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Sires

I like mysteries (particularly British ones, historical fiction and nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.

Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004

354
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 91 reviews
  • 170 ratings
  • 820 titles in library
  • 64 purchased in 2014
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34

  • Devil's Food

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Louise Siversen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    The third in the Corinna Chapman series, Devil's Food is another irresistible, criminally entertaining read from the master crime writer, Kerry Greenwood.

    Corinna Chapman, baker extraordinaire and amateur sleuth, returns in another delicious mystery.

    Sires says: "Bless You for Bringing Corinna to a US Audience"
    "Bless You for Bringing Corinna to a US Audience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All is not well for Baker Corinna Chapman despite her successful business and the acquisitions of both a promising young apprentice and a handsome, sensual private eye/partner.

    Jason, her young apprentice, had entered into a deal to produce "famine bread" for a group of monks who had established themselves in a property in Melbourne. Given that their only complaint had been that she had made the bread taste too good, it seems they were seriously into mortifying the flesh. And speaking of mortifying-- her unwashed, unpleasant and hysterical mother shows up at the bakery to demand Corinna's help in finding Corinna's father, who had taken off on a mid-life crisis to find "young flesh". Finally, it appears that her two young shop assistants hae fallen victim to a dangerous diet aid.

    There's other mysteries that Corinna must solve which introduces the reader to some other venues (including one that is distinctly sad), as she searches for her father.

    This one is also narrated by the inestimable Louise Siverson in her warm, kind tones.

    I'm going to take a break in the series here, but I'm sure I will be back to finish the rest. The second book in the series was Heavenly Pleasures: A Corinna Chapman Mystery. The next is Trick or Treat: A Corinna Chapman Mystery.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Night Film: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Marisha Pessl
    • Narrated By Jake Weber
    Overall
    (1297)
    Performance
    (1158)
    Story
    (1178)

    On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive, cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova - a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

    Jacqueline says: "A M A Z I N G"
    "Somewhat Confused But Ultimately Engrossing Horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Scott McGarth, a journalist on the downside of his career, becomes obsessed with the death of the daughter of a cult film maker, Stanislas Cordova - a man who hasn't been seen in public for more than thirty years.

    This is a book with wheels within wheels. Information frequently is proven to be unreliable. Characters are not what they seem. McGarth's own life spins out of control. I really had a hard time putting the book down.

    It probably could have been tightened up, it's a bit long and saggy in the final quarter, but I think it is still worth the read. I think the narrator added to the experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Murder as a Fine Art

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By David Morrell
    • Narrated By Matthew Wolf
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (118)
    Performance
    (112)
    Story
    (113)

    Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater", is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London 43 years earlier. The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts". Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter, Emily, and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.

    Amy says: "Historical Fact + Fiction = Gothic Mystery"
    "Thomas De Quincey & Daughter Detectives"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Thomas De Quincey, the author of essays Confessions of an English Opium Eater and On Murder Considered As One of the Fine Arts (among others), is one of the main characters in this historical mystery. His youngest daughter, Emily, is another. Late in his career De Quincey and his daughter are living in Edinburgh. He is impecunious and trying to recoup his fortunes by coming to London and doing what is essentially a book tour in which he would go to bookstores and sign copies of his latest book.

    Meanwhile a murder has occurred-- in fact several murders. And they appear to be copycats of the famous1811 Ratcliff Highway Murders. These particularly bloody murders inspired De Quincey's essay on Murder. And it seems that De Quincey is being framed for these latter murders.

    The author has done quite a good job in recreating the feel of the mid Victorian era. The plot was a bit sloppy in places, but I still thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book. The narrator was quite good as well. I particularly enjoyed the character of Emily De Quincey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maplecroft: The Borden Dispatches, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Cherie Priest
    • Narrated By Johanna Parker, Roger Wayne
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place.

