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W. Perry Hall

Member Since 2014

414
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 121 reviews
  • 527 ratings
  • 602 titles in library
  • 50 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
19

  • Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Mark Lewisohn
    • Narrated By Clive Mantle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (318)
    Performance
    (299)
    Story
    (301)

    Tune In is the first volume of All These Years - a highly-anticipated, groundbreaking biographical trilogy by the world's leading Beatles historian. Mark Lewisohn uses his unprecedented archival access and hundreds of new interviews to construct the full story of the lives and work of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

    Tad Davis says: "Insanely great"
    "In My Life"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    In my life, no musician has come close to influencing so many. While Elvis influenced the Beatles as a pioneer, the Beatles took rock and pop music much further across the music universe. And the Beatles influenced culture on a much grander scale. I cannot think of anyone who has come close.

    This book is inspiring and fascinating, to look at where the Beatles came from and how they came together. If you like the Beatles, you will love this book with one proviso: you may not be quite so interested in as much detail as the book provides.

    The world's foremost Beatles historian, a Doctor of Beatlosophy, Mark Lewisohn, has published the first volume of his trilogy in Beatles Bible. Volume I takes you through the formative years of the band, John, Paul, George and Ringo up through the end of 1962.

    When I was considering purchasing this, I looked at the Beatles' music over the years and I could not pass up a chance to listen to this. I hope that once Lewisohn has completed the trilogy a great documentarian like Ken Burns will pick this up and take this to another, higher form of media in words, sounds and pictures/film.

    I thought the narrator could have used a little more liveliness because when the book gets bogged down in so much detail, his monotone delivery makes it seems boring and even induces drowsiness.

    Overall, a great purchase!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Gangsterland: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Tod Goldberg
    • Narrated By Johnny Heller
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    A few surgeries and some intensive training later, and Sal Cupertine is gone, having disappeared into the identity of Rabbi David Cohen. Leading his growing congregation in Las Vegas, overseeing the population and the temple and the new cemetery, Rabbi Cohen feels his wicked past slipping away from him, surprising even himself as he spouts quotes from the Torah. But the Mafia isn't quite done with him.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Goombah Goes to Vegas and Becomes Tony with Torah"
    "Goombah Goes to Vegas and Becomes Tony with Torah"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really liked this easy-to-listen crime novel with its dryly witty, yet dark, plot I'd sum up as:

    Great Lakes Goombah Guns Down 4 G-men, Goes to Vegas, and Turns into a Tony with a Torah.

    Rabbi David Cohen (aka Sal Cupertino, a 35-year-old shadowy hitman with a bad plastic surgery job) appears to go through a existential crisis-lite as he misses his wife and young son and considers the Torah that he's basically committed to memory (his mob nickname was "Rain Man"), but maintains his killer karma. While Mr. Goldberg has fun playing with the interplay among Italian mobsters, a hitman's rabbinical conversion and perhaps a reptilian shedding of the Jewish skin, he doesn't glamorize gangsters, the mob lifestyle, Jews or G-men. The novel maintains a diabolical darkness in 1990's Las Vegas despite the comedic diversions.

    I'd not heard of Tod Goldberg before seeing the good reviews for this book, but he really seems to have hit his mark. I'll be looking forward to his next book.

    If you loved "The Sopranos" and "Bugsy," you should revel in "Gangsterland."

    My only complaint is the narration. I hate it when a narrator botches an easily recognizable, nearly household name, like Brett Favre (as Fave-ruh), a Hall of Fame QB, in an important part of the story, and then repeatedly mispronounces it. Of course, the Producer is just as much at fault for not correcting this.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Drink Before the War

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (430)
    Performance
    (367)
    Story
    (371)

    With novels like Mystic River and Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane has dramatically altered the landscape of the crime thriller—while boldly overstepping the boundaries that have long separated mystery from literature. Now two of his sensational early novels have been combined in a single volume—two gritty and mesmerizing masterworks of suspense featuring the private eye duo of Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

    L. O. Pardue says: "Great beginning to thriller series"
    "Highly Enjoyable Potboiler on Beantown Backstreets"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Excellent, suspenseful beginning to the series. Lehane was able to create magic mojo between partners Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro from the start, for a super 1-2 Irish-Italian P.I. punch, taking it to the Boston streets, dodging bullets, brawn and barbs from 2 black street gangs and some powerful politicians.

    This is a close 2d in the series to #4 "Gone Girl." I have criticized a couple of the other (particularly, #3) in the series as being too implausible and feeling forced. While the plot in #1 could be seen by some as far-fetched, it all seemed real and true to me.

    A highly enjoyable potboiler on the backstreets of Beantown.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Johann Hari
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    Overall
    (82)
    Performance
    (70)
    Story
    (71)

    It is now 100 years since drugs were first banned in the United States. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, 30,000-mile journey into the war on drugs. What he found is that more and more people all over the world have begun to recognize three startling truths: Drugs are not what we think they are. Addiction is not what we think it is. And the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens for so long.

