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Richard Delman

I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.

San Francisco | Member Since 2013

2400
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 190 reviews
  • 464 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2015
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  • Chiefs

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Mark Hammer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2005)
    Performance
    (1367)
    Story
    (1366)

    In 1919, Delano, Georgia, appoints its first chief of police. Honest and hardworking, the new chief is puzzled when young men start to disappear. But his investigation is ended by the fatal blast from a shotgun. Delano's second chief-of-police is no hero, yet he is also disturbed by what he sees in the missing-persons bulletins. In 1969, when Delano's third chief takes over, the unsolved disappearances still haunt the police files.

    karen says: "In my 'Top Ten' books of all time!"
    "Heartfelt, loving, truly dramatic: Woods's best."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    You can have your Stone Barrington, thank you very much. Just the name says phony and contrived. I have tried a couple of those, plus the others, Ed Eagle, Hothouse Whatever, etc. This is Woods' first book, and, IMHO, his best. It is worth reading the Wikipedia paragraph about this book. Woods would eventually become one of our generation's most prolific authors, making his publishers and agents quite rich, I am sure. However, much of what he has written since Chiefs is forced, formulaic, and designed to sell like hotcakes. Fine. Chiefs, though, seems clearly autobiographical, to the degree that many of the best writers' early works often do. The multi-generational story of Will Lee and the town of Delano, Georgia grabs you very quickly, and, without the modern tricks of hyped-up violence and scary suspense, Mr. Woods holds you with a tale that is completely genuine and passionate. He loves his characters, and we know it. Will Lee himself is a wonderful protagonist: we are almost immediately on his side, and Mr. Woods develops Will Henry's life (his friends call him Will Henry, out of Southern affection. The only man who calls him "Lee" is the loose cannon Foxy Funderburk, who is insanely jealous that Will was chosen as the first chief of police in Delano rather than him.)
    The other characters are also fully drawn: Will's wife and family, the banker Hugh Holmes, who gambled big on the new town and got rich very quickly. One of the first scenes is Will's accidental arrest of two drunk rednecks who have robbed Holmes' bank. They come careening around the bank in a huge old Packard, or something, while Will happens to be holding an old, rusty Colt .45 just given to him by the town doctor and council member Frank Mudter. The whole town (a thousand people) calls Will a hero, and he is off to the races, albeit in a slow, gentlemanly Southern way.
    Mr. Woods was born and raised in Georgia, and it shows. He is extremely fond of almost everything about the South. He depicts the racial/slavery issues with deep compassion. He understands the life of people who may live in this country but have little in common, it would seem, with most of us middle-class regular guys and gals (gals? I'm becoming a Southerner!). He also handles the issue of alcohol (Georgia was a dry state at the time of this book) with great skill and delicacy. Basically, every single thing about this book is wonderful. If you want the best of Stuart Woods, start here.
    If you want the best of Mark Hammer, you could well start here too. His voice is just so mellow, slow and easy, never pushed or hurried, warmly funny and also very loving towards the characters. He manages a Southern drawl with ease and great skill. You just have to listen to him to truly understand the richness of an audiobook. Reading with the eyes is fine, but a great performer like Mark Hammer adds a unique dimension to the work.
    I just plain loved every little thang about this book, and I surely hope that y'all do, too.

    42 of 46 people found this review helpful
  • Stardust

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Joseph Kanon
    • Narrated By T. Ryder Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (42)
    Story
    (43)

    Hollywood, 1945. Ben Collier has just arrived from war-torn Europe to find his brother has died in mysterious circumstances. Why would a man with a beautiful wife, a successful movie career, and a heroic past choose to kill himself?

