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Candace Russell

Member Since 2004

ratings
633
REVIEWS
35
FOLLOWING
2
FOLLOWERS
2
HELPFUL VOTES
97

  • The Family - A Novel (Movie Tie-In), previously published as Malavita

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Tonino Benacquista
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (38)
    Story
    (37)

    The Blakes are newcomers to a small town in Normandy. Fred is a historian researching the Allied landings, Maggie enjoys charity work, and their kids are looking forward to meeting other teenagers at the local lycee. Or so it seems. In fact, Fred is really Giovanni Manzoni, an ex-goodfella turned stool pigeon who's been relocated from New Jersey to France by the FBI's witness protection program. And when imprisoned mobster Don Mimino gets wind of their location, it's Mafia mayhem.

    Richard Delman says: "A genuine laugh riot. Balerini is a master."
    "Super entertaining"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I just listened for the second time this year (never done before, since I hate reruns), and yes, it's just as much fun as before. Actually, the world-traveling piece of litter was even more amusing on the second listen. This is really such a clever story.

    I should mention that some of the expressions are more British than USA: boot for car trunk? garden vs. front or back yard; "straightaway" for "asap" or like, "right now." Quite a lot of that sort of thing, so if you're not accustomed the the language of British or UK-influenced literature, it might be a bit confusing at times. It wouldn't be so inappropriate in background, but even the American characters use the expressions in their dialog, which makes the story less realistic. But, then, it's supposed to be a memoir pretending to be fiction, so maybe realism isn't to be expected.

    I've criticized Edoardo Ballerini's reading of other books, but somehow his somber style worked perfectly in this, and the accents of all the different languages were very well done. This book gave him a chance to show his true talent. I just purchased Beautiful Ruins based on his reading of this book, since I thought that might also provide a way to showcase his abilities. We'll see.

    And the dog lived, and even got some of it's own back. I can't tell you how many otherwise good books have been ruined for me by the things that have happened to animals in them. Humans will never become the superior beings some think they are until they learn to at least confine their nastiness to our own species. Kudos, Malavita!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Cop Town

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Karin Slaughter
    • Narrated By Kathleen Early
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (555)
    Performance
    (461)
    Story
    (472)

    Atlanta, 1974: It's Kate Murphy's first day on the job, and the Atlanta Police Department is seething after the murder of an officer. Before the day has barely begun, she already suspects she's not cut out to be a cop. Her male uniform is too big, she can't handle a gun, and she's rapidly learning that the APD is hardly a place that welcomes women. Worse still, in the ensuing manhunt she'll be partnered with Maggie Lawson, a cop with her own ax to grind.

    Ronna says: "Women cops in bigoted 1974 Georgia"
    "Pros and cons"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a really interesting book, but I never would have bought it if I hadn't realized how to deal with the reader. It wouldn't be the first time I'd have opted for the print version, or passed altogether based on a response to the audio. I really disliked her, and noticed some other reviewers had the same reaction. So I was going to put her on my list of readers to avoid, but then realized I had another book in my library read by her, and had rated her just fine. Then I realized that I'd accelerated the playback speed somewhere between 30 and 50 percent on that book, and for some reason that totally fixes her. That aside, I found that looking back on that era was quite sobering. Could it be only 50 years ago that this country was as bigoted as some of the countries we sneer at now for their backward societies? Well, shake it off. It was quite a story, and parts were even lighthearted and very entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Case of Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1614)
    Performance
    (1392)
    Story
    (1405)

    A high-profile attorney in the middle of a leave of absence following a personal tragedy is drawn back into the legal arena amidst a media firestorm when he agrees to represent a popular rap artist accused of brutally murdering his pop star girlfriend. With its powerful voice, pause-resisting tension, and strong cast of characters, Adam Mitzner’s novels are reminiscent of such best-selling authors as Scott Turow and John Grisham.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "Didn't quite make it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I thought the story was pretty solid until the end, which got a little wobbly. However, I really didn't care for Kevin Collins' personification of the main character. His voice just didn't sound likely as a defense attorney. I know they all don't sound like Perry Mason, but I never heard one who came off so whiny and kind of pathetic. For that matter, I think it would have been a good idea to make friends with some lawyer or maybe just sit in one of their bars and start a conversation about what they might do to resolve a situation such as that at the end of the book. I think it needed more work.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Bad Place

