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Calliope

ratings
165
REVIEWS
163
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
4
HELPFUL VOTES
225

  • The Mermaids Singing

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Val McDermid
    • Narrated By Graham Roberts
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (395)
    Story
    (398)

    The bodies of four men have been discovered in the town of Bradfield. Enlisted to investigate is criminal psychologist Tony Hill. Even for a seasoned professional, the series of mutilation sex murders is unlike anything he's encountered before. But profiling the psychopath is not beyond him. Hill's own past has made him the perfect man to comprehend the killer's motives. It's also made him the perfect victim. A game has begun for the hunter and the hunted.

    Barbara says: "Not for the squeamish"
    "Ewww, ick! Couldn't finish it - too creepy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll admit I didn't listen to much of this book - the sexual serial killer who is the narrator was just too creepy and ugly for me to listen to for very long. If this wasn't a part of a 3-for-2 special, I'd return it as un-listenable for me. I'd heard very good things about this author and was trying to test out one of her books, and perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad if I was reading it rather than listening to it - with the tone of voice and inflections that brought it to life. I might try out another of her novels, another time, but this was was too much for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Various Haunts of Men: Simon Serrailler 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Susan Hill
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (41)

    A woman vanishes in the fog up on "the Hill", an area locally known for its tranquillity and peace. The police are not alarmed; people usually disappear for their own reasons. But when a young girl, an old man, and even a dog disappear, no one can deny that something untoward is happening in this quiet cathedral town.

    Roxalanne says: "From the thoughts of the murderer...."
    "I wish someone had warned me........"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had really been looking forward to this one, but I wish someone had warned me about the milquetoast characters, the cliches, and the ridiculous emotions of the protagonist. This is like an attempt by a love-sick 14 year old school girl to write a script for an long episode of Criminal Minds. The protagonist is a Detective Sergeant - well placed in the police department - but she has no concerns about having a crush on her boss and mentally gushes like a teenager (she didn't want to delete a voicemail message so she could keep a recording of his voice). Of course, she is sure she will be the one woman who can turn him from his history of bad relationships so he will become a man of emotional substance and fidelity. When confronted with a suspect in her home, she asks politely for her cell phone that he had taken ("could you give that back please") and thinks about escaping to run and shout manically into the night for the police, apparently forgetting that she IS the police and should have better resources than that. I thought her an embarrassment to the police force, not just to female detectives.

    There seemed to be an awful lot of emphasis on physical appearance and superficial surroundings, with frequent descriptions of everything from bodies and hairstyles, to food and decor. One detective was repeatedly referred to as being unattractive (I think the phrase "his monkey face" was used several times), while a victim was almost never mentioned without reference to her either being overweight or having acne. Is that what we''re supposed to focus on about these people? Is that supposed to make the more "real",interesting, or sympathetic? It makes me roll my eyes in exasperation. Then add in the occasional conversation on the glories of motherhood or the wonders of small-town living, and it gets even more juvenile, in my opinion.

    The villain in cliched, the setting is cliched, the doctor is cliched, and the depiction of the police is either sexist or comically inept. I'd recommend you take a pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Good Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2167)
    Performance
    (1293)
    Story
    (1309)

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

    SHEILA says: "The Good Earth"
    "The more things change, the more they remain......"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Even though this book was written over 80 years ago, there are certain underlying themes, dreams, and events that remain true today.......the more things change, the more they remain the same.

    A man of humble beginnings raises a family and rises in wealth and power, only to watch his sons abandon the family business when he grows older and longs for nothing more than peace in his home. The family business is owning land and farming, the home includes not just a wife and children, but a concubine and servants, and there are other particulars specific to the time and place (rural China early 1900s), but it's all still about recognizable hopes and dreams.

    Yes, the pacing is slow, but I'm pretty sure life was slow in rural China in the early 1900s, so that's appropriate. It helps to set the tone and feeling for Wang Lung's life and times. Yes, there are prejudices on class and gender lines, but that's also appropriate for the times. This was a slow, subtle road that was, in the end, ultimately very worthwhile.

    The narration was wonderful. This is the second audiobook I've heard by Anthony Heald, and he's done a great job each time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Jack Finney
    • Narrated By Kristoffer Tabori
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (327)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (159)

    On a quiet fall evening in the small, peaceful town of Mill Valley, California, Dr. Miles Bennell discovers an insidious, horrifying plot. Silently, subtly, almost imperceptibly, alien life-forms are taking over the bodies and minds of his neighbors, his friends, his family, the woman he loves, and the world as he knows it.

