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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

1098
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 210 reviews
  • 1307 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 183 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
133

  • Legacy of the Dead: An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Charles Todd
    • Narrated By Samuel Gillies
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (80)
    Story
    (80)

    The weathered remains of Eleanor Gray are found on a Scottish mountainside, and her mother, the domineering Lady Maude Gray, requires delicate treatment. This is a case that will lead Inspector Ian Rutledge of Scotland Yard to Scotland, where his harrowing journey to find the truth will drag him back through the fires of his past into secrets that still have the power to kill.

    DCinMI says: "What's up, Audible??? Why would you do this to us?"
    "AN ADDICTIVE SERIES!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somehow I started with just one of the books in the series but soon bought all of them back to back. FYI: This is the 4th in the series. Simon Prebble, as always, is a superb narrator - much better than Samuel Gillies, who narrates like he's performing "Hansel and Gretel" to 6 year olds!

    No matter how hard you try, you will never guess who will be murdered and by whom. There are so many twists and turns and red herrings that the reader is always kept guessing. The Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge is a tortured soul but a great detective. He suffers from World War I "shell shock" which is what we now recognize as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifested by a dead "imaginary friend" named Hamish McCloud. This adds an interesting component into how this detective acts and reacts. Hamish is to Rutledge what cocaine is to Sherlock Holmes - a dangerous nemesis that both helps and hampers. All of the books are pretty much the same plot but just different enough in locations, people, class distinctions, and twists to make each worth reading. My suggestion is to go on Google or Wikipedia to learn the order of the series and start with the first one. Each book fills in the gaps if you start somewhere in the middle but the continuity really helps. It would be nice if Audible.com would assign chronological order to books which contain a series or prequels and sequels. )I will post this same comment on all of the Ian Rutledge books that I've read.)

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Foundling

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (99)

    The shy young Duke of Sale has never known his parents. Instead, his Grace Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware or Gilly for short has endured 24 years of rigorous mollycoddling from his uncle and his valet. But his natural diffidence conceals a rebellious spirit. So when Gilly hears of Belinda, the beautiful foundling who appears to be blackmailing his cousin, he absconds with glee. Only he has no sooner entered his new and dangerous world than he is plunged into a frenzy of intrigue, kidnap and adventure.

    Amanda says: "Rollicking Adventure"
    "ANOTHER GREAT GEORGETTE HEYER BOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Blanding
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (47)

    Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers - both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.

    Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief - until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library.

    Andy says: "with a little charm, you can rob almost anyone"
    "AN OPPORTUNITY WASTED!"
    Overall
    Performance
    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Blood from a Stone

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    On a cold Venetian night, shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares: fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man had been working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant?

    connie says: "genre surprise"
    "PREDICTABLE & DISAPPOINTING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Left to Die

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Lisa Jackson
    • Narrated By Alan Nebelthau
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (173)

    Lisa Jackson's novels of romance and suspense race up the best-seller charts. In Left to Die, the Pinewood County Sheriff 's Department is on the trail of a cold-blooded killer who acts as a savior to women stranded during terrible mountain snowstorms before stripping them of their dignity and leaving them to die, a victim of the elements. But the killer's latest victim managed to escape, leading some to believe there may now be an imposter on the loose.

    mary says: "Worst Narrator Ever!"
    "WHAT?!?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If I hadn't wasted almost 15 hours for NO conclusion!


    What could Lisa Jackson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    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"!!!


    How could the performance have been better?

    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.


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

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Case of Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1564)
    Performance
    (1350)
    Story
    (1363)

    A high-profile attorney in the middle of a leave of absence following a personal tragedy is drawn back into the legal arena amidst a media firestorm when he agrees to represent a popular rap artist accused of brutally murdering his pop star girlfriend. With its powerful voice, pause-resisting tension, and strong cast of characters, Adam Mitzner’s novels are reminiscent of such best-selling authors as Scott Turow and John Grisham.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "PRETTY GOOD MYSTERY THRILLER"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Against Her Will: Pinnacle True Crime

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Ronald J. Watkins
    • Narrated By Greg Lutz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    Richard and Victoria Tinyes feared the worst when their thirteen year old daughter Kelly Ann vanished from their quiet suburban community of Valley Stream, New York, on March 3, 1999. But the nightmare to come was worse than they could ever imagine. Only five doors away, in the home of John and Elizabeth Golub, police found Kelly Ann's body stuffed in a plastic garbage bag. She'd been brutally beaten, stabbed, strangled, and mutilated. After weeks of intense investigation, police arrested the Golubs twenty-one-year-old son, Robert - a reclusive young man obsessed with bodybuilding and given to fits of rage. The sensational trial and subsequent conviction of Robert Golub shocked the nation and tore the once peaceful community apart. Neighbors took sides. So did the media. And no one who lived on Horton Road would ever be the same. Note on audio book: Except for the beginning and end of the book, there is no longer any music.

    Laura says: "Well-written true-crime book"
    "LESS TRUE CRIME THAN IMMATURE PARENT BEHAVIORS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By E. B. Sledge
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (235)
    Performance
    (220)
    Story
    (222)

    The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

    Richard says: "This is the second audio book of Sledge's work"
    "AWESOME FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF WWII IN THE PACIFIC!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Blood of an Englishman: The Agatha Raisin Mysteries, Book 25

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By M. C. Beaton
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    Even though Agatha Raisin loathes amateur dramatics, her friend Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar's wife, has persuaded her to support the local pantomime. Stifling a yawn at the production of Babes in the Woods, Agatha watches as the baker, playing an ogre, struts and threatens on the stage. Then a trapdoor opens… followed by a scream and then silence. Surely, this isn't the way the scene was rehearsed?

    Pamela C. Alger says: "Voice actor"
    "WHY CHANGE A NARRATOR AFTER 20+ BOOKS?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The narrator is absolutely awful with her irritating nasal voice.


    What was most disappointing about M. C. Beaton’s story?

    I didn't get that far. The narration made my teeth hurt after 30 minutes.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm very, very disappointed in this book. I had to stop listening after a half hour.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific: A Young Marine's Stirring Account of Combat in World War II

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Robert Leckie
    • Narrated By James Badge Dale, Tom Hanks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (121)

    The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

    Aaron says: "Engaging Account of the War in “The Pacific”"
    "GOOD WAR ACCOUNT - JUST TOO MUCH PROSE"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Helmet for My Pillow? What did you like least?

    I like the "on the ground" personal account but the overall story has too much prose and philosophizing.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Robert Leckie? Why or why not?

    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.


    What aspect of James Badge Dale and Tom Hanks (introduction) ’s performance would you have changed?

    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.


    Do you think Helmet for My Pillow needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Monogram Murders: The New Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Julian Rhind-Tutt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (58)

    Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified - but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman?

    Amazon Customer says: "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing Baby"
    "IS THIS SOME KIND OF JOKE?!?!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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!!!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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