    Curt says: "Slow boil"
    "Joseph Kanon owns this little corner of history."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Stardust rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's very good, but not among the top fifty, given that I've read about a thousand books, and I don't really enjoy history. Mr. Kanon, though, is a master of this little corner of the world, and Mr. Smith, whom I've never heard before, is a truly excellent narrator. The scope of the book is very large. It is about Hollywood during the period when WWII was turning into the Red Scare of the late '40's and early '50's, what came to be known as the McCarthy era. The protagonist is Ben Collier, a soldier who comes home to find that his brother Danny has died mysteriously, either at his own hand or that of another. Ben doesn't believe that his brother would kill himself. Ben very quickly becomes involved with Danny's widow, Liesl, and with the head of a movie studio, Carl Laszner. From there the plot winds around the hills and canyons of Los Angeles, with Minnesota's Senator Ken Minot standing in for Wisconsin's Senator McCarthy. The vicious hysteria which is whipped up by the anti-pinko forces is unstoppable, and it eventually comes very close to destroying the entertainment industry, taking with it, one cannot fail to note, the large expat Jewish community which has become the backbone of that industry. This is extremely good writing and narration, and held my interest in what eventually became a long book.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes, very much so, as I said above. The romance between Ben and Liesl is beautifully played, with the reader never really knowing what is real and what is scripted. The weasels of The Committee worm their way through the community in such a subversive and nasty way that you can easily see how good people can get caught up in the vicious finger-pointing, so very much the echo of Nazi Jew-blaming (and so very much worse, so horrendously much worse). The plot jumps around from LA to Europe to Mexico and back again, and you find yourself constantly looking over Ben's shoulder, whispering to him, "watch out, they're real!" It is brilliant writing.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I didn't have a favorite scene. I was particularly pleased with the narrator's ability to put the small touches on the German attempts on English words, making characters sound so much like Colonel Klink. The book is a pleasure to listen to, even at this length, where many authors would really start to push their luck with me (ahem, Dennis Lehane and James Lee Burke).


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    A lot of the book moved me. Much of the romance between Ben and Liesl was just perfectly nuanced, full of lust and the awareness of Danny and the confusion that comes with feelings that most of us don't really understand. So many of us try to make "sense" of love, when, according to the scriptwriter of the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou, "It is a fool who searches for logic in the chambers of the human heart." Wish I'd said that.


    Any additional comments?

    This audiobook is way worth your time and money.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lay Down My Sword and Shield

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (610)
    Performance
    (426)
    Story
    (419)

    Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney Hackberry Holland yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat - and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers.

    Cat F. says: "The Publisher's Summary is Anemic"
    "Maybe it's time for James Lee to hang 'em up."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. Not when you have read as many of his books as I have. His gifts are so outsized that I have come to expect truly marvelous entertainment from him, particularly when he is paired with the remarkable Will Patton. However, the well just has to run dry sooner or later, and I am afraid that in Hack Holland we are seeing the grisly death of Mr. Burke's outlandish writerly talents. When he sinks this low, he becomes compulsively violent. Other readers have commented on this, and it is most certainly true. The violence is relentless and by now pointless. We know that Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell and now Hack Holland have all brought back the horrible nightmares of Korea and Viet Nam, as have minor characters galore, but the piling on is serving to diminish the point here, not to heighten its emphasis. The reader can only listen to so many nightmares about grisly murders, decapitations, etc. etc. etc. before the shock value of these wears off completely. By this time I have lost the point. At first I understood the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that these men bring home and try to cope with in their lives after war, but these thousands of pages cannot serve simply to make those points over and over again. The books, and this one in particular, are so much about conflict in so many relationships across such a broad spectrum of people in Texas that you wonder how it is that they don't just kill each other off and be done with it. There'd be no one left to write about, I spose.


    If you’ve listened to books by James Lee Burke before, how does this one compare?

    As above, the emphasis on conflict in its multifarious manifestations (sorry; I won't do that again) just begin to make the mind roll over and lose the point completely. Let's see: Texas law enforcement is a rotten, corrupt-to-the-core pigsty; politicians are lying whores who will say and do anything for money and their own despicable personal gain and ambition (gee whiz!), the women are just as nasty as the men, etc. Are we taking notes here?


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Will Patton?

    I do love Will Patton. His voice is delightful, with that gravelly texture that is easy to snuggle up to at night. He is a great selling point for any audiobook.


    Did Lay Down My Sword and Shield inspire you to do anything?

