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Charles Atkinson

I am a blessed man!

Greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2005

1081
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 292 reviews
  • 571 ratings
  • 1179 titles in library
  • 109 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
17
FOLLOWERS
389

  • Down River: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By John Hart
    • Narrated By Scott Sowers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (613)
    Performance
    (294)
    Story
    (288)

    Adam Chase has spent the last five years in New York City trying to erase his worst memories and the scorn and abandonment of his family. Then a phone call from his best friend awakens in him a torrent of emotion and pain. Having left North Carolina and its red soil for good, he never thought returning would be easy - and being remembered as a murderer doesn't help much.

    Donald says: "Best Audiobook Ever"
    "Well Written Mystery Brilliantly Delivered"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of the few mysteries that kept me guessing till the end. It is a tragic tale of a wealthy, unforgiving family. I found myself lost in it, but not pleasantly, there is nothing pleasant about this family. That is my only reason for giving it 4stars rather than 5. I admit i like to fall in love with the characters and this story feels too much like real family.

    One surprise is that i did fall in love with the setting. It is set in the small town of Salisbury, NC which most travelers on I 85 know because it has the only Starbucks between Greensboro and Charlotte. Yet Salisbury is the home of one the largest grocery chains, Food Lion, and Cheerwine, a hugely popular soft drink in the Carolinas. I believe the author is the stepson of one of the wealthier families there. I say all this because I am guilty of knowing little or nothing about this historical gem not 45 miles from my door. Having read this novel, I plan to learn more and experience more of Salisbury.

    The author obviously has a great deal of knowledge of the local police and sheriff departments procedures as well as the politics and geography of the city. This gives the story a reality I've rarely experienced.

    A final note regarding the author's talent of building characters. He does a masterful job of having each character actually act his or her age. For example, the hero is a tough, smart 28 year old, but totally as self absorbed and immature as most are today. His mentor is in his early 60's, not as smart, but wise and forgiving. It's a great contrast revealed in multiple characters throughout the story.

    So it's a yes! Well worth your time.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Narrows Gate

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Jim Fusilli
    • Narrated By Joe Pantoliano, Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (276)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (89)

    A powerful epic novel in the spirit of The Godfather and On the Waterfront, Narrows Gate follows the lives of three men as they clash with the dangerous and seductive environment of a Mob-riddled New Jersey waterfront town before, during, and after World War II.

    James says: "Great fun!"
    "Fun, funny Sicilian tale read by the best!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First it's important to highlight the remarkable work of Joe Barrett and Joe Pantoliano. The novel is entertaining on it's own, but these two make the experience a masterpiece.

    I bought this on sale with low expectations. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Marco Effect: Department Q, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (16)

    All fifteen-year-old Marco Jameson wants is to become a Danish citizen and go to school like a normal teenager. But his uncle Zola rules his former gypsy clan with an iron fist. Revered as a god and feared as a devil, Zola forces the children of the clan to beg and steal for his personal gain. When Marco discovers a dead body - proving the true extent of Zola's criminal activities - he goes on the run. But his family members aren't the only ones who'll go to any lengths to keep Marco silent - forever.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Funny, Sharp Witted, Dept Q Worth The Wait!"
    "Funny, Sharp Witted, Dept Q Worth The Wait!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In some series the characters and settings make the mystery secondary. Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness mysteries and Cotterhill's Dr. Siri are two excellent examples. But with his Department Q series, Alder-Olsen delivers his unforgettable characters in equally riveting thrillers.

    Marco is a 15 year old boy trapped within his own family of European gypsies. He hates his life and when he rebels against his father and uncle, his fate seems sealed. Learning he will be permanently maimed to set an example for the others in the family, he escapes to seek a new life. During his escape he unwittingly uncovers a murder which if discovered, will expose extremely rich and powerful people.

    Carl, Assad and Rose are back in full force with the same comic genius, synergy and sterling detective work that marks each of the books in the series. Only there's an additional member of the team who just may prove to the straw the breaks the camel's back for lead detective Carl Mork.

    We also learn a bit more about the mysterious Assad's background and why he's in Dept Q in the first place. Of course, Rose rounds out the trio with her high heels, black eyes and bad attitude.

    Graeme Malcom is the best possible choice as narrator. His work here and throughout the series is outstanding.

