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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

ratings
161
REVIEWS
87
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
34
HELPFUL VOTES
257

  • Midnight Riot: Peter Grant, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Ben Aaronovitch
    • Narrated By Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1255)
    Performance
    (1143)
    Story
    (1141)

    Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter's ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale....

    Nancy J says: "I LOVE this Book!"
    "Urban Fantasy Fans-- Buy This Book, It's Great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Originally, I wrote this review for the Vine program on Amazon. So I didn't pay for the book. Then I ran down a copy of the CD audio book through a friend. I fell in like with the narrator. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith has a fantastic voice for this book-- actually he has a lovely voice for reading anything. I cannot imagine Peter Grant being read by any other narrator. He also does a great job with the other characters. I purchased this from audible because I have not actually paid for a copy of this book until now and because I wanted Audible to keep bringing good audio books like this to the US.

    Ok, ignore any references to grown up Harry Potter. Yes, the hero does end up apprenticed to a wizard but that's where the resemblance ends. Peter Grant starts as a probationary constable in the London Metropolitan Police. His father is a drunken jazz musician while his mother cleans offices for a living. Peter wants to become a detective on the murder squad. However, Peter is not the ideal candidate for any of the high profile squads. He is though the ideal candidate for one very obscure squad with a total membership of 2, counting Peter.

    Things I liked-- Aaronovitch writes about a multicultural London. Peter is mixed race and writes about his experiences with a serio-comic turn that I really like. He's smart, quick thinking and funny so reading from his viewpoint is a pleasant. Dark humor punctuates bouts of well described action.

    The book actually comes across as a police procedural, even as Peter deals with issues like a dispute between Father Thames and Mother Thames-- which gives the book it's British title, Rivers of London. I like that title better any way..

    The next one is available on Audible already. I hope other readers enjoy this book as much as I have.

    25 of 29 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
    (27)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (22)

    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
    (209)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (191)

    "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.

    Pamela says: "Well...I really liked 50% of it"
    "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.

    0 of 0 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
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    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
    (448)
    Performance
    (376)
    Story
    (373)

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Dark and Twisted Tide: Lacey Flint Series, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Sharon Bolton
    • Narrated By Lisa Coleman
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Former detective Lacey Flint quit the force for a safer, quieter life. Or that’s what she thought. Now living alone on her houseboat, she is trying to get over the man she loves, undercover detective Mark Joesbury. But Mark is missing in action and impossible to forget. And danger won’t leave Lacey alone. When she finds a body floating in the river near her home, wrapped in burial cloths, she can’t resist asking questions. Who is this woman, and why was she hidden in the fast-flowing depths? And who has been delivering unwanted gifts to Lacey?

    Ann says: "Audible please get the rest of the series"
    "Be Careful What You Ask For--"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lacey has given up her career as a high flyer in CID and joined the Thames River Police. She's living an a boat moored to a Marina. But she does not stay away from high risk behavior, and this also causes her to find the body of a young woman wrapped in a linen shroud and tangled in some pilings. But this isn't the only body that has been discovered and Lacey is drawn into the investigation on a semi-official basis.

    After this exciting start, though, things get a bit slow and I'm not the secondary plot about Mark Joesbury doesn't really seem to contribute to the main story. The situation picks up again with some harrowing story telling near the end, but there is definitely a mid book slump.

    I fell in love with Sharon (S. J.) Bolton's audio books 3 or 4 years ago. The major problem was that they were only available in audio in the UK. So every so often I would drop an email to Audible suggesting that they look into bringing her to the US site. I was delighted to see this book when I was browsing the new releases and immediately bought it.

    Only unfortunately it is not her best work and it's the fourth book into the Lacy Flint series which means some readers are going to be a bit confused. And frankly the way that the first few chapters bounce around in time made it a bit confusing to me at times.

    Lacey has a very complicated and interesting back story. If the reader hasn't read at least the first two books then the visit to the prison and the relationship with Mark Joesbury are kind of floating out there, along with several cryptic comments about Lacey by other characters in the book. In her prior books in this series Bolton managed to control her story to the point that each would novel work as a stand alone. In this case I don't think she handles it as well.

