Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
I'm a prolific Audible.com customer (1,400+ books so far) but I tend to shy away from books about racism in America. But, every now and then, a book comes along which is honest, hard-hitting yet balanced and emotional. This is such a book. The characters, black and white, male and female, young and old, are well-developed and each tells his or own story from their perspective, which is then woven into the rich tapestry that is "Mudbound". Like the best-selling audiobook "The Help", African-American narrators are used here to depict the black characters, giving the overall narration of the book a rich, deep, resonance - like a good gumbo. I cannot stand audio books where white people try to imitate black voices - they always sound like the minstrel stereotypes so evident in modern depictions, saying stuff like "Jive turkey" and "Right on!", something I've never heard a black person say in all of my 62 years! While we as a people have learned to talk "proper", there's not a single actor who can accurately imitate our voices, especially from times where we were forced to keep our eyes averted and respond with a respectful "Yassuh, Massa". This book, which tells a moving story of what it was like living in the deep South after World War II, is only made better by the excellent production. Even when the African-Americans have to "bow down" to the white man with "Yo' is righ", Cap'n", it's done here with self-respect and a self-awareness which lets the listener know that we're just playing the white man's game. Only a black narrator can provide this level of accuracy. I've listened to way too many audiobooks - even classics - which are ruined by the narrator. Mudbound" is really a tale of prejudice and hate and unnecessary cruelty by one race to another. However, if one can get pass the pain felt by blacks and the embarrassment felt by whites of hearing "nigger" over and over and over again, and just listen to the rich depiction of the people, the locations, and the era, you will find a riveting book of human suffering and survival. Here the "good" white people are still honestly racist behind closed doors and the black people will be grinning in the face of white man while planning how to kill him. Nobody is all good or all bad - just like in life. It's rare to find a white author who thoroughly understands how blacks reacted and triumphed over such racist things like a black man risking his life in WWII, only to come home to his parents' sharecropping farm and be treated like an animal. (Somebody told Jordan how we react when talked to like a slave - if you DEMAND a glass of water, we'll get it from the toilet, all icy and cold, for you!) Here we are portrayed as a strong race who learned how to live with overt racism long after we were supposed to have equal rights. After finishing this book - I wanted to read a sequel and a prequel to this book. Or another such literary and audio masterpiece like "The Help" and "Mudbound". More, PLEASE!!!
I've been a Heyer fan ever since I read my first work by her, also the first romance novel in my 60 years of reading. Again, Heyer does not fail to deliver yet another charming and witty Regency era book. Usually she writs from the perspective of an independent woman of either noble or genteel birth. Here she gives a great account of an overly protected Duke who escapes his handlers to spend several harrowing, exciting and often dangerous days as "Mr. Dash of Nowhere In Particular". Narrator Phyllida Nash is magnificent as always. Great story!
GRIPPING?!? I don't think so! This is probably the most boring book I've ever listened to. This was an opportunity wasted by the author. A little-known subject matter which COULD have made a great story. All I got was a greedy privileged man who thought he was above the law. When caught, Edward Smiley got sentenced for a white-collar crime. Yet, he stole valuable antique maps with the "mens rea" of a street thug. Cat burglars, jewel thieves and even map thieves should be charming and charismatic. Smiley had the personality of a box of wood chips! Author Michael Blanding does nothing to raise this subject and this sociopath to the level of any intelligent person's interest.
This is the 3rd of this series that I've listened to. I enjoyed "Fatal Remedies" and "Doctored Evidence" so much that bought this one before finishing the 2nd one. (NOTE: All of the books in this series are not available in audiobook format. However, each novel stands on its own without much passage of time between them so the reader is able to jump around, even skipping several without much negative impact.).
This book plods along with usual slow pace that the author seems to embrace, with much "stage business" like describing a person flicking imaginary lint from his or her clothing or the biting the lower lip in a contemplative manner while pondering a question asked. The reader is given indepth descriptions of Venice and the customs and mores of all of its disparate citizens. One can almost smell the canals, the crush of humanity on a hot humid day, or the bouquet of a very excellent wine at a sidewalk cafe. We become one with main character, Commissario Guido Brunetti, and his colleagues at the police department. Several reviewers have complained about the unbelievable amount of time that the author spends on telling us about Brunetti's personal life with his wife and two teenaged children. I agree that it is a bit overdone but somehow doesn't take away from the real story of rampant criminal behaviors in Italy (from common pickpockets to the highest political arenas in the country), the investigation of complex crime plots and, finally, the successful resolution leading to arrests - although not necessarily CONVICTION, since that depends on the socio-economic status of the perpetrator(s). That's seems to be the only reason that Brunetti has a job at all! If not for him, every poor Italian or illegal immigrant charged with murder - especially the Africans - would be lynched in the center of the Venetian version of Times Square ("Tempo Piazza", perchance?) after a very quick, very unfair trial. But I like Commissario Brunetti, Venice, his family, and his intelligent way of solving crimes against very difficult obstacles, including his immediate supervisor. I've learned a lot about the country, and even more about great foods and wines from Brunetti's wife, a fantastic cook. I've even picked up a fair amount of Italian "survival phrases" in just 3 books. Narrator David Colacci is outstanding! He's a master at all of the numerous dialects and accents in Italy, plus France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Senegal, Sierra Leone, etc. - you name it, he can do it! All while reading in English with a decidedly non-regional American accent.
