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Linda Lou

Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

Cave Creek, AZ USA | Member Since 2014

ratings
1388
REVIEWS
241
FOLLOWING
5
FOLLOWERS
177
HELPFUL VOTES
1585

  • Last to Die: A Rizzoli and Isles Novel, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tess Gerritsen
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1182)
    Performance
    (979)
    Story
    (1003)

    For the second time in his short life, Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Two years ago, he barely escaped when his entire family was slaughtered. Now, at 14, in a hideous echo of the past, Teddy is the lone survivor of his foster family’s mass murder. Orphaned once more, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn - until the Boston PD puts Detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Determined to protect this young man, Jane discovers that what seemed like a coincidence is one part of a killer’s mission.

    Kathryn says: "My inner voice said..' Are you sure you want to?'"
    "NOT FOR ME! AWFUL & IMPLAUSIBLE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Tess Gerritsen and/or Tanya Eby?

    Not in this lifetime! I find it very difficult to believe that there are actually NINE books which proceed this one!!! One would hope that an author would get better with each successive book in a series. I'd be scared to see what Book 1 is like.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tess Gerritsen again?

    Only if she just READS the book.


    What didn’t you like about Tanya Eby’s performance?

    She cannot do male voices or different dialects except the already grating Boston accent.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Last to Die?

    Probably everything from Page 1 until THE END!!!


    Any additional comments?

    This book might be okay for some listeners but I've read much, much better books in this genre. Everything part of this story is just stupid, improbable, and implausible. Plus the tired old cop duo is just dated. Once again, it's the female homicide detective partnered with - pick one: a) another homicide detective; b) forensic psychologist; c) medical examiner; or d) criminal profiler; or, e) investigative journalist - all female. Then these women do dumb stuff like in D-movies where they see a door that says "CAUTION! Do Not Open! A Killer With An AK-47 Is Hiding Inside!" but they open the door anyway. Or they see blood dripping from every window in a darkened house and instead of running the other way, they slop through the blood, open the front door, and trill all cheerily "Helloooo! Is there anybody there?" STUPID!! In this book, the listener can easily recognize clues and figure out what they mean while these alleged professionals just overlook them. The ending was so ridiculous that I wanted to kick myself for hanging in until the end, hoping against hope that this author would pull this mess together. I'm sure there are people who like what I can only describe as "criminal Dr. Seuss" (this story is sooooo juvenile that "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" made a better crime mystery! In fact, the Grinch makes this killer look like Santa Claus!) There are some people who like a baked potato with nothing on it. Personally, I'm a "fully loaded" kinda gal - gimme me crime mysteries with salt, peppermint butter, chives, bacon bits, shredded cheddar, and a big ole dollop of sour cream on top!!! A totally bland book or baked potato is just not for me!

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Alex Kotlowitz
    • Narrated By Dion Graham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (56)

    This national best-seller chronicles the true story of two brothers coming of age in the Henry Horner public housing complex in Chicago. Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers are 11 and nine years old when the story begins in the summer of 1987. Living with their mother and six siblings, they struggle against grinding poverty, gun violence, gang influences, overzealous police officers, and overburdened and neglectful bureaucracies. Immersed in their lives for two years, Kotlowitz brings us this classic rendering of growing up poor in America’s cities.

    SarahG says: "My life was changed by reading this book."
    "A DEPRESSING ACCOUNT OF REAL LIFE IN THE U.S."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Here is yet another really depressing story about black people in this country who are doomed from birth. Alex Kotlowitz tells a compelling tale of 2 young children, Lafayette and Pharoah Rivers, trying to survive with their parents, siblings and peers in one of the worse project in the country - Chicago's Henry Horner public housing.

