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John

Member Since 2012

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HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 125 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2014
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  • The Program

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Stephen White
    • Narrated By Sandra Burr
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (53)
    Performance
    (29)
    Story
    (30)

    When District Attorney Kirsten Lord and her nine-year-old daughter receive a death threat, Lord has no other choice but to accept the Witness Protection Program's offer to hide them in Boulder, Colorado. There, they meet program veteran Carl Luppo, a solitary mob hit man who is tormented by his former life. Sensing that Lord and her daughter's safety has been compromised, Luppo takes on the role of sentinel, fully realizing this might be his last shot at redemption.

    John says: "Not up to usual, which wasn't the best to begin w/"
    "Not up to usual, which wasn't the best to begin w/"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A less hysterical primary character and a better reader


    Would you ever listen to anything by Stephen White again?

    Probably


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    To be fair, I did not get far enough into the book to determine if the narrator was as objectionable as the story. Dick Hill narrated the first books and was fine, but Sandra Burr did not improve the story.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Program?

    Did not get far enough into the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I usually do significant research to find a good book, but I would like to find a series where I could just enjoy everything by that author and save some time, like James Lee Burke, Patrick O'Brian or Rex Stout. Stephen White seemed to be such a guy. The first 5-6 books in the Alan Gregory series are nothing to rave about. I rate 3-4 stars and think Dick Hill makes them better. They have good plots and interesting settings and characters. But the dialog is not natural; there are usually a few gratuitous gory parts and a wild improbable culmination. Right away The Program was not usual - The opening scenes are fairly improbable followed by a hysterical performance by the main character, a lady district attorney. This was not helped by the narrator, Sandra Burr. I've quit books before but never as early as The Program. Currently I've found W. E. B. Griffin and will continue with him until he comes a cropper.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (8723)
    Performance
    (6837)
    Story
    (6869)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Amazon Customer says: "Word Thief"
    "Couldn't get into it"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    nothing


    What was most disappointing about Markus Zusak’s story?

    no plot


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    I stopped listening to the book yesterday and cannot remember anything about the reader. This may be related to the flatness of the book rather than the reader.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Book Thief?

    the table of contents that precedes each chapter


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those books that for the first hour or so I ask 'what's going on; what's with the colors, and who is the narrator'? It turns out the narrator is death which is different, but I had not figured out the colors by the time I gave up half way through the book. I could not discern a plot, what the book thief got out of the books she acquired or even why she wanted so badly to read.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Without Remorse

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Tom Clancy
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1474)
    Performance
    (1126)
    Story
    (1141)

    His work for the CIA is brilliant, cold-blooded, and efficient, but who is he? In a harrowing tour de force, phenomenally best-selling author Tom Clancy shows how an ordinary man named John Kelly crossed the lines of justice and morality to become the CIA legend known as Mr. Clark. It is an unforgettable journey into the heart of darkness, without mercy - without remorse.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Great Characters, Great Plot"
    "Remorse that I could not finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Without Remorse better?

    I enjoyed Clancy’s first 4-5 books but have not kept up. When I decided to listen to Locked On, a reviewer (who appeared to have similar tastes to mine) said it was imperative to have listened to the previous books in the series for full enjoyment. The first one he mentioned was Without Remorse. This was actually great news because I have been looking for a series (like Aubrey/Maturin) that I can enjoy without having to do research for each book. Without Remorse was 11 or so books away from Locked On so this would set me up for quite a while.I mention this to note that I was really pre-disposed to like Without Remorse. And I tried, well beyond where I would normally quit, but ultimately I could not finish. I noted early on the awkward relationships and unrealistic plot complexities. Characters to things to drive the plot, not because that is what their character as developed would do. I thought the technical details and overall picture would pull me through, but it got worse as I went along; I even fast forwarded through a couple of the many plot threads. That helped for a while, but eventually I ran out of caring about anything other than the police investigation.I went back to other reviews of later books to see if I stuck it out, things would get better. I looked mainly at the 1-star reviews to see if others were bothered by the same things. And there in Locked On was this - “the word choices, the cliches, the lack of character depth”. The reviewer was referring to Locked On being ghost-written and the words not being Clancy’s, but this could apply 100% to Without Remorse. “Speculation was rampant but not too rampant”; “his thoughts were more complex than theirs”. What does this even mean since it is said by the narrator, not the hero, and no other discussion follows?I guess I’ll listen to Simon Vance read the Master and Commander series for the 5th time and look for something else.


    What didn’t you like about Michael Prichard’s performance?

    Some reviewers disliked this reader. I have enjoyed Michael Prichard for many hours through 60+ Nero Wolfe mysteries at least 3 times. I cannot imagine anyone else as Archie Goodwin. And while I agree with those who disliked the reader, I chalk it up to bad writing; I’m not sure any reader could save it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Snow White Must Die

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Nele Neuhaus
    • Narrated By Robert Fass
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1320)
    Performance
    (1151)
    Story
    (1147)

    On a rainy November day, police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to a mysterious traffic accident: a woman has fallen from a pedestrian bridge onto a car driving underneath. According to a witness, the woman may have been pushed. The investigation leads Pia and Oliver to a small village, and the home of the victim, Rita Cramer. On a September evening eleven years earlier, two seventeen-year-old girls vanished from the village without a trace.

    C. Vincent says: "Great narrator, unbelievable, never-ending story"
    "great title, but that's all"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    from the reviews, some liked this, but I cannot imagine who they are


    What could Nele Neuhaus have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    ended sooner


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    too many problems to address with a single sentence


    What character would you cut from Snow White Must Die?

    they are all weak


    Any additional comments?

