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Tango

Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.

Texas

ratings
490
REVIEWS
144
FOLLOWING
14
FOLLOWERS
281
HELPFUL VOTES
1395

  • The Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Michael J. Sullivan
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3133)
    Performance
    (2888)
    Story
    (2898)

    Michael J. Sullivan garnered critical raves and a massive readership for his Riyria Revelations series. The first book in his highly anticipated Riyria Chronicles series of prequels, The Crown Tower brings together warrior Hadrian Blackwater with thieving assassin Royce Melborn. The two form a less-than-friendly pairing, but the quest before them has a rare prize indeed, and if they can breach the supposedly impregnable walls of the Crown Tower, their names will be legend.

    Tango says: "Delicious Icing on a Terrific Cake"
    "Delicious Icing on a Terrific Cake"
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    The Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 1 starts with a nice forward from the author, Michael J. Sullivan, where he explains why he decided to write the prequel stories, The Riyria Chronicles, after having published The Riyria Revelations. And in the forward he says that he wrote them in a way that readers could enjoy reading the stories in order of publication (Revelations first, then Chronicles) or in order of events (Chronicles first, then Revelations). Having read all The Riyria Revelations books and now having listened to the first of The Chronicles, I think that is mostly true - you could follow the story in either order. However, The Crown Tower is bound to be a joy and great fun to anyone who enjoyed The Revelations, but isn't likely to be as compelling to those who have not. All the world building and plot setup is done in The Revelations and you just aren't going to understand what it means when someone says, "By Maribor,....", the hostility toward "the church", and some other references in The Crown Tower without reading The Revelations books. The Revelations is the place to fall in love with Michael Sullivan's world and its characters; The Chronicles provide icing on a really great cake.

    If you have already read and loved The Revelations, you are gonna be thrilled with The Crown Tower. The boys (Hadrian and Royce) are back, but not quite the amazing pair they came to be in The Revelations. The Crown Tower goes through their first adventure together forced on them by Professor Arcadius (remember him??) and we get some wonderful insights into how these opposites came together to make such a great team. Michael Sullivan's style is consistent - quick paced, great settings, good plotting, even minor characters have dimension, and very witty dialog. One other similarity with The Revelations; Sullivan writes great fight scenes even for a reader like me who isn't too into the normal violence of high fantasy. In addition to taking us back to the beginning of the daring duo, The Crown Tower gives us an origin narrative for Gwen which I found surprisingly compelling. I will admit that I wasn't overly fond of the Gwen character in The Revelations books - mostly only liked her for her protectiveness of Royce. However, when you get the back-story on Gwen, she becomes a much more sympathetic and understandable character.

    I really like the pairing of Sullivan's writing with Tim Reynolds narration. Not only did Reynolds do the narration for The Revelations books which keeps The Crown Tower sounding nicely consistent, but Reynolds seems a natural for Sullivan's books. Reynolds shades his voice more than changing it for character voices/accents, but it is plenty to make the dialog easy to follow and keeps Sullivan's very adventuresome writing from sounding "over the top" while still maintaining a nice narrative tension throughout the book.

    If you haven't read The Riyria Revelations books, please start there and if you like high fantasy at all you will love them. If you have read The Riyria Revelations, dive into The Crown Tower and be prepared to not want to stop until the end of the book. This is a totally satisfying listen that will still leave you wanting MUCH more!!

    91 of 91 people found this review helpful
  • The Disappeared: A Retrieval Artist Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    • Narrated By Jay Snyder
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (476)
    Performance
    (302)
    Story
    (308)

    Retrieval Artists help the lost find their way back home, whether they like it or not. Specialized private detectives, they investigate the most unusual crimes in the galaxy. But Miles Flint isn't a Retrieval Artist. He's just a cop, trying to do his job.

    Phelix_da_Kat says: "Sprint finish.."
    "All the elements of "stellar" fiction"
    Overall
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    I am late to the Retrieval Artist banquet, but happily pigging out now! There are many deserved good reviews for The Disappeared so I'd be tempted not to take the time, but I enjoyed this book so much that I just have to add my plaudits to both Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Jay Snyder, the narrator, as well as my thanks to Audible for bringing this to me.

