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Craig

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2018

824
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 67 reviews
  • 196 ratings
  • 1085 titles in library
  • 30 purchased in 2018
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38

  • 61 Hours: A Jack Reacher Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4627)
    Performance
    (3158)
    Story
    (3156)

    A tour bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she's going to live long enough to testify, she'll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses.

    JV says: "Cliffhanger was disappointing"
    "Don't Do It!!!"
    Overall

    If you are like me, a listener who makes his (her) final decision based on sensible reviews by thoughtful audiophiles, then heed my advice. This book will frustrate you. My "gimme a break" meter was on full alert through much of the listen. The end (no spoilers here) will leave you feeling ripped off, unless you enjoy sequels. The build up to the apex takes nine-tenths of the story, and then just when you feel that some action is forthcoming you are disappointed. Lee Child is on a churn schedule. This book is "pulp churn."

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Fata Morgana

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Steven R. Boyett, Ken Mitchroney
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1315)
    Performance
    (1243)
    Story
    (1233)

    At the height of the air war in Europe, Captain Joe Farley and the baseball-loving, wisecracking crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress Fata Morgana are in the middle of a harrowing bombing mission over East Germany when everything goes sideways. The bombs are still falling, and flak is still exploding all around the 20-ton bomber as it is knocked like a bathtub duck into another world. Suddenly stranded with the final outcasts of a desolated world, Captain Farley navigates a maze of treachery and wonder.

    The Zombie Specialist says: "Best one I have heard in some time!"
    "Mispronounced the Title for Umpteen Hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I knew I had made a mistake with this download when the narrator mispronounced Fata Morgana in the first chapter. He did it again (and again) ad nauseum, and again even, to my horror. Fata Morgana is pronounced, Fah-tah Morgana, not Fay-tah Morgana.

    This is a Sophomoric endeavor with few new insights or ideas. Extremely disappointing time travel adventure. Actually...it is a rip-off of several films and B-grade novels.

    Do not purchase this book. It is a WWII, cliche packed, disjointed ramble, not worthy of your credit or time. BTW...it is not a love story as some reviewers have suggested. The love interest is a fantasy (dream-breakthrough) side show.

    I give this novel two thousand-pounders down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of the Brothers Dent: The Mountain Men, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Terry Grosz
    • Narrated By Clay Lomakayu
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    The year is 1807. Josh and Gabe Dent are two brothers living on the far frontier of a young America. Their lives are jolted when their parents are brutally murdered by a gang of thieves. The two frontiersmen ride to hunt down the killers. The trail of vengeance is not an easy one. In the years that follow, Josh and Gabe find themselves answering the call of the West. But as bountiful as it is, the land is fraught with danger and bloodshed.

    Craig says: "Artless Western Fiction - Celtic Fantasy Ending"
    "Artless Western Fiction - Celtic Fantasy Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, let me say that I have over 2000 audiobooks in my library, purchased from Audible. Yes, I know my counter says, 1054...it has been stuck there for years. Of all the novels I have heard since Audible's inception....The Adventures of the Brother's Dent is the worst.

    This novel was so incredibly naive, so brutally embarrassing, that I finished it just to write this review. (If you return a book, you may not write a review!) The story is about two perfect boys whose parents are murdered by bad men. They spend years seeking revenge with a road trip to become mountain men thrown in as filler. Most characters in this novel are illusions to historical fiction and non-fiction. It's like a bad 60's Disney movie rip-off...Mike Fink!?! You gotta be kidding.

    I cannot believe that Audible is actually placing such low-quality pulp fiction on its roster. Without going into a lot of boring details, this book is part of a series, each of which appears to be written in the wrong publishing date order. I believe these books are repackaged, stand-alone, novels to sell as a series. The publisher, Wolfpack, also appears to sell primarily pulp. In one chapter the author uses the word *continuously* four times in one paragraph. (I assume it was one paragraph...I wasn't reading it after all.)

    But the weirdest thing about this entire audio tale is last chapter. It is a random (45 minute) screed from some Celtic novel about a place called the Hall of Tutorigus. At first, I thought that this was just an editing error. Then, after restarting the chapter, I noticed that the narrator says - *chapter four...teen* - the *teen* is dubbed onto *four.* Very intentional dubbing. This was not an accident...it is definitely filler to get the book close to the magic eight hour number. Very unscrupulous, if in fact, this is what happened.

