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Cynthia

Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

Monrovia, California, United States | Member Since 2012

5483
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 215 reviews
  • 215 ratings
  • 492 titles in library
  • 28 purchased in 2015
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  • Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Doris Kearns Goodwin
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    Overall
    (1838)
    Performance
    (1545)
    Story
    (1587)

    On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war.

    Amazon Customer says: "Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Informative"
    "Great Book - but not a great Audio Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suppose the first question you’re asking is “Why did she give such a highly acclaimed book an average rating?” Doris Kearns Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’ is a fantastic, detailed history of a crucial historical period from a fresh perspective, but it is hard to follow as an audio book. It was, in fact, so hard to follow, more than 12 hours into the audio recording, I had to stop and start over.

    Historical figures were mentioned and set aside, only to appear hours later in the audio. I longed for an index to find the names and their places in the narrative.

    However, because I have a busy life and spend a lot of time driving, the chances were good that I wouldn’t have had the time to actually read the book for quite some time. I was glad to be able to hear it, especially to bring a historical perspective to the current president and his cabinet.

    The narration itself was fine, but the editing was a problem. There were frequently long pauses, and I found myself wondering if I was coming to a new chapter; had a call coming in on my iPhone, or if I’d disconnected my headphones. That wasn’t the case, but watch out for that distraction.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • The Gods of Guilt

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3665)
    Performance
    (3231)
    Story
    (3227)

    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."
    "Alright, alright, alright"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A couple of years ago, I went on a weekend long Michael Connelly Audible bender. My kids were with their Dad, and I was doing what single moms do when the kids are out of the house for a few days. No, I wasn't at Sena, the local tapas bar, drinking a cold Pinot Grigio in an oversized, delicate wine glass and eating surprisingly good ceviche on thick home made tortilla chips. I was cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging my house, accompanied by "The Lincoln Lawyer" series.

    Mickey Haller's haunts are the tired courthouses of Los Angeles, with the echoes of heels in the marble tiled hallways really built for men in expensive and noiseless loafers; the soft whisper of attorneys and their clients tucked into doorways, agonizing over jury selection; and the hopeful eyes of hallways of petty criminals looking for an attorney to get them out of whatever hole they've dug. Connelly has a way of writing Los Angeles so the sad and fraught places are intimate and special.

    In "The Gods of Guilt" (2013) Connelly works the same magic on people on the edges. The murder victim is a prostitute who had a chance to make it out once, but an old life cruelly clawed her back. The suspect is her technologically advanced but guilt wracked pimp, who punishes himself far more than the legal system ever could or would. Connelly's "Gods of Guilt" are nominally the jury, but perhaps they are really the voices of our conscience.

    The title of this review is from an Oscar acceptance speech of Matthew McConaughey, the original silver screen "Lincoln Lawyer". Oh, I know McConaughey won for "Dallas Buyer's Club" (2013) and the term 'silver screen' is a 1940's throwback, but Connelly so reminds me of Raymond Chandler (1888 - 1959) and his cynical detective, Philip Marlowe. And Humphrey Bogart was the original Marlowe.

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    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David J. Morris
    • Narrated By Mike Chamberlain
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    Just as polio loomed over the 1950s and AIDS stalked the 1980s and 1990s, post-traumatic stress disorder haunts us in the early years of the 21st century. Over a decade into the United States' "global war on terror", PTSD afflicts as many as 30 percent of the conflict's veterans. But the disorder's reach extends far beyond the armed forces. In total, some 27 million Americans are believed to be PTSD survivors. Yet to many of us, the disorder remains shrouded in mystery, secrecy, and shame.

    Cynthia says: "The hell where youth and laugher go"
    "The hell where youth and laugher go"
    Overall
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    Story

    As I was driving into work one day on the 5 South, passing the University of California at Irvine that David J. Morris mentions several times in "The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (2015), I heard something in the narration that truly shocked me. Sharp intake of breath, cold running from my hands to my feet, pounding pulse surprise. Morris mentions that some people actually ask veterans if they've killed.

