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Richard Delman

65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.

San Francisco

1861
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 175 reviews
  • 449 ratings
  • 803 titles in library
  • 36 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • The Queen of Bedlam: A Matthew Corbett Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1194)
    Performance
    (1086)
    Story
    (1075)

    Robert McCammon brings the hero of his previous novel, Matthew Corbett, to 18th-century New York, where a killer wields a bloody and terrifying power over a bustling city carving out its identity - and over Matthew's own uncertain destiny.

    The unsolved murder of a respected doctor has sent ripples of fear throughout a city teeming with life and noise and commerce. Who snuffed out the good man's life with the slash of a blade on a midnight street? The local printmaster has labeled the fiend "the Masker," adding fuel to a volatile mystery...

    Kathy says: "Addicting"
    "Too much of everything except Mr. Ballerini"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    So, how do you feel about twenty-three hour, four-hundred year old colonial costume dramas? This is exactly the sort of thing for people who like this sort of thing. Me, I like Edoardo Ballerini. He is virtually the only narrator whom I will listen to and thoroughly enjoy for such a lengthy book. With the exception of Shantaram, I just find these epics way overblown in every way. Now, you may say that I knew what I was getting when I bought it, but I will say back to you that my admiration for Mr. Ballerini and his skills is so great that I can sometimes ignore the overdone work he is narrating. I also have to admit to you that I am going to listen to Sings the Nightbird, which is not twenty-three but THIRTY hours long, and I will do it for the same reason, that being Mr. Ballerini's astonishing skills.
    To attempt to sum up the plot of a work this large is foolhardy. Moby Dick is about a whale, and Crime and Punishment is about Russia (both of those gags are Woody Allen's; the results of taking an Evelyn Wood speed-reading course). Just as a taste, I will say that the book is situated in the late 1600's, when New York was just beginning to become a shadow of what it now is. Our hero is Matthew Corbett, who the author claims invented the word "detective." Who are we to argue? There is a cast of thousands, almost literally. There is drama and tragedy, and, regrettably, not much comedy at all. I could have used some. Believe it or not, in an epic this size, there are actually a few characters who are under-drawn, and whom we would like to have heard more about. The women tend not to be drawn all that well, which is common in male-written epic dramas. Many of the period details are interesting. Much of the gore may be essential to the work, but I still could have lived without a lot of it, which I will kindly spare you. You can learn quite a bit of history from this thing, although the historical point of view here is idiosyncratic at best. I'm sure it took billions of hours to research these books, and the results are everywhere, particularly in tiny details.
    So, can I recommend this book to you? I am deeply ambivalent. If you love and admire Mr. Ballerini's skills as much as I do, maybe you will be able to get through the thing. If you are a true history freak, that might do as well. Otherwise, you might use these twenty-three hours doing something completely different. Like taking an extremely long baaath.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast of Champions

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Stanley Tucci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (560)
    Performance
    (214)
    Story
    (213)

    Breakfast of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

    Glenn says: "My favorite Vonnegut book"
    "Hogwash."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There is absolutely nothing which would do that.


    What was most disappointing about Kurt Vonnegut’s story?

    This is a book which should never have been published. Mr. Vonnegut's successes were well known in the last century, and so, being a celebrity of the publishing world, he must have thought that simply anything that he put on paper, no matter how preposterous, was worth reading. In the case of this book, he was wrong.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stanley Tucci?

    Actually, I love Stanley Tucci. I have watched him in a number of movies, and have been seriously impressed by his acting chops (don't you just love these words?). However, there is no narrator, not even Frank Muller or Edoardo Ballerini, who could have transformed this hogwash into something worth reading. You can put lipstick on a pig...


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

    Not a one.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Providence Rag: A Liam Mulligan Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Bruce DeSilva
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (89)
    Story
    (89)

    Edgar Award-winner Bruce DeSilva returns with Liam Mulligan, an old-school investigative reporter for a dying newspaper in Providence, Rhode Island. Mulligan knows every street and alley, every priest and prostitute, every cop and street thug. He knows the mobsters and politicians - who are pretty much one and the same. Inspired by a true story, Providence Rag finds Mulligan, his pal Mason, and the newspaper they both work for at an ethical crossroad.