    My parents also moved into the projects in Washington DC in the 1950s, the same time as the family of the mother of these boys. LaJoe Rivers and I are about the same age. However, I wasn't subjected to becoming the second generation of my family living in the projects after the country stopped caring about the inner city war zones created by the government. At the age of 8, my mother and father were able to move us into a single-family home in an upper middle class neighborhood, where I went to school with the children of DC's "black aristocracy" such as the late Dr. Earle Matory, high profile criminal defense attorney Theodore V. Wells, and Dr. Drew Tuckson. As a result, I went on to college and law school. But my parents were in a city where black people could find work - my mother as a civil servant in the federal government and my father in maintenance at Howard University. We weren't well off but we had food, clothing, and a clean home owned by my parents. My father's tenure at Howard enabled me to get a first class education, tuition free.

    However, the young children in this book didn't have a chance, growing up in a complex controlled by rival gangs and abandoned by the city. Children were subjected to seeing their young friends shot down during open air gun fights in the wretched playground or killed in cold blood by over-zealous police officers. By the age of 14, the children of the Henry Horner projects had been to more funerals than weddings. Narrator Dion Graham is his usual magnificent self, giving us a great sense of the hopelessness and helplessness felt by young Lafayette and Pharoah, both really bright young children.

    This book was made into a film in 1993 by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios. While I appreciate Ms. Winfrey's short-term interest in the appalling living conditions in her home town of Chicago, I'm question her motivation since she took the role of LaJoe Rivers, the boys' extremely beautiful and tiny but overwhelmed mother. With Winfrey looking just like a stereotypical "Madea" welfare mother with 8 children, I didn't really get LaJoe's frustration in having to raise her kids in such an awful environment. With her looks, in another situation, she might have been able to break the cycle of poverty. Unfortunately, like the critically acclaimed HBO series "The Wire" (which depicted a drug infested project in Baltimore MD - just 45 minutes away from the nation's capital - in which young black children were just thrown away like garbage, neither this book nor the film got much exposure. They are just too real and too embarrassing. These stories make white people uncomfortable. Accordingly, they would rather watch fantasy Mafia shows like "The Sopranos" rather than accept that our children are being raised in war conditions similar Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Anyway, this book ends like all such stories of this kind. It is sad and disheartening to know that the most wealthy country in the world created, cultivated and perpetuated an environment where politicians made it impossible for these people to break free of a condition which is the same as slavery. Only now, black people are not making this country rich with the exportation of cotton, picked and baled on with the blood, sweat and tears of an enslaved, oppressed, raped, and murdered race. Even after freedom, blacks were denied the same rights as other citizens who came here more than 200 years after us. Now the United States has no use for us. Yet it refuses to accept the fact that it has bred a generation after generation of black men who either die before age 21 or who are incarcerated for life. This is a journey into the abyss for Lafayette and Pharoah.

    I'm confident that many people won't like my review. But I always tell it like it is - from front to BLACK. However, as negative as my review may sound to the readers with selective liberalism, with intentional blinders on their eyes, and who want to hide with from the truth with their heads in the sand when it comes to what American is REALLY about, the end result is that this book is a keeper. Read it and weep....... I know I did.......

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Death Comes to London

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Catherine Lloyd
    • Narrated By Susannah Tyrrell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    With the reluctant blessings of their father, the rector of Kurland St. Mary, Lucy Harrington and her sister Anna leave home for a social season in London. At the same time, Lucy's special friend Major Robert Kurland is summoned to the city to accept a baronetcy for his wartime heroism. Amidst the dizzying whirl of balls and formal dinners, the focus shifts from mixing and matchmaking to murder when the dowager Countess of Broughton, the mother of an old army friend of Robert, drops dead.

    Sara says: "A Delightful Story of Murder in London 1816"
    "WRONG NARRATOR!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story about 2 young women in London for the season, looking for husbands. Then why does the narrator sound like Miss Marple?!?! I couldn't finish it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lamentation

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By C.J. Sansom
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Summer, 1546. King Henry VIII is slowly, painfully dying. His Protestant and Catholic councilors are engaged in a final and decisive power struggle; whoever wins will control the government. As heretics are hunted across London, and radical Protestants are burned at the stake, the Catholic party focuses its attack on Henry's sixth wife - and Matthew Shardlake's old mentor - Queen Catherine Parr.