    I served on active duty in the US Army from 1982 to 1986, and I'm not one of the few people that saw combat in Granada. My drill instructors were in Vietnam, though, and so were a lot of my senior commanders. Asking that question was the strongest taboo I ever encountered in military life. It simply wasn't done. As soldiers, we collectively understood that trauma belonged to the soldier, to be shared by choice. And if a soldier chose to share, you listened attentively, you learned, and you were grateful.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) isn't a new condition, although the term is. Morris traces its scientific, ethical and sociological development - its genealogy, as he calls it. His emphasis is on Western conflicts, especially the American Civil War and World War I, and of course, Vietnam. Morris delves deeply into the moral conflicts that can cause or contribute to PTSD, even after a 'good war' like World War II.

    Morris' discussion of treatments for the disorder is both fascinating and horrifying. He has PTSD and has treated for it through the Veterans Administration hospitals. One widely accepted treatment, Prolonged Exposure (PE) left him so debilitated he stopped treatment - but only after breaking a knife blade stabbing his cell phone. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) did help him - and it certainly sounds like most people respond better to that. Medications like Paxil work for some people, but no one is sure why. Morris explores alternative treatments, and it sounds like one in particular works well for a lot of folks: yoga.

    Morris doesn't limit his discussion of PTSD to combat veterans. Rape is one cause of trauma he discusses extensively, as well as the difference in PTSD signs, symptoms and treatment between men and women.

    "The Evil Hours" is wide ranging and sometimes difficult to follow. Morris jumps from philosophy, history, neurobiology and neuroscience, pharmacology, cultural conditions, technological developments in armaments . . .

    It's a difficult listen. It's intellectually challenging, and compelling. I would have done better with it on text, but I wouldn't have been able to sit down and read it for months, or maybe even years. I found myself wanting to tell Morris to slow down and explore his ideas in more depth, but I realized that he's set down a guide for what could be his life's work, and will guide researchers interested in PTSD for years.

    This is another Audible I wish had a true Table of Contents, so here it is (with thanks to Villanova's on line library) Audible 1 - Introduction; Audible 2 - The warning; Audible 3 - Saydia; Audible 4 - In terror's shadow; Audible 5 - Toward a genealogy of trauma; Audible 6 - The haunted mind; Audible 7 - Modern trauma; Audible 8 - Therapy; Audible 9 - Drugs; Audible 10 - Alternatives; Audible 11 - Growth; Audible 12 -Counterfactuals; and Audible 13 - Epilogue.

    I wasn't that wild about the book as an Audible, and it could have used an edit. It tended to meander and get repetitive. I am giving it 5's because the importance of the work makes up for an occasional lack of focus or an obscure point. Giving it any less would make me feel like I'm devaluing a landmark.

    The title of the review is from Siegfried Sassoon's "The War Poems."

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    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Ceremonies in Dark Old Men

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Lonne Elder III
    • Narrated By Rocky Carroll, Brandon Dirden, Jason Dirden, and others
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (9)

    First produced by the Negro Ensemble Company in 1969, this classic masterpiece by Academy Award nominee Lonne Elder III gives us the portrait of a Harlem family that dreams of a better life, but pursues it in tragic ways. Ceremonies opened the door for new generation of African American playwrights, August Wilson among them. NBC-TV called Elder’s dramatization of rituals "exciting drama, filled with meaningful insight and original comedy."

    Cynthia says: "Talismans of Despair"
    "Talismans of Despair"
    Overall
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    Story

    With a title like "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men," things are not going to end well. The question is just how bad they can get for Russell B. Parker, a broken down vaudeville performer and sporadic barber, and his three adult children. Adele, his daughter, chafes at being the sole support of her family. Adele's resentment and her brother Theo and Bobby's attraction to the deceptively easy life of crime set the inevitable tragedy in motion while Parker deludes himself into an illusion of love and prosperity.

    Lonne Elder III, a contemporary of Lorraine Hansberry ("A Raisin in the Sun", 1959) wrote "Ceremonies in Dark Old Men" (1969). It had a respectable Off Broadway run, but what's neat about this 2010 LA Theatre Works production is that it's directed by Judyann Johnson Elder, Lonne Elder's former wife. Judyann was began her performing arts career as an actress in the Negro Ensemble Company, which debuted the play. There's a pleasing symmetry to the production.