    Richard Delman says: "Really lukewarm. Tepid, in fact."
    "Really lukewarm. Tepid, in fact."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. There are so many other police procedurals, murder mysteries, detective stories, etc. that are so much better than this. The first two books in this series are way better than this.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Bruce DeSilva? Why or why not?

    Probably not. I think he has gone to this well enough times. Although of course I know nothing about the author's life, but the book really sounds autobiographical to me. There is an awful lot of talk and almost no action. The life of a police reporter on the crime beat has no real dramatic value.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes. Both are slow. The narrator does what sounds to me like a valid Rhode Island accent (although I am no authority on this). However, what little plot there is is drowned by detail that may have journalistic value but is a poor cousin of good fiction. Mr. De Silva should read a little Thomas Perry. Then, he should go back to being a journalist.


    Did Providence Rag inspire you to do anything?

    Absolutely nothing.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Pegasus Descending

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1027)
    Performance
    (338)
    Story
    (336)

    A troubled young woman breezes into Detective Robicheaux's hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana. She happens to be the daughter of his friend: a friend he witnessed gunned down in a bank robbery, a tragedy that forever changed Robicheaux's life.

    Deborah says: "Breathtaking"
    "Burke and Patton: what a pleasure."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. In fact, I have been doing so for about twenty five years now. Mr. Burke's sense of place is magnificent. He describes Iberia Parish and New Orleans so perfectly that you can almost see, feel, smell and taste them. Further, he addresses moral, ethical and personal areas, particularly around issues of conscience, that few other writers would ever even attempt to discuss.


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

    Although you always know that Dave Robicheaux will eventually come out on top, his road there is strewn with vicious characters who put him into very dangerous plights. His buud, Clete Purcell, is a walking hand grenade, ready to explode at any moment with his own brand of hurt from his time in Viet Nam. Dave is also hurt and vulnerable to depression, particularly when he feels the racist big shots running the towns. Dave's sense of morality is a complicated, developing thing. Everything about his life is interesting to the reader. I may not have read all of his books, but it is hard to imagine Mr. Burke writing anything below truly extraordinary prowess and sensitivity. He puts most other thriller writers to shame.


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

    I have. I can't name them right here, but his voice is quite distinct. His portrayal of Southern accents is awesome. At times there is some overlap between the voices of Dave and Clete, but this is a quibble. He holds my interest almost as well as Mr. Burke's content does.


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

    I can't possibly do that, for reasons I am not really sure about. Twelve hours is a long time, and I can't think of anything I do without stopping for that long. I find it nice to read several hours, and then in a few days come back to the book, as the talents of these two men are things to savor, and I like to make them last for a long time.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Zodiac Station

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Tom Harper
    • Narrated By Piers Wehener
    Overall
    (66)
    Performance
    (61)
    Story
    (62)

    "An extraordinary thriller set at the frozen edge of the world, perfect for fans of Kate Mosse, Michael Crichton and Dan Brown.In the Arctic Ocean, the US Coast Guard icebreaker Terra Nova batters its way through the pack ice. There shouldn't be anyone near them for hundreds of miles. But then a lone skier, half-dead with cold, emerges out of the snow. His name is Tom Anderson, and he is the only survivor of a disaster at Zodiac Station, a scientific research base deep in the Arctic Circle.

    Richard Delman says: "Starts very well...and then bores."
    "Starts very well...and then bores."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Zodiac Station?

    The opening, as above, was promising. The setting, the ice caps around the Arctic Ocean, is rendered quite vividly, and the characters are introduced in a way that promises good things to come. They really never do.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Tom Harper again?

