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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
155
REVIEWS
82
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
33
HELPFUL VOTES
248

  • Lost Things: The Order of the Air

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Melissa Scott, Jo Graham
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    In 1929 archeologists began draining Lake Nemi in search of the mysterious ships that have been glimpsed beneath its waters since the reign of Claudius. What they awakened had been drowned for two thousand years. For a very good reason. Veteran aviator Lewis Segura has been drifting since the Great War ended, fetched up at last at the small company run by fellow veterans and pilots Alma Gilchrist and Mitchell Sorley, assisted by their old friend Dr. Jerry Ballard, an archeologist who lost his career when he lost part of his leg.

    Sires says: "1929 Set Historical Fantasy with Good Narrator"
    "1929 Set Historical Fantasy with Good Narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read Melissa Scott's science fiction since she hit the bookstores in the 80's. She managed complex and satisfying world building combined with characters that were both alien and easy to relate to. Jo Graham is not an author that I have encountered before but now I intend to check out her backlist.

    Anyway, when I saw this book listed on Audible I seized on it at once, and I am very happy I did.

    Not science fiction but historical fantasy, the background of the story is the final year of the 20's. The adventure starts with an archaeological dig in Italy. The archaeological dig is real enough, as are the ships built by Caligula and then sunk in the lake after his assassination. Add to this the release of an ancient malignant being with the attempt to recover the ships and there is the satisfying bones of a good story there.

    Alma, Jerry, and Mitchell are all members of a Hermetic Lodge. Jerry and Mitchell are combat veterans of the Great War. Alma was an ambulance driver and the widow of their friend and Magister, Gil, who died of the effects of mustard gas after the war. Each of them have lost something. Early in the book they are joined by Lewis Segura, another veteran pilot who becomes Alma's lover and employee as they struggle to come to terms with their losses and rebuild their lives, mundate and magical.

    This story feels true to the time. The details about flying and the attempt to commercialize add to the story. A good part of the US is covered from Colorado to Hollywood to Chicago with period detail highlighting, but not overwhelming the plot and characters.

    John Lee, the narrator does a great job. His general narration accent is American with a 1920's feel to it but he voices the characters with their various backgrounds well. Even when reading ritual magic he does not go overboard.

    There's another book in this series on the way: Steel Blues. I'm looking forward to the Audible version.

    2 of 2 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
    (386)
    Performance
    (325)
    Story
    (322)

    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.

    0 of 0 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
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    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?

    Sires says: "Be Careful What You Ask For--"
    "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
    (228)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (215)

    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
    (64)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    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.

    2 of 2 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
    (552)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (511)

    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
  • The Outcast Dead: Ruth Galloway, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Elly Griffiths
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (50)

    Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, a forbidding edifice that was once a prison. She believes the body may be that of infamous Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children in her care. DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-dead killers. Immersed in the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that a family member is responsible, though others on his team think differently.

    Pamela Crowder says: "My First Audio Book-I LOVE IT!"
    "Exhumation of a hanged Victorian Child Murderess"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A Victorian Baby Farmer convicted and hanged for the death of a young boy left in her care by his mother is the historic story that Ruth Galloway, forensic physical anthropologist, is dealing with in this, the sixth book in this series. Meanwhile DCI Harry Nelson is investigating the suspicious death of a baby whose parents are both suspects in the child's death.

    Children are a big theme in this book in the series, as they have been in past books in this series. Not only is the skeleton of the hook-handed baby farmer Jemima Green, aka Mother Hook, the basis of a local bogy, she is also set to be the subject of an episode of a sensationalistic television show about women who kill.

    Anyway this is a better than average story read well by Clare Corbett. She is not idiosyncratic in her style and thankfully does a good job with the accent of a historian from the US who adds some variety to the cast. Many of the characters from previous books make an appearance and the overall story arc does advance a bit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Symphony of Echoes: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (124)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (107)

    Book Two in the madcap time-travel series based at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research that seems to be everyone's cup of tea. In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary's series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas A Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches.

    C. lewis says: "Witty and fun"
    "Enjoyed This Second St Mary's Time Travel Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After finishing the first book in this series I went ahead and bought the second. The second novel is a bit episodic, but because of the nature of potential time travel paradoxes the various plot lines all come together in a maddening but entertaining conclusion.

    Based in the near future UK, St Mary's Time Travel institution, has a number of traditions, one of which is that a Historian (time traveling variety) gets to choose his or her last jump into the past before their retirement. In this case Maxwell, with her friend Kal Black, have set out to visit the London of Jack the Ripper on the night that Mary Kelly is mutilated and killed. Black is retiring from active duty. That night has a most surprising conclusion. But it's not by any means the conclusion of the book.

    It's not a soft and fluffy book although at points I thought it was quite funny. It also has some pathos (that's where one star disappeared because I thought that particular character was a bit of a red shirt, although the author may redeem herself later considering how convoluted time travel plots can be.) There is also some sheer horror.

