Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2007
I got hooked on author Charles Todd through is Inspector Ian Rutledge series. The Bess Crawford Mysteries are ALMOST as good, with the usual early murder in an unlikely location, followed by an amazing number of twists, turns, and red herrings which keep the reader off kilter until the very end. This is the 1st in the series. I say this so you don't start out of order. Each book can stand on its own but subsequent ones make reference to prior crimes.
Bess is the only daughter of a highly decorated British colonel who has chosen nursing on the battlefields during World War I, rather than a comfortable, if loveless, marriage to a gentleman of her class. While she lacks the training and knowledge of Rutledge (a well-educated member of London gentry who chose law enforcement before fighting as an officer in the same war), Bess' criminal deductive skills come from what I took as "female intuition", a bit of a condensending insult to women then and now. This choice by Todd gives the Bess Crawford series less of an overall impact, especially since it takes place before the acceptance of such rudimentary criminal forensics like fingerprints, ballistics, the information provided by rigor mortis and livor mortis - all which would become critical components just a decade later. Bess kinda "stumbles" her way into solutions with the full force of the considerable resources and access to military and government documents and databases provided by her father.
The narrator is out of league here. While Landor is great with Regency, Edwardian, and Victorian romance books, her range of voices and dialects is limited, especially with respect to males. All of her men sound like upper-crust fops talking like their buttocks are clinched so tight that a hungry man couldn't get a shilling from between the cheeks. A major flaw is with the dialogue between women of the same class. If more than 2 are talking, the normally irritating "Bess said" or "Lady Stiff-Upperlip remarked" is sorely needed just to keep your place or you'll find yourself rewinding repeatedly throughout the book.
That said, this series is still worth listening to. Try to get them on sale if you can and start with Bess Crawford before the Rutledge books. Comparatively, she is merely a tasty appetizer to Rutledge's outstanding main course. (NOTE: I will post this same review for the others in the series, only changing the chronological order.)
At first I was very pleased with this book. BUT that was while reading the FIRST story in the collection of twelve. "The Wallpaper" was as psychologically horrifying as the film "Psycho" or being INSIDE the Ingrid Bergman character's mind in "Gaslight". The story was well-crafted and creepy! However, NONE of the subsequent 11 stories even came close to it. The second story was confusing and the remaining 10 are just boring. The synopsis promised to deliver a book that "represents an important examination of 19th century attitudes towards women's physical and mental health". Well, the first story came through with flying colors - a tantalizing "appetizer" before an anticipated "meal" prepared by a Michelin star chef. "The Wallpaper" was like quail eggs with Kubbitz Dan caviar as the first course and the rest of the book served canned Spam! Ewwwwww! 😝👎
Probably if Kim Basinger wasn't narrating. Listening to her was like sticking a rusty fork in my eye!
No, it just continues to turn me off from Hollywood "actors" thinking that their skill set makes them into good book narrators.
As I've said a kazillion times before, I don't know why Audible thinks having actors narrate books will make the listening experience better. IT DOES NOT!!! I've wasted money listening to Elliott Gould ruin a Raymond Chandler classic and Samuel L. Jackson fumble a book written by a black author about black people in Harlem. The only A-List actor who has ever really impressed me as a narrator is Don Cheadle. Everyone else should just stay in Malibu or Manhattan or wherever their movie money allows them to live and leave audiobooks to the professional narrators. Kim Basinger reads this already boring story as if she reading a bedtime story to a 2 year-old. I fell asleep about 30 minutes in and I suffer from chronic insomnia! On top of that, I bought the book because it's supposed to be about Louisiana Créoles. Yet, Basinger can't speak French properly nor does she give the characters any depth because she doesn't know the Louisiana dialect or customs. She can barely get through the ENGLISH parts, stumbling and bumbling through sentences as if English is her second language. I'm glad I only paid about $1.99 for this mess in the Daily Deal. But I still may return it for my $2.00. At least I can buy a beignet on Canal Street with the money! Don't waste your time or your money on this one!
It shouldn't have been published for mass distribution. This would have been a good - not great - limited edition work from Ms. Gaynor as a personal gift for Christmas, a birthday, or some really intimate event "among family and/or really close friends". But, as a literary work, it just didn't make it for me.
Not unless Gloria Gaynor writes an honest and interesting memoir. I don't care about Carswell one way or the other. If she's a competent author, I'll give her another chance.
