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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

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  • 185 reviews
  • 459 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2015
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  • Dead Irish: A Dismas Hardy Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Lescroart
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (578)
    Performance
    (435)
    Story
    (433)

    In his new life as a bartender at the Little Shamrock, Dismas Hardy is just hoping for a little peace. He's left both the police force and his law career behind. Unfortunately it's not as easy to leave behind the memory of a shattering personal loss - but for the time being, he can always take the edge off with a stiff drink and a round of darts.

    Snoodely says: "Soap-opera thrillers?"
    "Fantastic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Abe Glitzky and Dismas Hardy are two of the greatest fictional characters ever created. Lescroarts' series is
    justifiably famous, and Davis Colacci's narration is tone-perfect. The feel of San Francisco (where I have lived and worked since 1978) is so vivid and accurate that you can't help but feel you are there. The plots are classic thrillers, and Lescroarts keeps you guessing until the very end. His knowledge of police behavior, criminals, defense attorneys and investigators is deep, the result of years of working in that environment. The author certainly writes what he knows. Hardy and Glitzky have grown during the long series, have had their disasters and triumphs, much like the rest of us, perhaps more dramatically than most lives; maybe not. Anyone who enjoys this genre will be thrilled. I guarantee it.

    23 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • Tracker

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Gary Paulsen
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (188)
    Performance
    (158)
    Story
    (163)

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Shot on Location

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Laurence Shames
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    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.

    4 of 5 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.

    5 of 6 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
    (1538)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (517)

    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?????

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • For the Dead: A Poke Rafferty Thriller

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Timothy Hallinan
    • Narrated By Victor Bevine
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (23)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (22)

    In Bangkok, Thailand, an American travel journalist and his Thai family find themselves inadvertently entangled in a web of dirty cops and far-reaching corruption when their daughter’s ill-gotten cell phone displays photographs of some very crooked cops, all of them thoroughly dead.

    Mark says: "Timothy Hallinan has my appreciation!"
    "This is Tim Hallinan's world. We just live in it."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does For the Dead rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's way up there. Tim's writing is unique. It is hard to make comparisons. Each book is filled with humor. There are several serious chuckles on every page. I guarantee it. In addition, there is the beautiful family that Poke has created: his wife, Rose, their street-urchin daughter, Miaow (if you don't laugh at that name, then there may be no hope for you), a surprise character whom I will not name, as I don't want to be a spoiler; and Miaow's boyfriend, Andrew Nguyen, who is self-conscious, comes from a wealthy family, is a very gawky and awkward adolescent AND has diabetes: this is a well of inventiveness that it is a pleasure to jump into. I believe there is no bottom (not to stretch that analogy too far). The family also includes Poke's best friend, Arthit, a Bangkok policeman, who lets us see the corruption that the BPD is crippled by, as well as the individual well of human kindness that reaches into Arthit's soul. This is quite a band of characters, and Tim keeps us jumping from one scenario to the next. This is writing skill at its highest level. Tim is starting to win awards. The reviews from his colleagues are glittering. The cream has risen to the top. In the thriller/detective/quasi-detective genre (did I really write that?) Tim stands right up there with Thomas Perry. Fine company indeed.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I addressed some of this above. I think that the relationships between Poke and Rose, and the budding relationship between Miaow and Andrew: my interest in these will keep me coming back; that, and almost every other aspect of Tim's books. There is nothing that I didn't like about the book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Again, hard to pick. The chase scene in which Miaow and Andrew scramble through the heating ducts in the old abandoned hotel: this one is particularly mesmerizing. The use of Andrew's diabetes kit as a weapon is so creative that you just have to tip your hat to him.


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

    I guess I am going to spoil it after all: the moment when Rose tells Poke that she is pregnant...if you don't get all warm and fuzzy here, then you are missing something really deep and astonishingly personal. Remember that Rose was a bar-girl (read: prostitute) for many years, and in this moment she has risen to the ultimate in love, acceptance, belonging, and pure, unadulterated pleasure. I didn't cry, but I coulda. Tim has almost created his own genre here, in the manner of Thomas Perry. I will buy every book that each of them writes until I die.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Drop

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jim Frangione
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (65)

    Three days after Christmas, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live rescues an abused puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman looking for something to believe in. As their relationship grows, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia; a man grown dangerous with age and thwarted hopes; two hapless stick-up artists; a very curious cop; and the original owner of the puppy, who wants his dog bac.k…

    Richard Delman says: "Mr. Lehane is getting better as he ages."
    "Mr. Lehane is getting better as he ages."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Drop to be better than the print version?

    Having not read the print version, I can't say. However, all other things being equal, I always prefer the audiobook, because the performance aspect adds so much to the story that it begins to resemble a movie that is cast in your head. In this case, there actually is a movie of the Drop. It is James Gandolfini's last performance, and it also includes a stunning performance by Thomas Hardy, whom I personally cannot get enough of.


