but not as good as some of the others. A few memorable scenes.
The robbery is successful, but there is a double cross and others are trying to get the money. A fun part was when Parker was surrounded by three cops or security guards with guns (can’t remember exactly). Parker grabs a metal desk drawer. He swings it hard, hitting two of the guys, does some other things, and gets away.
The narrator Keith Szarabajka is my favorite narrator for the Parker series. He does a great Parker voice - menacing.
This is book 17 in the 24 book series. These stories are about bad guys. They rob. They kill. They’re smart. Most don’t go to jail. Parker is the main bad guy, a brilliant strategist. He partners with different guys for different jobs in each book.
If you are new to the series, I suggest reading the first three and then choose among the rest. A few should be read in order since characters continue in a sequel fashion. Those are listed below (with my star ratings). The rest can be read as stand alones.
The first three books in order:
4 stars. The Hunter (Point Blank movie with Lee Marvin 1967) (Payback movie with Mel Gibson)
3 ½ stars. The Man with the Getaway Face (The Steel Hit)
4 stars. The Outfit.
Read these two in order:
5 stars. Slayground (Bk #14)
5 stars. Butcher’s Moon (Bk #16)
Read these four in order:
4 ½ stars. The Sour Lemon Score (Bk #12)
2 ½ stars. Firebreak (Bk #20)
(not read) Nobody Runs Forever (Bk #22)
2 ½ stars. Dirty Money (Bk #24)
Others that I gave 4 or more stars to:
The Jugger (Bk #6), The Seventh (Bk#7), The Handle (Bk #8), Deadly Edge (Bk#13), Flashfire (Bk#19)
GENRE: noir crime fiction
Things are not well thought out. Audiobook narrator not good.
Too much stretching things out at the end. The bad guy catches victims, you know they are going to die, but the authors interrupt the scenes too much. Example: Someone wakes up and finds themselves in chains. Scene switches to other. Bad guy talks to the prisoner. Scene switches to other. Bad guy injects something into prisoner. Scene switches to other. It was too manipulative for me.
I was bothered that not enough details are shown when the bad guy catches victims. Authors don’t show how he avoids being seen and how he drags heavy victims from public places to his dungeon. In one case a trap is set, but we don’t see how it worked. Victim sees bait. Next scene has victim in chains in a cell.
I don’t mind suspending disbelief if it makes the story fun. But here it was used instead of logic. That’s not a good reason. For example: a dead woman is found and taken to the medical examiner. There’s been nothing in the papers. So how does Pendergast know that she exists and that she is the Surgeon’s latest victim? He shows up at the medical examiner’s lab and tells the examiner to look at her back. Some kind of Super Knowledge? Later Pendergast operates on himself without a pain killer (more Super Something?)
The cell phone problem: It is current day New York City. Cities have good cell phone coverage. There are several scenes where someone needed help, but they didn’t have a cell phone. It made me think the authors couldn’t think of a better way to create suspense so they got rid of the phones.
The authors had an argument for the ending, but I did not like it. (See Spoilers)
I was angry when someone destroyed something. This was similar to if you had an inexpensive-easy-to-make cure for cancer would you destroy it?
The bad guy was killed due to bad luck. I’d rather see Pendergast plan the thing that killed the bad guy instead of passively being saved.
I LIKED ONE LINE.
Pendergast was talking about opera: “I loathe it. Opera was the television of the 19th century – loud, vulgar, and garish, with plots that could only be called infantile.”
I was unhappy with Jonathan Marosz. You know how young adults end sentences on an up note like a question? Jonathan Marosz is the opposite. He ends sentences on a down note, which normally appeals to me. But the way he does it sounds like he’s reading a SHOPPING LIST. It is not good. He is not “acting” the story. He’s reading a list of sentences.
A second problem was editing. At least three times a section (a few sentences long) was read twice in a row – repeated.
Genre: mystery suspense.
I was hoping to laugh, but I didn’t. It’s told in 1st person by Judd, talking about his siblings, his parents, his wife, and others. It’s wry humor about mistakes and choices that are not good or not smart. His wife has an affair with his boss. His brother has never been able to keep a job, is into drugs, and has sex with lots of different women. It’s also about bad luck. It was depressing. No one is having a good life.
I did not like the ending. It’s open and unexplained. I’m supposed to guess what will happen. I wanted closure and didn’t get it.
Ramon de Ocampo was ok.
This is a police procedural. We accompany Ellie (a homicide detective) as she investigates murders by a serial killer. Michael Connolly does the same thing with his character Harry Bosch. But with Bosch I am intrigued and fascinated. I did not feel that way with this book. It was dry, almost plodding. Both authors use twists and surprises, but for some reason Connolly does it better. I don’t know how to explain why.
If you look at the plot and what happens in outline form, it sounds good.
Toward the end I was disappointed with Ellie’s mistakes/stupidity which caused bad things to happen. She is sneaking up on someone but doesn’t turn her cell phone off so it rings and gives her away. She knows who the killer is and goes there alone. She enters a dangerous room and doesn’t check behind the door.
