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Melissa

Pleasanton, CA, United States | Member Since 2011

5
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 15 reviews
  • 23 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
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  • The Man Who Smiled

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (337)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (157)

    In this adventure from the pen of Sweden's master of crime and mystery, a disillusioned Inspector Kurt Wallander is thrown back into the fray when he becomes both hunter and hunted. Crestfallen, dejected, and spiraling into an alcohol-fuelled depression after killing a man in the line of duty, Inspector Wallander has made up his mind to quit the police force for good. When an old acquaintance, a solicitor, seeks Wallander's help and later turns up dead, Wallander realizes that he was wrong not to listen.

    Stevon says: "The Mankell Trilogy"
    "Obsessive Detective"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm hooked on the Henning Mankell books about Kurt Wallander. The plot in this one is very complicated and touches on an evil practice that is probably more prevalent than most people realize. It's a good listen, even though the plot is a little too complicated for real life...or is it?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Likeness

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Heather O'Neill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2697)
    Performance
    (1610)
    Story
    (1619)

    Tana French's debut, In the Woods, hit the New York Times best-seller list and drew rave reviews from the Times (London) and Booklist. Picking up six months later, this riveting sequel finds Detective Cassie Maddox still scarred by her last case. When her boyfriend calls her to a chilling murder scene, Cassie is forced to face her inner demons. A young woman has been found stabbed to death outside Dublin, and the victim looks just like Cassie.

    Michael says: "Really on a Different Level"
    "An Unlikely Scenario"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After her gripping psychological debut, "In the Woods", Tana French tried but doesn't measure up with this second novel. The main problem I had with the book was the unbelievable plot. I don't think this story could ever be possible in real life. That said I . enjoyed getting inside Cassie's head in "The Likeness". ""In the Woods", was written from Rob's point of view although Cassie was a main character in the book.

    I think what sets Tana French's writing apart from any other writer I've encountered is her ability to pull on an emotional need we all can identify with; the need to belong. In her first book she pairs Rob and Cassie in an intimate partnership/friendship. In Cassie's small apartment during the month in which they attempt to solve a horrible child murder they share long evenings of dinners, wine and warm whiskey. As they go over the case they experience a bond that wraps them in a protective cocoon. In "The Likeness" we are allowed to glimpse the same type of soul friendship between Cassie and four characters who are all possible murder suspects. Cassie is torn between the need to be a real part of this distorted family and her place as a detective solving a complicated murder. This description does not do the books justice, they must be read or in my case listened to in order to appreciate French's ability to pull on emotions that are inborn in all of us.

    One thing of note that I don't remember reading in reviews on the Dublin Murder Squad series is that one book leads to another in that we are introduced to a new detective in each book. The next book revolves around the life and work of this new character. This keeps the series fresh and is not like other series which are all about one continuing character.





    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Keeper

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Kate Morton
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2800)
    Performance
    (2403)
    Story
    (2413)

    England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

    Maria says: "Kate Morton (and Caroline Lee) does it again!"
    "A Lovely Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Nobody, but nobody can weave a tale like Kate Morton. This book had me totally surprised by the ending, I never saw it coming.

    Many authors attempt to moved between present day and a distant time, leaving one a bit confused with the details. This can especially be difficult to follow if there is more than one main character involved. Kate Morton manages to do this in a completely interesting, easy to follow way... and I will follow her from this book to many, many more if she continues to write them.

    I've listened to all of her books now except one. All of her books have held my interest and taken me away to a place and a time where I can see and feel exactly what her characters see and feel. This book has been my favorite.

    I'd never really thought about how it must have been to have lived through the blitz in England. This book made me feel the fear and opened my eyes to the edge on which people lived during this time. Never has any book, since The English Patient showed me the way war forced people together who in any other time would never have crossed paths. Love, sacrifice, mercy, as well as evil are all a part of everyday life during war. Nothing is taken for granted. Today is all you have. Tomorrow may not come. Life if precious. Death is all around. This book takes you there.

    The narrator for this book,has been the same in all the other Kate Morton books I've listened to and she is very, very good. She has a crisp, understandable English accent. The emotion of the story line comes through. She does justice to Kate Morton's intelligent, sensitive, moving tale.

    Kate Morton is in a league that very few writers achieve. When I listened to this book I left the reality of my day behind. If you need a good escape and love a good English mystery that is intelligently written I recommend it for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Before the Frost: A Kurt and Linda Wallander Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (190)
    Performance
    (95)
    Story
    (93)

    Just graduated from the police academy, Linda Wallander returns to Skane to join the police force, and she already shows all the hallmarks of her father - the maverick approach, the flaring temper. Before she even starts work she becomes embroiled in the case of her childhood friend, Anna, who has inexplicably disappeared.

