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Js

ratings
330
REVIEWS
33
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
10
HELPFUL VOTES
145

  • The Gray Man

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mark Greaney
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4850)
    Performance
    (3740)
    Story
    (3721)

    Court Gentry is known as The Gray Man - a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible, and then fading away. And he always hits his target. But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness. Now, he is going to prove that for him, there's no gray area between killing for a living-and killing to stay alive.

    Michael says: "High Energy Ride!"
    "Perils of Pauline"
    Overall

    The "Gray Man" of the title is an uber-assassin, moving like a ghost, striking unstoppably. That is what everyone in this book says, anyway. It turns out, this is no Day of the Jackal" and our hero is no "Bob Lee Swagger". In reality, as presented, he bumbles his way through Europe escaping the massive efforts of an evil (French, of course) corporation through a combination of extreme marksmanship and fighting skill while wounded, and dumb luck; he is often saved by the missteps of his enemies or, I kid you not, things like umbrellas. At one point he defeats an enemy who, as presented, he should lose to.
    Speaking of wounds, this begins to seem like a Road Runner cartoon and the massive injuries our hero keeps bouncing back from become laughable. The dialog is sometimes very good indeed, and then, next paragraph, wincingly bad: chest-thumping macho stuff instead of the cold communication of professionals.

    To give credit to the author,he presents us with an individual representing the corporation whom you really, really hate; good job there. Our assassin is a "good guy", trying to knock off only those who are evil. That may be unrealistic or impractical, but it is refreshing. He also makes an effort to respect the reader's intelligence by providing practical motivations for the corporations egregious allowance of general mayhem and emotional motivations for the hunter and the hunted. I cannot buy the corporations ultimate, unsatisfying reasons.

    The ending is illogical and unsatisfying, but obviously designed to set up a sequel.

    40 of 45 people found this review helpful
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Claire North
    • Narrated By Peter Kenny
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (643)
    Performance
    (573)
    Story
    (577)

    No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now.As Harry nears the end of his 11th life, a little girl appears at his bedside. "I nearly missed you, Doctor August," she says. "I need to send a message." This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

    Nathan says: "Read for the concepts and not for the characters"
    "Magnificent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    What a great story! What beautiful writing. And the Narrator sets a new standard in excellence.

    If you liked Ken Grimwood's "Replay", you will love FFL.

    Claire North joins PF Hamilton and Neal Stevenson in my personal pantheon of authors who write science fiction that is epic in scope, moving and literate. I started FFL knowing only that it was science fiction and quasi-time travel, or time-shuttling if you will. I expected something light like Brett Battles "Rewinder" or Lee Geiger's "Doctor Wasserman's Time Chamber". Instead I have someone whom I think is a first-time author who is now on my MUST BUY list.

    In all of this gigantic story of detective work, spycraft, science and technology, history, love, mystery, friendship and fanaticism there is not one false note of dialog and again no artificial twist shoe-horned into the flow of narration because of plot problems. I hope a writer as skilled with language and as intelligent as Ms. North is young and can keep doing this again and again. some of the dialog is hilarious, especially the bon mots uttered by a character named Virginia.

    Of course, I had to give her a pass on the Grandfather Paradox. This is almost a given in any story where the timeline can be altered. Well worth that particular suspension of disbelief.

    For those Audible listeners: Peter Kenney is the best narrator ever to synergistically boost a story into the heavens. Subtle, dramatic, nuanced, intelligent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rewinder

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Brett Battles
    • Narrated By Vikas Adam
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (86)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (78)

    You will never read Denny Younger's name in any history book, will never know what he's done. But even if you did, you'd never believe it. The world as you know it wouldn't be the same without him. Denny was born into one of the lowest rungs of society, but his bleak fortunes abruptly change when the mysterious Upjohn Institute recruits him to be a Rewinder, a verifier of personal histories. The job at first sounds like it involves researching old books and records, but Denny soon learns it's far from it.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "Time travel, alternate history and a nest of parad"
    "Energetic YA Time Travel with a Naïf for a Hero"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First the good: energetic adventure in a new and strange alternate world. A likeable hero with a strong moral compass. Never a boring moment.

