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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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  • The Ophelia Cut: Dismas Hardy, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By John Lescroart
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (173)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (150)

    Moses McGuire has good reason to be concerned about his beautiful 23-year-old daughter, Brittany. She moves quickly from one boyfriend to the next, and always seems to prefer a new and mysterious stranger to a man she knows something about. But her most recent ex, Rick Jessup, isn’t willing to let her go, culminating in a terrible night when Brittany is raped. Within 24 hours, Rick Jessup is dead, Moses McGuire is the prime suspect in the investigation, and Dismas Hardy has been hired to defend his brother-in-law.

    Jane says: "Entertaining but unconvincing plot resolutions"
    "Time to try something different now, Mr. Lescroart"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have been a happily entertained reader of this series for about 25 years now, initially in print, and then for the last 7-8 years in audiobooks. It is fair to say that I have loved this work. The characters of Dismas Hardy, Abe Glitsky and their supporting crew have almost become real humans to me. It does help that I live and work in the same area, both geographically and professionally, as these people do, but really, that's not a big part of the appeal of the series. Mr. Lescroart and Mr. Colacci are a perfect combination, with complementary skills and genuine affection for their characters. One thing that really appeals to me is the fact that Dismas and Abe and the others have what seem to be real lives, with births and deaths and marriages and the range of complications that all of us live through during our brief stay here on planet Earth. It would take an encyclopedic review to attempt to give you the flavor of Mr. Lescroart's primary accomplishments. So, I won't attempt that. You would be happily advised to listen to many of the prior books. They are legal thrillers, and Part II is often a bit slow going, as we get to slog through the trials, but even when things begin to get a little boring, our entertainers come up with something new and quirky, or particularly knotty, or emotionally fraught.
    The Ophelia Cut (not a good title, which might be a warning) centers on the rape of a young woman and the apparent revenge killing of the man by the young woman's father, Moses McGuire. Of course Dismas represents Moses at the trial, and I won't be a spoiler here about the end of the book. But, the book can at times be forbiddingly complex, and it often assumes that the reader is aware of the details of a massacre involving a number of the main characters here. The group of allies (Hardy, Glitsky, D.A. Wes Farrell, attorney Gina Roake, deceased attorney David Freeman) keeps a volatile secret amongst them. The exposure of this secret threatens them all, providing an underpinning of drama and intrigue to which only some of us readers can relate. In this book we are introduced to a city supervisor (Liam Goodman, whose chief clerk is the victim of the murder) a new chief of SF police, a Korean gangster and trafficker of human flesh named John Lo) and others. The plot gets spread out among these people too far, so that it is hard to keep all the players identified without a scorecard, so to speak. At times I felt a curious mix between boredom and a genuine interest in knowing how things turn out. I could have lived without the boredom, for sure. I think this is another result of the convention by modern novelists to make their books last a standard 300-350 pages in print, or about 12-14 hours in audio. Many younger writers are now shuffling off this mandate, thank goodness. As the late, great Elmore Leonard said, "I leave out the parts that people tend to skip." All writers should have this byword as a sampler knitted and framed on the wall of their writing rooms.
    At the end of the book there is a true deus ex machina, which tries our patience a bit because it is implausible, and clearly a desperation move by the defense team. All along I had been thinking, Mr. Lescroart, you have been wildly successful, beyond your most outrageous dreams, but it is time to stop now. Shift gears. I know that he has done that for a couple of earlier books which I haven't read. I get the impression that they weren't as well received as the Hardy/Glitzky books. By this point in his career, the author must be in a position to take truly meaningful risks in doing what he does. I challenge you, Mr. Lescroart, little pipsqueak that I may be: And now it is time for something completely different.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Fidelity

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (343)
    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
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    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
    (554)
    Performance
    (349)
    Story
    (344)

    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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