I really enjoyed the first installment in Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series, and found that narrator, Wanda McCaddonm, perfectly suited to the story and the characters. I was really looking forward to listening to this second book in the series, but listening to the sample did give me pause. I did not like the narrator at all, but I told myself that I had so liked the first story, well, perhaps I would get past the new narrator and her annoying rendition of Maggie. Well, that never happened. Why oh why do they change narrators??? Susan Duerden did not read Maggie's character with her own voice, but a voice that was higher and much more shrill. At one point she says, "But I am smart." She does not sound like a mathematical genius or someone capable of being a spy, she sounded like a tween on puppy uppers...big time annoying. Whenever there are shouts of, "Cheers!" in this narration, believe me,they are shouted!
There is a lot of interesting stuff going on in the story, and though you can pretty easily see what is coming, there is enough humor, dread, tension anticipation, and even a teeny bit of romance, to keep it going, and it all would have been just so much more enjoyable with a different narrator I really don't like being so negative about anyone, but I literally found myself grimacing, when Maggie's character was speaking or thinking. I think that wanting to shove a sock in the main character's beak is not the effect the publishers should be striving for!!
I have been reading/listening to the Prey novels since their beginning, back in the eighties, and for me, this was the most engrossing, the most maddening of them all. The whole novel felt like that exciting point that all the Lucas Davenport novels move toward, when all the figuring, all the questioning, all the digging suddenly starts to reveal what is what and who is who, and the action becomes a mad dash or avalanche towards the uncertain and usually pretty dicey ending. I guess one thing that made me feel that from the very beginning was the action of a very strong female character, responding to being attacked bound, and driven off into the night. I felt truly exhilarated by this beginning, and I rarely lost that sense of involvement, as the action and characters developed throughout, "Field of Prey."
I have always found that Sandford creates strong and complex women in his Prey books, and they are even stronger in this one. His daughter, Letty, in particular, is so enjoyable in this installment, that I am now hoping she completes her time at Stamford and comes back to the twin cities, to work with Lucas, a lot sooner than four years from now. I admit it, I have to remind myself, now and then, that these people are not real, I have been reading about them for so long. Yes, all the gang are here: Dell, Virgil, Sandy, Lucas's childhood friend, the psychologist nun, and of course, those responsible for something like twenty years worth of the disappearances and murders of young blonde women.The familiar voice of Richard Ferrone , with its tough guy edge, always adds to my enjoyment. Whoever chose him for the Prey series created a perfect marriage.
When I listen to the decisions Lucas makes, unaware of the big picture that Sandford shares with us, I feel like a kid at the matinee, wanting to shout out, "What the hell are you doing? Turn around; do not go home before you question that creep!" I say no more. No spoilers here. Oh yes, I loved this installment of Sandford's Prey series. What a great read!
I just finished reading this second entry in the Gabriel Emerson series, and I am so sorry it is over! I haven't even deleted it yet, because I do not want to come out from the spell it has me in. Fascinating yet flawed characters you care about, want-to-be-there locations, and all given depth and sensual appeal with the beautiful language of poetry , mouthwatering descriptions of food, and a background of music that can be quickly downloaded from Amazon (I doubt I am the only one out there with a Gabriel Emerson play list!!!); all adding up to a listening experience that can virtually surround you.
If you loved the first book, you will love this one even more and will probably wind up, like me, eagerly awaiting the next installment...it can't come soon enough for me!The narrator of Gabriel's Rapture, John Michael Morgan, is the perfect voice to tell the story; his American English is perfect, without any suggestion of regionalismHis readings of scripture and poetry, as well as romantic declarations and sexual descriptions sound natural and moving and are delivered with complete believability. His narration is just....well.....elegant! He really was the perfect choice.
