If Agatha Christie visited P G Woodehouse for the weekend, this is what you might get! It's a mystery, yes, but read or listen for the wonderfully eccentric characters, gathered for a birthday party that you just know won't end well. The plot structure is intersting: the first half centers around Inspector Alleyn's wife, included in the house-party as a sort of artist-in-residence; after the murder, she goes home and is replaced by the Inspector himself, down to investigate the crime. The narrator gets a big thumbs up.
I hadn't read or listened to Hitchhiker's Guide in years, probably 15 or so, and I was afraid it would be too dated or that I had outgrown it. Wrong on both counts. Still wickedly funny.
And Stephen Fry is the perfect narrator.
Excellent world-building, engaging characters, really well-written. What is real? What is illusion? Who's in charge here?
Unfortunately, the narration is truly awful. When the narrator reads in her natural voice, it is merely unappealing. When she tries to do "voices", it is so grating I could barely stand it. If I hadn't really really liked the story, I'd have dumped it half-way through. I seriously considered spending a credit on the other audio edition to see if that narrator was better.
How to describe the excellence of Dean Koontz's writing: he is the only author I know of who can use the word "susurration" convincingly.
Part mystery, part thriller, lots of supernatural weirdness, but without the overdone blood and gore that pervades so much of contemporary fiction. The villains are scary personifications of evil, and the two main characters are charming and endearing.
The author's Cathoic faith is increasingly evident as the plot progresses. As a protestant Christian I could argue with some of the theology, but I didn't find that our differences got in the way of my enjoyment of the story.
The narration is quiet and gentle, well suited to the voice of the main character.
If you liked the Christopher Snow or Odd Thomas books, you'll probably like Innocence as well.
The only bad thing about an Inspector Gamache mystery is that writing this good takes time! I bought this the day it came out, started it a day or two later, stayed up half the night, finished it in about 24 hours. Now I have wait just about forever for another Louise Penny book.
A one-sentence summary of the entire series:
On her website, Louise Penny says that the one thing she wants readers to take away is this: "Goodness exists."
WARNING: You absolutely MUST read this series in order, or the characters and situations will not make sense. One reason readers keep coming back for more is that the books are built around "real" people who grow and change, suffer serious consequences for bad decisions, enter and break relationships, develop some very odd eccetricities.
This volume finds Inspector Gamache involved with a death in Montreal that takes him back to Three Pines in the Christmas season. His carefully built detective division has been dismantled, cutting him off from his usual cade of hand-picked associates. Conspiracty, frustration, sadness and anxiety pile up as Gamache tries to untangle historical threads on several fronts.
As for the narration, it is unthinkable that anyone but Raoph Cosham could read a Three Pnes story -- he IS Inspector Gamache!
I have listened to the entire series (8 books so far),so obviously I enjoy it. They are called the John Ceepak series, but all the stories are told by his sidekick, Danny Boyle. The author does a really good job with this -- "Dudley Do-Right" super cop seen through the eyes of a light-hearted 20-something beach boy.
As the series progresses, the characters go through some changes, and some of he characters' reactions and relationships don't make sense unless you have read the earlir books., The books really must be read in order.
My problem with the books is that the graphic discrptions of crime scenes and extremely intense emotional issues are at odds with the light, jokey tone of the rest of the books.
The narration is amazing. I'm going to look for morebooks done by Jeff Woodman. His ability with voices makes it sound almost like a multiple-cast narration. The Jersey accents are amusing without bein over the top, and he does females well.
Not great literature, and not for the overly tender-hearted reader, but entertaining listening for mystery fans.
I got this because of the author, without having listened to Earth Unaware -- not a problem. I had no trouble understanding what was going on.
I was going to give it 3 stars until the last sentence. DO NOT listen to this book until the series is complete -- or at least until the next book in the series is out. It stops right in the middle of a crucial scene, then....."to be continued." Boo. Hisssss.Note to authors: it IS possible to do a series in which each book wraps up at least part of the action and still leaves the reader hungry for the next installment. See Ender's Game for an example of how it is done .
I'm a big Orson Scott Card fan, but this is not one of his best. (Collaborations should raise suspicions.) It took me awhile to get into it, but I eventually got interested in the characters. I really liked the military types, the strategies, etc. The aliens are enigmatic and creepy, nicely done. I don't mean to be totally negative: I enjoyed a lot of it, and I'll consider getting the next book in the series, if only to see what happens in the scene that was left hanging.
Now for the narration: some of the narration rates 1 star, if that much, while some of it is quite good. I almost qquit listening about 10 minutes in: there is a young boy whose voice is the second most grating one I've ever heard on an audiobook; unfortunately, the little girl in the same scene is worse. The narrator who does the parts about Victor (I think it's Stefan Rudnicki) sounds like he's doing a bad imiatation of a person doing a eulogy for someone he never met, trying really hard to sound mournful.
Like I said, wait until more of the series comes out. Then, go ahead and give it a listen if you have time on your hands and extra credits and can grit your teeth through the parts with cheesy narration.
I love this guy's voice -- clear, nicely inflected without being obtrusive.
The content is what it is -- WSJ, you know what you're getting. There is a nice variety in the type of aritcles.
I listen to several daily podcasts and this is hands down the worst. Yes, I know the guy is reading a newspaper, and it has to be a hurry-up job; but why is it that other daily reads are so much better?
Two things make me want to scream. The first is the narrator's fault: his voice goes up at the end of almost every sentence, making it a question. ( "The Senate will be taking a vote tomorrow?") My 7-year-old grandchild knows not to do this.
The second is the sound editor's fault: there is frequently no break at the end of the last sentence of one story and the first sentence of the next. Not even a comma-break, let alone a period. ("The secretary promised that more news will beforthcoming next week's unveiling of Apple's latest gadget is the big news for techies." We're halfway into the next article before I realize that "next week" goes with Apple, not the Senate.)
They do a pretty good job of deciding which stories to include in the daily read. I really like listening to a variety of news sources, and I listen to the NYT as many days a week as I can stand, but about Wednesday I usually get so frustrated that I skip Thursday and Friday.
(NOTE: I made up the examples because I couldn't bear to go back and listen carefully to an episode to get actual ones; but I promise, this is a preety good imitation.)
Strictly chick-lit fluff, silly, funny, very amusing. Not bound for the classic shelf, but quite good for what it is.I was worn out and grouchy, and this was an excellent listen to lighten my mood. Really liked the narrator, will look for more stuff she does.
Data science for dummies.
A very entertaining intro for those of us who aren't techno-current. Lots of different fields of enquiry used for examples. Enough of the author's personality to keep it lively.
Fun for all --
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