    The narrator is, as I thought with regard to the first book, excellent. I'm hoping that she will also be reading the third book when it comes out on Audible.

    I did wonder if the dodo birds were a nod to Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels.

    I also bought the third novel on Kindle although it was not yet out on Audible. I would definitely suggest that these books be read in order. Now I'm jonesing for the fourth book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Jodi Taylor
    • Narrated By Zara Ramm
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (212)
    Story
    (210)

    Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History.

    Carolyn says: "Book Lovers Nirvana"
    "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In case this bothers a reader: this is a first person point of view story. It also contains some (brief) sex and adult language. Probably I wouldn't have even thought about either factor except someone had rated it as one star because it wasn't CLEAN enough. I really hate that term applied to books, unless someone if referring to the condition of the pages rather than the content. The setting is the UK at some near future point in time.

    Any way, the heroine, a woman who has completed her doctorate in history, is recruited by an old teacher who once at a pivotal moment in her life provided guidance, into a time travel project. There's lots of action and adventure as she has to cope not just with being sent back to dangerous time periods, but also with problems from the future.

    People who enjoy Connie Willis' time travel books or Kage Bakers novels of the Company might enjoy at least this first book. It's complete in itself although it is part of a series. It's also science fiction rather than romance.

    I would also point out that despite the enthusiasm of what I assume are fans, that Taylor hasn't yet reached the skill level of the other authors I have mentioned. If it were possible to give half stars I would give the story 3.5 stars. On at least two occasions the author dumps a load of information on the reader rather than feeding it bit by bit. Luckily the narrator, who I do not think I've encountered before, was able to wend her way through it. I'm not sure how I would have reacted had I been reading the print version at those points-- probably put it down for a while. But I'm sure I would have gone back because I've developed a bit of soft spot for the heroine.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Windermere Witness

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Rebecca Tope
    • Narrated By Julia Franklin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    Following a personal tragedy, florist Persimmon “Simmy” Brown has moved to the Lake District to be nearer her parents. But her peace is shattered when, at a wedding, the bride's brother is found brutally murdered. As the florist of the wedding and one of the last people to talk to Mark Baxter alive, Simmy gradually becomes involved with the relatives. When events take another sinister turn, Simmy finds herself at the heart of a murder investigation.

    Sires says: "3 1/2 Stars- I Was Impatient for the End to Come"
    "3 1/2 Stars- I Was Impatient for the End to Come"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Persimmon Petals is a florist shop in the Lake District owned by Persimmon "Simmy" Brown. She was named Persimmon by her hippy parents, who now run a B&B in the same area of Great Britain. She has just finished the floral arrangements for an important wedding when one of the groomsmen is discovered dead. The prime suspects are the members of the wedding and it seems that Simmy, although she does not know a great deal about the situation becomes a witness that both the police and the family turn to.

    Tope can write fascinating mysteries and she can also write long, rambling stories. This, unfortunately, is a long, rambling story. I did enjoy the character development. No one of the main characters is particularly likeable. I did at times want to smack Simmy for her cluelessness, but I am curious where the author is going to take the series. About 2/3 of the way through the book I wanted the end to come faster. I did think that some of the things that happened should have happened on screen rather than Simmy arriving after the action is over but in time for the explanation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • It Happens in the Dark: A Mallory Novel, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Carol O'Connell
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    The reviews called it "A Play to Die For" after the woman was found dead in the front row. It didn't seem so funny the next night, when another body was found - this time the playwright's, his throat slashed.

    Detective Kathy Mallory takes over, but no matter what she asks, no one seems to be giving her a straight answer. The only person - if "person" is the right word - who seems to be clear is the ghostwriter. Every night, an unseen backstage hand chalks up line changes and messages on a blackboard. And the ghostwriter is now writing Mallory into the play itself, a play about a long-ago massacre that may not be at all fictional.

    Nancy J says: "Fascinating!"
    "Competent if You Are Already a Fan of the Series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Read by Barbara Rosenblat who does a good job although she sounds a bit old for the twenty something Mallory. However a lot of the story is told from the viewpoint of other characters which works out pretty well. No dispute, Rosenblat is a good narrator and her work on the Amelia Peabody novels would be hard to top.

    Back to this novel though. Kathy Mallory is brought in to investigate the death of the author of a Broadway play. In the Audience. At the end of the first Act. And then she finds that this is the second death during a performance of the play. But it appears that both deaths might have been natural. So Kathy has to work back toward the beginning and forward toward the conclusion.

    She also has an older case that is involved with the current mystery.

    Because I've liked Mallory ever since her first appearance in 1995. Therefore, it was easy enough to fill in the bits that the author doesn't really explain. Mallory seems less ambiguous and more annoying. The ghost writer starts out rather effectively but loses steam before the last revelation. Poor Charles is treated badly by both Mallory AND the author.

    So go with this one if you like the series, otherwise go back to the first book in the series and read forward.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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