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Bob

Takoma Park, MD, United States | Member Since 2005

230
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 43 reviews
  • 103 ratings
  • 376 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2018
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FOLLOWERS
12

  • City of Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By David Benioff
    • Narrated By Ron Perlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3593)
    Performance
    (2685)
    Story
    (2678)

    A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds. Lev Beniov considers himself "built for deprivation." He's small, smart, and insecure, a Jewish virgin too young for the army, who spends his nights working as a volunteer firefighter with friends from his building.

    Paul says: "Stunning Tale. Great Narration."
    "A Story To Savor"
    Overall

    This is "plot-driven" fiction at its finest and a superb audiobook. Highly literate, compelling characters, riveting story line set in the vicious German siege of Leningrad in WWII, and laced with wit and humor. The construction is the classic 'quest', a mismatched couple of underdog heroes set off on an impossible task under appalling conditions. We see the story unfold through the eyes of bright, naive Lev but it is his companion Kolya who you fall in love with, a bombastic, pretty boy Cossack with irrepressible charm.
    The story gallops along and there is no fluff or filler, though you wish there was because it is over all too soon. There are cinematic touches -it is easy to believe that Benioff is an accomplished screenwriter - but none that bothered me. I appreciated the historical accuracy and insight in a story so lively, entertaining and rich in humanity. I also like the teasing hints that this is a true story passed along from the author's grandfather. And Ron Perlman's narration is very good.
    I still hold The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty as the best audiobook I've listened to, and I've been impressed by Bryce Courtenay's stories, but City of Thieves is a very close number two.

    34 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Beau Death

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Peter Lovesey
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    In the 17th installment in Peter Lovesey's timeless British detective series, Peter Diamond digs deep into Bath history to ferret out the secrets of one of its most famous (and scandalous) icons: Richard "Beau" Nash, who might have been the victim of a centuries-old murder.

    Amazon Customer says: "Enjoyed the story...disliked the narration "
    " A Poky Tale and Cranky Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been a faithful reader/listener of the Peter Diamond series and this is one that only an dedicated fan might stick with. The story unfolds at a glacially s-l-o-w pace, and, perhaps as a result, the brutishly dull rendering of the venerable chief inspector by narrator Crossley got on my nerves (his voicing of most other characters was more effective). After several hours, Lovesey began to stitch together a reasonably interesting story. But I fear that many listeners won't stick with it long enough to get there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Tapping at My Door

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By David Jackson
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2070)
    Performance
    (1926)
    Story
    (1913)

    From the best-selling author of Cry Baby, the beginning of a brilliant and gripping police procedural series set in Liverpool, perfect for fans of Peter James and Mark Billingham. A woman at home in Liverpool is disturbed by a persistent tapping at her back door. She's disturbed to discover the culprit is a raven and tries to shoo it away. Which is when the killer strikes. DS Nathan Cody, still bearing the scars of an undercover mission that went horrifyingly wrong, is put on the case.

    green ice cream garden says: "5 Star Start, Wowed."
    "A Dull Pass Through Well-Plowed Ground"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I stuck with this audiobook for more than seven hours before giving up, frustrated and bored with the lack of any interesting development in either plot or character. Lots of foreboding language (and overly dramatic phrasing and tone from the narrator) but nothing comes of it. We have our surly and inept main character 'haunted by unspeakable things from his past' (oh that again?), that the author is waiting far too long to begin to reveal. Lots of gnashing of teeth, and anguish and testiness in a formulaic plod through a 'killer on the loose' saga that fails to enage.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • News of the World: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Paulette Jiles
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4865)
    Performance
    (4535)
    Story
    (4520)

    In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

    Mel says: "A Heart as Big as Texas"
    "Oh my Kep-e-ten, my Captain"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I was taken in by the beauty of the writing but unsure of the story and characters. Will this make a good listen, as opposed to a good read? After a slow start the arc of the story builds nicely, pulling the listener along, and you simply fall in love with the Captain and especially the 10 year old white girl wrested from the Kiowa. This is a marvelous creation and Grover Gardner's narration a pure delight. His rendering of the girl Johannah and her bond with Captain Kidd is priceless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Late Show