    Anthony says: "Worst Narration Style EVER"
    "The Best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was sadly the last Wallander book in the series for me. However it was a happy way to end things, as I think it was the best of all the books. The narrator was very good, and the story which is told from Linda's point of view was very insightful.

    All of the other books are a bit depressing because Kurt Wallander is a very depressed individual. This book is more upbeat because Linda is just beginning her police career and has a youthful, inexperienced way of looking at things. She has inherited her dad's intuition and courage, but she is very different from her dad in that she has many friends and is quite outgoing and demonstrative to those she cares about.

    I'm glad I decided to listen to this book. I only wish there were more books that included both Kurt and Linda. It's very sad to say goodbye!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell, Laurie Thompson (translator)
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (478)
    Performance
    (242)
    Story
    (248)

    Håkan von Enke, a retired naval officer, disappears during a walk in a forest near Stockholm. Wallander is not officially involved in the investigation, but he is personally affected—von Enke is his daughter’s father-in-law—and Wallander is soon interfering in matters that are not his responsibility. He is confounded by the information he uncovers, which hints at elaborate Cold War espionage.

    Rebecca says: "I'd expect nothing less..."
    "A Bilt of A Downer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First of all I would like to say that I just read online that the actor who narrated this book just died in Feb., 2013. I don't want to trash him, just say that he was not appropriate to narrate a Kurt Wallander book. Other Audible reviewers complained about Dick Hill's narration of previous Wallander books, but I say just wait till you listen to this guy. ( I liked Dick Hill's narration.) This guy has a very highbrow English accent with no expression except anger. Kurt can be short with people but he has a huge heart. This did not come through with this reader. Too bad Kenneth Branagh didn't narrate this book. He does such an excellent job in the PBS dramas of these Henning Mankell books. He's not to bad to look at either.

    The book itself is sad because Kurt is toward the end of his career and is definitely feeling his age. He thinks more about dying than living, but then he always specialized in melancholy. As always, I appreciate how well these books are written. This one seemed to drag, but I honestly think it is because I was used to Dick Hill's voice narrating, and this narrator was very boring to listen to.

    I do think that the translation is better in this book than in the previous ones. It flows better and the wording was more intelligent and creative. It was more professionally done, not so much like a high school student had done the translating.

    If given the choice you may want to read this one, not listen to it, particularly if you liked the previous narrations. If you have listened to or read the other books in the series you should not leave this one out, but don't begin the series with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Fifth Woman: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (711)
    Performance
    (317)
    Story
    (321)

    In an African convent, four nuns and an unidentified fifth woman are brutally murdered, and the death of the unknown woman is covered up by the local police. A year later in Sweden, Inspector Kurt Wallander is baffled and appalled by two strange murders with an elusive connection to the fifth woman.

    Rebecca says: "A new Henning Mankell fan is born"
    "Well Written"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book, as I have all of the Kurt Wallander mysteries I've listened too. I was prompted to write this review because I disagree with other listeners who have complained about Dick Hill's narration. I don't know Swedish, but his pronunciation seems genuine to me. As for his ability to carry off other voices than the main character, I think he does a very good job! I don't mind at all when he does a female voice, as I have with some other narrators. His expression is right on and if he is a little monotone at times I don't have a problem. This is a Henning Mankell book! He is a slow, methodical writer and the cadence of Dick Hill's voice is perfect for these books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Grave Sight: Harper Connelly Mysteries, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Charlaine Harris
    • Narrated By Alyssa Bresnahan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1438)
    Performance
    (741)
    Story
    (747)

    Grave Sight draws listeners into the intriguing world of Harper Connelly, a woman with a unique gift: she can "see" the deceased and how they died. A teenage girl from a small Ozarks town is missing and feared dead. Hired by local police, Harper locates the girl's body in a nearby forest. But there's more than one corpse in those woods, and the second one raises questions no one wants to ask.

    Connie says: "Enjoyable. Interesting. Recommend!"
    "Somewhat Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a wonderful idea for a book. A young woman, Harper, is struck by lightening and finds that she is able to hear the dead tell her how they died. She and her brother travel together around the country to help grieving families find their dead loved ones, and in some cases identify how they died, by natural causes or murder.

    The author tries valiantly to guide the reader into Harper's world. She and her brother grew up in a home with parents who were drug addicts. They had only themselves to lean on and trust. Their bond is very tight. I found a couple of times it felt a little too tight, almost bordering on incest. But this doesn't detract from the book. It just makes the point that Harper has a damaged psyche from the childhood trauma of negligent parents; then being struck by lightening and awakening to the new scary "gift" she now possess. She feels she should try to help others with this gift she has of communicating with dead people, but people don't always appreciate the answers she gives them about their deceased loved one.