OK, that's my take on the overall series. As for THIS particular story, I was a bit disappointed. Usually the reader doesn't get the "reveal" until a few chapters from the end and even then, there's another unexpected plot twist. We are normally introduced to the murder within the first 20 minutes of the story. Next, we are "forced" - not in a bad way - to wade through hours of stage business, dozens of reoccurring secondary and non-reoccurring tertiary characters, needless dialogue, food preparation, plating, and devouring, in-depth location descriptions, police investigations (with much MIS-investigations from the higher-ups), Brunetti's illegal and often unethical undercover investigations with his personal team of "Untouchables" - until suddenly we all get the actual crime, why the murder (or murders) had to go down, and whom is responsible. Good stuff!
Here, the whole tapestry of the plot unravels within the first few paragraphs of the book. Follow me.....this is not a spoiler, just plain common sense that Sherlock Holmes' DOG could deduce: A broad daylight execution of a street vendor in Venice by two swarthy-looking guys recruited from Italy's version of "The Dirty South", i.e., Sicily. They use small caliber revolvers with silencers. The kill is up close, clean, and efficient. The victim is African. Once that tidbit is juxtaposed with the words in the title "blood" and "stone", it doesn't take a rocket scientist - or, in this case, a certified gemologist - to figure out where the story is going. The Mafia wasn't contracted over a bunch of knock-off Louis Vuitton purses! After the first 15 minutes, I was not desperate enough to salivate over the description of thyme-infused grilled skirt steak with creamy polenta and a glass of Badia A Coltibuono to commit an additional 8.5 hours to this book! No, grazie, i miei amici da Audible.com! Arrivederci!
If I hadn't wasted almost 15 hours for NO conclusion!
She could have wrapped this plot line up in THIS book, not force readers to waste another 15 hours listening to the next book in this series "Chosen To Die". By hour 5, I "Wanted To Die"!!!
Other listeners seemed to hate narrator Alan Nebelthau's fast pace. I'm really hard on narrators, yet that was not my problem with him. This book is written by a woman, about women victims and women detectives. Why use a male narrator? To distance the story from "chick-lit"? I can't imagine how anyone could get mixed up with the raw, grim subject matter. Nebelthau Is not bad but his craggy, "Tombstone" cowboy voice just doesn't fit.
Way too many to list here. Just let me say that I skipped Chapters 12 thru 23, inclusive. And I don't feel like I missed a thing!
This book could have been told in half the time. Interwoven separate plot lines were unnecessary and intrusive upon the main story. Then to slog through 15 hours of a jumbled story, only to find out that I have to buy ANOTHER book and slog through an additional 14 hours is just too much. I love book series - the listener/reader gets to become comfortable and knowledgeable about the main character along with several reappearing supporting ones. The only thing that changes is the crime/mystery/thriller - the detective solves each crime in each book and we move on together. I don't buy into "cliffhanger" novels where I go through hours of investigation and terror, only to NOT find out what happened. And, in the end, all of these different plot lines just don't align up right. By skipping most of this book, I still ended up where everyone else did - in a lot less time.
At first I had difficulty getting into this story. Mainly because it's about a rap artist charged with murder and the fact that I've worked in rap for 25 years as a consultant and songwriter. For me, it seemed like it was panning out to be the same misunderstood white person's idea of the rap genre and the people involved. In some ways I was right. But, for the less jaded, overall this was a good story with plenty of unexpected plot twists. The narration is perfect for this book - usually a major complaint for me.
I've read a kazillion true crime books but this is hardly a really good one. This is less about the horrific murder of a young teen than it is an indictment of the family and friends on what is allegedly a bucolic Long Island neighborhood. The possible murderer takes a back seat to the uncivilized, animalistic actions of the victim's family in the wake of the crime and the people who lived on the street where the crime took place. As the wife of a murder victim, I can say first-hand that fighting among the families takes away from what a trial is all about: Justice For All. The adults' behavior was so outrageous that the listener completely forgot about the poor child who was murdered. Pass on this one.
