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Craig

I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2007

165
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 23 reviews
  • 129 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2014
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10

  • West of Here

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jonathan Evison
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (93)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (34)

    From the rugged mudflats of the Northwestern frontier to a rusting strip mall, West of Here is a conversation between two epochs. In his eagerly awaited second novel, Jonathan Evison tells the stories of the people who first inhabited the mythical town of Port Bonita in Washington State from 1887-1891. Moving ahead more than a century to 2005-06, he introduces those who live there now and must deal with the damage done by their predecessors.

    MEMcL says: "Very disappointing"
    "If You've Been to Port Angeles - Read This Book"
    Overall

    Janathan Evison encapsulates what nobody I have met has been able to describe - 21st Century Port Angeles, Washington. This book is for readers craving to make sense of the funeral pyre that is rural Washington's logging and fishing industries. Port Angeles is a dying town, but it still refuses to give up its last breath. That's because its descendants carry a legacy of hard working, hard drinking, and cold fishing in their blood. They live and bleed the stamina of their forbearers. The community survives because it was built to survive. It's a strange magic that draws you in.

    West of Here is a journey into the lives of people that you will never meet because you don't live in Port Angeles (Port Bonita in the book). But, you should meet them and get to know them through Evison's characters. They have something to teach you about yourself. Every character in his book is just a little bit of you. If you don't like his characters it may be because they hit too close to home. Don't let that stop you...it takes guts to look into a mirror.

    This book is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the often strange yet compelling Western maritime legacy. It juxtaposes the sea with the wilderness, men against mountains, and lovers against themselves. I think this novel is gutsy and refreshing. Try it with a mind open to seeing the unfamiliar landscape of the Western mind.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Guilt: Department Q, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (34)
    Story
    (35)

    Following the international No 1 bestsellers Mercy and Disgrace, Guilt is the fourth heart-stopping Department Q novel from Jussi Adler-Olsen, and a gripping treat for all fans of the Scandinavian crime thriller.1987. Nete Rosen thought she'd put her traumatic youth behind her. Her caring foster parents and loving husband helped her start again. However, when a man from her past reappears one night, Nete's new life could be shattered.

    Craig says: "This is the Book "The Purity of Vengeance" Renamed"
    "This is the Book "The Purity of Vengeance" Renamed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has happened to me previously. Audible brings another narrator's version of the story online, changes the title for the North American audience, and I end up buying it, unaware that I have already listened to the novel. I am a bit torqued over this because now I have to go through the hassle of returning the book. I have purchased 1257 audio books and I want to be able to rely on Audible to get this stuff right the first time.

    Buy the "Purity of Vengeance," narrated by Graeme Malcom…he is a much more compelling narrator.

    44 of 45 people found this review helpful
  • Jerusalem Poker

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Edward Whittemore
    • Narrated By Fleet Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    On the last day of December 1921, three enigmatic men - Cairo Martyr, a blue-eyed African who controls the Middle East's supply of aphrodisiac mummy dust; O'Sullivan Beare, a former Irish patriot and gunrunner who has made a fortune selling spurious, phallic-shaped Christian artifacts; and Mark Szondi, a dedicated Zionist who wagers only fried fish futures - sit down to a fateful game of poker in the back room of a Jerusalem antiquities shop owned by a 3000-year-old knight errant.

    Craig says: "Lost in a Sea of Symbolic Characters"
    "Lost in a Sea of Symbolic Characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The premise of this book is excellent; a Christian, Jew and Muslim play poker for twelve years to determine who gains control over Jerusalem. Where the plot lost me was the digressions into the extended metaphorical references to various historical villains whom have vied for control over the Middle East, but failed miserably. Perhaps it is the writer's former CIA cynicism rearing its head when he falls back on prurient cliche' to make his point that the French are inept theives (and pederasts), the Arabs are ignorant sodomites, and the Jews are clever business hands who take control of the world's riches by guile and ruthlessness. This is all silly type casting for an audience of former spooks and expatriates who drink Johnny Walker Red Label in smokey Third World bars under false identification papers that identify them as trade representatives (when you know that they all work for the "Company").