    Like, move to Texas, become oil-rich and run for political office? Uh, no.


    Any additional comments?

    No. Time to either retire, or to change the focus, and as the boys at Monte Python would have it, do something completely different. How about exploring some uplifting aspect of human nature? I hear uproarious laughter. Just a thought. Doesn't sell many books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Feast Day of Fools: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1217)
    Performance
    (1018)
    Story
    (1004)

    Celebrated crime master and two-time Edgar Award winner James Lee Burke returns with a gorgeously crafted, brutally resonant chronicle of violence along the Texas-Mexico border. Sheriff Hackberry Holland patrols a small Southwest Texas border town, meting out punishment and delivering justice in his small square of this magnificent but lawless land. When an alcoholic ex-boxer named Danny Boy Lorca begs to be locked up after witnessing a man tortured to death by a group of bandits, Hack and his deputy, Pam Tibbs, slowly extract the Indian man’s gruesome tale.

    Mel says: "Shoot Out at the More-Than-OK Corral"
    "Only the violence mars Mr. Burke's unique gifts."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Feast Day of Fools to be better than the print version?

    I don't know how to answer this question, as I never read the print version. I do want to expand on my view of Mr. Burke and his development over the past twenty-five or thirty years of writing. His gifts are remarkable. I never in my life wanted to visit Iberia Parish, Louisiana until Mr. Burke made me smell the bougainvillea. His ability to make you see, smell and taste the environment of his settings is unparalleled among contemporary authors. When Dave Robicheaux began spending his summers in the Bitteroot Mountains of Montana I was delighted to be able to live in that location for the length of those books. I found Dave R. and his sidekick Clete Purcell distinctly complex men, riddled with post-traumatic stresses from Viet Nam, by the ravages of alcoholism, and by their revulsion at how criminals had ruined the lives of the underclasses in Louisiana, and all over the South. Mr. Burke created amazing Southern Gothic characters, drawn from an imagination which apparently had no bottom whatsoever. I laughed and I cried, truly. I felt Dave's shame, his love for his two wives and for his adopted daughter Alafair, who is now in real life an author living in NYC and writing crime novels herself. Dave and Clete tried hard to bootstrap themselves above their personal tragedies, generally with minor triumphs but with the ferocious dark side always lurking in the end, waiting for another stab at Dave's heart.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I seem to have written a fairly long paragraph without even mentioning Hackberry Holland. Backstory, I guess. I was glad to see that Mr. Burke had branched out in such a serious way, particularly after writing twenty Dave Robicheaux novels. What a fountain he is! Hack is a very different guy from Dave, and the structure of this book is quite different. Minus Clete, plus Pam Tibbs. Minus Louisiana, plus the Texas-Mexico border. Unfortunately for us, I think, plus plus plus the relentless violence, as my fellow readers have pointed out. This issue has now gone way overboard and has now reached the baroque. When a particularly bizarre character gets nailed to a cross, then shot through the heart, and then set on fire in his own church by another over-the-top bizarre character: this is just about too too much for me. I understand that Mr. Burke has been exorcising personal demons through thirty years of writing, but, uh, maybe he might try some psychotherapy. Really. There must be a point at which there is just too much of this stuff. I would fully enjoy his books if at least half of the brutal violence were edited out, and maybe more than that. Mr. Burke's writing is still mesmerizing. He has not lost any of his talents. He should lose some of the senseless violence. I, as ad hoc president of his fan club, hereby say, Enough!


    Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Luckily for Mr. Burke, Will Patton is there to pull his feet out of the fire. Literally. Mr. Patton has elevated these books beyond the fantastic to the simply exquisite (I am searching for adjectives here). I love Will Patton. He can do no wrong. I wish HE would tell Mr. Burke that there's too much violence.


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

    You can't possibly do that. It would make you retch. You need some time for your stomach to settle down.


