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Patrick King

Exeter, NH | Member Since 2009

  • 25 reviews
  • 102 ratings
  • 494 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • Bruce

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Peter A. Carlin
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This sweeping biography of Bruce Springsteen features in-depth interviews with family, band members, childhood friends, ex-girlfriends, and a poignant retrospective from the Boss himself. It’s Bruce as his many fans haven’t before seen him - the man behind the myth, describing his life and work in intimate, vivid detail.

    Patrick King says: "For the most part, this is what I was hoping for"
    "For the most part, this is what I was hoping for"

    I've read several other so-called biographies of Bruce Springsteen and was amazed at how little factual information they contained of a living, accessible person. Mr. Carlin pretty well resolved that problem for me in this big biography, Bruce. The story starts with the tragic death at a very young age of Bruce Springsteen's aunt, Virginia. It explores the histories of both sides of his family as they came from Europe. It lightly touches on the unusual circumstances around his maternal grandfather's imprisonment, and his father's manic depression. The events that impacted the artist on his way up are well researched and chronicled. The one exception that I hoped Carlin would realize was important was the acquisition of the Telecaster. Mike Appel famously stated that Bruce still played the same $189 guitar he's always had. Well, Bruce's Telecaster is NOT $189 instrument under any normal circumstances. Perhaps Mr. Carlin does not play guitar but that is a story those of us who do are interested to hear.

    In the introduction Carlin tells us that during his interviews with Springsteen Bruce advised him if he found warts and wrinkles to print them. Carlin followed this advice up to a point. He certainly addresses Springsteen's mercurial temper, his obnoxious behavior toward his band mates, and his jealousy and disregard often in public of his lovers. Where he holds back, however, is in the transition between Springsteen's two marriages. We get plenty of information about who Julianne Phillips is, that is he tells us all the good stuff. Abruptly they divorce and almost instantly Bruce is a couple with Patti Scialfa. I'm not really looking for gossip. I'm looking to understand a series of songs on Bruce Springsteen's two 1992 albums. Human Touch and Lucky Town.

    Carlin explains how these two unusual records were recorded and how slow and how fast the various songs were written. What he leaves out to the distraction of we who follow these things obsessively, is what inspired the specific songs. He offers these insights on other records, so I had hope. On previous albums Springsteen tells stories about plain people, for the most part fictional. On Human Touch and Lucky Town he reveals himself in a much more cathartic way than he ever did before. Songs like Human Touch, Cross My Heart, All or Nothing at All, Man's Job, and I Wish I Were Blind, are not only stunningly beautiful chronicles of heartbreak but for me personally they mirrored real events in my own life and I wondered how "The Boss" could find his psyche in the same place as an underpaid graphic designer. For me buying those two records on the same day was like a Badder-Meinhoff phenomenon. I hoped this long book would give me an inkling. Unfortunately Carlin gives these two brilliant records shorter shift than most. He does point out that they both eventually went platinum.

    The other thing nearly ignored is Springsteen's relationship with his wife, Patti Scialfa, herself a brilliant rock singer and a cathartic song smith. This is not out of any fear of impropriety as Mr. Carlin gives us plenty of info about their sexual activity. I suppose he wants to allow the family a buffer but that's hardly the job of a biographer. Both song writers use their relationships powerfully in their work and it would be interesting to explore the intersection between their records. Scialfa's heartfelt contrition (for want of a better word) in songs like Come Tomorrow, As Long As I Can Be With You, and Lucky Girl, the passion and regret of Romeo and Stumble Into Bethlehem, and her anger on Play Around and Black Ladder. Suffice it to say if any two artists should ever do a "Double Fantasy" style album, their's should be a two CD set.

    All in all, this is a terrific biography much more detailed than both of Dave Marsh's two books put together and far superior to the other fan-ravings long on opinions but short on facts. When you're finished it you will know the details of Springsteen's history. You will not know the specific details about how he taught himself to play guitar or any mention of early guitar instructors if there were any. That said, you do learn how he became the electrifying performer he is and that is certainly valuable information.

    Bobby Cannavale does an excellent job reading and characterizing this book. It would be easy to go too far and he avoids this pitfall elegantly.

