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Craig

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

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2015

258
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 37 reviews
  • 158 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2015
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16

  • 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
    (378)
    Performance
    (347)
    Story
    (348)

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Flintlock: Gut-Shot

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By William W. Johnstone, J. A. Johnstone
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Drawn to a killing ground... Ten thousand dollars. That's the bounty on the head of the most hated man in Texas - the man Flintlock has been hired to guard. The crime was the brutal murder of a young schoolteacher. The verdict was not guilty for lack of evidence. And the suspected killer's first guard was murdered by a shotgun blast.

    Craig says: "Too many killings, characters and cliches..."
    "Too many killings, characters and cliches..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Western genre fiction is usually full of gunfights, gunmen, and gunplay. If there is plausibility in the story as historical fiction I choose it for my library. A good Western always leave me with something to contemplate.

    "Flintlock" and its sequel "Flintlock: Gut-Shot" are not plausible, in fact they are just plain weird. They are a hodgepodge of freakish characters so far outside what we have come to expect from the Johnstones that it seems like they are writing solely for Hollywood. I should have stopped at the 300 lb. screaming drag queen running the trading post in book one, but I figured Johnstone, Inc. wouldn't do that again. But…they did in book two (no spoilers). And, the characters (killed or left standing)…to many to count…feh!

    These books read less like Westerns and more like shock fiction. Forget em'

    Tom Stechschulte, the narrator, however, is a master of Western reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Buried: Department Q, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (76)

    Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Buried, the fifth installment of the Department Q series by Jussi Adler-Olsen, read by Steven Pacey. More than three years ago, a civil servant vanished after returning from a work trip to Africa. Though he is missing and presumed dead, the man's family still want answers. It is one of the many unsolved crimes left for Department Q, Denmark's cold-case unit headed up by Detective Carl Morck.

    judith says: "Be Forewarned...."
    "This is the "Marco Effect" Renamed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Got burned again by a Jussi Adler-Olsen book. This book's synopsis doesn't summarize the plot anything like the Marco Effect, so I was fooled into buying it. Buried came up as a new Department Q release without any links to the series so I put it in my wish list. Bought on faith...got burned...

    Is this publisher so desperate for North American sales that they need to squeeze loyal listeners? Feh! I am done with Jussi Adler-Olsen.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • The King's Coat

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dewey Lambdin
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (251)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (179)

    It is 1780, and 17-year-old Alan Lewrie is a brash, rebellious young libertine. So much so that his callous father believes a bit of naval discipline will turn the boy around. Fresh aboard the tall-masted Ariadne, Midshipman Lewrie heads for the war-torn Americas, finding - rather unexpectedly - that he is a born sailor, equally at home with the randy pleasures of the port and the raging battles on the high seas. But in a hail of cannonballs comes a bawdy surprise.

    Andrew says: ""Sex, Swords, Sailing Ships""
    "Patrick O'Brian's Doppelgänger"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Aubrey–Maturin series (by Patrick O'Brian) is, after listening to 1,500 audio books since 2007, still my favorite series. Howsoever, Dewey Lambdin's Alan Lewrie books, read by the esteemed John Lee, are right up there with the best swashbuckling fiction available on Audible.

    What the listener gets is fiction, history, thrills, and intrigue with a dash of corruption and jealousy to boot. There are occasional saucy vignettes that are less pornographic than historical bawdiness. Napoleon, too, gets his due eventually as is the tradition with historical British naval fiction.

    I like this main character. When I was in the Peace Corps (Liberia) in the 1970's I met men like Alan Lewrie (our protagonist). They were cocksure, vengeful, and righteous all in one package.

    I am on book #6 and will go the distance with this great horde of sea treasure.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Kingdom

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bernard Cornwell
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (175)
    Performance
    (156)
    Story
    (159)

    The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex, Alfred's kingdom and the last territory in English hands, Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane.

    Craig says: "This Series is a Winner"
    "This Series is a Winner"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You will have to do the usual hunt and peck to find all the novels in the series. There are several narrators and gaps in the series links. However, they are available if you switch narrators. Jonathan Keeble is fantastic in the first two books. An interlude then comes with the adequate, Tom Sellwood, followed by Keeble and John Lee. You finish up with two more decent narrators that do a good job of holding the tension.

    These books seem to be the basis for the "Irish-Canadian historical drama television series (see Wiki)," Vikings. The time period is the same, as is the character focus. The novels are filled with battles, intrigue, double-cross and blackmail. The era is the 9th century…the setting is England.

    The antagonists cum protagonists and visa versa are Danes and Northerners, invading England for plunder. Battles are with sword, axe, lance, and shield. Amazing stuff. Realistic without crossing the line to phantasmagoria.

    This series is two spears up.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Saving Italy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Robert Edsel
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (72)

    When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.

    Constance says: "Fascinating story, excellent narration"
    "More Personalities than Art Chasing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compelling WWII history keeps me awake at night, risking of a garroting by earbud wires carefully tucked under my pillow. Not this story however. I hit the off button after ten minutes or so.

    The story is an important one; where did the art stolen by the Nazis end up? However, the novel is 3/5 personalities and 2/5 art chasing (I'm being generous). The film Monuments Men, from which this book derives, needed plenty of embellishments to forge a screen play out this rather thin tale based on even thinner records.