    P. Smith says: "A Must if the drug war has touched you at all"
    "Engrossing Exploration of Drug War Failures"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An engrossing exploration of the failures of the "war on drugs" and the reasons why, through a narrative of the war's czar, users and abusers, peddlers, law enforcement, the poor souls who have been "collaterally damaged," current policy makers and governments who have legalized certain drugs (like Vancouver) and all drugs (Portugal). I also found his coverage of studies on addiction fascinating.

    Mr. Hari makes a compelling argument for legalization of all but darkly-affecting drugs like heroin and crack. I cannot say he's convinced me of the answers, but I am much more open to the persuasion of the arguments, as to certain drugs, after reading this book. While I do not believe I will see such legalization happen in my lifetime, this is a much-needed treatment of the subject that is certain to start conversations.

    I enjoy Mr. Hari's conversational writing style; yet, in parts, he seemed unable to control his supercilious tone.

    The narrator was terribly annoying, indulging himself in affected, preposterous American accents, depending on who he (the narrator) decided should be ridiculed (ironically).

    I definitely recommend this if you have someone near and/or dear to you with a drug problem.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • We Are Not Ourselves

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Matthew Thomas
    • Narrated By Mare Winningham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (309)
    Performance
    (266)
    Story
    (265)

    Born in 1941, Eileen Tumulty is raised by her Irish immigrant parents in Woodside, Queens, in an apartment where the mood swings between heartbreak and hilarity, depending on whether guests are over and how much alcohol has been consumed. When Eileen meets Ed Leary, a scientist whose bearing is nothing like those of the men she grew up with, she thinks she’s found the perfect partner to deliver her to the cosmopolitan world she longs to inhabit.

    Paula says: "Profound Narrative of FantisizingTragedy, Regret"
    "Somber, Poignant Novel on Timely Topic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    An elegiac novel to a committed wife/mother whose husband suffers early onset Alzheimer's. I could relate to her pain and loneliness as all the past and passion slowly slipped away and found particularly poignant her coping with the loss of her dreams of a dashing, successful professor husband with a beautiful home in the perfect suburb.

    A pure work of artistry in development of the characters of the wife, the husband and their son. My one complaint: it is a bit slow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • My Sunshine Away

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By M.O. Walsh
    • Narrated By Kirby Heybourne
    Overall
    (34)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (32)

    My Sunshine Away unfolds in a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom. But in the summer of 1989, when 15-year-old Lindy Simpson - free spirit, track star, and belle of the block - experiences a horrible crime late one evening near her home, it becomes apparent that this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia has a dark side, too.

    Melinda says: "'I dreamt I held you in my arms...'"
    "Remarkable Retrospective on Becoming a *True* Man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Some books are so piercing, so damn good that one hesitates to write a review, for fear that he cannot do that novel justice by failing to adequately convey the effect on him and how it caused so much self-reflection. But, here goes:

    I truly love this book. It is so many things: suspenseful, literary, coming-of-age. And yet, it doesn't fit neatly into one, rather it transcends categorization. It is, most of all, a melody to the evolution of young teen into man, a man of character, of morals, and of responsibility to his children and the women in his life: a real father to his kids, a devoted husband to his wife, a caring son to his mother and a brother grateful for his sisters.

    A retrospective traveling the path of progress toward manhood through the burning memories of first love, the pain of losing it, juvenile mistakes and self-doubts, going from innocence to the teen male's idolatry of sex and objectification of females, the protagonist learns life's hard lessons via a host of females and their relationships to the wrong kind of men, including his mother who was abandoned by his adulterous and absent father, his sister who had a penchant for abusive boyfriends, and his first love who was raped and struggled to move on.

    This lyrical Louisiana novel was so true to me and so eloquent.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Before He Finds Her

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Michael Kardos
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    Under the name Melanie Denison, she has spent the last 15 years in small-town West Virginia as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has never been allowed to travel, go to a school dance, or even have internet at home. Precautions must be taken at every turn, because Ramsey Miller was never caught and might still be looking for his daughter. Yet despite strict house rules, Melanie has entered into a relationship with a young teacher at the local high school and is now 10 weeks pregnant.

    Big jim Picotto says: "Enjoyable page turning mystery"
    "Riveting Mystery Glues-2-U for Hours"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am so glad I took a chance on this after reading the raves by other authors. I only half pay attention to these, but I've learned, I think, to trust certain authors not to BS and to read between the lines.

    The cover blurb by Jeffery Deaver is so dead-on: Read a few pages of this novel and kiss the next 24 hours goodbye. I couldn't give it up, as it eased back and forth between 2 storylines: 1) a 17-year-old recently pregnant girl, who's been hidden away in WVa in witness protection since 1991 she was nearly 3, searches for the father she knows killed her mother and who she's always assumed wants to kill her; and, 2) back to 1991 in the days and minutes leading up to her mother's murder (mostly omniscent from her father's POV but some from her mother).

