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John L. Walston

math prof

north carolina | Member Since 2012

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 22 ratings
  • 120 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • Billingsgate Shoal

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Rick Boyer
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    First, a fishing trawler runs aground on the Massachusetts shore. Then, a young scuba diver sent to investigate the wreck is found floating lifeless in the water. Doc Adams, the unhappy friend of the unlucky aquarian, has just been launched through the stormy seas and blood-flecked sands of the Cape Cod coast to plumb a murder he should have prevented. There he uncovers a hidden treasure in illegal arms and barely survives a near-fatal confrontation with a gun.

    Bull says: "Better writing than plotting"
    "Inconsistent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Avid sailors might get distracted by the nautical accounts. The author is obviously at home on sailboat.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Rick Boyer again?

    Some authors improve so, I will never say never.


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

    The narrator was not noticeable which means he did a good job. Unless a narrator is distracting, I really do not pay attention to who reads the book aloud.


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

    Disappointment. The beginning was so engaging, the characters interesting, the setting was great. The book just deteriorated into the most unbelievable storyline I have encountered in a while. The characters were inconsistent. They behaved in ways that could not be believed. The idea that an oral surgeon could be drawn into the situation was hitchcockian. I loved it. Then the protagonist began to behave inconsistently. I do not require characters to behave as I would but they should be true to their original description. They don't have to be rational but they should not change to degree Dr. Adams did. His original impetus was the murder of his son's friend. He was revealed to have an aversion to helping terrorists but nothing to prepare for his later obsession and his subsequent actions. His wife was all over the place too. The police, the army, the FBI characters were even close to believable. No rational explanation was given to pulling an oral surgeon into the case as a even a quasi-colleague. The bad guys behaved irrationally also. The godfatherish episode made no sense at all. They took unbelievable risks to keep an oral surgeon out of the investigation? The farmer who was not portrayed as an idiot, the reader was expected to believe did not know what was in his barn. The book began in such a promising way that I thought it would be a very good book. It was not.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Place: Dublin Murder Squad, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Stephen Hogan, Lara Hutchinson
    Overall
    (563)
    Performance
    (514)
    Story
    (511)

    "The Secret Place", a board where the girls at St Kilda's School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

    Pamela says: "Well...I really liked 50% of it"
    "Best so far from Ms. French"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Secret Place the most enjoyable?

    I hate questions like that. The plot was very engaging. The characters were very well drawn. I really liked the what the story was told.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    The plot did keep me very engaged with the dual mysteries. Who killed Chris and why and who posted the note and why.


    Which character – as performed by Stephen Hogan and Lara Hutchinson – was your favorite?

    The male detective.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The moment in which Holly decides she must help her friend by doing something completely against her nature.


    Any additional comments?

    I have not listened to a book that I enjoyed so thoroughly in a long time. The readers were terrific. The plot kept my interest from minute one until it was over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Moonpool

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By P. T. Deutermann
    • Narrated By Mel Foster
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (56)

    A private detective working in Wilmington, North Carolina, is found dead in a gas-station restroom, apparently poisoned. But when her body sets off radiation alarms in the pathologist's office, suspicion falls on the nearby Helios nuclear power plant, a heavily guarded facility with supposedly fail-safe procedures.

    Fiona says: "disappointing"
    "Horrible Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Moonpool?

    Let's see. I was disappointed in the plot, the action, the dialogue and the character development. The plot was outrageous. The action was unbelievable. The dialogue was silly. The characters were cardboard cutouts.


    Has The Moonpool turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. I like the genre still.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Too much effort to create voices for the characters.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Moonpool?