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

    It did. The Chechens seem like the nastiest people on earth. Their vicious characters contrast in a very poignant way with the gentleness of Bob's adoption of a puppy, who, of course, turns out to be a pitbull. Along with this we have a permanently wounded woman, whose ex-boyfriend is a truly crazy individual who claims to have committed a murder that he actually didn't do, just to give him some street cred. Are you on the edge of your seat yet?
    The plot just keeps getting wound tighter and tighter. Mr. Lehane never lets a loose thread get away from him, even though there are cross-currents all over the place.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I seldom have a single scene that I remember above the others. Thomas Hardy is in almost all of them, and each scene he is in, he's just like Bette Davis: you just can't take your eyes off him. Even in scenes with James Gandolfini (I realize that I am now referring to the movie. So?) Mr. Hardy keeps the screen and holds it. He brilliantly portrays the depths of this character, from one extreme of human cruelty to the other of human kindness and love. Mr. Lehane has written a terrific book here: as they say, it will stay with you for quite a while.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I neither laughed or cried. I did feel sympathy for the down-and-outers who populate the book, although the truly evil ones do not elicit much fellow-feeling. The initial scene, in which Bob picks up the puppy from the garbage can, and sees the way in which the prior owner has beaten the puppy within an inch of its life: easy to remember writing like this.


    Any additional comments?

    It is really good to see Mr. Lehane branch out from the Patrick Kenzie-Angelo Gennaro series. Many writers get trapped in their own successes (you, you know who you are) but Mr. Lehane shows us that he can do stand-alone books that are sometimes better than the series books. Different characters, different plots, although all are located in Boston. Mr. Lehane clearly can keep writing for many years. My proverbial hat is off to him. I'm a fan.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Moonlight Mile

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (288)
    Performance
    (154)
    Story
    (155)

    Amanda McCready was four years old when she vanished from a Boston neighborhood 12 years ago. Kenzie and Gennaro risked everything to find the young girl - only to orchestrate her return to a neglectful mother and a broken home. Now Amanda is sixteen - and gone again. Haunted by their consciences, Kenzie and Gennaro revisit the case that troubled them the most. Their search leads them into a world of identity thieves, methamphetamine dealers, and more....

    Ian says: "Smart, asks and answers some tough questions."
    "A brilliant book. His best by far."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Moonlight Mile in three words, what would they be?

    That's (a) goofy question.
    This is about the eighth book I have read by Mr. Lehane, with (I believe) Jonathan Davis narrating all of them, although maybe not. In any case, this book is a powerful demonstration of all of the gifts of both of these men. I will also note that this book is half the length of his standard book, and I think it's no coincidence that it's the best of the lot. The plot covers a lot of distance, but it never gets out of control, even when we are treated to the monstrous Russian gangsters who do truly unspeakable things. Prepare yourself for that. The gore is a little over the top, but I will grant him license (as if he cares about whom I grant what) because both the stories and the characters are all brilliantly written. In addition, Mr. Lehane maintains his extraordinary descriptive ability when it comes to almost all aspects of his beloved Boston. And Mr. Davis is likewise fantastic at reproducing the many Boston accents and sub-dialects, the sounds of the streets, and even of the suburbs, although this last is the least of his concerns. I won't give you the plot, as it is much too complicated, too multi-faceted to describe in such a small space; plus, you deserve to have the pleasure of discovering it yourself. I do wonder about several things, which gives you something of an idea of how these books and their characters have come alive for me. In Moonlight Mile Patrick and Angie have a four-year-old daughter, Gabriella. They are married. And I think it is not spoiling it to reveal that at the end of the book Patrick decides to leave his profession. You have to wonder if Mr. Lehane will develop some other characters, or what. I'll be glad to see. The Drop is also a great book, and it does not belong to the Kenzie-Gennaro series.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I think it is not unfair, this being fiction and all, to merge Patrick and Angie together into one character, which in some great marriages comes very close to that. They are both fully human, warts and all. They both want their version of the American dream, and the both struggle mightily with the obstacles in the way of attaining the dream. The passion between them is a gorgeous thing to listen to: both Mr. Lehane and Mr. Davis are artists of the first order in writing about romance, often an extremely difficult thing. The fun that they have with little Gabby is delightful. It reminds me of when my sons were children. The only real cartoon character is Bubba, and I'll give him that. Like Hawk in Robert Parker's books, there has to be a mysteriously powerful guy who can swoop in and yank the damsel off the railroad tracks.


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

    I have only listened to Mr. Davis narrating Lehane's books, about eight of them now. He is great in all of them. I will look for some other author's work with Mr. Davis reading, but he is so perfect in these that it's a little hard imagining him in another world completely. If he can master accents of places other than the Boston area, I would say that he is truly a gifted gentleman.