    The afterwards is told by Carlin himself and in so doing the listener gets some insight into the books shortcomings.

    In all, this is a valuable addition to the Bruce chronicles. I'm sure it will not be the last entry however.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Kerry Patterson
    • Narrated By Joseph Grenny

    Perhaps once a decade, a book comes along that transforms people's lives in a very real, measurable way. This is one of them. Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene 10 years ago and revolutionized the way people communicate when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Since then, millions of people have learned how to hold effective crucial conversations and have dramatically improved their lives and careers thanks to the methods outlined in this book. Now, the authors have revised their best-selling classic to provide even more ways to help you take the lead in any tough conversation.

    Michael says: "There is something useful here"
    "Winning the Games People Play"
    What did you love best about Crucial Conversations?

    I found the breakdown of how and what we think when faced with interpersonal crises very thought provoking and very accurate.

    What other book might you compare Crucial Conversations to and why?

    Eric Berne's the Games People Play, Timothy Leary's Interpersonal Diagnosis of the Personality, Grinder and Bandler's Frogs Into Princes, L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, Milton H. Erickson's Healing With Hypnosis, Jay Haley's Uncommon Therapy

    Have you listened to any of Joseph Grenny’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Grenny has a youthful, strong, clear presentation. His reading of Crucial Conversations gets to the heart of the problem and shows the reader how to solved it. I will listen to this program several times.

    What did you learn from Crucial Conversations that you would use in your daily life?

    The difference between "facts" and "story" is very important to distinguish. We take a fact and we make assumptions about how that fact came about which may not be accurate. People unaware of this research usually act as though the information they've intuited is true. If we can use good language skills to unravel facts from intuited "stories," we may be able to help others and ourselves get closer to the truth.

    Any additional comments?

    There is really a lot of new information here that can be very useful when using language to support our relationships both personal and business.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Nelson Johnson
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna, Terence Winter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    From its inception, Atlantic City has always been a town dedicated to the fast buck, and this wide-reachinghistory offers a riveting account of its past 100 year, from the city's heyday as a Prohibition-era mecca of lawlessness to its rebirth as a legitimate casino resort in the modern era.

    Frances says: "I love stories steeped in History"
    "The Biography of a City"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Mr. Johnson writes with authority about the reasons the city was founded, how those ideals were corrupted and the types of people that drive a city, perhaps any city. I think the book is not so much a cautionary tale as a candid one.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Frank Farley was such a quintessential hypocrite he left me cynical about all politics. The idea that the ice cream and hot dog concessions in one city were controlled by an organization ruled by one man and no one could get ice cream to sell without getting it from him and every scoop sold ALSO put money into his pocket made me wonder about the people selling ice cream around me.

    Which character – as performed by Joe Mantegna and Terence Winter (foreword) – was your favorite?

    Mantagna was an excellent choice to read this book. His voice is familiar and very pleasant to listen to. He did his research and correctly pronounced the names and locations referred to. While he made the characters distinct he has the wisdom not to over-do it. You can always understand what he's saying. This is a well-written piece of non-fiction. The author injects very few fiction-style dialogues giving an air of serious research to this book. These facts made Mr. Mantagna's job easier as well as giving the reader confidence that this is a well-documented account of history.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many moving accounts. Enoch Johnson's prison term, marriage, and long life was very moving at the end of the sequence about him. Farley's final defeat was terrific. The Democratic convention and the disheveled description of the city at that time was very powerful. The people and events that led to the legalization of gambling in the city was fascinating.

    Any additional comments?

    This was one of the two or three great pieces of non-fiction I've read this year. It really has very little to do with the TV show (which I think is excellent) that shares the title. I enjoyed this book on an entirely different level than the TV show.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Paradiso Files: On the Trail of Boston's Unknown Serial Killer

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Timothy M. Burke
    • Narrated By Wyntner Woody
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this bold and suspenseful true-crime story, former homicide prosecutor Timothy M. Burke makes his case against one Leonard Paradiso. Lenny 'The Quahog' was convicted of assaulting one young woman and paroled after three years, but Burke believes that he was guilty of much more - that Paradiso was a serial killer who operated in the Boston area, and maybe farther afield, for nearly 15 years, assaulting countless young women and responsible for the deaths of as many as seven.