    Chapters 1-26


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this book only because it was recommended by someone whose tastes match mine somewhat. I cannot imagine what he likes about this series. I do not mind protagonists who are not geniuses, but I prefer it when they are deliberately drawn as not too bright. Cam Reichter does the dumbest things for no apparent reason other than to create a cliffhanger. He goes into a greenhouse that he knows is filled with poisonous snakes for no given reason. He goes down a path, encounters a trip wire triggering something dangerous. What does he do the first chance he gets, he traipses down another path in the same woods following the same man and ends up hanging upside down. It is never clear why he chooses to walk into trap after trap set by a man he knows is dangerous and apparently much smarter than he is. Deutermann's action ignores physics and human capability. He does not appear to have ever been in a forest, seen a pine tree. I actually got The Cat Dancers by the same author and this one at the same time. I did not like The Cat Dancers but thought it was his first book and maybe he got a good editor and got better. He did not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Natchez Burning: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (35 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Greg Iles
    • Narrated By David Ledoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (648)
    Performance
    (577)
    Story
    (581)

    Raised in the historic southern splendor of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows of honor and duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor has been accused of murdering Viola Turner, the African-American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom, stubbornly invoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses to even speak in his own defense.

    Carolyn says: "Can't get past reader"
    "Bloated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I have no idea who might enjoy this book. Maybe people with short term memory loss; people who need to hear the same episodes and the same ideas repeated over and over and over. How many times do normal people need to hear that Penn is worried that the APB might be dangerous for his father?


    Would you ever listen to anything by Greg Iles again?

    Probably not.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I do not know how much my distaste for the book influenced my opinion of the narrator's performance.


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

    I was very disappointed. I have enjoyed the Penn Cage series up until this turkey.


    Any additional comments?

    This book seemed bloated to me. Too many characters really did not add much to the telling of the story. Too many things written about as though they were important and then abandoned. Why tell us about Albert's records in the fireproof underground records if they are not going to play a part in the book. Too many characters that behave like no one would ever act. If this is a prequel to another book, it is way too long. The action was not believable. Henry went from ICU to hero. Penn shot a tempered steel chain in two.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • When Will There Be Good News?: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Ellen Archer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (534)
    Performance
    (243)
    Story
    (245)

    On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever....On a dark night 30 years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound.

    Richard says: "Kate Atkinson pleases again."
    "My new favorite series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does When Will There Be Good News? rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Overall it is hard to say. It really makes no sense to say that it is better or not as good as say the Adrian Mckinty, Sean Duffy or Michael Forsythe books. But I can say it passes the 'am I sorry the book is finished' test.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    That is tough to say as well. Ms. Atkinson draws characters as well as any author I have ever read. Jo Hunter, Reggie and of course Jackson Brodie are so well drawn. They are very interesting characters. Reggie is the most sympathetic.


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

    No. But it was a terrific performance.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Jo Hunter manages to free herself and her baby was a real relief.


    Any additional comments?

    I really hope that Ms. Atkinson keeps Jackson Brodie alive and kicking. It would be interesting to see his back story fleshed out. Should be noted that I have not finished Left Early...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Lighthouse Land: The Lighthouse Trilogy, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    Overall
    (229)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (180)

    When Jamie’s mother inherits a small island and moves her little family from Harlem to Ireland, her troubled son sees a chance to start over, far away from the bullies and the pitying stares. Cancer has left Jamie without an arm or the will to speak. But Muck Island is no sanctuary, and it offers more than solitude and sea views. Jamie learns that he is heir to an ancient title—Laird of Muck, Guardian of the Passage—and certain otherworldly responsibilities.

    Kathy says: "Brilliant!"
    "Not Quite Harry Potter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about The Lighthouse Land?

    I know that it is intended for pre-teens but while the plot is okay, the action is really implausible. I could not help comparing it to the early books in the Harry Potter series. The kids' characters are just not consistent.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Probably the next Jo Nesbit book.


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

    Gerard Doyle in the Sean Duffy, Michael Forsythe series, makes listening to excellent books much much much more enjoyable since use of the Irish expressions are so effective delivered in an Irish accent. I much prefer listening to these books than reading them imagining an Irish accent. Mr. Doyle manages to enhance the experience without being obtrusive. He is my favorite narrator.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Lighthouse Land?

    I don't think that cutting scenes would fix this book for me.


    Any additional comments?

    none.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Dry Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Peter May
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (143)
    Performance
    (122)
    Story
    (124)

    What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose.

    adrienne says: "Delightful find! First of the Enzo Files"
    "Leopold and Loeb meet The DaVinci Code"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I guess if believable characters and a plausible plot are not important, a reader might enjoy the atmosphere. The book does have a sense of place.


