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brendanstallard

lilburn, GA, United States | Member Since 2017

170
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 26 reviews
  • 43 ratings
  • 1300 titles in library
  • 31 purchased in 2018
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10

  • The Killer: Victor the Assassin Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tom Wood
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2526)
    Performance
    (2327)
    Story
    (2322)

    Meet Victor. He's an assassin - a man with no past and no surname. He lives alone. He operates alone. He's given a job; he takes out the target; he gets paid. He's The Killer. Victor arrives in Paris to perform a standard kill and collect for an anonymous client. He completes it with trademark efficiency - only to find himself in the middle of an ambush and fighting for his life.

    A. L. DeWitt says: "You Can't Help Pulling for the "Bad Guy""
    "Good start, not so good end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book Review
    The Killer by Tom Hinshelwood/Tom Wood

    THIS REVIEW CONTAINS A SPOILER

    I saw this on the front page of Audible one day, and for some unknown reason, I have a bit of a thing for assassin books. I don’t really know why, perhaps because of the left over sadness of years of investigating crime while a UK copper. Perhaps reading histories of the middle and far east whence the lore of hashashin and ninja began.

    It’s the motivation for killing which always escapes me. Yeah, I get that you can get mad enough for revenge or anger purposes to put out someone’s lights. In self-defence, no question, him or me. Killing for money or ideological purpose? Dunno, less clear cut. I’m also pretty certain that it’s a difficult profession, rife with very high risk and there are many fewer hit-folk around than popular fiction would have us believe, thanks be.

    The Killer, Tom Wood’s first novel comes highly recommended by its reviewers on Amazon and Audible. Well written and performed.

    There is quite a lot of Gun-porn, the naming and delineation of qualities of various armaments is mentioned, if not labored over. Fair enough, they are the tools of those who work around guns.

    The writing is good, and the plot and narrative works well for the first half of the book. Character development proceeds apace, although we are not told a single thing about the assassin’s background.

    At about 2/3rds of the way in, a, “Hemingway Death,” occurs, which totally throws off the narrative and the plot. Up to this point, the twin fulcrum of the narrative was the softening of the assassin and a growing bond between him and another. A very humanizing and sweet element.

    The writer, by this death is painted into a corner and any mystery that the book might have had is removed and the reader now knows that we are to be left with a cataclysmic hung-up ending, which will leave us breathless for the next episode in what will be a three part series.

    There’s no question. For an assassin like this, you’ve either got to kill him, or turn his actions into reasonable ones. Otherwise he is utterly without remorse or morals, and writing THAT character is too anti-sympathetic, it won’t carry a book. Who wants to read a tale of endless murders for money? No, people don’t. There has to be a spec of humanity there, and in this book, the writer killed it with the, “Hemingway Death.”

    While I found the book readable and good work up to that point, afterwards it became mundane and the series of men chopping and fighting in Africa were boring and formulaic, the conclusion over-wrought to ridiculousness. Faugh. The direction was wrong, and the second half of the book could have done with some serious editing. There were longeurs.
    Up to 2/3rds of the way through, the book is compelling, vital and interesting. Afterwards, merely serviceable, somewhat boring fare you can read anywhere. For a writer with this talent, a poor outcome.

    Writers, STOP killing your darlings for shock and plot movement! We readers invest in those characters, kill them at peril of losing our interest.

    Disappointing.




    brendan

    35 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Adam Plantinga
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1686)
    Performance
    (1513)
    Story
    (1510)

    400 Things Cops Know shows police work on the inside, from the viewpoint of the regular cop on the beat - a profession that can range from rewarding to bizarre to terrifying, all within the course of an eight-hour shift. Written by veteran police sergeant Adam Plantinga, 400 Things Cops Know brings the listener into life the way cops experience it - a life of danger, frustration, occasional triumph, and plenty of grindingly hard routine work.

    Alexis Ward says: "Thank you, Adam Plantinga!"
    "Required reading if you want to understand cops"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a retired UK police officer who moved to America in 1996. I found the culture swap at times quite difficult, I wish rhis book had been available when I arrived. This book is smart, funny and human with plenty of good advice for cops and civilians. One thing I recall from my time is that some cops grow to feel superior to the general public they servce, Plantinga, (the author) definitely retains his humanity. Empathy and concern for his public breathes through this book and is very impressive.

    There are obvious difference between police work in the UK and the USA, it's far more dangerous here, for a start, but it is surprising how much of it is the same. How dotty the public can be, how some people hate the sight of the uniform and how some really like seeing a touch of blue.

    Mark Boyett gives a perfect narration, he sounds exactly like a cop :)

    An absolutely splendid book, well worth a credit-if you have any interest in the wicked police. I suspect crime writers will have this in their library as a much thumbed reference item.


    brendan

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama

    • ORIGINAL (4 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Tim Lebbon, Dirk Maggs
    • Narrated By Rutger Hauer, Corey Johnson, Matthew Lewis, and others
    Overall
    (9653)
    Performance
    (9052)
    Story
    (9042)

    As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then, on planet LV178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand-blasted hell - and trimonite, the hardest material known to man. When a shuttle crashes into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating and waiting for suitable prey.