    Patrick King says: "Detailed Explanation of How a Prosecutor Proceeds"
    "Detailed Explanation of How a Prosecutor Proceeds"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Paradiso Files to be better than the print version?

    No. I bought this book on Whispersync and read it in both formats. Frankly I found Mr. Woody's use of cartoon voices annoying. He's very good at them but this is not a funny book. Making the author of the book who was also the prosecutor in the case sound like Casper the Friendly Ghost was I thought way over the top. I have no problem with suggesting colloquial accents but there are many places where I couldn't understand what the narrator was saying at all. I had to go back to the Kindle version to determine what was going on.

    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    I live locally to the areas mentioned and was completely caught up in the theory that Lenny Paradiso was a serial killer. I accepted it pretty quickly because of the narrative descriptions of the crimes. Only after I'd finished the book and started to research the case personally did I discover that this entire theory is VERY controversial in Boston. I guess there is not much doubt that Paradiso raped Connie Porter. There is a great deal of question however on the streets of Boston about his being the perpetrator in the Iannuzzi homicide and there is no proof or probability that he had anything to do with the disappearance of Joan Webster.

    That Mr. Burke makes no mention of the fact that both George and Terry Webster worked in the intelligence community and that their daughter's murder may stem from a much more complex and sinister motive. Many people I've talked to in Revere Massachusetts think that Mr. Burke, knowingly or not, was engaged in a cover-up regarding what really happened to Joan Webster. Framing Paradiso for the Iannuzzi murder and then laying nearly every unsolved homicide of a woman in Boston at his door including and most significantly the Webster homicide is not justice if it isn't true. No one I talked to thinks Lenny Paradiso is a "good guy." He's a scam artist and rapist. If he's just being used to stop the investigation into the disappearance and murder of Joan Webster, I'm afraid it's not going to work over the long run. There are a lot of Bostonians completely dissatisfied with Mr. Burke's theory.

    What does Wyntner Woody bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    As I said, Mr. Woody has an entire arsenal of character voices from President Richard Nixon (defense attorney Rappaport) to Marge Simpson (Candace Weyant). I found these voices in a very serious crime analysis distracting. This is a chilling book. Mr. Woody's narration undermines this fact considerably.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I couldn't put it down. When I wasn't listening to it I continued reading it on Kindle. I finished it in less than two days.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Vegas and the Mob

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Al W. Moe
    • Narrated By Jason Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Las Vegas was the Mob's greatest venture and most spectacular success, and through 40 years of frenzy, murder, deceit, scams, and skimming, the FBI listened on phone taps and did virtually nothing to stop the fun. This is the truth about the Mob's control of the casinos in Vegas like you've never heard it before, from start to finish.

    Patrick King says: "From Bugsy to Binion"
    "From Bugsy to Binion"
    Would you try another book from Al W. Moe and/or Jason Sullivan?

    Sure, but Jason Sullivan has to do research when he reads a book the subject of which he knows nothing about. There have to be conservatively 12 documentaries about organized crime and Las Vegas he could watch to get the right pronunciation of proper names.

    Mr. Moe could eliminate all his sarcasm with benefit. It is not especially amusing to the reader and serves mainly to undermine the journalistic integrity of his prose. I would also like to see a source bibliography. For example Al Moe appears to take it for granted that the urban legend that Joseph Kennedy was a "bootlegger" has substance. Kennedy passed the senate Republicans vetting exam twice when he became Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and again when he became Ambassador to Great Britain. There is no way those Republicans would have signed off on him had there been even a suggestion that he was involved in the manufacturing or distribution of illegal alcohol during prohibition. Where does Mr. Moe verify his statements and how does he think Kennedy got around those Republican senators? THAT would be a story!

    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    I learned a lot about the history of Ben Binion and his criminal associates. This is also the first time I learned how ineffective Howard Hughes was in rebuilding Las Vegas.

    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jason Sullivan?

