Make sure central characters are credible. Many of the central characters simply were not realistic. For example, the authors created the character of Win Christian in a way that stretched believability. How could anyone like Christian graduate from West Point, reach the rank of Major and pass the training and profiling necessary to be assigned to important covert activities? Luke Daniels further detracted from Christian's character by giving him the whiney voice of a spoiled adolescent. Unfortunately, this was not the only flawed character further harmed by a weak performance. Both Luke Daniels and the authors, Bond and DeFelice have done much better work.
The ending was very predictable and extremely unfulfilling - not up to the standards of Larry Bond.
In Jet I, the character and story both took a bit too long to develop. Jet seemed to be simply another one dimensional super assassin with extraterrestrial skills and impossible luck. In time, Blake did get around to developing a fun, exciting story with interesting characters, including Jet.
Though it's helpful to listen to (read) Blake's Jet books in sequence, Jet II can be read as a stand alone. Again, the plot is fun, fast-paced and supported by very good (extremely evil & despicable) villains. Though it's no big surprise that these villains are sure to share the same fate, you can't help but cheer for their just rewards.
Braden Wright is an excellent reader capable of a range of voices for varied age, gender and nationality. He reads with a good sense of pace and transitions plot settings very well. Someone should proof a few of his pronunciations, however. For example, gaping is pronounced "gay-ping" not "gah-ping". Wright also described the possibility of gruesome torture as to fill-it (fillet) someone. For welding and woodworking, "fill-it" is OK - but for cooking "fill-ay" is correct. As mentioned, however, Wright is a really good performer.
*** SPOILER ALERT***
It seems a shame that both male allies in Jet I & II have to die. Though flawed, each of their characters were interesting and complex enough to seemingly have value in future stories.I suppose it males sense that Jet can't be "tied down" - but ...
In a time when many traditional mystery and suspense protagonists are running out of steam, author Mike Lawson continues to keep Joe DeMarco and his supporting cast fresh. Unlike the superman-like protagonists in other series, the self-deprecating and often vulnerable Joe DeMarco gives readers believable doses of bravery and good judgement. Supporting characters like former Speaker Mahoney, retired spook Emma and others continue to surprise with additional character complexities.
Even more important, Lawson know how to "spin a good yarn". House Odds has a really good plot with twists and turns that will keep you interested until the end. Also important in any good audiobook, Joe Barrett delivers a really solid performance.
If you like the political thriller genre, don't miss the chance to give this audiobook "a listen".
If you like Alex Berenson, Brad Thor or Vince Flynn, then this espionage thriller should be worth your time and money.
On the other hand, if you demand constant realism, this audiobook may disappoint from time to time. However, I found the main character, Scorpion, complex enough to look past the times when he might have seemed somewhat super-human. By avoiding cliche and highlighting his intentions and tactics, Kaplan made Scorpion and his deeds really interesting if not always well-grounded.
I also liked the supporting characters, both the good guys and villains. In many cases, Kaplan gives readers the latitude to make their own determination of good and evil.
In contrast to many of today's espionage thrillers that focus too much on the hero's franchise rather than on satisfying endings, Kaplan skillfully delivers a conclusion to this book while still setting up the Scorpion's next battle.
In summary, the intricate plot, the realistic description of Iran's inner workings, the intrigue between factions and nations and Paul Boehmer's ability to grasp language, accents, age and gender made this audiobook one of my top "listens" of the past year.
I look forward to Andrew Kaplan's next Scorpion novel.
I have enjoyed many of Harlan Coben's novels - and Scott Brick is an accomplished performer. Furthermore, the concept of Six Years seemed to have a lot of promise. Though the plot was intriguing, unfortunately, the character was not. For a big, strong ex-bouncer turned poly sci professor and critical thinking devotee, the protagonist was a study in contradiction. Scott Brick's interpretation of the character further emphasized these contradictions. Given the issues with the main character, I found it difficult to immerse myself into the story.
Brett Battles is a very good author. I really have enjoyed his "Cleaner" series as well as some of his stand alone work like Little Girl Gone. However, he missed the mark on this one. In my opinion, way too much time was spent on weak characters and a slow, cliched buildup to an unsatisfying ending. I will continue to be interested in his work - but I wish I had skipped this one.
Alex Berenson is a seasoned reporter who has seen current combat theaters first hand - and transfers a lot of his experience through a "kick-butt" protagonist, John Wells. Wells' exploits are realistic - not supernatural - and his supporting cast should also keep a reader's interest while progressing through the seven books Berenson has written.
Furthermore, Berenson is a really good writer. He knows how to explain the undercurrents of America's fight against extremism - and weave the many details and subplots together to create an interesting, informative book.
Lastly, George Guidall brings this book to life with an excellent performance. I hope Berenson and Guidall continue with John Wells and cast.
Glancing at a single 3 star review almost caused me to miss "The Right Hand". Each to their own, but I thought this was a very worthwhile, exciting audiobook. The main character, Austin Clay, really has a lot of potential for a series. In addition, several supporting characters should hold up well for future stories.
However, the story is very satisfying as a "stand alone" production.The plot was well developed, full of action and had excellent tension during the ending. Moreover, I thought Kevin Stillwell's performance skillfully brought a wide range of characters to life despite differences in character, age, nationality and gender.
Overall, this audiobook is well worth a reader's time as well as a credit/money. I really hope Derek Haas continues on with the surviving characters.
In my opinion, this may be one of Vince Flynn's very best books. For those familiar with Flynn's past challenge, writing at this level must be no small task. As for presenting "The Last Man" as an audiobook, continuing with the talented George Guidall was also a big plus. Guidall knows the characters - and brings life to them.
Vince Flynn also does what many writers can't do - he's successfully managed the inevitable maturation of an action protagonist whose career has spanned many theaters of intrigue. To do so without making Rapp either uninteresting or unbelievable takes both skill and imagination.
Rest assured, however, the slightly older Mitch Rapp won't disappoint. He's still very to the point and lethal. Even better, Flynn doesn't neglect the evolution of supporting characters like CIA Director Irene Kennedy, Hurley, Coleman and, etc. He also introduces new players - and resurrects old ones - all of whom should prove enjoyable in future stories. Flynn then weaves all these characters into a plausible fast-paced story based on complications the US has with Pakistan (and the Mid East, in general). The complications include duplicitous villains at home and abroad, dangerous thugs and inter-agency competition - all wrapped by greed and ambition.
Along the way, the author gives readers plenty of action and enjoyment while progressing to a somewhat predictable but nonetheless satisfying ending. For me, at least, I enjoy the way that Flynn "lets" Rapp and Kennedy deliver elegant justice rather than cobbling together a slew of implausible events solely for the sake of surprise.
I'm pretty stingy about 5 star reviews ... However, if you like books of this genre as well as Brett Battles and his protagonist Quinn, you'll really like "Becoming Quinn". Please don't be put off by the fact that this is a prequel or rather short for an unabridged book - I think this is one of Battle's finest books.
I would consider another book from this author. His basic cast of characters are really good though I hated to see the demise of President Rob Alears (Sp?) I thought the narrator did an excellent job with voices and story intent.
Recognizing the author's background, I understand his politics but, for me, the Mitt Romney piece at the end was unnecessary and a bit of a turn-off. I liked the Isreali, Cole Meir but I thought his "final solution" was a little over the top. Coes' few Dewey Andreas sex scenes and occasional physical descriptions could have also been better ... not necessarily toned down ... just a little more refined.
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