    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Miami Noir

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Les Standiford
    • Narrated By Scott Brick, William Dufris, Joe Barrett, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    From the introduction by Les Standiford: "The truth is that Miami, though naturally lovely, is a frontier town, perched on the border between the known and the rarely before experienced. The poet Richard Hugo once said that the natural place for the writer was on the edge, and 'edge' might well be the definitive word when it comes to this city... We are not only on the edge of the continent, we are to this country what New York was in Ellis Island's heyday, what the West Coast was in the middle of the 20th century.

    Richard Delman says: "A perfect logistical nightmare."
    "A perfect logistical nightmare."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Les Standiford and/or the narrators?

    No. The short story form does not lend itself to being rated in a coherent way. While the narrators are listed above, the authors are not! Odd. I am going back over my memory and trying to remember nine or ten stories, with as many authors and narrators... perhaps you can see my problem. It's a perfect nightmare. I remember bits and pieces from here and there, but it is incoherent and disorganized.


    What could Les Standiford have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Somehow notating the names of the authors and narrators at the beginning or the end of the entire book, not just at the start of each story. So...the story with the alligator in the swimming pool is very memorable, very well written and creative. And, whichever story Jonathan Davis reads is great. And, there are two stories about very nasty men who rape their fourteen-year-old "daughters" and beat them as well: these are vile and repulsive characters about whom I would like to hear much, much less. Etc.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    I don't think it makes any sense to try to organize my review into any coherent form due to the problems described above. The stories certainly did give me a sense of the ugly underbelly of the Miami cultures, with none of them having any particularly redeeming human virtues. Reading Carl Hiassen is a better way to learn about the destruction of Florida by the voracious developers and the hurricanes, meanwhile laughing your arse off while you are reading, or listening. William Shames is likewise very funny and endearing. Randy Wayne White is worth listening to, as is Mr. Standiford himself. This platform, though, is not, IMHO, the ideal way to show off the gifts of Florida's great writers.


    What character would you cut from Miami Noir?

    As above. The really nasty pedophiles would be the first to go. If I were you, I'd give this one a skip.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Candy Bombers

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Andrei Cherny
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (58)

    Acclaimed author Andrei Cherny tells the gripping saga of a rag-tag band of Americans - with limited resources and little hope for success - keeping West Berliners alive in the face of Soviet tyranny, winning the hearts and minds of former enemies, and giving the world a shining example of fundamental goodness.

    Alex says: "Wonderful Story, Well-Read"
    "I blame myself for this."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Andrei Cherny and/or Jonathan Davis?

    I certainly will listen to another book that is narrated by Jonathan Davis. Previous to this book I had only heard him read Dennis Lehane books, and those experiences have shown me that Mr. Davis has really marvellous skills. He has a very expressive voice with a lot of range and nuance, and you get very comfortable listening to him. Unfortunately, this kind of material is just not the kind of thing for me.


    What was most disappointing about Andrei Cherny’s story?

    I am not a naif. I have read and listened to a wealth of information about WWII and the Cold War, plus I've seen many movies on the topics, etc. I certainly knew going in that I wasn't going to be having much fun, Catch 22 and Hogan's Heroes notwithstanding. However, this book is just plain grim. The sample and the blurb made it seem a little bit upbeat, America's greatest triumph and all, but the hours and hours of slogging through the grotesque brutalization of Berlin, rubble rubble rubble, (out here in California the reporters cannot cover an earthquake, no matter how small, without using that key and unsettling word), I mean, I understand. History has never been my long suit, and politics even less so, so, like I said, I have no one but myself to blame. Plus, you have to admit, Spielberg had the final word on the entire topic of World War II, and what he did was so masterful, that unless you are really convinced that you have something even more powerful to say than that, then, please, don't.


    What didn’t you like about Jonathan Davis’s performance?

    I like just about everything Mr. Davis does. Even his little bitty Harry Truman is pretty good.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    For other people, who intrinsically appreciate this material in a way that I just don't, maybe. But, as some wise guy once said, history is bunk. I coulnda said it better.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Tracker

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Gary Paulsen
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Every winter, John Borne looked forward to the days when he and his grandfather headed into the snowy Minnesota woods to hunt together. John admired the reverent, familiar way the old man had with the woods. But this year his grandfather is dying and 13-year-old John must make the hunt alone. Without his beloved grandfather, the hunt is cold and lonely—until John spots the doe watching and waiting for him in the clearing. She is an easy target, but as John raises his rifle to shoot, he knows he cannot kill the vulnerable creature.