    What is going on with quality control at Audible?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Western Star

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2102)
    Performance
    (1953)
    Story
    (1939)

    Sheriff Walt Longmire is enjoying a celebratory beer after a weapons certification at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy when a younger sheriff confronts him with a photograph of 25 armed men standing in front of a Challenger steam locomotive. It takes him back to when, fresh from the battlefields of Vietnam, then-deputy Walt accompanied his mentor Lucian to the annual Wyoming Sheriff's Association junket held on the excursion train known as the Western Star, which ran the length of Wyoming from Cheyenne to Evanston and back.

    BDHumbert says: "I am a huge Longmire fan..."
    "Leftover TV Script"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I can just imagine the conversation between Johnson and his publisher:

    "You better get something out there Craig, your TV series bit the dust and your losing readers," says the publisher.

    "No problem," Johnson replies, "I've got this script leftover from the TV season that they just cancelled, I'll just rewrap it and call it a book. It's not long enough for a novel, but I can throw in some Hollywood filler and cheesy metaphors. I'll flashback to a great steam engine train ride in the 70's and have Longmire carry around a copy of Murder on the Orient Express."

    The publisher checks his iPhone calendar, punches some numbers into an ancient desk calculator, and gives Johnson his marching orders. "Give me something that forces your readers to buy a sequel. We've got to get your sales back on the map by September."

    Craig Johnson, like most talented writers that become screenwriters, has gone the way of the buffalo...rubbed out.

    I give this novel one Rainier up (for George Guidall) and one down for a Hollywood script passed off as Western Genre Fiction.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Heavier Than a Mountain: Destiny's Crucible, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Olan Thorensen
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2219)
    Performance
    (2055)
    Story
    (2052)

    A freak accident casts Joe Colsco naked onto another planet inhabited by humans with technology circa 1700. In time, Joe, now known as Yozef Kolsko, makes the difficult acceptance of a new life. But he has become embroiled in a struggle beyond any dream he could have had. The Narthani are a militant society intent on subjugating the Caedelli, the people he's come to identify with. Unwittingly, the Narthani themselves are creating an opponent unlike any they have ever faced, an enemy beyond their conceptions.

    Kurt Schwoppe says: "And Even Heavier to Read"
    "Irrelevant Details to Stretch Number of Volumes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I forgave the author in the first novel for ripping-off Mark Twain's, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," because the premise for "21st Century man meets Napoleonic War" was explained through some interesting sci-fi machinations. Then, the sci-fi fizzled out.

    In the 2nd and 3rd novel, we take a painful slog through ever deepening details. Unfortunately, the details that would otherwise make this novel interesting, like seminal battles where 21st Century technology meets the 19th Century battle field, rarely occur. Instead, we see skirmish lines at the end of long (interminable) chapters about home building, baby-births, personal triumphs and losses, and gimme-a-break revelations. These novels are less about adventure and more about drama. Great Court intrigue...terrible adventure.

    This novel is not science fiction, it is not historical fiction, it can't crossover to fantasy in the absence of magic...it's just daytime drama (General Hospital or All My Children). It is soap opera masquerading as soft sci-fi. Don't get involved in book number 3. It is a total let down.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • What's Left of My World: A Story of a Family's Survival

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By C. A. Rudolph
    • Narrated By Kevin Pierce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (973)
    Performance
    (913)
    Story
    (904)

    Lauren Russell often wondered why her father had been so adamant about teaching her skills that most other fathers wouldn't even consider teaching their daughters. Ever since she was little, she had been taught how to live and survive outdoors, and how to use firearms to protect herself and those around her. Some of the training had been a bit extreme. Or had it been? Many of her questions were answered the day the world as she knew it ended.

    Tish says: "Great read"
    "Paranoid Survivalist Fantasy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'll be brief...this is not a dystopian tale with excellent scientific or economic explanations for the state of affairs that afflict the story's main characters (and the U.S.). This book is gun porn, survivalist fantasy, and right-wing (militia) pulp fiction.