    Mr. Sullivan has a pleasant enough voice and is a good reader. Unfortunately he apparently believes he can get away with guessing at the pronunciations. Kefauver is pronounced KEEF-offer, NOT kifever. Meyer Lansky's first name is pronounced MY-yor NOT Mayor. Raymond Patriarca's last name is pronounced Pat-ri-AR-ka, NOT Patricka. The mispronunciation of Kefauver made me cringe every time he did it and he did it a lot.

    Do you think Vegas and the Mob needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Hopefully it does not. Only time can tell us this.

    Any additional comments?

    Overall I enjoyed the book. It fit in well with other books I've read about these people.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Hall Brings New Depth to A Great Story"
    What did you love best about Breakfast at Tiffany's?

    Beyond Capote's light yet vivid scenes and characters, Hall's narration adds a sense of mystery and longing completely appropriate to the theme of the story.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of Breakfast at Tiffany's?

    The narrator's initial meeting with OJ Berman in Holly's living room is not what the listener expects and therefore very amusing and beautifully described.

    Have you listened to any of Michael C. Hall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I'm familiar with Mr. Hall's work on the TV show, Dexter, the primary reason I got this audio book. I've read the book at least twice before and was just curious to see what Hall would do with it. Breakfast at Tiffany's was in my view an unusual choice for Mr. Hall to read. Frankly I was blown away by it. I was aware of the charisma in Hall's voice from his TV work. Add to that Capote's exquisite description and characterizations and this was my treat for last week. I will listen to this again.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Never love a wild thing.

    Any additional comments?

    I hope Mr. Hall will have time in his schedule to read more books. Rest assured I'll be listening to them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Kent Hartman
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller

    If you were a fan of popular music in the 1960s and early '70s, you were a fan of the Wrecking Crew - whether you knew it or not. On hit record after hit record by everyone from the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and the Monkees to the Grass Roots, the 5th Dimension, Sonny & Cher, and Simon & Garfunkel, this collection of West Coast studio musicians from diverse backgrounds established themselves as the driving sound of pop music - sometimes over the objection of actual band members....

    Lee says: "Familiar names to any 70's rock fan"
    "Left Guessing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It seems as though Kent Hartman learned to write by composing blurbs for paperbacks. His alliterative metaphors double up on each other. This "look at me" style of writing is really annoying especially when you hear it read aloud. Just one typical example, he refers to Phil Spector as "The elfin emperor." Perhaps that doesn't sound like a big deal but four or five of these things per page it really begins to grate on the listener after a while.

    Starting a book about several disparate people describing events that seemed important to them was I though very hokey and not at all enlightening: Hal Blaine caught in a circus fire, Glenn Campbell getting a whipping... come on!

    The other thing is when you're writing a book about musicians who do you imagine is going to buy it and read it? People who are very interested in music and how musicians develop their chops, that's who and that's what they want to know. Most of us who read these books have inadvertently done as much research on this subject as the author has. Therefore we expect the author to know that Bertha Spector until the day she died referred to her son by his REAL name, Harvey, NEVER as Phil. If I know that and Mr. Hartman doesn't, what else did he get wrong? My guess is plenty.

    So much is glossed over. He tells a very interesting story about how Don Peake conned his way into an important gig by being able to play Be Bop A Lula, one of three songs he knew on guitar. The thing is, after it was discovered that he really couldn't play guitar, he was kept on and the other band members PAID FOR HIS GUITAR LESSONS! Hartman acts as though this is typical musician behavior. It is not. Why did they do this for Peake? This is the story we'd like to know and he writes as though it was self-explanatory. There are many of these instances in this book.

    If you’ve listened to books by Kent Hartman before, how does this one compare?

    As far as I know The Wrecking Crew is the only book Kent Hartman has ever written.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    I thought the tragic story of Jim Gordon was well-told and of great interest.

    I thought the angst of the Monkeys, the Byrds, etc not being allowed to play their own instruments on recordings attributed to them was interesting and ironic. They were getting paid, weren't they? Would they rather drive a taxi?