Readers will find so many aspects of both of the Emerson books to be familiar ones:tensions, fears, worries, desires and longings. If you are like me, you will want to be in the places that the characters visit and inhabit. I really appreciate the spiritual life that the characters have and that they grow in, particularly Gabriel, as Juliann becomes an anchor to him, drawing him into the light. How great is it to read about characters who do not feel that their growing in their relationship with God precludes them from the delights of the senses; but increases the wonder and beauty of what they share, be it food or music or sex. I also thank the author for including the main characters coming to terms with who they are through therapy, since some of the advice given to Juliann, regarding the fact that partners bring different things to a relationship, and even if one person does not bring an equal amount of financial support to the relationship, that one thing alone is not the measure of their worth or importance. I am not expressing it as well as the therapist, but the advice is some thing that really helped me with feelings I have been dealing with for years. It may sound silly, but those few paragraphs were like wings to me, and very literally took a weight off of me.
Well, enough, I know...I will just say that for so many reasons, I love this series, and this book even more than the first. I will be waiting for the third!!!!! Recommended, to say the very least!!
I probably got twice as much out of this book, listening to it being read by Michael Jayston, as I did when reading it when it was first released, nearly 30 years ago. Back then, I saw Charlie as a silly woman who had nothing to offer but her ability to pretend that she is somebody. (Her ability to act being her little drummer boy piece.) Now I see her as a woman who has some serious needs, such as being part of a great movement, or even a small dedicated group of some kind, and to please an audience with her abilities, especially in the raw nerves theatre of the real, , and even, perhaps, to be punished or abused. It isn't simple realistic, or logical...but whose needs are?
The beginning of the book finds her in what seems to be a somewhat long standing relationship with an unpleasant and hard drinking fellow actor who physically and emotionally abuses her, as well as bullying her with his left wing politics. Her pretense of being tough is just that, and her use of lies and elaborations to create a past of sadness and disappointment reveal her total lack of dedication to both the truth and the worthiness of her real life. She is a subject who is ready to be manipulated and molded to do the bidding's of the Israeli agents who have researched and targeted her to be their non-Semitic agent amongst the Palestinian terrorists they are attempting to infiltrate. Charlie is set up using a honey trap, with an Israeli agent she believes to be a Palestinian terrorist she calls Joseph. It is Joseph who will both lure her in and control her through an emotional bait and switch.How you view Charlie,, and who in this book you most identify with, may have a big influence on just how you regard the actions taken by Charlie's handlers.
Charlie believes she is political, but what she is, is a romantic. She wants to love and be loved by a man who has a great, righteous belief and commitment, and who has an effect on the world. If she becomes part of his life, she too will be part of a larger than life story.Problem is that she wants to love Joseph, while she is pretending to have loved a terrorist from the other side. Her ongoing interior dialogues about and with both men don't help to ground her to any certainty or reality, while events keep hurtling her forward, to a future where nothing good is going to happen, and where she must ultimately face the fact that while she was risking her vary life, this was never her fight at all.
Add to this very interesting individual struggle the subplot or perhaps little nagging question of where and who the state of Israel wants to ultimately be; a moral voice as God's chosen people in the Middle East, or a military state, securing its own future, regardless of the methods and who they trample and how the world perceives them. Think it is a timely question?
I think this is a fascinating book and well worth the listen. I also love the film version, which LeCarre hated...but nevertheless, I recommend both to you. If you have ever been involved with a cult of any kind, and have undergone the subtle brainwashing techniques of certain religious groups, with their "welcome to the family," techniques, or even the pee in your pants abusive techniques of a group like of Erhardt Standaard Training, you may see something familiar in Charlie's attempts to fight off the force of personalities she comes against....and then her giving over to it and going with the flow. It is very interesting, to say the least, and leaves you with much to think about.
LeCarre sure knows his stuff, as the state of Charlie at the end makes plain.
I can't help but think about Vanessa Redgrave, while listening to this. Remembering those photos of her posing in the back of a truck, holding a Kuloshnikov, and surrounded by Palestinian soldiers, I have to think this book had to be referencing her, to some degree.