    I don't think so. I don't believe he has the talent to keep the reader's attention for that long. When I put this down after about four hours, I listened to "Strip," by Thomas Perry. Very quickly I felt amused, entertained and completely enjoying the talents of a truly great writer. Some got it, and some don't.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I think the performance is OK. It's the material that gets scientifically as stiff and boring as a corpse. We get small doses of interesting ideas to whet our appetite, and then we are completely overwhelmed by science which is stupefyingly boring.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Zodiac Station?

    I don't think I could answer this question, other than to say that you would improve the book by cutting it in half. I was reminded by a quote from Elmore Leonard, a truly masterful and prolific writer. When someone asked him why his books were so entertaining, he said, "I leave out the parts that people don't read."


    Any additional comments?

    No.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The River of Souls: Matthew Corbett, Book 5

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Robert McCammon
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (307)
    Performance
    (286)
    Story
    (285)

    The year is 1703. The place: The Carolina settlement of Charles Town. Matthew Corbett, professional 'problem solver,' has accepted a lucrative, if unusual, commission: Escorting a beautiful woman to a fancy dress ball. What should be a pleasant assignment takes a darker turn when Matthew becomes involved in a murder investigation.

    J. Kelly says: "Dare I say it - a tad lazy."
    "A truly remarkable achievement."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up The River of Souls in three words, what would they be?

    Thrilling, ingenious and moving.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The River of Souls?

    The scene in the river where our hero, Matthew Corbett, and several others confront the most profound perils in nature: crocodiles. This scene alone will keep you on the edge of your chair, and is worth the price of the book alone.


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

    I have listened to almost all of his audiobooks, with only a few missing. Mr. Ballerini has taken on the mantel of Frank Muller, which is the highest possible praise. I would say that the entire Robert McCammon series might be a favorite, but there are so many: Beautiful Ruins, We live in Water, Malevita: the mind boggles. Mr. Ballerini is a unique talent, and I really hope he never stops narrating audiobooks.


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

    I can't do that. Seven or eight hours of sitting is much too much for me physically. Plus, when you stretch out your favorite books, you get the pleasures of anticipating what happens next, trying to hold in your mind the main characters and plot developments...I am very happy to stretch out this book for several weeks, if possible. And then I wait a year or two, and do it again!


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. McCammon has taken on a truly daunting project. Matthew Corbett can be called the first of the modern detectives...in the year 1700. Matthew works with his mind and with very few external tools. His plots are the fruit of an astounding fount of creativity. I do at times wish that Matthew would marry the lovely Berry. They could have around-the-world adventures together. But, whatever. I will snap up every single book that comes from the fertile mind of Mr. McCammon and the interpretive mastery of Mr. Ballerini. I loved this book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Mercedes: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4126)
    Performance
    (3855)
    Story
    (3869)

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes. Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    Joyce says: "Love this style of King!!!"
    "Once again, waaay too much."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Mr. Mercedes better?

    He could have cut it in half. Although his readers have come to expect lengthy tomes from him, chock full of rambling detail, I find myself losing interest. So much expostulation, so much narrative, such story-telling gifts immersed in books that are like whales...I think I'll step off this train. Just too much.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not Mr. King. Probably something read by Edoardo Ballerini. I'm hoping desperately for some humor, which seems to be utterly lacking these days. Maybe Thomas Perry has something up his sleeve. Quite possibly Tim Hallinan's sixth Poke Rafferty outing. Tim has so much fun writing his books, and the humor is just extraordinary. Tell his editors to Leave the Jokes In!


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Not really. Will Patton has a very nice voice, very "lived-in," gravelly; in this instance, I think the narration is better than the material itself, although this can be an invidious comparison.


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

    The story has some "push." You do get involved in the lives of some of the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • NYPD Red 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By James Patterson, Marshall Karp
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini, Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (366)
    Performance
    (310)
    Story
    (311)

    When NYPD Red arrives at a crime scene, everyone takes notice. Known as the protectors of the rich, famous, and connected, NYPD Red is the elite task force called in only for New York City's most high-profile crimes. And Detective Zach Jordan is the best of the best, a brilliant and relentless pursuer of justice. He puts professionalism above all, ignoring his feelings for his partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald, the woman who broke his heart when they first met in the academy.

