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Charles Atkinson

A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...

Greensboro, NC, United States | Member Since 2005

1119
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 297 reviews
  • 575 ratings
  • 1175 titles in library
  • 106 purchased in 2014
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  • The Son: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (596)
    Performance
    (542)
    Story
    (540)

    Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....

    Mary says: "Much more than I expected!"
    "Maybe The Best Mystery Novelist Anywhere"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Any one following my reccomendations will know what a huge fan I am of Nesbo's Harry Hole series. That said I was a bit reticent to purchase this one based on some reviews and the publisher's summary. Fortunately I came accross Gail's review and she persuaded me to take the plunge.

    The beginning chapters, which are critical to understanding the mystery of the main character, were a bit tedious for me. I may have given up had it not been for my confidence in Nesbo's writing. Somewhere soon after the first few chapters, a remarkable sense of purpose reveals itself to the son as well as to the reader. As the story unravels so does the suspense. This is a fantastic story.

    The Son is a complex story of betrayal, shame, pennance, masterful revenge. It involves a great deal of great police work, with remarkable characters.

    Gildart Jackson does a great job with the narration.

    This is easily a five star book for me!

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • The Barkeep

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By William Lashner
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (49)
    Story
    (49)

    Justin Chase is the perfect barkeep, tending bar as he lives his life, in a state of Zen serenity, until Birdie Grackle, a foul-mouthed alcoholic, walks into his bar and makes a startling confession. Six years ago Justin’s life was ripped apart when he discovered his mother’s bludgeoned corpse. Now Justin’s father is serving a life sentence and Justin drowns his emotions in a pool of inner peace. But when Birdie claims he murdered Justin’s mother for cash, Justin is hurled back to the emotions, back to the past, and, most frightening of all, back to the father he tried to leave behind.

    Amazon Customer says: "The Barkeep"
    "Pour me another!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is my second Lashner novel, The Accounting being the first one. Despite the mediocre ratings from other readers, I hoped the depth of character I discovered in the hero of the Accounting would also be found in the Barkeep's heroes. I was not disappointed.

    This novel is so much more than a great mystery. It's about redemption, new beginnings and facing the demons that chase us all. The heroes are everyday people who are placed in extraordinary situations.

    Luke Daniels did great with most of the characters, but there were a few whose character along with the voice he gave them grated on my nerves. Nevertheless it was very close to a 4 star effort

    This was a really fun book to read. It's very close to 5 star experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Killing Hope: Gabe Quinn Thriller, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Keith Houghton
    • Narrated By David Doersch
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    "Celebrity Cop" Gabe Quinn is back working Robbery-Homicide after a personal tragedy has left him emotionally bare. He's raw, but resolved to catch a serial killer stalking the streets of two major cities. With cryptic clues left at each crime scene, Gabe is faced with the seemingly impossible task of piecing together the bizarre puzzle - following signs that point toward a killer whose motive questions everything he believes in..."If you could save a million lives by taking one...would you?"

    J. Phillips says: "Amazing Fast Paced Thriller!!!"
    "Great until the ending destroyed all hope!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was indeed a fast pace thriller I liked very much until the end. In fact, the end made no sense, causing to me feel sure I'd missed something important. I was giving it at least 4 stars for great characters and good police work, but the ending ruined the whole experience for me.

    David Doersch was excellent as the narrator.

    Despite the two stars, I'll definitely give the author a second shot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Billboard Man

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Jim Fusilli
    • Narrated By Patrick Lawlor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    He saw in the rusted mirror the man he’d become, new scars and all. His wife killed, his family shattered, a man takes to the road, wandering lost and alone - except for the comfort of a kind of woman he can’t deny. When a tryst in the shadow of Arizona’s red rocks leads to murder, the man sets out to clear his name and corner the killer, unaware that a madman is on his trail - and the trail of his estranged daughter.

    Charles Atkinson says: "An Elmore Leonardish fast and fun read"
    "An Elmore Leonardish fast and fun read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this book a lot, right up until it's abrupt and unsatisfying ending and despite a very irritating narrator.. In fact, it could easily be a 4 star book with a good narrator.

    It has a tremendously attractive hero, a deluded and entertaining cast of misfits, and an entirely unique story line. Let's just say if he'd make a series with these characters, I'd keep listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pines

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Blake Crouch
    • Narrated By Paul Michael Garcia
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2160)
    Performance
    (1968)
    Story
    (1964)

    Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

    Linda B says: "Well done story"
    "It's me, not the book!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I mean no disrespect to the genre and I understand why so many readers love this. It's exceptionally well written and read. I loved the characters a well. I just cannot buy into the fantasy premise, nor am I interested in discovering the mystery. If I explained why it would spoil the story.

    So the low rating by no means reflects on the book itself, rather it's just not my cup of tea.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Touch & Go: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Lisa Gardner
    • Narrated By Elisabeth Rodgers
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2202)
    Performance
    (1851)
    Story
    (1866)

    Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life you’d find in the pages of a glossy magazine: A beautiful 14-year-old daughter. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by all. A perfect life. When investigator Tessa Leone arrives at the crime scene in the foyer of the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and a million tiny pieces of bright green Taser confetti. The family appears to have been abducted.

    lisa says: "Wait for it to go on clearance!"
    "A good listen even with a fairly obvious mystery."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a kidnapping story that involves better police work than the mystery requires. First, I liked the two main law enforcement characters a lot and never thought of not finishing the novel. That immediately qualifies it a 3 star novel, though with its drawbacks I'd give it 2.5 if I could.

    Close to half the novel is told in the first person of the kidnapped wife whose husband and daughter are also kidnapped with her. I found her extremely unattractive and droll. In fact, I found her husband an daughter's characters extremely under developed, to the point none of their actions made sense to me.

    The narration was excellent with exception to two of the kidnappers, Elisabeth Rodgers had trouble with their gruffness.

    This was a complicated mystery that I feel called for far more detail and in depth characters than the author was willing to provide. I was certain of the outcome early on, but finished just to be sure.

    1 of 1 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
    (87)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (76)

    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.

    Robert says: "So Well Written, So Well Narrated"
    "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.

    15 of 16 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
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (16)

    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.

    Jennifer says: "Wow! Refreshingly Different!"
    "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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Terry Hayes
    • Narrated By Christopher Ragland
    Overall
    (298)
    Performance
    (277)
    Story
    (280)

    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
    (1255)
    Performance
    (1159)
    Story
    (1153)

    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!

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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