Any one who reads my reviews know that I go hard on authors who read their own books unless they are very good narrators FIRST! But I have no patience for anyone who thinks they can do EVERYTHING well! In this case, Gaynor's main talent was as a vocalist - a DISCO vocalist - with less than a SMALL handful of releases - and only one "serious" hit single in 1978. Albeit a disco classic and the rally cry of a generation of feminists and black empowerment. Nothing in that skill-set qualifies a 64 year old woman to be a narrator, especially in the fast growing audiobook industry. I would have listened about 15 minutes past the 30 minutes I wasted on this book if a qualified narrator had been onboard. Maybe..... Maybe not.....
Nope! It's just a sanitized "work" as useless as petals in the wind.
As a record business professional with a 45 year career span in R&B music, I try to support others in my profession. That's why I initially purchased this book without reading other reviews or putting in my usually due diligence. I thought Gaynor was presenting an interesting and novel slant on the tune which has been her theme song for over 35 years. But all I found is an attempt to get one last exploitive squeeze from a song which had its "moment in the sun" 3-1/2 decades ago. I don't have much patience for people who claim one song, composed from ANOTHER person's blood, sweat and tears, changed their life or was overwhelmingly inspirational. As a songwriter myself, I often get letters or emails from "fans" who claim to have been inspired or saved or emotionally supported by something I did a kazillion years ago. However, the idea of compiling all of those much-appreciated communiqués together into a book to be narrated by me and SOLD to others......well, I'm not quite that narcissistic - YET! 😄. (One of my more recent works is a cut by Lil Wayne on his Grammy winning 2008 CD "Tha Carter 3" and the EP "The Leak". Believe me, a lot more than 40 kids have been "inspired" by Lil Wayne and me to smoke that "Kush"! The emails and text messages I get now, while very entertaining at my "advanced age" of 64, are not the stuff of legend - much less in literature! Especially from fans under the influence of marijuana AND extolling its virtues in barely literate 160-characters-or-less "testimonials"!)
I was hoping that Gaynor would have taken this opportunity (and book deal) to give both old school and new school music lovers an intimate look inside the disco and R&B music era, not blow her own horn about one song in a dozen from that time. I just hope "inspirational" books by Helen Reddy ("I Am Woman"), Chaka Khan ("I'm Every Woman") or even James Brown ("Say It Loud - I'm Black & I'm Proud") aren't waiting to roll off the assembly line! 😝
Sorry, Gloria, as another Sister Girl out here trying to collect some last minute "scrilla", I can't recommend this book to anyone!
I loved this book! I just finished reading Andrew Peterson's latest Nathan McBride (#4) installment "Ready a To Kill". I was mad as heck! No sniper action until the book was almost over! But THIS assassin, Keller, is just like I love my assassins: deadly, dour, and incredibly funny. Block weaves a great tale here with plenty of killings. Keller goes about his job as if he works at the post office. He tries to act heartless but he's a killer with a bit of a conscious. If not actually sorry for taking folks out, he yearns to own a house with a yard for a dog. To sit in front of the television, watching HBO and doing crossword puzzles. Or talking for a full 30 minutes on stamp collecting. Yet he is a deadly killer! A charming unassuming guy who gets his targets to trust him, even inviting Keller to dinner. Then.....WHAM! No one saw it coming! And his partner in crime, the assignment "scheduler", a woman named Dot is the perfect "Charley" to his "Angel". Narrator Robert Forster is the perfect choice - although the author steps in for the next book. I HATE IT WHEN AUTHORS READ THEIR WORKS! But we'll see......
Andrew Peterson needs to take a page from Block's play book. I want a book about assassins who complete their assignments satisfactory, quick, and efficient. Not a bunch of generic ex-CIA snipers whom Peterson failed to take the time to develop. Now I'm on to the next book in this outstanding series! Well played, Block!
Liked Best: Not much.....except, maybe, the ANTICIPATION of waiting for this next installment to be released. After that, it seems like how I imagine a 35 year-old virgin bride must feel on her wedding night right after a long awaited event which turned out really, really bad! Like "Really? That's it? I gave up my great independent life for THAT?!", gesturing to the large lump in the bed snoring loudly next to her!
Liked Least: (1) The really hokey Latino accents; (2). Harve sounding like he's struggling to keep his dentures in; (3) The female characters sounding like they sucked helium, and (4) Nathan, Harve, and Estefan always being sarcastic, drawling out nonsensical answers to each other at inappropriate times. How are you in the middle of a COVERT special ops assignment but you keep talking back and forth to your boy with sarcasm, "asides", and other gossipy chitter-chatter like a pair of old women?
