

    BSquared67 says: "Ceepak and Boyle are worth waiting for"
    "Ceepak and Boyle are worth waiting for"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Fun House the most enjoyable?

    Jeff Woodman's narration was, as always, an excellent way to bring the fabulous characters of John Ceepak and Danny Boyle alive.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    This was one of the lighter novels in the series, with Grabenstein taking the opportunity to poke fun at reality TV throughout the book, but no less suspenseful for that. There's lots of action and Grabenstein's usual subtle social commentary as well.


    Have you listened to any of Jeff Woodman???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have only listened to Jeff Woodman narrating all the earlier books in this series and he is part of the reason I fell in love with the books (against my own expectations). His performance here was up to his usual high standard. Woodman IS Danny Boyle.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laughed. Out loud. Multiple times.


    Any additional comments?

    It IS hard to wait two years for each new instalment of this series but Grabenstein has made it worth the wait, meeting my expectations and then some.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House: Agatha Raisin, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Penelope Keith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Reports of a haunted house soon have amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin snooping around, only to discover the victim of the haunting is a universally disliked old biddy on whom someone is playing a practical joke. But then the old lady is murdered, and, for Agatha - Miss Marple with attitude - solving a crime is much more fun than ghostbusting. Very soon she’s up to her usual tricks, involving the villagers, local police, and, naturally, her handsome new neighbour....

    Peg says: "A fun mystery!"
    "Penelope Keith is marvelous"
    Overall

    This audio experience was saved from total ruin by the marvelous performance of Penelope Keith. Otherwise it is a silly little story about a silly, annoying woman and her succession of boringly described outfits.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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