    The author presents long digressions into the mundane minutia regarding the lives of minor characters only to tell us (after 30 minutes) that some tangential relation to the minor character is, in fact, a major player in the plot. Except, after falling asleep during the digression we no longer care about the tangential and irrelevant connections the author attempts to make to the overall story.

    This could have been great literature with some decent editing. Alas, the author died at the height of his writing career before anyone took him serious enough to say, "Hey Edward, you need to say more by saying less."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Rick Atkinson
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (213)
    Performance
    (193)
    Story
    (195)

    It is the 20th century's unrivaled epic: At a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his best-selling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted the history of how the American-led coalition fought its way from North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now he tells the most dramatic story of all - the titanic battle in Western Europe. D-Day marked the commencement of the war's final campaign, and Atkinson's astonishingly fresh account of that enormous gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows.

    David I. Williams says: "Well Written Overview"
    "Zoom Goes the War…Where are the People?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Unlike Atkinson's first two extraordinary treatises on North Africa and Italy, The Guns of Last Light lacks previous compelling and well-developed personalities. Yes, the usual and important historical figures are there (Patton, Bradley, Ike, and Audie Murphy), it's just that they are lost in the details of Arden, The Bulge, and D-Day. And, this is why I was not enthralled with this historical fiction/non-fiction.

    In the first two books we saw into individuals and their thinking, with all the appropriate disclaimers about 'this might have been said, but we don't know for sure.' In "Guns at Last Light" the author strays from risk-taking and speculative history to recite the facts and dates of battles already familiar to previous readers of WWII history. I felt like I was taking a military history course at an academy while listening to this final installment of Atkinson's trilogy.

    Sooo…would I recommend this final installment? Yes, if you are new to WWII history, but No if you already know what happened before and after the allies crossed the Rhine.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon: No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 14

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Alexander McCall Smith
    • Narrated By Lisette Lecat
    Overall
    (299)
    Performance
    (267)
    Story
    (266)

    Precious Ramotswe has taken on two puzzling cases. First, she is approached by the lawyer Mma Sheba, who is the executor of a deceased farmer’s estate. Mma Sheba has a feeling that the young man who has stepped forward may be falsely impersonating the farmer’s nephew in order to claim his inheritance. Mma Ramotswe agrees to visit the farm and find out what she can about the self-professed nephew. Then the proprietor of the Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon comes to Mma Ramotswe for advice.

    Pamela says: "This one is for the faithful"
    "I feel very happy now…I love to laugh and smile..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Somehow I don't feel like I am the only listener who pines for the next installment of No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (read by Lisette Lecat). Each new installment is like a visit by a lovely old friend.

    Dang…I feel so positive when I am done listening to each book…if I needed therapy I would choose Mma Precious Ramotswe as my shrink…she can fix just about anyone except Violet Sephotho.

    This series makes me want to do two things: rejoin the Peace Corps and drink Red Bush Tea (which I now have in my pantry). That picture to the left is me in Liberia in 1978.

    Friends, here is another spectacular winner in a long series of great listens written by A.M. Smith.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Black Cross

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Greg Iles
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (782)
    Performance
    (462)
    Story
    (458)

    It is January 1944 - and as Allied troops prepare for D day, Nazi scientists develop a toxic nerve gas that will repel and wipe out any invasion force. To salvage the planned assault, two vastly different but equally determined men are sent to infiltrate the secret concentration camp where the poison gas is being perfected on human subjects. Their only objective: destroy all traces of the gas and the men who created it - no matter how many lives may be lost...including their own.