    Linda Lou says: "GREAT HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES"
    "GREAT HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 5th book in the series I've listened to. Well researched and masterfully narrated. I look forward to future books like this from CJ Sansome. A big thumbs up!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Accidental Empress

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Allison Pataki
    • Narrated By Madeleine Maby
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (8)

    The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe's most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.

    Linda Lou says: "TOO LONG, TOO SILLY, BAD NARRATION"
    "TOO LONG, TOO SILLY, BAD NARRATION"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this would be a more serious account of Empress Elisabeth but it's like a way too long fairy tale. The narrator is really bad. There are so many characters and accents, male, female and children, that it becomes confusing. Really awful "chick lit".

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Drink Before the War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (442)
    Performance
    (378)
    Story
    (382)

    With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Great beginning to thriller series"
    "UNREALISTIC"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I expected more from the author of "Shuuter Island" - although, in that case, the movie is the rare example of being much, much better than the book. But this book made no sense at all. It's about a private investigator who somehow gets himself in a war with local black gang members. This is Boston, not South Central, but I have never seen, known, read about or had any knowledge of any black gang - much less black people - who act like we are depicted in Lehane's book. It's as though he's never met a black person in his life, much less a gang member. The interaction, dialogue and speech patterns are so wrong. Is this Lehane's fantasy idea of our people?. Surprisingly, the only likeable (?) and well-developed character in the entire book is an overtly racist redneck guy named Bubba!

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • NYPD Red

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Marshall Karp
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini, Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (990)
    Performance
    (836)
    Story
    (842)

    It's the start of Hollywood on Hudson, and New York City is swept up in the glamour. Every night, the red carpet rolls out for movie stars arriving at premieres in limos; the most exclusive restaurants close for private parties for wealthy producers and preeminent directors; and thousands of fans gather with the paparazzi, hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous and beautiful faces in the world. With this many celebrities in town, special task force NYPD Red is on high alert - and they can't afford to make a single mistake.

    Ann M. Lambert says: "one of the best, if not the best audio books ever"
    "MUCH BETTER THAN I EXPECTED"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although I've always been a voracious reader, Jame Patterson never did it for me. Maybe because I started with one of the books in the Alex Cross series, "Roses Are Red". It took place in Washington DC and the main character, Cross, is black. I am black - born and raised in DC - a graduate of Howard University. I have a child who is a career police officer. Maybe it was just me, over-thinking it, and having way too much intimate knowledge, combined with the constant hype about the author, which caused me to not really be blown away by my first foray into the Patterson repertoire. But I hung in there and next tried "Violets Are Blue". It was actually worse! So I was done with James Patterson years ago!

    However, I picked up this book in one of Audible's clever "Discover A New Series" promotions (which have cost me HUNDREDS of dollars in the past!). Here, we are presented with a male and female detective team, part of an "elite" task force, NYPD Red. I don't know how ELITE these cops are - they just seem to be doing their jobs, with the focus on the "1%ers" (and I'm not referring to motorcycle gangs). These cops waste much needed resources on the rich and famous in an era where police officers are over-worked and underpaid just trying to keep the peace among regular citizens. But, I digress....over-thinking again! For sheer LIGHT FLUFFY entertainment, this story was pretty good, although implausible in some places - kinda like a Marvel comic book. Nothing too intelligent, just a great ride. The plot line is thin but there are twists, turns, and surpises with well-crafted dialogue. There IS a co-author here, Marshall Karp. Ghostwriter? Protégé? Whatever - he does add a different, albeit subtle, component to the overall effort.

    The narration is good, considering the different races, ethnicities and accents involved. My only complaint is with the head of the team, a black female captain who always talks like she's delivering Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. Just imagine Dr. King in line at Starbucks, ordering an expresso con panna, shouting "I'LL HAVE A CREAM!!!" Hey, Rev! We got you! 😄

    This is not a story as exciting as many other police thrillers but if you want a "light meal" with that espresso, this book will satisfy you.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • City of the Century: The Epic of Chicago and the Making of America

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Donald L. Miller
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Here, witness Chicago's growth from a desolate fur-trading post in the 1830s to one of the world's most explosively alive cities by 1900. Donald Miller's powerful narrative embraces it all: Chicago's wild beginnings, its reckless growth, its natural calamities (especially the Great Fire of 1871), its raucous politics, its empire-building businessmen, its world-transforming architecture, its rich mix of cultures, its community of young writers and journalists, and its staggering engineering projects.

