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Retired Ex-Pat living Near San Jose, Costa Rica.

San Jose, Costa Rica | Member Since 2014

  • 18 reviews
  • 404 ratings
  • 796 titles in library
  • 16 purchased in 2015

  • Dog Tags

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By David Rosenfelt
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    A German Shepherd police dog witnesses a murder and if his owner - an Iraq war vet and former cop-turned-thief - is convicted of the crime, the dog could be put down. Few rival Andy Carpenter's affection for dogs, and he decides to represent the poor canine. As Andy struggles to convince a judge that this dog should be set free, he discovers that the dog and his owner have become involved unwittingly in a case of much greater proportions than the one they've been charged with.

    Tim says: "Wanna have some fun?"
    "Wanna have some fun?"

    The Book: You don't read one of Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter novels hoping for some profound insight. They likely will never win some hoity-toity award. You should read them because they are just plain entertaining. Some have excellent plots (like this one) others not so excellent... but they all are just a fine way to spend a few hours laughing and they are never ever boring. Wanna spend about eight hours doing something fun? Just for you? Buy and listen. A-

    The Reader: Ahhh Grover. There is just no better voice to read Carpenter. Rosenfelt changes tenses about every six minutes, and Grover keeps up. Yeah... Grover suffers doing some characterizations... but who cares? HA! Wait 'til you hear him do Larry king. It's a hoot! In some books this would be important and even ruin the whole book. Here no. He so captures the tone and goofiness that is the Carpenter crowd... I pray he will be around forever. A.

    11 of 11 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

    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.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Tremendous Series, great narration."
    "Good... But"

    Starts out a 5... Ends up a 4. Got a little off course and the ending seemed rushed.

    However... Can anyone tell me why is it every author seems incapable of NOT sharing, even indirectly, their political leanings?? Do they not understand that most of us just do not care?? Liberals will rate this a 5.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Bomb Built in Hell

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Andrew Vachss
    • Narrated By Phil Gigante
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    While doing extended time for killing a fellow prisoner, Wesley meets Carmine Trentoni in a New York state prison. Carmine's life sentence hasn't cut him off from his outside sources, and he sees great potential in Wesley to carry out his revenge. Wesley emerges from prison prepared to be the perfect hit man: calculating, deadly, and driven by money. On his release, Wesley follows Carmine's directions to locate a Mr. Petraglia. Pet and Wesley set up shop in Brooklyn, and execute their assignments with finesse - and occasionally, more explosives than are strictly called for.

    Tim says: "There is no Reason for this Book to Exist 0 stars"
    "There is no Reason for this Book to Exist 0 stars"

    This is the second Vachss book I bought. The first, Strega, a Burke Novel, was pretty bad, but not intolerable. I decided that I'd probably skip the Burke series and try another of his (generally) highly rated novels. Thus:

    A Bomb Built in Hell - A truly horrible novel.

    In essence, this is a biography of a very sick human (though I use that word advisedly).

    He is a sociopath and is not even remotely likeable in any way. It is not entertaining. While the writing is OK, no amount of decent writing can overcome the garbage content. Even those who can handle extreme violence will find no comfort here.

    The book starts early with killings and lots of violence... then continues with more killing and worse violence.

    For six hours, I kept looking for any reason justifying Wesley's psychotic and super violent behavior. None. Absolutely NONE! He simply kills everyone, innocents included, throughout the book.

    Even when he murders for a "reason" this is not vigilante stuff (which I can handle). Wesley is not only unlikeable from ANY viewpoint, he has no reason whatsoever to exist, and should have been removed from the chessboard at birth.

    I bought this because of the generally positive reviews on Amazon, often a good source of reviews from those buying the print version. They let me down.

    Other than the superb performance by Gigante (one of his best BTW), this is just trash. I bet he spent a long time in the shower after recording this thing.

    I suggest you not even think a moment about spending your $$$ or a credit on this pap.

    It is 100% junk "literature". Again... save your $$$.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, Book 9

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Shadows are falling on the usually festive Christmas season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone. As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines.