    AudioBook Reviewer says: "a work that I highly recommend"
    "Absolutely stunning rendition of The Alien franchi"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Alien story is largely based on a pretty simple plot which is similar to all the Jurassic Park tales. Monsters, Run, More Monsters, Run.

    This story is the same, but what makes a tale is how the writer builds tension and then how the narrator/cast perform.

    The performance of the cast is the best I've ever heard. I'm convinced that has something to do with the direction of Dirk Maggs.

    All the cast is excellent although I must make special mention of Laurel Lefkow, who is peerless. If she reads this, I don't know what she would say at this, but every time I heard her speak as Ripley, my minds eye saw the authoritative vision of Sigourney Weaver. Ripley is a fantastic character, a real strong woman not on some billionaires arm. Lefkow brings her to life with real vulnerability, fear, but indomitable courage and resource in the face of deadly danger. A tour de force.

    This is a cracking listen, don't miss it. One I shall no doubt listen to again and again. Best thing I've heard on Audible this year.



    brendan

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Passenger 19: A Jammer Davis Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Ward Larsen
    • Narrated By Tim Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (278)
    Performance
    (241)
    Story
    (240)

    Jammer Davis has spent most of his life investigating aircraft accidents. When a small regional jet disappears over the jungles of Colombia, it is a tragedy like dozens of others he has seen...but for one terrible detail, his young daughter, who was en route to a semester abroad in South America, is listed on the passenger manifest.

    anonymous but sincere says: "Feel guilty but I really enjoyed this"
    "Excellent, detailed detective story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Ward Larsen is a rapidly improving writer of great merit, although he does have the modern writers fashionable disease of over use of the ridiculous cliches, "long moment and blew out a long breath," sigh. That's my only caveat.

    Jammer Davis is an excellent character, who is a retired pilot who now works for the NTSB as a flight accident investigator.

    The close detail of the nature of these investigations will not be comfortable for those afeared of flying, but they are superbly traced. It is a grim business, but fascinating.

    The narrator is competent with rather too much of a penchant for accents for my taste, but that doesn't bother some listeners.

    Good stuff, enjoy.



    brendan

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Reaper: Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Gary Brozek, Nicholas Irving
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3053)
    Performance
    (2733)
    Story
    (2730)

    In the best-selling tradition of American Sniper and Shooter, Irving shares the true story of his extraordinary career, including his deployment to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, when he set another record, this time for enemy kills on a single deployment. His teammates and chain of command labeled him "The Reaper," and his actions on the battlefield became the stuff of legend, culminating in an extraordinary face-off against an enemy sniper known simply as The Chechnian.

    Carlos Gonzalez says: "Vivid and Sincere Military Spirit"
    "Excellent well-told tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I rarely enjoy books on war as seen from the soldiers eyes. They're generally just too troubling, violent and mentally scarring.

    This one is different. It doesn't shy away from the killing, but rather doesn't glory in the pink mist style of some modern war stories.

    There's plenty of detail on the battles and the relationships between the soldiers is explained and the reader gets the sense of camaraderie of brothers in arms.

    To give you an idea of how much I appreciated it, I listened to it again immediately after the first listen.

    It is very well written, detailed and edited. I liked it a lot. My admiration for soldiers is fully realized.


    brendan

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Bullet

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mary Louise Kelly
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3188)
    Performance
    (2914)
    Story
    (2916)

    Two words: the bullet. That's all it takes to shatter her life. Caroline Cashion is beautiful, intelligent, a professor of French literature. But in a split second, everything she's known is proved to be a lie. A single bullet, gracefully tapered at one end, is found lodged at the base of her skull. Caroline is stunned. It makes no sense: She has never been shot. She has no entry wound, no scar. Then, over the course of one awful evening, she learns the truth.

    Sara says: ""took a chance and glad I did""
    "All too real, keep kleenex close by"
    Overall
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    Story

    I took a chance on this-I don't really know the writer's work, but I do like Cassandra Campbell's work.

    Well, this is breathtaking. I usually listen to audiobooks on my daily trudge round the park for my 10k steps, in the car or wombling round Walmart. All three activities are suspect while reading this book, because spontaneous attacks of water coming from my eyes is too prevalent.

    I'm a retired copper, so I'm tough enough and I've been around a bit, so I know the world. I know just how this kind of circumstance takes place and the awful outcomes it brings to everyone involved.

    Every now and again-a narrator fits a book like a glove and Cassandra Campbell walked off with this one. The narration is perfect, a lesson to all us lesser mortals in how to get the job done right. I happen to think she cared deeply about the book and I think it shows in the narration.

    The writing is crisp, believable and tight.