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Carol Cowan, Michael Hanson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (382)
    Performance
    (185)
    Story
    (187)

    Frank Pollard awakens in an alley, knowing nothing but his name - and that he is in great danger. Having taken refuge in a motel, he wakes again only to find his hands covered in blood. As far as he knows, he's no killer. But whose blood is this, and how did it get there?

    Chris says: "Right on par"
    "What a waste"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really think Dean Koontz is a very good writer, but why does he think he needs all the fantasy junk to make a good story? It's not like there isn't enough real evil in the world for him to write about. I kept listening up to the point that I figured there would be no natural or scientific explanation coming out of the woodwork, but really, there aren't enough hours in a day to spend 15 of them listening to something like this. I guess I'll keep it in my library for next Halloween, since I always like bizarre crap for that particular holiday, but really, I can't recommend this for anyone who thinks they want a good mystery/detective novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Timbuktu

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Paul Auster
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (211)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (169)

    Mr. Bones, the canine hero of this astonishing book, is the sidekick and confidant of Willy G. Christmas, a brilliant and troubled homeless man from Brooklyn. As Willy's body slowly expires, he sets off with Mr. Bones for Baltimore in search of his high-school English teacher and a new home for his companion. Mr. Bones is our witness during their journey, and out of his thoughts, Paul Auster has spun one of the richest, most compelling tales in American fiction.

    Dubi says: "Should I Have Said Gehrig?"
    "Crap ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I'm willing to accept authors' fantasies about how dogs think about things most of the time, but this just looks like Paul Auster got tired of writing this book and decided to hack it off with a scene that is not only unpleasant, but carries the fantasy way too far. Though some humans apparently have played games like that, it's stretching too far to think that a dog would do it. I hate it when authors don't do their homework before starting to write.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Country

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By C. B. McKenzie
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Rodeo Grace Garnet lives alone, save for his old dog, in a remote corner of Arizona known to locals as the Hole. He doesn't get many visitors, but a body found near his home has drawn police attention to his front door. The victim is not one of the many illegal immigrants who risk their lives to cross the border just south of the Hole, but is instead a member of one of the local Indian tribes.

    Candace Russell says: "First book? Really?"
    "First book? Really?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I find an author I like, I always check whether there are other audio books by the same author; and if not, I go to Amazon to find books not yet recorded. Nothing! How could he do such a good job the first time out? I take my hat off to you, Mr. McKenzie. Mark Bramhall really worked out well as the narrator, too. More, please!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Killer: Victor the Assassin Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tom Wood
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (675)
    Performance
    (618)
    Story
    (621)

    Meet Victor. He's an assassin - a man with no past and no surname. He lives alone. He operates alone. He's given a job; he takes out the target; he gets paid. He's The Killer. Victor arrives in Paris to perform a standard kill and collect for an anonymous client. He completes it with trademark efficiency - only to find himself in the middle of an ambush and fighting for his life.

    Anthony says: "You Can't Help Pulling for the "Bad Guy""
    "Got plot?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I suppose this could appeal to the young adult action/adventure crowd, but I personally prefer more complexity to plots than just a bunch of mindless spooks running around the world torturing and killing each other in every imaginable way. Shallow character development and monotonous narrator presentation round out my top three criticisms. The one positive attribute is that it sure does make the life of an assassin sound unappealing. For what that's worth. Just plain gruesome.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Seventh Secret (Signet)

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Irving Wallace
    • Narrated By Chet Williamson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (56)

    Eminent Oxford don Sir Harrison Ashcroft, on the verge of proving that Hitler did not die in the bunker, is murdered in Berlin. His daughter, Emily, continues this quest. Her life is endangered but she has new and unexpected protectors: Rex Foster, researching the vainglory of Nazi architecture; Nicholas Kirvov, curator of a Soviet art museum; and Tovah Levine, Mossad agent. The four prove a tough match for a coterie of neo-Nazis conspiring to perpetuate Hitler's image and obscure the details of his death.

