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Kathryn Bakken

Audiobook addict.

Member Since 2007

9
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 21 reviews
  • 67 ratings
  • 350 titles in library
  • 35 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
14
FOLLOWERS
3

  • Shut Your Eyes Tight: Dave Gurney, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By John Verdon
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (180)

    When he was the NYPD’s top homicide investigator, Dave Gurney was never comfortable with the label the press gave him: super detective. He was simply a man who, when faced with a puzzle, wanted to know. He was called to the investigative hunt by the presumptuous arrogance of murderers - by their smug belief that they could kill without leaving a trace. There was always a trace, Gurney believed. Except what if, one day, there wasn’t?

    Janels says: "Great read, without gratuitous violence"
    "Thank You, Scott Brick"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The best thing Verdon did was secure Scott Brick as his narrator. That's what I would have changed in his first book. It was the right move. All of the qualities that were distracting and irritating in the first book are ironed out in this one. Thank you!

    I would pump up the action a bit but the actual investigation and crime are interesting and compelling. Mostly though, I would just excise the marriage sections since they drag the story down. The wife's character was such a confounding, unsympathetic creation. But she is better served here with Scott Brick's narration than she was in the first book without him.


    Would you be willing to try another book from John Verdon? Why or why not?

    They're smart and creative but he's really gotta get Scott Brick to narrate any future books. He's the key.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    The main character, Gurney, is complicated and interesting. Brick lends just the right amount of bravado and vulnerability. I know I'm a broken record here but this is a reader who will buy a book strictly because it's narrated by Brick so there ya go.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones: A Matt Scudder Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Lawrence Block
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (123)

    Private detective Matt Scudder investigates a series of kidnappings that always end in brutal murder. Best-selling author Lawrence Block takes us into the seedier back alleys and side-streets of New York City, rendering his subject with a gritty realism.

    AlTonya says: "Great Story!! Terrible Narration!!!"
    "Gritty, Intense Crime Thriller Delivers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to A Walk Among the Tombstones again? Why?

    Very well rounded characters brought this thriller to life and had a sense of high stakes. Very grim but involving whodunnit. It really makes me want to see the film now which in a sense is listening to it again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Walk Among the Tombstones?

    The opening scene will not be soon forgotten. I also really enjoyed the hackers -- they were a nice, brief comical respite.


    What about Mark Hammer’s performance did you like?

    Hammer has been getting a lot of criticism for his narration but I didn't have any problem with it. His world weary voice added depth to the main character who is an older recovering alcoholic and needed gruffness. Matt really seemed like he'd seen it all and I think Hammer delivered on that. The pauses felt realistic and helped organize the complicated narrative. And he didn't overplay the female characters which is a pet peeve of mine. I'm not in a hurry to listen to books so had no problem with the slower pace. I think it suited the story.


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

    I couldn't stop listening; was obsessed. I looked forward to my drive to work so I could hear more. A great listen!


    Any additional comments?

    I am a converted Block fan and will now star consuming his books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Twist: Frank Quinn, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By John Lutz
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (101)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (92)

    Kill... or be killed. Frank Quinn is a decorated ex-cop. A former homicide detective specializing in tracking serial killers. Now his niece, Carlie Clark, needs help. Someone is stalking her, and the NYPD can’t stop him. A blonde, blue-eyed beauty, Carlie fits the victim type of the killer who’s been terrorizing women — leaving them bound, gagged, and tortured with surgical precision. To win against the most personal adversary of his career, Quinn will have to set the perfect trap. All he needs is the perfect bait….

    B. brown says: "Lutz has done it again"
    "I love John Lutz, but...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Twist? What did you like least?

    I love the recurring cast of characters Lutz has populated his Detective Quinn series with. They are vivid, quirky, and show some wear and tear that's realistic. The weakest link is Pearl's mother who gets more and more tedious with every book.

    There's a glimmer of a good serial killer M.O. in this book but it seems forced and sorta silly, ultimately.


    Would you recommend Twist to your friends? Why or why not?

    I always recommend Lutz to my friends with strong stomachs. Lutz is HARSH so unless you're one of those who appreciates that (especially when it comes to violence against women) steer clear. One of the things I like most about Lutz is his willingness to push the boundaries.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    I won't lie. I LOVE Scott Brick. I will jump at any book he narrates. Something about the timbre of his voice and his great female voices ( never over played and deal breaker for me) really hooks me. His is TOP NOTCH and has become the voice of Lutz. He has narrated most if not all of the Quinn series.


    Was Twist worth the listening time?

    Always worth listening to a Quinn story. But the killer in this one was rather half baked and the resolution felt rushed and unsatisfying. Especially since Lutz has set such a high bar for himself. The narrative also suffered with the addition of some lack luster new characters that I hope are gone by the next novel.


