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Amazon Customer

johnellenbe

Groton, MA, United States | Member Since 2006

21
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 9 reviews
  • 14 ratings
  • 231 titles in library
  • 12 purchased in 2014
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  • The Panther

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1880)
    Performance
    (1582)
    Story
    (1578)

    Anti-Terrorist Task Force agent John Corey and his wife, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, have been posted overseas to Sana'a, Yemen - one of the most dangerous places in the Middle East. While there, they will be working with a small team to track down one of the masterminds behind the USS Cole bombing: a high-ranking Al Qaeda operative known as The Panther. Ruthless and elusive, he's wanted for multiple terrorist acts and murders - and the U.S. government is determined to bring him down, no matter the cost.

    Judi says: "Disappointing and slow"
    "I was a fan but this book is truly awful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Panther better?

    A plot. Any character development. About 1/2 the length. A few paragraphs of something other than constant middle-east bashing. About 75% less smart-alec dialog.

    I didn't even make it 1/2 way through this book (and I remember enjoying previous books in the series).

    Oh and did I mention the constant gratuitous blood and gore?


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Reading Creole Belle. What a contrast.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    It's ok but it tends to amplify the bad writing. For example the smart-alec dialog contains a lot of the response "Right" which the guy says in a exaggerated smart-alec way which gets tiresome really quickly.


    What character would you cut from The Panther?

    Clearly these characters have all run their course. John Corey is tiresome. All the stereo-typed middle-east characters are shallow. Really I can't think of anything worth saving.


    Any additional comments?

    Seriously, can I get a refund? This thing was really really bad

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret History of Las Vegas

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Chris Abani
    • Narrated By Sunil Malhotra
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (5)

    Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he' s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil' s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not what you think it is"
    "Not what you think it is"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Secret History of Las Vegas?

    The title and descriptions of this book are misleading. It has little or nothing to do with Las Vegas and its not a mystery. It's really about life in South Africa under apartheid, black SA culture, etc. I suppose this is interesting but not particularly what I wanted to distract me from my commute. The writing is also over the top--why use one sentence when 10 will do. Under certain circumstances it may be enjoyable but I usually buy Audiobooks to keep from going crazy in the traffic to/from work. Grafton or Hillerman is my center of gravity for this purpose.


    Has The Secret History of Las Vegas turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I have no idea what this genre even is? It certainly not a mystery which is where I found it on the Audible site.


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

    First time. Last time.


    What character would you cut from The Secret History of Las Vegas?

    None.


    Any additional comments?

    This book may have an audience but its really a disservice to everyone to lead people to believe its a standard mystery/thriller/las vegas underbelly book. It is not that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Final Cut: A Brit in the FBI, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Catherine Coulter, J. T. Ellison
    • Narrated By Renee Raudman, MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (283)
    Performance
    (249)
    Story
    (245)

    Scotland Yard’s new chief inspector Nicholas Drummond is on the first flight to New York when he learns his colleague, Elaine York, the "minder" of the Crown Jewels for the "Jewel of the Lion" exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was found murdered. Then the centerpiece of the exhibit, the infamous Koh-i-Noor Diamond, is stolen from the Queen Mother’s crown. Drummond, American-born but raised in the UK, is a dark, dangerous, fast-rising star in the Yard who never backs down. And this case is no exception.

    Rusty says: "Boring, boring, boring"
    "The Worst of the Series...Probably My Last"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The characters are so superficial that you don't get much further than that: they're all good looking, martial artists, technical geniuses with generous personalities. The dialog is just as superficial. There is an intricate plot but it so over the top that it wasn't really believable. Although I listen to books on the daily commute I still felt this thing was a waste of time. I have listened to 2-3 others in this series so I wasn't expecting Hillerman but this falls below my expectation minimum. Since this appears to be the latest attempt at emulating the Patterson factory model it looks like the series is done for me.


    What could Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Realistic characters. Realistic dialog. Realistic plot.


