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Craig

I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2014

241
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 154 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 9 purchased in 2015
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15

  • West of Here

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Jonathan Evison
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    From the rugged mudflats of the Northwestern frontier to a rusting strip mall, West of Here is a conversation between two epochs. In his eagerly awaited second novel, Jonathan Evison tells the stories of the people who first inhabited the mythical town of Port Bonita in Washington State from 1887-1891. Moving ahead more than a century to 2005-06, he introduces those who live there now and must deal with the damage done by their predecessors.

    Craig says: "If You've Been to Port Angeles - Read This Book"
    "If You've Been to Port Angeles - Read This Book"
    Overall

    Janathan Evison encapsulates what nobody I have met has been able to describe - 21st Century Port Angeles, Washington. This book is for readers craving to make sense of the funeral pyre that is rural Washington's logging and fishing industries. Port Angeles is a dying town, but it still refuses to give up its last breath. That's because its descendants carry a legacy of hard working, hard drinking, and cold fishing in their blood. They live and bleed the stamina of their forbearers. The community survives because it was built to survive. It's a strange magic that draws you in.

    West of Here is a journey into the lives of people that you will never meet because you don't live in Port Angeles (Port Bonita in the book). But, you should meet them and get to know them through Evison's characters. They have something to teach you about yourself. Every character in his book is just a little bit of you. If you don't like his characters it may be because they hit too close to home. Don't let that stop you...it takes guts to look into a mirror.

    This book is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the often strange yet compelling Western maritime legacy. It juxtaposes the sea with the wilderness, men against mountains, and lovers against themselves. I think this novel is gutsy and refreshing. Try it with a mind open to seeing the unfamiliar landscape of the Western mind.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Saving Italy

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Robert Edsel
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (69)
    Story
    (70)

    When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire. On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.

    William says: "Fascinating story, but..."
    "More Personalities than Art Chasing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Compelling WWII history keeps me awake at night, risking of a garroting by earbud wires carefully tucked under my pillow. Not this story however. I hit the off button after ten minutes or so.

    The story is an important one; where did the art stolen by the Nazis end up? However, the novel is 3/5 personalities and 2/5 art chasing (I'm being generous). The film Monuments Men, from which this book derives, needed plenty of embellishments to forge a screen play out this rather thin tale based on even thinner records.

    There are some great vignettes about very famous art works that make the listener go, "huh" or "what a tragedy." It's just not a whole credit's worth. So…listen to be informed, not entertained, if you chose this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dry Bones

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Peter May
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (148)
    Story
    (150)

    What happened to Jacques Gaillard? The brilliant teacher at the École Nationale d’Administration, who trained some of France’s best and brightest as future prime ministers and presidents, vanished ten years ago, presumably from Paris. This ten-year-old mystery inspires a bet—one that Enzo Macleod, a biologist teaching in Toulouse, France, instead of pursuing a brilliant career in forensics back home in Scotland, can ill afford to lose.

    adrienne says: "Delightful find! First of the Enzo Files"
    "The Prince of Serendip (sans Sagacity)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When your author makes excuses for the unfathomable good luck of his detective with statements like this, "Enzo was beginning to feel like one of the Three Princes of Serendip," you know that you're being fed a lazy tale where accidents, rather than sagacity, are the dominant theme.

    The premise of this quasi-detective story (the main character is not a cop, but a biology professor) is seriously flawed - the protagonist (Enzo) takes a case on a bet. Other motivations are not clear…perhaps he's bored. Once he does engage, we follow his left turns over this "Pont" and onto that "Rue," around French postcard cities, generally unengaged with the author's sideshow cuisine and wine forays. Few North Americans can reference Enzo's urban(e) wanderings, leaving the listener feeling like he or she has just departed a boring dinner party where the hosts showed their guests a slideshow of a recent trip to France. After awhile it all blurs into a bland Ratatouille stew.

    To keep the listener attentive, the author makes a futile attempt at mimicking Umberto Eco's, The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. But, Peter May is no Umberto Eco. Some reviewers equate this novel with Brown's, Da Vinci Code. However, Dry Bones is far too random and cliche to rise that far.

    Personally, I think Peter May should try his hand at travel writing. He seems to know a great deal of trivia that may be of interest to the Francophile in a few of us.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Life on the Mississippi [Tantor]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    A brilliant amalgam of remembrance and reportage, by turns satiric, celebratory, nostalgic, and melancholy, Life on the Mississippi evokes the great river that Mark Twain knew as a boy and young man and the one he revisited as a mature and successful author.

