North and South is the first novel in John Jakes' trilogy of the American Civil War. This first book tells the story of the close friendship the develops between George Hazard Of Pennsylvania and Orry Main of South Carolina. Hazard belongs to the industrial class of the mighty North, while Main is a member of the Southern caste of slave holding plantation owners. The backgrounds of these two men are fraught with seemingly insurmountable differences. Despite this, Main and Hazard become close friends during their time at West Point, as well during their service in the Mexican American war. After that conflict the two friends are followed throughout the tumultuous 1850's, right up to the firing on Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War. The tragedy of the Civil War is magnified as these two intimate companions choose sides, wish each other luck, and go to war.
Over the last 25 years I have read this trilogy three times and I have been waiting very impatiently for an audio version. And it has arrived in all it's glory. Having the superb Grover Gardner narrate is simply icing on a three layer cake.
I have always marveled at Lawrence Block's ability to make reader's like, even love, Keller, a professional hit-man. Yet, Block has done that, through five books in this engaging, and educational, series.
Keller is living in forced retirement from the job of killing people. He has not trouble living an ordinary life, because Keller is, well, ordinary. He has a wife he loves, a daughter he adores and a passion for philately-collecting stamps. And here Block shows his brilliance at telling a story by making philately seem interesting. Amazing, I always thought it oddly boring. Anyway, Keller has been in the building trade in New Orleans but business has slowed. Keller is not really hurting for money. He spends his days with his family and his stamps. Then, unexpectedly, the phone rings. It is Dot, his former handler. The old banter of their long time friendship/partnership resumes. Listening to Dot and Keller talk is as entertaining as hearing Keller ruminate about stamps or how to kill his target. Dot and Keller pick up as if they had not been forced into early retirement. Keller is excellent at killing people, but not because he enjoys it, but because he has a certain work ethic Keller's wife is aware of what her husband does(he saved her life by killing a man and that's how they met) and she is fine with it. Keller accepts Dot's first assignment and just like that, he is killing again.
Don't pass this up, even if you have not read/heard the first four books. Hit Me can stand on its own. Not every series leaves me wanting more, much less praying for more. But I hope and pray for more Keller stories.
This is one of the few audio books that makes me wish Audible had a 10 star rating system. Speaks the Nightbird deserves 10 stars. Life in Colonial America must have been brutal beyond anything we can imagine. Yet Robert McCammon does imagine it and he does so brilliantly. We learn about the superstitions, illnesses, lack of medicine and constant danger of starvation. The story starts in 1699, when Isaac Woodward, magistrate, and his clerk, Matthew Corbett, travel to Fount Royal to investigate Rachel Howarth. Rachel has been accused of murder and of being a witch. Woodward believes Rachel Howarth's accuser's, but Matthew is not so sure, but he has only a few days to prove her innocence. And the story of Matthew's investigation gives us a tale that will leave listener's racing to get the next book in this series. I listened to this audio book in just 4 days. Few books can keep me that mesmerized for 30 hours, but Speaks the Nightbird does so easily. I have such high regard for this first entry that I struggled to express it. I leave you with-it is wonderfully fantastic.
I am a big Civil War buff, enjoying works by Shelby Foote, Bruce Catton and James McPherson. After listening to this engrossing story I now add Groom to the list of authors who can relate epic battles like Shiloh to any reader/listener. Groom tells the story of this battle, which horrified everyone North and South with it's enormous butchers bill, by following privates, citizens and generals. The story is as good as just about any thriller. The summer before Shiloh saw the battle of Bull Run, which caused about 5,000 casualties, Rebel and Yankee combined. But Shiloh had a bill in blood of 23,000 fallen, which was more than all American wars combined up to that time. Eric Dove does a great job narrating, adding life to all the actors in this nightmare battle. Listener's will not regret this purchase.
I admit this book could have been cut down, probably by about 100 pages. DeMille shovels a gigantic amount of background information about Yemen, the Middle East over all, drones, and U.S. defense efforts against terrorism. This information is necessary, but I get the sense editing was tossed aside. Still, I enjoyed this John Corey entry despite it being the weakest in the series. Corey is still a wonderful character, filled with with and sarcasm, which is how I like my heroes. I really do like Kate, John Corey's wife, but she is reduced to acting like his mother this time around. Which is to bad, because Kate is as strong a character as Corey. You get patriotism, really evil bad guys, betrayal and loyalty. Those who give this story 1 star do it a disservice because it is still a fun time.
Jimmy Sharp, Becky Welsh, and Tom McCall are three Minnesota teens who, without planning it, kill a store clerk. Then the three kill a second victim during a car jacking. From that point Sharp, Welsh and McCall decide to settle old scores, and the real killing begins. This book is much darker than anything Sanford has ever written. Sanford also delves into some serious moral and ethical questions that may make a listener uncomfortable, but those issues need to be addressed. Throughout this horrifying tale we meet victim after victim and each time hope "no, this person will not be murdered", but Sanford does not give us any reprieve from some truly evil killers. Virgil Flowers is haunted by the brutality of the murders, but he is determined to take the teens alive. However, his colleagues have different plans for how the end will come for Jimmy Sharp and Becky Walsh. Spend a credit, download the book and strap in for a wild ride!
