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richard

63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.

San Anselmo, CA, United States | Member Since 2006

26
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 21 purchased in 2014
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  • Drop City

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By T. Coraghessan Boyle
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    Overall
    (204)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (44)

    T.C. Boyle is hailed as "America's most imaginative contemporary novelist" (Newsweek). In 1970, a California commune pulls up stakes and moves to the harsh interior of Alaska. The members establish Drop City, a back-to-the-land town, on a foundation of peace and free love. But their idealism cannot prevent tension from rippling through the group. The results are anything but predictable in this honest, surprising evocation of a time period and its enduring beliefs.

    Lynne says: "Dig this..."
    "Magnificent, compelling: A masterpiece"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    TC Boyle has long been the American master of the short story. His novels, however, are oddly long, windy, wordy and boring...except Drop City. The book is thrilling, the narrator a perfect match. The characters are true, the plot a deeply felt adventure among man, woman and the earth. The beginning is a story of the '70's, set near Guerneville, California. A bunch of dropouts land there, living off the "fat of the land," i.e. the money that one of them has inherited from his uncle. They posture, get stoned and stay that way, make lame fun of the society that has produced them, eat organic everything and remain smugly absorbed in their world view, until Sonoma County discovers the filth they live in. When the bulldozers arrive, they repair to Alaska, naively led by Norm, the guy with the bread. The book grows in scope and ambition as they arrive, so ill-equipped to survive yet so proud of themselves that they fairly burst. Richard Poe tells the story with passion and empathy for these lost children, who could simply be "figures of fun," an expression Boyle has used about other characters in his work. In Alaska they find their fate, which in many instances is not pretty. They also find a couple, Sess and Pamela, who are living out the dream with bravery, courage, smarts and determination to spare. There are true villains and several true heroes. At the end, which you sincerely never want to come, you are so deeply moved by the talent of both Boyle and Poe that you immediately return to Audible looking for a sequel, something that Boyle has never done in his entire career, to my knowledge. Tortilla Curtain is his only other successful novel, I feel, and I hope Audible can get these two guys together again for that. For now, I am reverberating with the book's end, thinking about what will happen to Sess, Pamela, Marco and "Star." This work is up there among my four or five favorite audiobooks, and I will come back to it again and again. It gives me hope for the human condition.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Fidelity

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (342)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (134)

    When Phil Kramer is shot dead on a deserted suburban street in the middle of the night, his wife, Emily, is left with an emptied bank account and a lot of questions. How could Phil leave her penniless? What was he going to do with the money? And, most of all, who was he if he wasn't the man she thought she married?

    Jerry Hobart has some questions of his own. It's none of his business why he was hired to kill Phil Kramer. But now that he's been ordered to take out Kramer's widow, he figures there's a bigger secret at work - and maybe a bigger payoff.

    richard says: "Thomas Perry is, quite simply, brilliant."
    "Thomas Perry is, quite simply, brilliant."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The above is a quote from Robert B. Parker, a guy who should know. I am now in the process of reading all of Mr. Perry's novels, and I am sad to say that there are only a couple left. The man is remarkable, and again, Michael Kramer is the perfect voice for these amazing books. Mr. Perry is the opposite of formulaic. His creativity and inventiveness seem to know no bounds. This book starts with a killing, and takes almost the whole book to solve it. Through the book we get to know a number of people who are so much flesh and blood that we might actually know them in real life. The villains, however, are so scary that we are glad not to know them. Each time I listen to one of these, I just can't imagine how Mr. Perry is going to top this one, and yet, he does. At times here the suspense is literally unbearable. The plot quickens to the point where I had to put it down to make it last longer, if you understand. I was tempted to just sit and listen to the whole thing, but summoned up enough will power to let it be. Once again Mr. Perry writes with wit that is sometimes understated and sometimes just hilarious. He skewers a rich man who is also a monster, and also his sycophantic wife, and their lives of sheltered unreality. This man hires a killer to stalk the wife of the detective who dies at the beginning, and the contest between the two of them is a war of wills and wits. Emily is another extremely well drawn woman, something which Mr. Perry does easily while other male writers struggle with their inability to write nothing but cardboard women. At first I thought that The Butcher's Boy could not be topped. Now I know that Mr. Perry's talents are truly limitless. Enjoy yourselves. Mr. Perry cannot be beat.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Sixkill