    Craig says: "Road Trip Book - Though on a River"
    "Road Trip Book - Though on a River"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Long before the advent of road trip books like John Steinbeck's, Travels with Charlie, or Jack Kerouac's, On the Road, there was Mark Twain's - Life on the Mississippi. This is a two part story - one dealing with Twain's years as a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi, and the second part focusing on his nostalgia journey back to the river twenty years later.

    The river serves as metaphor for the rapidly changing industrial landscape of mid-19th Century North America. Twain encapsulates the metamorphoses through vignettes and interviews that capture "what-was" and "what-is."

    As good in audio as in text, this story will captivate historians and Big Muddy aficionados. It does tend to drag towards the end, though for a purpose. I wouldn't let that keep me from recommending this book. Just listen to it when you have plenty of leisure time or you're on the road again in the Midwest.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Burning Room

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Titus Welliver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1565)
    Performance
    (1399)
    Story
    (1384)

    In the LAPD's Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die almost a decade after the crime. So when a man succumbs to complications from being shot by a stray bullet nine years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but all other evidence is virtually nonexistent. Now Bosch and rookie Detective Lucia Soto, are tasked with solving what turns out to be a highly charged, politically sensitive case.

    Amazon Customer says: "Not up to par"
    "Starbucks Ad or Detective Story?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    When I found myself counting the number of visits to Starbucks by our protagonists, a sense of dread washed over me...'Harry Bosch has lost his edge.' However, when the pastry selection Bosch buys (from Starbucks) for a judge to garner favor for a court order is given play in the story, I realized that we have reached the end of an era.

    Harry Bosch no longer exists. In his place is a Hollywood cutout who is no longer the consummate outsider. He has morphed into just another wise, old detective with street savvy, but too polished to allow us to see his dark side.

    This story was canned, relying on strokes of luck to move the plot along. The author even chastises his own use of this weak writing tool by reminding us that lightening doesn't often strike in an investigation (but it does - several times).

    If you purchase this book it may give you an excuse to leave the past behind. Time find yourself a new anti-hero like Bosch to enjoy.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Speaks the Nightbird

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3087)
    Performance
    (2755)
    Story
    (2740)

    The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

    aaron says: "Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!"
    "History Encapsulated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Burn a witch? Reveal an conspiracy? History comes alive in this crisp retelling of an horrid era in Colonial history…witch trials and the intersection of faith and law.

    The reason why I am recommending this audiobook has nothing to do with the story (which is phenomenal). It is a tale of one boy/man and his intellect, against a myriad of biblically-misguided Colonials who see darkness with every twist of fate. I want you to listen to this book so you understand from whence we have come as a Nation.

    There are some eye-rolling moments, however, they are so infrequent that the story abides…as does our Nation. That is, America abides…even though we were at one time serious ignoramuses.

    Go for it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cleaner

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Brett Battles
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1359)
    Performance
    (486)
    Story
    (486)

    Meet Jonathan Quinn: a freelance operative with a take-no-prisoners style and the heart of a loner. His job? Professional "cleaner". Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies. But his latest assignment will change everything. The job seemed simple enough: investigating a suspicious case of arson. But when a dead body turns up, and Quinn's handlers at "the Office" turn strangely silent, he knows he's in over his head. With only a handful of clues, Quinn struggles to find out why someone wants him dead.

    Bernie says: "excellent from start to finish"
    "Just because you can write it don't mean it's good"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This canned, quasi-spy novel, is written to wind your tension-lovin' spring. But, the story is so pedestrian, so canned and unbelievable, that its masquerade as thriller is as transparent as the unsmoked glass that the good guys must endure in their rented Porches when the genocidal maniacs shoot their silenced guns through the streets of crowded cities into their righteous and speedy vehicles.

    What incredibly bogus, pulp fiction, this stuff is…I feel dirty.

    But, as always Scott Brick is my hero. Narrator extraordinaire!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Scrapyard Ship: Scrapyard Ship, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Mark Wayne McGinnis
    • Narrated By L. J. Ganser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (396)
    Performance
    (368)
    Story
    (371)

    Lieutenant Commander Jason Reynolds has had a string of bad luck lately - evident by the uncomfortable house arrest bracelet strapped to his right ankle. Worse yet, he's relegated to his grandfather's old house and rambling scrapyard. To complicate things, the women in his life are pulling from every direction. But it's through a bizarre turn of events that Jason is led to a dried up subterranean aquifer hundreds of feet below ground. Here he discovers an advanced alien spacecraft, one that will propel his life in a new direction.