    The premise is ridiculous (EMP destroys the Eastern U.S. infrastructure), though no motivations for this eventuality are forthcoming. Instead, plot and back-story are replaced with people shooting, stealing, torturing and raping around a slow, plodding, plot. The most prominent line in the story is, "We can talk about that later." (Feh) Nothing ever gets resolved. The characters are acted upon, rather than acting. No character is actually smart or interesting...they are all merely gun-totting dim-wits with lots of MRE's and ammo in the basement.

    Do not bother with this paranoid "prepper" fiction. A "prepper" is a citizen ready for the apocalypse. This novel is definitely not Peter Heller's, The Dog Stars. In fact...it is nothing but the stuff of bad dreams.

    Run from this title and read, The Dog Stars...that book will get you ready for anything.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Prisoner: A John Wells Novel, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1143)
    Performance
    (1056)
    Story
    (1048)

    Evidence is mounting that someone high up in the CIA is doing the unthinkable - passing messages to ISIS, alerting them to planned operations. Finding out the mole's identity without alerting him, however, will be very hard, and to accomplish it Wells will have to do something he thought he'd left behind forever. He will have to reassume his former identity as an al Qaeda jihadi, get captured, and go undercover to befriend an ISIS prisoner in a secret Bulgarian prison.

    Snoodely says: "Another Winner from Berenson"
    "Heavy-handed Editing - TV Series Coming?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    All of the John Wells novels are high entertainment, as is this one. However, the end of this story (no spoilers) took took the path of least resistance, which is quite unlike the previous Wells novels that leave the listener at the edge of their earbuds to the last paragraph. Stuff was just too easy for Wells in the end, even to the point of finding the bad guys in a city of millions by chance...feh!

    I smell a rat! This is what happened to Craig Johnson novels before his books went into television syndication. Johnson either got lazy or his TV editors starting working him over in a back alley. Berenson is starting to show signs of heavy-handed editing, as if his creative juice sputters out when the publisher says, "Hey, Alex, your year is up!...where's my script!!"

    Prediction...expect a TV Series or Film in the next year.

    I give this novel one Makarov up and one down.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Matthew B. Crawford
    • Narrated By Max Bloomquist
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (665)
    Performance
    (439)
    Story
    (434)

    Shop Class as Soulcraft brings alive an experience that was once quite common but now seems to be receding from society - the experience of making and fixing things with our hands. For those who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, Shop Class as Soulcraft seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing.

    Ray says: "Mercedes Have No Dipstick"
    "Shop Class Missing from Dogmatic Polemic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I teach "shop class." This book was a purchase intended to enrich my life with meaningful wisdom about the virtues of reintroducing hand-work in schools as a pathway to an enriched life.

    Waiting...waiting...waiting...zzzzzzz.

    This book straddles two worlds, both of which exist in the mind of the author. This guy likes old motorcycles (who doesn't?). But, he expects that gives him the street-cred necessary to wax poetically (Greek poetry usually) about our crumbling state of personal self-reliance as a species. He wants us to feel that, if we just use our hands, we will be saved by some unseen and virtuous Dead-American-Crafters-Creed. However, he cannot get far enough past his stupid motorcycles to address any real issues about American Education. He uses so much mush-mouthed hyperbole that he misses his own point...college and career readiness programs are mere classist drivel taught and managed by incompetent troglodytes.

    I got so lost in Crawford's Marxist revisionism, and his faux universal philosophical handiman-codex, that I began fast forwarding to find some micro-nugget worthy of my time before I had to begin teaching my thirty 7th graders how to build inductor magnetos from scratch.

    Do not waste a credit on this drivel. The author does not need the money or his ego inflated anymore than its current astronomical proportions.

    I give this book two shifting spanners down...way down!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Midnight Plan of the Repo Man: Book 1 of the Repo Man Series

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By W. Bruce Cameron
    • Narrated By George K. Wilson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (464)
    Performance
    (428)
    Story
    (432)

    Ruddy McCann, former college football star, has experienced a seismic drop in popularity; he is now Kalkaska, Michigan’s full-time repo man and part-time bar bouncer. His best friend is his low-energy Basset hound Jake, with whom he shares a simple life of stealing cars. Simple, that is, until Ruddy starts hearing a voice in his head. The voice introduces himself as Alan Lottner, a dead realtor. Ruddy isn’t sure if Alan is real, or if he’s losing his mind.