    Jenna says: "Warning!"
    "Not what I expected, more sociological than horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have seen two of the movie versions of this book, and still there was an element to it that I didn't expect........Even though the author always claimed he had no political message in the book, I definitely heard more of it in the book than I ever saw in the movies.

    This version is more psychological horror and suspense than it is about a physical monstrosity - the "pod people" are physical duplicates, not any abhorrent visualized mess. They are not filled with inhuman rage, they don't eat living flesh, they don't make blood sacrifices. Visually it's a creepily calm but otherwise normal-looking situation. But, what Finney seems to mention again and again, the "pod people" (for lack of a better term) seem devoid of the human emotions, including the emotions that make people want to improve and change things. The real fear of changing is that the changed become stagnant emotionally and psychologically, doing only what is necessary but nothing that is desired since - without emotions - nothing is desired.

    To me, that's more than a "good read" as Finney said was his goal, that's a small-p political statement about the state of humanity.

    Yes, it's a sci fi thriller with good pacing, heroic characters, and a ticking clock of impending doom. But it's more than that, and not really what I'd expected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Asylum

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Patrick McGrath
    • Narrated By Ian McKellen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (149)
    Story
    (149)

    In the summer of 1959 Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting - a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a brilliant sculptor who has been confined to the hospital for murdering his wife in a psychotic rage. But Stella's knowledge of Edgar's crime is no hindrance to the volcanic attraction that ensues -a passion that will consume Stella's sanity and destroy her and the lives of those around her.

    Mebythesea says: "So enjoyed this book!"
    "Slow and subtle, with a great payoff at the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I was a little bit disappointed by the slow movement of the story, but as I listened it became more intriguing and involving, and I found myself unwilling to turn it off and listening more avidly. It was not because it is thrilling with a lot of action or unexpected turns - in fact, virtually the entire story is told in retrospective analysis by the friend and psychiatrist of the protagonist - but because of the psychological suspense. It kind of creeps up on you and takes you by surprise.

    Narration, by the great actor Ian McKellen, is terrific, and no doubt adds to the subtle creep of the suspense.

    I purchased this title on a whim during a sale - I probably wouldn't have found it otherwise, and I'm glad I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Monday: Frieda Klein, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Nicci French
    • Narrated By Beth Chalmers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (516)
    Performance
    (462)
    Story
    (463)

    Frieda Klein is a solitary, incisive psychotherapist who spends her sleepless nights walking along the ancient rivers that have been forced underground in modern London. She believes that the world is a messy, uncontrollable place. The abduction of five-year-old Matthew Farraday provokes a national outcry and a desperate police hunt. And when his face is splashed over the newspapers, Frieda cannot ignore the coincidence: one of her patients has been having dreams in which he has a hunger for just such a child.

    William says: "Terrific!"
    "It was just OK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'd had this book on and off my wish list several times -- there was something intriguing about the main character, as she was described. So, I finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase it, hoping for an interesting listen. Sadly, Frieda wasn't very intriguing, and not very likable either........She betrayed her patients' trust and her professional ethics, she is blind to her own psychological issues but overcritical of others', and she's often dismissive of her own friends but seems to have no problem asking patients and acquaintances to help immediately whenever she feels the need. I was not at all invested (or even much interested) in her and what she was doing, including solving the puzzle and finding the missing child.

    That said, it wasn't badly written and the plot of the actual mystery was interesting. But that's about the best I can say.

    The narration was worse -- the narration always seemed to upbeat and young for the seriousness of the events and the status and age of the characters. Sometimes it almost seemed child-like, even for some of the male characters (what does it say when the deepest and most "masculine" voice with the most serious tone belongs to Frieda's teenaged niece?)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gallows Thief: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (38)

    The year is 1820 and England has fought its last victorious battle against the French. Rider Sandman, a hero of Waterloo, has finally returned to London to wed his young bride. But instead of being able to settle down to his fame and glory, he finds himself penniless in a country where unemployment and social unrest are raging high, and where men - innocent or guilty - are hung for the merest of crimes. Thus, when the Home Secretary offers him a job as private investigator.

    Deeda says: "Sterling."
    "Liked the history & story, not the main character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a difficult review to consider, because I really liked the historical setting, the story, and characterizations of the minor characters, I really didn't like the major characters very much. They were either cliched (hooker with a heart of gold) or not very likeable (war veteran resting on his laurels with anger problems). But the ancillary characters are good, the writing of the environment and life circumstances are good, and so is the story. Enjoyable while it was there, but not something I want more of.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On Her Majesty's Secret Service: James Bond, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Ian Fleming
    • Narrated By David Tennant
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (27)

    In his Alpine base, Blofeld is developing biological weapons that will devastate Britain. Unaware of the danger, James Bond is about to marry Teresa di Vicenzo, the daughter of a Corsican Mafioso. But then he is sent to Switzerland. Bond's marriage and Blofeld's schemes disintegrate in a blizzard of gunfire and high-explosives from which neither man emerges the victor.