    Richard Delman says: "When I want to watch TV..."
    "When I want to watch TV..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    First, if Edoardo Ballerini narrated the whole thing. Second, if the plot were not so cookie-cutter, with simplistic characters like brave cop Zach and stunningly beautiful and of course fabulously intelligent Kylie McDonald. Also, if Mr. Patterson would step aside (which he may already have done) and let a younger writer with new ideas do the heavy lifting.


    What was most disappointing about James Patterson and Marshall Karp ’s story?

    Just about everything, as above. I think Mr. Patterson is on the downhill slide of his truly amazing career, and I am betting that he is a mighty fat cash cow for his publishers, agents, etc. who are thus pressuring him to push out a book a year. Is everybody happy? Uh, not me. Even as a "beach read," this book has little other than Mr. Ballerini to recommend it.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Mr. Ballerini only adds. He never subtracts. This, IMHO, is a dumb question.


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

    Again, I love Mr. Ballerini narrating almost everything except the historical novels about Venice, and so forth. I am just not a history buff. But you give him a good story to read, and he magically transforms it into a great book.


    Any additional comments?

    There still could be good books coming out of this setup. The sexuakl energy between Zach and Kylie is enjoyable. New York is an endlessly fascinating city (no, really). Murder mysteries are fun to read, at least the good ones are. Keep trying, Mr. Patterson, Maybe you should work for two years on a book rather than one, in spite of the intense financial pressures on you. Be brave. You're already a gazillionaire.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Under the Lake

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Stuart Woods
    • Narrated By Tom Stechschulte
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (111)
    Performance
    (97)
    Story
    (96)

    Stuart Woods, the best-selling author of L.A. Times and Heat, has created a haunting thriller full of ghostly images, murder and old family secrets. Part detective story, part ghost story, part Southern gothic - this absorbing novel will fascinate listeners as a small town’s present, past and future converge.

    Think about this says: "A very good mysterious story"
    "Early Stuart Woods; early Southern Gothic."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    A lot. The plot meanders all over the place, even though the book is set in a small lakeside town. Also, the science fiction, woo woo, voodoo aspects of the story. There are unknowable mysterious happenings all over the place, and seers who conduct seances, and lots of twists and turns which serve mainly to lose the reader, and thus eventually bore him; that is to say, me.


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

    The least interesting is the above. The most interesting, I think, is the main character, John Howell, who leaves his upscale, wealthy wife and life to hide out in this tiny town in Georgia. I liked him enough to almost finish the entire book, and I may actually do that at some point. Also, the narrator, Tom Stechshulte. He is easy to listen to and handles the Southern accents very nicely.


    What three words best describe Tom Stechschulte’s voice?

    Calm. Soothing. Genuine.


    Did Under the Lake inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I am not at all wild about this restructuring of the reviews. in fact, I really hate it. As it was, the narrative structure allowed me to say what I needed to say, rather than forcing me into these arbitrary Q and As.This style is not an improvement. Bring back the old school, please! Let me be me! And various other perorations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Kill Fee: Stevens and Windemere, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Owen Laukkanen
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    On a beautiful Saturday in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, state investigator Kirk Stevens and his occasional colleague FBI special agent Carla Windermere witness the assassination of one of the state’s wealthiest men. The shooter is a young man, utterly unremarkable - except in his eyes. There is something very wrong in his eyes.

    Richard Delman says: "Laukkenan and Ballerini: what a combo!"
    "Laukkenan and Ballerini: what a combo!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, and particularly to fans of Edoardo Ballerini, who is the best narrator alive, IMHO. This is the third book in the carla Windemere-Kirk Stevens series, and I think Mr. Laukkenan can continue to draw from this well for quite a while.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Kill Fee?