    I was a little disappointed that LA Theatre Works did not have a teacher's guide with this play, as it did for its productions of "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting" and "Jump at the Sun." Those were the earlier Audible releases for Black History Month in 2015. It's understandable, though: "Mr. Rickey" is about the integration of baseball and "Jump" is about the prolific Zora Neale Hurston. Lonne Elder was talented and award wining, but did not leave a large body of work; and "Ceremonies" was set in the 1950's, after the Harlem Renaissance but before the Civil Rights movement.

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    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Code Name Verity

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Wein
    • Narrated By Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2211)
    Performance
    (1983)
    Story
    (1983)

    Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong....

    Suzn F says: "Haunting, Beautiful, Exquisite, Special Book"
    "Nacht und Nebel"
    Overall
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    Story

    A few weeks ago, I got this text message from my big sister, D-. "Good audio book suggestion: Code Name Verity. One of the best I've listened to". D- was right. So are all of the reviewers who say it's pretty impossible to write a review of this book that doesn't have spoilers.

    Elizabeth Wein's 2012 "Code Name Verity" is marketed as a Young Adult book. I've got two teenagers, and I've read/listened to a fair number of books in this genre. Without sex, vulgarity, and fatuous self-involvement, this book stands out. Wein's historically accurate description of England as it entered WWII and its use of civilian planes - the (de Havilland) Puss Moth, the Tiger Moth - in war service is an intriguing bonus. The vocabulary isn't dumbed down, and it's definitely UK-flavored. I had to look up words like "gormless", which means clueless, stupid and dull, combined.

    That made me wonder just what YA, as a genre means. Imogen Russell Williams, in a July 31, 2014, article in The Guardian says, "the sine qua non of YA is an adolescent protagonist, who will probably face significant difficulties and crises, and grow and develop to some degree - Patrick Ness described it as "finding boundaries and crossing them and figuring out when you end, who you are and what shape you are." The two protagonists are a little older - in their twenties - but otherwise, it does meet the criteria.

    The book is set in World War 2, and there is violence in the book. It is disturbing, even though it's neither graphic nor gratuitous.

    I can say, without giving away key plot points, that "Code Name Verity" is as much of a mindf*** as Gillian Flynn's 2012 "Gone Girl." There were several times I found myself thinking, "Wait, what???" and rewinding a couple of minutes because there'd been a twist so subtle I'd missed it.

    Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell were fantastic narrators. Their accents really help set the place.

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    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington
    • Narrated By Tom Pile
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (120)

    Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a 12-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking. This book redefines your "year" to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn't enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now.

    Michael says: "Good Information with misleading support materials"
    "Intriguing and Irritating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I didn't actually read the Publisher's Summary before I bought "The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months" (2013, text; 2014, Audible) , and that's a good thing. I wouldn't have voluntarily listened to something that promises that it's the "The guide to shortening your execution cycle . . ." The only execution cycle I know is in computer programming, and the last code I wrangled with was an early 1990's version of Unix.

    What "The 12 Week Year" turned out to be is a time management program based interim goals, set quarterly. The 13th week is an added, or bonus, week so the "year" works out to an even year. I almost heard gears shift when I understood the concept. I think this could work for me.

    Mentally, I had to change the plan to "The 3 Month Year" because my job and goals really do not fit into a weekly schedule. Even though I'm a licensed professional, I'm in what Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington call "a reactive job." My deadlines and corresponding goals are driven by rules my employer does not control - they are set by statutes.

    "The 12 Week Year" seems to be focused on sales people and sales teams with a lot more flexibility than I have. That doesn't mean I don't think I can apply the principles, I just need to adjust the author's suggestions to work at my work. The suggestions for personal improvement -,well, trying to lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks sure sounds a lot more manageable than the really daunting number that I have to drop after I successfully quit smoking a year ago, thanks to M J Ryan's "This Year I Will: How To Finally Change A Habit, Keep A Resolution, Or Make A Dream Come True" (2006).