    My problem: Denny Younger is advanced far above his humble caste by virtue of his interest in history and his brilliance. Supposedly. Well Denny may be a deep thinker but he surely is not a FAST thinker. Whenever he gets backed into a corner, his response is always (always!) "I... umm... uh" and I quote. It is the classic problem of the hero failing to see the obvious for the sake of the story. Surely this milquetoast can think faster than that. Also, he gets physically overcome by a girl his own age-- until it is time for a turnaround in the plot; THEN he is suddenly capable of physical defense.

    A note: Brett Battles beautifully walks the tightrope of political neutrality in describing Denny's reaction to and description of an alternate timeline that happens to be our world. He is not going to make any Conservatives or Liberals angry here (and by Conservatives and Liberals I mean Conservatives). Well done.

    As far as the big bugaboo of Time Travel stories, The Grandfather Paradox, the author does not so much ignore it as shred it into tiny pieces and shove it into plot hole oblivion where the sun never shines. In fact, Battles has one of his characters mentioning the confusion of meeting yourself and changing the future by saying: "Going down that road is a sure path to insanity". Just like the movie "Looper" when Bruce Willis dismisses any attempt to figure things out. That's alright. I always give the Paradox a pass just so I can enjoy the story.

    Spoiler:

    -Denny learns all about history in our timeline but never bothers to do a little research into how to recharge his time travel machine. It never even crosses his mind. ??

    -At a penultimate moment Denny is forcing a deal on his enemies and yet there is absolutely no way he can enforce their promises.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1204)
    Performance
    (968)
    Story
    (969)

    There have been many books - on a large and small scale - about Steve Jobs, one of the most famous CEOs in history. But this book is different from all the others. Becoming Steve Jobs takes on and breaks down the existing myth and stereotypes about Steve Jobs. The conventional, one-dimensional view of Jobs is that he was half genius, half jerk from youth, an irascible and selfish leader who slighted friends and family alike.

    Douglas Vincent says: "Contextual, Insightful, Inspiring"
    "A Few Top-Level Interviews Make Good Overview"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    "Becoming Steve Jobs" has a narrow premise, sticks to it, and succeeds. Steve Jobs began as a product-driven, cruel company-smashing maniacal marketing genius, and rebuilt himself into a product-driven humane, super company-building CEO maniacal marketing genius. Although BSJ is an unauthorized biography, it is actually far more authorized than Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs" because of Brent Schendler's access to very high-level colleagues such as Iger, Ives, Cook, Catmul, Gates and of course, Steve's wife Laurene.

    This isn't an in-depth analysis of the technology, which I would have liked. Nor are there many anecdotes from the many, many interesting people Jobs interacted with during his amazing life. It is a broad and illuminating look at how Jobs became a really good boss instead of a bomb inside the company gas tank. It is also, through interviews, the story of how Steve got less mean, more patient, and wiser. It separates his behavior outside of work: some people NEVER got yelled at by Steve. Starting a family with Laurene changed him. Watching creativity being gently fostered at Pixar, his "side bet purchase" changed him. He learned. He grew.

    As for the leaps that were the music player, phone, and tablet look elsewhere for a real description of their technology and social impact. Although they are covered as pivotal events, the focus is always on Jobs, and that is fine.

    There is a lot left untold in this useful new addition to the Lore Of Steve. I want more personal stories. I want more about the tech... lots more. Still, this is an excellent overview and the quotes from his friends and colleagues are valuable.

    Oh, and one more thing: The book was written with love.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • No Tomorrow: Victor the Assassin, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Tom Wood
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    Overall
    (410)
    Performance
    (374)
    Story
    (370)

    When Victor is called to meet with an old friend who ultimately betrayed him, what he thought was an ambush is in fact a plea for help. As a Russian gangster, Norimov is accustomed to death threats, but now an unknown enemy wants more than his life. They intend to kill everyone he cares about, including his missing daughter Gisele. This time, Victor's job is not to kill but to protect. Unfortunately, locating Gisele is his first mistake - because someone is watching his every move.