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Robert B. Parker
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (148)

    On location in Boston, bad-boy actor Jumbo Nelson is accused of the rape and murder of a young woman. From the start the case seems fishy, so the Boston PD calls on Spenser to investigate. Things don't look so good for Jumbo, whose appetites for food, booze, and sex are as outsized as his name. He was the studio's biggest star, but he's become its biggest liability...

    Jean says: "SixKill"
    "Parker: a marvelous old friend who makes you happy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert B. Parker was one of this country's most prolific authors, in league with Elmore Leonard. Like Leonard, he simply wanted to entertain us, and he succeeded almost every time out. Likewise, Michael Prichard was an amazingly prolific performer (and may still be). And Joe Mantegna is also an incredibly prolific and likable actor and narrator. Choosing between these two narrators is like trying to choose between the best apple pie and the best peach pie: very hard to do. In Sixkill, Parker again puts Spenser in his usual slot: a very tough guy on the outside with a very tender inside. The dialogue is, as always, witty and brief. You start chuckling right out of the gate. Mantegna seems to have a little more trouble with the repetitive "he said, she said" stuff than Prichard. I seem to notice that less when hearing Prichard. Mantegna, OTOH, is a face many of us know from movies and TV, and his voice is that of a friendly guy who might live next door to you, who happens to be one of the best storytellers anywhere. The plot of Sixkill is really just an excuse for Spenser to act, to play the tough guy when he wants to and the tender lover of Susan Silverman when he needs to. Not that the plot is trifling: it is clever and tugs at your heartstrings, in some ways. Sixkill is a huge Indian who once played great football, but then fell down a terrible slide. Spenser takes him on as a project, and between Spenser and the talk-about-tough-but-silent Hawk, they reclaim Sixkill in a way that is very humane and caring. Parker was a genius. Both Prichard and Mantegna make him sound wonderful. I have only tried to listen to one book narrated by David Dukes, and I hated it. Sit down with Parker and have a great time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Butcher's Boy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (550)
    Performance
    (345)
    Story
    (340)

    Thomas Perry's Edgar Award-winning debut novel follows a professional hitman on the run from both the mafia and the government.

    richard says: "A writer with extreme talents."
    "A writer with extreme talents."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is Mr. Perry's first book, originally published in 1982. Although it's a little dated (a full gas tank, 12 gallons, for $10!) that is the only flaw I can find. Michael Connelly, one heck of a writer himself, has written an introduction to the book, which accurately describes Perry's awesome talent and assuredness. Connelly uses the word "velocity" as a description of plots that delight us, and this is the perfect word for Perry's plot. There are only two main characters, the unnamed professional hitman, and the Justice Department agent Elizabeth Weiser, plus many other characters. Perry cleverly alternates chapters between these two characters to hold our interest, and this is a very successful suspense device. The book flies by. The hitman takes on the Las Vegas mafia families single-handedly, and you believe that he can manage it. He is no non-human superhero, though. He is believable in every way. Likewise, Elizabeth is also a real human being, in the field reluctantly for the first time, and simultaneously doubtful and self-confident. You just have to read Perry's work to see how smoothly he creates these characters. He also sees Las Vegas as what it is, or was thirty years ago. The narration is flawless. Mr. Kramer understands the writer, and has narrated all of Mr. Perry's books. He is fluid and entertaining. He builds the suspense for us. You can never guess the plot's twists and turns. You will at one moment fully suspect that someone with a gun will sneak in the door, and then Mr. Perry surprises you. Even Elizabeth is surprised and hoodwinked. This is a terrific book, and I am sure that I will eventually listen to all of Mr. Perry's books. Great entertainment!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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