    Any additional comments?

    Read Lutz! He's sick, harsh and usually brings the pain in every novel. But this one was a bit of a let down. But still better than most of the hard boiled serial killer stuff out there.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Monster: John Cleaver, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Dan Wells
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (201)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (165)

    In I Am Not a Serial Killer, John Wayne Cleaver saved his town from a murderer even more appalling than the serial killers he obsessively studies. But it turns out even demons have friends, and the disappearance of one has brought another to Clayton County. Soon there are new victims for John to work on at the mortuary and a new mystery to solve. But John has tasted death, and the dark nature he used as a weapon - the terrifying persona he calls "Mr. Monster" - might now be using him.

    Paul says: "Sympathy for Socios"
    "Animal Torture Ruins This Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Dan Wells and/or Kirby Heyborne?

    I liked the first book but the second was helped mightily by Heyborne's narration.


    Would you recommend Mr. Monster to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend based on multiple sequences of animal torture and violence. If I had known this was in the book I would have skipped this book. Now I'm telling people what I wish someone had told me. I fast forwarded much of this.


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

    Great characterizations and emotion. Great timbre to the voice and his narration for the main character, a teenager, sounds like the right age. Another improvement over the first book.


    What character would you cut from Mr. Monster?

    John's whiny sister.


    Any additional comments?

    I know it seems odd to complain of animal violence while humans bear the brunt of it. It's just my pet peeve (pun unintended) to include animal torture in fiction whether it be horror or crime. It's up to you whether this bothers you or not.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Eat the Dark: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Joe Schreiber
    • Narrated By Renee Raudman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (27)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    It is the last night before Tanglewood Memorial closes for good, and MRI technician Mike Hughes arrives for his final shift at the hospital. Between the bare-bones staff and the fact that all the patients have already been moved to the new facility, Mike is prepared for a quiet night. All that changes when a special patient arrives, complete with a five-man police escort: the infamous serial killer Frank Snow.

    Kathryn Bakken says: "Horror ruined by whining"
    "Horror ruined by whining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Eat the Dark better?

    Okay, so maybe I expect too much from narrators but the child voice she uses was so whiney and shrill that I finally just had to stop listening. Nobody should have to listen to that.


    What could Joe Schreiber have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The setting in the hospital made it intriguing but it eventually just seemed to slide into a typical slasher film. Much of the suspsense is just ruined by familiarity.


    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator would have been the only way to save this one.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was disappointed in the paint by numbers quality of the story. Good start but it just goes downhill from there. Just meh.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Haunted

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Chuck Palahniuk
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, Marc Cashman, Erik Davies, and others
    Overall
    (656)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (281)

    Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk is a novel made up of stories: 23 of them, to be precise. Twenty-three of the most horrifying, hilarious, mind-blowing, stomach-churning tales you'll ever encounter, sometimes all at once. They are told by people who have answered an ad headlined "Writers' Retreat: Abandon Your Life for Three Months", and who are led to believe that here they will leave behind all the distractions of "real life" that are keeping them from creating the masterpiece that is in them.

    Dominique says: "True Horror -- Not for the faint of heart, stomach"
    "Literary Cynical Icy Horror"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a book that is recommended with reservation and only to a certain kind of friend. Palahniuk's coldly removed writing style is not for every taste but he does bring a sly perspective to, shall we say, unsavory moments. But it's so interesting and unique that I do sing its virtues to various pals. Then, of course, I would sit back and wait for the inevitable phone call from them asking why in the world I would recommend this book. This is based solely on the gang busters opening 'short story' GUTS. I just tell them that this story is a litmus test and stomaching it (ha pun) means you are worthy to continue reading. If you can get through that you can get through anything.

    t.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Its hard to like any character in this book and I don't think they're meant to like. The main framework of the writers on the retreat is full of horrid people with nary a redeeming virtue. But I do love the odd names they're given even though this further serves to remove you from them. It has an icy dehumanizing effect... but that's probably a good thing because considering what these characters do to themselves you'd probably never finish it if you cared about them.


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

    There were a variety of narrators, many of whom are faves such as Scott Brick, but I liked them all.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me nauseous but I think that's the point!


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the structure from framework narrative, to poem, to personal short stories written by the authors on the retrea

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11594)
    Performance
    (10810)
    Story
    (10818)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Julie W. Capell says: "I’m sorry I waited so long to read this book."
    "Fast and Furious"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ready Player One to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version of this book but Wil Wheaton's narration lent it a modern relevant feel that you may miss if you just read it.


    What other book might you compare Ready Player One to and why?

    I'd make the comparison to Steve Job's bio in the sense that it is about an incredible innovator who changes the technical world with a real sense of pop culture savvy. It's like a fantasy version of what could happen if Jobs had died and left behind a scavenger hunt game for his fortune. It felt incredibly contemporary.


