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Chapel Hill, NC, United States | Member Since 2010

  • 5 reviews
  • 110 ratings
  • 571 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2015

  • The Nearest Exit

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Olen Steinhauer
    • Narrated By David Pittu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Faced with the end of his quiet, settled life, reluctant spy Milo Weaver has no choice but to turn back to his old job as a “tourist”. Before he can get back to the CIA’s dirty work, he has to prove his loyalty to his new bosses, who know little of Milo’s background and less about who is really pulling the strings in the government above the Department of Tourism—or in the outside world, which is beginning to believe the legend of its existence.

    Joanne says: "Elegantly written spy story"
    "The New Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
    Would you listen to The Nearest Exit again? Why?

    Best book I've read or listened to all year.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Erika Schwartz was the most unique and riveting female character. Warning: Angelina Jolie won't play this character, unless she puts on 200 pounds. Also, the main character evolves into the most fascinating spy since George Smiley. Just when you think you know who he is, something changes. I picture Kevin Spacey playing him.

    Have you listened to any of David Pittu’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This guy is a terrific reader. He has no tics that interfere. Every voice is distinct. All the foreign accents are genuine. All the foreign languages are correctly spoken. His reading is hypnotic.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This book is the climax of the trilogy but it could be read alone. it's well worth reading thru the other two to get to it. Every moment is gripping. The suspense is nearly unbearable.

    Any additional comments?

    Don't start it unless you can entirely give over your life to it. Don't listen while driving -- you may have to pull off the road. Don't listen while going to sleep -- you'll never get to sleep.
    It's terrific.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Flowers from Berlin

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Noel Hynd
    • Narrated By George Kuch

    A banker, linguist, and demolitions expert who has successfully infiltrated German intelligence, FBI Special Agent Thomas Cochrane is handpicked by Roosevelt for an impossible mission: to find Hitler's spy before he carries out a plan that will remove the president from office at a critical moment in the century's history.

    Howie says: "Great WWII Story, Historical Fiction......."
    "Terrific Nazi Spy Novel"
    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


    Any additional comments?

    But spoiled by a terrible reader. Not does he mispronounce the German words, he can't even pronounce the English ones (paradigm, allay, etc.). And he can't put the emphasis on the right word either. Then there's the grating Brooklyn accent.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By David Ignatius
    • Narrated By Firdous Bamji
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Deep within Pakistan’s borders, a secret CIA team is being systematically dismantled by a cunning enemy. Soon, Sophie Marx, a young, ambitious agent, is on the ground searching for answers. But as she gets closer to the truth, she suffers a devastating betrayal and must risk more than her life to save the world from a terrifying fate.

    Eric says: "A Walk Into The Shadows"
    "Why the Middle East Hates Us"
    Where does Bloodmoney rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This hit the top of my favorites list. This portrait of a counter-terrorist operation has a multitude of believable details, and flows forward with the inexorability of tragedy. Not that it's depressing or a downer. Not at all. In fact, this book is uplifting. We see how revenge is redundant because the bad guys bring themselves down. it portrays the players in this action as human beings, and this means there is hope for the world. The geopolitical realities of AFghanistan and Pakistan, and the role of the US in the mess over there, is illuminated through complicated but realistic characters. The author clearly knows the character flaws of the many nationalities involved, but also the beauty of each culture, and the tragic misunderstandings caused by these culture clashes.

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

    The plot was riveting. The scenery changed constantly but not in a hard-to-follow way. Very easy to listen to because you always know where your are, whether LA or Dubai or Islamabad, and you always know who is speaking, thanks to the brilliant dialogue and amazing acting job of the narrator. There's plenty of action but it never deviates into farce or action for the sake of action. The suspense comes from seeing the various characters weaving complex plots, each trying to advance his mission. Best of all, good and evil mingle amid many characters of many nationalities. Each character has a motive that makes him or her understandable. Just when you think you've identified the bad guys, the plot shifts.