    Nancy J says: "Welcome Home!"
    "Look... Here's the deal"

    Louise Penny may well be the best writer of modern detective novels... Ever. I have read all of her work... Incredible.

    Don't hesitate for a second to jump in with number one and work your way up.

    I am not thrilled with the reader, but the quality of the writing overcomes all... Even him.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Absent One

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Jussi Adler-Olsen
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In The Keeper of Lost Causes, Jussi Adler-Olsen introduced Detective Carl Mørck, a deeply flawed, brilliant detective newly assigned to run Department Q, the home of Copenhagen’s coldest cases. The result wasn’t what Mørck - or readers - expected, but by the opening of Adler-Olsen’s shocking, fast-paced follow-up, Mørck is satisfied with the notion of picking up long-cold leads. So he’s naturally intrigued when a closed case lands on his desk: A brother and sister were brutally murdered two decades earlier....

    Judith Baker says: "New favorite author"
    "I made a big mistake..."

    While some readers complained about the narrator, I think the real problem was choosing a British narrator to interpret a Danish detective. Makes no sense, and didn't work well. That was the producer's fault. The reader was fine, but with all the fine alternative readers, Pacey was a crummy and distracting choice.

    My big mistake was reading this book after recently reading the Louise Penny novels... All eight of them! She may arguably be the finest living author of the modern detective genre and frankly, this author is not close.

    This is a C level book. Not sorry I read it... But I am not at all motivated to buy another. I also found the interaction between the protagonist and his "staff of 2" to be just weird. His staff were far better detectives than the detective who, quite frankly, detected little.

    In fact, I could not connect with Merck at any level, neither professionally nor personally. Found him to be boring and not overly bright. Hard to build a series around that.

    Still, as you can see, my three star rating is in the minority, so give the book a try and if you agree with my analysis, you'll know to consider my other reviews when you see them.

    But if you REALLY want something special, check out Inspector Gamache by Louise Perry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Angels Flight: A Harry Bosch Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Michael Connelly
    • Narrated By Peter Giles
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    An activist attorney is killed in a cute little L.A. trolley called Angels Flight, far from Harry Bosch's Hollywood turf. But the case is so explosive - and the dead man's enemies inside the L.A.P.D. are so numerous - that it falls to Harry to solve it. Now the streets are superheating. Harry's year-old Vegas marriage is unraveling. And the hunt for a killer is leading Harry to another high-profile L.A. murder case, one where every cop had a motive. The question is, did any have the guts?

    Janels says: "Suffers from poor narration"
    "A Really Good Book!"

    This may be the best of the Harry Bosch series, so if it is your first Bosch experience, you might be in for a let down when you read some of the others... But not much of a let down. The whole series is very good.

    It is a well crafted novel and I can pretty much promise an excellent and enjoyable listen. Very hard to put away for the night. Publisher review is accurate enough.

    I would tend not to pay much attention to reviewers who bash the narrator. He actually does a very credible job... Though not brilliant. I gave him 4 stars, and that is about right.

    For very sensitive readers, I give a small caution, but technically perhaps a very small spoiler. Very small... But if you are as described, maybe read below. If not, just stop now and download! You will enjoy.

    For sensitive readers:

    There is some not very graphic reference to child abuse. Should not bother most... But a few might feel uncomfortable if that topic affects you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bury Your Dead: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Louise Penny
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come to Winter Carnival - not to join the revels but to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society - where an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?

    Susan says: "Ms. Penny writes a wonderful mystery story"
    "Extraordinary Novel... Crummy Narrator"

    OK... First the blasphemy. Ralph Cosham is terrible. I know, I know... everybody loves him, but there are a ton of international narrators that could far better interpret her work.

    He reads wonderfully and has a great voice, but is 100% incapable of giving different voices to all the characters men or women, English or French, and this is important because there are a lot of characters to remember. He does not even try. I believe this to be critical in this novel and expect the other books by author Louise Penny. She likes to move her characters and their locations about every 10 minutes. Because reader Ralph Cosham fails to differentiate the players, it make it very hard to listen for those changes. This may be one book where the printed version may be better.