    So, now for the irritating: the authors suddenly go off on really odd, distracting and unsupported tangents. There's a woman whose supposedly making 100 home visits a month, and even more phone calls, in her counseling job while she's homeschooling her son. Right. And the word "intentionality"? It's a sociological concept describing cognition, not a touchy-feely motivational word. I ended up tuning out the dissonance, hoping I didn't miss something I could have used.

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    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba...and Then Lost It to the Revolution

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By T. J. English
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (594)
    Performance
    (287)
    Story
    (292)

    Havana Nocturne takes listeners back to Cuba in the years when it was a veritable devil's playground for mob leaders Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Thanks to strong ties with the island's brutal dictator, President Batista, the mob soon owned the biggest luxury hotels and casinos and launched an unprecedented tourist boom. But their dreams collided with those of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and others.

    Rob Mack says: "History with Spice!"
    "Razzle-Dazzle"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love the word 'nocturne'. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines it as "a work of art dealing with evening or night; especially a dreamy pensive composition for the piano." T. J. English uses the title "Havana Nocturne" to refer to the Havana that the American mob dreamed up, created and nourished, only to have it crushed by revolution.

    If Havana from the end of World War II until 1959, was a work of art, Meyer Lansky was a mobster who didn't play games of chance, and the artist who gambled on building a Mecca the Pearl of the Antilles. Lansky was the money man who shrewdly pegged Fulgencio Batista, an up and coming Cuban military officer, as a potential ally in developing Havana. Batista was an elitist snob, easily corrupted - and became President and then military dictator of Cuba.

    A more prescient man might have put his money on Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul. "Havana Nocturne" profiles Fidel's radicalization, imprisonment and release, and revolutionary rise. Fidel's ascent caused Batista's fall, and sent the mob scuttling out of Havana and back to Florida, leaving vast luxury state of the art hotels to decay in an era of embargo. Cuban sex workers, card sharps, and pit bosses stayed behind, too. Lansky literally lost his mistress in 1959 - as in, the revolution happened, she moved from the apartment he had her ensconced in, and he never found her again.

    If Havana was a work of art, it was a tawdry, glitzy, sometimes crass nouveau riche creation of an accountant. Lansky may have had unorthodox methods to solve problems (he had muscle that straight businessmen only dream about) but he was essentially a CFO. He lacked an appreciation for a subtle, nuanced approach to tourism or business. Now that economic relationships are being normalized, it will be interesting to see what happens with former mob holdings that Fidel nationalized.

    T. J. English's analysis of the rise and fall of mob gaming as it paralleled the rise of Cuban communism was an elegant study in contrasts."Havana Nocturne" sounds like a well researched work. Audible narrations don't generally have footnotes, but sources were referenced in the text.

    The title of this review comes from a con game played in Havana: unsuspecting would-be gamblers were seduced into fraudulent bets by seemingly innocent but admiring and enthusiastic locals. Lansky thought he'd successfully run that show out of Cuba.

    The narration was fine, but there's a pretty vexing editing problem. Chapters 6 and 7 repeat as Audible Chapters 8 and 9. It took me a bit to figure out what happened - I thought I'd somehow rewound. So, mentally knock off almost 2 hours from the book.

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    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Jump at the Sun

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 33 mins)
    • By Kathleen McGhee-Anderson
    • Narrated By full cast
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    As the '20s roared and the Harlem renaissance thrived, a young woman from rural Florida became the toast of literary New York. Jump At The Sun chronicles the passionate life of Zora Neale Hurston (author of Their Eyes Are Watching God), who went from spinning tales on the front porch of a country store to writing prize-winning stories, novels, and plays. Imbued with the rhymes and rhythms of the Jazz Age, Hurston's story reveals a woman's ferocious appetite for life, literature, and love.

