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MidwestGeek

ratings
394
REVIEWS
88
FOLLOWING
14
FOLLOWERS
9
HELPFUL VOTES
175

  • Hidden Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (487)
    Performance
    (416)
    Story
    (410)

    Six months ago, Lucas Davenport tackled his first case as a statewide troubleshooter, and he thought that one was plenty strange enough. But that was before the Russian got killed. On the shore of Lake Superior, a man named Vladimir Oleshev is found shot dead, three holes in his head and heart, and though nobody knows why he was killed, everybody - the local cops, the FBI, and the Russians themselves - has a theory. And when it turns out he had very high government connections, that's when it hits the fan.

    Ed says: "Davenport is all business in this one"
    "Well written and read but not a great plot."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Book #15 in the series of 22 featuring Lucas Davenport, this was my first exposure to Lucas Davenport, having picked up the book on sale. He sounds like an interesting character, but the mystery doesn't really hold together well. A 50-year-old communist cell in northern Minnesota consisting of members of several clans but previously undiscovered in a region where historically Socialism had taken root? Unknown to the FBI? A grandson brainwashed by his kooky grandfather, apparently willing to do whatever it takes to further the cause? Structurally, you need to accept that an important character in the beginning and end but apparently incidental to the plot withheld the key to the case only to reveal crucial elements when Lucas was stuck. Nevertheless, I liked the internally incompletely resolved conclusion. Will the case reach full closure in connection with a later book in the series? The writing is good; I'd be willing to give another Sandford book a try if the story had an average rating of 4+ by others.

    I'm glad that a previous reviewer (Adry) mentioned a background noise that sounds like another story or radio--too faint to be understood but loud enough to be distracting, especially during pauses in the reading. This is the first Audible book that I found to be technically flawed in this way.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Sun Is God

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Adrian McKinty
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Colonial New Guinea, 1906: A small group of mostly German nudists lives an extreme back-to-nature existence on the remote island of Kabakon. Eating only coconuts and bananas, they purport to worship the sun. One of their members, Max Lutzow, has recently died, allegedly from malaria. But an autopsy on his body in the nearby capital of Herbertshöhe raises suspicions about foul play.

    Carrie Arnold says: "Fascinating story!"
    "Great prose, but not a great story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a work of historical fiction about a relatively minor episode in the history of New Guinea, although it does provide a glimpse of what German colonialism was like in 1906. I've read all McKinty's mysteries, and this novel is quite different. Although I thought his prose was often as fine as usual, the story itself isn't all that exciting. Some of the characters were interesting, although I couldn't tell how much of their personalities were figments of McKinty's imagination. I love listening to Gerard Doyle, so between his narration and McKinty's writing, I found the book enjoyable. Thankfully, it wasn't too long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Calling Me Home: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Julie Kibler
    • Narrated By Bahni Turpin, Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (322)
    Performance
    (290)
    Story
    (292)

    Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a big favor to ask her hairdresser, Dorrie. She wants the black single mother to drop everything and drive her from Texas to a funeral in Ohio - tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious about Isabelle’s past, agrees, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives. Isabelle confesses that, as a teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family’s housekeeper - in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship and its tragic consequences just might help Dorrie find her own way.

    Alexandria Milton says: "I really wanted to like it"
    "Terribly disappointing, both story and narration."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    It's rated 4.4 currently, so it's clear this book appeals to many people. I don't understand why. Maybe some young adults would be more sympathetic, but I think more likely, they would just roll their eyes.


    What was most disappointing about Julie Kibler’s story?

    First of all, the story was out of the 40's and 50's. Had it been written then, maybe it would have been novel. By now, it's old hat. I don't think it spoils anything to say that the story of a young, introverted, white girl falling for a perfect black boy has been done before and better.Secondly, it dragged on interminably, flashbacks by the white woman, present time by the black woman, who somehow was enchanted with the old lady's life. I listened for 2.5 hours before asking myself why I was wasting my time. I read a few spoilers on GR to see if the plot developed as I anticipated, and I was right. I wasn't going to get anything more out of this book, so I quit.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Bahni Turpin and Lorna Raver ’s performances?

    I might be willing to give them another try, but Lorna Raver's portrayal of Isabelle drove me nuts. Bahni Turpin was ok.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    As a morality tale, it's ok, but do we need another superficial rendition of this theme?


    Any additional comments?

    I don't understand the high ratings that this has received. I know lots of people foreswear writing negative reviews--look at the most liked review by Alexandria Milton. It is fair but negative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Motive: A Dismas Hardy Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By John Lescroart
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (90)
    Story
    (88)

    It starts with a double homicide. Because of the high profiles of the victims - a politically connected socialite and his glamorous fiancée - the mayor of San Francisco herself demands that a high-ranking detective be put on the case. And so Abe Glitsky is thrust into the controversial investigation.

    Ed says: "Last hour lost it a star"
    "One of the best of the great Hardy-Glitsky series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a great mystery story. Although there are enough hints to anticipate the big surprise, it didn't detract from wanting to find out who and why! Readers new to the series are likely to get bored with all the details of the Hardy and Glitsky families, but if, as I do, I find their relationships and histories interesting and realistic, you won't mind. Further, the characters age and change, so it is best to read most of this series in sequence.
    Colacci does his usual excellent work as narrator. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Good Behavior: A Dortmunder Novel, Book 6

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Donald E. Westlake
    • Narrated By Brian Holsopple
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    It was supposed to be a simple caviar heist. Dortmunder is almost in the building when the alarm sounds, forcing him up the fire escape and onto the roof. He leaps onto the next building, smashing his ankle and landing in the den of the worst kind of creature he can imagine: nuns.