    As for the novel?

    It was super!! My first experience with Louise Penny but not my last. A caution though.... this book requires CLOSE attention. I tried driving and listening and that was a dismal failure. I have a good attention span, but for me, this book required a quiet space with no external distractions. Until I "got" this, I must have hit the "back 30 seconds" button about 45 times.

    Louise Penny also mixes time frames... a lot. One character reliving the past and then instantly, another character in real time. Sound awful? It is not... but again, you better pay close attention.

    The publisher's summary is just silly. Don't read it as it is full of errors.

    ... but DO read the book! Oh yeah... Read the book if you like fine writing and a good mystery.

    Bonus time!

    This book actually contains TWO mysteries (two crimes) and at least TWO love stories... (and maybe three for the adroit reader).


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Criminal Enterprise

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Owen Laukkanen
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    From the outside, Carter Tomlin's life looked perfect: a big house, pretty wife, two kids - a St. Paul success story. But Tomlin has a secret. He's lost his job, the bills are mounting, and that perfect life is hanging by a thread. Desperate, he robs a bank. Then he robs another. As the red flags start to go up, FBI Special Agent Carla Windermere homes in on Tomlin from one direction, while Minnesota state investigator Kirk Stevens picks up the trail from another.

    Tim says: "A Criminal Enterpise for the Reader"
    "A Criminal Enterpise for the Reader"

    I have received so many good tips in Richard in San Anselmo, California that I hate to disagree so adamantly with his review of this book. This book is simply dreadful. If it could be given zero stars I would have done that, but fortunately the narrator, Edoardo Ballerini, is so good that he drags it kicking and screaming from a 0 to a 1.

    As for the publishers description... it is pretty accurate, so I will not rehash that. The plot starts out reasonably enough but then gets carried to an extreme that is simply no longer logical. Those of you readers who pay attention to details like ballistics, finger prints, etc. will certainly notice that there are some huge issues that are never addressed in the book. Why? I have no idea. Serious and dreadful crimes are committed, and in one case the careful reader will immediately think "why, they are going to recognize her" long before the crime is committed... and yet the crime proceeds completely and totally illogically. Crimes that should be tied together early on are missed because of faulty (read that as NO) police procedures.

    If you are one of those Audible readers that keeps track of details, that looks for good character development, requires that the characters in the book (both good guys and bad guys) act at least intelligently and if not intelligently then at least an understandable manner, then you should absolutely pass on this book.

    If you love mysteries and thrillers, and look for logical behavior where the good guys move inexorably to a satisfying conclusion (with a few reasonable twists and roadblocks along the way), then again you should pass on this book. It will drive you bonkers.

    If you like characters to whom you can relate or even like, then you should pass on this book.

    There are just tons of technical errors in this book.

    There are a number of errors in grammar, but with the US schools turning out such poor quality students, a tend to forgive these errors as I am delighted when I read a sentence with both a subject and predicate. Thankfully, Owen Laukkanen was educated in Canada.

    Why all the errors? I do not know whether this is the fault of the person(s) who proof read the book and simply did not read it in a critical manner and catch the discrepancies before submission, or maybe the editors just felt like they had to publish something that day. If I listed all the errors, it would almost certainly spoil the book, and I don't want to do that. But I will again warn you that if you are one of those detailed type readers who really enjoys mysteries and thrillers, you will find so many distractions that will keep you from simply enjoying this book to its full potential. I call them the "what the hell?" moments and they drive critical readers like me right out of our minds. I will not even mention all the numerous clichés.

    Sadly, there are also no likable characters in this book. Windermere from the FBI is just a very unlikable selfish self-involved thoughtless person. She is arrogant to the nth degree. Her police procedurals are terrible. Her personality is such that she antagonizes everybody that she works with including the reader. Her FBI partner was no gem, but frankly, I agreed with much of his assessment of her.