    So now Audible, can you please try to get audio rights to retail Bolton's other books? I would buy copies from you, I promise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Indexing

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (246)
    Performance
    (232)
    Story
    (231)

    For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected - perhaps infected is a better word - by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

    Erin - Audible says: "The X-Files meets Grimm meets Law and Order"
    "Episodic Due to Original Publication as a Serial"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I had known that this was originally sold on Amazon as part of their serial program. I wasn't interested because I don't like getting stories in dibs and dabs. I want it all at once. So when I saw the Audible version at a good price I bought it. (Hope no one in marketing decides that the world wants serial Audible books.)

    The serial structure though as made this into an episodic story as the author tried to make each segment a satisfying story while encouraging readers to keep going. I'm not sure she was successful with this although I did enjoy listening to the entire book. It just felt a bit choppy and she ended up introducing a potentially important character near the conclusion.

    Not my favorite McGuire but worth listening to. Mary Robinette Kowal as usual does an outstanding job with the narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sparrow Hill Road: Ghost Stories, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Seanan McGuire
    • Narrated By Amy Landon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (64)

    Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross - a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn't ask Rose what she thought of the idea. It's been more than sixty years since that night, and she's still sixteen, and she's still running. It's been more than sixty years since that night, and she's still sixteen, and she's still running.

    Sires says: "A Series of Interconnected Stories"
    "A Series of Interconnected Stories"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The central character of this book is Rose Marshall. She's also known as the phantom prom date. She was killed in an accident in 1952 and since then has wandered the roads of this world and the spaces between. Sometimes she is helpful, sometimes she is not. But her world and the characters who inhabit her world paint and interesting picture of ghosts in America. While she does at time mention older creatures such as the Black Dog or Hellhound, most of the stories center around the American love of motor driven vehicles and the lore of the road.

    Interesting book that should appeal to those who love urban fantasy. Probably wouldn't particularly appeal to hard core paranormal romance fans though. If you have to have a HEA tread carefully, although there isn't a cliff hanger at the end of this book. It appears to be the first in a series.

    Narrator by Amy Landon. This is the first book by her I have listened to. She doesn't have the verve of Mary Robinette Kowal who reads the October Daye books, but she did keep me interested and entertained with no annoying mispronunciations or verbal tics.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Serpent of Venice: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Christopher Moore
    • Narrated By Euan Morton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (603)
    Performance
    (556)
    Story
    (557)

    Venice, a really long time ago: Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: The rascal-Fool Pocket. This trio of cunning plotters have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening. Their invitation is, of course, bogus. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool.…

    Amazon Customer says: "Moore sophomoric humor riffing off the Bard's time"
    "Shakespear, E.A. Poe, and Pocket the Fool"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Combining plot points and characters from The Cask of Amontillado by Poe, Othello and The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare, Moore sends Pocket the Fool off on another adventure, this time in medieval Venice. Pocket, nicknamed Fortunato by the Doge starts at a very low point in his life. He is the intended victim of a conspiracy between some merchants of Venice and Iago who want to start a crusade in order to increase their wealth. The last one had worked so well for them. Pocket is so low that he little cares for his life-- until he discovers that this conspiracy is the cause of his misfortunes! Most Heinous F___ery, as he says.

    And the story takes off-- ribald, bawdy and very, very clever as Moore combines characters from all the stories into a fun listen. Christopher Moore is funny when read by oneself, but when Euan Morton does the narrating it is rib splitting and laugh out loud-- if you like Christopher Moore's brand of humor. HIs satire about recent world events is spot on.

    So why not 5 stars across the board? I thought that there were a couple of places where it moved a little slow. Also there were so references back to events and characters in Fool that probably would have confused a new reader. I just took it as an opportunity to listen to Fool again.

    In fact, if you thinking about buying this listen and have not heard Fool you would do yourself a great favor if you listen to Fool first. Both books have entertaining Author Notes read at the end by Christopher Moore himself explaining why he made the choices he did in terms of characters and time periods.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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