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Mark

Reno, NV, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
88
REVIEWS
73
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
5
HELPFUL VOTES
114

  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Jeannette Walls
    • Narrated By Jeannette Walls
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1143)
    Performance
    (875)
    Story
    (881)

    Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination. Rose Mary painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family; she called herself an "excitement addict."

    Elisabeth says: "Like peeping through your fingers at a car wreck"
    "Perfect memoir, perfect narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    Memoir of growing up in extreme poverty in Battle Mountain, Nevada; Phoenix; and a tiny coal town in West Virginia. What makes it so fascinating aside from one harrowing adventure after another is how damaged yet intellectually sharp her parents are as they haphazardly care for four kids. The scenes involving cheetah-petting and traveling in the back of an enclosed U-Haul truck across Nevada will stay with me a long time. A classic.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Retribution

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Val McDermid
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (108)
    Performance
    (94)
    Story
    (99)

    World-class crime writer Val McDermid has sold millions of copies of her books worldwide. In The Retribution, clinical psychologist Tony Hill and detective Carol Jordan face a terrifying reality: Serial killer Jacko Vance has escaped imprisonment - and appears hell-bent on revenge against those who put him behind bars.

    Ruth says: "Very disappointed"
    "Typically good Carol Jordan/Tony Hill book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The serial killer from book #2 in the series — “Wire in the Blood” — escapes from prison and exacts vengeance on the main characters. Kind of a gimmicky, TV-like ending — I would've preferred the showdown between the killer and his final victim to be told in real-time rather than in hindsight and in more detail — but overall it’s a typically good Carol Jordan/Tony Hill book. Bechdel test: pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fever of the Bone

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Val McDermid
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (108)

    Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award-winning author Val McDermid pens thrilling mysteries eagerly devoured by fans. In the sixth novel in her Tony Hill series—the inspiration for the hit British television show Wire in the Blood—psychologist Tony Hill and Detective Carol Jordan’s investigation of a teenage girl’s murder leads them to an Internet predator.

    Greg says: "Great Series"
    "You probably need to already love the characters"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A serial killer is targeting teenagers, and clinical psychologist Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan are on the cases, which initially don’t appear related. Good backstory on Tony’s mother. You probably need to already love the characters to love this, but I do, enough so that I immediately started the next in the series as soon as I finished. Bechdel test: Pass.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Treatment

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Mo Hayder
    • Narrated By Damien Goodwin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (80)
    Performance
    (74)
    Story
    (74)

    In a quiet residential area in London, a couple is discovered bound and imprisoned in their own home. Savagely battered and severely dehydrated, the worst revelation is yet to come: their eight-year-old son has been abducted. But when the body is found and forensic evidence turns the case on its head, revealing disturbing parallels to events in Detective Caffery's own past, Caffery realizes he's dealing with much more sinister forces than he'd anticipated - and finds it increasingly difficult to maintain his distance.

    Alcairha says: "INTENSE MASTERPIECE"
    "Extremely tough subject matter but good book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you thought the first book was rough going with its serial killer/rapist/necrophiliac plot, you should know the sequel is even harder to take with its pedophilia plot. Hayder never gets too graphic, but describing other people’s reactions to the child rape as they watch is harrowing anyway. And this isn’t just child rape but a twist on it that’s so repellent, I’ve kind of blanked it out. Maybe this is because there’s another subplot that made me squirm more with a mentally disabled person mistreated. There was one angle that I decided if Hayder did what I feared she was going to do, I’d never read her again. When it ended, I thought she copped out by leaving it hanging, so I read the last chapter again. If I interpret it right, she actually let happen what I was begging her in my mind not to do. But she did it in such a subtle and clever way, that it’s really kind of brilliant, even if horrendous. The writing and plotting is amazing, plus there are some interesting rape discussion points. I'll be back for more, just not soon. Bechdel test: I think it failed.