    What three words best describe Renee Raudman and MacLeod Andrews ’s voice?

    Not too bad.


    Could you see The Final Cut being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Underwear models dressed in designer clothes.


    Any additional comments?

    Wait for this one to go on sale. If you prefer good writing this is not for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suspect

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3649)
    Performance
    (3258)
    Story
    (3257)

    LAPD cop Scott James is not doing so well, not since a shocking nighttime assault by unidentified men killed his partner, Stephanie, nearly killed him, and left him enraged, ashamed, and ready to explode. He is unfit for duty - until he meets his new partner. Maggie is not doing so well, either. The German shepherd survived three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan sniffing explosives before she lost her handler to an IED and sniper attack, and her PTSD is as bad as Scott’s. They are each other’s last chance.

    Jacqueline says: "Gripping Page Turner!!"
    "Pleasant Surprise"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Suspect in three words, what would they be?

    Wasn't sure if I would like a book with a dog as a main character but this was quite well written and he didn't shy away from the challenge of doing "doggie character development." Well written, plotted, etc.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Suspect?

    I think some of the dog introspection was interesting. Mostly that he pulled it off without being overly simplistic and cutesy. Actually thought of the dog as one of the characters.


    Which character – as performed by MacLeod Andrews – was your favorite?

    Not sure the performance was particularly memorable. I liked the female detective/semi--love-interest character.


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

    I'm not clever at 6 in the morning. No idea.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Woman

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Hank Phillippi Ryan
    • Narrated By Ilyana Kadushin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (44)

    Jane Ryland was a rising star in television news…until she refused to reveal a source and lost everything. Now a disgraced newspaper reporter, Jane isn’t content to work on puff pieces, and finds herself tracking down a candidate’s secret mistress just days before a pivotal Senate election. Detective Jake Brogan is investigating a possible serial killer. Twice, bodies of unidentified women have been found by a bridge, and Jake is plagued by a media swarm beginning to buzz about a “bridge killer” hunting young women. As the body count rises and election looms closer, it becomes clear to Jane and Jake that their cases are connected….

    Amazon Customer says: "Badly Flawed Production Ruined it For Me"
    "Badly Flawed Production Ruined it For Me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about The Other Woman? What did you like least?

    The author is pretty famous here in Boston but I didn't know she had a book series (I don't watch the channel she is on). The plot seemed interesting but it was inspired by a number of local references, so us locals may have a slight positive bias.

    The writing wasn't bad. She's no Lehane but the characters and the dialog were ok however with the bad production its a little hard to tell.


    Would you recommend The Other Woman to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. As I said in the subject: bad production. Might recommend the print version although not strongly.


    What didn’t you like about Ilyana Kadushin’s performance?

    Really really bad. The novel has a lot so short chapters cutting quickly between characters and scenes and this reader does no voices and almost no tonal changes so it is very hard to follow. Around the middle of the book she at least gets some emotion in her voice during action but that's about as far as it goes. To compound matters there are often no pauses between chapters so one chapter ends. The next chapter begins with the different character talking with no tonal shifts, no pauses..you're like wait a minute. This is a completely different character/scene.

    On top of that this particular book resets to the beginning every time you pause. You have to keep track of where you are yourself and skip all the way from the front every time you play it. I've had problems with other books but never this bad. Even pauses (not stops) reset to the beginning.


    Was The Other Woman worth the listening time?

    It was ok. Nothing special. Very very annoying from a usability point of view.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Riptide

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (1647)
    Performance
    (966)
    Story
    (959)

    A centuries-old, cursed pirate's treasure, valued at over $2 billion, lies deep within the treacherous waters off the coast of Maine. Men who have attempted to unearth the fortune have suffered gruesome deaths. Will a high-tech expedition meet the same fate?

    Allan says: "very cinematic. high tech meets pirate treasure."
    "Nice Idea. Not a great book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Riptide? What did you like least?