    Have you listened to any of Firdous Bamji’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I'm so glad I listened to this on audiotape. It takes you right out of the story if the narrator mispronounces the foreign language parts or gets the accents wrong. This narrator gets everything right here. In addition, his voice changes to suit each character without ever sounding absurd. He even does the female voices really well, without sounding falsetto.

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

    Absolutely. This book is dangerous to your health.

    Any additional comments?

    It's rare to find a believable female character in a spy novel. Often they have the face of a model, the body of a pole dancer, the psyche of a nymphomaniac, the endurance of a Navy Seal, the shooting arm of a sniper, etc etc. Female spies, according to many novels, usually dress in clinging silk and ultra-high heels that then become assassin's weapons. Clearly, such authors have no clue what espionage operatives really cultivate, namely, anonymity and the ability to blend in. This novel has a believable female character who is not extreme in any of those ways. She is not perfect, nor does she have ice water in her veins. What she has is a somewhat flawed character like all of us, a rather checkered past all her own, and an admirable ability to see through the lies and deceptions of others.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Hypnotist

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Lars Kepler
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Tumba, Sweden. A triple homicide—all the victims from the same family—captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered. But where can Linna begin? The only surviving witness is the boy whose mother, father, and little sister were killed before his eyes. He has suffered more than 100 knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. He’s in no condition to be questioned....

    Watson says: "Suspense for suspense's sake"
    "Riveting Psychological Character-Built Thriller"
    What made the experience of listening to The Hypnotist the most enjoyable?

    The characters come to life immediately. There is no over-writing here. No extra words. It is as spare as the Scandinavian landscape, but rich in emotion. And the narration is perfect, foreboding and sonorous with all of the characters easily distinguished just by the tone of voice. Bramhall's voice is deep as the ocean, actually the perfect voice for a hypnotist, calm and reassuring which is especially effective given the bizarre turns of plot, and in fact this book is mesmerizing. You will be hypnotized along with the patients. Also Bramhall pauses at all the right moments. You don't have to scroll back to figure out what's going on, you know what's going on, and yet each moment is completely new and unpredictable.

    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Hypnotist?

    There are almost too many to choose from, but I would say that the group therapy session the hypnotist conducts with his patients was one of the scariest scenes I have ever come across in a book--and this wasn't even the climax! If you ever thought about becoming a therapist, this scene would make you very glad you chose a different path. At this point, you start to realize what this poor therapist has gotten himself into.

    Which character – as performed by Mark Bramhall – was your favorite?

    I loved all of the patients -- they are so absolutely nutty that they're both scary and funny.

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

    Oh yes, I had to discipline myself. I listen to books while working out and i lost a lot of weight during this one.

    Any additional comments?

    Best book I've listened to since Stieg Larson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Like Mikhail, the journalist in that book, the hypnotist here is the only person looking for the truth and the only one capable of finding it. Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, they get worse. Delicious!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Child 44

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Tom Rob Smith
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is a society that is, officially, a paradise. Superior to the decadent West, Stalin's Soviet Union is a haven for its citizens, providing for all of their needs: education, health care, security. In exchange, all that is required is their hard work, and their loyalty and faith to the Soviet State. But now a murderer is on the loose.

    Melvin says: "Terror from all sides."
    "Best of the Year"

    This is the best book I've read/listened to this year, including the 3rd book in Stieg Larsson's trilogy. The plot comes entirely from the characters -- no deus ex machina. The characters grow and develop. The changes in Russia from WW II, to Stalinism, to post-stalinism create villains and heroes, but the lines get blurred in this utterly credible book. Shows how evil takes hold of us, but then how the struggle against it empowers us. Great young author and the reader is superb, turning the book into a drama with his voice. I want to read this author's next book (already available in paperbook) but I'm torn -- I really want to hear it read by this same narrator. I hope Audible gets it soon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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