    Linda Lou says: "A STORY THAT TRIES TOO HARD....AND FAILS"
    "A STORY THAT TRIES TOO HARD....AND FAILS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The author doesn't give us an objective account of the city of Chicago. He spends 24 hours telling us over and over and over again how fantastic, innovative, brave, beautiful, compelling, unique, unsurpassable, incomparable, etc. Chicago's history is, to the point where I just got sick of it. It took him 17 hours and 18 chapters just to get to 1893!


    What could Donald L. Miller have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I would have liked to hear a more indepth account of the REAL Chicago, i.e., the slums, the immigrant population, the corrupt politicians, the renowned "red light" district, etc. How can you tell the story of Chicago and not have at least 3 hours about the famous high-class brothel, the Everleigh Club and its owners? What about the contributions to the fabric of the from the Polish and African-American communities? This book is all about the money-grabbing white upper-class with no regard for the common people who actually kept that city running every day. Servants, boot-blacks, coachman, ladies maids, streetcar drivers, butchers in the meat-packing district, the black porters in George Pullman's railroad cars, clerks, shop girls - THEY were the true blood of that city, yet each group was mentioned in passing while Heller literally brown-nosed every rich person he could think of.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Johnny Heller?

    He was alright but only because the book is so disappointing. He has the perfect Midwestern twang for a story of a city grown out of the prairie.


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

    Heller totally disrespected the Native Americans who were cheated, raped, murdered and oppressed by whites who also dessimated the buffalo, prairie flora, and other wildlife. However, he did give a small history to the Kaskaskian tribe, ancestors of my husband and our children (they are of black Créole descent - a French Canadian trapper married a Kaskaskian woman, then they eventually settled in New Iberia, Louisiana where their son married his mulatress slave). I learned more about them here than in 10 years of my own research. Even then, Heller only mentioned the great people because of their help to the pioneers and missionaries like Marquette and Joliet. He doesn't tell us how the Kaskaskia and other indigenous Illinois people were wiped out due to not only senseless slaughter but also the diseases carried by the filthy unhygienic white men from which the Natives had no immune system. Heller made the Native Americans look like drunken ignorant savages when it was the whites who introduced liquor and guns to a race who had survived for centuries on their own.


    Any additional comments?

    The real problem with this book is the lack of objectivity, combined with the preening and fawning way the story is written. Chicago IS a great city, yet Heller makes it sound like the the younger child of a second marriage. For example.....Chicago's father's first children are London, Paris, Berlin, Venice, and Florence. His wife dies after those kids are grown so he remarries a younger woman who give him a new family: New York City, Boston, and Washington DC. Right before the father dies, his new wife has one last "change of life" baby that neither expected - Chicago. Poor fatherless Chicago spends his whole life trying to prove that he is as great and successful and good looking as his older siblings. But everyone wants to ignore his bad habits (gambling, whoring, fighting, cheating, corruption, murder) by insisting to everyone around that "Chicago is really a good boy in his heart. Why, this morning he actually picked up the poop dropped in the front parlor by his pack of hunting hounds." REALLY, CHICAGO!?!? Try Erik Larson's "The Devil In The White City" or "Sin In The Second City" by Karen Abbott.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By E. J. Wagner
    • Narrated By E. J. Wagner, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (35)

    Forensic expert Wagner has crafted a volume that stands out from the plethora of recent memoirs of contemporary scientific detectives. By using the immortal and well-known Sherlock Holmes stories as her starting point, Wagner blends familiar examples from Doyle's accounts into a history of the growth of forensic science, pointing out where fiction strayed from fact.

