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Candace Russell

Member Since 2004

ratings
547
REVIEWS
28
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
89

  • Prague Fatale

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Philip Kerr
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (135)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (113)

    Philip Kerr’s thrilling mystery series starring private detective Bernie Gunther has been hailed as “one of the great historical crime series” by Bookmarks Magazine. Set in 1941, Prague Fatale follows Gunther as he investigates a murder at the country estate of his old boss, SD member Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich was throwing a dinner party for senior German officers when the victim was discovered - the body mysteriously locked in a room from the inside.

    Michael says: "Another Great Bernie Gunther Mystery!"
    "Spies and Nazis and castles (oh my)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book has it all, and, though I thought it would feel a bit creepy reading about the adventures of a police detective in 1941 Berlin (and it does), still, the plot is gripping and the story held my interest. The characters are all complicated; not pleasant, but definitely not boring. None is really likeable, but I've learned to like Bernie Gunther nonetheless. He tries to do the right thing, but has a lot for an alcohol-muddled brain to handle. This is only the second book I've had from this series, but I think I've become a fan.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Strangers

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1378)
    Performance
    (611)
    Story
    (613)

    A handful of people. From different backgrounds, living in different towns and cities across America, they had nothing in common - except fear. Deep in the heart of a sprawling desert, a dark memory called out to them, drawing them to the Tranquility Motel - where the terrifying truth was waiting.

    Barry F. Stinson says: "Brilliant"
    "Why was this in "mystery" category?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only mystery was "why did I buy it?" I'd had a couple of other Koontz books that I liked well enough, but this one seems to be just an unending collection of every sort of teenage mutant zombie alien psycho nonsense that has ever been published. At least I'm guessing it's unending, since I wasn't able to finish it. There were a couple of characters whose fate I'd have liked to know, but just couldn't stick it out.

    Sometimes I like to consider what could be done with a book by eliminating or altering characters or storylines or changing the narrator to make the book readable, but this one just wouldn't be worth the work. I wish Audible would screen it's categories better, so I wouldn't have to do so much research before purchasing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Murder on Kilimanjaro: A Summit Murder Mystery, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles G. Irion
    • Narrated By Greg Lutz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In Murder on Kilimanjaro, Scott Devlon, Afghanistan war veteran, mountaineer and occasional agent for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has been invited by the sitting President of the United States to join him on his climb of the highest point in Africa. The president is returning to his family roots and will be accompanied by his recently surfaced son, product of the president's youthful liaison with a local tribal chief's daughter in Africa 20 years before. With the primary election season finished and the convention still a few months off, the president's PR staff have determined that this expedition will jump start his campaign for re-election and set at ease any lingering questions about the sudden appearance of this unexpected son.

    Candace Russell says: "Plays like a video game"
    "Plays like a video game"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I'd get rid of the premise that a President would actually consider such a potentially dangerous vacation; and the Secret Service wouldn't manage to talk him out of it if he did? Al Queda aside, who's even going to trust the weather these days, with all the global warming impacts? Then you have our hero injuring himself multiple times, but still managing to jump right up and go leaping through the snow to escape the assassin. Really! would he be out there anyway, having just been attacked by a bunch of insurgents, who certainly didn't just evaporate after the battle. Unless we're to assume that oxygen deprivation led to such unreasonable actions - but that possibility wasn't mentioned.

    The biggest disappointment, though, was that this wasn't a murder mystery at all. The murder got precious little attention; just resolved in a couple of paragraphs at the end, after killing off the sweetest character in the book. What a waste.

    I could nitpick this storyline all day, but note, I was also disappointed in the reader. He just didn't seem like the right voice for the character. Also, though he could have been working with unedited text, if I noticed all those errors, he should have, too, and taken the trouble to correct and re-record those parts.

    I guess I was expecting too much, given that the book included a great mountain, a President and his crew, African tribal officials, feuding press, and insurgents. Who couldn't make a great book out of all that? I would have given one star, but since I did actually finish it, had to bump it up a bit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Family - A Novel (Movie Tie-In), previously published as Malavita

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Tonino Benacquista
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    The Blakes are newcomers to a small town in Normandy. Fred is a historian researching the Allied landings, Maggie enjoys charity work, and their kids are looking forward to meeting other teenagers at the local lycee. Or so it seems. In fact, Fred is really Giovanni Manzoni, an ex-goodfella turned stool pigeon who's been relocated from New Jersey to France by the FBI's witness protection program. And when imprisoned mobster Don Mimino gets wind of their location, it's Mafia mayhem.