    So I would say that listening to this book was a bit interesting. But it would have made such a difference if it had been read by a narrator who had more expression in her voice. This book was read in a dry, emotionless way that totally detracted from any expression of feelings the main character was experiencing. When the narrator changed voices to represent another women or as a man it was difficult to know who was talking. All of the voices seemed to be a slight variation of the same. She attempted a southern accent at times, which didn't sound realistic. I do know something about southern accents, my parents were from Georgia and their drawls were genuinely from "down yonder" in the southern state of Georgia.

    I would recommend this book if you can deal with the readers monotone voice and if you aren't bothered by a woman who leans a bit too heavily on her brother. Is it a normal brother/sister relationship? Its not a poorly written book, but certainly not one of the best I've ever enjoyed. It has promise but if I read a sequence to this book I hope that Harper begins to trust her own abilities to deal with difficult situations and will wean herself off the childlike need to cling to her brother.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • In the Woods

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4503)
    Performance
    (2565)
    Story
    (2565)

    As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

    Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a 12-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery.

    Barbara says: "A near-flawless audiobook (but for one thing...)"
    "A Mystery Within A Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I first read this book a few years ago. I couldn't put it down. When I wasn't reading it I was trying to figure out what happened in the woods all those years ago... When I finished the book I was wiped out by the ending. I had never been so angry with an author before. I felt betrayed and tricked.

    So why would I purchase this book on Audible? Well, one thing is for certain, very few books have ever haunted me like this one. The audible version was on sale and I had never read the sequel, so I decided to purchase The Woods and listen to it before the sequel, this time with more insight and without the emotional response I had the first time. Wrong! Tana French is an incredible writer. Although I remembered the book and knew what to expect I was again drawn into the life of these characters. Her attention to detail is incredible. This time I was able to look more objectively at the tortured character of Rob. Everything he did, every relationship in his life was colored by what happened to him as a 12 year-old boy...in the woods.

    I even went online after listening to the book to see if other readers had opinions on the book. I found many forums dedicated to discussion about it. I also read that the movie rights have recently been purchased. If the movie is well done, it could be great. But I wouldn't want to see it without having first read and/or listened to the book.

    I can't give the book a five star because I still feel a bit betrayed by the author. However, if a book has such a profound effect on me then she must have touched a very deep nerve in my psyche. The narrator does an outstanding job. I would have enjoyed it more if they had had a woman perform the female voices. This narrator is all guy and he captured the essence of Rob. His female voices grated a bit but it wasn't for lack of inflection or emotion. He just sounded all male.

    I recommend the book. It truly is one of the best books I've ever been held captive by.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Jim Butcher
    • Narrated By James Marsters
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10605)
    Performance
    (7526)
    Story
    (7530)

    A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.

    Tom says: "Excellent Story, Distracting Sound Engineering"
    "A Great Escape"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved this book! It's original, fast paced, chock full of action and insane situations. It is pure escapism.

    True it may seem silly to give five stars to a book who is about a present day wizard. But the writing is witty and intelligent. The book gripped me at the beginning and I enjoyed every minute of listening time.

    James Marsters is excellent as a narrator. He pulled me into Harry's character. By his voice Harry and I were connected. I understood Harry and I liked Harry. Some books should be read but others listened to. This one should definitely be listened to.





    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cold Vengeance

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2117)
    Performance
    (1651)
    Story
    (1644)

    Devastated by the discovery that his wife, Helen, was murdered, Special Agent Pendergast must have retribution. But revenge is not simple. As he stalks his wife's betrayers-a chase that takes him from the wild moors of Scotland to the bustling streets of New York City and the darkest bayous of Louisiana - he is also forced to dig further into Helen's past. And he is stunned to learn that Helen may have been a collaborator in her own murder.

    A User says: "Aloysius X. L. Pendergast"
    "Another Winner!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book introduces us to a different Agent Pendergast. He is always focused, intelligent and intent on avenging evil in his own special way. In this book though it is his own grief that's the catalyst behind his search for truth. This is a game of uncovering layer upon layer of evil. Was Helen really who he thought she was? Did she have secrets that even our old Super Agent never suspected?Was he duped?

    I look forward to the last book in the Helen Trilogy being available in audiobook form.

    Rene Auberjonois does a magnificent job in narrating this book. It isn't easy to affect a true refined, southern gentleman accent. This is exactly how I believe Agent Pendergast would sound. He also is able to handle the voice of the trashy Swamp Rats that Pendergast battles with, and the females who are part of the story. I hope he narrates the next book.

    Bring it on soon!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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