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P. Giorgio

TheWriter

Illinois | Member Since 2001

ratings
308
REVIEWS
89
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
81
HELPFUL VOTES
429

  • The Scarecrow

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2534)
    Performance
    (916)
    Story
    (913)

    Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paper to write the definitive murder story of his career. He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

    P. Giorgio says: "Depth & Breadth"
    "Depth & Breadth"
    Overall

    What a great read/listen! High tension, techo-gadgetry made understandable, sick serial killers, death and near-death, careers on the line, a love affair, and steadily building tension.. just when you thought it should end... it takes off again. Narration was superb. The writing was tight and perfectly pitched. The ending explained all the questions formed over the course of the read.

    79 of 81 people found this review helpful
  • The Keeper: Dismas Hardy, Book 15

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By John Lescroart
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (163)
    Performance
    (145)
    Story
    (144)

    On the evening before Thanksgiving, Hal Chase, a guard in the San Francisco County Jail, drives to the airport to pick up his step-brother for the weekend. When they return, Hal’s wife, Katie, has disappeared without a clue. By the time Dismas Hardy hears about this, Katie has been missing for five days. The case strikes close to home because Katie had been seeing Hardy’s wife, a marriage counselor. By this time, the original Missing Persons case has become a suspected homicide, and Hal is the prime suspect.

    Jean says: "A fun book to listen to."
    "Where did Hardy go?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Typical for the series except this one uses Abe Glitsky more actively. There were moments in the book that I felt Abe was made to look doddering, and deserving of his forced retirement. He made a bunch of rookie mistakes and I sort of winced at his foolishness. And even in the big solve, where Abe stands front and center, I didn't feel it was genuine.

    Hardy was barely in the book, which this time was fine; but I wouldn't call it a Dismas Hardy book by any stretch.

    Now about the story. The story was silly. A woman is murdered. Her husband is accused. There are all sorts of infidelities going on in marriages and in various departments of criminal justice. The resolve was a little implausible. You have to wonder if some of the bad behavior will continue by those in the story identified as truly guilty. You have to wonder if the fall guy (the final victim) was a convenience for the rest of the criminals in that circle. It seemed rather convenient to have the killer of the primary dead woman connected to all the deaths. About six murders occur in this book and by the end, there may be six previous to blame on this killer. Yet, it has no tension, no OMGs, no being caught off guard and no big surprise from the big reveal.

    The ending was too clean. Too much information just showed up in the newspaper to justify the killer's motives, etc. I just kind of shrugged at the end. Abe's part in the finale was significant, and yet he seemed like an accidental hero. No final scenes with his wife. Mention of a potential reprimand, but nothing active or tense. The final scenes bring Hardy back into the picture, lecturing Abe, and, having taken little or no part in the story, Hardy morphed into a minor, all but forgotten character.

    The series is usually better than this, but **The Keeper** wasn't the worst of them.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Goldfinch

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Donna Tartt
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8108)
    Performance
    (7430)
    Story
    (7437)

    The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    B.J. says: "A stunning achievement - for author and narrator"
    "Like vs. Love vs. Aggravated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very good EXCEPT that whole piece of Las Vegas and Boris was a bit tedious. Glad when he fell out of the story, though I suspected he would return later. Why are modern writers so taken with Russians? I am too, I admit, but every "good" book seems to use them for stereotypical thug characters.

    A problem with first person "coming of age" tales is that the narrator/character is always innocent, caught in a bad spot and forced to do things they know are wrong, but at a loss to control, having excuses for committing sins and crimes, and being a general "shithead." I admire Tartt's making Theo somewhat less than sympathetic. I shake my head in annoyance at him, but at heart, he still meets the old criteria of "basically good." It may be too convenient. In some ways, "Goldfinch" is like Saul Bellow's "The Adventures of Augie March," yet "Goldfinch" far surpasses "Augie" in its engaging, realistic and interesting episodes. Bellow did the same thing with Augie. Made him an innocent caught in multiple acts inspired by circumstances he just "fell into." Bellow also had implausible, long-winded passages that even in retrospect could have been cut at no loss to the story.

    I have a theory about motherless boys -- both fictional and as writers. Boys who grow up without a mother of any kind are a different, needier breed, as children and adults; literature makes great use of this disadvantage. Tartt put two motherless boys together, both with lousy fathers and both with issues around women, romance and sex. In this case, we are not seeing a split personality divided into two characters. These are two complete studies. Theo and Boris are NOT cut from the same cloth. They are thrown together because Boris pursued Theo's innocence and "outsider" status in Las Vegas. Wherever Theo landed, he absorbed the culture around him. He acted as he was expected to in each situation.


