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Gary

Lawrenceville, NJ, United States | Member Since 2006

35
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 12 reviews
  • 186 ratings
  • 326 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Fourth Bear: A Nursery Crime

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jasper Fforde
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (539)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (187)

    The Gingerbreadman, psychopath, sadist, genius, and killer, is on the loose. But it isn't Jack Spratt's case. He and Mary Mary have been demoted to Missing Persons following Jack's poor judgment involving the poisoning of Mr. Bun the baker. Missing Persons looks like a boring assignment until a chance encounter leads them into the hunt for missing journalist Henrietta "Goldy" Hatchett, star reporter for The Daily Mole.

    Gary says: "10001001110000111"
    "10001001110000111"
    Overall

    This delightful ASCII-to-Audio book is a whimsical, often laugh-out-loud-silly, sequel to "The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime" (which in itself should be regarded as a diversionary sub-sequel to "The Well of Lost Plots") and although it takes a chapter to get used to yet another new narrator, he's also very good.

    The story line is no less complex, but it does tend to be a touch more farcical than the previous entries by Mr. Fforde. Worry not, this author knows how to tie up loose ends as no other author of speculative fiction in the English language. Well, he does tend to have a lot of ends in his hands compared to most, but it's a fine juggling act. Don't worry, just get it. It'll be over way too soon.

    When Mr. Fforde steps out of the story to address the listener/reader directly for the first time in his books that at least I can remember, he does it quickly and well. And he does leave a broad hint that a certain favorite Spec Ops character is heading our way again.

    The Toad, 2006

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest: The Millennium Trilogy, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Stieg Larsson
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18107)
    Performance
    (8287)
    Story
    (8320)

    Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority.

    B.J. says: "Perfect."
    "So much HYPE...(long pause) completely deserved!"
    Overall

    I mourn the early loss of Stieg Larsson, whose books seemed to appear at least in the U.S. after his death. While the trilogy (which must absolutely be read in order, at least the first time around) is complete within itself, the work itself was so good that I can only pray the warring factions of Mr. Stieg's family will reconcile over the $$, and allow the potential, rumored fourth book that is said to remain on his laptop to be completed by his most devoted and qualified author-friend, edited, translated, and read for us by the incomparable Mr. Vance. As I have noted in the past, I generally read the book first, then listen to it on long drives, and if I love that book well enough, repeat the process, although not necessarily in the same order. In this case I had a lot more time on the road before I was able to read the books, but found no problem with this reversal. Of course the pronunciations, multitude of Vance-voices, phrasing were already at hand by the time I was able to sit down with the published hard covers, but I don't think it hurt at all. When Mr. Vance reads to you, and I think that most Audible members will agree, you are always in for an unusually good treat, no matter what kind of book you are hearing!

    This trilogy is one of those works that will resonate within me for years, and I have no doubt that I will read it a number of times in the future. If you are a re-reader, you will know exactly what I mean. If not, well, you might want to suspend your disbelief a moment for this brief commentary.

    I leave the summarizing of story lines to better qualified reviewers, as my comments are generally inspired simply by how emotionally captivated I was by (in no particular order) story line(s), character depth, use of language--hats off to the translators here--and the ferocity of my need to read/hear every word and not let go until I am done. Carpe litterae!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Susan Bennett
    Overall
    (2390)
    Performance
    (1217)
    Story
    (1244)

    A striking red-head, 20-something Jody is attacked and transformed into a vampire while walking home one night in downtown San Francisco. Befriending 19-year-old Tommy, Jody tries to understand her new undead life, but trouble finds her when the cops start suspecting Tommy of being a local bloodsucking serial killer.

