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  • Bruno, Chief of Police

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Martin Walker
    • Narrated By Robert Ian MacKenzie
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Bruno is a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life - living in his restored shepherd's cottage; patronizing the weekly market; sparring with, and basically ignoring, the European Union bureaucrats from Brussels. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes everything and galvanizes Bruno's attention.

    Sara says: "Good but hardly cozy and gentle!"
    "A great narrator with the wrong book..."
    Where does Bruno, Chief of Police rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the middle of the pack, would be upper middle if Robert Ian MacKenzie hadn't read the character as though Bruno were Carson the butler of Downton Abbey. Martin Walker the author might be an Oxford-educated British ex-pat, but his/my hero Bruno Courreges the chief of police is supposed to be French! Bruno just might have more common sense in his little finger than 99% of the rest of the world put together, but Bruno was an orphan who got his education in the army, not at Harrow or Oxford.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bruno, of course.

    Would you be willing to try another one of Robert Ian MacKenzie’s performances?

    MacKenzie was perfect in his reading of Mark Helprin's Freddie and Fredricka, which unfortunately does NOT work for Bruno, the French village chief of police.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As you probably know by now I had an extreme reaction to MacKenzie's reading of the book. It was phenomenally annoying. The book itself is an excellent variation of the British "cozy" murder mystery, and in the right voice would have been just what I was looking for. I will read the remainder of the series and keep my ear out better uses of MacKenzie's prodigious talent.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Daniel James Brown
    • Narrated By Edward Herrmann
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Daniel James Brown's robust book tells the story of the University of Washington's 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

    Janice says: "Do you believe in miracles??"
    "Best book I've read in ages."

    If you want to know why I loved this book read Jay Parini's review in The Guardian from July of 2013. He explains it better than I ever could.

    The Boys in the Boat was very nearly perfectly narrated by Edward Herrman, who for me has become THE voice of great historical nonfiction, bios and memoirs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn of Eden

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Julie Kagawa
    • Narrated By Therese Plummer

    Before The Immortal Rules, there was Red Lung, a relentless virus determined to take out all in its path. For Kylie, the miracle of her survival is also her burden - as a doctor at one of the clinics for the infected, she is forced to witness endless suffering. What's worse, strange things are happening to the remains of the dead, and by the time she befriends Ben Archer, she's beginning to wonder if a global pandemic is the least of her problems....

    L. Taylor says: "Good foundation"
    "A (bad) Harlequin romance with zombies"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is a Harlequin Luna imprint, described by its editor as a place for "female-focused fantasy." Well, it's poorly written and irredeemably cliched even for a Harlequin of any imprint, but it currently has a 4.1 average rating so it must appeal to people who like this sort of thing.

    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I have been craving light and humorous lately, and Carl Hiassen's Skinny Dip is fun enough so far. It reminds me of an episode of the Rockford Files with a sprinkling of Columbo.

    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    It wasn't the easiest book to read because the dialogue is so inane, but Therese Plummer does not do male voices well at all. I also found it irritating that the Illinois farmer was read as as a stereotypical southern hick.

    What character would you cut from Dawn of Eden?

    All of them.

    Any additional comments?

    There is a rather graphic sex scene. My understanding is that this is the prequel to a series geared more to YA audiences. This is definitely not YA. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Killed at the Whim of a Hat

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Colin Cotterill
    • Narrated By Jeany Park

    Jimm Juree was a crime reporter for the Chiang Mai Daily Mail with a somewhat eccentric family. When she is forced to follow her family to a rural village on the coast of Southern Thailand, she’s convinced her career—maybe her life—is over. So when a van containing the skeletal remains of two hippies is inexplicably unearthed in a local farmer’s field, Jimm is thrilled. Shortly thereafter an abbot at a local Buddhist temple is viciously murdered.

    Bobbie says: "delighted..."
    "Dr. NO"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I know that Cotterill is capable of 5 star listening experiences - I fell in love with Dr. Siri and his Laos of the 1970's.