    But, no matter what travails and adventures Theo, the hero(?) endures, I (the reader) continue to keep my eye on the picture that kicks off the early scenes. The story is about Theo and Boris and art and love and growing up. But The Goldfinch of the title is the thread. And, except for some of Theo's minor thoughts about it, that thread disappears from the plot for hundreds of pages. I, for one, never stopped thinking about it, never stopped wondering why Theo was such a wuss about it, why he never gave the beloved Bird its freedom.

    After the big chase scenes that signal the end, with all the misunderstandings, and red herrings, what the story comes down to is that this book is a conglomeration of several religions, philosophies and themes in popular literature and the importance of art. Theo's final soliloquy is boring and self-indulgent. More Hobie, less Theo, I say.

    Problems/Questions remain (for me)

    1. Why is Theo so stupid? How can he not trust Hobie (a true father/mother figure) and instead put his life so often in Boris' slimy hands?

    2. Theo's "romances," such as they were, were empty and expressed no passion, not even toward the beloved unattainable ONE. He simply observes and does not ACT. He is dragged along in an aimless, spineless march to the altar.

    3. Did Tartt need to beat us over the head with the allusion to "The Idiot" in order to understand her desire to make a Myshkin out of Theo or maybe it's Boris -- not sure? Once was enough. The near ending backflash of a very early scene with Boris' reading "The Idiot" is downright insulting.

    4. The mirroring of the the boy and their fathers is too symmetrical.

    5. The big surprise about the contents of the storage shed was good, though not surprising enough. Didn't we all know already its fate was not secure? Why did the explanation of what happened require pages of cat-and-mouse play between Boris and Theo?

    6. The rescue and return were implausibly committed. Theo, who had done NOTHING for the entire book, suddenly is alive and self-preserving. Still, he is conforming to the company he keeps. He acted as they would have acted, not as Theo. The real Theo would have died in that scene.

    7. I am still not clear where ALL that end of story money came from. It was very convenient to aid in Theo's claim of legitimacy, but it was strange and convoluted. It required way too much explanation. The ending explains why Theo is where he is when the story opens, but the connection is not strong enough. It carries the same maudlin tone as the opening, as if Theo has been left to wander the earth to buy back his soul. Somehow, I just don't find any joy in Theo's redemptive acts. It was too easy.

    8. I liked the final conversation Boris had with Theo as the resolution became clear, the honesty from such a liar and poor friend was refreshing, unexpected and it "felt" real, though with Boris, who can be sure?

    9. What are we to feel at the end? Does Theo ride off into the sunset of every country he visits making restitution? Does he return and resume his life? Does he win the princess? Do we really care? I felt a bit cheated at the end.

    Despite how the above may sound, I did like the book. I started out LOVING the book, and now I just like it. It is worth the investment of time and it is well written, though in places too tediously detailed. There were chapters which held me back from doing anything else. And then there were days I did not return to it for the mind-boggling litanies of who did what, when, how, and the drug-induced monologues that went nowhere.

    This is not one I will listen to again, but I do recommend it. As has been said, it compares to "The Corrections" in breadth. It does not measure up to Franzen's "Corrections," despite the thread that keeps it all together. But "Goldfinch" lacked the nuance, the unspoken as well as the end-of-story revelations which made "Corrections" knock you out at the end. "Goldfinch" left me without a strong ending and proper resolution.

    But I liked it! Contradictory, I know.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sycamore Row

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By John Grisham
    • Narrated By Michael Beck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8365)
    Performance
    (7548)
    Story
    (7543)

    Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly?

    Brock says: "Grisham at his best (again)"
    "Excellent, well researched and engaging."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Not one complaint except an unanswered question... Who was Burt and what was the secret that Sylvester had promised to never reveal? Or did I miss it?

    Beyond that, it was a very, satisfying, educational and rich in character and setting. Very well worth reading.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Spoils of Poynton

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Maureen O'Brien
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    Mrs Gereth is convinced that Fleda Vetch would make the perfect daughter-in-law. Only the dreamy, highly-strung young woman can genuinely appreciate, and perhaps eventually share, Mrs Gereth's passion for her 'things' - the antique treasures she has amassed at Poynton Park in the south of England. Owen Gereth, however, has inconveniently become engaged to the uncultured Mona Brigstock.

    Linda says: "Outstanding"
    "A classic but longer than necessary"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read this for a class in Brit Lit. Simply because it's Henry James, it's not the worst of the bunch. It is rather long winded for the outcome. The psychological portraits seem apt. The legal stuff a tad unbelievable, but probably true. To me it all rests in one idea. Mrs. Gareth's son does not have the kind of adoration a son should have for his mother, so she is being ousted by the despicable woman he wants to marry. The woman Mrs.Gareth wants him to marry is too morally sound to do what must be done to displace the fiance, so much chaos ensues.

