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Andrew Pollack

Cumberland, Maine USA | Member Since 2005

97
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 28 reviews
  • 147 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 29 purchased in 2014
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  • Revelations: Exctinction Point, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Antony Jones
    • Narrated By Emily Beresford
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    There is nowhere left to run. In the wake of the deadly plague that virtually annihilated the human race, a vast red jungle teeming with alien creatures and lethal plants is devouring Earth, swallowing buildings whole, and ruthlessly decimating what life remains. A witness to the terrifying transformation, survivor Emily Baxter thinks the odds against humanity can’t get any worse. She is wrong.

    Andrew Pollack says: "Completely Terrible. Fails on every level."
    "Completely Terrible. Fails on every level."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of a very few books, less than 1%, that I've regretted bothering with. This installment features a British naval crew who supposed to be elite special forces, a submarine, and a space station crew -- yet the author clearly didn't bother to do any research into how any of those things operate or what they can do. Monsters are introduced in one scene and ignored the rest of the book. The ending is so trite and worn out that I saw it coming hours and hours ahead. I'm tempted to write it here just to warn anyone over the age of about 12 away from this book, but spoilers are bad form so I'll just stick to saying "I told you so" to anyone foolish enough to bother.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hell Is Empty: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1244)
    Performance
    (1022)
    Story
    (1018)

    Spur Award-winner Craig Johnson has garnered critical acclaim for his Walt Longmire mysteries. In this riveting seventh entry, Wyoming’s Absaroka County sheriff, Walt Longmire, is pushed beyond his limits. When three hardened convicts escape FBI custody in a mountain blizzard, an armed psychopath leads them up Big Horn Mountain. As Longmire struggles to track their treacherous ascent, he’ll need all the help he can get from the tribal spirits of the towering summit.

    Susan says: "Transcendental"
    "Wow. More of a "Great Novel" than "Cop Book""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Like many of the books in this series, the plot - while plausible and well constructed -- isn't really all that important. The story is in the journey and the characters. Once again, Craig Johnson has found a way to insert a believable but strong mysticism into the story line without ever once stepping beyond the realm of events that are possible without any supernatural help. The reader is left convinced, but without needing to leave behind their sensibility. The adventure is wonderfully told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kindness Goes Unpunished: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (1581)
    Performance
    (1148)
    Story
    (1137)

    Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire mysteries are critically acclaimed. Longmire's third outing takes him from Wyoming to Philadelphia to investigate a brutal assault on his daughter, Cady. Walt believes her ex-boyfriend is behind the crime and searches him out. But when he turns up dead, Walt is back to square one.

    TravisD says: "Wyoming Fun-- in Philadelphia"
    "Another well written entry in the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author treats serious topics with as much respect as he treats his characters.

    In addition to a solid story, the writing is beautiful. I particularly enjoy Johnson's treatment of native American mysticism in this series. It is neither overstated nor treated as a trite superstition. Nothing that happens in the story could be called magic, or could not have happened with only common, non-mystic, explanations -- yet the beliefs and experiences of the characters are compelling and their view of the world makes us the richer for having been part of them.

    I have a friend who went through a similar set of injuries with his daughter and the treatment in this story rings true (if thankfully less detailed).

    I do wish that Guidall's cadence was a better match for the slow drawl of a Wyoming cowboy or even more so a high plains indian. He tries, but he's just too east coast. Still, he's a gifted narrator and the word doesn't suffer from his treatment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold City: A Repairman Jack Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By F. Paul Wilson
    • Narrated By Alexander Cendese
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (82)

    If you’ve never read a Repairman Jack novel, this is the place to begin. It’s 1990. A twenty-one-year-old named Jack has dropped out of college, leaving his old life behind to build a new one in New York City. Manhattan’s rough edges are jagged enough to shred any unwary newcomer, but perhaps not one who is determined to stay off the grid, at any cost, in the busiest metropolis on earth. And to do so, he’ll have to take jobs of a less than legal nature.

    Cleaning Commando says: "Okay, enough is enough!"
    "Fun, as long you don't think too much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This a prequel and a good place to start for the series -- but understand that the series is all about the dark hero looking out for the powerless. The writing is technically good and the story moves along, but don't look for feasibility in the plot line, or plausibility in almost any aspect of the series. This book attempts to tell the early story of hour Repairman Jack (a sort of poor man's Jack Reacher) got started helping people, and maybe some of where his skills come from -- but really, it doesn't set up a plausible background for what the character is later in the series. The Reacher character from that series looks well researched and plausible compared to Repairman Jack. If you're looking for solid logic and well thought out long term series story arcs, go somewhere else. If you want to see a tough and mysterious hero beat up bad people this is for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Cold Dish: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2921)
    Performance
    (2086)
    Story
    (2085)

    Award-winning author Craig Johnson's critically acclaimed debut Western mystery takes listeners to the breathtaking mountains of Wyoming for a tale of cold-blooded vengeance. Four high-school boys were given suspended sentences for raping a Cheyenne girl. Now, two of the boys have been killed, and only Sheriff Walt Longmire can keep the other two safe.

    Steven says: "Not Your Ordinary Western Novel (Series)"
    "Great story, respectful treatment, good naration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While I agree with the others here, and this is a great listen that you shouldn't miss, I'm going to have one less than complimentary thing to add.

