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Verl

Reader and Writer from Colorado Springs carefully disguised as a financial advisor all these years. Who knows what lies below a snowy rooftop?

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States | Member Since 2008

15
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 7 reviews
  • 18 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 13 purchased in 2014
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  • Our Man in Havana

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Graham Greene
    • Narrated By Jeremy Northam
    Overall
    (117)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (103)

    In a legendary novel that appears to predict the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Graham Greene introduces James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose life in transformed when he is asked to join the British Secret Service. He agrees, and finds himself with no information to offer, so begins to invent sources and agencies which do not exist, but which appear very real to his superiors.

    Jean says: "Delete the Music and It Would Be Fine"
    "Graham Greene should not be a Well-Kept Secret"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Our Man in Havana?

    I wasn't expecting the chuckles. This is really a preposterous story, one which pokes fun at the Cold War intelligence gathering establishment. While not per se satire, at least in my opinion, the humour is very droll; tongue-in-cheek.


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

    No one ever expected this to be that kind of page turner. It's a great story set in the days before Castro, when so many players had "interests" in Cuba. But you get a real sense of the era and what it must have been like back in the day.


    What about Jeremy Northam???s performance did you like?

    Very Competent.


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

    No "extreme reactions," but a very satisfying read. I was surprised at how much fun Greene had with his characters, and by the same token, his audience.


    Any additional comments?

    This is not Ian Fleming, James Bond, action thriller. This is not any of the current crop of writers who do this kind of story for the current reader who wants a summer read that can be tossed on the way back from the beach. But this is very entertaining in its own way.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Half of Paradise

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Mark Zeisler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (43)
    Performance
    (37)
    Story
    (37)

    In this intense, fascinating story, Burke follows the lives of three young Louisiana men, each of whom finds himself in desperate circumstances. There's Avery Broussard, the last survivor of a family of once-prosperous land owners, who has a weakness for alcohol; J.P. Winfield, a poor singer and guitar player who rises to fame as a country music star, only to be destroyed by drug addiction; and Toussaint Boudreaux, a black longshoreman who moonlights as a heavyweight boxer.

    Morrison Mckenzie says: "Not a feel good story"
    "Worst narrator in history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Half of Paradise?

    Unlike Jim Burke's later books, this one doesn't have a straightforward plot, beginning, middle and end. It just sort of happened. But on the other hand, this is a first novel, and I didn't realize that until after I finished.


    Has Half of Paradise turned you off from other books in this genre?

    It's amazing how much Burke has matured as a writer. The seeds of greatness are in this book. It's more than a curiosity piece.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator should be able to read. Inflection, character and acting skills are important. This narrator does not demonstrate any of these traits.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Half of Paradise?

    none. I'd just fire the narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    James Lee Burke remains my favorite writer and I'm glad I have now been through his first novel. He has quite a history since then. Pick it up. Maybe you'll like the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lay Down My Sword and Shield

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (524)
    Performance
    (351)
    Story
    (346)

    Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney Hackberry Holland yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat - and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers.

    Cat F. says: "The Publisher's Summary is Anemic"
    "Jim Burke has gotten way better since 1971"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The poetic prose we all love from Burke is safe and sound in this early novel by my best and most favorite writer. But this is a tough read because it's difficult to separate the back story of a Korean war vet, now an alcoholic and pretty dislikable lawyer running for Congress in 1960's Texas. from the current plot line which involves farmworker union organizers in the Rio Grande Valley. I wish it had been one book or the other, because it was distracting making the leap from flash back to present tense. Not a lot of likable characters in a story that often seems unable to tell itself, or to decide which story to tell.


    Would you recommend Lay Down My Sword and Shield to your friends? Why or why not?

    I recommend it to those readers who've already decided they like Hackberry Holland from his two more recent novels, which I liked a lot! You'll be interested to see where Sheriff Holland came from. But if you're not already addicted to Burke's writing, this is not where I'd advise you to start reading.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Epilog.


    What character would you cut from Lay Down My Sword and Shield?

