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Canberra Dilettante

garfish

Canberra, Australia | Member Since 2014

13
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 22 reviews
  • 61 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 46 purchased in 2015
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  • Pawnbroker

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jerry Hatchett
    • Narrated By Jay Wohlert
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    Would you give killers what they want to get them to leave you and your family alone? Gray Bolton might, if he knew what it was. His life as a pawnbroker in a Mississippi town is good. He has a beautiful family and the future looks bright. Then he kills an armed robber and discovers that he was anything but a common criminal. Trouble cascades upon Bolton from the police, from home, and from unknown parties who may be the most vicious of all. They all appear to be after the same thing and they will all do anything to get it. Unfortunately, Bolton has no idea what that thing is.

    Amazon Customer says: "An interesting convergence of characters"
    "Great fun for lovers of good old-fashioned pulp"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a bit conflicted about this book. It starts off hinting at schlock-horror in a prologue, but then kicks off the novel proper with a protagonist I could really have come to like if positioned in a different story. I LOVE the idea of a pawnbroker as a protagonist - at times this character,and the best of the writing, reminded me of the late great Willam Tapply and his small-town lawyer Brady Coyne. A decent human with a strong sense of justice and a fine judge of character, in a job which brings him into contact with all sorts of people in trouble for all sorts of reasons. I could devour a series like that.

    Gray Bolton isn't Brady Coyne, though - Hatchett doesn't flesh him out quite enough. The story is fast-paced and fun once you come to terms with the fact that it's also so pulpy it's verging on camp: the whip-smart gorgeous kick-ass black female sidekick who is also utterly compliant and worships the hero for no apparent reason is just one example (even her name is gimmicky, per Ian Fleming, or indeed Austin Powers). The unremitting redneck evil of the bad guys is another. But if you stop looking for Meaning and just enjoy the sex, violence and thrills per minute, this is an enjoyable ride.

    Preference in narration is a personal thing, and I confess this aspect of the book didn't work for me. The style is very laid-back for a story that is so hyper-energised, and I felt the narrator struggled with women's voices and in differentiating characters generally. But, as I say, this is a personal thing - if in doubt, download a sample and see what you think.

    I received this book free, as a review copy. My opinions are independent and my own.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Hour of the Rat

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Lisa Brackmann
    • Narrated By Tracy Sallows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (9)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    Iraq War vet Ellie McEnroe has a pretty good life in Beijing, representing the work of controversial dissident Chinese artist Zhang Jianli. Even though Zhang’s mysterious disappearance of over a year ago has her in the sights of the Chinese authorities. Even though her born-again mother has come for a visit and shows no signs of leaving. But when her mom takes up with "that nice Mr. Zhou next door", Ellie decides that it’s time to get out of town - given her mother’s past bad choices of men, no good can come of this. An old Army buddy, Dog Turner, gives her the perfect excuse....

    David says: "Get started on this series now"
    "Best new protagonist in ages"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This series is fantastic. While this particular story is more confusing than the first (Rock, Paper, Tiger), and less beatly resolved, the insughts into Chinese culture of the everyday variety, plus the glimpses of the life of a US army veteran, are complettly engaging. I really love the depth and complexity of Bravkman's characters, and can't wait to spend more time with them. The narration is slso outstanfing, accents and language tactfully and expressively rendered. Well worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crescendo

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Deborah J Ledford
    • Narrated By Christina Cox
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (63)
    Story
    (66)

    As the only female Native American officer on the Bryson City, North Carolina police force, Inola Walela, must always play her A game. Allbets are off when during a routine traffic stop the passenger insists her sonhas been kidnapped but is struck by a car before Inola can glean any hardfacts. An altercation ensues and Inola's partner is felled by a bullet-possiblyfrom her gun.

    C. Telfair says: "A Familiar Profile"
    "Truly dreadful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was absolutely staggered that this was nominated for an Anthony Award. Leaden narration does not help a terrible, cliched story. The plot has more holes than and onion bag, the romance is unconvincing, the family platitudes are trite. Worst of all is the lead character, who ought to be interesting, but utterly fails. We are constantly told what a brilliant cop she is, but never see a single example of it. Instead we see stupid mistake after stupid mistake, bad decision after bad decision, while the cop laments how someone of her allegedly prodigious talents could have got it so wrong. And so often. This gets very old very soon. The flat and ponderous narration is surprising from an otherwise talented actor - perhaps she found the appalling writing as depressing as I did. Just awful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Jim Bernheimer
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    Overall
    (68)
    Performance
    (64)
    Story
    (66)

    Homicide Detective David Bagini awakens in a strange world only to discover that he is, in fact, the 42nd clone of the Bagini line. With no memories of why his Prime entered into a clone contract, he wants answers. The first problem is his Prime is dead and Bagini 42 is in charge of the investigation. The second problem is all the clues point at a clone from his line and they already know all his tricks. How can he solve his own murder when every suspect has his name and face?

    John C. says: "We have met the enemy and they is us."
    "Thoroughly enjoyable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked this book! A clever and original concept, well and wittily executed, and with excellent narration.

    Picture a world where certain gifted individuals can live off the fruits of their talent by cloning themselves, and letting the clones do all the scut work? So when the most brilliant detective of his age is murdered, who better to investigate than ... A brand-new clone of the most brilliant detective of his age?

