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Cathy E. Howe

Kindness Matters


  • Whisperers: A Charlie Parker Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By John Connolly
    • Narrated By Holter Graham

    In his latest dark and chilling Charlie Parker thriller, New York Times best-selling author John Connolly takes us to the border between Maine and Canada. It is there, in the vast and porous Great North Woods, that a dangerous smuggling operation is taking place, run by a group of disenchanted former soldiers, newly returned from Iraq. Illicit goods - drugs, cash, weapons, even people - are changing hands.

    Karen says: "Awesome!"
    "Thank you!"

    First of all, I would like to send a heart felt "Thank you!" to anyone who participated in the decision to produce this in unabridged format. That made me very happy! I also cannot say enough good words about Holter Graham. His capture of the mid Maine accent is very nearly perfect, and the other Maine accents he uses are very good as well. Having myself had family here in Bethel for many generations, and being someone who laments the loss of our cultural heritage in our "lingo", I sincerely appreciate his nuanced performance. I hope to see more of his work! Now to the story - Mr. Connolly has created another book I will read again and again, as I do the others in the Parker series. I was grateful to find some of the action set in Western Maine, and I hope he used the large archives of the Bethel Historical Society for research. Thank you to all for this enjoyable "read"! I am already looking for the next in the series. *nudge, nudge*

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • White Fire: Agent Pendergast, Book 13

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
    • Narrated By Rene Auberjonois
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who - with brutal precision - begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear.

    G. House Sr. says: "A Grand Slam Tale of Terror"
    "My last Preston/Child book?"
    Would you try another book from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child and/or Rene Auberjonois?

    It is doubtful I will try another Preston/Child book. However, I adore Rene Auberjonois!

    What was most disappointing about Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child ’s story?

    While I, as always, thoroughly enjoyed the performance by Rene Auberjonois, the content was disappointing. I found the intended tension of the perils faced by the young lady not only pedantic but also frustratingly disrespectful to women. The little Holmesian story fell far below his standards. The "magic" of Pendergast, so potent in the first part of the series, has fallen short of those standards in more recent stories. In short, I found this story to be, sadly, expedient and superficial, and the many "twists and turns" predictable. I fear this will be my last Preston/Child book, as the last few have been similarly disappointing. It is a loss. In short, if all you want is to fill in some time, this book is fine, like a summer romance, soon forgotten. If you are looking for something which moves you, look elsewhere.

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

    His is a masterful performance. I adore him, and consider his narration a selling point.

    Was White Fire worth the listening time?

    Not really. Mild entertainment. I did get a lot of housework done. ;)

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Half of Paradise

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Zeisler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In this intense, fascinating story, Burke follows the lives of three young Louisiana men, each of whom finds himself in desperate circumstances. There's Avery Broussard, the last survivor of a family of once-prosperous land owners, who has a weakness for alcohol; J.P. Winfield, a poor singer and guitar player who rises to fame as a country music star, only to be destroyed by drug addiction; and Toussaint Boudreaux, a black longshoreman who moonlights as a heavyweight boxer.

    Bull says: "Excellent early Burke ruined by terrible narration"
    "Fallible human beings"
    What would have made Half of Paradise better?

    First of all, I should say I love James Lee Burke's stories. This one, however, I did not. I don't know if it was the content, or the lack of any attempt to "perform" from the narrator. I can only hope Will Patton was just too busy to narrate, and that this stumbling, passionless performance will not be re-created. Perhaps I am just spoiled. As far as content is concerned, this is another time when the people whose stories are being told make poor decisions time after time. While that is a recurring theme in JLB's novels, in this one there seems no saving grace in the lives portrayed. The characters are rich and the descriptions of the environment are evocative. I usually read JLB stories over and over. This one will not be re-read for a very long time.

    Would you recommend Half of Paradise to your friends? Why or why not?

    I would only recommend this story to my strong of heart friends. It is too discouraging for any lesser mortals.

    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Mark Zeisler?

    While his singing of the songs was entertaining, he read the stories without changing voice, pace or inflection. These are highly emotional stories, and the lack of any of that makes them much less powerful. With authors who do not identify the speaker in their dialogue, it is imperative for the chosen narrator to give the speakers different voices. He did not. It was confusing.

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

    It's James Lee Burke! The imagery he uses is always entertaining. For someone who, like myself, has never been "down South", I feel as though I have, after reading his descriptions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Immoral

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Brian Freeman
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In a riveting debut thriller that has drawn comparisons to masters of the genre like Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, Brian Freeman weaves obsession, sex, and revenge into a story that grips the reader with vivid characters and shocking plot twists from the first minute to the last.

    Larry says: "OUTSTANDING"
    "Very good read"
    If you could sum up Immoral in three words, what would they be?

    Surprising, intricate, colorful

    What did you like best about this story?

    It surprised me, showed that beauty can be evil and portrayed ordinary people in a kind light.

    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    Serena's partner, whose name I do not know how to spell!

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    What do you think is immoral?

    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did an exceptional job with the different accents. This is one I would listen to again, even knowing how it turns out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bad Blood: A Virgil Flowers Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Eric Conger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    One late fall Sunday in southern Minnesota, a farmer brings a load of soybeans to a local grain elevator - and a young man hits him on the head with a steel bar, drops him into the grain bin, waits until he's sure he's dead, and then calls the sheriff to report the "accident." Suspicious, the sheriff calls in Virgil Flowers, who quickly breaks the kid down...and the next day the boy's found hanging in his cell. Remorse? Virgil isn't so sure....

    Bob says: "EXCELLENT!"
    "Another great "F***ing Flowers" book"

    Thank you for another great book! The narration was very good. I am still bothered by a one dimensional feeling about most of the women characters, but since the stories are told from a man's perspective, it seems natural enough. The subject matter was very disturbing, but was so well written, it was bearable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Body Work: A V. I. Warshawski Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Sara Paretsky
    • Narrated By Susan Ericksen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    V.I. has been visiting Club Gouge, Chicago’s edgiest nightspot, where a woman known as the Body Artist turns her naked body into a canvas for the audience to paint on. The show attracts all kinds of people, from a menacing off-duty cop to Ukrainian mobsters and Iraq war vets - and V.I.’s impetuous cousin, Petra. A tormented young painter shows up, too, and the intricate designs she creates on the Body Artist drive one of the vets into a violent rage.

    Eva Gannon says: "VI Grows Up"
    "My Last Sara Paretsky Book"

    I will not be purchasing any more of Ms. Paretsky's novels, after staying with her all through the V.I. Warshawski series. I do not want to be hit over the head with her one sided political agenda anymore. Other writers seem to manage making their views known without it interrupting the story to make the point. She does not seem capable of that, and I do not want to read it. It's not that I disagree with her, but the disparaging way in which she speaks of those who do not agree with her guarantees I will not be back. I get enough of that on the news. The narrator did a good job, though, so she gets the stars.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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