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Katherine Moennig
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7058)
    Performance
    (6493)
    Story
    (6463)

    Renée Ballard works the night shift in Hollywood, beginning many investigations but finishing none, as each morning she turns her cases over to day shift detectives. A once up-and-coming detective, she's been given this beat as punishment after filing a sexual harassment complaint against a supervisor. But one night she catches two cases she doesn't want to part with: the brutal beating of a prostitute left for dead in a parking lot and the killing of a young woman in a nightclub shooting. Ballard is determined not to give up at dawn.

    Destry says: "Oh, the narration!"
    "Connelly's Best Character Yet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The character of Renee Ballard has breathed new life into Michael Connelly's fictional exploration of crime and justice in L.A. I found the Bosch novels uneven. Micky Haller was a fresh and fun creation, if a bit light. But Ballard is complex and compelling and the author seems inspired as he draws us into her world. Great twists and turns. Like Bosch she runs against the grain but she faces greater obstacles in the male-dominated, rule-bound world of L.A. policing. Her many flaws and issues - she is rough-edged, unyielding, driven and a pain in the ass - are as part of the story as are Bosch's in his. But oh so compelling. I thought that Moennig's straight forward, unadorned narration suited the character and story very well. I can't wait for the next one - a feeling I rarely held after a Bosch story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Exit Strategy: A Nick Mason Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Steve Hamilton
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (319)
    Performance
    (302)
    Story
    (299)

    Nick Mason has been given a true mission impossible: infiltrate WITSEC, the top-secret federal witness-protection program that has never been compromised, locate the three men who put his boss, Darius Cole, behind bars for life, and kill them. But first he has to find them - they're ghost prisoners locked down around the clock in classified "deep black" locations by an battalion of heavily armed US marshals charged with protecting them - and the clock is ticking.

    antonio says: "Too much is too much...."
    "Great listen that stretches credulity"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first Nick Mason book was a blast, a wonderful premise, powerful, action-packed story, well-written and well-narrated. What a bold departure from Hamilton's first series character.
    But I did wonder how you could push this great idea past one book and keep the reader/listener buying in to the premise and maintaining our connection to the main character. Right from the outset of the first book, Nick is teetering on the edge of an impossible dilemma. We root for him to succeed and break out of the bind he is in. I enjoyed Exit Strategy, it kept me riveted even while the odds mounted. But with each plot twist and bigger obstacle thrown in his path, it grew harder to suspend my disbelief. On one hand, it is the way, as in too many action stories and films, the protagonist bounces back from vicious beatings, shootings and explosions to continue vanquishing foes like an immortal ninja. On the other, it is how the web of evil stretches further and farther from the 'simple' drug gang mastermind to something more pervasive and more mysterious. And harder to buy. The thought rose that Hamilton, a good writer, was taking the 'easy' way out by turning to the fantastic instead of more subtle, artful plot developments. I still like the series and will surely listen to book three - I hope Quintero returns simply so I can enjoy Ray Porter voicing his character - but the fresh edge is gone.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Long and Faraway Gone

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Lou Berney
    • Narrated By Brian Hutchison, Amy McFadden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1148)
    Performance
    (1053)
    Story
    (1049)

    Lou Berney's The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors - and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives. In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie theater employees were killed in an armed robbery while one inexplicably survived. Then a teenage girl vanished from the annual state fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

    Ted says: "It's all together here"
    "A Compelling Story I Could Not "Put Down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Berney has crafted a superb page turner that I never wanted to pause and was sorry to finally see end. It was not perfect: some of the plot threads were stretched pretty long and thin, and, in contrast, some 'reveals' came quick and easy. But these are quibbles. Though every loose end was not tied up, that let my imagination fill in what was/what could have been, adding to the power of the story.
    The narrators Hutchison and McFadden were superb. All in all, this is as close to as perfect an audiobook as one is likely to experience - richly drawn characters that one cares about, humor and wit, suspense, a 'peeling of the onion' story-telling, wonderful sense of place and time, emotions that ring true.
    I look forward to more from Lou Berney as good as this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Everybody's Fool: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Richard Russo
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (942)
    Performance
    (866)
    Story
    (863)

    Sully is staring down a VA cardiologist's estimate that he has only a year or two left, and it's hard work trying to keep this news from the most important people in his life: Ruth, the married woman he carried on with for years...the ultra-hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren't still best friends...Sully's son and grandson, for whom he was mostly an absentee figure (and now a regretful one).