    SHEILA says: "Bloodsucking FUN!"
    "Don't Be Fooled..."
    Overall

    into thinking there are only 3 books in this series. With a number of exceptions, characters from Chris Moore's 3rd book show up in discreet, nearly unnoticeable cameos throughout Moore's oeuvre, making the process of reading his works in the order in which they were published that much more enjoyable. A number of reviewers are reading them in a rather spotty fashion, jumping from this title to the next two obvious ones, rather than savoring the entire prix fixe from this delightfully humorous (but not, as some say "light") auteur. The reason for this is simple: if you start with his first, which admittedly is a bit bumpy, then alight upon the magical "Coyote Blue" which I am reading for the second time now, & then this novel, proceeding through his work as he published them, you will find a depth of feeling and meaning that the casual one-nighter might miss. That would be a shame, really. When approached in my suggested manner, honoring the guy's train of thought, you just might find that his work is not just a Tweet's worth of commentary. Instead, his stories and characters (Lamb is an outstanding highlight which I will never stop reading over and over!) begin to resonate, reverberate and enrich your life. You just might find yourself chuckling at an image from one of his books several weeks, months or even years after you read it. I know it happens, because there have been times I had to explain, as best I could, that I was remembering a scene, a line, a moment from Chris Moore's work and just what, if anything, had triggered the memory. Thank you, Mr. Moore, for your generous gifts, and I hope you never, ever run out of steam! Susan Bennett is perfect. So has been Fisher Stevens, among others who have done the Moore canon great justice for those of us who either are unable to read for any reason, have horrific commutes to/from work or, like me, enjoy reading the book first, then hearing it!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Drums of Autumn

    • ABRIDGED (6 hrs)
    • By Diana Gabaldon
    • Narrated By Geraldine James
    Overall
    (332)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (62)

    A User says: "The book is good, this recording is not"
    "Yikes! It's abridged!"
    Overall

    I've been a fan of Davina Porter's excellent work bringing Ms Gabaldon's stories to life. I got this book in error, as no unabridged version exists yet. This book read like a bunch of short stories with all kinds of holes keeping them from flowing together. It was so dissatisfying that I found a used hard cover immediately so that I could wipe out the only bad reaction Ms Gabaldon's work has ever left me. I do not know why they bothered to make this an abridged version, but all I can say is this: if you do not have the time or energy to read her books in full, you probably would be better off with a less prolific and gloriously detailed author. Don't waste your time with this hodge-podge. Wait for the unabridged one or go analog on this 877-pg delight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Witch Walking Part 2

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Kim Harrison
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Rachel Morgan is a runner with the Inderland Runner Services, apprehending law-breakers throughout Cincinnati. She's also a witch, one of the many Inderlanders who revealed themselves after a genetically engineered virus wiped out 50 percent of humanity. Witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves: the creatures of dreams and nightmares have lived beside humans for centuries, hiding their powers. But now they've stopped hiding, and nothing will be the same.

    jessica says: "love this series"
    "Entertaining"
    Overall

    Fun ideas, perhaps a bit overblown narration. This is the 2nd in the series I've heard, so it's a nice piece of offbeat fluff among the weightier books I usually prefer. I like that the characters are developing throughout the series (even though my first listen was out of order, it was not disturbing to know what was coming later). If pixies, witches, vampires (dead, undead and alive[?]) and the occasional demon working together in usually disastrous events and learning to get along with each other in the process is your cup of tea, have a go at these books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Legend

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Richard Matheson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3512)
    Performance
    (1451)
    Story
    (1473)

    In I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and those unfortunate enough to survive are transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Everyone else has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville's blood. By day, he stalks the sleeping undead, by night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.

    Amazon Customer says: "Superb!"
    "YUCK"
    Overall

    This book is so poorly written that I doubt the narrator and producer had much opportunity to gloss over its weaknesses. If you like 2 dimensional characters reeling among various states of hysteria and sadness with 1 dimensional boogeymen (and women) yammering endlessly outside, go for it. This is the first book I could not tolerate enough to finish, giving up maybe half way through.

    5 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • Pattern Recognition

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By William Gibson
    • Narrated By Shelly Frasier
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (974)
    Performance
    (251)
    Story
    (252)

    Cayce Pollard is an expensive, spookily intuitive market-research consultant. In London on a job, she is offered a secret assignment: to investigate some intriguing snippets of video that have been appearing on the Internet. An entire subculture of people is obsessed with these bits of footage, and anybody who can create that kind of brand loyalty would be a gold mine for Cayce's client. But when her borrowed apartment is burgled, she realizes there's more to this project than she had expected.