    What could Peter May have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Have the protagonist act more rationally. I can take a certain amount of silliness if the character is drawn as a silly irrational person. Peter May created a forensic biologist who just does not act believably to me.
    Also he could have had more than one inevitable villain. Without the clues, the lady after her introduction was so obviously going to turn out to be the villain.
    The only writer who has ever pulled off the murder by a group was Agatha Christie and she made the victim so detestable that it made sense that a group decide to cooperate in the murder. May did not give any clues that the victim was hated so vehemently.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Simon Vance?

    Someone less dramatic. He rather took over the book by making every line of dialogue so dramatic.


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

    Actually, it was promising at first then I could not wait for it to be over.


    Any additional comments?

    The plot just made no sense. I think that is what bothered me most.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1325)
    Performance
    (1153)
    Story
    (1149)

    On a rainy November day, police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: a woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace.

    C. Vincent says: "Great narrator, unbelievable, never-ending story"
    "Horrible Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I honestly cannot think of anyone.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Nele Neuhaus again?

    Not unless I was forced to.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The performance was fine. The plot, the characters, the research all could have been much better.


    What character would you cut from Snow White Must Die?

    About half of them, randomly.


    Any additional comments?

    When I read books translated, I make allowances for slightly awkward phrases. It actually adds to the sense of place to hear technically correct but not commonly used words in dialogue and descriptions. Whoever translated this book did not do a great job though.

    I am aware that the book is set in Germany and that police procedures differ from country to country. But I find it difficult to believe that German police get indictments and let conspirators roam the village just because they must be free for the purpose of the plot. That they ignore people who have impersonated a police officer to destroy evidence until it is convenient to bring them in.

    Severe autism is the same in Germany as it is in the US I assume. The idea central to the plot that well to do family would allow a physician to give the kind of drugs the author would have the reader believe is absurd. The idea that the patient being given the drugs would behave as the author would have us believe is even more absurd.

    I assume prisons in Germany are not full of boy scouts. The protagonists comes after 10 years and is the biggest woosie on the planet. He is beaten up by guys and a girl. He does no behave the way any man who has served time in my humble opinion.

    I wanted to stop about half way through but the look-at-the-train wreck effect made me finish.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Open Season: A Joe Pickett Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By C. J. Box
    • Narrated By David Chandler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (742)
    Performance
    (596)
    Story
    (592)

    C.J. Box’s Open Season is a rare debut mystery that “immediately sets itself apart from the crowd” (Booklist). This thrilling novel stars Joe Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming who finds his life in danger after he looks into a murder investigation and discovers a conspiracy involving an oil pipeline and its threat to an endangered species.

    Bob says: "The start of an adventure!"
    "A Refreshing Detective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Open Season the most enjoyable?

    I have become a little tired of jaded, alcoholic detectives. Joe Pickett is a refreshing change.


    What other book might you compare Open Season to and why?

    None come to mind.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I guess the one where his daughter escapes to the woods.


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

    Nothing comes to mind.


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting story with a great setting. The underlying question about the environment versus the economy is handled well. The villain makes a compelling case for not sacrificing too much to keep near extinct species from becoming extinct.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • 11-22-63: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Craig Wasson
    Overall
    (18192)
    Performance
    (16187)
    Story
    (16145)

    On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King - who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer - takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

    Kelly says: "I Owe Stephen King An Apology"
    "Great Idea for a Book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Stephen King and/or Craig Wasson?

    Yes, I have read a lot of books by Stephen King. I liked Craig Wasson's reading of 11-22-63.


    If you’ve listened to books by Stephen King before, how does this one compare?

    No, This is second one I have listened to. I listened to Gerald's Game. This one was better I think.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Craig Wasson?

    Yes. Craig Wasson does a great job of enhancing the experience by creating different voices for different characters. However, it is a little distracting when he does what sounds like impressions. Having Jimmy Stewarts distintive voice and John Housman's voice changed my listening experience made me lose a little concentration on the dialogue.


    Did 11-22-63 inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, I stopped working on my time machine.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought the book changed after the story reached 11-22-63. It became even more fantastic. I was used to a certain level of belief suspension then had to ramp it up more.
    Uneven was the word I would use.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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