    There are some great vignettes about very famous art works that make the listener go, "huh" or "what a tragedy." It's just not a whole credit's worth. So…listen to be informed, not entertained, if you chose this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dry Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Peter May
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (202)

    What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose.

    adrienne says: "Delightful find! First of the Enzo Files"
    "The Prince of Serendip (sans Sagacity)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When your author makes excuses for the unfathomable good luck of his detective with statements like this, "Enzo was beginning to feel like one of the Three Princes of Serendip," you know that you're being fed a lazy tale where accidents, rather than sagacity, are the dominant theme.

    The premise of this quasi-detective story (the main character is not a cop, but a biology professor) is seriously flawed - the protagonist (Enzo) takes a case on a bet. Other motivations are not clear…perhaps he's bored. Once he does engage, we follow his left turns over this "Pont" and onto that "Rue," around French postcard cities, generally unengaged with the author's sideshow cuisine and wine forays. Few North Americans can reference Enzo's urban(e) wanderings, leaving the listener feeling like he or she has just departed a boring dinner party where the hosts showed their guests a slideshow of a recent trip to France. After awhile it all blurs into a bland Ratatouille stew.

    To keep the listener attentive, the author makes a futile attempt at mimicking Umberto Eco's, The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. But, Peter May is no Umberto Eco. Some reviewers equate this novel with Brown's, Da Vinci Code. However, Dry Bones is far too random and cliche to rise that far.

    Personally, I think Peter May should try his hand at travel writing. He seems to know a great deal of trivia that may be of interest to the Francophile in a few of us.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Life on the Mississippi [Tantor]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    A brilliant amalgam of remembrance and reportage, by turns satiric, celebratory, nostalgic, and melancholy, Life on the Mississippi evokes the great river that Mark Twain knew as a boy and young man and the one he revisited as a mature and successful author.

    Craig says: "Road Trip Book - Though on a River"
    "Road Trip Book - Though on a River"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Long before the advent of road trip books like John Steinbeck's, Travels with Charlie, or Jack Kerouac's, On the Road, there was Mark Twain's - Life on the Mississippi. This is a two part story - one dealing with Twain's years as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi, and the second part focusing on his nostalgia journey back to the river twenty years later.

    The river serves as metaphor for the rapidly changing industrial landscape of mid-19th Century North America. Twain encapsulates the metamorphoses through vignettes and interviews that capture "what-was" and "what-is."

    As good in audio as in text, this story will captivate historians and Big Muddy aficionados. It does tend to drag towards the end, though for a purpose. I wouldn't let that keep me from recommending this book. Just listen to it when you have plenty of leisure time or you're on the road again in the Midwest.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2767)
    Performance
    (2465)
    Story
    (2455)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Barbara N. says: "Great story, narration a disappointment"
    "Starbucks Ad or Detective Story?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I found myself counting the number of visits to Starbucks by our protagonists, a sense of dread washed over me...'Harry Bosch has lost his edge.' However, when the pastry selection Bosch buys (from Starbucks) for a judge to garner favor for a court order is given play in the story, I realized that we have reached the end of an era.

    Harry Bosch no longer exists. In his place is a Hollywood cutout who is no longer the consummate outsider. He has morphed into just another wise, old detective with street savvy, but too polished to allow us to see his dark side.

    This story was canned, relying on strokes of luck to move the plot along. The author even chastises his own use of this weak writing tool by reminding us that lightening doesn't often strike in an investigation (but it does - several times).

    If you purchase this book it may give you an excuse to leave the past behind. Time find yourself a new anti-hero like Bosch to enjoy.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3350)
    Performance
    (2987)
    Story
    (2973)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "History Encapsulated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Burn a witch? Reveal an conspiracy? History comes alive in this crisp retelling of an horrid era in Colonial history…witch trials and the intersection of faith and law.

    The reason why I am recommending this audiobook has nothing to do with the story (which is phenomenal). It is a tale of one boy/man and his intellect, against a myriad of biblically-misguided Colonials who see darkness with every twist of fate. I want you to listen to this book so you understand from whence we have come as a Nation.

    There are some eye-rolling moments, however, they are so infrequent that the story abides…as does our Nation. That is, America abides…even though we were at one time serious ignoramuses.

    Go for it!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cleaner

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Brett Battles
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1431)
    Performance
    (553)
    Story
    (554)

    Meet Jonathan Quinn: a freelance operative with a take-no-prisoners style and the heart of a loner. His job? Professional "cleaner". Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies. But his latest assignment will change everything. The job seemed simple enough: investigating a suspicious case of arson. But when a dead body turns up, and Quinn's handlers at "the Office" turn strangely silent, he knows he's in over his head. With only a handful of clues, Quinn struggles to find out why someone wants him dead.

    Bernie says: "excellent from start to finish"
    "Just because you can write it don't mean it's good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This canned, quasi-spy novel, is written to wind your tension-lovin' spring. But, the story is so pedestrian, so canned and unbelievable, that its masquerade as thriller is as transparent as the unsmoked glass that the good guys must endure in their rented Porches when the genocidal maniacs shoot their silenced guns through the streets of crowded cities into their righteous and speedy vehicles.

    What incredibly bogus, pulp fiction, this stuff is…I feel dirty.

    But, as always Scott Brick is my hero. Narrator extraordinaire!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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