    Killed at the Whim of a Hat doesn't just fall flat, it falls off a cliff... or maybe a skyscraper... or maybe both. Jimm Juree and contemporary Thailand are both huge bores. Overall the book comes across as a failed attempt at chick-lit, self-indulgent and precious; every character is a caricature or stereotype except perhaps for the dogs and some clever villagers.

    Has Killed at the Whim of a Hat turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Too-cute, chick-detective mysteries? Yeah I'm turned off from this genre.

    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jeany Park?

    I'd give Jeany another chance.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Dog justice.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Discovery of Witches

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Deborah Harkness
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ikeda
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library.

    Tim says: "True Blood PG13"
    "Repetitive and dull"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    What could have made a stay at Motel 6 a 4 or 5-star hotel experience?

    Has A Discovery of Witches turned you off from other books in this genre?

    My attitude about this genre is not affected.

    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, which only exacerbated the problem.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It wasn't outright offensive, but it is difficult to see redeeming qualities in a book I could not stand to finish.

    Any additional comments?


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gravity

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Tess Gerritsen
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Emma Watson, a brilliant research physician, has been training for years for the mission of a lifetime: to study living beings in space. Jack McCallum, Emma's estranged husband, has shared her dream of space travel, but a medical condition has grounded and embittered him. He must watch from the sidelines as his wife prepares for her first mission to the international Space Station.

    Jacqueline says: "Fast Paced Thriller"
    "This book is NOT narrated by Campbell Scott"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gravity to be better than the print version?

    I have not read the print version of Gravity.

    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    So far, the plot is fine, not gripping, but would be a good airplane read.

    What didn’t you like about Campbell Scott’s performance?

    The formatted review asks: What didn't you like about Campbell Scott's performance?

    I bought the book specifically because the narrator is advertised to be Campbell Scott.
    What I didn't like is that whoever the narrator was, he was definitely not Campbell Scott.

    Another reviewer says that the narrator was William Dufris. Dufris is a fine narrator, a little bit nasal to suit my ears, but he read the story well.

    When you are expecting Campbell Scott and get William Dufris it is kind of like taking a drink of what you think is going to be fresh-brewed unsweetened iced tea and getting a mouthful of instant sweet tea instead.

    False advertising. Extremely disappointing,

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


    Any additional comments?

    I want my money back.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Zero Day

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    From David Baldacci - the modern master of the thriller and number-one worldwide best-selling novelist - comes a new hero: a lone Army Special Agent taking on the toughest crimes facing the nation. John Puller is a combat veteran and the best military investigator in the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigative Division. His father was an Army fighting legend, and his brother is serving a life sentence for treason in a federal military prison. Puller has an indomitable spirit and an unstoppable drive to find the truth.

    Steve says: "There will be more of Puller ...."
    "Baldacci insults his fans"
    Would you try another book from David Baldacci and/or Ron McLarty and Orlagh Cassidy ?

    I have been a big fan of Baldacci's Jack Reacher and the Camel club... oh wait! Baldacci wrote the Camel Club, but didn't write the Jack Reacher series, Lee Child did. On top of that Zero Day is a BAD ripoff. This book was so cliched, the characters so stereotyped and superficial, the suspense so non-existent that I am certainly finished paying money to read/hear books authored by Baldacci. Ron McClarty was good as always, but the combination with Orlagh Cassidy did not work well- her reading of the women characters was flat, and she was at a disadvantage because McClarty was the dominant narrator including "She said" Cassidy is a fine narrator, it just did not work in this book.

    Has Zero Day turned you off from other books in this genre?

    It's turned me off from other books in this genre by David Baldacci.

    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    They did the best they could with what they had to work with... although Cassidy's characters came across as very flat.