    In less talented hands - both the author and the narrator - this could have been very confusing. Instead, this is a highly entertaining sci-fi mystery, recommended if you enjoy books like the Stainless Steel Rat series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deadmistress: Susan Lombardi Mystery, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Carole B. Shmurak
    • Narrated By Barbara Benjamin-Creel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (19)

    The headmistress of an exclusive private school for girls has been found murdered in her office. When professor Susan Lombardi learns that her friend John is the prime suspect, she sets out to clear his name, but her research uncovers some troubling secrets about the school's faculty and students. And soon it becomes clear that John is not the only one with a motive for murder.

    med c says: "This is a very interesting mytery novel"
    "Entertaining traditional mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When a much disliked headmistress of a posg girls school is murdered, teaching alumna Susan Lombardi is on the case (with the aid of her supportive husband - and some interesting others). This won't set the world on fire, but it's a good solid traditional mystery, and a pleasant way to pass some time. I will look for more in this series.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Robin Sloan
    • Narrated By Ari Fliakos
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2792)
    Performance
    (2512)
    Story
    (2499)

    The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone - and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything....

    Susan says: "Fun, thought-provoking, mysterious.... and FUN !"
    "Cute, but a bit disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I couldn't wait to get hold of this book after reading reviews and synopses. It's fun, and charming, but not the game-changer I'd been led to expect. And the author lost a lot of my goodwill for (a) some unsubtle lobbying for copyright piracy; and (b) calling his Magical Pixie Dream Girl character Kat Potente, ehich seems a bit sad and obvious (but then I never related to the cult spoeal of Cat Power). It's a fun story, neatly told, but this is not the new Douglas Adams or Neil Gaiman. I did enjoy the narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 46 mins)
    • By Neil Gaiman, The Twitterverse
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    Overall
    (106)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (71)

    “Sam was brushing her hair when the girl in the mirror put down the hairbrush, smiled, and said, "We don't love you anymore." So began the Twitter Audio project, with a dazzling first line penned by New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman. What followed was an epic tale of imaginary lands, magical objects, haunting melodies, plucky sidekicks, menacing villains, and much more

    MissSusie66 says: "Loved it!"
    "Failed experiment"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I utterly love Neil Gaimsn, so I'm going to pretend this never happened. Even with the incomparable Kayherine Kellgren as narrator, this is almost unlistenable. It's a hot mess of loose ends and inconsistencies desperately patched together with cliches and compromise. The impression left is that Gaiman's Twitter followers came up with ideas that were either stupid or obvious, and didn't listen to each other, and it was left to Gaiman to try and force it all together. At least, I sincerely hope so.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Sheep-Pig

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 51 mins)
    • By Dick King-Smith
    • Narrated By Stephen Thorne
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (75)
    Story
    (76)

    When Babe, the little orphaned piglet, is won at a fair by Farmer Hogget, he is adopted by Fly, the kind-hearted sheep-dog. Babe is determined to learn everything he can from Fly. He knows he can't be a sheep-dog. But maybe, just maybe, he might be a sheep-pig.

    David A. Heckman says: "I loved it"
    "Really: just lovely"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The originsl story behinf Australian film "Babe", about the sheep herding piglet. Here, Babe grows into a proper adult Great White hog, and alas, there are no singing mice, but it's still a beautiful story, with beautiful narration. Recommended for young and old alike.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Animal Farm [Dramatised]

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Tamsin Greig
    Overall
    (362)
    Performance
    (328)
    Story
    (332)

    Animal Farm - the history of a revolution that went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power. Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges....

    Ed says: "Not allowed to give a classic less than 3 stars"
    "Wonderful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a beautifully performed version of Orwell's claasic novel. This would be a very easy way to introduce this worl to children who might not be great readers. Or, indeed, to adults. A very approachable adaptation and highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How to Be Beyoncé

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 29 mins)
    • By Madison Moore
    • Narrated By Zane Sanchez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (255)
    Performance
    (218)
    Story
    (218)

    We're in a Beyoncé moment. The pop sensation has more fans, more fame, and more cultural influence than ever before. But what makes her so iconic? Is she really that perfect? And why do we love her so much? How to Be Beyoncé isn't a biography (mostly because nobody wants to get sued by someone who does everything so perfectly). Instead, it's a meditation on her place in culture, why we love her so much, and what we can learn from her image and work-ethic, so we can reach our own potential.

    elle says: "Not Even Worth Free"
    "Only for the seriously obsessed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought this might be an intersting exploration of a pop culture phenomenon, but while there are a few glimpses of insight, almost all of this is incredibly self-indulgent and seriouslyboverthought hagiography by someone who could really use another hobby. If you have any interests in life outside of Beyonce, this programme probably isn't for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Glengarry Glen Ross

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 22 mins)
    • By David Mamet
    • Narrated By Gordon Clapp, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Richard Dreyfuss, and others
    Overall
    (253)
    Performance
    (230)
    Story
    (230)

    A group of low-ranking real-estate salesmen are trying to survive in a cut-throat office culture. But when two of them devise a plot to redress the company's wrongs, the resulting turmoil increases the pressure to unbearable levels. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance.

    Nothing really matters says: "Top notch, dramatic acting in a great story."
    "A classic, brilliantly performed"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Seriously good: an astonishing cast delivering one of the best works from one of our greatest living playwrights. I was surprised to find I didn't miss the visuals at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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