    Karen Weisneck says: "Brilliant, hilarious, long-awaited sequel!"
    "A Dreary Disappointment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A couple of times my wife came into the room while I was listening to Everybody's Fool and objected to the seamy or otherwise unpleasant subject matter voiced by the grating narrator. At first I objected - 'no, this is Richard Russo, he's Pulitzer Prize winner , he wrote Nobody's Fool and other good books'. Then I realized, a third of the way through - I was not enjoying this story. In fact, I could find nothing redeeming about it. Not the characters, the story line, the writing, the narration. Nothing to hold on to, no stories I'd want to see unfold. It was all depressing dreck. Where was the charm of Sully of the earlier book? Where had the humor gone? All sunk in the gaseous stew of the collapsed mill being 'renovated' by ner-do well Carl.
    There are too many good books and good stories out there to waste time on this one, I am so sorry to say. If Russo saved the best for the end, he waited far too long to reveal it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Second Life of Nick Mason

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Steve Hamilton
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (867)
    Performance
    (792)
    Story
    (786)

    Nick Mason has already spent five years inside a maximum security prison when an offer comes that will grant his release 20 years early. He accepts - but the deal comes with a terrible price. Now, back on the streets, Nick Mason has a new house, a new car, money to burn, and a beautiful roommate. He's returned to society, but he's still a prisoner. Whenever his cell phone rings, day or night, Nick must answer it and follow whatever order he is given.

    Lesia says: "Rock and hard place plot"
    "Wow this is a riveting story!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Years ago I read the first book of Steve Hamilton's McKnight series. I thought it was pretty good but I was not moved to continue on with subsequent books. I am blown away by the power of this new book. The premise is unique and Nick Mason's quest is compelling to the end. Lean, crisp writing, great sense of place. Mason is in an almost impossible situation and the tension is delicious. Great setting and characters. The narrator Ray Porter provides depth and texture to most characters (his females share the same voice). Keep in mind that this is an entertainment and every point is not to be probed too deeply for plausibility. (where did he get this skill with firearms?) While I am not sure how this lends itself to a series (how long can you extend this dilemma), I am eager for the follow up that apparently is planned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Drifter: A Peter Ash Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Nick Petrie
    • Narrated By Stephen Mendel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (856)
    Performance
    (776)
    Story
    (782)

    Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his "white static", the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man's widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for.

    Kim Hamblin, PhD says: "Great lead in for a series until..."
    "A solid mystery with a good heart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are no spectacular elements to this story - in fact it is a little bit rough around the edges. But the protagonist is engaging, his lot in life sympathetic and topical, and the listener wholeheartedly roots for the good guy. The story has nice movement, a good measure of intrigue (and at least one big surprise) and is overall a satisfying story.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Short Drop

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Matthew FitzSimmons
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6974)
    Performance
    (6276)
    Story
    (6264)

    A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard - then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency - disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation's history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession. For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal - Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him.

    Justin Messer says: "Hidden gem hiding among all the generic crap"
    "Unexpected twists propel this 'page turner'"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story gathered momentum a bit slowly, but once it engaged it took this listener on quite a ride. The writing and characterization is a bit stiff early on, and the narrator Cronin took a long while to grow on me. But FitzSimmons can spin a gripping tale. In the last third I was listening at lunch and it took a great effort to turn the book off once back at my desk, despite a compelling work load. I've never done that before. The author plunges his protagonist into a place where good options all but dry up. The resolution is in large part ingenuous but also a bit rushed. Well worth the read or listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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