THIS is the book to read for the stories behind HBO's "Pacific" mini-series. The show was based on this book and "Helmet For My Pillow", which I read first. It was so poetic, prosey and philosophical that the reader/listener doesn't really FEEL the horrors of war from the men who fought it on the ground, as "cannon fodder". Think of Shakespeare writing "Generation Kill": "Where the art thy going, Caesar? Can not thou see-eth that thy tank-eth hath sallied forth a mere 10 clicks from Angincourt?" That's literally how flowery "Helmet" was!
But here we get first-hand all of the horror and fear of the young men, many still in their teens, who are inadequately prepared mentally for such trauma. US Marine E.B. Sledge's name has been mentioned in quite a few of the books that I've read about World War II in the Pacific. It's easy to see why so many people had a great respect for the brave young man. I don't even need to watch the mini-series after this book. I'm glad that the other story involved didn't keep me from such a great experience!
The narrator is absolutely awful with her irritating nasal voice.
I didn't get that far. The narration made my teeth hurt after 30 minutes.
First, this is #25 of a series admirably narrated by Penelope Keith. Why change such a vital element of an audiobook? Great narrators make mediocre book much better. Keith gave Agatha Raisin a crochety jaded mature attitude - man mad and vain. This narrator makes Agatha sound like a teenager sucking on a helium balloon! The performance lacks depth and all of the characters sound alike.
I'm very, very disappointed in this book. I had to stop listening after a half hour.
I like the "on the ground" personal account but the overall story has too much prose and philosophizing.
Only if it wasn't written in this manner. The prose is overdone and gets in the way. Also I don't care for the author calling his comrades by nicknames: "The Chuckler", "No Behind", "Hoosier", "The Gentleman", Lt. "Ivy League", "Cincinnati", etc. We never learn the real names of these brave men. He tells of the sacrifice, bravery, and death of a Native American who was not only passed over for a posthumous medal by his country (yet, one was given to his blinded white assistant), but Robert Leckie disrespected the man by constantly referring to him as "The Indian", even after he was killed in the line of duty while killing dozens of Japanese soldiers.
Tom Hanks' introduction didn't have much impact on the overall story - it was, just that - an "introduction". James Badge Dale was the perfect narrator with his "boy next door" voice.
No. There is another book called "With The Old Breed" that was combined with this book for the HBO miniseries. I'll listen to that one - I heard that it is much better than this book.
This book makes a good basis for a miniseries but it lacks the visual aspect of film. The author talks about events or situations but doesn't really expand on them so I got the feeling that I was missing something. Also the flowery prose takes away from what could have been a much, much better WWII true account from the view of a Marine.
I can't even believe that ANYONE other than Agatha Christie would try to "write" a Hercule Poirot story! If an ordinary person could duplicate the genius of the most prolific mystery writer of all time, wouldn't we ALL try do it? I've read every Hercule Poirot mystery in print thus far. Some I bought in print version, then turned around and purchased the same titles on audiobook. I've read and listened to each Poirot book at least 5 times. I mourned when Poirot died in "Curtain: Poirot's Last Case" - a true literary masterpiece! So where did this out-of-chronological mess come from with no familiar or recognizable characters?
Let me see if I can tell prospective readers what is wrong with this book. Hmmmm.....how about EVERYTHING! Although Sophie Hannah was given the "blessing" of the Christie estate to complete an unfinished Christie work, it did not "bequeath" to Hannah Ms. Chrisie's awesome talent. The beauty of Hercule Poirot is his supreme confidence without being arrogant, his quiet dignity, and the well-known fastidious in his dress, toilette, and famous mustaches. Here he is depicted as over-bearing, conceited, and OCD. The narrator doesn't even come close to sounding like Poirot. Julian Rhind-Tutt can't seem decide if Poirot is French, Belgian, French-Canadian, Cajun, or black Créole! And who is that awful Scotland Yard person? Where is Captain Hastings? He and Poirot made a great team while this new "partner" is confrontational, disrespectful, and is always bumping heads with the great Poirot. Really, Whatever-Your-Name-Is from Scotland Yard? He's so unlikeable and forgettable that I didn't even bother to catch his name!
There are certain things in life that one doesn't mess with. NO ONE can sing "Respect" like Aretha Franklin, "Jailhouse Rock" like Elvis Presley, "My Way" like Frank Sinatra, dance like Fred Astaire, act like Bette Davis, smolder with sexuality like Elizabeth Taylor, or walk into a movie scene like Denzel Washington. There's no such thing as an "economy-priced" Maserati or a white boy who can rap like Eminem. There will be no more "wonders" like the Sphinx, Taj Mahal, or Grand Canyon. And no writer will ever be another Agatha Christie nor will there ever be a fictional detective to rival Hercule Poirot! Sophie Hannah must not have read "The Memo" about not messing with perfection - the rest of the literary world got it decades ago!!!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.