    The ending is troubling for an absence of explanation. I like a cliffhanger, but I feel there was not enough information in the characters to give me even a guess at the perpetrator of the final act. It's almost as if James threw up his hands in disgust at his characters and took action with his pen to free them from a final decision.

    Anyway, it's worth the credit; though it lacks humor, sustained tension and, except for a final action by Owen and a last page event, it also lacks surprise.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arrowsmith

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Sinclair Lewis
    • Narrated By John McDonough
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (53)
    Story
    (54)

    Martin Arrowsmith is fascinated by science and medicine. As a boy, he immerses himself in Gray’s Anatomy. In medical school, he soaks up knowledge from his mentor, a renowned bacteriologist. But soon he is urged to focus on politics and promotions rather than his research. Even as Martin progresses from doctor to public health official and noted pathologist, he still yearns to devote his time to pure science.

    Stephen says: "Arrowsmith - The Classic Book, Not the Band"
    "Boring but readable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So this kid from the hinterlands decides to become a doctor. He goes through the trials and tribs of youth, early love, rejection. He hitches his academic wagon to the wrong stars on occasion. He finds the right woman who supports him and his quest for a medical degree and a position to work in science. He fails miserably more than once. He capitulates to corporate greed, the woman's parents, the expectations of society all before he wakes up --too late-- and has to start all over again.

    If this was a jab at the education of a medical professional, it seems weak today. The writing was strong, the characters well defined, their foibles and power well explored and delineated. Poor Martin Arrowsmith, however, was drawn without much spine, and less imagination than his costars.

    Not sure why this is a "classic" except for its year, and the fact that Sinclair Lewis also wrote Elmer Gantry, but it is an adequate portrait of early 20th century, pre-WWII America. There are some attacks at militarism, at corporate medical practices, at academia, etc., but it's not a diatribe and it is also not a deep read.

    I am taking on Elmer Gantry later, but I feel I've already seen into that book through Lewis' sweep of American immorality in this book. Elmer Gantry SHOULD be preachy; Arrowsmith was as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Guilt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    Overall
    (2964)
    Performance
    (2627)
    Story
    (2611)

    Mickey Haller gets the text, "Call me ASAP - 187," and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and the biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game. When Mickey learns that the victim was his own former client, a prostitute he thought he had rescued and put on the straight and narrow path, he knows he is on the hook for this one. He soon finds out that she was back in LA and back in the life.

    Jane says: "Definitely entertaining. I had some smiles."
    "Adequate entry into the series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I think it is about average for the series. There is much repetition, seemingly filler. There is no real "suspense" to speak of, no twists or turns. These books are getting too soft, too nicey-nicey and not enough bad behavior. Mikey Haller is despicable, he lies, cheats and pretty much bends the law to his needs, which is not only not appealing, but a little ridiculous. Connelley gives the judges much better standards of behavior, *always* belittles the prosecutors and generally makes the women characters very likeable. I think he is being a little too PC, it feels contrived. His client is claiming innocence of the murder, which is Mickey's case in this book, but the client is not someone I would root for--not because he is into bad stuff but because he's a wuss and I couldn't have cared less if he died in jail. Of all the characters, I think I liked Sly Sr. the most. He was the most authentic, but even he caved to Mickey's brilliant wheeling and dealing.

    The plot to this one took some brain mapping. I don't know why, but I had a difficult time believing the tie-in between the (at least) three separate crimes.

    Like I said, no surprises, no tears of sadness or joy, no real threats to anyone -- twice Mickey ignores the judge's admonition to quit running her courtroom and doesn't get in trouble. Mickey spends a good deal of time pinpointing his main juror, but it didn't matter anyway... why plant that seed? Bad use of red herring.

    Anyway, I'm a fan of the series and of Connelley's past performances, so I am an eternal optimist. Maybe in the next installment he should kill off Mickey, so we don't expect more of a good thing that apparently is not forthcoming?

    I have run into this syndrome in the past, favored authors' series and characters growing stale. It could be a matter of boredom by the author who may have publishing contracts to fulfill. Lee Child may be approaching this milestone, Jonathan Kellerman has gotten close too. Even Preston & Child's Pendergast series is getting a little predictable -- except that they have strong stories and AXP Pendergast is generally very much alive on the page and remains as likeable as a rock star.

    It's kind of like knowing when to leave the party. I think it's time for Mickey Haller to pack up his boring self, his bad fathering, his womanizing, his self-pity and his tricky courtroom hijinks and drink himself to death.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Winesburg, Ohio

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Sherwood Anderson
    • Narrated By Deaver Brown
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Winesburg, Ohio has the most memorable cast of characters in 20th-century fiction. Listeners will remember at least a few stories and their characters for the rest of their lives. Each of the 23 stories stands on its own. And each is also interwoven into the fabric of the book.