    The ending, Im think, is just right. Often authors cannot create excellent endings for their books, but here the author keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat, and wraps the novel in a very satisfying conclusion. We know that Carla and Kirk are never going to cross over the line, but Laukkenan tantalizes us with just enough buzz to keep that going.


    What about Edoardo Ballerini’s performance did you like?

    I like absolutely everything this man does. At one point I thought that no one would ever surpass Frank Muller, but now I think the case is closed. Listening to Mr. Ballerini's narration is soothing in the best possible way, even when he is reading a thriller. He is a unique talent, and we are lucky to have him reading for a long (I hope) and illustrious career. He is just the best.


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

    I think that the pathos of the young men who return from Iraq and are trained to become murderers for hire; this concept may have been done by others, but it rings particularly true here. These young men have been ruined, and then the villain brainwashes them into consciousless killers.


    Any additional comments?

    The book is quite long. 250 chapters is way too many, even if many of them are very brief. I didn't feel that there was much wasted narrative, even so. If you haven't read the first two books in this series, I recommend them very highly. There is talent in abundance here.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Majestyk

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Elmore Leonard
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (27)
    Story
    (27)

    Vincent Majestyk saw too much death in the jungles of Southeast Asia. All he wants to do now is farm his melons and forget. But peace can be an elusive commodity, even in the Arizona hinterlands - and especially when the local mob is calling all the shots. And one quiet, proud man's refusal to be strong-armed by a powerful hood is about to start a violent chain reaction that will leave Mr. Majestyk ruined, in shackles, and without a friend in the world -- except for one tough and beautiful woman.

    Richard Delman says: "Elmore Leonard and Frank Muller: purrrrfection."
    "Elmore Leonard and Frank Muller: purrrrfection."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Faithful readers of mine will have heard me rave on at length about these two guys. I'm gonna do it again. Mr. Majestyk is both Leonard and Muller at the peaks of their careers, in the mid-70's. Both of them continued to do great work for several more decades. Mr. Majestyk appears in a later book by Leonard, when he is a seedy, broken down old judge in Detroit, if memory serves. In this book Vince Majestyk is a strong, brave, healthy young man who just wants to raise melons, have them picked by migrants and then sold to food brokers. His peaceful life is busted in on by gangsters who want him to use boozehounds to do the picking, rather than the skilled Mexican workers who follow ripening crops all over the country, earning enough money to send back to their families, but leading a nomadic, roaming life. Leonard sketches out his hero and several of the workers, in particular one very attractive young woman. It takes Leonard a few paragraphs to establish what lesser writers take chapters to accomplish. As I have quoted Leonard before, when asked why his books are so short, says, "I leave out the stuff that people don't read."
    Mr. Majestyk resists the encroachment of these lowlifes onto his fields, and he soon runs afoul of one very fowl gangster, Frank Renda. The cat and mouse chase that the two men lead is so thrilling that you will genuinely have trouble stopping to do anything else before you finish this. THIS is why we read audiobooks.
    Frank Muller was my favorite narrator for years, until he died, and then along came Edoardo Ballerini. Muller's voice is what we talk about when we say "mellifluous," that is, if we say that. His phrasing, pauses, voicing, nuances of individual characters: I could go on praising him for a long time. The book manages to be funny in addition to being everything else that it is. I won't spoil the ending, but you will probably see it coming from a mile away. The enjoyment is in the getting there. Majestyk's heroics are not overblown or cartoonish, although he does manage to off about a dozen bums in the book. The romance is very briefly sketched, but charming nonetheless. I was somewhere in the middle of about five books when I spotted this one: I dropped all the others and read this one start-to-finish without even thinking about the others. Not everything Leonard ever wrote was spectacularly good. A lot of it was. The same is true for Frank Muller. Once you have read Polar Star (please!) you will forgive Mr. Muller any lesser works, particularly since he is not the guy writing the books. The hit TV series Justified is based on a book by Leonard called Raylan. Any book involving Raylan Givens is well worth your time. I hope you have as much fun as I do with these gentlemen. It is a unique pleasure.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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