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

    The end of the book is very moving, but there are quite a number of scenes in which the passion/friendship/partnership that exists between Patrick and Angie comes fully alive. I sure wish I could write like that.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoy mystery/thrillers, this should be a delightful experience for you. Save the twice-as-long novels for later. This one and The Drop are some fine, fine entertainment.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Sacred: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (181)
    Performance
    (160)
    Story
    (163)

    Dying billionaire Trevor Stone hires private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaroto find his missing daughter. Grief-stricken over the death of her mother and the impending death of her father, Desiree Stone has been missing for three weeks. So has the first investigator Stone hired to find her: Jay Becker, Patrick's mentor.

    RKM says: "A pure page-turner"
    "Once again, too much of a good thing."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you like best about Sacred? What did you like least?

    The relationship between Patrick and Angie is very well written. They have become almost like real characters in my life, which is evidence of good writing. Their dialogue is witty and the feeling between them is deep and complicated. The problem with the book is something I have said before about Mr. Lehane: he just doesn't know when to stop. The second half of the book is gigantic padding, with gore and viciously murdered bodies flying around everywhere. The plot twists become so outrageously overwritten as to become cartooonish. What starts out as a clever idea, the cult-like church which preys on young people with trust funds, is pushed so far beyond the limit that the whole thing devolves into utterly unreal "murder-for-hire" stuff which has been done to death. A book half the length of this one would have been far, far, far, far....you get the point.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Anticipating the next question, I feel that the narrative skills of Jonathan Davis are so good that in some ways it doesn't matter that the book is weighed down by tired cliches. His voice is rich and very easy on the ears, as it were. He is funny (all right, Mr. Lehane is funny, too) and deadly serious and true to all of the material. Next to Edoardo Ballerini (high praise, indeed, coming from me), he is the best narrator around. Maybe Victor Bevine, the narrator of Timothy Hallinan's books, is just a little bit better.


    What about Jonathan Davis’s performance did you like?

    I just answered this question. I like just about everything he does. The book would be much less enjoyable if read by a narrator of lesser skills. I will look for other books that Mr. Davis has narrated.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    That is too complicated a question to be answered easily. One of Mr. Lehane's books, The Drop, was recently made into an extraordinarily watchable movie. It was the last work that James Gandolfini ever did, and knowing this makes his performance even richer than it is. Plus, the lead actor is Tom Hardy, who is, again, IMHO, one of the best actors around today. Go see him in any other movie you can find him in. You'll be delighted and amazed with his virtuosity as an actor, and his ability to climb into various characters. At this, he is almost as good as Cate Blanchett, which is saying a whole lot, believe me. I think that she is the best actor alive today.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best things about The Drop is that it is half the length of Mr. Lehane's other books. I didn't know this when I saw the movie, but it proves without a doubt that, in some areas of life, less is indeed more. Brevity is the soul of wit, as some famous guy once said.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Drink Before the War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (326)
    Performance
    (277)
    Story
    (280)

    With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Great beginning to thriller series"
    "Good, not great, but worth your time."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does A Drink Before the War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top third.


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

    No. There is too much repetition. The book has many things to recommend it but it's not all that suspenseful. I'm not sure why it took me so long to get to Dennis Lehane, but now I think I know. Mystic River was an amazing start, the movie truly one of the best I saw in the last century. The Kenzie-Gennaro partnership is good. Witty, plenty of sexual tension (which you know will never be resolved), but the other characters tend to be one-dimensional and kind of cartoonish within this genre. There's way too much of Patrick's macho swagger with the other tough guys. This is the kind of book that Elmore Leonard would cut down to about 100 pages; although, in truth, he would never write it. Too much padding. A very good sense of Boston, though. The same neighborhoods that Spenser hangs out in. Spenser, though, is terse where Lehane overwrites for no apparent reason other than to have as many pages as he can crank out, I am sorry to say.


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

    I have listened to him before, although I can't remember specific books. He is great. He gives both Patrick and Angie very memorable voices. He actually is better than the material he is narrating, IMHO.


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

    I am not really good at witty tag lines or eye-catching teases. I have much more fun casting actors for the roles. However, that was not the question.


    Any additional comments?

    I will definitely read more of the series, even though I have distinctly mixed feelings. Mr. Lehane can write up a storm, although he doesn't know when the storm should blow over. His sense of place is almost as good as James Lee Burke's, which is quite a compliment, I modestly say. There is a lot of wit here. The plot so far is actually the weakest aspect of the book. Kenzie and Gennaro are an interesting duo, and I would enjoy learning how they work as time goes on. Speaking of time, I hope these two do not get frozen in it. Some successful writers feel that their characters should never age. I dearly hope that Mr. Lehane does not fall into that trap. Mr. Lehane is no Thomas Perry, but he certainly write.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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