    Cynthia says: "Those that got it, can't hide it"
    "Those that got it, can't hide it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at the sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground." from Zora Neale Hurston's 1942 autobiography, "Dust Tracks on a Road." "Jump at the Sun" is a wonderful title for this LA Theater Works play by Kathleen McGhee-Anderson and the 2008 Samuel D. Pollard documentary the play seems to have been developed from.

    Zora Neale Hurston grew up "telling lies" to an appreciative audience in a small Black town in Florida. She was a story teller and, as an acclaimed anthropologist, a story collector and a folklorist. Zora Neale Hurston wasn't so much as in the right place at the right time as she created the right time and the right place - Harlem in the 1920's became the Harlem Renaissance. She was a contemporary of Langston Hughes (1902-1967), who is prominently featured in "Jump at the Moon." Hughes was more radicalized than Zora Neale Hurston, and probably looked down at her for being too ethnically black. She was exuberant and embraced Black culture, and that exuberance makes a great radio play performance.

    LA Theater Works (latw dot org) has a great guide for teachers, and it's a good guide to start learning about that cultural era. The title of this review is a Zora Neale Hurston quote.

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    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 36 mins)
    • By Ed Schmidt
    • Narrated By Ed Asner, Carl Lumbly, full cast
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (22)

    On a spring day in 1947, Mr. Rickey, the powerful General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, summons heavyweight champion Joe Louis, tap star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and actor Paul Robeson to his hotel room in Manhattan. Rickey wants their support when he taps Jackie Robinson to be the Major League's first black ballplayer. But a power struggle ensues when the eloquent Robeson raises questions about Rickey's motivations to integrate white baseball.

    Cynthia says: ""Problems are the price you pay for progress.""
    ""Problems are the price you pay for progress.""
    Overall
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    There's a parallel to the Hollywood of unscripted reality shows of Botox and plastic surgeried semi-celebrities in rented McMansions, leased SUVs, and clothing deals. It's a Los Angeles of museums and live theater, like the workhorse Pasadena Playhouse; the well endowed Geffen Playhouse; the kicky, intimate and hard to find Glendale Centre Theatre; the Pantages and its elaborate productions . . .

    In 2005, Sheldon Epps directed Ed Schmidt's 1989 thinker of a play "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting" for a great Los Angeles performing arts organization, LA Theater Works. Schmidt imagines a 1947 meeting between Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey and Jackie Robbins, on the eve of integration of professional baseball. Rickey invites legendary contemporary Black Americans Bill "Bo Jangles" Robinson, Boxer Joe Louis, and actor and activist Paul Robeson to the (fictional) meeting.

    Bill Robinson, Louis, and Robeson are like Fates of Greek Mythology, spinning the threads of Jackie Robinson's destiny. These men are one dimensional in "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting" and each represents a path Jackie Robinson could take. Schmidt's Rickey is carefully calculating and more of a social engineer than the real Rickey probably ever was.

    The play was performed live and audio recorded, and it's a good listen. But there's a problem with this particular play as an audio only - it's a six character play, and half of the characters are named Robinson or Robeson. Knowing which person the other characters are referring to requires careful concentration or a rewind, or both.

    LA Theater Works (latw dot org) has a wonderful 23 page guide for teachers - and for people like me, who just wanted to know more.

    The title of this review is a quote attributed to Branch Rickey.

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    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • W Is for Wasted: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Sue Grafton
    • Narrated By Judy Kaye
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1589)
    Performance
    (1394)
    Story
    (1392)

    Two dead bodies changed the course of my life that fall. One of them I knew and the other I'd never laid eyes on until I saw him in the morgue. The first was a local PI of suspect reputation. He'd been gunned down near the beach at Santa Teresa. It looked like a robbery gone bad. The other was on the beach six weeks later. He'd been sleeping rough. Probably homeless. No identification. A slip of paper with Millhone's name and number was in his pants pocket. The coroner asked her to come to the morgue to see if she could ID him.

    karen says: "Well worth waiting for...."
    "Respectfully Submitted"
    Overall
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    Story

    For a couple of years, I was assigned to litigate cases in Santa Barbara. It's a deceptively large city (90,412 in 2013) masquerading as a town small enough to walk everywhere. The Spanish Colonial Revival Courthouse is beautiful and lovingly maintained even as the latest technology is incorporated into the courtrooms. Each time I made an appearance, I took a few minutes to spot places Sue Grafton must have used to create Kinsey Millhone's world. Santa Barbara historically maintains so many places, it's not hard even though the series is set a quarter of a century ago.

