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Michael G. Kurilla

ROCKVILLE, MD, United States | Member Since 2005

879
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 168 reviews
  • 462 ratings
  • 613 titles in library
  • 11 purchased in 2015
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304

  • The Panther

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Nelson DeMille
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2268)
    Performance
    (1928)
    Story
    (1921)

    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.

    John says: "Exciting Nelson DeMille novel with great narration"
    "Corey is in line for a reboot right about now"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The John Corey series by Nelson DeMille has been a dependable listen. While The Panther is classic DeMille/Corey and the story is very good, this one lacks anything new and different to really engage the listener (at least to those familiar with other Corey tales). In this plot, John and Kate venture to Yemen to hunt down the latest feline terrorist that is believed to have planned the Cole bombing. As usual, John suspects there is more than meets the eye (or at least more than what he has been told). As is typical, John follows his own hunches and salvages what would have been a huge US disaster while cracking Corey jokes along the way.

    So what's the problem? Basically, the story is too formulaic for those familiar with the series. In spite of all the past investigative success in the past, John is still regarded as a simpleton by his boss, there's a new CIA agent that appears to be just a resurrected Ted Nash, another cocky feline themed terrorist, all around general ineptitude by everyone around John, and a familiar denouement. At the same time, the story drags for the initial two thirds with little actions and too much emphasis of repeating polysyllabic terrorist names. There's a bit of time disequilibrium with a close relationship to the Cole bombing that is now over a decade old, but appears more proximal.

    Don't misinterpret these comments; the story is still good, just not fresh anymore. John needs a change of pace, another friendly nemesis rather than the CIA, a different boss who recognizes that he can't fool this guy, and perhaps different enemies, like North Koreans.

    Scott Brick as usual is superb with range and tone that sets the mood and makes the listening easy and enjoyable.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Warspite: Ark Royal, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Christopher G. Nuttall
    • Narrated By Ralph Lister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (301)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (277)

    The First Interstellar War is over, but the Royal Navy still has plenty of work to do. As Earth struggles to recover from the bombardment, Captain John Naiser is placed in command of HMS Warspite - an experimental heavy cruiser - and ordered to escort a squadron of colony ships to a star system of immense strategic importance. But as the crew struggle to survive hundreds of light years from Earth, they find themselves dealing with the legacy of the war.

    Jean says: "absorbing"
    "Son of Ark Royal rides again"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Warspite is Christopher Nuttall's 4th installment in the Ark Royal universe. This time, the British have built a new military spaceship called Warspite and her new young captain and green crew are rushed into service to chaperone a group of ships critical for establishing Her Majesty's primacy over a new star system. Beyond that simple duty, they are testing out new drives for smoother, faster access to the "alien" tramlines. Along the way, they assist another British colony that is on the brink of destruction by both nature and themselves. They also stumble upon a renegade group of Russians who haven't kept up with the rest of the universe, stage a major battle with humans and aliens, violate nearly every rule in the book, and manage to recover some missing and kidnapped British citizens. Whether Warspite's captain ever emerges from the Board of Inquiry for this maiden voyage will be left for the next installment.

    The sci-fi elements are minimal with vague references to the physics underlying the faster than light travel speeds. The aliens are unremarkable as well. The notable attraction of this series is the traditional and classical British cultural adherence. From mannerisms to preferences and loyalty to the royalty, the characters are indistinguishable from their counterparts today or 500 years ago. While the entire geopolitical structure of this universe is unchanged from late 20th to early 21st century Earth, all the action takes place off world.

    The narration is excellent with a solid range and attention to the 'stiff upper lip' British attitude throughout. This is an enjoyable easy listening with little hard sci-fi to follow closely. The pacing of the tale is consistent and effortless.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • King of Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Evan Currie
    • Narrated By Todd Haberkorn
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (228)
    Performance
    (205)
    Story
    (209)

    Earth's survivors face devastating new challenges in the wake of recovering from an alien conflict. Battered and mourning tremendous losses, the once fractious peoples of enemy nations must work together to rebuild their shattered world - and prevent the possibility of their attackers' return. What they don't know is that a new, deadlier enemy unlike anything they've ever faced will usher in the dawn of another war.

    Luv2Read says: "Don't even care how it ends"
    "A whole new adventure in the Odyssey One universe"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While set in the same universe as Odyssey One (a 4 installment series), Currie diverges with a new crew that is a fresh start. Westin (from the original series) provides the marching orders which include putting a new ship class through its paces as well as exploring distant star systems that present anomalies that may suggest alien Dyson constructs in production. What the crew stumbles upon instead is even stranger alien technology that hints at an intelligent race related to, but far beyond anything they have previously encountered with the Priminae. Just getting out alive is not certain.