    Narrator was perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Strega: A Burke Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Andrew Vachss
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (49)

    Andrew Vachss’s implacable private eye has a new client, Strega. She wants Burke to find an obscene photograph and that search will take him into the ocean that flows just beneath the city, an ocean whose currents are flesh and money, the anguish of children and the pleasure of twisted adults. It is a place that Burke can visit only at the risk of his sanity and his life. But between the power of Strega and his own sense of justice, there is no turning back.

    In Strega one of our most acclaimed crime writers gives us a thriller that might have been imagined by Dante. For this is a tour of hell with no stops left out, conducted by a novelist who writes with the authority of the damned.

    “It’s wonderful. The words leap off the page. The plot is fresh. The principal character is original. The style is as clean as a haiku.” — The Washington Post Book World

    Amy says: "Didn't live up to expectations"
    "Narrator is better here than on first book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A woman seeks a Polaroid taken for a child porn collector because the child victim wants to see it destroyed. She hires the paranoid, jerk private detective named Burke. You really get the sense Vachss knows the world he’s writing about, from the therapists working with kids who have had horrible things done to them, to the lawyers advocating on their behalf, to the runaways hustling on the streets of NYC. It all rings true, even if Vachss gets a little carried away with his noir tough-guy prose. In the end, it’s another piece of social activism disguised as revenge fantasy. Written in the 1980s; 2nd in a series.

    As for the narrator, he was kind of offensive with his stereotyped readings of black and Asian characters in the first book but he tones it down here. He gets Burke perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • City of Bones: Harry Bosch Series, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Jay Fernandez
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2261)
    Performance
    (988)
    Story
    (989)

    On New Year's Day, Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch fields a call that a dog has found a bone - a bone that the dog's owner, a doctor, feels certain is human.

    Pamela says: "A good read"
    "Narrator is not very good but the book is"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A dog romping in the hills above Los Angeles finds a bone that turns out to be from a child murdered 20 years earlier. Detective Harry Bosch is on the case. Connelly’s love for the LAPD is evident even as he exposes its flaws when the department seeks to protect its image instead of the truth. This was the only book in the 18-book series (as of this writing) I hadn’t read, and I’d put it in the upper half. Bechdel test: fail.

    As for the narrator, he doesn't differentiate the voices. There's one scene where the 50-year-old hard-boiled Bosch is talking to a woman in her 30s and you can’t tell which is saying what. He's not as good at delivering Bosch as Len Cariou (best until he lost his voice near the end), Dick Hill (second best) and Peter Giles (close third) but he's still better than Michael McConnohie, who practically destroyed "The Black Box."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Disappeared

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs)
    • By Kristina Ohlsson
    • Narrated By Justine Eyre
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (45)

    A young woman is found carved up and buried in a forest glade in a Stockholm suburb. She is identified as Rebecca Trolle, a student who went missing two years earlier. While Fredrika Bergman and her team try to find out why Rebecca met such a violent demise, more bodies are found in the same area.

    Mark says: "Narrator tough at first but grew on me"
    "Narrator tough at first but grew on me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A dog finds a dead body: a young woman cut into two big pieces, but missing her head and hands. Soon we realize the story is about finding out who made a snuff film and whether the film is even real. This is the third in a Swedish crime series, and I enjoyed it enough that I'll go back and read the others. It was a little sprawling and long but the fractured time structure with flashes forward to transcripts from an internal affairs investigation into how things went so horribly wrong keep the momentum going. I’m still a little confused about what happened, and the final scene brings up a mystery as to who is watching the film at the end. I like not knowing and I have my theory. Bechdel test: pass.

    As for the narrator, she speaks like a weary old man. At first I hated it and thought there was no way I could finish the book but after an hour, her voice really grew on me and disappeared into the background. Her voice perfectly captures the personality of the lead detective.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Flood: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Andrew Vachss
    • Narrated By Christopher Lane
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (208)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (125)

    Burke's newest client is a woman named Flood, who has the face of an angel, the body of a high-priced stripper, and the skills of a professional executioner. She wants Burke to find a monster for her - so she can kill him with her bare hands. In this thriller, Andrew Vachss's renegade private eye teams up with a lethally gifted avenger to follow a child's murderer through the catacombs of New York, where every alley is blind and the penthouses are as dangerous as the basements.