    Best book since The Host.



    brendan stallard

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Alienated: Alienated, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Melissa Landers
    • Narrated By Madeleine Lambert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (193)
    Story
    (197)

    Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. Handpicked to host the first-ever L'eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she'll have inside information about the mysterious L'eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara's blog following is about to skyrocket. Still, Cara isn't sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L'eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn't seem more alien.

    IloveYAbooks says: "Alien romance"
    "Loud, LOUD and LOUDER!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was in all reality, absolutely nothing to do with Aliens. It is, at heart, a teen romance. Nowt wrong with that. I bought the Kindle version of it as well, and that is just fine and dandy.

    The audible version, however, leaves quite a bit to be desired. For me, the narrator was too loud, relentless and LOUD. This doesn't mean in DB, I'm sure the producers got the levels correct, but the racket of the voice was so loud I was unable to concentrate on the material. There's no space between the sentences, no room for a breath. Very tiring on the ear. Pity that more care was not taken.

    We read, "Performed," and, "Directed," and, "Produced," when if I were anywhere near this production I would have instructed the narrator to knock the volume and pressure back a TON on hearing the first paragraph. The producer was surely asleep at the wheel during this.

    I'm sorry to be so hard on a narrator. I dislike to be so critical, but Madeleine Lambert needs to read this. Poor narration can ruin even a really good book, and there is plenty of competition out there.



    brendan

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Imperfect Sword: The Lost Stars, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jack Campbell
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    Overall
    (1609)
    Performance
    (1469)
    Story
    (1471)

    President Gwen Iceni and General Artur Drakon have successfully liberated the Midway Star System - but the former rulers of the Syndicate Worlds won’t surrender the region without a fight. The dictatorial regime has ordered the ex–Syndicate CEOs terminated with extreme prejudice and the system’s citizens punished for their defiance.Outnumbered and led by junior officers hastily promoted in the wake of the uprising, Midway’s warships are no match for the fleet massing and preparing to strike.

    Mikey72 says: "The Lost Stars finally found me"
    "Excellent story, beautifully read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have become a little disenchanted with, "The Lost Fleet" and hooked on to this strand of space opera only because of the wonderful front cover. I assume this to be the excellent butt-kicking female flawed character Colonel Morgan. Anyway, it's a great and arresting cover. I dived in and the convoluted and mixed up relationship between Gwen Iceni and Artur Drakon is a tense and first class will they-won't they duo. I love the forward and back. The side characters, Morgan and the new Sub Executive are all to be enjoyed. Marc Vietor is a very fine reader and does another super job on this. I really enjoyed it. More please:)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hidden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Catherine McKenzie
    • Narrated By Jeff Cummings, Angela Dawe, Amy McFadden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (321)
    Performance
    (283)
    Story
    (284)

    While walking home from work one evening, Jeff Manning is struck by a car and killed. Two women fall to pieces at the news: His wife, Claire, and his co-worker Tish. Reeling from her loss, Claire must comfort her grieving son as well as contend with funeral arrangements, well-meaning family members, and the arrival of Jeff's estranged brother, who was her ex-boyfriend. Tish volunteers to attend the funeral on her company's behalf, but only she knows the true risk of inserting herself into the wreckage of Jeff's life.

    E. says: "The Voice of Claire"
    "As others have said"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is a perfectly adequate read in the Kindle edition, reading the text. I'm afraid the audio is less acceptable. Claire, read by Amy McFadden-who is perfectly capable of excellent work elsewhere, seems bored with the text and I just don't know how Audible could have released a narration so awful. We often hear that this performance was produced and edited by some character or other, surely someone should have grasped the nettle at page 2 on this and said, "sorry, this simply will not do!".

    The writing, at the beginning is a little confusing, but once you get ahold of the characters, it's an okay story, but the audio edition, save your credits and sanity.





    brendan

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cell

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Robin Cook
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1138)
    Performance
    (1005)
    Story
    (1003)

    George Wilson, M.D., a radiology resident in Los Angeles, is about to enter a profession on the brink of an enormous paradigm shift, foreshadowing a vastly different role for doctors everywhere. The smartphone is poised to take on a new role in medicine, no longer as a mere medical app but rather as a fully customizable personal physician capable of diagnosing and treating even better than the real thing. It is called iDoc. George's initial collision with this incredible innovation is devastating.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "Well Done"
    "Dire, boring."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Maybe it is me-maybe it is Cook. I don't know. I really used to enjoy his work. The last two, not so much. This looked like a real slam-dunk, materiel I am interested in and have some serious concerns about.

    I was so bored I fell asleep and lost the thread a whole lot. I had to keep going back. Maybe this type of novel just doesn't interest me any longer. I'm usually fully engaged and my last audiobook was the full set of Robert. A Caro's biography of LBJ. I raced through that, riveted to every single one of the 4,000 pages, over sixty hours in Audible.

    Cell is a snore-fest, and I can't really pick out why. The narrator was his usual excellent self, George Guidall is no dope. It's just the material was staler than week old white bread.

    As I said, maybe it's me. See what the other reviewers say before you spend yer credit.

    I didn't like it one bit.



    brendan

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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