    If I rated this book as a police procedural/detective mystery, I'd probably rate it 4.5 stars - police procedural believable and fairly interesting, mystery nicely plotted, very clever, and a little twisty, but not as sophisticated as some. If I rated this book as strictly science fiction, I would probably rate it as 4.5 stars also - terrific detailed world building, no big science blunders, but little hard science. However, The Disappeared is much more than a Sci-Fi Detective Mystery; it is a book that has all the elements for seriously great fiction. When you combine that with top-notch narration from Jay Snyder, you have an audio book that I could hardly stand to it turn off - truly stellar!

    * Engaging, believable characters. Men and women who have unique personalities that extend beyond body type or looks; varying levels of intelligence, talents,and flaws; complex emotional and psychological make-ups; diverse backgrounds, ages, and socio-economic levels. It's tough to write good fiction in any genre without good characters and yet it is especially difficult to find good characterizations in science fiction - particularly for female characters.

    * Interesting plot - science fiction lends itself to good plots which is one of the reasons I like the genre, but much of it is about colonization and/or battles. I have enjoyed many space exploration type plots, but Rusch's plotting is more about the challenges of life after the initial survival hurdles have been made in space and it was a nice change of pace.

    * Setting - The Disappeared takes place primarily in the domed city of Armstrong on the Moon, but Rusch also lines out the politics and the aliens across known colonized space. Her descriptions of Armstrong made me feel like I was there.

    * Prose - evocative, but not effusive; truly readable and keeps the story moving.

    * Themes - I think all good fiction has to be entertaining, but not all fiction has to give "food for thought". But, if a fictional story makes you think that's a big bonus and there's plenty to ruminate on in The Disappeared. We already know that human societies enact and enforce laws differently. (There are Americans imprisoned in various places around the world for doing things that would not be illegal in the USA.) In Rusch's universe with multiple alien peoples, there is a group that finds death so abhorrent that a person who comes in contact with a dead body is subjected to a cleansing ritual that includes evisceration; a group that takes retribution not on the offender but on his/her loved ones; and a group that subjects even minor offenders to hard labor. You could just avoid contact with those groups to stay out of trouble, but what if they have something really marketable (what if North Korean sat on all the world's diamonds or oil)? The capitalism that lives in most human hearts will find a way to trade for something they want even if there is a great risk in doing so. What if what you believe is moral is illegal - and, you are a cop? What if your style works to make you effective at your job, but keeps getting you into political trouble - can you/should you change?

    I listened to two more in The Retrieval Artist series before I could make myself stop to write a review and I am still totally taken with Rusch's writing and her universe. "Retrieverse" keeps expanding in interesting and unusual ways and Flint and DeRicci continue to evolve and grow. As a great topper, Jay Snyder, nice narration/good characterizations, continues as the narrator throughout the series. Most sci-fi enthusiasts will enjoy The Retrieval Artist and most readers who appreciate finely crafted fiction independent of genre should be entertained.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 36 mins)
    • By Stephen King
    • Narrated By Anne Heche
    Overall
    (381)
    Performance
    (170)
    Story
    (173)

    Anne Heche reads The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, the story of nine-year-old Trisha McFarland who gets lost in the woods while on a walk with her family. Boston Red Sox closing pitcher Tom Gordon becomes Trisha's imaginary companion - and the key to her survival against an unidentified someone (or something) leaving death and destruction in its wake.