    Keith says: "Solid Conspiracy Theory"
    "preposterous denouement"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I would have rated this book much higher if not for a couple of episodes that really put me off. First, there was the sex scene, which didn't seem quite plausible: that two educated, sophisticated professional people would jump into bed so casually. But then, the story was set in the '80's, so unprotected impulsive sex might be a way to reflect history, if it wasn't just that an agent told the author that some kind of sex was a contract requirement. I started to wonder if the book was written by committee, but the story picked up and moved on quite alright so I stopped being critical until the end. There, the protagonists, who had held the high moral ground to that point, suddenly became incredibly bloodthirsty and civically irresponsibly, leaving me with the notion that the author just got tired of writing and decided to wind it up any old way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Strangers

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Dean Koontz
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1436)
    Performance
    (673)
    Story
    (675)

    A handful of people. From different backgrounds, living in different towns and cities across America, they had nothing in common - except fear. Deep in the heart of a sprawling desert, a dark memory called out to them, drawing them to the Tranquility Motel - where the terrifying truth was waiting.

    Barry F. Stinson says: "Brilliant"
    "Why was this in "mystery" category?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The only mystery was "why did I buy it?" I'd had a couple of other Koontz books that I liked well enough, but this one seems to be just an unending collection of every sort of teenage mutant zombie alien psycho nonsense that has ever been published. At least I'm guessing it's unending, since I wasn't able to finish it. There were a couple of characters whose fate I'd have liked to know, but just couldn't stick it out.

    Sometimes I like to consider what could be done with a book by eliminating or altering characters or storylines or changing the narrator to make the book readable, but this one just wouldn't be worth the work. I wish Audible would screen it's categories better, so I wouldn't have to do so much research before purchasing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Murder on Kilimanjaro: A Summit Murder Mystery, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles G. Irion
    • Narrated By Greg Lutz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    In Murder on Kilimanjaro, Scott Devlon, Afghanistan war veteran, mountaineer and occasional agent for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has been invited by the sitting President of the United States to join him on his climb of the highest point in Africa. The president is returning to his family roots and will be accompanied by his recently surfaced son, product of the president's youthful liaison with a local tribal chief's daughter in Africa 20 years before. With the primary election season finished and the convention still a few months off, the president's PR staff have determined that this expedition will jump start his campaign for re-election and set at ease any lingering questions about the sudden appearance of this unexpected son.

    Candace Russell says: "Plays like a video game"
    "Plays like a video game"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, I'd get rid of the premise that a President would actually consider such a potentially dangerous vacation; and the Secret Service wouldn't manage to talk him out of it if he did? Al Queda aside, who's even going to trust the weather these days, with all the global warming impacts? Then you have our hero injuring himself multiple times, but still managing to jump right up and go leaping through the snow to escape the assassin. Really! would he be out there anyway, having just been attacked by a bunch of insurgents, who certainly didn't just evaporate after the battle. Unless we're to assume that oxygen deprivation led to such unreasonable actions - but that possibility wasn't mentioned.

    The biggest disappointment, though, was that this wasn't a murder mystery at all. The murder got precious little attention; just resolved in a couple of paragraphs at the end, after killing off the sweetest character in the book. What a waste.

    I could nitpick this storyline all day, but note, I was also disappointed in the reader. He just didn't seem like the right voice for the character. Also, though he could have been working with unedited text, if I noticed all those errors, he should have, too, and taken the trouble to correct and re-record those parts.

    I guess I was expecting too much, given that the book included a great mountain, a President and his crew, African tribal officials, feuding press, and insurgents. Who couldn't make a great book out of all that? I would have given one star, but since I did actually finish it, had to bump it up a bit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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