    Charles Atkinson says: "As Good As It Gets"
    "Honest, Not Exploitive, Look at Small Town America"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    America is full of communities where the full extent of human experience is encapsulated in their Main Street experiences. In the Midnight Plan of the Repo Man, there gathers a lovable, but sheltered, citizenry around which our main character, Ruddy, swirls. The foci for this gathering is a local dive bar long past its prime.

    About the characters in this novel, you will find yourself wanting to say, "How dumb can he/she be," but you won't say it because they are flawed just like us (and that kind of self-deprecation is difficult).

    I was moved and occasionally frustrated by this story about a man with tremendous intelligence who just goes with the flow in rural America, living a slightly parasitic life (but not quite). I rated the story a 4-star and the narration the same. Overall, however, I believe this story is 5-stars because it continues to gnaw at your soul long after the last byte fades in your earbud.

    Keep an open mind...enjoy the people...open your heart to Ruddy and his friends. Ultimately all of us are good. Ruddy teaches us that.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Clancy's Crossing

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Evan Green
    • Narrated By Richard Aspel
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (27)

    They say no one from the convict settlement of Sydney Town crossed the steep ranges of the Blue Mountains until 1813. But the quick-witted convict Clancy Fitzgerald did it in 1798, dragging with him the proud - but reluctant - Eliza Philips. Faced with constant danger and wrenching isolation, Clancy and Eliza found themselves pale-skinned strangers in a land of ancient traditions and spiritual beliefs.

    Craig says: "Rapid Degeneration into Imperial Soap Drama"
    "Rapid Degeneration into Imperial Soap Drama"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This novel had all the makings of a great wilderness (man and woman against nature) all-night listen. Two British "transported convicts" escape tyrannical imprisonment in the 18th Century prison colony of Australia's New South Wales, but they hightail into aboriginal wilderness.

    So far so good…right?

    Then, fortunes change for the two star-crossed escaped-cons and they re-emerge into Sydney Society as a couple of out-ot-place, very well-to-do frauds. The novel degenerates from there into tension between the haves and have-nots. The author unsuccessfully attempts to keep the tension going by reintroducing a nemesis, however it's trite and campy, like a bad script for a "B" grade Aussie made-for-TV movie.

    There is some great historical fiction in this listen, however, if you have read other Australian Historical Fiction (or seen the fine films from that continent), this novel may leave you wanting to put up a long Rabbit Proof Fence between you and this novel. It's a good journey, but not Dreamtime drama.

    I give this novel one boomerang up and one musket down.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • An Obvious Fact

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2694)
    Performance
    (2513)
    Story
    (2499)

    In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming - the nearest town to America's first national monument, Devils Tower - to investigate, things start getting complicated.

    C. Telfair says: "Treading Water"
    "Easy Setting Makes for Easy TV Plot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Stugis, the center of the motorcycle universe, is the backdrop for this novel. And…therein lies the problem. Longmire novels are usually long on setting, where characters adapt to landscape, shaped by more than the mere antagonist criminal exploits of bad guys/gals. I remember when Walt, Vic and the "Cheyenne Nation" used to transform with your Wyoming settings and situations seamlessly towards a crescendo of bullets and personal epiphanies (not any more). And definitely not in this novel! In this novel nobody transforms…they just crack jokes…lots of them…most are mundane and puerile.

    So what we have here is a novel where comedy and banal quips replace solid plot and compelling setting as if Craig Johnson just plain got bored feeding us (the reader/listener) with solid, tight, and sequential story lines that keep us riveted to our earbuds. Sort of like, "Hell, I got my TV gig so I am going to churn out a novel that's easy so I can keep my loyal readers watching my show." Feh!

    I'll be blunt. The Longmire series is not even a close approximation of the novels. It's Bosch with a six gun and a big fat star on Robert Taylor's chest. The characters are too young and do not reflect the wisdom and personal experiences of the Vietnam Veteran Walt and Henry Standing Bear.

    This Novel, "An Obvious Fact," is written for TV…flashy women, shiny motorcycles, fast car chases and weirdos of every stripe. We've been punked.

    Goodbye Craig Johnson. Peddle this stuff in "Bring Cash Alley," where Dave Robicheaux's found his (and Walt, probably his) big .45. It's pulp.

    30 of 32 people found this review helpful

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