    Corinne says: "Feels real"
    "WWII Fiction Needs a Modicum Plausibility"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you find yourself saying, "Why did they do that?" -- or asking the question, "Wouldn't that kill them?" -- then you are listening to Black Cross. Naturally we expect commando missions are fraught with danger, but this venture is so far-fetched and ill-conceived that it could only be a work of fiction (even if that is the genre). There was absolutely nothing about the events in this story that made me say, "Yep, that's real!" At one point I found myself wondering, "Why would they do that when one bombing mission would address the whole problem."

    The storyline probably had it's origins in a book about bombing a very bad Nazi place but the author realized that "death from the air" lacks all the emotional drama of hideous medical experiments on humans. Racking up up some ghoulish points for the reviewers and editors may have lead to some the very poor rewriting decisions (all surmise on my part of course). Add to the horror a concentration camp romance and you have all the makings for kitsch writing in very poor taste.

    I am not going to recommend this book to my fellow listeners. It plays our emotions intentionally (and cheaply). Concentration Camp stories are best left for the tellers of non-fiction or those fiction writers that have the capacity to explain the truly horrid without the need to interject cheap romance to gain our sympathies.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Police: A Harry Hole Novel, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (436)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (375)

    The police urgently need Harry Hole…. A killer is stalking Oslo's streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated but failed to solve. The murders are brutal, the media reaction hysterical. But this time, Harry can't help.... For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the center of every major criminal investigation in Oslo. His dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But now, with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry is not in a position to protect anyone. Least of all himself...

    Charles Atkinson says: "Simply the Best Detective Series In any Language"
    "Serialized Harry Hole…Dead…Undead…Dead…Undead???"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jo Nesbo can do gritty-city-OMG as well as any of the best contemporary writers publishing today. So, why in this novel do we have to experience the very predictable - "is he dead…not dead…dead…not dead" gimmicks of serialized comic strip writers. Of course he's not dead. If he were dead we would all pack it in and download Arnaldur Indridason instead of Jo Nesbo.

    Serial killers are Nesbo's forte, but I am going to have to say (if reluctantly) that this Harry Hole Novel will leave you feeling a victim of serial manipulation. Please note that I own every Nesbo audiobook available and I know I will buy more. However, in the case of this audiobook (Police)…I am a victim and not a fan.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Steelheart

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brandon Sanderson
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4563)
    Performance
    (4273)
    Story
    (4291)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father.

    D says: "He got the idea from a near traffic accident"
    "Is this a novel or a game of Magic: The Gathering?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Listening to the narrator (also our main character) describe the "powers" of the "Epics" (tyrannical enemies of freedom), I was (bit-by-bit) driven insane by the time I was one-fourth of the way through this book. During several monologues I was sure that my iPod was broadcasting a Magic: The Gathering tournament. Or, worse yet, it was like listening to my child read her Pokemon Cards to me..."Charzard can spit fire and has 90 hit points. Wow dad, who can beat him?"

    This book is silly...its premise is silly...the characters are flat...and, it is guilty of the greatest sin of all for young reader literature: it has no driving moral compass by which the characters can steer their violence. Revenge is so yesterday...even to teenagers.

    Let this audiobook rest in the digital dustbin.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Texicans

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Nina Vida
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Joseph Kimmel is heading to San Antonio to settle his deceased brother's estate but becomes stranded on the vast open prairie when his horse is stolen. He is rescued by an egocentric Alsatian immigrant, but falls back into trouble when he marries a young blond girl. Running for their lives, Joseph and his new bride head to the hill country, where they hope to build a cattle ranch. Unfortunately, the ruthless Texas Rangers have other ideas.

    Craig says: "This Literature is Important and Beautiful"
    "This Literature is Important and Beautiful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Without getting too allegorical here, I am going to have to say that this story is an allegory. The protagonist is the wandering Jew in the desert (albeit Texas circa 1850). He is righteous, moral, indignant, and a tad bit blessed with some powerful karma that makes his life good and that of his detractors not so good (ultimately). The story is a Western in all its various forms, but the compelling thread that binds all of the story's disparate characters together is that bad people get what they deserve and good people learn (as they go) how to be better people.

