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Robert

Entrepreneur + Avid Reader + Concerned Political Skeptic

AUSTIN, TX, United States | Member Since 2005

49
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 16 reviews
  • 148 ratings
  • 830 titles in library
  • 81 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
4

  • House Odds: A Joe DeMarco Thriller, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Mike Lawson
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (52)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (48)

    Washington fixer Joe DeMarco has been asked to handle a lot of difficult situations over the years for his boss, Congressman John Mahoney. But nothing has ever been quite so politically sensitive, or has hit so close to home, as the task Mahoney hands DeMarco in House Odds, the latest novel from critically acclaimed thriller writer Mike Lawson. Mahoney’s daughter, Molly, has been arrested and charged with insider trading. An engineer with a high-flying technology firm, she allegedly placed a half-million-dollar bet on one of the firm’s clients.

    Robert says: "DeMarco and Friends Continue to Evolve"
    "DeMarco and Friends Continue to Evolve"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In a time when many traditional mystery and suspense protagonists are running out of steam, author Mike Lawson continues to keep Joe DeMarco and his supporting cast fresh. Unlike the superman-like protagonists in other series, the self-deprecating and often vulnerable Joe DeMarco gives readers believable doses of bravery and good judgement. Supporting characters like former Speaker Mahoney, retired spook Emma and others continue to surprise with additional character complexities.

    Even more important, Lawson know how to "spin a good yarn". House Odds has a really good plot with twists and turns that will keep you interested until the end. Also important in any good audiobook, Joe Barrett delivers a really solid performance.

    If you like the political thriller genre, don't miss the chance to give this audiobook "a listen".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Gemini Factor

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Philip Fleishman M.D.
    • Narrated By Michael Karl Orenstein
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    In Toronto, Inspector Raid McTavish stares at the body of a young woman carefully posed in a bed of purple iris, her throat slashed, almost beheaded, her hands placed to cover her empty eye sockets. He knows this is not a random murder, but the first of more to come. What he doesn't know is that 2,000 miles away in Tucson, Arizona, Sergeant Gary Ronstadt is viewing an identical crime scene.

    Karl says: "Intriguing tale well told"
    "Fascinating Subject Matter"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like fiction and the discussion around telepathy, this book will be worth your time and money.

    I am fascinated by the subject of telepathy and the evolution of the senses as the human brain continues to evolve. Accordingly, this book had me interested before the first world was spoken. In my opinion, the author developed the story well, using an interesting range of both good and unlikeable characters. Dr. Fleishman went on to mix together a little high level science, suspense, cultural tidbits and a fast moving plot - a recipe for a good book in my library.

    Please know that this is the author's first book - and it's published in both traditional and Audible formats. As with many Audible versions of a book, a performer can add to or detract from a book. In this case, the performer's interpretation of one of the more interesting characters was rather harsh to my ear. Otherwise, Orenstein captured a range of genders, ages and accents rather well. All in all, the performance was solid.

    As an avid listener and holder of over 2900 Audible titles, I believe this book to be somewhere between 4 and 5 stars. Realistically, I may have pumped this book up by half a star because of the subject matter. Conversely, a reader/listener might drop it a star if the subject matter is unappealing; however, if so, why get it in the first place. I noticed an extremely small number of many readers poorly rated this book - as did one listener. Don't let them put you off - some people are just that way. If you like books of this genre, you won't be disappointed.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • JET II: Betrayal, Volume 2

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Russell Blake
    • Narrated By Braden Wright
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (24)

    Twenty-eight year old Jet, the former Mossad operative from the eponymous novel JET, must battle insurmountable odds to protect those she loves in a deadly race that stretches from the heartland of Nebraska to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., from the lurid streets of Bangkok to the deadly jungles of Laos and Myanmar. Fans of Kill Bill, the Bourne trilogy, and 24 will be delighted by this rollercoaster of action, intrigue and suspense.

    Stacy Katz says: "Another Edge of Your Seat Thriller"
    "Well Worth The Read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In Jet I, the character and story both took a bit too long to develop. Jet seemed to be simply another one dimensional super assassin with extraterrestrial skills and impossible luck. In time, Blake did get around to developing a fun, exciting story with interesting characters, including Jet.

    Though it's helpful to listen to (read) Blake's Jet books in sequence, Jet II can be read as a stand alone. Again, the plot is fun, fast-paced and supported by very good (extremely evil & despicable) villains. Though it's no big surprise that these villains are sure to share the same fate, you can't help but cheer for their just rewards.