About Michael Jayston; he is so good at this narration, he tells the tail without ever becoming the source of interest. He carries the action along with subtle drama. I can't think of anyone who could do a better job. One thing worth mentioning, is that this recording, having been done so much more recently than most of the Smiley books, has a sound quality that is wonderful. There is none of that sort of recorded in a cave sound of the early Blackstone books. That clarity makes it an added pleasure to listen to, and well worth a credit!!
I would, but they are all way ahead of me in this series!! Everybody I know loves Stephanie Plum, including my husband.
Well yes it did, but it was the characters that really kept me so completely distracted, even though I was cold and living on Vienna sausages and canned vegetables. Have to say I was so smart to download this prior to the bad weather....and would recommend it to anyone who needs to take their mind off a bad situation...it was very good to laugh.
That is a hard one, I mean, you have to love Stephanie, but Lula is two scoops of wonderful, as is Sally the drag queen. I am not going to get started with Joe or Ranger...or Grandma, they are all tremendous. I love CJ Crit, and I am really wondering what the heck this series is going to sound like with a different narrator, after this installment. CJ Crit reminds me of my big sister, and that is a serious compliment!
Think I answered that one already!
My husband and I both thought this was the best Stephanie Plum yet. I was hoping this form would ask for a tag line for the book, and I was planning to suggest:
Stephanie Plum-Her Life (and panties?) On Fire!
The father of all curses and the mother of wee Ramses are off to Egypt for another season of hunting the mummies and the master criminal.Ramses is with them once again, and his folks have to deal with his exceeding curiosity and precociousness,, amongst other things. I listened to this with my husband, and parts of it had us really laughing out loud. This was definitely the most fun I have had, listening to an Amelia Peabody mystery.
Barbara Rosenblat gives her best performance, and that is counting all the Anna Pigeon and Goldie Schultz novels I have had the pleasure of listening to. Her performance alone makes this title worth its price, but add Peters' engaging characters and involving mystery, and "Lion in the Valley," adds up to a download well worth your one credit. As gruff as Emerson is, and as outspoken as Amelia is, how they will ever get through Ramses' childhood, let alone his years of puberty, is the real mystery to me...when he is already feeling the effects of the female form, at the tender age of eight!!!! The mysteries involving secret identities, innumerable characters in disguise, and of course, the identity, the seemingly mystical abilities and the evil plans of the master criminal, are their own subplots...and all of it is so much fun!! If you liked the other Amelia Peabody installments, I think you will like this one even more!
This is a very creative book, bearing constant proof of the author's impressive knowledge of the history and trivia of London and its surroundings. It is also a book that requires quite a dollop of suspended disbelief, being full of vampires, river spirits, revenants, police magicians, etc. The young, mixed culture constable who is learning to deal magic and deal with magical beings, is more interesting to me, in terms of his family dynamics, than his magic, but I will grant you that it is all pretty entertaining stuff.
Narration is excellent and a big plus for this download, , but at times the fast talking, mixed with the author's constant use of initialisms, which are very rarely explained, leads to a sense of failing to glean all that is going on. That can leave me feeling frustrated, to the point where I started looking forward to the book finishing up. Peter Grant is a strong, empathetic, and very likeable character, as are most of the folks in, "Midnight Riot," but I am left not knowing if I will ever try the other two books in the series. At the moment I am not even sure if I will rate this a four or a three, for the reasons mentioned, but I am sure that the things that troubled me will not bother everybody. Maybe just a listing of what all those initialisms mean, after the end of the story, might have salved my annoyance a bit. I know RIB is the Royal Institute of the Blind, but is UCH the University of Cambridge Hospital? These are only two...there are many more, oh so many more. Yes, I am sure it is all part of necessarily quick and clipped cop-speak, but it can rankle.