    Kelly says: "Lizzie and her trusty Ax.."
    "Good Book Could Have Used Better Narrators"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you know anything about the life of Lisbet Borden after the conclusion of her famous trial, forget it. The chronology of events in this book (set in 1894) is about 10 years off and, yes, that really bugged me. However the events as reimagined by Cherie Priest including Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos in part, fit well into the overall facts..

    Maplecroft is the name of the house that Lisbet and Emma Borden moved to after the younger sister was acquitted of the murder of their father and step-mother. It is a fact that they both were very concerned about their personal safety. There's nothing really startling in this novel although Priest does provide some descriptive details. There is very good use made of Lizzy Borden's axe.

    I do regret having listened to this on audio though instead of reading it. I don't think that Johanna Parker's voice (which worked very well in my opinion in her reading of the Sookie Stackhouse books) was particularly affective in this book. Her accent sounded "off" for the time and place. Roger Wayne's voice also seemed a little too light and young for the characters he was reading. Some more character in his voice would have been improved things a great deal, especially in reading the parts attributed to the 60ish year old Dr Seabury.

    If you are inclined that way and know a bit about the Weird Tales background, the book does provide some fun hunt-the-reference moments.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Someone Else's Skin: Detective Inspector Marnie Rome, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Sarah Hilary
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    DI Marnie Rome knows this better than most. Five years ago, her family home was the scene of a shocking and bloody crime that left her parents dead and her foster brother in prison. Marnie doesn't talk much about her personal life - not even her partner, DS Noah Jake, knows much about Marnie's past. Now Marnie and Noah are tackling a case of domestic violence and a different brand of victim. Hope Proctor stabbed her husband in desperate self-defense. A crowd of witnesses in the domestic violence shelter where she's staying saw it happen, but none of them are telling quite the same story.

    Kathi says: "Well-written book about disturbing social crimes"
    "Lost Interest in the Middle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator, Justine Eyre, uses an odd sort of breathy voice style that did very little for me in terms of overcoming the faults of the book, but I did not find it prevented me from listening to the book.

    A man is stabbed in the chest when he enters a women's shelter where his wife is staying. One of the two detectives who arrive shortly after on an unrelated case is able to save the man's life and he is taken to the hospital for further treatment. His wife, who stabbed him, is also transported to the same hospital for treatment.

    In this book the detectives are asked to examine their assumptions about abusers and their victims. It's interesting at the start and at the end, but in the middle there is an episode of torture that was essentially tedious. It could have been powerful, but just went on too long. Sometimes less is more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Taunting the Dead

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mel Sherratt
    • Narrated By Heather Wilds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Most murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder is found dead, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigations close to home, starting with Steph’s family and friends. As each of the suspects scrambles to cover up their actions on that fateful night, Allie focuses on Steph’s husband, Terry. Soon, despite herself, she finds herself powerfully attracted to the ambitious and charming businessman, risking not only her marriage but her job and the investigation itself.

    Sires says: "I Am So Glad I Got This Through Kindle Unlimited"
    "I Am So Glad I Got This Through Kindle Unlimited"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I gave up about 8 chapters into this book. By that time I was bored with all of her characters. They were all stereotypes from the villainous property owner/ crime boss, to his vapid clotheshorse of an adulterous wife, to the spoiled, foul mouthed daughter. Then there was DS Allie Shenton who started out pretty interesting until I realized that her initial stumble because she was wearing high heels meant that I was going to have to listen to descriptions of her trying on clothes rather than doing much policing. Oh, and she is having lustful thoughts about the villainous property owner/crime boss.

    By the time I gave up, about an hour and a half into the book, there had also been six or seven sexual encounters of a rather dull and distasteful nature between various characters. I could have accepted that maybe this was some sort of an erotic mystery if the sex scenes had been more artfully done (and if there had been more than a hint that there was going to be an actual mystery). Oh, yes, and if they had been erotic.