    Th sci-fi elements draw heavily from Odyssey One, but add some quite nifty physics / cosmology with powerful gravitational lensing and distortion as well as unusual alien creatures.The action is well paced with excellent interpersonal relationships complicated by quirky peccadilloes. As an opening act, this cast promises new adventures that build on and rival their older siblings from earlier installments.

    The narration is superbly rendered with a solid range of voices even for both genders. The tone and mood match the haunted house impression for most of the tale.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dark Intelligence

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Neal Asher
    • Narrated By Jonathan Yen
    Overall
    (79)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (73)

    One man will transcend death to seek vengeance. One woman will transform herself to gain power. And no one will emerge unscathed... Thorvald Spear wakes in a hospital to find he's been brought back from the dead. What's more, he died in a human vs. alien war that ended a century ago.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Cold dish of revenge with a side of AI"
    "Cold dish of revenge with a side of AI"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dark Intelligence is another installment in Neal Asher's 'Polity" universe. While clearly temporally following The Technician, this tale, while billed as the opening salvo for a trilogy, provides sufficient resolution and closure for a satisfying ending on its own and only hints at a more hidden theme to emerge later. Basically, several intelligences (humans, Prador, drone, golem, and AI) have all at prior contact with the dark AI Penny Royal who has previously been depicted as a completely amoral, Marquis de Sade-like AI with a rap sheet spanning the galaxy. All of these individuals seek revenge of one form or another with Penny Royal for past wrongs and also end up at each others throats as well.

    The sci-fi elements are pure Asher with powerful AIs, manipulable quantum forces, post-human evolution, and imaginative, well depicted aliens that are truly alien. As the story unfolds, past events both prior to this tale as well as concomitant occurrences are reinterpreted to reveal the chess grandmaster and puppeteer that is Penny Royal. Rather than merely a sadist, Penny Royal appears to operate by a different set of rules, beyond the bounds of normal human or AI reference.

    The narration is excellent with a good rendition of all the various sentient species. The tone and mood are well suited to the tale, although a warning for those who have previously enjoyed The Technician; as the narrators are different, the carry over characters will take some getting familiar with again. Finally, while the remainder of the trilogy is uncertain in direction, one can expect that these characters will be called upon again for some well-conceived, but opaque plan that Penny Royal has hatched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Old Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Gary Grossman
    • Narrated By P. J. Ochlan
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (92)

    In the summer of 1601, Galileo Galilei made a startling discovery in the mountains of Eastern Italy that, if made public, could shatter faith in religion, bring down governments, and lead to worldwide turmoil. For more than 400 years, the secret has been guarded by a small group of incredibly powerful people, willing to do everything in their power to keep these discoveries from being made.

    Blue Dragonfly says: "Great Story with lots of new twists and turns"
    "Typical history that must remain secret"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gary Grossman's Old Earth is an unremarkable semi-sci-fi variation on a thriller surrounding an old secret that a dedicated, obscure group is committed to keeping unrevealed. In this tale, a likable, but struggling paleontologist stumbles onto a find buried in Montana that a mystery cabal is intent on remaining undiscovered. The professor and companions, then proceed on a worldwind tour identifying other possible similar artifacts barely staying ahead of their pursuers. The cabal has its own problems with a young, ambitious rookie intent on making his mark.Throughout the tale, there are flashbacks to Galileo as the instigator of this whole escapade, although those section dragged a bit.

    As a thriller, the story is passable with decent pacing along with a good series of clues, reveals, and plot twists. Unfortunately, the story has several deficiencies. The mystery cabal dedicated to protecting the secret seems to possess unlimited resources, intelligence, and ruthlessness, along with lots of participants in key locations and positions. As is typical, the "secret" must remain buried because the world population would collectively go insane if the content were revealed. There's also a real disconnect with how this would have been interpreted back in Galileo's time versus today. The author is also a bit too obvious in popping in secret members all over the place when convenient. The cabal has a somewhat arbitrary decision making process on who to kill and who to leave alone. Finally, the ending which is not that unexpected in terms of the secret itself, but is completely out of character with the main protagonist.