    Mr. Hartman seems to think that fans were fooled by these prefabricated groups. We were not. One of the most impressive things about the Beatles was that they played their own instruments. We were used to "singing" groups and the Beach Boys, for example, was a singing group. When they became competitive with the Beatles and started claiming they too played their own instruments, they fooled no one. Many of us knew the names, Glenn Campbell, Hal Blaine, Barney Kessel, James Burton etc. If they were a 'secret,' they were a poorly kept secret.

    Do you think The Wrecking Crew needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    There is much that is interesting in The Wrecking Crew. There is a continent of information however that is glossed over and left out. The evolution of Barney Kessel is never described nor his mentoring of young Phil Spector. Mac Rebennack I don't think is mentioned once. Leon Russell is glossed over. James Burton, Nino Tempo are footnotes. Much more could be written on this subject in greater detail.

    The Swamp Birds are never mentioned as such. Steve Cropper and Duane Allman are name drops.

    Any additional comments?

    More in-depth Audible books on this subject are, Mick Brown's Tearing Down the Wall of Sound, Tommy James and Martin Fitzpatrick's Me, The Mob and the Music, Life by Keith Richards, and Peter Ames Carlin's Bruce.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moon And Sixpence

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Robert Hardy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Charles Strickland, a conventional stockbroker, abandons his wife and children for Paris and Tahiti, to live his life as a painter. While his betrayal of family, duty and honour gives him the freedom to achieve greatness, his decision leads to an obsession which carries severe implications.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Roman a clef-abominable french artist Paul Gauguin"
    "Art and the Artist"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd highly recommend The Moon and Sixpence to anyone, particularly those struggling with the dichotomy between great art produced by a less-than-great human being.

    What did you like best about this story?

    Maugham uses a journalistic tone in The Moon and Sixpence to create the idea that the story happened to him just as he tells it. It is not only beautifully written but very convincing. If I didn't know that the story was based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin and that Maugham did not actually know the artist, I'd believe this is a true story.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was probably Maugham's confrontation with Strickland in his rundown Paris hotel. Maugham goes there full of preconceived notions about what Strickland is doing and finds that not one of them is true. The reality is much worse!

    There are so many great scenes, when Stroeve does his utmost to convince his wife to allow him to bring the deathly ill Strickland home to their house. The death of Blanche Stroeve is another powerful scene. The scene when the landlady convinces Strickland to take a native wife. The description by the doctor of Strickland's destroyed masterpiece on the walls of his death hut. And the last scene when Mrs. Strickland and her children discuss the responsibilities of being related to a genius. Very ironic.

    If you could rename The Moon And Sixpence, what would you call it?

    Why fool with the title of a masterpiece?

    Any additional comments?

    Robert Hardy does a SPECTACULAR job on bringing this powerful and thought provoking novel to life. His characterizations are masterful.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Hilary Mantel
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.

    Darwin8u says: "Mantel Pulls the History out of the History"
    "Makes one appreciate The Bill of Rights"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Beautifully and evocatively written, this is the story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and her family. It is told through the eyes of Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. King Henry appears to be a narcissistic psychopath, a problem if not caused by, certainly exacerbated by his lofty all-powerful political position.

    Cromwell, on the other hand, is perfectly aware that what he is doing on the King's behalf is morally and legally wrong. He is simply doing his best to avoid being executed himself. If he takes a deadly revenge for verbal slights along the way he pretends not to enjoy it. At the beginning of this novel, Thomas Moore and Cardinal Wolsey, intimate advisers to the King, have already been publicly humiliated and executed. There is no benefit that would allow a shrewd person to get close to this monarch. He is dangerously paranoid and kills everyone he loves.

    I'd particularly recommend this book to people who think capital punishment is a valid legal exercise and that public shaming serves some useful purpose. At one point Cromwell is asked by his son if he believes the queen and her "lovers" are guilty. He says, "They're guilty but not as charged." I have to wonder if, even in our own day, people are wrongfully convicted of crimes and even executed just to get them out of the way.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a book teeming with great characters. Nonetheless I became most interested in Thomas Cromwell the protagonist. His thinking is obtuse. His decisions as sly at Machiavelli's. His ability to see three moves ahead in this dangerous and hypocritical court lifestyle raised him from a blacksmith's abused son to The Earle of Essex.