I was not sure what to expect out of this audiobook. I thought it would at least be a good history lesson. What a surprise to discover it is as good as some of the best thrillers I have ever read or listened to. More than being a thriller it is also a suspenseful crime novel. Of the more than 1,000 audio books I own this ranks in the top 20. O'Reilly tells us the story of the days leading up to Lincolns assassination, by giving us a look at the private thoughts of all the characters.
Let me quote The Examiner, which hits the mark with:
"O’Reilly uses clever literary devices like referring to Lincoln as “the man who only had six weeks to live” in the very first line and a few pages later as “the man who had fourteen days to live.” Reviewers of the book from the Washington Post and Newsweek compared O’Reilly’s writing style to that of popular courtroom thriller novelist John Grisham."
I could not agree more. The literary devices are brilliantly used to keep the reader/listner enthralled. Over and over O'Reilly reminds us that Lincoln had a burning desire to reunite the nation when the war ends. Lincoln was also fairly confident that he would be assassinated and O'Reilly weaves these forebodings brilliantly into the story. I noticed that many reviews of Killing Lincoln are based on a hatred of Bill O'Reilly, which shows a real lack of intellectual honesty. What a shame that some people might be turned away because of such narrow mindedness. Finally, a lot of folks do not like O'Reilly reading the book, but I found him to be very competent and entertaining. You will not be sorry if you buy this gem.
This is the final book of the Strain Trilogy, and I thought it was the best of the three. I love creepy and frightening books and this one delivers. The vampires in this nightmare are nothing like those of Anne Rice, and nowhere close to those of Stephanie Myer(though I enjoyed the Twilight Series). Except for the leader these monsters operate strictly in the realm of need. Needing blood. They do not think and have absolutely no emotion. And I find that more scary than the traditional portrayal of vampires. Except for Abraham Setrakian the entire crew of freedom fighters is back. They know time is running out for them as The Master is constantly trying to hunt them down. Due to nuclear winter there is only one hour of sunlight each day, so this severely limits the activity the surviving humans can engage in. One gruesome discovery is that The Master is operating a kind of concentration camp, where humans are used for their blood. But certain women are privileged, due to their blood type they are used as breeders, thus insuring a good supply of optimal blood. The humans that are still living can't always be trusted since they turn each other in for special "treatment". Which means they will survive just a little longer serving The Master.
This is a very fast paced story, with very little extraneous dialog. Some parts of the story that may stretch reader credulity, but so what! This is a vampire story after all. I found myself anxious to listen while I was trying to work or sleep. It is that good.
Winter of the World is just as engrossing and just interesting as Fall of Giants. We meet characters we love, and a few we despise. Follett expertly puts his characters into all the major events of the 1930's and 1940's, and he does so without straining the readers/listeners credulity. Hitler's rise to power, the burning of the Reichstag, Pearl Harbor, Midway, the development of the atomic bomb, the struggle of Russia against Germany, it's all here. Follett never has been one to avoid tragedy and in Winter of the World people you don't think will come to harm are killed off. This is realistic and adds to the believability of the novel.
When a great story is narrated by someone as fantastic as John Lee it next to impossible to stop listening. There were many days where I was engrossed for 5 or 6 hours at a time. Get this gem and enjoy.
Unfortunately, Ann Rule stumbles with The Stranger Beside Me, by claiming to be an intimate friend of Ted Bundy. She transforms the short, erratic time she worked with the man into a close relationship. Yet, despite herculean efforts, nothing more than a casual acquaintanceship is described. Also, Rule frequently repeats that she was highly regarded by law enforcement agencies, thus attempting to validate her own self-importance. Furthermore, Rule is enamored with Bundy, often mentioning how sophisticated and gentlemanly he was. Eventually listeners will tire of the lavish praise heaped on one of histories most prolific killers.
However, interspersed with the leaps of fantasy are outstanding snippets of the gruesome horrors perpetrated by Ted Bundy. Of course, Rule does a superb job of describing his descent into murderous madness. To begin with, we see an intelligent, polite young man. But, gradually a portrait emerges of a monster. In addition, the notorious killer was suspected of abducting and killing eight year old Ann Marie Burr, in 1961. She is thought to have been Bundy's first victim, with the murder being perpetrated when he was only 14. Lorelei King delivers an effortless performance as she recounts Bundy's childhood, the murders he committed, his capture, imprisonment and trial. All things considered, it would be remiss to imply that this is less than an engaging account of the infamous serial killer.
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