    The narration is passable with minimal distinction among the various characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Twelve Days: John Wells, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (472)
    Performance
    (409)
    Story
    (409)

    Wells, with his former CIA bosses Ellis Shafer and Vinnie Duto, has uncovered a staggering plot, a false-flag operation to convince the President to attack Iran. But they have no hard evidence, and no one at Langley or the White House will listen. Now the President has set a deadline for Iran to give up its nuclear program, and the mullahs in Tehran - furious and frightened - have responded with a deadly terrorist attack. Wells, Shafer, and Duto know they have only twelve days to find the proof they need.

    Robert says: "Great continuance of the John Wells character"
    "This time out it's a team effort"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alex Berenson's Twelve Days is the conclusion to the previous installment, The Counterfeit Agent. "12" picks up where the last left off with Wells and his team of Vinny & Ellis having just 12 days to track down the real source of the HEU before the US invades Iran. While there are plenty of action scenes with classic Wells, John is beginning to rely more on his wits and quick thinking to get out of jams. Ellis shows that he still has the juice to gather the pertinent intelligence, while Vinny is clearly angling for something bigger in the future. John's family plays a cameo role suggesting their future involvement, particularly his son.

    The pacing is excellent while never knowing which way John will handle any given situation. Some enemies are eliminated, but several new candidates for future stories are introduced. Only the Saudi king angle is beginning to wear a bit thin. John also is coming to grips with his failures in the relationship department suggesting a new love interest in the near future.

    George Guidall's performance is simply outstanding with his rendition for Wells. His range for other characters along with tone and mood are perfect for the spy genre in general and Wells in particular. This story franchise with Guidall as narrator is pure listening enjoyment and not to be missed, although these tend to be quick listens due to a combination of story and narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • For the Time Being

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Marie Desjardin
    • Narrated By Jerry Sciarrio
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The Pubbers, 10 gifted social misfits, set out one night to explore a set of steam tunnels beneath their campus, end up captured by aliens, and are transported by spaceship to another planet. Hoping to return home, they pool their talents to construct a time machine. The escape plan is discovered, and the Pubbers learn that building the device is why they were kidnaped in the first place.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Glee + Friends with Big Bang cast"
    "Glee + Friends with Big Bang cast"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For the Time Being is a lighted romp with college science geniuses abducted by aliens and forced to build a time machine in order to dominate another alien race - and that's about as deep as it gets.Throughout the story, time paradoxes constantly arise as the details for time travel are worked out. Both alien races have a fur fetish as well as one with a craving for mushrooms and another that goes through a tree phase.

    The sci-fi elements are crude, more consistent with golden age sci-fi with humanoid aliens with odd peccadilloes, faster than light drives, and a time machine. The science is minimally rendered, most of which has little internal consistency, while the alien races make little sense with features created mostly for weirdness. The gang of college students start as a quarreling, oddball collection that over time, fall in love and work together, to outsmart two alien races, build a time machine, and eventually get themselves home.

    The narration is adequate, but unremarkable with a good range of voices, although the aliens are rendered quite artificial. This is story that does not take itself seriously and neither should the listener.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Technician

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Neal Asher
    • Narrated By David Marantz
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    The Theocracy has been dead for 20 years, and the Polity rules on Masada - but it is an order that the rebels of the Tidy Squad cannot accept, and the iconic Jeremiah Tombs is top of their hitlist. Tombs, meanwhile, has escaped his sanatorium. His insanity must be cured, because the near-mythical hooder, called "the Technician", that attacked him all those years ago, did something to his mind even the AIs fail to understand. Tombs might possess information about the suicide of an entire alien race.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Hardcore, technically sophisticated sci-fi"
    "Hardcore, technically sophisticated sci-fi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Neal Ascher's The Technician, while a standalone story, is set in his "Polity" universe. The main tale takes place on Masada, a minor planet, 20 year after the overthrow of a theocractically controlled society. Humans are somewhat of a minor player as the galactic political structure is dominated by a wide diverse set of AIs. Masada is also the former home world of an extinct intelligent alien species that committed racial genocide. The explanation for this is part of the plot of the story. There's a good mix of petty human vengeful actions as well as planet destructive forces against a backdrop of solving the mystery of a strange creature who spared the life of a single human while inducing insanity.

    The sci-fi elements are varied and consistent with a time frame in the distant future. Artificial intelligence dominates throughout. Unusual, but well crafted human genetic adaptations are flawlessly inserted without disrupting the flow. There is also an internally consistent presentation of the unique biological constructs and evolutionary principles present on Masada.