    Jason P. Sweeney says: "Can't get enough"
    "Drop Off In Quality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    While still enjoyable, Mr. Wood's 4th foray into the adventures of Victor the Assassin seem to be a bit rushed. There is less plot complexilty and more shallow "chase scene" writing. Victor spends less time using his brain and more time dodging many many bullets. His lady friend is a big flaw: Is she a mentally ill shrew? Is she a moody 14-year-old? Is she wise in the ways of the world? Take your pick from page to page. We are at a loss to figure out Victor's protective feeling toward her.

    Another problem is that Victor "Keeps his promises". Well, when it suits the plot; otherwise he lies like a rug, as he has in past and better installments of this saga.

    I did think the way he tied together the first part of the book and the very last paragraph was just delicious. I will certainly read the next installment, in hopes that this lazy business was an abberation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Day of the Jackal

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Frederick Forsyth
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    Overall
    (870)
    Performance
    (605)
    Story
    (599)

    One of the most celebrated thrillers ever written, The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of an anonymous Englishman who in, the spring of 1963, was hired by Colonel Marc Rodin, operations chief of the O.A.S., to assassinate General de Gaulle.

    Darwin8u says: "Tight & fantastic political/cat-and-mouse thriller"
    "A Classic Thriller/Police Procedural."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Frederick Forsyth is a masterful writer. This is as much a police procedural as a thriller. It never bores or flags in its pace. To listen to this is to understand why it was the perfect subject for a movie (twice) with its straightforward story. The only mystery is how he hid the rifle and the only twist is one of identity and yet the plot engrosses totally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shell Collector

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Hugh Howey
    • Narrated By Samara Naeymi
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (120)
    Performance
    (100)
    Story
    (102)

    The ocean is dying. The sea is growing warmer and is gradually rising. Seashells have become so rare that collecting them is now a national obsession. Flawless specimens sell like priceless works of art. Families hunt the tideline in the dark of night with flashlights. Crowds gather on beaches at the lowest of tides, hoping to get lucky.

    E. Gallegos says: "Nice romance story, but predictable."
    "A Load of Codswallop"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    And hand-wringing, bosom-beating romance with an ending predictable withing the first few minutes of listening. The narrator was fine but could have toned down the angst with a flatter reading of our heroine's endless tormented monologues. I care about the environment, but Howey's approach has the pessimistic and defeatist tone of 1950's British science fiction.

    I guessed the ending within the first half-hour of listening and even particular upcoming lines of dialog were utterly predictable.

    I found that even the pleasant romance could not save a very silly story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Six Days of the Condor

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By James Grady
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (167)
    Story
    (163)

    When CIA operative Malcolm, code-named Condor, discovers his colleagues butchered in a blood-spattered office, he realizes that only an oversight by the assassins has saved his life. He contacts CIA headquarters for help, but when an attempted rendezvous goes wrong, it quickly becomes clear that no one can be trusted.

    jonathan says: "Oldy but a Goody"
    "This Story has Aged Well"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Sometimes the movie (3 Days of the Condor) is almost as good as the book. In this case, and In some ways, the movie is better: more complex, grittier. Still, this is an excellent first novel by James Grady (Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 is another best seller) that is fast, taut and well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Killer: Victor the Assassin Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Tom Wood
    • Narrated By Rob Shapiro
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (922)
    Performance
    (841)
    Story
    (843)

    Meet Victor. He's an assassin - a man with no past and no surname. He lives alone. He operates alone. He's given a job; he takes out the target; he gets paid. He's The Killer. Victor arrives in Paris to perform a standard kill and collect for an anonymous client. He completes it with trademark efficiency - only to find himself in the middle of an ambush and fighting for his life.

    Anthony says: "You Can't Help Pulling for the "Bad Guy""
    "Lee Child Move Over"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the first of 4 books. This one is good, and by book four, I am giving 5 stars.

    Juvenile dialog, pretty good writing, and MASTERFUL action scenes. Unlike Ben Coes or Mark Greany, Tom Wood really knows how to write a believable and nail-biting action scene that does not take you out of the moment with cartoonish stupidity or technical inaccuracy.
    Victor is a great creation, and pretty consistent in his actions and most but not all of what he says.