    I give this 5 stars because of its humor, great characters, stellar narration and unique story line.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • The Dead Room

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Robert Ellis
    • Narrated By Jim McCance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    A young woman is found, brutally murdered and left on gruesome display in the "safety" of her own home. The atrocity kicks off an investigation into a bizarre string of increasingly disturbing murders, all believed to be perpetrated by someone of unprecedented savagery and cunning.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Great Mystery With A Great Ending"
    "Great Mystery With A Great Ending"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a mystery revolving around a deranged serial killer, but really exposing an evil, politically driven prosecutor and the unethical legal community involved in the case. It is a complicated and far fetched story of murder, ambition, betrayal and justice. But as we all know, often truth is stranger than fiction, so I am willing to overlook elements that required me to suspend belief.

    Teddy Mack is a civil attorney with no experience in criminal law. He is drawn into a murder case by his mentor who owes the family of the accused a huge debt. Through no fault of his own, the case quickly becomes public as it appears it is really about a serial killer. Teddy soon realizes he's being used as a pawn.

    Much like any good conspiracy, there are a number of villains thwarting Teddy's investigation at every turn. But like every exceptional conspiracy novel, (Count of Monte Cristo being the best example)we see that everyone and every issue involved is dealt with properly.

    While I hated the narration early on and never grew to like it, it's fair to say it did not ruin the experience.

    I loved this book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Terry Hayes
    • Narrated By Christopher Ragland
    Overall
    (262)
    Performance
    (244)
    Story
    (246)

    An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Smartest Novel I've Heard or Read in Long time"
    "Tremendous Spy Story 4.5 Stars!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There's a lot to love about this book. It involves an extremely sharp and successful American spy who is effective because of brains rather than his brawn. It is a complex, apolitical novel, which is refreshing.

    Christopher Ragland does a good job in narration, with a few accent problems at times. Still he doesn't get in the way of the novel.

    I'm going to wait a while and listen again, as I'm sure I missed several important story lines. Nevertheless this is an outstanding effort. Suspenseful and smart, if you like espionage, this is a must read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Big Little Lies

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs)
    • By Liane Moriarty
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (891)
    Performance
    (822)
    Story
    (816)

    Pirriwee Public's annual school Trivia Night has ended in a shocking riot. One parent is dead. The school principal is horrified. As police investigate what appears to have been a tragic accident, signs begin to indicate that this devastating death might have been cold-blooded murder. In this thought-provoking novel, number-one New York Times best-selling author Liane Moriarty deftly explores the reality of parenting and playground politics, ex-husbands and ex-wives, and fractured families.

    Marci says: "Great story. Genius writing"
    "A Tremendous Accomplishment, A Must Listen"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Many, many thanks to the audible reviewers of this book for leading me to the promised land. Big Little Lies is a work of genius, brilliantly performed. I have been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed many 5 star books. This one has to rank among the best.

    Liane Moriarity's gift of creating characters and weaving an entirely unique story into a remarkably complex mystery is, well, genius. The setting is something I could never imagine being caught up in. Yet I was so caught up in the characters and every aspect of their lives I never once thought of them as fictional.

    Caroline Lee, cracked voice and all, was equally great.

    Do yourself a favor, buy this book!

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • No Time for Goodbye

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Linwood Barclay
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (198)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (86)

    The house was deathly quiet. That was the first sign that something was terribly wrong. Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge woke that morning to find herself alone. Her family - mother, father, and brother - had vanished without a word, without a note, without a trace. Twenty-five years later, Cynthia is still looking for answers. Now she is about to learn the devastating truth.

    S. Johnston says: "I truy enjoyed this book!"
    "Fantastic Narration Lifts This To 4 Stars"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a fascinating mystery, filled with tragedy and frustration. A young teenager wakes up to find her family gone without a trace. No spoilers but suffice to say the story is unique and clever.

    Christopher Lane gives life and personality to each character as well as any narrator on Audible. I was so impressed that I looked to see his other works and found 3 or 4 in my library. One of my favorites, Death On A High Floor, has to be one of the most difficult books to narrate with it's dominating characters. He was sterling there and he is again here.

    There are intriguing and charismatic characters in the story, the principal and the gangster especially. There's quick, clever banter that makes the tragedy more entertaining.

    But there's also a side story that really should have little bearing, yet becomes a key element in unravelling the mysteries. I am still puzzled why it was there at all.

    So it's a 3 star novel with a 5 star performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Darker Than Night

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By John Lutz
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (96)

    Ex-homicide cop Frank Quinn is still reeling in the wake of an elaborate setup that ended his career, but a new case presents a chance to salvage his reputation. A killer dubbed "The Night Prowler" has begun terrorizing the citizens of New York City. With the body count climbing, it's up to Quinn to unlock the mystery of a madman's past and end his bloody reign of terror. But in the city of New York, any one of eight million faces could be that of a killer - or his next target.