    A. Yoshida says: "Science in the time of Sherlock Holmes"
    "BOOK RUINED BY AUTHOR NARRATING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was very disappointed by this book. I thought the great Simon Prebble was narrating. However, once again, a book is ruined by the author narrating her own work.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Forensic History: Crimes, Frauds, and Scandals

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Elizabeth A. Murray
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (92)
    Story
    (91)

    Modern history is filled with terrible crimes, baffling hoaxes, and seedy scandals. The infamous Jack the Ripper slayings. The alleged survival of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of the murdered Tsar. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's public fall from grace. The Chicago Tylenol poisonings and the copycat crimes that followed.

    Rob Stern says: "You'll never want to kill again"
    "REHASH OF EXISTING TV FORENSIC SHOWS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this book would be about the little known crimes in forensic history, combined with the added insight of an educator. Instead these are the same old stories that have been "done to death" (pun intended) in a century of written material and decades of shows like "Forensic Files" and "Unsolved Mysteries". It starts out with the most chewed on crime of all - Jack The Ripper. WHO CARES ANYMORE!? Even if investigators found a viable suspect, he or she died a long time ago, thereby avoiding earthly justice.

    There are so many other crimes that could have benefited from a in-depth analysis by university professor. Instead she chose criminal events in which she could have done her research and due diligence with her feet up on the sofa, remote control in hand. No need to spend time in now-deserted library stacks when a "Forensic Files' marathon on Netflix or HuluPlus will "get 'er done". This method of classroom teaching is perfect to keep the attention of bored college students, only attending class to receive a barely passing grade. But any real true crime buff will not be satisfied after listening to hours and hours of crimes that we've already seen on television in 4 or 5 different depictions and reenactments. Same old stuff: Black Dahlia, The Brothers Melendez, Anastasia Romanov, the Tylenol poisonings, dirty cops, falsified evidence, police brutality, witness intimidation, coerced confessions, inaccurate eyewitness testimony, shoddy lab work, Russian double agents, etc., etc., etc. BLEH!

    Professor Murray has a pleasant speaking voice but the production of the audiobook is not up to par - her frequent stumbles and stutters are not edited out. In the synopsis, we are promised a "look over the shoulder" of on site investigators. Yet we are given no more than we have all learned by watching "Court TV". Aren't we all now as proficient in pathology and forensics as Drs. Michael Baden, Henry Lee, Cyril Wecht, etc.? Nothing new here - PASS on it!

    9 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Fraternity: In 1968, a visionary priest recruited 20 black men to the College of the Holy Cross and changed their lives and the course of history.

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Diane Brady
    • Narrated By Dominic Hoffman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    On April 4, 1968, the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., shocked the nation. Later that month, the Reverend John Brooks, a professor of theology at the College of the Holy Cross who shared Dr. King’s dream of an integrated society, drove up and down the East Coast searching for African American high school students to recruit to the school, young men he felt had the potential to succeed if given an opportunity. Among the twenty students he had a hand in recruiting that year were Clarence Thomas and Theodore Wells....

    Linda Lou says: "AMAZING & UPLIFTING ACCOUNT"
    "AMAZING & UPLIFTING ACCOUNT"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fantastic story about what a black man can accomplish when someone believes in him.. I have a personal insight since I was a high school friend of one of the young men featured here: high profile criminal defense attorney, Theodore V. Wells. Growing up in the 1960s as an honor student with "Tokey" at Coolidge High School in Washington DC, I always knew he would be successful with his great leadership skills and personal charisma. Many of our school mates became top black lawyers and doctors. But I am blown away by Tokey's ultimate career accomplishments.

    This story is a well-researched account of the outstanding journey of 5 young black men recruited by Rev. John Brooks during a racially charged period on U.S. history to achieve the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King. Brooks saw that a select group of black students got scholarships to a top university, kept his foot in their butts during college, and followed their subsequent careers while providing mentoring and support. For once we are not being treated to yet another "rags to riches to rags" story about a black man who was given a chance to do something great only to end up shot dead in a crack house. Tokey, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Pulitzer Prize winner Edward P. Jones and the two others in this book are proud examples of what can be accomplished with the help of people who really care about this country. Well done, Rev. Brooks! And, Tokey, I am so very proud of you!'

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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