    What about Wil Wheaton’s performance did you like?

    His youthful voice was a perfect fit for the tone and action in this story. His importance in geek culture is cemented when he actually reads a passage that mentions him. Smart stuff.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I love video games so it felt especially relevant to me on many levels. It engages the fantasy: What if video games mattered and impacted the real world. There was genuine suspense when characters were in peril even if it was just their avatar. An amazing juggling act.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • On Call in Hell: A Doctor's Iraq War Story

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Richard Jadick, Thomas Hayden
    • Narrated By Lloyd James
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (58)

    Cdr. Richard Jadick's story is one of the most extraordinary to come out of the war in Iraq. At 38, the last place the Navy doctor was expected to be was on the front lines. He was too old to be called up, but not too old to volunteer. In November 2004, with the military reeling from an acute doctor shortage, Jadick chose to accompany the First Battalion, Eighth Marine Regiment (the "1/8") to Iraq.

    Amazon Customer says: "What a story!"
    "Up Close and Personal"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to On Call in Hell the most enjoyable?

    A unique perspective on the war at large by taking it inside from a medical perspective, one injury at a time. Exciting, suspenseful, tragic, confounding -- great insight into the mind of a doctor and the chaos of war.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Small stories made large by making them personal. You really root for Jadick and his initial naiveté when he decides to take this on. Medical care in battle is a unique perspective with huge stakes.


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

    His first hand experiences are heard in his voice and that was very affecting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey through His Son's Meth Addiction

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By David Sheff
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (589)
    Performance
    (218)
    Story
    (216)

    David Sheff's story is a first: a teenager's addiction from the parent's point of view, a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.

    Before meth, Sheff's son, Nic, was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who stole money from his eight-year-old brother and lived on the streets. With haunting candor, Sheff traces the first warning signs, the attempts at rehabilitation, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict's fate, the rest of the family must care for one another, too, lest they become addicted to addiction.

    Book and Movie Lover says: "Painful and honest account"
    "Heartfelt and Honest"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Beautiful Boy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book rates high in my list of audiobooks because it offered an honest look into a family's pain and confusion. Sheff's righting is razor sharp and insightful. I felt for the guy as much as I came to resent his son and what he put everyone through. Granted, that may not be exactly what he was shooting for but pain is pain.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Sheff pulls no punches while telling this story and has no interest in making himself or anyone else look specifically bad or good. This lack of vanity cuts right to the core of the story and takes you inside without a superficial gloss. You really feel like you're in the heart of this thing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Nic Sheff
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (104)
    Story
    (105)

    Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age 11. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. It took a violent relapse one summer in California to convince him otherwise.

    RH says: "EXCELLENT--SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING"
    "Far Inferior to Beautiful Boy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If it had been written by his father, David Sheff, but that would be impossible. His father's version of the same events from his perspective is so far superior to this effort that you can only be let down when you hear this 'fill in the blanks' version.

    I was intrigued to listen to this because David Sheff's heart felt book, Beautiful Boy, was basically a mystery at it's heart. Learning what happened during Nic's absences and how it all began first hand was a big draw. Too bad it turned out to be a non-mystery and he really wasn't doing much at all besides living a cliche.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nic Sheff again?

    Unless he has matured and has developed some self awareness, it's doubtful. I was hoping for some insight but didn't really get any.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs)
    • By Jay Kopelman
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Love and hope often arrive in the strangest places and in the strangest ways. During his tour of duty in Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman of the U.S. Marines endured the emotional stress common for those involved in bloody battles for freedom. Although the rules forbid pets, Kopelman and his comrades adopted an abandoned puppy left behind after the battle for Fallujah. The dog (named Lava) befriended the Marines and journalists, and was eventually smuggled out of Iraq.

    Louise says: "Wonderful Book"
    "A Dog Story Wrapped in a War Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to From Baghdad, With Love the most enjoyable?

    Full of heart, grit and compassion, this book informed while pulling heart strings. I felt like I was dropped into a world I could never imagine and learned unexpected things about war, soldiers and the capacity to feel loyalty to a puppy in the midst of that chaos.And the book isn't just a mush fest -- it's exciting, suspenseful and tragic.

    But at it's core, this is a boy at war and his dog story. Amazing combination.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lava, the dog at the center of the story actually has some great characterization and you can see why Kopelman would go to such extremes to save him. If he didn't I was ready to go over there and get him myself.


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

    You can win or lose when an author narrates their own book and this is a winner. I really felt like I was hearing him tell his story to me personally. It never felt painfully narrated or 'read.'


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

    I could not put this book down. I was amazed by so many people doing so many things for one dog. And in the long term changing military policy. So gratifying.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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