I was also disappointed with the ending. If two cops and another told the truth about why they did something or their investigation process, the killer might go free. So they agreed to lie to make sure the killer would not get off. I did not understand that. I wish the author spelled that out better. I thought what they did seemed legit. It wasn’t like planting evidence.
There are no sex scenes other than briefly mentioning a couple had sex while spending the night together.
This is book #1 in the Ellie Hatcher series. So far there are five in the series.
Christopher Lane was good. But I was not pleased with his voice for Ellie. It was odd, maybe too rushed.
Genre: crime mystery.
The story plods along. It was hard to stay interested. The characters were the weakest part. They were not interesting. No chemistry. No intrique. A plot was developed, and the bad guys got it in the end. But I didn’t care. I just wanted the book to end. The bad guy killed and hurt so many people. Those were the depressing thoughts left with me at the end. I would have liked some happier feelings.
The romantic relationship between Dawson and Amelia was not well developed. I didn’t feel any chemistry. There were two intense kissing scenes and three sex scenes. The sex scenes were vaguely described and short.
Stephen Lang should not read romance novels. He does not read with sensuality or sexuality. Tom Stechshulte was fabulous when he read a guy’s lines in another book, I was melting. If Tom were reading this book he would have put very different feelings in both the hero and heroine voices. But Lang was stilted and wooden. The hero should have feelings of desire and treasuring her. Lang’s voice had none of that. It was not sexy. Also, I did not like any of his voices for women. Throughout the book the heroine’s dialogue sounded wimpy, weak and wan. A different feeling by the narrator could have made her more interesting. Instead she was blah. Harriet’s voice was weird and cartoonish. The narrator grew up in Queens, NY. He still has some of that accent for example, he says ar rent (for aren’t) were rent (for weren’t) and sometimes: har or huh (for her).
Sandra Brown is hit or miss with me. My favorite books of hers are Mean Streak, Envy, and Mirror Image.
Genre: mystery suspense with romance.
It was hard each time I had to make myself stop.
If you’re looking for a good romantic suspense, this is one.
She’s back! For awhile, the author was getting away from romantic suspense. Some of her stuff was good until the endings – too brief – not happy – not romantic. This one is good!
I think the author has two types of fans. Romance lovers should like this. Her mystery fans may not. Mystery fans complain about suspending disbelief, unrealistic actions, and stereotyped characters. That didn’t bother me. The best thing about this is the RELATIONSHIP mystery, intrigue, intensity, and interaction.
Telling why I liked the book will give away something important. So I put it in my review of this book on Goodreads and Amazon, coded as a Spoiler.
There were some things a bit contrived, but I was willing to accept them. One had to do with the author not showing motivation for a character’s actions. Another was the heroine doing something stupid, going off alone with an uncharged phone and no weapon. But the rest was so engaging that I felt five stars anyway.
There were five sex scenes. Two of them maybe a page long, the others shorter.
Jonathan Davis was very good. He’s not a favorite but good enough. I was pleased with his voices for women.
Genre: romantic suspense.
I love stories about unusual relationships, and this is one of the best.
But it needs a pdf file for pictures. Pictures are in the physical book, but the audiobook buyers lose out. There are some pictures on the website lawrenceanthony dot co dot za
As to the story, this is truth stranger than fiction. It’s wonderful to watch a man talk to angry wild elephants. Emotions are communicated both ways. It shows there are other senses than those we normally think about or accept.
The story is what it’s like to run a game preserve in southern Africa. There are problems with employees, poachers, and working with local tribal leaders. And of course problems with the animals. The animals are Lawrence’s family -- his children. There is always some new thing he needs to attend to. But the story is mostly about Lawrence and the elephants. It’s a true story. And it’s fabulous.
Too many true stories are depressing with bad things happening to animals. But this is not. The main animal and human characters do not die. There are some animal deaths, but the ending feels good.
The audiobook narrator Simon Vance did an excellent job.
Bad recording equipment picked up narrator’s breaths. Needs a pdf file for pictures.
I learned a lot but it was long. At times it dragged. A different author could have been more selective. I feel like Goodwin’s goal was to provide as much information as possible, so a historian would be pleased to find a diary entry that he had not read before. I stayed with it because it was good for me. I’m glad I read it, but it was not as compelling or engaging as I hoped.
At times the subject matter was depressing. So many deaths in that war. I admired the morality of northerners willing to support the war against slavery. I was surprised and admired how Lincoln got enemies and those with conflicts to work together. He always took blame so others would not look bad.
I was surprised at how cowardly some northern generals were. Lincoln could not find good generals. The ones he had were afraid to attack and afraid to chase. Most of the fighting was when the South attacked. In one case McClellan was ordered to move his troops to help another general. McClellan wouldn’t do it. At the same time Grant was out west fiercely fighting and winning. Lincoln was so happy to finally have a general who would fight, so he put Grant in charge of the whole thing. I was impressed with Lee’s brilliant military leadership in the south.