    Jacob says: "Hilariously bad"
    "Had to get a different version"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The worst narrator in the world. Voice was bad, and there was an audible "click" like to a tape machine every several minutes... I am downloading another version, because I know the book is great... This should be removed from the list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Yearling

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Young Jody lives with his ma and pa on a farm in backwoods Florida. Life is hard there: cutting wood, planting fields, hauling water from a distant sinkhole. It is dangerous: wolves and bears roam the night. It’s also lonely for a young boy. One spring day, Jody’s pa kills a deer for meat. When Jody sees her spotted fawn in the brush, he convinces his father they should bring the fawn home. Thus begins a year when deer and boy are never far from each other. But the day will come when Jody must make a terrible choice between his beloved pet and his family’s survival.

    Jon Crawfurd says: "A true classic"
    "Gorgeous"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Wonderful book, good story, some predictable elements, but the "twist" was unexpected. I expected a whole different reason for the "big decision." This was better. Warm, authentic and suitable for all ages, cultures and interests. Narrator very good. Recommended -- in fact, should be required reading for students of the human community. Tolerance, humor, survival, family, fathers and sons.... just great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bel Canto

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Anna Fields
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1668)
    Performance
    (840)
    Story
    (847)

    Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

    Brian says: "Surprisingly engrossing"
    "Perfect except for the final pairing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Loved it on every level. Liked that there were no "hidden" messages, but outright connections and links to events and personal psychology of the hostages. Loved that so many characters could be so individually present and unique. Loved the "love" relationship of the two couples, adored the Russian's profession of adoration based on a (long) short story of the man's early years. Yes, these are archetypal characters.. we've seen them all before in one scenario or another, but the twists are subtle and sufficient enough to make it a page turner, though the pages turned gently, for it was a sweet book, a book of hope.

    Throughout the story, the narrator tells us things like "later he would think..." so that we knew certainly the future of that particular character. The suspense was in my own longing that the couples could be coupled after the takeover. Yet the tragedy and the glory of the situation grow from the impossibility of the situation.

    If the set was too comfortable, too well fed, housed in a mansion and not in a thatched roof hut in a forest, who cares? The story was about captivity, language, voice, independence and dependence. The Opera motif fit perfectly the drama of the setting, the largeness of the characters, and voice, voice was key here.

    A translator is not allowed to interpret or choose what is meant to be said, eventually the Traductor stepped out of his role. A terrorist is not supposed to waver; the generals eventually tired. Child terrorists should be obedient or they would be punished, this scruffy lot was hungry for the outside world and confined to the VP's mansion were things they would never have seen, heard or felt. It was about acceptance and letting go.

    Someone mentioned that the language came right of an MFA platter of perfect English. I agree, and that's what made it so readable. The sentences were almost invisible, unless you don't like your English well done. The language carried the story without intrusion and that is a trait of greatness.

    I have one complaint, and that complaint cost this the 4th star. The ending, a bit abrupt, was "unfair," regarding the terrorists, and it seemed rushed. But beyond that, what we learn in the Epilogue about the survivors broke the spell for me. I did not care at all for the way Roxanne and Gen ended up. It is too flimsy to say that because each lost the love of their individual lives (as formed in captivity), that they should assume the roles of the lost ones. Mr. Hosokawa and Carmen go down together by a single bullet.. ghastly and too melodramatic. Gen and Roxanne’s final pairing made no sense, and while I was ready to "sell" the book to anyone who would listen to me, it ruined the spell for me. Of course, Edith and Simon Thibault made sense together… Simon’s adoration of his wife was never questioned.


    Narrator Anna Fields was splendid...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • O Pioneers!

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Willa Cather
    • Narrated By Barbara McCulloh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (20)

    Darwin8u says: "Lifted and carried lightly by some one very strong"
    "Well intended, but a minor effort: 2.5*"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Limited in scope, a "feel-good" story written in simple prose, with nothing of substance to support it. Rather stock characters, though some more interesting than others. Religious "lessons" in the actions/punishments of wayward people. Basically a Christian look at a hard life, about forgiveness, tolerance, and learning to be satisfied with what one has.

    If this was meant to contain any "feminist" threads, they were slim. Strong female protag who is successful in most of her endeavors, but waits till forever to marry. A few conflicts which could have proved interesting but didn't

    Narrator fine; story -- good for 10-12 year olds; older kids would find it dull and unrealistic.

    Lots of scenery, love of the land, etc. etc.

    Read The Yearling if you like books about making it in the rough, about rising to overcome adversity and about growing up to be a "good" human being.

    2.5 - 3*, because it is the first of a fairly good trilogy. My Antonia (the 3rd) is far better than this one; with more grit and real emotion, perhaps because by then Cather had matured as a writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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