    I couldn't ding the narrator too, hard given that she didn't have much to work with. I am so thankful that this was part of the Kindle Unlimited program because I didn't have to feel bad about giving up on this book and going on to something more entertaining.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Unholy Rites

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Kay Stewart, Chris Bullock
    • Narrated By Liza Ross
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Danutia is observing a youth rehabilitation program in England when Arthur returns to the Peak District to attend his mother’s funeral. Suspecting foul play in her death, Danutia and Arthur question the feuding village. They soon discover that the practice of ancient Celtic rituals persists and has evolved into a dangerous and deadly ceremony....

    Sires says: "Kind of Meh Police Procedural"
    "Kind of Meh Police Procedural"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is set in 1997, which could have been made clearer at the beginning. I kept wandering why no one, not even the police, had a cell phone and why there was smoke in enclosed work areas such a pubs and police stations, not to mention a reference to an IRA bombing in the recent past. Come to think of it, I had a Motorola flip phone in 1997 so I still don't know why at least the police didn't have them.

    Anyway a Constable of the RMCP, Danutia Dranchuk is seconded to the Peak district in the United Kingdom to learn about community policing. She attends the funeral of the mother of a friend she met in Canada when investigating another murder and learns that her friend has some concerns about whether his mother's death had been caused by some action or inaction of someone in the village. He wants her to take a look at some scrapbooks his mother had kept to try to help him figure out what was going on. There's a Well Dressing going on and a dispute between the rather conservative Vicar and some members of a alternative healing/WICCA group.

    There's quite a bit of confusion as Danutia and her friend Arthur keep missing opportunities to look at the scrap books together until about 40% in on the Kindle book when Danutia and Arthur are involved in a car wreck. Arthur had also been a jerk about wearing a seatbelt and ends up with injuries. Danutia has the car examined and learns that the brake line was cut causing the accident.

    Meanwhile there is some ritual sheep mutilations and a few break-ins with stolen spoons and Toby Jugs.

    There's a bit of excitement toward the end, but the conclusion is a bit weak. I didn't particularly care for the characters either.

    The narrator wasn't horrible but I think I have run into her before. She does not do children well, giving the younger boy some sort of pinched, lispy annoying voice.

    AND POSSIBLE SPOILER---

    DON'T READ BELOW THIS LINE IF YOU CARE

    The is also one of my least favorite tropes in this book-- A character gets a bit tipsy and has unprotected sex and then thinks she has the flu because she is throwing up so often and even the thought of food makes her feel ill. Then after she figures it out every time she does anything active she worries about losing the baby.

    And the take away from the book? Don't force your child to do necropsies, it can turn him or her into a psychopath.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Small Indiscretion

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Denise Rudberg
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Marianne Jidhoff is having trouble getting back on her feet after the death of her husband, Hans. As Stockholm’s Attorney General, Hans was known as much for his marital indiscretions as his ability to solve complex cases. But Olle Lundqvist, Lead Prosecutor at the department and Marianne’s friend of many years, knows that she was the brain behind Hans’s success. He persuades her to come back to work, and she quickly shakes her grief as she finds herself at the center of a series of mysterious killings among Stockholm’s upper echelons.

    Sires says: "Why Do These People Care So Much About Food?"
    "Why Do These People Care So Much About Food?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The author has apparently created a new genre of Scandinavian crime fiction called Elegant Crime. It supposedly is a combination of chic lit and mystery called Elegant Crime. Half of the characters are upper income types, half are not. But they are all brought together by one obsession-- food. At first I thought it was just local color, a chance to read about snacking life in Stockholm, then it began to intrude into the story-- big plates of food. And it became clear that the good guys in the social sense (not in the criminal sense) give and share food, the disagreeable character reject the offer of food. Many cups of coffee and cinnamon buns are consumed.

    Mystery? Oh, there was a mystery in there? Yes, there was. A young girl is found dead under and upturned boat and a man is run over in the street. There seems to be some connection to a lifestyle cult but that's not important. Instead let me tell you about some delectable white chocolates that the heroine consumed before having sex with an old friend.