    "W is for Wasted" (2013) is set in 1989, before cell phones and when the few people who knew what the Internet was were dialing in on 300 baud modems. Santa Barbara, then and now, has a persistent homeless population. When Kinsey's name and phone number are found in the pocket of a dead man who's part of the homeless community, she's drawn into an investigation that leads her to her own family in Bakersfield. It's a branch so distant it's almost a twig.

    Grafton's plots have become much more intricate since "A is for Alibi" (1982), but the resolution to the mysteries Kinsey solves end up telegraphed pretty well in advance. What I like about Grafton's books is that she intertwines two or more seemingly unrelated stories that tie together in the end. Trying to figure out how the stories merge is a kick. Grafton's cast of supporting characters is fun. Kinsey's landlord, Henry and his brother William have supporting roles in this book. They are, as always, amusing foils for each other and Kinsey. One of my favorite characters makes an appearance mid-book, and I didn't see that coming.

    However, I was disappointed in how Grafton handled Bakersfield and Kern County. Grafton got the geography right, and the mutability of the community and its tendency to tear down homes, and rebuild. It's roots are in the oil fields that dot the horizon, and many people there are descendants of "Okies" who migrated during the Dust Bowl of the depression. It can be a roustabout tough place. Where Grafton missed is the music. Bakersfield natives are proud of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, Merle Haggard, and the other musicians that created the "Bakersfield Sound" of the 1950s. There's still a tremendous amount of support for local musicians so it wouldn't be surprising to find other talented local musicians playing in bars.

    As to the Audible - well, the voice actor's tone and pronunciation were fine, but the production quality was really off. I ended up listening to almost the entire book at 1.25 times speed. That's a first for me in over 200 Audible titles I've listened to.

    The title of the review is from the last line of every Millhone book.

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    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Sebastian Junger
    • Narrated By Richard Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (122)

    Man’s struggle against the sea is a theme that has created some of the world’s most exciting stories. Now, in the tradition of Moby Dick comes a New York Times best seller destined to become a modern classic. Written by journalist Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm combines an intimate portrait of a small fishing crew with fascinating scientific data about boats and weather systems.

    Ryan says: "Fact is better than Fiction"
    "Best as a Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story


    There are some books and stories that work best for me on Audible. Frank Mueller's narration of Erich Maria Remarque's"All Quiet on the Western Front" (1927/1929) was one - I somehow managed to miss it as assigned high school reading, and had no luck trying to actually read the text. I couldn't follow it until I listened. Stephen King's 2010 "A Good Marriage" was a so-so-so novella narrator Jessica Hecht turned into a wicked, memorable tease in 2014. Now, I'm adding Sebastian Junger's 1997's "The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea" (2014 Audible) to my list.

    "The Perfect Storm" was, at the time it was written, a newer approach to writing scientific history. Junger approached a historically significant natural phenomenon by telling the stories of those who lived through it - and those who did not. The book is liberally salted with meteorological history and contains thorough discussions of how storms develop and are sustained. It's interwoven with the personal histories of the people that sailed the seas during that epic storm, and the loved ones they left pacing on widow's walks.

    Swordfishing is a difficult life, and the crew of the Andrea Gail worked hard and played hard. Junger traces the lives of the crew members, concentrating especially on Bobby Shatford and his girlfriend, Chris Cotter. Their volatile relationship was a good analogy for the coming storm.

    Junger's writing can be dry, but Richard Davidson's narration made the statistics and history lively. Meteorological terms that were unfamiliar to me slipped off his tongue with ease.

    I will no longer feel guilty, thinking that I really should finish "The Perfect Storm" every time I dust the paperback that's been sitting on my bookshelf for more than a decade.

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    8 of 12 people found this review helpful

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