    This book will image a landscape in your consciousness (it's subtle, but effective writing in this regard). And, I promise that you will murmur several breathy OMG's for the tears repressed by its main characters (remember someone has to weep for the Wretched of the Earth!).

    I believe that the author, Nina Vida, wants us to grok that the flow of life and death in 19th Century Texas was a tragic, but ultimately, beautiful piece of poetry. The tragic part is obvious with all that Comanche stuff going on, but Vida takes us beyond the usual torture and kidnapping pulp fiction into a more divine understanding of the truly horrid. Don't worry about gratuitous violence...this book is too matter of fact to be bogged down with sort of stuff.

    I think there was a sequel planned for this book, but it was never written...thus the four-star overall rating. The book does deserves a sequel.

    I give it five stars for "truth telling."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Great Leader: A Faux Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jim Harrison
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (31)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    Author Jim Harrison has won international acclaim for his masterful body of work, including over thirty books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In his most original work to date, Harrison delivers an enthralling, witty, and expertly crafted novel following one man’s hunt for an elusive cult leader, dubbed the Great Leader.

    Craig says: "Are you an over-thehill guy with one last mission?"
    "Are you an over-thehill guy with one last mission?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jim Harrison sneaks into the headspace of middle-aged men whose greatest fears are diminishing libido, loss of purpose, and the death of adventure in their lives. He's is so good at this that readers/listeners of both genders become spectators in the secret rituals of the society of men.

    The Great Leader: A faux Mystery messes with our heads. It asks us to make value judgements about his main character, a washed up detective whose last case nags at him like his fears of losing his libido. We don't know whether to cheer for our hero or curse him for his behaviors. But, what we do know is that our personal tolerance for edgy behavior and thinking is questioned by the actions of the protagonist.

    You should listen to this book, if nothing else than to test your own values about ethics, sexuality, and justice. Don't be afraid to challenge your core beliefs with this excellent mystery.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Brian Francis Slattery
    • Narrated By Paul Heitsch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    From the author of the literary pulp phenomenon Spaceman Blues comes a future history cautionary tale, a heist movie in the style of a hippie novel. Liberation is a speculation on life in near-future America after the country suffers an economic cataclysm that leads to the resurgence of ghosts of its past (such as the human slave trade). Our heroes are the Slick Six, a group of international criminals who set out to alleviate the worst of these conditions and put America on the road to recovery.

    Craig says: "Prose and Metaphor Masquerading as Novel"
    "Prose and Metaphor Masquerading as Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is a story thread you can follow along the twisting pathway that is this broody and bizarre post-apocolyptic novel. However, if you are the kind of listener that runs your audio book while driving, cooking, or engaging in mindless tasks, then avoid this purchase. There are entire segments of this story that the listener must replay to determine if we are engaged in present or past tense (always a bad sign in the first hour of listening). Other times, we wonder if the science fiction/fantasy metaphors are part of the novel's structure, or if we are listening to an author's prose whose stream of consciousness has run totally amok.

    The premise of the book is sound...the Dollar ($) collapses. Then we get the big "and." For Slattery, the author, his big "and" is to address the crisis by inventing the dream team of anti-heroes to save the day (maybe). To make these misfits more plausible, the author endows them with characteristics better left for bar room braggadocio. And, herein, lies the failure of this novel. It's all so out there...so far fetched...that the book is just a jumble of loosely connected stories leading to...well, I won't say because that's a spoiler. But...whatever man! It certainly is not Heller's "The Dog Stars." His post-apocolyptic novel was brilliant, believable, and left us empathetic with it's characters.

    As for the main characters in "Liberation: Being the Adventures of the Slick Six After the Collapse of the United States of America," I could care less about them. Feh!



    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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