    In my personal opinion, the narrator does a fantastic job and is a very talented man -- but I'm not convinced he was the best pick for the series. The mismatch was most keen for me while he was reading what I consider to be one of the most beautifully written scenes I've come across in this sort of book. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that it was near the end and involved a long trudge in the snow. You'll know it when you get there. There was something about the cadence and tone of speech that I don't think quite did that scene justice. The Cheyenne people play a central role in this series, not just as individuals but as a cultural backdrop. I think Guidall has a hard time voicing that.

    Guidall has a speech quality that is just a little faster and has just a little bit of an edge to it that I associate with a kind of east coast cynicism. His voice was perfect for Mitch Rapp, and while he tones it back and slows it down enough to get away with it for Longmire, I didn't feel he did Henry as well as maybe someone else might have.

    Still, I really enjoyed this, having found the story to be well written and the characters interesting. I knew old cowboy from Wyoming when I was younger and learned to work with horses from him. Much of the feel of the story just rings true. I also really enjoyed the respectful and at the same time honest treatment of the native american people in the story. Again, the characters rang true for me -- at least from those I've known (though not as well).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Martian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andy Weir
    • Narrated By R. C. Bray
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2841)
    Performance
    (2695)
    Story
    (2698)

    Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plainold ""human error"" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

    Brian says: "Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped"
    "Fantastic! The best plausible hard sf in years!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If Andy Weir has gotten any of the technical details wrong in any major way, you'd almost need to be a rocket engineer to spot them. I say almost, because I spotted a couple of minor ones that don't really impact the story any.

    This is an adventure story about survival in some of the most inhospitable conditions imaginable, with the focus of an engineer and the pacing of an experienced author.

    You would think that given the technical detail and accuracy that has gone into this story that it would be slow and tedious to read, but Mr. Weir has done a brilliant job of weaving the explanations into the story without bogging down in them.

    R.C. Bray does a very good job with narration, acting just enough and using enough variation in the voices and accents to keep things easy to understand and identify. Mr. Bray does make one or two little annoying mistakes when reading words that those of us in the computer industry use (e.g. for "ASCII" he pronounces "A" "S" "C" "2" instead of saying ass-key) but these small errors are entirely forgivable given the skill with which the rest of his work is delivered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1902)
    Performance
    (1703)
    Story
    (1684)

    Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

    Oceana says: "My favorite Reacher story yet"
    "A more mature Jack Reacher novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I know some of the fans of this series may find this one quite a bit more tame than others have been in the past. I found it more mature, more potentially believable (though still a stretch in bits), and overall very enjoyable. There was till plenty of Jack being Jack -- but it wasn't as over the top as some of the others. I approve.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Earthfall

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Stephen Knight
    • Narrated By Guy Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    The Sixty Minute War brought humanity to the brink of annihilation. Billions perished. The planet Earth was turned into a virtual graveyard, with the shattered, burned-out skeletons of great cities serving as tombstones marking Mankind’s demise. But in the United States, one final outpost remains. Harmony is America's last chance to rise up from the ashes of the nuclear holocaust and help restore civilization. But only if Andrews and his crew can escape San Jose... and the madman who calls himself The Law.

    Andrew Pollack says: "So...almost there -- for both author and reader"
    "So...almost there -- for both author and reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Reminded me a great deal of the old move from the 70's "Damnation Alley" (which I liked, in a cheezy kind of way)

    The reader first -- He's VERY talented and he voiced the characters with great skill and with enough differences between them that you could really tell who was speaking. Unfortunately, I thought he chose to over play some of their personality traits and it made them into almost comical archetypes when they didn't need to be.

    The story --- So much potential, and so interesting, that it's a shame what the author did to the plot about half way through. I don't want to give it away, but he took a book that was based on a lot of thought and research and then dove off the comic book deep end to make an antagonist when it really wasn't necessary at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Metrophage

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Richard Kadrey
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (22)

    Welcome to Los Angeles - where anger, hunger and disease run rampant. Jonny is a black-market dealer in drugs that heal the body and cool the mind. All he cares about is his own survival. Until a strange new plague turns L.A. into a city of death, and Jonny is forced to put everything on the line to find the cure... if it can be found on Earth.

    Cliff says: "This is how Cyberpunk should be done!"
    "I don't see the appeal. There's very little story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The whole book is a pretty good tour through an atopic future LA, but the main character is useless and never really gets any better. The plot makes little sense and tries to come together at the end but mostly fails. The book wanders from one violent event to another with little to hold it together. Kadrey tries to be William Gibson and doesn't get there.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Roads Less Traveled: Shades of Gray

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By C. Dulaney
    • Narrated By Elisabeth Rodgers
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (61)

    Kasey and the gang have come full circle through the crumbling world. Working for the National Guard, they realize old friends and fellow survivors are disappearing. When the missing start to reappear as walking corpses, the group sets out on another journey to discover the truth. Their answers wait in the West Virginia Command Center. Along the way, Kasey’s group encounters a new breed of horror; humanity twisted into something not quite alive, but not quite dead. When the secret of the Command Center is unearthed, an old enemy threatens to rip Kasey’s world inside out.

    Mike Naka says: "great conclusion to the series!"
    "I didn't like the heavy handed ending here."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series has been good but not great all along, and I think the ending felt forced. In particular I don't like last minute reveals that suddenly provide new background where none was hinted at earlier in the series. It feels very much like deux ex machina and I'm not a big fan that. I also don't think it was needed in this case.

    I don't want to give any more detail on that in a review.

    Overall it wasn't bad - about like the rest of the series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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