    The writing is pretty good, with the occasional dangling participle but very smooth syntax. The silly dialog improves bit by bit in the next 3 books (yes, there are more!) and Victor becomes more sympathetic while the CIA becomes less evil. I would remind Rob Shapiro, the narrator, that the word is "prostrate", not "Prostate"-- an error he repeats in the next book in the series. Shapiro is good, but I wish he would tone down the querulous whining and let the dialog carry some of the load.

    Often, when an author paints his beleaguered hero into a "how will he ever get out of this?" corner, the escape is disappointingly unbelievable. But no Deus Ex Machina here, Tom Wood comes up with some very clever solutions, stratagems, and twists.

    Tom Wood is intelligent. I like that in an author. Some of what gets published today is really lowest common denominator stuff, but here we have logic and believability.

    If you like this first book about Victor, you are in for a treat, as they keep getting better, and Wood gets better at keeping you guessing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lines of Departure: Frontlines, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Marko Kloos
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1030)
    Performance
    (950)
    Story
    (945)

    Vicious interstellar conflict with an indestructible alien species. Bloody civil war over the last habitable zones of the cosmos. Political unrest, militaristic police forces, dire threats to the solar system.

    Elle in the Great NorthWest says: "MUCH BETTER than the first book"
    "The Story Deepens"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Lines of Departure in three words, what would they be?

    Obviously more coming


    What other book might you compare Lines of Departure to and why?

    Michael Z. Williamson "Freehold" series for Buetner's "Orphan" series for combat and social awareness.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    My Gosh! Stop with the stereotypical raspy voice for almost all military.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Can't stay awake that long, or I would.


    Any additional comments?

    Read "Terms of Enlistment" first, if you can, although this novel does well enough as a stand-alone. Marko Kloos has revealed himself as quite the subversive, and I approve! He seems to think that sometimes, a society will endure a time when it is not the cream that rises to the top, but the ... well, you know.

    In the first book of this series (may there be many more!) Grayson is a callow youth; not stupid, mind you, just living in a black and white world. He is optimistic in a world that is falling apart. In "Lines" he has begun to realize that he is those at the top are behaving with perverse stupidity, and he slowly comes to know that he has to do something about it or lose his self respect.

    A weakness of the book is Kloos aliens: what makes them tick. Why are they so powerful and yet so apparently stupid. Humans are cockroaches to them, such is their technological superiority. They wipe us out like we would fumigate termites, and as easily. But I don't know of any termites that can band together to kill humans, or burn down a house rather than let you move in. The aliens inscrutability is taken too far. Wouldn't they make more effort to stop us from fighting back if they are so powerful? Maybe Kloos will explain this in the next book.

    And there better be a next book. Our hero is likable and the writing is smooth and professional.

    But please, again, narrator Luke Daniels, stop with the constricted throat rasping voice for all ground troops except our hero and his girlfriend. Even Sergeant Brianna sounds like a weight lifter. And apparently all the pilots speak in a rapid monotone or with a Tennessee twang. Oh, another choice for soldiers is that some sound like Squiggy from Lavern and Shirley. There are about 5 exaggerated voices that are used over and over again. Gets really annoying.

    Having been so mean to our Narrator, let me say that his performance choices are very important, and can change the quality of the book. Luke Daniels is good! Just never let him do military voices again unless he broadens his repertoire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tooth and Nail

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Craig DiLouie
    • Narrated By Steve Cooper
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (249)
    Performance
    (135)
    Story
    (131)

    As a new plague related to the rabies virus infects millions, America recalls its military forces from around the world to safeguard hospitals and other vital buildings. Many of the victims become rabid and violent but are easily controlled—that is, until so many are infected that they begin to run amok, spreading slaughter and disease.

    Flavius says: "Rough, but Enjoyable"
    "Cardboard Apocalypse"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The narrator has about 3 voices and 2 accents. He does not serve the material well. The characters are not developed. The moral qualms of the soldiers are unrealistic in the situation as described. Too many characters who are not anchored by time and place and personality. Poor writing. I can't give it one star because the spelling was fine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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