    Joy says: "Wait for the entire series to come out"
    "Wait! Huh? What?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I took this audiobook for pulp si-fi and intended to listen with a modicum of disinterest as I went through my daily rituals, ear buds dangling in their usual position. Then, as the penultimate battle approached, I went into serious listener mode. 'This is going to be good,' I thought. Not!

    The book ends without resolution and in the middle of a space battle where tactics (human) are pitted against overwhelming numbers (alien). What happened? Who knows? You have to buy the second book.

    Unlike Jack Campbell, who resolves the dilemma before setting up a new one for readers to ponder, McGinnis churns pulp like an episode of "Orange is the New Black." Want to know what happens…tough luck buddy…spend another credit.

    Well…not me…I am returning this wholly unsatisfying example of churn.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • QB VII

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Leon Uris
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (96)
    Performance
    (88)
    Story
    (86)

    In Queen's Bench Courtroom Number Seven, famous author Abraham Cady stands trial. In his book The Holocaust - born of the terrible revelation that the Jadwiga Concentration camp was the site of his family's extermination - Cady shook the consciousness of the human race. He also named eminent surgeon Sir Adam Kelno as one of Jadwiga's most sadistic inmate/doctors. Kelno has denied this and brought furious charges. Now unfolds Leon Uris' riveting courtroom drama - one of the great fictional trials of the century.

    Craig says: "An Important Revisit to a Dark Era"
    "An Important Revisit to a Dark Era"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having read this novel three decades ago, I recalled that I was enthralled with how the story unwound. Now, hearing it read by John Lee, I can tell my fellow listeners that this novel/audiobook is in my top 25 out of 1350.

    First, don't be put off by the period sexism (circa 1970). You'll find the same stuff in Exodus (also by Uris). It's just the way he wrote. Keep focused on the motivations of the characters. Their extremes are tell-tale foreshadowing to a totally unexpected ending.

    QB VII (or Queen's Bench 7) is the British courtroom where a trial takes place. The listener must serve as jury to answer the question: Is Abraham Cady (a reporter) guilty of libeling Dr. Adam Kelno, a Polish physician, whom Cady accused of war crimes? The backdrop for this story is the Holocaust, but the drama plays out in British Courtroom two decades after WWII ended.

    When you finish this book you will be a different person. Oh…one more thing…it is based on a true story!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Searchers

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Alan Le May
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    Alan Le May’s Western novels are widely considered classics in the genre, and the movie adaptation of The Searchers was named AFI’s Greatest Western Movie of All Time. When Martin Pauley and Amos Edwards return to their Texas homestead to find a burning ruin, they set out to find Amos’ missing daughter - and exact revenge on the Comanche responsible for the attack.

    Craig says: "A Mortal (Me) Writes of a Classic"
    "A Mortal (Me) Writes of a Classic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This familiar and tragic tale epitomizes Western motif writing: a prairie family is massacred by Comanches and a young girl is kidnapped. Men track the Comanche, but struggle to find the band responsible for the deed.

    The story morphs into a quest (the Holy Grail of sorts) for the girl. Years in the saddle and transformations within the main characters tell the reader that a quest, fruitless or not, is more destiny than circumstance. This book is a road trip (albeit on horseback), through landscape harsh and spectacular. If the High Plains do not kill a man (man in this case), it will redeem him.

    This is a sure-fire listen for those appreciating a realistic Western novel. It could have happened and probably did many times just the way Alan LeMay said.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Influx

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Daniel Suarez
    • Narrated By Jeff Gurner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3166)
    Performance
    (2899)
    Story
    (2908)

    Particle physicist Jon Grady is ecstatic when his team achieves what they've been working toward for years: A device that can reflect gravity. Their research will revolutionize the field of physics - the crowning achievement of a career. Grady expects widespread acclaim for his entire team. The Nobel Prize. Instead, his lab is locked down by a shadowy organization whose mission is to prevent at all costs the social upheaval sudden technological advances bring.

    Craig says: "Solid to Silly to Inane"
    "Solid to Silly to Inane"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At the opening the premise was solid; there is a secret government organization responsible for monitoring and controlling global technological innovations. It is very powerful and deeply off the books. Then, just when you have bitten a big bite of the apple, enter the dark forces that mimic the evil characters in a Marvel comic sans the mutant superpowers (our antagonists use technology to that end).

    Eventually the entire sic-fi thriller degrades into silly dialogue and revenge-driven mania.

    This audiobook should only be downloaded in those desperate moments (from your Wish List) when you are late for work and your iPod is empty. If you have the time, search around for a more viable futuristic battle of good vs. holier-than-thou-technocrat.

    27 of 29 people found this review helpful

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