    Scott Fogg says: "A Real Treat"
    "My new favourite narrator!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wow, David Tennant did a wonderful job narrating this book......not just because his (own) Scottish accent was a good fit for Bond (and brings in memories of Sean Connery as Bond), but because he also did wonderful voices for the other characters and the exposition (including bits of French or German). The right pacing, the right tone....all 'round wonderful.

    As for the story......I liked this one more than many other Bonds, even though the movie version was hampered by the wrong actor. This is a more human, fragile, and emotional Bond - saving a woman from suicide, falling in love, getting married........all while saving England from catastrophe, of course. There's action in the high alps (lots of skiing and bobsledding), negotiations with a mobster, and even some undercover work requiring too much knowledge of ancestry and heraldic arms.

    All greatly spun together by Tennant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Faithful Place: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4087)
    Performance
    (2431)
    Story
    (2439)

    New York Times best-selling author Tana French has won the prestigious Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards. As her third novel featuring the Dublin Murder Squad opens, 19-year-old Frank Mackey is waiting in vain for Rosie, who he’s supposed to run away to London with. But when she doesn’t show, Frank leaves Dublin without her—thinking never to return.

    Amazon Customer says: "Incredible"
    "Dysfunctional family, with a side of murder"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love how Tana French writes complex but still very believable and real characters, and they're the center of this story - murder comes a distant second. In fact, the protagonist isn't even part of the Dublin police's Murder Squad - he's actually on the undercover squad. But it's his family and friends, past and present, that create most of the environment and narrative. Yes, there was the disappearance of his girlfriend over 20 years ago that brings him back to his old 'hood and into contact again with his estranged family, but it's not really about that mystery or that girlfriend.....it's about a young man who planned and made an escape from what he saw as a dead-end life and an abusive and dysfunctional family, and then has to face his unresolved feelings when he has to deal with that same neighbourhood and family again. About how he tried to keep his daughter apart from those bad memories and experiences, but has to deal with their lives crashing together. All of that, and solve the murders of loved ones, past and present.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Patient Zero: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4448)
    Performance
    (3750)
    Story
    (3740)

    When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills - and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective who has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new task force created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle....

    Kim Venatries says: "Yes! It IS that good. Five stars and more."
    "Jack Bauer meets zombies in lightweight novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a lightweight and fun beach read, even though that term is usually reserved for chick lit.........Super cop Joe Ledger faces a bioterrorism weapon that can turn people into zombies, able to rise from the dead with just enough brain function to search out, kill, and eat other people, turning them into zombies too. He's brought into a super-secret military organization to destroy the undead threat, and I presume he continues with that group all through the series of novels. He's strong, fit, smart, fast, and deadly.....essentially, he's Jack Bauer in the first season of 24, over-the-top but good fun as a hero. Add in terrorism, conspiracy theories, traitors, technology, and zombies......well, who wouldn't have a great time?

    Good narration makes it that much more fun.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trust Your Eyes

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Linwood Barclay
    • Narrated By Ken Marks, Rick Holmes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (387)
    Performance
    (336)
    Story
    (340)

    Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic so affected that he rarely leaves the self-imposed bastion of his bedroom. But with a computer program called Whirl360.com, he travels the world while never so much as stepping out the door. He pores over and memorizes the streets of the world. He examines every address, as well as the people who are frozen in time on his computer screen. Then he sees something that anyone else might have stumbled upon - but has not - in a street view of downtown New York City: an image in a window. An image that looks like a woman being murdered.

    karen says: "One of 2013's best!"
    "why is this so highly rated?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll start with the narration, which was my biggest problem with this audiobook. There are two narrators - one is fine, but not especially good, but the other is horrible. Bland intonation and slightly elongated pauses - Stuart McLean uses a similar pacing for comedy, but they just don't work for narrating a murder thriller. I thought the book was kind of painful to listen to, but my sister urged me to go on because of the quality of the story.

    The main story line is a good one, involving brothers after the death of their father. One is a political cartoonist, the other is a schizophrenic with obvious autistic spectrum signs who spend his days and night obsessively memorizing street maps from around the world from the computer website. When he sees what he thinks is a murder taking place, it reveals a past and starts a string of future events. That's great......but what isn't great is the myriad of back-stories and subplots that do nothing to help the characterization or clarity and simply add bulk and uninteresting information. A really strong editor would have been an asset.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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