    Richard Delman says: "Brilliant! A true story told by Mr. Muller."
    "Brilliant! A true story told by Mr. Muller."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to Tracker the most enjoyable?

    By now the genuinely authoritative voice of Frank Muller has come to represent for me the finest in what audiobooks can do for the listener. This story is true, as the author says in the epilogue, but he has turned it into a novella, which is just a great format, IMHO. There are two interweaving plots. One is the cancer which is slowly killing Clay, the grandfather of John, the young narrator. The "main" plot concerns John's hunt for a deer, which turns into a musing on life and death that is unique and could only be told by a hunter who is stalking his quarry, not as a trophy, but for meat, which his family needs to eat in the preposterously cold winters of northern Minnesota. I won't spoil the end of the plot for you, but will just say that it is worth what comes before it. This is truly a magnificent pairing of a wonderful writer and the greatest of all narrators. Please enjoy yourselves. I can't imagine anyone not having a great time here.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tracker?

    The entire "walking down" of the doe is not just a moment, but is probably the last third of the book. However, the (12-year-old) man is trailing the deer in a way that is careful and knowing, so that he can wear the deer out and finally get the deer to the point at which it simply falls. There is one moment in which the two stare at each other from close distance for about two full seconds, which seems like hours to John, and he does not fire his rifle, which is on his shoulder, with his finger on the trigger. What, he asks, is going on here?


    What about Frank Muller’s performance did you like?

    Every single thing. Frank knew everything there was to know about pace, tone, emotional valence of independent voices both male and female, what people of all ages sound like, and so forth. He was such an artist that his death was an unforgivable loss to the world of audiobooks and drama in general. While I listened to this I thought about the role of death in my own life. No other reader could ease me onto that track so gently and yet so firmly. This guy was soooo good.


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

    I am not good at this kind of thing. however, here goes: Life meets Death in Minnesota.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope. I'm good.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (230)
    Performance
    (192)
    Story
    (197)

    The tough neighborhood of Dorchester is no place for the innocent or the weak. A territory defined by hard heads and even harder luck, its streets are littered with the detritus of broken families, hearts, dreams. Now, one of its youngest is missing. Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro don't want the case.

    Jane says: "Wonderful writing,"
    "I am deeply ambivalent about Dennis Lehane."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Gone, Baby, Gone to be better than the print version?

    This is kind of a goofy question. I have almost stopped reading with my eyes, as I have discovered that the audiobook format is so much richer than just words on paper. Therefore, the audio version is always better than the print.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gone, Baby, Gone?

    I think that there is a very clear winner here. It is the scene(s) in the quarry where the massive force of the good guys is arrayed against the sneaky power of the bad guys. All are searching for Amanda, who has "gone missing." The setting is wonderful: the quarries are full of water, dark even in the daytime, very cold, full of mysterious channels, etc. Patrick and Angie have joined forces with the good guys, lawmen from all over Massachusetts, in a desperate attempt to trade the missing child for $200K. That is, if the missing child is even alive. The tension is heightened in a way that Mr. Lehane specializes in: anything can happen at any moment, and it frequently does. I will leave it to you to learn whether Amanda is dead or alive, found or kidnapped, etc. This is truly a marvelous mystery, written by a guy who knows his characters well, and who loves them. I am now glad that there is so much of Dennis Lehane to read, although my standing objection still rules: the full-size novels are too long by half. Hard to argue with serious success, though.


    Which character – as performed by Jonathan Davis – was your favorite?