Oh, and the really long useless dialogue passages where nothing of substance is being discussed. It was almost as if Peterson had no real plot so he filled up almost 12 hours with rambling sentences that added nothing to the story. There were times when I wanted to scream "Puh-Leeez shut up, you two, and go kill somebody! ANYBODY!"
Hmmmm.....NO! I immediately loved the first book in this series and went right to second one. Number 2 wasn't as good but it was a 4-star effort. However, "Option To Kill" made absolutely no sense at all! A ex-CIA operative-assassin-sniper running around with a 12 year-old girl in tow while he indiscriminately shoots up a crowded shopping mall, then he takes her out in the middle of nowhere as his "wing man", teaching her how to guard HIS "6"? Where was Child Protective Services while this child witnesses murders in the company of a grown male she doesn't even know? All of this on the one weekend that Harve, a married FATHER, was unavailable! Like Nathan couldn't have waited 48 hours for his partner to assist him a dangerous assignment! Really, Andrew Peterson?
Dick Hill is one of my favorite narrators. However, I think he was as disappointed in this story as I was. He didn't even try to make any of the characters have a distinct personality of his own. It's obvious that he is able to do Latino or Spanish accents but, here, he just muddled the effort, as if he was bored with this production and didn't care how he sounded.
"Ready To Kill" needs an DO OVER! How can you follow up something that wasn't even a book in the first place? This is a series about snipers! Assassins! Expert killers! Yet neither of them fired a bullet until the book was more than 1/2 over! The story was so lame and the ending so laughable that where can this series go? Call the next book "About To Kill Andrew Peterson" if I waste another dollar!
Andrew Peterson is insulting listers and readers by publishing books and asking us to pay HIM for them. He seems to have lost the "mojo" that he had in the first Nathan McBride effort. He started off really great. Nathan and Harvey were likable, believable characters in "First To Kill". Then by Book 2, the story started slipping but, still, "Forced a To Kill" was pretty good. However, in "Option To Kill", the story line just fell apart, as if Peterson "had left the building" like Elvis Presley! This newest work is saying to us "Elvis has not only left the building but instead of coming back for a promised encore, he's sending in an impersonator!" So, all of you "Gullible Audible" customers, just pony up that $17.46 + tax so Andrew Peterson can get rich! COPY THIS, ASSASSIN ACTUAL: NEGATORY!!! 🔫👎😠
Most definitely! Normally I would never read a book about a military war written by a professional basketball player. I say "Play your position!" I'd already been through the period in my career when we tried to convince Shaq to keep his "day job" because he absolutely could not RAP! But I digress..... Kareem Abdul Jabbar did his research here and, as a result of due diligence, delivers "Nothing But Air" - ALL NET!! An amazing, amazing story not known to most black Americans, much less the world at large.
This is not just an emotional "we been done wrong" bleeding heart account. It is factual, well-written, and unbiased.
He is a black man and, probably without realizing it, adds layers of pride and dignity to an already heroic story.
The very end, the interviews with two of the surviving 761st Tank Battalion "Black Panthers". WOW! It brought me to tears!
This is a must-read for everyone who calls themselves an American. To hear about the bravery and sacrifice of men fighting for a nation that treated them like second-class citizens is appalling. Talk about hidden historical facts! These guys helped Patton win the war, even though he never acknowledged their contribution. (Patton died in a car accident the year after the war ended. See? God don't like ugly! ) The greatest tank battalion to ever fight in a war. They lost their lives to bring an end to Adolfo Hitler's reign of terror against the Jews and to gain the freedom of American, British, Australian and Danish soldiers being starved, beaten, tortured, murdered, and otherwise degraded by the Japanese in prisoner of war camps. To avenge the wholesale rape of Chinese women, the use of Chinese children as targets in "skeet shooting" by Japanese soldiers during the siege on Nanking. The enforced unpaid labor and killings of Chinese peasants by the Japanese throughout WWII.
Then these brave black American "citizens" returned home to sit in the back of buses, drink from "Colored" water fountains, be denied jobs, benefits, home loans and education for themselves and their children - the things given to every white veteran, many of whom saw no action at all.. Even while saving the lives of white soldiers, these soldiers were called "nigger" and "monkey". Yet they fought on with dignity, honor, respect and a bravery not borne from the support of a nation who treated them like second-class citizens.