    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It isn't as though the book was obscene, but it was so phenomenally mediocre and such an obvious ripoff of Lee Child that no, it has no redeeming qualities for me.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • The Submission: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Amy Waldman
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Claire Harwell hasn't settled into grief; events haven't let her. Cool, eloquent, raising two fatherless children, Claire has emerged as the most visible of the 9/11 widows who became a potent political force in the aftermath of the catastrophe. She longs for her husband, but she has found her mission: she sits on a jury charged with selecting a fitting memorial for the victims of the attack.

    Barbara says: "Some books were meant to be read..."
    "Some books were meant to be read..."

    This did not work for me at all as an audiobook and I could not finish it.

    One problem was my reaction to the characters... when I found someone insufferable, which was often, this distracted me... the audio would move on, leaving me to miss what came next.

    Another annoying aspect of the book is that the voice of the author (not so much the narrator) has a certain overarching air of pretentiousness and self-importance that is sometimes found in people who are, shall we say, steeped a bit too long in the Ivy League? I would be surprised if the author is not a grad of Harvard or Yale, and would not be surprised if she were a graduate of both. This, too, was distracting and probably came across more strongly in the audio version than it would if I were reading it. At least I hope so.

    If I do finish the book I will get a hard copy. This story needs to be read at the reader's pace and without the distractions that can come with the audio-book medium. If your pace happens to match that of the audio version, then your experience will be much better than mine.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Infernal Devices

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By K. W. Jeter
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When George’s father died, he left his son a watchmaker’s shop - and a whole lot more. But George has little talent for watches and other infernal devices. When someone tries to steal an old device from the premises, George finds himself embroiled in a mystery of time travel, wild music, and sexual intrigue.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "First is not always best"
    "Some books are meant to be read..."

    Michael Page does as well as anyone possibly could, but some books are meant to be read, not heard, and this is one of them. The novel is a hoot, I recommend it, but not the audio version.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • City of Thieves

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By David Benioff
    • Narrated By Ron Perlman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A writer visits his retired grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandmother won't talk about it, but his grandfather reluctantly consents. The result is the captivating odyssey of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds. Lev Beniov considers himself "built for deprivation." He's small, smart, and insecure, a Jewish virgin too young for the army, who spends his nights working as a volunteer firefighter with friends from his building.

    Paul says: "Stunning Tale. Great Narration."
    "Buyers' remorse"

    I am half through the audiobook and so irritated by Ron Perlman's slow, monotonous narration that I had to stop. He delivers dialogue acceptably. Everything in between sounds as if he can barely keep his eyes open from boredom.

    As for the book itself, the beginning was promising enough, and Benioff can definitely write, but by now it's like listening to an abridgement or screenplay. Benioff took grandpa too literally when told to make up the rest of the story. It is under-researched and over dominated by the protagonists' normal but tedious obsession with sex. So far, women in this book are reduced to (grand)mother, witch, cypher, and sex object. The liberal use of the F-word and obscene euphemisms for female genitalia got old in a hurry.

    I'd never heard of Benioff before today. Turns out he's an unusually gorgeous, successful screenwriter (25th Hour, Troy, Kite Runner), married to actress Amanda Peet; native New Yorker, Dartmouth grad, son of a former head of Goldman-Sachs. He started to write while his wife was pregnant and his daughter was born when the novel was half-finished. It was only after 9/11 that he became interested in the siege of Leningrad and finally asked his Russian immigrant grandfather about his experience. So the real story here might be Benioff, who also wrote the novel "The 25th Hour" which was published 9 months before 9/11, from which I found this rather chilling quote:

    “F-ck this whole city and everyone in it. From the row-houses of Astoria to the penthouses on Park Avenue, from the projects in the Bronx to the lofts in Soho. From the tenements in Alphabet City to the brownstones in Park Slope to the split-levels in Staten Island. Let an earthquake crumble it, let the fires rage, let it burn to f-cking ash and then let the waters rise and submerge this whole rat-infested place.”

    Knowing what I know now, I'll finish this book, but I want my money back for the audioproduction.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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