    Stevens from the BCA Minnesota is a character added to the book because if he was not added to the book, Windermere could do absolutely nothing because she angers everybody she works with.

    At one point, Stevens proceeds to do something so stupid, and so patently illogical (not to mention illegal) that it rates high in my "what the hell?" list. It is just simply contrived. His stupid actions were apparently required for no other reason than to justify his existence in the book and help Windermere with her problem.

    Unnecessary, it also will draw Stevens teenaged daughter into the mix eventually endangering her life as well. No, this is not a spoiler, because anyone reading the book will immediately be able to predict what's going to happen. Oh... PS: This author either has no teenage kids or never talks to them. The ones in this novel also behave illogically and their dialog is just not 21st century teenspeak... even if they are from Minnesota.

    The climax is just silly. Again I do not want to say too much so as to avoid spoiling this book should you decide to waste a credit, but any of you who have visited the Minneapolis area will immediately just start laughing when you find out where the bad guy finally gets his comeuppance and the descriptions thereof.

    Side note: There also seems to be a new trend with some of the younger authors (this guy is about 30) to add (by innuendo if not directly) their political leanings whether liberal or conservative, to the books that they are writing. Little "comments in passing". They also seem to throw in a certain amount of political correctness. Hint to author: Not everyone acts or speaks in a politically correct manner and many don't want to! Bad guys seldom do. I strongly believe that this has no place in literature. Tell the story, and leave out your personal agenda and the other junk.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Red Sparrow: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Jason Matthews
    • Narrated By Jeremy Bobb
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

    Mel says: "Sexy Saucy Spies"
    "Yeah... It's a winner!"

    There are not a lot of reviews on this book which is why I will chime in with my thoughts.

    This is a first time author, and he has done an excellent job. I will certainly be an early reader of his next offering.

    The Publisher's Summary is a tad melodramatic, but it is designed to sell as we all know. Still, no major errors.

    This is for sure a clever spy novel, but to compare it to John le Carré as did one reviewer? Nope... but that is NOT to say it is not a great read. It is just that le Carré expects a sophisticated and highly educated reader and allows the plot to develop in the readers mind, and for that reason, he writes for a far more narrow audience.

    Jason Matthews is what I would call, “A writer for the common man”, and that is NOT a negative. John le Carré is a hard read for many. With Matthews there is no need here to have your dictionary nor a bucket of patience at hand awaiting plot development. Matthews does an excellent job of building suspense right from the start... something I learned early to my regret in Chapter 1 when I decided to be late to a meeting just see what happened to the protagonist Nathaniel Nash. Caught me nicely off guard.


    If you have read the other reviews, you see some negative comments about the recipes. Oh geez people... get over it. This author ends each chapter with a recipe. So what! Sometimes they are what the characters ate in that chapter... other times just recipes more or less related to location/country. Any time an author uses his imagination to make his novel a bit different is, to me, a clever divergence from the norm. Just make sure you are not reading this book on an empty stomach... some of those recipes sound awfully good!

    Authentic Detail

    Ummm... I have no idea if all the details are authentic, and I doubt if there are many who do. Dominika (the Russian agent) supposedly was sent the Sparrow School where female spies were taught the sexual arts to use as agents. There seems to be no hard data to confirm the existence of a Sparrow School, but Tom Clancy did introduce the idea in one of his books. Who cares? It plays well in this book. As for all the other details? Same thing... I really read books like this for enjoyment. They call it fiction for a reason. It feels authentic and to me that is what is most important in a fiction novel. The CIA certainly does not come out looking much better than the old KGB, but that should probably not be much of a surprise.


    OK... now I have your attention... Jason Matthews writes really good sex scenes! No raw nasty overdone fornication here. He gives the reader the passion without the need for vulgarity. I suspicion women will like this (though I may by just be inadvertently a sexist pig). In fact he writes it so well, especially from what I am guessing is the female point of view, that Jason Matthews is clearly in touch with his feminine side. Further, as sex between the lead characters is forbidden, it makes the wait all the better.