    Richard Delman says: "A genuine laugh riot. Balerini is a master."
    "Super entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just listened for the second time this year (never done before, since I hate reruns), and yes, it's just as much fun as before. Actually, the world-traveling piece of litter was even more amusing on the second listen. This is really such a clever story.

    I should mention that some of the expressions are more British than USA: boot for car trunk? garden vs. front or back yard; "straightaway" for "asap" or like, "right now." Quite a lot of that sort of thing, so if you're not accustomed the the language of British or UK-influenced literature, it might be a bit confusing at times. It wouldn't be so inappropriate in background, but even the American characters use the expressions in their dialog, which makes the story less realistic. But, then, it's supposed to be a memoir pretending to be fiction, so maybe realism isn't to be expected.

    I've criticized Edoardo Ballerini's reading of other books, but somehow his somber style worked perfectly in this, and the accents of all the different languages were very well done. This book gave him a chance to show his true talent. I just purchased Beautiful Ruins based on his reading of this book, since I thought that might also provide a way to showcase his abilities. We'll see.

    And the dog lived, and even got some of it's own back. I can't tell you how many otherwise good books have been ruined for me by the things that have happened to animals in them. Humans will never become the superior beings some think they are until they learn to at least confine their nastiness to our own species. Kudos, Malavita!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Dummy Line

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Bobby Cole
    • Narrated By Jeremy Arthur
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (262)
    Story
    (269)

    Jake Crosby’s nine-year-old daughter Katy is pure tomboy, and her dad couldn’t be happier. Since she was old enough to walk, Katy has shared Jake’s love of the outdoors, taking to hunting and fishing as quickly as other kids take to baseball or bike riding. As he packs the truck for a spring turkey hunt, he vows to savor the time with his little girl. But Jake’s hopes for an idyllic weekend are shattered when a band of drug dealers attempts to break into the Crosbys’ remote hunting camp. Desperate to protect his daughter, Jake makes a violent and gut-wrenching decision.

    Susan says: "Good and Fast Paced"
    "Lot of action, very little mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd say Bobby Cole is a good enough storyteller, but there was so much implausible and inconsistent in the content of this book that it left me, well, let's say unsatisfied. I mean, did he miss any of the buffoonish boorish Southern cop stereotypes? Also, it doesn't work to describe the little girl as caring about injured or abused life forms when earlier in the book she was praised for hunting and skinning game. And ridiculing that poor police dog for being distracted by an apparent neglected health problem was hardly a fair characterization; besides which, I'd expect a German Shepherd would more likely be used if you know where your criminal is hiding and want the dog to take him down, with perhaps a bloodhound or other scent hound used for the actual tracking. Gee, I didn't know I was so annoyed when I started this review. All that said, I think Mr. Cole could write a worthwhile novel if he troubled to do more research, or perhaps found a police mentor to work out some of the technical details before trying again. I would have liked this book if it had been more real for me.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2832)
    Performance
    (2486)
    Story
    (2507)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "Those Pagfordians know how to spread the s*#%"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've never read any J.K. Rowling, since I don't really like children's literature (or even young adult), but thought her writing might have something to recommend it since so many youngsters rave about her books. Also, as a mystery/thriller fan, I'm usually bored by mere daily-life stories, so really stepped outside the box on this one. It starts with a death and ends with about the saddest funeral scene ever, which are commonplace enough; but what goes on between those pages was amazing. No murderers, but one serious plan and one guy who thought he himself was one. How did J.K. invent a personality like that? Plenty of intrigue, too, so I didn't really miss the mystery.

    Plus, Tom Hollander is such a great reader I hardly noticed him at all, which is how it should be. I looked for more books read by him, but guess he's too busy being an actor to narrate much. Figured he must have something else going on, or there would be hundreds I think.

    I don't know how J.K. could create a sequel, but will be looking for more like this.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Professionals

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Owen Laukkanen
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (204)

    Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it's no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise - quick, efficient, low risk - works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man. Now two groups they've very much wanted to avoid are after them - the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback.