    Jonathan Davis is truly marvelous, in many ways. The stock answer to this question is probably Patrick and Angie, who have a relationship which has held my interest through several novels. There are a whole bunch of ancillary characters whom Mr. Davis does in a masterly way: the repulsive Cheese Oleman, the slimy Chris Mullen (not the basketball player), the absolutely marvelous Bubba...I could go on. Mr. Davis's talents as a narrator are almost limitless. I would be disappointed to find another Dennis Lehane book that was not narrated by Jonathan Davis.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are quite a number of scenes in which Patrick and Angie's relationship lifts up off the pages and soars. These two are trying very hard to live sane, sensible lives, but they are surrounded by the worst of Boston thuggery, at every level. Each case draws them into the mesh of those lives, and the palpable tension between wanting to leave to have a simple life versus staying in the Boston they know: they just can't decide.


    Any additional comments?

    I am now a confirmed Dennis Lehane fan. It has taken me a few books to fully appreciate the partnership between him and Jonathan Davis, but I do believe I have it now. I hope they keep doing this for a very long time.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Shot on Location

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Laurence Shames
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (11)

    Take three speedboats, a disgruntled ghostwriter, and a hit TV show starring a gorgeous but impossible diva and created by a driven genius who may be losing his marbles. Add a fearless and gleefully profane stuntwoman, an ancient Mafioso with a chihuahua, and a revenge-crazed blonde in gladiator sandals. Stir in a thug with a heart of gold and an inveterate slacker who yearns for glory.

    Richard Delman says: "Bert the Shirt returns! And with Giovanni, too!"
    "Bert the Shirt returns! And with Giovanni, too!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Shot on Location again? Why?

    I absolutely would, and will. I look forward to every new book by Lawrence Shames. This guy will make you laugh under any circumstance you might be in, no matter how dark or gloomy. I guarantee satisfaction. All his books are set in Key West, which has to be where Mr. Shames lives. He describes it beautifully. The main character is typically a New Yorker. The Mob is always involved. Some of the characters are continuing. Bert the Shirt is my favorite. Bert is now a very old ex-mobster who wears exquisitely tailored shirts, and who carries around his tiny, sickly Mexican Chihuahua everywhere. Richard Ferrone is also an excellent narrator, delivering each chuckle and smile with expert timing and great accents. The plots are all variations on a theme, but somehow Mr. Shames makes them fresh. He does not repeat the jokes, which, when you think about it, after five or six novels set in the same place, is quite an achievement. There is a plot, which is not just an excuse for the humor. Each time I read one of Mr. Shames's books I feel like I have taken a small vacation in Key West. I don't believe I'd like the humidity, but everything else about the place sounds like paradise.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Shot on Location?

    I love the romantic scenes between Jake, the main character, and like Shames an ex-New Yorker who is a writer, and Claire, who is an executive and all-around gofer for a TV program which is aptly called Adrift. Shames can write romance in a gentle way, giving us the small details which ring so true. I liked best the restaurant scene in which Claire and Jake share a tiramisu with a slice of mango. At just the exact same moment, the two put their forks into the dessert, and the tines touch in a small but electric way. I obviously can't write like Mr. Shames does, but read it for yourself. He is a charming and witty guy.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I think I just answered that question. There are many of them. One comes very early in the book, and sets up the whole plot, and I won't ruin it for you.


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

    No. I can't do that. It would involve sitting in one place, or lying down, and devoting all of my attention for many hours. It would resemble how kids devour TV programs they like: they sit there and gorge on twenty episodes, something like Scrubs, for instance. My rear end would get very tired, and I think I would get tired all over. It's nice to have another segment to look forward to.


    Any additional comments?

    Buy this book. Have fun. Humor like this needs no justification. It is pure fun, which I believe is exactly what Mr. Shames is going for.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Ghost Month

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ed Lin
    • Narrated By Feodor Chin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    August is Ghost Month in Taiwan - a time to commemorate the dead: Burn incense, visit shrines, honor ancestors, and avoid unlucky situations, large purchases, and bodies of water. Jing-nan, a young man who runs a food stand in a bustling Taipei night market, doesn't consider himself superstitious, but this August is going to haunt him no matter what he does. He is shocked to the core when he learns his ex-girlfriend from high school has been murdered.