    The Reader

    Jeremy Bobb tries. He really does. However, he just reads... That's it. He simply does not have the breadth to bring life to the many characters and makes no attempt to add the accents and characterization so important in a novel of this type. I would suggest someone like John Lee for future novels, though there are certain many who could master the accents and make the book even better.


    The book offers lots of intrigue, action, suspense and enough humor that the other stuff does not overwhelm the reader. Unlikely to win any awards, but absolutely worth a credit and a few hours of your time. Get it.... oh... and be prepared for a follow-up novel. We leave a character nicely dangling!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Two for Texas

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton

    This James Lee Burke novel, featuring Son Holland - the great-grandfather of Burke's Billy Bob Holland - as he flees a Louisiana prison camp with a Native American woman and a fellow prisoner in tow, is now available in audio.

    Tim says: "So Good... and a bonus! Clete is here!"
    "So Good... and a bonus! Clete is here!"

    Burke is as good as it gets. Every time I think I could be a novelist, I read ANYTHING of his and realize that he sets the standard and I have far far to go.

    The Book

    This may be (I HOPE!) a starter novel to see reader reactions. Well, my reaction is EXCELLENT. I say starter as the novel is quite short... about 5 hours. I so wanted it to go on, but Burke resolves all threads and ends it with me wanting more. I doubt Birke reads these reviews but if he is doing so... Write more on Son and Hugh!

    Somehow, the publishers summary was pretty correct... something that as we know does not always happen... so if I write much more, it might spoil for others, but just a hint...

    We meet Jim Bowie, Sam Houston, come close to Davy Crockett...

    Will Patton is so good he is scary. Stealing a comment from another reviewer, he could read the US tax code and make it interesting.

    One of our two heroes, Hugh... well... it's Clete from some of Burke's other fine books. I recognized it instantly, but it is not even a minor distraction.

    Get the book. I guarantee that the five hours you will spend will only improve your life!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Separation of Power: Mitch Rapp Series

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Vince Flynn
    • Narrated By Ken Kliban
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Newly appointed CIA director Dr. Irene Kennedy is the target of an inside plot to destroy her and prematurely end the American President's term. To make matters worse, Saddam Hussein is close to entering the nuclear arms race - something Israel has vowed to stop. With the haunting specter of World War III looming, the president calls on his secret weapon: top counter-terrorism operative Mitch Rapp. But with only two weeks to take out the nukes, Rapp is up against a ticking clock - and impossible odds.

    laurel says: "Narrator turns Rapp into a snooty, cranky man"
    "Mitch Rapp - Drag Queen"
    Any additional comments?

    This "review" is written presuming you have read at least one Mitch Rapp novel.

    Never have I written a review of any book before finishing it completely. This is an exception as I believe it is critical to warn others just how AWFUL is the performance.  Do NOT buy this book.

    Now you might correctly state, "But I see that a bunch of other reviewers stated quite clearly just how lousy is performer Kenny (which I am sure he is called by his good buddies). You clearly paid no heed". That would be correct.

    Sadly, hubris (mine) reared its ugly head as I thought, "I have listened to hundreds of books where some reviewer complained about the reader, and they exaggerated just how bad was that person.  I know better!

    In this case, every reviewer who warned how bad is this clown actually overstated his performance by a factor of five. It is beyond atrocious! The book may just be unreadable (un-listenable?) I have spent four hours struggling through three chapters! I will struggle to persevere. No guarantees.

    If the writer had not peppered the text with an abundance of "Mitch saids" or "Kennedy saids), you would never be able differentiate just who was speaking! All the character's voices are effete, feminine, and well.. the same. I can only compare it to a convention of Ru Paul's hairdressers. Poor Mitch sounds like he received a bullet to his nether regions resulting in him sounding like an anti terrorist drag queen! I have not read far enough to find out if he actually confronts and must speak to a real terrorist, but if he does, Mitch will not require a gun to kill the person. The terrorist will simple die from oxygen failure because of the uncontrollable laughter.

    If you listen not to the other reviewers, do listen to me please... skip this one. You are not missing a thing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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