    Well the setting and the concept was interesting, particularly to us New Englanders. There is enough of a plot there to keep you going and although the character development is pretty minimal, at least the main character is somewhat engaging.

    Overall I was very underwhelmed by the book. The plot was obvious and superficial. The characters where very artificial and they were only there to shore-up the weak plot. If you know anything about technology you will find the technical descriptions and dialog to be similar to something you would hear on a television drama: a recitation of buzzwords that make no sense to a technologist.


    If you’ve listened to books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child before, how does this one compare?

    No and its not likely I will be investigating their other books any time soon.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Yes. I never cared for him anyway but he is particularly inappropriate for this book. His overly dramatic reading style makes this marginal plot sound even more hokey.


    Was Riptide worth the listening time?

    Hmmm. I listen during my commute so time isn't that big an issue, however if I had paid full price for the thing I might be upset. It was almost worth the $7. Free would have been even better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13893)
    Performance
    (12263)
    Story
    (12291)

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Well Written but Often a Slog"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The first half was particularly hard to get through. Almost gave up. No plot and extremely unsympathetic characters. I might even go as far as to say uninteresting characters. About 1/2 way through the plot kicks in and it makes the book a little less tedious but still...at the end of this fairly lengthy book I found myself thinking, "why did I waste my time on these horrible people?"

    I am sure it gets good ratings because the woman is a very good writer and the character development is exceptional, particular for this genre. But still. Do you really want to know all the innermost thoughts of the couple from hell?


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    No surprise here.


    What about Julia Whelan and Kirby Heyborne ’s performance did you like?

    Unlike the previous audio book that I listened to with a male/female pair the formula really works for this book. In other books I found it to be pretty artificial and inappropriate but for this book it is actually much better than having a single reader because you associate the sound and style with the personalities as they develop.


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

    Absolutely not.


    Any additional comments?

    I will definitely be checking into previous books by this author because she is clearly quite skilled however it they hint of containing more of the secret life of narcissists then I think I'll skip them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poison Flower: Jane Whitefield Series # 7

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Joyce Bean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (116)

    In this exciting seventh entry in Thomas Perry's Jane Whitefield series, Jane spirits James Shelby, a man unjustly convicted of his wife's murder, out of the criminal court building in downtown Los Angeles-but the price of Shelby's freedom is high.

    John says: "Non-stop action all the way"
    "Couldn't Finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This book has almost no plot and much of the dialog is so tedious that I finally couldn't stand listening to it. They are sitting in a car just spewing exposition most of which has little impact on the plot or the character development. Perhaps I just don't care for these all action-no plot types of books.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    This is my first and last purchase of this authori.


    What aspect of Joyce Bean’s performance would you have changed?

    Her male voice(s) are pretty bad. Almost insultingly bad (for the male audience)


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

    The other is good at writing action sequences. The problem is that you can't sustain something the length of a book with only action sequences.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Double Dexter: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jeff Lindsay
    • Narrated By Jeff Lindsay
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (694)
    Performance
    (594)
    Story
    (596)

    Dexter Morgan is not your average serial killer. He enjoys his day job as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department... but he lives for his nighttime hobby of hunting other killers. Dexter is therefore not pleased to discover that someone is shadowing him, observ­ing him, and copying his methods. Dexter is not one to tol­erate displeasure... in fact, he has a knack for extricating himself from trouble in his own pleasurable way.

    phillip says: "Doting Daddy Dexter Delivers D'goods!"
    "This will go down as one of my favorites."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have only watched a few episodes of the Dexter television show and this is my first exposure to the books and I really enjoyed this audio book. I think I would rank it as one of my favorite audio books of all time. The writing is clever and funny and the author does an absolutely excellent job of reading the material. I admit that I enjoy Florida school of craziness but I think as an entertainment this book is top notch. If you are expecting the gore and intensity of the TV series this is not the book for you. This book is funny funny funny with quirky character and good writing to boot.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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