    MidwestGeek says: "One of the best in the Dortmunder series."
    "One of the best in the Dortmunder series."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy the whimsical series about career criminal Dortmunder and his doing right by attempting wrongdoing. This is one of the most amusing of his capers, and his ability to escape from tight spots is seriously challenged. I found the narrator pleasant to listen to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Patience of the Spider: An Inspector Montalbano Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Andrea Camilleri
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (47)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    Set once again in Sicily, The Patience of the Spider pits Inspector Montalbano against his greatest foe yet: the weight of his own years. Still recovering from the gunshot wound he suffered in Rounding the Mark, he must overcome self-imposed seclusion and waxing self-doubt to penetrate a web of hatred and secrets in pursuit of the strangest culprit he’s ever hunted.

    MidwestGeek says: "Enjoyable but not up to usual standards."
    "Enjoyable but not up to usual standards."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Camilleri's mysteries about Inspector Montalbano but this is a fun read, it is below average for this series. Who the villain is isn't too hard to figure out, although his precise motivation remains hidden for a long time. Grover Gardner performs his usual high quality narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Ranger: A John Wells Novel, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (418)
    Performance
    (380)
    Story
    (376)

    Four friends, recent college graduates, travel to Kenya to work at a giant refugee camp for Somalis. Two men, two women, each with their own reasons for being there. But after twelve weeks, they’re ready for a break and pile into a Land Cruiser for an adventure. They get more than they bargained for. Bandits hijack them. They wake up in a hut, hooded, bound, no food or water. Hostages. As a personal favor, John Wells is asked to try to find them, but he does so reluctantly. East Africa isn’t his usual playing field.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Wells is finally moving out of the desert"
    "A transparent, high-tech thriller, well read."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first of Berenson's novels I've read. If you like the sort of thrillers in which the only suspense is how the (super)hero will defeat his adversaries, then you probably will enjoy Night Ranger. I prefer stories with mystery in addition to adventure in which the identity of the villain and other adversaries isn't known. It was clear from the outset that Wells would somehow succeed; it is only a question of how. In this case, the high-tech superiority of the USA combines with Wells's cleverness and fighting skills to overwhelm relatively primitive, youthful Somalian militia. It is sort of believable but not at all surprising. The narrator George Guidall is one of my favorites.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Thomas Hager
    • Narrated By Adam Verner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (646)
    Performance
    (526)
    Story
    (523)

    At the dawn of the 20th century, humanity was facing global disaster. Mass starvation, long predicted for the fast-growing population, was about to become a reality. A call went out to the worlds scientists to find a solution. This is the story of the two enormously gifted, fatally flawed men who found it: the brilliant, self-important Fritz Haber and the reclusive, alcoholic Carl Bosch. Together they discovered a way to make bread out of air, built city-sized factories, controlled world markets, and saved millions of lives.

    sarah says: "Riveting"
    "Science, technology, personalities entangled."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like Hager as a science writer. I had not known much about the Haber-Bosch process or its developers. It illustrates that, as usual, scientific and technological progress is a double-edged sword with potential for both good and evil. Of the two main characters, I found Bosch the engineer/businessman to be the more admirable, however brilliant a chemist Haber may have been. The narration is good, except that certain scientific or German words are completely mispronounced.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2219)
    Performance
    (2003)
    Story
    (2005)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Annie M. says: "Time well spent"
    "Nice story but events disjunctive and pacing slow"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked the concept of the book. Chapters alternate between the PoV of the German boy and the French, blind girl, whose destinies ultimately intersect. Events were not presented chronologically but were also not simply a flashback or two, so it was sometimes hard to follow. After a certain point, the story kind of dragged. I have the feeling that the emotional impact of the book would have been greater if it were shorter. Nevertheless, the painful experience of growing up during the late 30's and 40's comes through clearly. The prose is very good; descriptions are vivid and lifelike. I could have done without the fantasies and dream sequences.
    The narrator did a very good job. I wonder whether I would have finished without it.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (12731)
    Performance
    (11664)
    Story
    (11729)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    "Love means never having to say you're sorry."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am far from being a YA, but I was sucked in by all the hype about this book even being a pleasurable read for adults. I have mixed feelings about it. Some of the prose is very good, and some of the scenes and dialog are funny. However, I felt the plot was by design manipulative of the reader's emotions, so much so that it was often hard to take seriously. Do teenagers today really talk like these protagonists? The plot was so predictable. It reminded me of the hugely successful "Love Story", a 1970 novel and movie by Erich Segal, from which my title was taken. When I read that book, I thought that it was a parody of romance novels, and, in fact, I recalled reading that some thought that was Segal's original intent. (Searching the internet, I find no evidence of that. Trick of memory?) I'm sure that John Green did not intend this to be satirical, but it was so overdone....

    Had it not been for Rudd's excellent narration, I probably would not have finished it.

    This is the second attempt at reading Green, the first being "An Abundance of Katherines." This one is better, but I doubt I'll try any others.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Unleashed: Andy Carpenter, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By David Rosenfelt
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (501)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (429)

    Andy Carpenter's accountant, Sam Willis, receives a surprise call from Barry Price, a friend he hasn't spoken to in years. Barry needs Sam's financial acumen and Andy's legal expertise. But when Sam almost runs over an injured dog on the way to Barry's house, he can't drive off without waiting for help. By then, Barry's taken off on a private airplane headed to who-knows-where. Soon after they learn that Barry's plane has crashed, and they come to the terrifying realization that Sam was also supposed to have been killed on that plane.

    Richard says: "Didn't see that coming"
    "Fun read; good mystery, hokey ending."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoy the recurring characters, and this followed the usual pattern of earlier books in the series. I like Andy Carpenter's sense of humor, but I'm sure it is not for everybody. This is a better mystery than most, but I found the ending contrived. Still, it was a fun read (listen).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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