    Braden Wright is an excellent reader capable of a range of voices for varied age, gender and nationality. He reads with a good sense of pace and transitions plot settings very well. Someone should proof a few of his pronunciations, however. For example, gaping is pronounced "gay-ping" not "gah-ping". Wright also described the possibility of gruesome torture as to fill-it (fillet) someone. For welding and woodworking, "fill-it" is OK - but for cooking "fill-ay" is correct. As mentioned, however, Wright is a really good performer.

    *** SPOILER ALERT***

    It seems a shame that both male allies in Jet I & II have to die. Though flawed, each of their characters were interesting and complex enough to seemingly have value in future stories.I suppose it males sense that Jet can't be "tied down" - but ...

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Scorpion Deception

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Andrew Kaplan
    • Narrated By Paul Boehmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (28)

    In Switzerland, a brutally efficient hit squad storms the U.S. embassy, stealing classified files and leaving no witnesses alive. Under intense political pressure to find those behind the attack - with Congressional leaders demanding military action - the CIA turns to the deadliest agent they know: Scorpion. But Scorpion is unwilling to get involved...until he learns his name is at the top of one of the stolen lists.

    Robert says: "A Thriller Reflecting Today's Tensions"
    "A Thriller Reflecting Today's Tensions"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you like Alex Berenson, Brad Thor or Vince Flynn, then this espionage thriller should be worth your time and money.

    On the other hand, if you demand constant realism, this audiobook may disappoint from time to time. However, I found the main character, Scorpion, complex enough to look past the times when he might have seemed somewhat super-human. By avoiding cliche and highlighting his intentions and tactics, Kaplan made Scorpion and his deeds really interesting if not always well-grounded.

    I also liked the supporting characters, both the good guys and villains. In many cases, Kaplan gives readers the latitude to make their own determination of good and evil.

    In contrast to many of today's espionage thrillers that focus too much on the hero's franchise rather than on satisfying endings, Kaplan skillfully delivers a conclusion to this book while still setting up the Scorpion's next battle.

    In summary, the intricate plot, the realistic description of Iran's inner workings, the intrigue between factions and nations and Paul Boehmer's ability to grasp language, accents, age and gender made this audiobook one of my top "listens" of the past year.

    I look forward to Andrew Kaplan's next Scorpion novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Six Years

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Harlan Coben
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2951)
    Performance
    (2545)
    Story
    (2559)

    Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd. But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for...but she is not Natalie....

    G. House Sr. says: "Obsession, mystery, and you're hooked!"
    "Interesting Concept But Weak Character"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have enjoyed many of Harlan Coben's novels - and Scott Brick is an accomplished performer. Furthermore, the concept of Six Years seemed to have a lot of promise. Though the plot was intriguing, unfortunately, the character was not. For a big, strong ex-bouncer turned poly sci professor and critical thinking devotee, the protagonist was a study in contradiction. Scott Brick's interpretation of the character further emphasized these contradictions. Given the issues with the main character, I found it difficult to immerse myself into the story.

    31 of 36 people found this review helpful
  • Ashes: Project Eden Thriller, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Brett Battles
    • Narrated By Macleod Andrews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (44)

    The hammer has fallen. The deadly Sage Flu has been unleashed. The scramble for survival is in full force.

    Martina Gable and her family escaped to a secluded mountain cabin in hopes of avoiding the death sweeping the desert valley below. But have they gone far enough? Dominic Ray, manager of a tropical, private island resort, has a dream job. The weather, the food, the drinks, the people - life couldn't be better. What he didn’t expect - what no one could have expected - was that his good life was about to disappear.

    John says: "what was i thinking"
    "A Rambling Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Brett Battles is a very good author. I really have enjoyed his "Cleaner" series as well as some of his stand alone work like Little Girl Gone. However, he missed the mark on this one. In my opinion, way too much time was spent on weak characters and a slow, cliched buildup to an unsatisfying ending. I will continue to be interested in his work - but I wish I had skipped this one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Ranger: A John Wells Novel, Book 7

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (404)
    Performance
    (367)
    Story
    (364)

    Four friends, recent college graduates, travel to Kenya to work at a giant refugee camp for Somalis. Two men, two women, each with their own reasons for being there. But after twelve weeks, they’re ready for a break and pile into a Land Cruiser for an adventure. They get more than they bargained for. Bandits hijack them. They wake up in a hut, hooded, bound, no food or water. Hostages. As a personal favor, John Wells is asked to try to find them, but he does so reluctantly. East Africa isn’t his usual playing field.