    Plenty of twists and turns I cannot describe here without spoiling the book.

    Julia Whelan's narration is outstanding.

    I highly recommend this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blood-Drenched Beard

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Daniel Galera
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    A young man's father, close to death, reveals to his son the true story of his grandfather's death, or at least the truth as he knows it. The mean old gaucho was murdered by some fellow villagers in Garopaba, a sleepy town on the Atlantic now famous for its surfing and fishing. It was almost an execution, vigilante style. Or so the story goes.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Seaside Samba Set to Waves and Crosscurrents"
    "Seaside Samba Set to Waves and Crosscurrents"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Just prior to his suicide, the protagonist's dad tells a tale of the grandfather who was murdered under mysterious circumstances in a small town on the Brazilian coast. So the protagonist, who is a PE teacher/triathlete with the rare cognitive disorder called prosopagnosia (or, face blindness) with no real ties to his hometown, attends his dad's funeral then departs with his dad's 15-year-old dog for the coastal town of his grandfather's demise.

    The author's beautiful prose sings the uncertain atmosphere of the small seaside town in Brazil as our guy (who never meets someone who's not a stranger) endeavors, at least initially, to discover what happened to his grandfather. This superb novel carries us on a moody, sometimes haunting, journey through a unique cast of characters, including 3 girlfriends, a rowdy friend, the strange and hostile town, the ocean and its whales and the dog, as well as into a mountainous region on a walk-about of self-discovery and mirrors of the past and the present, as we discover and contemplate fate v. determinism, the ephemeral nature of love (familial and amorous), loyalty among family and of man's best friend, and the human capability (or not) of true forgiveness.

    Daniel Galera reminds me a bit of Márquez in his rhythmic prose and hazy, contemplative themes. He may well be destined for a similar plateau. Surely Senhor Galera is well on his way with a "Blood-Drenched Beard."

    Jonathan Davis outdoes himself with this assorted saltwater taffy of characters as he smoothly surfs through the dreamlike ocean winds of this novel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Prayers for Rain

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (156)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (139)

    What if a total stranger was watching your every move? What if he read your mail, listened in on your phone calls, knew what you spoke of only to your most trusted confidants? What if he learned Your routines? Your weaknesses? And, most important, what if he discovered those things you love and cling to . . . and then he stripped you of them? And sat back to watch while you self-destructed?

    Cindy says: "Too wordy, too implausible"
    "A Dark, Depthless Diversion"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this one. While the mixture of Kenzie and Gennaro and their dialogue seemed genuine and action suspenseful, the plot and the characters surrounding it were too stereotypical and implausible.

    A dark diversion without depth.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Vaillant
    • Narrated By John Vaillant
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (286)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (165)

    It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.

    Richard says: "Very well written and a must for Big Cat fans"
    "Symbolic Siberian Man-Eating Tiger"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The wonders you might find in the giant and bountiful gardens of literature have never failed to amaze me. One need only look widely enough and take a chance and he might be put in the Siberian taiga (the sometimes swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes) in far eastern Russia as the locals encounter a looming Amur tiger (a/k/a Siberian tiger which can grow up to 10 ft. & 660 lbs.), seemingly intent on exacting revenge for being shot and having already eaten two men in separate incidents over several days.

    In the course of this account, Mr. Vaillant colors the local characters and the poverty in the Primorski province of the Russian Far East, and makes one contemplate who is more danger to man (Panthera tigris altaica or Hominis corrupti regimen).

    Mr. Vaillant does a great job narrating and paints a fuller picture with his voice inflections and pauses. This makes him an exception to the rule that authors make lousy narrators, though I'm finding more and more that some narrators apparently believe they can improve up (i.e., modify) the book by adding ridiculous accents, emphases that are clearly misplaced, and their otherwise overly dramatic flourishes.

    Brilliant nonfiction that I'd not heard of until a few days ago while digging in the Audible/Amazon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suspended Sentences: Three Novellas

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Patrick Modiano
    • Narrated By Bronson Pinchot, Sean Runnette, Arthur Morey
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    In this essential trilogy of novellas by the winner of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature, French author Patrick Modiano reaches back in time, opening the corridors of memory and exploring the mysteries to be encountered there.

    W. Perry Hall says: "Blissful Idiot"
    "Blissful Idiot"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Each of these 3 novellas is an entertaining voyage bizarre, like cruising through the dreams/nightmares/memories of an elderly Parisian "blissful idiot," as he was labeled in the eponymous novella by the édenté matriarche excentrique of his "foster family" full of females/underworld paramours in a post-WWII Paris brothel.

    This was worth buying, IMO (4.2 stars); but I'm not part of a redneck agenda.

    Sean Runnette was, as usual, excellent. Arthur Morey, bless him, has the nerdiest voice on Audible. And I wish Bronson Pinchot would go back to the start of his career to remember why he didn't do accents. He's so caught up shuttling the French accent that he's nearly impossible to understand.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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