Also memorable was Lincoln’s desire to forgive. One of his cabinet members Chase campaigned against Lincoln for reelection and said negative things about Lincoln. After Chase lost, Lincoln gave another assignment to Chase because Chase was the best man for the country. Lincoln wanted to help the South recover after the war. He did not want to punish the South. Booth was so stupid to kill Lincoln. He was angry at freeing the slaves. But he killed the one man who would have forgiven and helped the South the most.
The awe of the Gettysburg Address. Reading it now in the middle of this book is so different from when I read it in high school. I have more understanding of what was going on, and it made the Address more powerful.
There needs to be a PDF file for audiobook buyers for pictures and illustrations that were in the physical book.
Suzanne Toren is a good reader for this book. But the recording equipment picked up her BREATHS. Her breathing was sooo distracting and sooo annoying. Recording people: Please solve this problem! I don’t hear other narrators breathing.
But it’s still fun.
I will always read the new Jack Reacher book. I like being in this world. He had about three or four beat em up scenes. Those were fun. But the story was not very good. There was a lot of going-nowhere-talk. My mind wandered at times. The author used the following phrase a lot. I smile when I hear it because it’s typical Reacher. “I said nothing.” “He said nothing.”
Most of the Reacher books have been 3rd person narratives, so I was not happy with this done in 1st person.
This is book 19 in the Jack Reacher series. I gave 4 or more stars to the first seven books except for Running Blind.
The narrator Dick Hill was very good.
Genre: mystery suspense.
but I was not taken. It dragged.
Maybe it was just a hard-to-work-with-plot and uninteresting characters. Everyone keeps secrets from Lucas - good guys and bad guys. Even Nadia his partner does not tell him things. It was a slow process of puzzle solving. The ending was lackluster. It was not wrapped up well, but I didn’t care much. I was glad it was over.
A group of Russian families has been in the U.S. for decades. They consider themselves spies for Russia even though they rarely have contact with Russia and don’t do much. They kill a Russian. Nadia arrives from Russia to investigate and works with Lucas.
I don’t like the way the author writes women. He makes them weak, incompetent, or not smart in order to make Lucas look good. I don’t require strong smart heroines in everything I read. It’s ok to have weak characters in either sex. But make the main female character quirky, unusual, or something. So far in the three books I’ve read, I come out with an empty feeling about women. They are cardboard.
Here’s an example. Nadia and a guy are in a room. Killer enters and shoots the guy then runs out. Lucas is nearby, hears gunshots, and sees the killer running. Lucas goes to Nadia and sees the guy shot. Lucas calls 911 giving information, tells Nadia to stay with the guy, and then runs off to chase the killer. Lucas is a good runner and gets close to the killer. Why didn’t Nadia do anything? She could have called 911. But no, Lucas has to delay his chase to make the phone call while Nadia stands there and watches. Why couldn’t Nadia chase the killer? Nadia is a Russian agent, not a shrinking violet fragile female. She’s cardboard.
I was eager to read about Letty, a 12-year-old Lucas meets in book #14 (the previous book). She shoots a rifle and traps muskrats. I hoped she would have a bigger role in this book, but she had no role. The only thing said was Lucas was her guardian.
I was impatient with Nadia’s dialogue. She asked too many word meanings which dragged the dialogue. Examples: “The others were tarnished and even had some, I don’t know the English, green coloring on the brass.” “How do you say...” “What’s this ‘upside’?”
Richard Ferrone was good for general narration and men, but not women. He made them sound weird.
Genre: mystery suspense thriller.
Letty could have been better. Last half was good entertainment.
I read book #1 in the series and did not like the womanizing element of Lucas. In this book #14 he’s married, so that should be less. But his female characters come across as cardboard. Part of it is women desiring men, but I don’t see men having intense desire for women. The men are magnets and don’t do anything to earn the attraction. It’s male wishful thinking. It’s a subtle undercurrent. I accept the author’s choice to not have smart, strong, competent women in his character mix. But at least give me something sassy, quirky, or unusual about some women.
The opening murder scene had me glued to the page. Then it was slow creating the back story about everyone. But the last half was top notch. Very engaging. But, when it was over I was confused. I did not know who did what or how in the kidnappings. Who told Sorrell about Deon and Jane? What happened to Joe Kelly?
I was disappointed with Letty but only because of my expectations. She is 11. Lucas meets her in this book and she supposedly continues as a character in future books. But I read the next book (#15) and she had no role in that. Letty traps muskrats for money and carries a rifle. I was hoping she’d have an unusual attitude or ability. But her dialogue and behavior were like a regular person - kind of flat.
I was happy that justice was done and the bad guys “got it” in the end.
I really liked the following. Someone was wondering who was more likely to commit a crime. “Deon was this ocean of want. He wanted money and he wanted dope and he wanted cars and he wanted clothes and he wanted to go to Vegas and LA and he wanted season tickets for basketball. Lauren didn’t seem to want anything. He didn’t seem to care about anything or even do anything other than sleep with Katina.”
Richard Ferrone was good in a lot of ways, but I did not like some of his female voices – especially Letty. I also did not like some of his interpretations. For example “What does that mean? She growled.” He read this as a whine not a growl.
Genre: mystery suspense thriller.
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