    Rachel says: "Pretty good - I will try some more of the series."
    "Deeper than it seems"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Part of me wants to write a dissertation on this book. It appears to be a typical noir detective novel with a dame going to see a hard-luck private investigator to find a man, only in this case she describes the person she seeks as a "child rapist." It was written in the mid-1980s after Vachss wrote a nonfiction book about violent juvenile offenders and nobody really was interested in it. So he took his advocacy for abused children and put it in a detective thriller set in the porn/prostitution world of New York City — oh, and he also advocates for dog breeds viewed as dangerous. The detective — and the author — come off like condescending jerks who prefer to be white knights, as opposed to being allies, with those who aren't as privileged, but I think that would be a misreading. The main protagonist characters are diverse — one is deaf; one is a woman of color, another is a transgender woman, who is always treated with respect and the proper pronouns used, which was extremely unusual 30 years ago. In the end, the book is "just" a vigilante revenge tale but it's doing interesting things within the too-often limited genre of the crime novel. I enjoyed it enough that I've already picked up five more books in the series.

    The audio narration is great except for some of the voices of the non-white characters are a bit too stereotyped.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hostage

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Robert Crais
    • Narrated By James Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (638)
    Performance
    (479)
    Story
    (473)

    Jeff Talley was a good husband, a fine father, and a frontline negotiator with LAPD's SWAT unit. But the high stress, unforgiving job took an irreparable toll on his psyche. After a despondent father murders his wife and son and takes his own life, Talley hits bottom. His marriage ends, he resigns from SWAT, and he struggles to escape from his former life. But Talley's pursuit of peaceful small-town life is about to change.

    David says: "Wonderful clarity of plot and character"
    "Fake characters, absurd character twist,women weak"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book reads like a crappy Bruce Willis movie and, indeed, it was made into one. Every character is drawn from movie cliches, starting with the brilliant tough-guy cop who was devastated by a previous case gone bad and now must come out from his emotional hiding to save his family. But crappy action-thrillers have a way of pulling you forward by sheer momentum of the plot so there’s three stars. But it gets docked a star for also having that action-movie cliche of the women characters being non-existent or there to be rescued like damsels in distress — only men do anything important in this book. And it gets docked another star for holding back an absurd secret that one of the characters was hiding until near the end; it completely removes the plot from reality and is just stupid. Fortunately, this is an early Crais book and he gets better. Bechdel test: miserable failure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (1436)
    Performance
    (1317)
    Story
    (1327)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Writing is great, story not so much"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Smart, young woman tries to put her ugly beginnings in rural poverty behind her by coming to the big city, where she becomes a prostitute. Written with style and intelligence but the story is merely OK. Would've been better as either a short story or a full novel because we don’t learn much about her after the initial introduction and yet it seems so much more could've been said.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Beneath the Bleeding

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Val McDermid
    • Narrated By Gerard Doyle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (206)
    Performance
    (123)
    Story
    (122)

    Winner of the Gold Dagger Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Val McDermid pens mysteries heralded on both sides of the Atlantic. In Beneath the Bleeding, Dr. Tony Hill must make sense of the perplexing death of a soccer star—but the footballer’s demise is only a prelude to greater violence.

    S Daley says: "Great listen for fans of the Series."
    "Not as gruesome as some in series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Another wonderful entry in McDermid's series about psychological profiler Tony Hill, who is hospitalized throughout much of the book after being hit with an ax by a patient, and detective chief inspector Carol Jordan, who is faced with the case of a star soccer player being poisoned and evidence suggesting there might be a terrorism angle. This one isn't as gruesome as some of the other books because it's not about a sexual sociopath. But if the plot sounds boring — and it does to me — it's interesting in its look at terrorism security, poisonous plants and soccer fandom. It does discuss the endings of the first and fourth books but not so explicitly that it would ruin reading them after this, but the characters will resonate more if you start earlier. Bechdel test: A+.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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