    Laura says: "Not Unabridged"
    "Astoundingly good"
    Overall

    I've read all of Gibson's works and have loved them equally. This book is beautifully written and, IMHO, made even more appealing by Shelly Frasier's narration. At first I was missing Robertson Dean's voicing because I had just listened to Spook Country (which I consider a sort of sequel--also a great listen--to this book because of overlapping characters and motifs), but as the hours slipped by I began to marvel at the quality of the narration. I don't want to compare the two narrators, as I feel they are equally good, but something about this book and this narrator affected me strongly. There are powerful images throughout, such wonderful use of language, and differentiation of voices, dialects and characterizations that left me nearly breathless, and craving more. More Gibson, more of both narrators. Sorry for the inclusion of Spook Country, but the two books make a great pair. Listen to this one first. If you like Gibson's books these two downloads should be true 'ear openers"!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • For a Few Demons More

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Kim Harrison
    • Narrated By Marguerite Gavin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1564)
    Performance
    (674)
    Story
    (672)

    Despite dating one vampire and living with another, Rachel Morgan has always managed to stay just ahead of trouble...until now. A fiendish serial killer stalks the Hollows, claiming victims across society, and the resulting terror ignites a vicious Inderland gang war. And while the ancient artifact Rachel is hiding may be the key to stopping the murderer, revealing it could also create a battle to the death among the numerous supernatural races that live in and around Cincinnati.

    Tanya says: "Another great Rachel Morgan book"
    "5 star Story, 3 star narration"
    Overall

    Not my usual kind of book, though not so distant that I didn't enjoy it quite a bit. I'll agree with the 2 preceding reviews in substance but wanted to sound a significantly different reaction to the narrator. I found her range to be distractingly narrow for the number of characters she has to portray (males are just slightly lower in register than females for example). A gross mispronunication of the Mackinac Bridge (it's "mac-ki-naw" for people who aren't familiar with Michigan) crops up too often not to distract wildly each time, along with an apparent inability to transition to first person voice quickly enough; a quote in one voice is followed by a "he said" in what sounds like an engine winding up or down to the narrator's character. Weird. But I am being a little too picky, I guess, for this kind of fantasy writing. Perhaps it's an alternate reality bridge in another country altogether that is spelled Mackinaw and pronounced Macinack?

    Anyway, I do look forward to hearing another book in this series, and would love to hear how someone else might narrate this endearing cast of characters.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Spot of Bother: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Mark Haddon
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (325)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    At 61, George Hall is settling down to a comfortable retirement. Then his tempestuous daughter, Katie, announces that she is getting remarried, to the deeply inappropriate Ray. Her family is not pleased and Katie can't decide if she loves Ray or loves the wonderful way he has with her son, Jacob. Her mother, Jean, is a bit put out by all the planning and arguing the wedding has occasioned, which get in the way of her quite fulfilling late-life affair with one of her husband's ex-colleagues.

    Linda Lou says: "DONT BOTHER WITH THIS SPOT!"
    "Perhaps it should be read..."
    Overall

    ...because I love the narrator and loved this author's previous book in handheld form.

    I found listening to this bleakly comic tale of woe and glacial coming to terms arguably too much like being imprisoned and forced to watch a sitcom that you just do not like.

    Maybe I'll pick up a paperback of it in the library someday and see if my hunch is right: the book probably does not survive even masterly narration, unless one enjoys squirming in discomfort for hours at a time.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Skin Tight

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Carl Hiaasen
    • Narrated By George Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1056)
    Performance
    (384)
    Story
    (386)

    This novel by Carl Hiaasen, author of Tourist Season and Native Tongue, begins as most thrillers do, with a killing. But this is no everyday, hum-drum, garden variety killing. Our hero, Nick Stranahan, a 42-year-old private investigator who has killed five men and been married five times, skewers his attacker's aorta with the razor-sharp bill of a stuffed marlin.

    Chris says: "Skintight"
    "Nah"
    Overall

    Maybe it's this book, maybe the narrator, but I've always enjoyed reading Hiassen's books. Listening was just not fun. I'd have to try another of his books by a different narrator to know for sure. I'll get back to you on this pressing matter. Meanwhile, go listen to something I liked.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Theft: A Love Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Peter Carey
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (9)

    Michael a.k.a. "Butcher" Boone is an ex-"really famous" painter: opinionated, furious, brilliant, and now reduced to living in the remote country house of his biggest collector and acting as caretaker for his younger brother, Hugh, a damaged man of imposing physicality and childlike emotional volatility.

    John says: "Art Appreciation"
    "My first Carey"
    Overall

    ...and what an intro! As a painter, lover of art, love, and literature, I found this book, read so extremely well by Simon Vance, to be both darkly hysterical and deeply moving. I do not say this lightly. This writer and this narrator make a very potent brew.

    Drink it in, savor it, dash it down and reach for more.

    It doesn't get this good too often. Highest praise. I'm just finishing My Life as A Fake in analog format and am equally sorry to put it down. Well, there is a body of work ahead of me from Mr. Carey. Hopefully he's been done justice just as well as he has been here.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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