    Kim says: "Terrific storytelling"
    "Amber Alert"
    Overall
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    I haven't read a lot of Stephen King because I am not a big fan of the horror genre, but when King goes a little easier on the adrenaline pump, I really like his writing and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is one of those. How do you make 9 days in the life of a lost 9 year old engrossing? King does it by creating a character who is not only likable, but charmingly flawed, and totally believable and he sends this character on an emotional and spiritual journey at the same time she must find her way back in the very real physical world. The baseball metaphor and Anne Heche's truly brilliant performance further enhance the narrative. This one will stick with me.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Jim Bernheimer
    • Narrated By Jeffrey Kafer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (527)
    Performance
    (490)
    Story
    (494)

    "My name is Mike Ross. I'm a Ferryman. I help people with ghost problems, or ghosts with people problems. Funny thing, no one ever helps me with my problems. Civil War ghosts bent on killing me, Skinwalkers who just want my body, and a vindictive spirit linked both to my bloodline and my destiny... It turns out the dead still hold a good deal of influence over the world, and they don't want to give it up. I'm in way over my head. Fortunately, I'm too stubborn to quit."

    Teresa says: "Keep your iron tools handy."
    "It's not you, it's me, but really it's you"
    Overall
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    I had to use this line from the book as the title of my review because, a. it's funny and will give you an idea of the ironic/sardonic tone of the book, b. it conveys the "every man" status of the protagonist, Mike Ross, who recognizes this sentiment when he gets the brush-off.. Mike acquires a "gift" to see ghosts and interact with them via a cornea transplant following major injuries in the Iraq war. Mike not only has war wounds to overcome, but he's short, broke, and uneducated. He'd like to use his new abilities to make some money, but his efforts, while useful in protecting the living and assisting the dead, almost never pan out with much moolah. And Mike's new talents greatly hamper his love life and family relationships (see title above) so ultimately, this guy is no Gary Stu! After listening 1/2 way to two books (one sci-fi, one fantasy) in a row where the primary protagonist was all that and a bag of chips (Atlas/Adonis rolled into one, every woman falls at his feet, yada, yada), I was thrilled to pieces to meet Mike Ross; a guy who doesn't get anything for free and yet keeps trying - my kind of hero.

    In this urban noir fantasy, Jim Bernheimer not only provides some realistic living men and women, he borrows from the gangster and Civil War eras to populate the world with some memorable ghostly characters. This is a fast paced adventure that stands well on it's own, but definitely made me want to read the sequels.

    Jeffrey Kafer does a great job at invoking the dry, wry tone of the noir story and provides good characters voices as well. Nice performance!

    Some reviewers have compared this to Dresden, but Dead Eye actually reminded me more of the nicely done Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. If you like urban noir, if you enjoy a hero who's only human, if you like your ghosts to have a bit of moxie, and if you like a bit of history thrown into your fantasy fiction, you'll like Dead Eye.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Our Lady of the Islands: Butchered God, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Shannon Page, Jay Lake
    • Narrated By Allyson Johnson
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (7)

    Sian Katte is a successful, middle-aged businesswoman in the tropical island nation of Alizar. Her life seems comfortable and well arranged...until a violent encounter one evening leaves her with an unwanted magical power. Arian des Chances is the wife of Alizar's ruler, with vast wealth and political influence. Yet for all her resources, she can only watch helplessly as her son draws nearer to death. When crisis thrusts these two women together, they learn some surprising truths.

    Tango says: "Life Begins at 40"
    "Life Begins at 40"
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    Our Lady of the Islands was a real breath of fresh air. Two central protagonists, both female and both middle-aged and these two women wrestle with the common problems of many of us in the middle while engaged in an enthralling fantasy adventure. Sian Katte is a successful business woman with grown children and grandchildren; Arian is the wife of the Factor (leader of the Islands Nation, Alizar). Sian is thrust into a mission for the butchered god which leads her to cross paths with Arian. The two women not only must deal with political and religious factions that stand in the way of their goals, but also deal with all the same issues that most of us in the middle years grapple with:

    When passion dies down, will friendship and respect sustain the marriage commitment?
    Evolving relationships with adult children
    Juggling professional and personal priorities
    What do I want to do with the rest of my life? What is my purpose?
    Evolving relationships with adult siblings and other family members

    Unlike so many fantasy novels, this is not a coming of age story and there is little romantic angst or impetuous or petulant behavior. The emotional conflict in the book is primarily the reassessment of spiritual, emotional, physical, and professional issues that most middle-aged people have to tackle. What makes the book rock, is that these women are going through their mid-life crises in the middle of a world in turmoil and while on the run so there is truly never a dull moment.