    Tracey says: "Stinky Tofu Anyone???"
    "Grim, grimmer and grimmest."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Ghost Month better?

    I bought this book because it was recommended by Tim Hallinan, who is one of my very favorite writers. His talents are so far above those of Mr. Lin and Mr. Chin, that there is really no comparison, although I will note a few discrepancies. First, Tim's books are loaded with humor, lovable characters, plots that are written with breakneck speed, and also are full of Tim's love of the Thai people and of many aspects of the Southeast Asian countries. Mr. Lin's book has almost none of these. It begins with a grim murder and then goes quickly downhill from there. The primary character is a dour, pleasure-free man who hates his existence, which involves mainly working in a sidewalk barbecue stand in Taipei. There must be some pleasure, humor and/or adventure to grab the reader's attention. I found none of these in the slog that is trying to get through even a few chapters of this book. Enough said.


    What was most disappointing about Ed Lin’s story?

    All of the above.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Mr. Chin would appear to have virtually zero narrative skills. He speaks in an uninflected monotone. He speaks in exactly one voice. The good and great narrators to whom I have listened over the years have often been trained as actors, and you can hear this in their performances. This audiobook moved me to exactly nowhere, slowly.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ghost Month?

    All of them.


    Any additional comments?

    A waste of your time and money. I still love almost everything Tim Hallinan writes, although I have to say that the Poke Rafferty books are way more to my liking than the Junior Bender series. It is hard to get involved in and attracted to a man who makes his living as a burglar. As for Mr. Lin, he should hold onto his day job, even if he deplores it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Innocent

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Scott Turow
    • Narrated By Edward Hermann, Orlagh Cassidy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1574)
    Performance
    (544)
    Story
    (544)

    The sequel to the genre-defining, landmark best seller Presumed Innocent, Innocent continues the story of Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto who are, once again, 20 years later, pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match after the mysterious death of Rusty's wife.

    Suzn F says: "Terrific Book"
    "Turow sells a lotta books."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Its length! Can I say that again? Are you really in the mood for six solid hours of courtroom drama? I had a hard time with it. Certainly Mr. Turow and his editors don't care a fig about how I feel here, but something tells me that I have some company here. Ir's just too damn long! The plot is very clever, the writing is smooth and masterful, the narrator does a fine job, but even given all these, they lost me somewhere in the third hour of courtroom back and forth. And, I am interested in the law to begin with. I am a psychologist who has worked (some of my time) with lawyers and judges, and the issues addressed there still interest me. However, I have made my point. As I have said previously, brevity is the soul of wit.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Scott Turow? Why or why not?

    Probably not. I can't see him cutting down the length of his books, as this is the standard length of a novel now. Nonetheless, someone some day (I have a niece in the publishing business; I'll call her) will take a risk and fiddle with this tradition. Mr. Turow does not seem like a fiddler. The world of law is the highest upholder of conventionalism in our society.


    Did Edward Hermann and Orlagh Cassidy do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    They did. I have no complaints about either of them. Mr. Hermann is a well-known actor, and his stage presence, so to speak, is considerable. I have not heard of Ms. Cassidy before, but she, too has a very pleasant voice, very easy to listen to.


    Was Innocent worth the listening time?

    I have to say no here. Over twelve hours, most of it spent in a dusty courtroom...Even though the plot is really extremely clever, a bit soap-opera-ish, but still you do want to find out if the judge really did murder his wife. And also who offed Carolyn Polhemus twenty years ago. It's just the mind-numbing details, and the trivia of what gets dissected to no end in a trial (I do know whereof I speak; testifying in a trial makes it clear to you that trials are BORING). It is well-nigh impossible to keep up the suspense over such a long time. I will admit that The Testament, Polar Star, and The Ice Limit are all books that kept me totally involved through the ends, but those three are true masterworks. You just don't find many of those. I will keep looking.


    Any additional comments?

    I think I saw another review in which the reviewer said that the Mom did the killing, although I am sure he/she meant the first killing, of Carolyn Polhemus, out of sheer enraged jealousy. She surely didn't kill herself. Or did she?????

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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