    Michael G. Kurilla says: "Wells is finally moving out of the desert"
    "Don't Look Past Berenson's John Wells"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Alex Berenson is a seasoned reporter who has seen current combat theaters first hand - and transfers a lot of his experience through a "kick-butt" protagonist, John Wells. Wells' exploits are realistic - not supernatural - and his supporting cast should also keep a reader's interest while progressing through the seven books Berenson has written.

    Furthermore, Berenson is a really good writer. He knows how to explain the undercurrents of America's fight against extremism - and weave the many details and subplots together to create an interesting, informative book.

    Lastly, George Guidall brings this book to life with an excellent performance. I hope Berenson and Guidall continue with John Wells and cast.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Right Hand

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Derek Haas
    • Narrated By Kevin Stillwell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    There has always been a need in the spy game for operations outside the realm of legality-covert missions so black no one in the American government, and almost no one in intelligence itself, is aware of their existence. The left hand can't know what the right hand is doing. Austin Clay is that right hand, executing missions that would be disavowed by his own government were he ever to be compromised. His team consists of only his trusted handler and himself. His missions are among the most important and dangerous in U.S. history.

    Robert says: "Well Worth a Read!"
    "Well Worth a Read!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Glancing at a single 3 star review almost caused me to miss "The Right Hand". Each to their own, but I thought this was a very worthwhile, exciting audiobook. The main character, Austin Clay, really has a lot of potential for a series. In addition, several supporting characters should hold up well for future stories.

    However, the story is very satisfying as a "stand alone" production.The plot was well developed, full of action and had excellent tension during the ending. Moreover, I thought Kevin Stillwell's performance skillfully brought a wide range of characters to life despite differences in character, age, nationality and gender.

    Overall, this audiobook is well worth a reader's time as well as a credit/money. I really hope Derek Haas continues on with the surviving characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Man: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3536)
    Performance
    (3083)
    Story
    (3064)

    The four dead guards didn’t concern Mitch Rapp as much as the absence of the man they’d been paid to protect. Joe Rickman wasn’t just another foot soldier. For the last eight years Rickman had ran the CIA’s clandestine operations in Afghanistan. It was a murky job that involved working with virtually every disreputable figure in the Islamic Republic. More than a quarter billion dollars in cash had passed through Rickman’s hands during his tenure as the master of black ops and no one with a shred of sense wanted to know the details of how that money had been spent.

    K says: "Couldn't be better...except"
    "After a retrospective lull, Rapp is back"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In my opinion, this may be one of Vince Flynn's very best books. For those familiar with Flynn's past challenge, writing at this level must be no small task. As for presenting "The Last Man" as an audiobook, continuing with the talented George Guidall was also a big plus. Guidall knows the characters - and brings life to them.

    Vince Flynn also does what many writers can't do - he's successfully managed the inevitable maturation of an action protagonist whose career has spanned many theaters of intrigue. To do so without making Rapp either uninteresting or unbelievable takes both skill and imagination.

    Rest assured, however, the slightly older Mitch Rapp won't disappoint. He's still very to the point and lethal. Even better, Flynn doesn't neglect the evolution of supporting characters like CIA Director Irene Kennedy, Hurley, Coleman and, etc. He also introduces new players - and resurrects old ones - all of whom should prove enjoyable in future stories. Flynn then weaves all these characters into a plausible fast-paced story based on complications the US has with Pakistan (and the Mid East, in general). The complications include duplicitous villains at home and abroad, dangerous thugs and inter-agency competition - all wrapped by greed and ambition.

    Along the way, the author gives readers plenty of action and enjoyment while progressing to a somewhat predictable but nonetheless satisfying ending. For me, at least, I enjoy the way that Flynn "lets" Rapp and Kennedy deliver elegant justice rather than cobbling together a slew of implausible events solely for the sake of surprise.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Becoming Quinn: Jonathan Quinn Series Prequel

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By Brett Battles
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (216)
    Story
    (211)

    Meet Jake Oliver. The day will come when he's one of the best cleaners in the business, a man skilled at making bodies disappear. At the moment, however, he's a 22 year old rookie cop, unaware his life is about to change. In a burning barn a body is found--and the fire isn't the cause of death. The detectives working the case have a pretty good idea about what went down. But Officer Oliver thinks it's something else entirely, and pursues a truth others would prefer remain hidden - others who will go to extreme lengths to keep him quiet.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Excellent Story of How A Great Hero is Made"
    "A Well Done and Interesting Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I'm pretty stingy about 5 star reviews ... However, if you like books of this genre as well as Brett Battles and his protagonist Quinn, you'll really like "Becoming Quinn". Please don't be put off by the fact that this is a prequel or rather short for an unabridged book - I think this is one of Battle's finest books.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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