    The prose in Our Lady is fluid, dialog rings true, and all the characters, male and female, are well drawn and believable. Allyson Johnson provides a good performance as the narrator.

    Jay Lake died of cancer while working on this book with Shannon Page. I read that Shannon Page is continuing the sequel with another collaborator. Our Lady of the Islands stands well enough on its own, but I enjoyed it so much that I am looking forward to more.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Three-Body Problem

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Cixin Liu
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (187)
    Performance
    (168)
    Story
    (168)

    Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion.

    Josh says: "They create a computer using a 30 million man Army"
    "Not in love, but definitely intrigued"
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    No science fiction works without a great plot/concept driving it and The Three-Body Problem has zero problem on that score - an experiment, done out of a kind of desperation, actually results in first contact with an interstellar alien community and sets up a pending crisis. But even a great concept still needs good characters, setting, and fluid writing to make for a great sci-fi read.

    I didn't have much trouble with setting. This first book of a trilogy draws on the Chinese Cultural Revolution, past and current geopolitics, and current and theoretical quantum physics to set the stage for the saga - interesting, with plenty of potential to sustain the trilogy. My only quibble with the setting used was with the sequences that take place within an on-line game. It is in the game that characters attempt to resolve the Three Body Problem and I found those segments of the book to be rather dull and confusing. No doubt some of the information in those sections will come into play in later books, but they read like bad dream sequences where you don't have any context to make sense of what is going on. And, there is no plot or character development happening during those passages so I just wasn't engaged during those sections.

    The flow of the writing feels a bit choppy, but I would chalk that up to the fact that this is a translation. The translation seems pretty good in that the meaning is clear, but English and Chinese are such very different languages there is bound to be some loss of fluidity. Ultimately, my biggest difficulty with The Three-Body Problem is the characters. The book starts with Ye Wenjie during the Cultural Revolution and she is a very interesting character throughout the book and the only character that is ever really fleshed out. Much of the book is from the POV of Wang Miao, a character that gets little back story and is hard to connect with, and none of the other characters is more than sketched. The Aliens may have some potential in the sequels, but ruthlessness is about the only characteristic they show in this first book.

    Luke Daniels does his normal phenomenal job of creating great character voices which is a huge help with a book with unfamiliar names and he adds much to making this a good listen.

    Bottom line, The Three-Body Problem is challenging, but intriguing and I will listen to the sequels when Audible has them available.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Egg & Spoon

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Gregory Maguire
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (171)
    Performance
    (152)
    Story
    (152)

    Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. Her brothers have been conscripted into the Tsar's army and taken as servants in the house of the local wealthy landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in St. Petersburg - a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena's age.

    Carol says: "Best Book Ever!!!"
    "If Mark Twain had been Russian..."
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    He might well have twisted Russian folklore to tell a story much like Egg & Spoon - witty, charming, a little food for thought, and just plain fun. I don't know why this book is listed as "Teens" because like the best of "fairy tales" or fables, this is a fantasy yarn that could be enjoyed by any age listener and the ultimate hero is Baba Yaga (yes, you heard me, scary old Baba Yaga saves the day), who is ancient! The story is a bit slow picking up speed in the beginning as the characters are introduced, but gets fun and adventuresome fairly soon. I think if I had actually read the book, I would also think some of the length could be edited. However, listening to this book performed by Michael Page is a real delight - what an artist! So, the length in the audio book is not a problem. I'm SO glad Audible had this on a Daily Deal because the teen classification might have caused me to miss it otherwise.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Paw Enforcement: K9, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Diane Kelly
    • Narrated By Coleen Marlo
    Overall
    (339)
    Performance
    (311)
    Story
    (311)

    Officer Luz is lucky she still has a job after tasering a male colleague where it counts the most. Sure, he had it coming - which is why the police chief is giving Megan a second chance. The catch? Her new partner can't carry a gun, can't drive a cruiser, and can't recite the Miranda Rights. Because her new partner is a big furry police dog. So that's what the chief meant when he called Megan's partner a real bitch...With Brigit out on the beat, Megan is writing up enough tickets to wallpaper the whole station.