    Amazon Customer says: "Great Twist"
    "A real thriller that ends with a fizzle..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a story involving the complicated and interesting life of several evil people, a falsely accused ex-cop and two misfit homicide partners. There's bad cops in high places, a truly evil killer, and for much of the book they have the upper hand.

    The hunt I involves good police work under dark political clouds. All of this has the making of a 5 star story. However, at the conclusion we are left with less than 15 minutes of explanation which left much to be explained.

    Scott Brick deserves 5 stars on this one.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Multiple Wounds: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Alan Russell
    • Narrated By MacLeod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    After the brutal murder of an art gallery owner, the beautiful and mysterious artist Holly Troy seems to be the key to finding out what really happened on the night of the homicide. Unfortunately, Holly also suffers from dissociative identity disorder, and many of her personalities come straight from classical mythology, from the powerful Cronos and Pandora to the fickle Fates. Holly has no idea who she was the night of the crime - whether she witnessed anything, or even if she was the killer herself. Homicide detective Orson Cheever must unravel the complex labyrinth of Holly’s mind before he can find the truth.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Great Characters, Good Mystery"
    "Great Characters, Good Mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Okay, I admit to not fully believing in multiple personalities as described in this book. So right away it loses 2 stars for me. However, the characters are so well written and developed I had no problem finishing the book.

    Sometimes when I am frustrated with a book it is because I really liked a lot of it. This has a fascinating premise and a great conclusion, but I felt cheated getting there.

    I loved the reader heis one talented guy.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Rook: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Daniel O'Malley
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1956)
    Performance
    (1774)
    Story
    (1774)

    Myfanwy Thomas awakes in a London park surrounded by dead bodies. With her memory gone, her only hope of survival is to trust the instructions left in her pocket by her former self. She quickly learns that she is a Rook, a high-level operative in a secret agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. But there is a mole inside the organization - and this person wants her dead.

    Ethan M. says: "Harry Dresden meets English bureaucracy"
    "I had no idea it was monster fantasy..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    One of my favorite reviewers, Marci from Portland loved everything about this book. So I bought it confidently thinking it was a mystery. She is right, it's a fun read, but it's pure monster fantasy.

    Now I'm giving it 3 stars because of the first few chapters and it's clever humor. However, I just can't get into this kind of fantasy. Had I read reviews more carefully I would have known better than to try it.

    The narration is brilliant. The main character, who dominates the entire story, is so charismatic and funny that I found myself staying with the story just to hear her speak.

    So the mixed rating really means if you enjoy vampire, Xmen, zombies and ectoplasm in books, you'll love this one.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • King and Maxwell

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By David Baldacci
    • Narrated By Ron McLarty, Orlagh Cassidy
    Overall
    (1634)
    Performance
    (1424)
    Story
    (1430)

    It seems at first like a simple, tragic story. Tyler Wingo, a teenage boy, learns the awful news that his father, a soldier, was killed in action in Afghanistan. Then the extraordinary happens: Tyler receives a communication from his father...after his supposed death. Tyler hires Sean and Michelle to solve the mystery surrounding his father. But their investigation quickly leads to deeper, more troubling questions. Could Tyler's father really still be alive? What was his true mission? Could Tyler be the next target? Sean and Michelle soon realize that they've stumbled on to something bigger and more treacherous than anyone could have imagined.

    JR Parrow says: "Come on guys, lighten up! This was a good book!"
    "It's a Fun, Slightly Flawed Conspiracy Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Please don't misunderstand my ratings. This is indeed a fast and fun read. I really think I am just tired of grand conspiracies that seem too far fetched for my liking.

    The narration rating may be misleading as well. I liked both narrators, but I prefer to listen to only one for any book. The only exception I can think of is The Help. But what really drew my ire in this production were the sound effects. They are simply unnecessary and take away from the story.

    The plot is perfectly paced and filled with great characters. What irritates me is the way King and Maxwell become involved in the mystery. They are driving in a rain storm and see a stranger, a 16 year old kid running down the road with a gun. Suddenly they are involved in an international conspiracy. It is unrealistic and even trite. Another misgiving is the motivations of the villain is impossible for me to believe. There are real conspiracies that are stranger than fiction, the UN sex traffic scandal comes to mind. I just cannot think of a powerful person misusing that power because of a personal vendetta. An example of a fictional, personal motivation setting off an international event I find believable is the death of Ramius's wife in Clancy's Red October. It forced Ramius to face the truth about what Russian politics had become.

    What makes this fun for me is Baldacci's characters. Far from super heroes, they are simply talented, driven professionals with the same every day problems all of us face. They are smart, resourceful, athletic and attractive, but not without flaws. And there's a romantic more than sexual tension between them I find refreshing.

    So I guess I'm critical because I liked much of what I read. Does that make sense?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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