    The characters are all stock personalities done better in later work.


    Any additional comments?

    Not my favorite by a long shot, but not without redeeming quality either. The descriptive prose is good as ever. And it's interesting to use this as a gauge for later work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deliverance

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By James Dickey
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1320)
    Performance
    (1168)
    Story
    (1169)

    The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

    Katherine says: "excruciatingly vivid, marvelously written and read"
    "Gripping!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Deliverance to be better than the print version?

    Will Patton's voice is genius. He is a cast of characters in one person. Nothing competes with the pleasure of holding a book, but if you just have to hold the book, do so while wearing headphones.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Deliverance?

    This may be the longest sustained portrayal of white knuckle suspense in the history of literature. It's about the scariest book I've ever read or listened to. The tension just goes on and on and even when you think it's over, it's not.


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

    I've listened to almost all the James Lee Burke work. This is Patton at his best.


    Who was the most memorable character of Deliverance and why?

    The narrator. It's first person narrative and this is the only way you can figure out that anyone is getting out of this alive.


    Any additional comments?

    Top Notch!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You're 80 and Beyond

    • ABRIDGED (7 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By Chris Crowley, Henry S. Lodge
    • Narrated By Don Leslie, Rick Adamson
    Overall
    (429)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (140)

    Younger Next Year is about how to turn back your biological clock. How to become functionally younger every year for the next five to 10 years, and continue to live with vitality and grace into your 80s and beyond.

    A. Stephens says: "Excellent information"
    "Live Like Nobody Else to Live Like Nobody Else"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Younger Next Year in three words, what would they be?

    Compelling book for all of us guys over 50. Good humor; Good advice. Well done.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    n/a


    What about Don Leslie and Rick Adamson ???s performance did you like?

    They channeled the authors and I would have bet they were the authors.


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

    They got me when they pointed out that lifestyle can contribute to or minimize the risks of alzheimers and diabetes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Razor's Edge

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Michael Page
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (315)
    Performance
    (171)
    Story
    (178)

    The Great War changed everything and the years following it were tumultuous - most of all for those who lived the war first-hand. Maugham himself is a character in this novel of self-discovery and search for meaning, but the protagonist is a character named Larry. Battered physically and spiritually by the war, Larry's physical wounds heal, but his spirit is changed almost beyond recognition.

    Verl says: "Best of the Best"
    "Best of the Best"
    Overall

    Rarely do I go out of my way to recommend books to friends. More rarely a book written by an English writer published in 1944. No action novel this, but I've been talking about it to friends even since before I finished it. It's on a par with The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald's earlier work of the same era, the Jazz Age. And let me say if Elizabeth Gilbert had gotten it right, she might have written Razor's Edge. If you liked her book, you should love this one. If you hated her book, as I did, you may still love Somerset Maugham's book if the subject of man's journey to enlightenment is your cup of tea. Beyond the literary value and the weight of the tome, the narrator in this edition is the best narrator I've listened to, possessed of a vocal range that makes this audio book a rare treat. If you're still reading this review, then I think you'll love the book. Give it a shot!
    v

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Cut and Run

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Abigail Roux, Madeleine Urban
    • Narrated By Sawyer Allerde
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (515)
    Performance
    (390)
    Story
    (390)

    An erotic gay romance, a suspenseful thriller.... A series of murders in New York City has stymied the police and FBI alike, and they suspect the culprit is a single killer sending an indecipherable message. But when the two federal agents assigned to the investigation are taken out, the FBI takes a more personal interest in the case. Special Agent Ty Grady is pulled out of undercover work. He's cocky, abrasive, and indisputably the best at what he does.

    Zion says: "Stunned and surprised."
    ""This is Terrible," he said dejectedly."
    Overall

    How do books like this get published? If I had a dollar for all the "Tom Swifties" in the dialogue, I could retire. The outcome is so predictable you'll have it figured out in the first 3-4 chapters. Are romances typically written in such juvenile style? Character development is really Freshman Comp.

    Keep your money/credits intact, and keep looking!

    2 of 9 people found this review helpful

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