    No, I don't think I would read another book by this author. I'm not sure why the obsession with food but it sure wasn't interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson
    Overall
    (850)
    Performance
    (764)
    Story
    (757)

    "The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

    Jim says: "CAN NOT UNDERSTAND HALF THE BOOK (AUDIO)"
    "A Day to Solve a Cold Case"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Detective Stephen Moran has been brought a card relating to the death of a teenaged boy at a posh school for girls. Moran is on the Cold Case Squad, but he really wants to be on the Murder Squad and he thinks that this high profile, unsolved case may be his ticket. The former lead on the case is a woman whose partner has retired and who has some problems with the other men on the Squad so she needs a big solve. All of the current action in the case takes place within one day as Moran and Detective Conway question the girls at St. Kilda's about the death of Chris Harper. However this investigation is interleaved with the back story of the months leading up to Harper's death.

    This is one of my favorite types of genre novels. It can be read as a straight mystery with pleasure-- French also provides a satisfying conclusion (which she hasn't always done in the past) although all of the events that happen to the girls at St. Kilda's are not given a rational explanation. However, the book is enriched with references to both classical and christian mythology. Further there is a Appollonian versus Dionysian tension that has made me ruminate about the plot and characters even after I reached the end.

    Th e performance was pitch perfect with two excellent readers.

    I bounced between a 4 and a 5 on this book but finally settled on a five. It problems should be 4 1/2 but we don't get to give half stars. There was one section near the end that I though could have been shortened but the narrators pulled it through.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Do or Die: An Inspector Green Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Barbara Fradkin
    • Narrated By Kevin Kraft
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Another freezing winter descends in seeming peace upon the Northern Ontario lake where realtor Belle Palmer lives genteelly with her dog, tropical fishes and classic film collection. But the snow-laden tranquility is tragically disturbed when a good friend is lost in a freak snowmobile accident on an isolated lake. Or so it seems. Belle and others suspect foul play, but a motive and a criminal prove hard to find. Resort owners, anti-environmentalists and the new local drug dealers may all have had reason to want Jim Burian quietly removed, and information isn't forthcoming.

    Susan says: "An introduction to Inspector Mike Green"
    "Good Mystery but Investigators Back-Story Weak"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A student is knifed in the library of a University in Ottawa. Did it happen because of his love life, his role in the investigation of a possible research scandal or due to his family's circumstances.

    I thought the mystery and the investigation were fairly strong and entertaining. The bits that I found maddening involved the characterization and the backstory of Inspector Green and the other detectives. I don't have to have likeable and moral characters in the mysteries I read, in fact the ones I enjoy the most involve shades of gray. Inspector Green however almost seems to have been done by the numbers: Obsessed investigator-- check. Marriage in trouble-- check. Father dying-- check. New baby-- check. He was a total jerk to his wife and she wasn't a strong enough character to stand up to him in any meaningful way. I was rooting for her to dump him by the time the book ended.

    The author has written more in this series so I will maybe dip into a later book to see if I'm still as annoyed by Inspector Green's family life as I was in this one. There's potential if the author could just find the right balance.

    The narrator didn't really add anything to the book. Competent but uninspiring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Coroner’s Lunch: The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Clive Chafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (555)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (459)

    Laos, 1975: The Communist Pathet Lao has taken over this former French colony. Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year-old Paris-trained doctor, is appointed national coroner. Although he has no training for the job, there is no one else: the rest of the educated class have fled.

    Jane says: "a splendid story"
    "Darkly Comic Mystery Set in Laos Post 1975"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dr Siri Paiboun became Coroner more or less by default. He is 72 years old and had spent most of his earlier years as a doctor treating soldiers injured in the struggle for Communism to take over the government. Now it has succeeded and the worker's utopia has been deserted for the most part by the wealthy and educated class. He has an antique microscope, a few chemicals, and a camera that has a very strictly limited amount of film that his investigations must share with the social events of the nurses. There's a government spy installed behind his mortuary who complains about the smell of the corpses and mystical experiences that interrupts his nights.

    The reader was very good and I quite enjoyed listening to this book with it's convoluted plot and interesting background.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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