    When I listen to a book (or watch TV) with my wife, I often make comments about the story, usually in the negative about some inconsistency, error or unbelievable coincidence. I know this drives her crazy, and we usually listen to books that I recommend (she has her books for when she is alone) after a discussion of the expected content and reviews. We like mysteries and Snow White Must Die was such a great title, coupled with good reviews (which I should have read in more detail) seemed like a sure thing.

    And at about 12 hours, when it seemed to be winding up, I had hardly made any comments, and most of those were attributable to the translation regarding grammar and the wonderment as to how certain phrases/words like “in cahoots” came to be the preferred meaning from German. At that point, I could have given it 3 stars across the board but would not have put the author on my ‘read’ list.

    But it did not end there; it went on for another 4 hours, and as it went on the plot became ever more convoluted and unbelievable. Interminable is the best one-word description. The dialog and character actions do not ring true or in-character, the moralizing is irritating as are the incidents of ‘product placement’, but the biggest problem for me was the use of ‘unlocked doors’. I use the unlocked door as code for a point where the author must solve a particular problem but cannot do it logically so the characters find a particular door conveniently unlocked or open at a critical point so the story can proceed. This is irritating but not uncommon and usually occurs only 1-2 times/story.

    In Snow White there are dozens of unlocked doors; like the sister who shows up after 14 years with no motivation at a critical point to unravel a particular question, a locksmith that is available on short notice to help solve a tense problem that has been building for over a week and then (no kidding) a key that just happens to be left in the lock in the final door that leads to the rescue. I’m sure I extended the actual listening by a significant amount by stopping every couple of minutes to comment, snort or roll my eyes at the preposterous story line. I could go into greater detail but do not want to waste any more time on Snow White. My main motivation for writing the review is the great listener guarantee. Even though no reason is required to exchange the book, I feel obliged to audible.com to comment.

    In fairness, other than the convoluted plot, my wife did not find the story particularly objectionable. My comments were probably more irritating than the defects noted (even after I pointed them out). When I get to the end of a story that I give 1-2 stars, I go back and read the reviews to see if my objections are singular. Usually they are not, and when the reviews are detailed (not just describing spelling errors), they are better-written than the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dark Horse: A Walt Longmire Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Craig Johnson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (2103)
    Performance
    (1496)
    Story
    (1475)

    The Denver Post hails Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire mystery series as a must-read. Joining the four previous novels - all of which have been Book Sense picks - The Dark Horse puts a unique Wyoming twist on the classic British village mystery. When Longmire meets a woman jailed for her husband's death, he travels outside his usual haunts to discover the truth behind this unusual murder case.

    V. Sharol says: "Another outstanding book from Johnson"
    "Good story but great narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The Dark Horse in three words, what would they be?

    This is my first Walt Longmire book. In the beginning I thought and commented to my wife 'this is actually going pretty slow, but I don't mind because the narrator is so perfect'. Later the story picked up. Some reviews from those familiar with this series thought the dialog is somewhat tired, but as a first for me, it was not. I read mysteries but not often, and while the ending was a surprise, I recognized it from other books/TV shows I had read/seen. My primary reason for writing the review is to note how much the narrator improved this book.


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    The voice was just right; it sounded Western; each character was distinct; pace was great; pronunciation perfect; dialog sounded natural.


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

    I'm not going to make a film.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Edge of Honor

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By P. T. Deutermann
    • Narrated By Jay Charles, Sandra Burr
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (44)

    A man's duty...a woman's passion...The Edge of Honor cuts both ways. In this sweeping novel of the Vietnam War at sea and on the homefront, Lieutenant Brian Holcomb, smart, ambitious, honorable, and up for promotion, discovers that his ship - the USS John Bell Hood - hides a dangerous secret. What Brian does about it may end his career, or threaten the lives of hundreds.

    Mobilis says: "I Effing Love P.T. Deutermann!!"
    "Could not finish"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from P. T. Deutermann and/or Jay Charles and Sandra Burr ?

    Hunting Season was my first Deutermann book and thought I discovered gold. The description on other titles did not look particularly interesting, but I finally picked Edge of Honor. It begins in San Diego with some background on Holcomb's Navy career and his marital relationship. After the ship deploys, it alternates between Holcomb on the ship on Yankee Station and his wife back in San Diego. The description of ship operations is fascinating, but the personnel plot is bad. But not as bad as the action back in San Diego which I feel certain was written by a different author. It was trite and transparent. Even my wife, who likes more women authors and the romance-type story lines could not take it. Because I enjoyed Hunting Season so much, I carried on way past my normal intolerance level but finally had to give it up. I will not try another Deutermann book. Jay Charles and Sandra Burr were not particularly noticeable as I was in almost constant critical mode on the plot.


    What could P. T. Deutermann have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Nothing


    What three words best describe Jay Charles and Sandra Burr ’s performance?

    It was almost 9 months ago when I listened and do not remember much about their performance. I do remember that I did not comment on it during the listening so it must have been fine.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Edge of Honor?

    I don't think there is a way to edit this to improve it for me. I spent 26 years in the Navy and Coast Guard, enlisted and officer (as a department head). I was not familiar with the current state of warfare in the Navy, but the description rings true and was excellent. The other parts of Navy life involving personal interaction were unlike anything I ever experienced. The parts with Holcomb's wife (as far as I got) read like (I imagine) a Silhouette romance.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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