    Janelle Carter says: "Not so funny"
    "Not bad"
    Overall
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    I picked up "Paw Enforcement" on a Audible Daily Deal and it was just fine for the price. It's not a great book; the only character I really liked was Brigit, the dog, and much of the police procedural of the story doesn't ring true. However, the story is set in Fort Worth (a city I know well and is seldom used in fiction) and the author did a decent job of using the city in the story and portraying its personality accurately and I loved that she used a mutt as the police dog since most working dogs are purebreds, although many mutts have the potential. The author goes a little over the top on the snarkiness, but the story is entertaining and requires no major mind exertion so it makes for a good "beach read" - one of those books that works when you want totally passive entertainment. It's not as good as the Stephanie Plum books, but reminds me a bit of that series and might have some potential to get better. Coleen Marlo was OK as the narrator, but as another reviewer mentioned, she's a bit heavy handed with the sound effects.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tooth and Claw

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (22)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (20)

    Here is the tale of a family dealing with the death of their father, of a son who goes to law for his inheritance, a son who agonizes over his father's deathbed confession, a daughter who falls in love, a daughter who becomes involved in the abolition movement, and a daughter sacrificing herself for her husband.... Except that everyone in the story is a dragon, red in tooth and claw.

    Tango says: "An Austen/Aesop Collaboration"
    "An Austen/Aesop Collaboration"
    Overall
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    I absolutely LOVED this little allegorical tale that reads like a regency story as told by Aesop. You really don't need any summary of this story; the plot is right out of Jane Austen with all the class consciousness, priggishness, and blatant sexism of 19th century England, but all the norms of behavior have been translated to dragonkind. In addition, Walton addresses servitude/slavery, religious influences (I loved the CofE and RC analogous dragon religions), and racism in a way that Austen never did. Like Austen's stories, "Tooth and Claw", is fun and entertaining with fabulous characters, subtle satire, and a very tidy ending. Unlike Austen, Walton exposes the truth of a highly dysfunctional and abusive society by using an animal illustration much like Aesop in his Fables. Philostratus said of Aesop, "...he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events." And indeed, Walton tells some great truth while she entertains us with dragons.

    John Lee provides a wonderful performance of the story making this an all around terrific audiobook!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Farthing: Small Change, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Jo Walton
    • Narrated By John Keating, Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (250)
    Performance
    (208)
    Story
    (216)

    One summer weekend in 1949 - but not our 1949 - the well-connected "Farthing set", a group of upper-crust English families, enjoy a country retreat. Lucy is a minor daughter in one of those families; her parents were both leading figures in the group that overthrew Churchill and negotiated peace with Herr Hitler eight years before....

    Nancy J says: "It Couldn't Happen Here, Right? RIGHT?"
    "Cautionary Tale"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jo Walton's murder mystery set in an alternate history Post-WWII England is a little unsatisfying since there a couple of "loose threads" and true justice is at best postponed. I would also argue a bit with the alternative history. In this version of World War II, the US never enters the war and Britain negotiates a peace settlement with Hitler to avoid invasion by the Germans. The chances that the Japanese would not have pulled the US into the war with attacks on China and the Philippines even if they had not hit Pearl Harbor are slim. (There's a reason all that Navy might was amassed at Pearl Harbor in the first place!) And the isolationists in the US would not have been able to hold out against the military-industrial complex (hence the Lend/Lease Act) forever. Having read the whole trilogy, I felt like Jo Walton's view of a alternate history reflected a rather Euro-centric point of view throughout and she discounts countries with vast natural resources and large populations like China, the US, and Russia and doesn't even address the enormous change in the world economy that oil and natural gas created. World War II may have marked the end of colonialism and the shift in world power, but the war was only one element of that change. Leaving that aside, I think this book and the series truly does succeed as a cautionary tale and gives the listener much to ponder.