    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have and Simon Vance is one of the finest readers of audio books we have currently. His work is consistently engaging and well-researched. His pronunciation is nearly flawless.

    If you could take any character from Bring Up the Bodies out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Honestly I'd be apprehensive about getting close to anyone in this scenario. I don't think my life would be worth the price of the dinner. That said I'd probably enjoy a conversation with the Princess Elizabeth even at her young age in this story. She was the one who survived and to some extent lifted England out of the depression of these dark days. She did not survive because she had so many supporters. She survived because she knew when to hold back and when to push forward.

    Any additional comments?

    Beautifully written, suspenseful, loaded with both physical and mental action. Historical fiction doesn't get better than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Deadly Shade of Gold: A Travis McGee Novel, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By John D. MacDonald
    • Narrated By Robert Petkoff
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When McGee picks up the phone and hears a voice from the past, he can't help it. He has to meddle. Especially when he has the chance to reunite Sam Taggart, a reckless, restless man like himself, with the woman who's still waiting for him. But what begins as a simple matchmaking scheme soon becomes a bloody chase that takes McGee to Mexico, a beautiful country - and one from which he hopes to return alive.

    rick says: "Great story; Horrible attitudes"
    "Comically bad"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This is a very silly and improbable thriller that makes itself absurd by repeatedly going off on pseudo philosophical tangents. Travis McGee is a large, sentimental, narcissistic, violent, sociopath who makes one poor decision after another but still manages to spin things in his mind so he feels like he's "helped" someone. If he would just LISTEN to people in the first place instead of trying to manipulate them to do what HE thinks they should do, he might be of some benefit instead of getting them all killed.His attitude about women is hilarious. Of course every woman who meets him aggressively wants to take him to bed at least to hear him tell it. He on the other hand is very judgmental. Oh he takes advantage of casual encounters one after the other, but he's bound to make some eviscerating comment about her low self esteem or her intelligence after he's thoroughly used her for everything she's got. There is one term that sums this guy up and it is a crude allusion to a bodily orifice.

    What could John D. MacDonald have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    If the story was better plotted and the characters less stereotypical it would be a better book.

    That said I disliked McGee from the beginning. His friend Sam Taggart calls to say he's in trouble and needs help. McGee changes the subject and gets him talking about a love affair Taggart skipped out on three years before. Clearly McGee himself had designs on Taggart's ex and lays this absurd guilt trip which Taggart falls right into. McGee goes to the woman in the case, takes her to dinner and gets her all worked up about seeing her old beau again. They go over to the motel Taggart is staying in only to find him knifed to death. At that point both McGee and the woman, a boutique owner, swear to avenge their fallen lover and comrade. Irresponsibly McGee takes this woman to Mexico on a search for Aztec gold which apparently got Taggart killed, and McGee gets her killed too!

    Over the course of this story McGee beats and tortures three women (all of whom want to sleep with him afterwards), kills a dog, and an elderly (albeit scummy) TV producer. McGee's behavior is the cause of at least ten violent deaths in this book alone. In the long run however McGee determines his friend Taggart thoroughly deserved to be knifed and the people who actually did it are allowed to walk away.

    The main thing I think John D. MacDonald could do to improve his work is to see a psychiatrist.

    Which character – as performed by Robert Petkoff – was your favorite?

    Petkoff was the reason I kept listening to this book. His voices are terrific. I particularly liked the Boston art expert who appeared twice while McGee negotiated his blood money.

    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    I would probably watch it on Netfix. I would not pay to see this story dramatized in a theater. It is quite funny in the fact that it takes itself so seriously.

    Any additional comments?

    I doubt I will read anymore of this series. These books came highly recommended by people whose intelligence I previously took as a given. I am reassessing this point. I am a long-time lover of Ian Fleming's novels and have also read all of Micky Spillane's work. At one point in this book McGee has the temerity to comment "It's easy for Mike Hammer." Well, Travis, in every Spillane book Mike Hammer is beaten to a bloody pulp. In your story you sprained your wrist. I'd say it was easy for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Jeff Guinn
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Award-winning journalist Jeff Guinn's highly acclaimed Manson has won rave reviews and is a top-pick on must-read lists everywhere. This superb biography answers lingering questions about the Manson Family murders, while delivering stunning revelations about the life of America's most notorious psychopath.