The US claimed that they weren't smart enough or brave enough to be airmen so they were assigned to do a job that "no white man should be wasted doing" - to be boxed into what the military itself termed "iron coffins", huge unwieldy, untested rolling death boxes, often full of deadly carbon monoxide. Yet those black soldiers taught themselves how to drive and survive in those Sherman tanks, thereby being responsible for saving the lives of thousands upon thousands of white soldiers and officers. They had to fight another several decades to get the recognition they deserved. The records of their service and heroism were purposely destroyed because the government did not want it to be known how this country, allegedly the first democratic nation in the world, treated its citizens (and still does today) solely because of the color of our skin. These soldiers had to wait until the administrations of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton - long after most of the surviving members of the 761st battalion had passed away - to get their due. Or PART of it, anyway. White Americans should be ashamed to show their faces after such hypocrisy. I hope you all read this book written by a brother about the REAL "Band of Brothers"! Learn what it means to be a true American!!! 🇺🇸
NOTE: One of the original members of the 761st Tank Battalion was the first black professional baseball player, Jackie Robinson, who suffered racism coming and going! What happened to the "unalienable right that we were ALL created equal"? My bad! Those documents were written by men who enslaved men and raped women but still got to the President of this country! The same nation that tried to impeach Bill Clinton for cheating on his wife! None of our business! Hypocrites! 👎😠
Not being able to understand what's being said. Some of the Australian accents are just too thick. I thought it would be one narrator reading the first-hand accounts of the war.
I didn't get that far. I gave up after 30 minutes.
This is the soundtrack of a documentary film. It doesn't work as an audiobook. The survivors' accents are hard to understand. Then some are speaking over sound effects of bombing and shooting - maybe from an underlying film segment - and that only makes it all worse.
Most definitely. I thought I could rely on a good read based on George R. R. Martin's name. But I have no idea what this compilation is supposed to be about. It's a mish-mash of stories which otherwise never have been published.
I was very, very disappointed in the book. Promised much, but delivered little.
This book seems to be a way for each writer to blow his or her own horns about what awards they've won, what books they've written and which books they are working on. In some cases, the laudatory prefaces are more interesting than the actual stories. I had to give up on this before I finished Part 1. AWFUL!
There's no way THIS production is better than anything, much less the print version! It is poorly produced and badly narrated. I would rather have READ this book than listen to it.
Overall, the book is well-researched, going into detail about many areas of organized crime, often overlooked in other books.
First, this book is about AMERICAN organized crime, so why wasn't an American narrator used? Is the author British also? I found it disconcerting to hear money described in "pounds" instead of dollars in several places. Also, there's something "Un-Mafia" about finding a body in "the BOOT of a car"! I was waiting for Al Capone on go "on holiday" or ask "When will tea be served?
But the major, major flaw here is in the production of the sound recording. I have listened to 2,000+ audiobooks and I have never EVER heard a narrator stumble, cough, take a long pause, and then start a sentence all over again! Plus he could barely pronounce the names of key figures or common words. This, on top of giving other words the British pronunciation when the subject matter is purely American.
Audiobooks cost way too much money for this lackadaisical level of production. Overall, this is a great account of organized crime, from it's very inception. However, I had to stop listening after just a few hours in because the flaws in the recording and narration became irritating. If I can spend my money or use a valued credit, why can't I be assured that Audible.com is giving me a well-made product? Audiobooks need some kind of quality control. With the ease and low cost of digital media, there is no excuse for this poorly produced book.
This is a book better served printed!
This is pure fact, much of it overlooked in other history books,. However this is the worst narrator ever, especially for a book that is entirely narrative with little or no dialogue.
Not at all! Amy Licence totally ruins this book. She reads way too fast, fumbles words, and mispronounces even more. Her voice is shrill, irritating, and lispy. The book had not been rated at all when I bought it but I figured how bad could a story about the Tudors be? Answer: VERY BAD AS NARRATED BY AMY LICENCE!
She's just not experienced enough. A more dynamic narrator like Nadia May, Wanda McCaddon or Simon Vance could have made this a 5-star read.
Yes, it could start with one on the Plantegenets as a prequel. The sex lives of the the rich and Royal is well told in the original book.
I could only take a few hours of this book due to the exceedingly bad narrator. Also the recording production is full of reverb which only exacerbates the narrator's poor performance. With another narrator, this could be a really good work. As it is now, it's not worth the credit.
Report Inappropriate Content