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Craig

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

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2007

ratings
148
REVIEWS
27
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
12
HELPFUL VOTES
194

  • 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
    (275)
    Performance
    (252)
    Story
    (253)

    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
  • Scrapyard Ship: Scrapyard Ship, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Mark Wayne McGinnis
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (254)
    Story
    (253)

    Lieutenant Commander Jason Reynolds has had a string of bad luck lately - evident by the uncomfortable house arrest bracelet strapped to his right ankle. Worse yet, he's relegated to his grandfather's old house and rambling scrapyard. To complicate things, the women in his life are pulling from every direction. But it's through a bizarre turn of events that Jason is led to a dried up subterranean aquifer hundreds of feet below ground. Here he discovers an advanced alien spacecraft, one that will propel his life in a new direction.

    Craig says: "Wait! Huh? What?"
    "Wait! Huh? What?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I took this audiobook for pulp si-fi and intended to listen with a modicum of disinterest as I went through my daily rituals, ear buds dangling in their usual position. Then, as the penultimate battle approached, I went into serious listener mode. 'This is going to be good,' I thought. Not!

    The book ends without resolution and in the middle of a space battle where tactics (human) are pitted against overwhelming numbers (alien). What happened? Who knows? You have to buy the second book.

    Unlike Jack Campbell, who resolves the dilemma before setting up a new one for readers to ponder, McGinnis churns pulp like an episode of "Orange is the New Black." Want to know what happens…tough luck buddy…spend another credit.

    Well…not me…I am returning this wholly unsatisfying example of churn.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • QB VII

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Leon Uris
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (26)
    Story
    (27)

    In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial. In his book The Holocaust - born of the terrible revelation that the Jadwiga Concentration camp was the site of his family's extermination - Cady shook the consciousness of the human race. He also named eminent surgeon Sir Adam Kelno as one of Jadwiga's most sadistic inmate/doctors. Kelno has denied this and brought furious charges. Now unfolds Leon Uris' riveting courtroom drama - one of the great fictional trials of the century.

    Jean says: "Based on true story"
    "An Important Revisit to a Dark Era"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having read this novel three decades ago, I recalled that I was enthralled with how the story unwound. Now, hearing it read by John Lee, I can tell my fellow listeners that this novel/audiobook is in my top 25 out of 1350.

    First, don't be put off by the period sexism (circa 1970). You'll find the same stuff in Exodus (also by Uris). It's just the way he wrote. Keep focused on the motivations of the characters. Their extremes are tell-tale foreshadowing to a totally unexpected ending.

    QB VII (or Queen's Bench 7) is the British courtroom where a trial takes place. The listener must serve as jury to answer the question: Is Abraham Cady (a reporter) guilty of libeling Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish physician, whom Cady accused of war crimes? The backdrop for this story is the Holocaust, but the drama plays out in British Courtroom two decades after WWII ended.

    When you finish this book you will be a different person. Oh…one more thing…it is based on a true story!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Searchers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Alan Le May
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Alan Le May’s Western novels are widely considered classics in the genre, and the movie adaptation of The Searchers was named AFI’s Greatest Western Movie of All Time. When Martin Pauley and Amos Edwards return to their Texas homestead to find a burning ruin, they set out to find Amos’ missing daughter - and exact revenge on the Comanche responsible for the attack.

    Craig says: "A Mortal (Me) Writes of a Classic"
    "A Mortal (Me) Writes of a Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This familiar and tragic tale epitomizes Western motif writing: a prairie family is massacred by Comanches and a young girl is kidnapped. Men track the Comanche, but struggle to find the band responsible for the deed.

    The story morphs into a quest (the Holy Grail of sorts) for the girl. Years in the saddle and transformations within the main characters tell the reader that a quest, fruitless or not, is more destiny than circumstance. This book is a road trip (albeit on horseback), through landscape harsh and spectacular. If the High Plains do not kill a man (man in this case), it will redeem him.

    This is a sure-fire listen for those appreciating a realistic Western novel. It could have happened and probably did many times just the way Alan LeMay said.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Influx

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2392)
    Performance
    (2204)
    Story
    (2206)

    Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring.

    Craig says: "Solid to Silly to Inane"
    "Solid to Silly to Inane"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At the opening the premise was solid; there is a secret government organization responsible for monitoring and controlling global technological innovations. It is very powerful and deeply off the books. Then, just when you have bitten a big bite of the apple, enter the dark forces that mimic the evil characters in a Marvel comic sans the mutant superpowers (our antagonists use technology to that end).

    Eventually the entire sic-fi thriller degrades into silly dialogue and revenge-driven mania.

    This audiobook should only be downloaded in those desperate moments (from your Wish List) when you are late for work and your iPod is empty. If you have the time, search around for a more viable futuristic battle of good vs. holier-than-thou-technocrat.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Guilt: Department Q, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (82)

    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 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
    (471)
    Performance
    (419)
    Story
    (419)

    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.

    C. Telfair says: "Comfort, Comfort, Comfort"
    "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
    (830)
    Performance
    (507)
    Story
    (502)

    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
    (554)
    Performance
    (472)
    Story
    (475)

    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

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