    Ruby Dartz says: "Charles Manson: Even worse than you imagined"
    "Helter Skelter Redux. Ignores all new evidence."
    What would have made Manson better?

    Any attention to new evidence and commentary that has come forth in the past 40 odd years would at least have improved Mr. Guinn's credibility with those of us who actually follow this case. When you start a book that states Charles Manson never did a good thing in his life, you know you are about to read a very single dimensional view on a subject. How good a writer or researcher does one have to be to demonize Charles Manson after all?

    What annoyed me a lot was Guinn's persistent reference to Manson being a talentless singer and song writer. We HAVE songs and performances by Manson as handy as YouTube. He was a good singer and an interesting song writer. He was certainly as good or better than many professionals making a fortune in the recording industry at that time. All you have to do is listen to these recordings to see that what Bugliosi claimed and Guinn now reiterates lacks foundation in fact.

    Mark Lindsay (singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders and Melcher's business partner in 1969) told Ugly Thing magazine in the winter issue 2011 that he and Terry Melcher firmly intended to produce Manson's records and that Manson had every reason to know this. Manson and "the family" were at Melcher's beach house on August 6, 1969 at a large party. They all knew perfectly well where Melcher lived and that he had moved from the 10050 Cielo Drive address.

    I didn't go out of my way to find this information. Why didn't Guinn come across it in his research? My conclusion is that it did not fit into his agenda for his book. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson is not a real biography. It is an editorial to sell a mythology that has been eroding every year since Bugliosi made his case.

    I'm not claiming that Charles Manson is a great guy. I'm saying that this case was wrongly prosecuted. Many facts were withheld to protect the guilty. The Tate/Labianca murders were murders for hire and Charles Manson himself was no more the ringleader of these crimes than Richard Nixon was.

    Anyone researching the Tate and Labinaca murders today CANNOT avoid the statements and testimonies that bear these possibilities. To write a book like this and ignore their existence tells every reader that this author's agenda is not to take a modern look at the case but to sell the same implausible story that was sold to a jury 44 years ago.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    The Autobiography of Mark Twain vol. 2

    Have you listened to any of Jim Frangione’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. I have never to my knowledge heard Mr. Frangione's narration before. I thought he did as good a job as he could have with the material.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson did clear up the Bugliosi myth of "No Name" Manson. Manson's mother was married at the time of his birth and he was born conventionally and named: Charles Milles Manson, after his grandfather Charles Milles, on his birth certificate.

    The book also identified Colonel Scott as Manson's biological father. Unfortunately no interviews with surviving Scott family were included here. The memoirs of Manson's family members, who certainly have much to be bitter about, showed only that side of the story. The idea that Manson was a spoiled child when in fact his mother and uncle were in prison for robbery and his grandparents were unrealistically religious needs further explanation and collaboration than Mr. Guinn offers here.

    Any additional comments?

    The so-called Manson Family was a loose knit group of kids who came and went. Guinn, with no verification at all, tries to make "The Family" appear to be a card-carrying organization in which members were selected and rejected according to their usefulness to Manson. Perhaps there were people who did not fit in for whom it seemed that way. Guinn uses only their testimony.

    I'm not apologizing for a murderer. I'm questioning whether the man actually did the crimes for which he has been serving time for nearly half a century. There IS evidence that something else was going on which the State of California did not choose to bring forward at trial.

    BETTER books on this subject are: Charles Manson Now by Marlin Marynick, The Manson File by Nikolas Shreck and The Myth of Helter Skelter by Susan Atkins Whitehouse. There is also much new information in the film Six Degrees of Helter Skelter which apparently Mr. Guinn has not seen and completely ignores. Anyone who believes his book under discussion is "well-researched" apparently doesn't know what research requires. Talking to a couple of old ladies does not cover it.

    The idea that Charles "Tex" Watson, whom even Mr. Guinn identifies as an intermittent "family" acquaintance, was taking order from Charles Manson would be funny if the myth had not been perpetuated for so many years.

    5 of 15 people found this review helpful

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