    Richard Delman says: "A thrilling new voice in thrillers"
    "Professional whats?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If they could have found a narrator who could make this book sound as silly as it is, it might have been entertaining. Really, Bellerini sounds like he's in mourning, no matter what the action. And those kidnappers would have been slaughtered about twice a day during the story course in any realistic book. They should have just been given a switch that turned them invisible, with uzis, whenever trouble came, and call it a fantasy. Then, there's all that moping by everyone - law enforcement, mobsters and kidnappers - like a bunch of lovesick teenagers. The only reason I rated it so high was that it did have sort of a plot and the action moved along with the road trip, so it could have been worse. Or maybe not. I might just be in a mellow mood.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Heart of the Hunter

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Deon Meyer, K. L. Seegers (translator)
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (23)

    Six-foot five-inch Thobela "Tiny" Mpayipheli was once a feared assassin and freedom fighter, trained by the Stasi and KGB. In post-apartheid South Africa, he’s happily working in a garage. But Tiny’s quiet domestic life is interrupted by a desperate plea from the daughter of a trusted old friend: He’s being held hostage after taking an incriminating hard drive and needs help. Tiny’s old training kicks in, and as he races across the South African landscape on a stolen BMW motorcycle to the rendezvous point, he is pursued by several interested and hostile forces, including South Africa’s Presidential Intelligence Unit.

    Last Man says: "The pacifist’s action thriller…."
    "Meyer, Seegers, Vance = Golden!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What an inspired production. Listened to the whole book the day I got it, and it didn't even seem like that long a day. Just about everything that can go wrong, does. And the villains all survive. And usually long chase scenes are such a bore. Guess I'll have to listen to it again to try to figure out why I liked it, because I don't think I should have. Gripping.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Perfect Hatred

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Leighton Gage
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Chief Inspector Mario Silva and his team have a heavy work load with several high-profile cases. First, a suicide bombing that was apparently the work of a militant Islamist group. Then, a gubernatorial candidate is assassinated in broad daylight at a campaign rally. Could the cases be related? To complicate Silva's investigation, a criminal with a very bad grudge against the Chief Inspector has been released from prison and is plotting ugly revenge.

    Avid Reader and Listener says: "Great mystery - great setting."
    "Great plotlines and action"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    but I really would have liked more individuation in the voices of the characters. Almost all the dialog was in that whispered conspiratorial tone of voice, no matter which character or the nature of the conversation. I suppose it would be a challenge for any narrator to do justice to such an international caste of characters, but realistically I think most of this dialog would benefit from a more assertive voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By John B. Arden
    • Narrated By Phil Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (76)
    Story
    (77)

    Not long ago, it was thought that the brain you were born with was the brain you would die with, and that the brain cells you had at birth were the most you would ever possess. Your brain was thought to be hardwired to function in predetermined ways. It turns out that's not true. Your brain is not hardwired; it's "softwired" by experience. This book shows you how you can rewire parts of the brain to feel more positive about your life, remain calm during stressful times, and improve your social relationships.

    Douglas says: "Important Work..."
    "Poor Performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Narrator sounds like he's reading from a teleprompter or something; very humdrum and mechanical. The really disappointing thing, though, was all the missing material. He just read the production notes saying that material should be formatted for audio and read at some point, or a chart of something should be inserted here or there, but where are those charts and lists, etc? Other audiobooks that I've purchased have provided links to external sites or non-audio downloadable files on audible.com when non-text is part of the book. Needless to say, I'll be calling Audible about this tomorrow, since I want that material. Didn't want to do it today, since it New Year's Day, but this was supposed to be my big resolution project, and it's not off to a great start. Oh, well, I should know better. The book did contain some information that I didn't already have, but it doesn't hurt to hear a reminder given what I've done with all that fudge and feasting the last couple of weeks. It would have been better to include a few more tips on how to implement some of the changes, rather than just telling us why we should do something.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Gary the G-Man

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Vernon Brobst
    • Narrated By Brad Venable
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Farrak is a man full of hate for everything America stands for. Born in the Middle East and raised in the shadow of terrorism, he was selected, while just a child, for a great honor: the honor of being "The Chosen One". Since then his entire life has been dedicated to the preparation for one mission.

    Candace Russell says: "Long on rant, short on fact"
    "Long on rant, short on fact"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The protagonist is clearly unhappy over the way he was marginalized in his fed job, but the story of how he redeemed himself leaves a lot to be desired if you're looking for a good spy read. His motivations are clear enough, but those of the villain are not always. It doesn't make sense for him to detour and risk his operation to murder people he'd known 30 years before, with whom he seemed to have had a cordial enough relationship, though it did give a clue to the protagonist as to who was behind the terrorist plot. I think the author could have tried to develop a more reasonable backstory for that clue. But then, too, there's the question about whether the terrorist truck drivers wouldn't have heard the CB and talk radio broadcasts and alerted the villain in time to salvage his operation. This plot is too simplistic for spy novel enthusiasts, though probably a fun read for trucker fans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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