It is not a happy time for Virgil. Investigating the meaningless murders of several people in rural Minnesota just keeps turning up more bodies.The population is nervous, everyone in law enforcement is angry, and the intervention of Virgil Flowers, even in the area he originates from, is unwelcome. It isn't everyday Flowers gets stymied by two self centered, greedy little delinquents, while trying to sort out self righteous insurance salesman, a family of moneyed doctors, and a couple of guys who kick Virgil around a gravel parking lot like a bit of Spam getting pushed around bread crumbs, prior to going in the fry pan.; not a thing of beauty and not choreographed by Bruce Lee or Twyla Tharp.
Should I mention that he also finds himself butting heads with the local law? It is no small conflict, since it could destroy the ccase he is trying to build...not good.
On the plus side, Virgil is getting to spend time with his mom and dad, and has an old flame sometimes waiting for him in a motel, but those things aside, it is not a happy time. Flowers may think about God, but he is witnessing chaos in Minnesota...from the kids killing their mom and dad to tornadoes blowing through town.
You can ponder what it all means, or just go along for the ride and the dark humor along the way. I found this a hard book to turn off, although it seemed to me to be a lot darker than prior titles in the series. It does hit on a lot of aspects of that old, "Bonnie and Clyde," movie. Every once in awhile I pick up that DVD from the shelf, consider putting it on, and then grimace and put it back. Know what I mean? I liked, "mad River," very much, and I am sure I will be listening to it again eventually, but you have been warned. God may be in His heaven, but there is not much evidence of Him in rural Minnesota, not Virgil's part of it, anyway. The answer, of course, is that Virgil needs to go fishing!
Sometimes its great to be old. It is great to remember sitting in a packed house watching, "The Exorcist," when it was first released, even if it meant I had to sit their with my mother. Odd that "The Exorcist," should form some sort of consistent source of entertainment or inspiration, throughout my life, having read it in print a couple of times, having watched the film, in one form or another, at least once a year, since owning a film became a doable thing, I have listened to the original book, also read by the author, three or four times, and now I have had the great pleasure of listening to that same author, reading an updated and expanded version.
Okay, so I have more than just a wee fascination with this story and this topic. I love Mia Farrow reading, "Rosemary's Baby," and I wish Audible offered Malachi Martin's, "Hostage to the Devil," and Thomas B. Allen's, "Possessed," a case study of an exorcism taken from a Jesuit's diary, and the case that "The Exorcist," is said to be based on.Well, they are not available, but what a treat it is, after all these years, to have a new version of "The Exorcist,", so easily available, and, best of all, read once again, by the author. I don't think there is a narrator out there who is any scarier sounding than William Peter Blatty. His voice has those dark, ominous tones, and the voice of the demon is, to my ears, anyway, always lurking. I guess that is why I did like having the young girl reading Regan's voice on the tape that her mom loans to Father Karras. I appreciate her pure, sweet voice, that contains nothing dark...not one shadow of Captain Howdy. It worked for me, as did the whole book.
I think there are around three more hours in this version than the original audio book, and that time is divided up in expanded conversations and entirely new conversations and scenes, as well as more psychiatric descriptions and indecision, and more descriptions of the particulars of possession. If you are interested in the topic, you will probably find it as fascinating as I did. Personally, I love being able to hear what has been percolating inside William Peter Blatty's mind, , all these years. I appreciate Audible and the author making it possible. Thumbs up!!
I used to give full credit for the wonder of the film version of Ira Levin's, "Rosemary's Baby," to Roman Polanski alone. Now having heard Mia Farrow's narration, I am , for the first time, able to really enjoy the book. Levin's book always seemed to me to be the barest of bones, and left me, like so many horror novels, feeling dissatisfied in the extreme.
Well, my hat is off to Mia Farrow, who manages to bring enough of her Rosemary Woodhouse magic to give this thin volume much more excitement than I ever thought it could have. To me, it is like a different book; a book I now look forward to listening to again. I now actually feel quite enthusiastic about it. If you are considering downloading this, please do...don't bother with the print edition. Let Mia Farrow charm you and run away with your imagination. In my humble opinion, she elevates this to the highest level it will ever reach, off the screen. What a delight!
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