    The ineffable slide into Fascism that comes with great fear and ignorance in the citizenry at large can be seen everywhere - witness the Patriot act (the fear of terrorism negates the rights of the individual), or Russia having freed itself of communism, but still mired in regional/ethnic conflicts is now quickly sliding back into totalitarianism. Jo Walton's trilogy beautifully illustrates the poem, "First They Came" by Pastor Martin Niemöller. And whether or not you buy into this possible alternative to history, it is abundantly clear that a world where Hitler wasn't stopped would be ugly.

    Walton's prose is very nice and she uses setting extremely effectively to help drive the plot. The city of London, the surrounding countryside (and its denizens), as well as the very class-conscious society all play a part in the tale. In each of the 3 books in the series, Walton tells the story from a woman's POV in first person and a man's POV in third person. The woman changes in each of the books while Detective Carmichael is in all three. John Keating and Bianca Amato both do nice turns in narrating alternate chapters of this first book. Amato is much better here than I've heard her before - no breath sounds - and her voice is perfect for Lucy.

    I'm not sure Farthing would satisfy the true murder mystery aficionado, but if you enjoy the what-ifs of alternate history, or have an interest in WWII, you will probably find this book and the whole series worthwhile. You should know going in that this first book isn't really meant to stand alone. It has a rather disconsolate conclusion and the real story spans all 3 books in the trilogy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Judy Melinek, MD, T. J. Mitchell
    • Narrated By Tanya Eby
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (570)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (507)

    Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband and their toddler holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation-performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, and counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking listeners behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple.

    R. Milam says: "Great story - but not for the faint of heart!"
    "Lacking a Unifying Theme"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I got Working Stiff on sale and for the sale price it was a decent buy. This non-fiction first person account of a young woman's introduction into a fascinating profession is quite interesting and occasionally even engaging, but it read like a story with unrealized potential. The narrative moves back and forth in time and is often disjointed. Some chapters are simply one case description after another; most have a brief explanation of the crime or death scene, a more detailed review of the autopsy, and little or no case resolution information particularly for the homicides. (Melinek repeatedly closes a story with, "I never knew what happened to so & so" or "I never learned if charges were filed".) Although I have spent my long career in technology, I have a degree in BioMedical Science so I enjoyed the autopsy detail (sounds way more interesting than straight on anatomy lab dissections), but I didn't learn much new and in giving the reader so little information on how the ME's findings are used, much of this seemed a bit purposeless. I realized that there's a good reason that famous fictional biological forensics (ie Quincy or Bones) is coupled with police and legal work. Who really cares that there's a notch on a bone if you don't know whether that info sent the bad guy to jail?

    In addition, Melinek and her co-author husband, sort of randomly throw in information about her personal life with her husband and kids, but none of those pieces provides much enlightenment or enhances the narrative. It just makes the book seem even more disjointed and like the authors were searching for a unifying theme without success.

    Tanya Eby did NOT help this audio book at all. Her voice is fine and since this is non-fiction, I think she'd have done better just reading it straight up. Unfortunately, she attempts to give characters unique voices and her voices (especially for men) are really bad and pull the listener out of the story. (Eby actually voiced one of the women using that awful made up "MidAtlantic" accent that was so popular in 1940's Hollywood!) And, although I can appreciate the difficulty of proper pronunciation for a book with MANY medical and biological terms, it's the narrator's job to get those right if that's what the author wrote. Eby frequently mispronounces words like ketamine and trabeculae.

    Ultimately Working Stiff reads like it was written by someone who without choice became part of a world event and then capitalized on that tragedy to sell a book that doesn't really have anything unique or important to say about that event or about being a Medical Examiner. The book is too short in length and substance for me to recommend it at full price.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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