    The narration is superbly done with an excellent range of voices aligned with the mood and pacing of the story. Overall, this is a hard listen and requires close attention not only to follow a complex storyline, but to also appreciate the well designed and integrated sci-fi aspects.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Genocide of One: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Kazuaki Takano, Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Joe Knezevich
    Overall
    (40)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    During a briefing in Washington D.C., the President is informed of a threat to national security: a three-year-old boy named Akili, who is already the smartest being on the planet. Representing the next step in human evolution, Akili can perceive patterns and predict future events better than most supercomputers, and is capable of manipulating grand-scale events like pieces on a chess board.

    Robert says: "Extraordinary."
    "Thriller with a super smart next gen human"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Kazuaki Takano's thriller, Genocide of One is a near future action tale with an evolved human going up against global state sponsored spy and anti-terrorism groups. The basic premise is a really smart child that has been deemed a threat and must be eliminated. Then ensues a series of action and sleuthing scenes jumping from Africa to Japan to the US.

    The pacing is well done with an edge of your seat feel. The story falls down in its over the top approach. A decades old think tank report that had suggested the possibility of an evolved, super smart human arising and taking over the world has apparently been front and center on the US government radar screen ever since. As a result, when vague descriptions emerge that it might have happened, plans are set in motion to eliminate the threat. The child however, has also anticipated this possibility and set in motion his own plans to fight back (which includes murder and mayhem). At the same time, the child has time to develop software to create a drug tailor made for the child of a mercenary who will get him to safety.

    The narration is well done with a solid range of characters of various ethnic backgrounds. The tone and mood are well suited for the fast paced actions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Antaran Codex

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Stephen Renneberg
    • Narrated By Neil Shah
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    As mankind nears its goal of galactic citizenship, Sirius Kade, trader and Earth Intelligence Service deep cover agent, learns that wealthy and powerful leaders from across Mapped Space are vying for control of an alien relic they believe is the key to untold riches - unaware that they are being deceived. Sirius soon finds himself entangled in an interstellar plot to make humanity a cosmic outcast, denying it its place as the newest member of the vast and ancient community that has governed the galaxy for eons.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Probation is Sirius business"
    "Probation is Sirius business"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stephen Renneberg's the Antaran Codex is a solid sci-fi thriller with enough plot twists to maintain the tension through to the very end. Sirius Kade is a merchant captain with a secret intelligence operative background. Along with his crew, a drunken oaf and an alien outcast, as well as a sometime girlfriend who can't decide whether to swindle or bed him, Sirius goes undercover and finds himself in the middle of a plan to keep Earth from joining the galactic club of recognized sentients.

    The sci-fi elements are largely physics with faster than light drives along with various unremarkable alien species. The science is not the focal point, rather an elaborate mystery that Sirius must unravel is the main draw. The pacing is excellent with a good mixture of action scenes and detective sleuthing.

    The narration was quite respectable with a good range of voices and interesting renditions of the various alien races. While clearly a self contained storyline, the characters and this universe, make for intriguing follow-on installment potential.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Overlord

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By David L. Golemon
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    The plans of a million years are finally ready for what has always been coming - Armageddon. Finally, the first move is set in motion and the assassinations begin, eliminating the leadership and consolidating military control of the seas and airspace of the world’s most powerful nations. Only one element in the arsenal of the world can possibly give the Earth a fighting chance at survival - a tiny being that has already saved the world once in the Arizona desert is now called upon to outthink his former masters.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Event Group trilogy conclusion"
    "Event Group trilogy conclusion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    David Golemon's Overlord is the 3rd and final installment of the Event Group trilogy concerning an impending invasion by aliens that was hinted at in the 1st two installments. Overlord is the codename for the plan to defend Earth. The story builds on the first two parts, Event Group and Legacy, but adds many more players to the mix. Final preparations for Overlord are consummated and the plan is somewhat executed. Mixed in are both intelligence and political opponents who lack insider information and harass, rather than hinder the main characters.

    The sci-fi elements are limited to wormholes with funky time effects and powerful lasers. While an engaging and exciting tale, with good pacing throughout, the story suffers from a crude, naivete. Basically, the overlord plan was designed and wholly known by just 4 individuals, one of whom is already dead, two who get injured and are out of action, with the last being the little friendly alien who has been holding back. This leads to the continual mantra of "need to know" which seems useless when world ending events are unfolding. 70 billion aliens in spaceships sailing across the galaxy looking for food also seems pretty lame (you can create an energy source big enough to bend space-time, but you can't produce food - really???). The actions of speaker and intelligence chief were also overly simplistic and farcical.

    The narration was quite good with an excellent range of voices that was needed for the expanded character set.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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