The character Marty Singer. He was so easy to connect with.
The pacing was great, with quieter scenes in between the action. Also, there is a pet cat that has no loyalty to Marty (the book is true to life).
Lloyd Sherr was an excellent pick for this book. He owned the role and I can’t imagine another voice for Marty. He also had distinctive voices for the other characters, including the ladies.
This book was a distraction. Don’t tell my man, but dinner was late a few nights because I wanted to listen to this book instead of making a glorious meal (and I do enjoy cooking). Yeah. I liked it that much. Quite frankly, I got attached to Marty Singer. His character made the book for me. He’s got a cat, is a history buff, bit of a wise ass, and has a soft spot for people being stalked by killers. I wanted Marty to kick his cancer in the ass, catch the killer/stalker, and save the day. And he does, but the path is full of twists and turns. Marty had to be nimble to catch his man.
Amanda, a 20-something year old with one degree and working on a second while interning at the university, was the maiden in distress. As Marty was my favorite character, Amanda was my least. I really only have one criticism about this book, and it is how Amanda is portrayed. She lost her mother to a shooting as a kid, grew up in foster care, got a degree, has a job, and is working on a second degree. So why is she portrayed as a 16 year old kid half the time in the book? Other than being the object of desire for the stalker, she doesn’t really bring anything to the story.
OK, enough on that. Enter Julie, the defense attorney who got the cop involved in the shooting of Brenda Lane off. Yeah. Now that the stalker/killer is back and leaving little flowers for Amanda, Marty starts digging through Brenda’s case. Alas, much of the files from the 1990s have been lost or somehow destroyed. So Marty goes to Julie, to see if she has any information on the cop and is willing to share. I really liked Julie’s character because she starts off so very prickly, but then softens, decides to help out, and as a friendship forms between Marty and Julie and Amanda, we learn some of the reasons Julie seems so bitter. She had depth and I liked how that depth was explored.
The pacing was excellent, with plenty of suspense intermixed with reflection, piecing the clues together, and a bit of action. The ending had a few twists I was not expecting (excellent, as I don’t like to guess the ending every book). And the ending also left me hoping Marty’s battle with cancer goes well. Which of course makes we want to read the next in the series.
Yes. It was fun and it is a good length for a but of a commute across state lines.
The final story, Alien Embrace, was excellent! So poignant and the author left the ending up to the reader's interpretation.
He makes some interesting alien noises, and also mimics a distressed human very well.
The final story had me thinking for quite some time.
This collection of short stories consists of 5 pretty short pieces and 1 longer story. If I misspell any character or place names in this review, please forgive me as I was listening and not reading. Over all, it is a great collection and humorous, and sometimes serious, science fiction.
Lietenant Commander Roe has braids. It’s part of his thing, his personal identity. Unfortunately, you can’t climb the ladder in the space navy with long hair. You can, however, get your braids caught in the automated doors (which leads to having amused friends). This was a very amusing, short story that brought together braids, job insecurity, space jelly fish, and hopeful romance. And it did it well.
Escape From Damas Prime
Rook & Tool are brothers. Tool and his wife recently were approved to breed. Rook chats privately with his brother about the Progressive Thinkers, who Tool thinks are all radicals. There is a secret mission to leave their place, explore the rest of the galaxy/universe, and find out if their race is still hated. Deet (a Progressive Thinker) is slated to go on this mission, but Rook will be sucked into help more than he initially signed on to do.
This story left me with lots of questions: Are these guys more machine than animal? Are they virtual beings trapped in a computer program? What will happen to their mission? It was well written but I hope there will be (or is) more to the story.
A bored paperpusher, Dylan, is stuck at work on the boring night shift. Nothing ever happens. He will be lucky to have just one worker pop on by for their regular drug screening. And then a huge ursine alien walks in, grunts a lot, and falls to the floor, her belly moving. Things just got a whole lot more interesting.
This was a very short story, and a classic tale, but it was still fun to watch Dylan go from whining about his boring job to trying to convince Medic to send some personnel to his office right away. It got more than 1 chuckle out of me.
A Brief Interruption
Captain Jules as an ongoing argument with her spaceship’s AI as she struggles to win victorious over the attacking space squids. As we quickly learn, this is her avatar blinking in and out of the game.
Again, this was a really short story, and I also enjoyed it quite a bit. Enjoying my PC games, and also having spotty internet connections whenever it rains, snows, or is windy, I could relate to this. I was amused.
We are back with Dylan from the story Sector 7. Again, it is another boring night shift. He rustles through the shifts mail only to find that Medical’s mail has been delivered to him accidentally. Before he can work up the motivation to walk it up to them, something many-toothed and alien escapes from one of the packages and proceeds to climb up his leg. Of course, he rings Medical for immediate assistance and this leads to all sorts of embarrassment for Dylan and high amusement for me. This was probably my second favorite story in the book.
This was the prime jewel in this collection and my favorite. It is also the longest, so we got to spend the most time with the characters (and that is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed it a bit more than the others). Jo Lorey, a musician, has been brought out to this alien planet by the mining company. The mining management need to do their best to verify that the planet is not inhabited by any intelligent, self-aware, society-building species. Jo’s friend, Hillary has caught one of the Warblers (as the somewhat reptile/bird-like aliens are called) for observation. She has tried every way she knows how to attempt communication with it and has failed. However, they have noticed that the Warblers create a type of music. Jo is there to attempt communication through the music of her flute.
This was a beautifully written story that had a very poignant ending. Ah! I hope the best for Jo and the Warblers but fear the worse! Excellent story.
The Narration: Eric Vincent did a good job with the narration, having distinct voices for both the male and female characters. He also made some very interesting sounds for some of the aliens. I loved the distressed human noises he made at the appropriate times.
Yes. Well, I will subject my man to it on some shared commute in the future.
No, I haven't listened to Weiner books before, but I wouldn't mind listening to more of his books.
Jean richmond - she has to be both sexy and sly, angry and cool.
No. This book was just for fun.
Jean Richmond and Sid Knee team up to find the nearly mythical, long-lost Plate of Marange. Richmond’s current boyfriend, Herm, tags along, financing the endeavor. Starting off in a strip joint, space shipping through the galaxy, and ending on an alien world, these adventurers, along with a cast of questionable participants, start turning on one another pretty quickly. Can Richmond remain true to any of her promises or does every man need to watch his back?
The story was really fast paced, as one would expect from a short piece. The humor was laced throughout this space treasure hunt, though it sometimes relied on puns (which aren’t my thing, but might be your thing). There’s plenty of grown up humor with the innuendos and occasional sex scene. There pretty much is just one female character, Jean Richmond, and, of course, I would have liked to have seen more ladies in the mix. Jean used her feminine wiles to trick the boys, and out right strip teased to get her way in some cases. I kept fluctuating back and forth on whether to root for her or offer to toss her in a cell myself; and that was one of the things I liked about this story.
The quest itself, the hunt for the Marange Plate, was nebulous, and a little silly. The story really focused more on the characters double crossing each other (which was pretty entertaining). See, it’s not just Richmond who has secrets and a hidden agenda. So there were plenty of characters who I thought might be ricking up the body count. Over all, this was a fun story for as short as it was and I think it would be great to share with other adults on long commute. This is a spinoff of the Anne Manx series and works fine by itself (and my curiosity is now peaked to check out Anne Manx).
The Narration: As you can see by the list of narrators above, this was a full cast! It was complete with accents and plenty of immersive sounds. Don’t worry, the sound effects and occasional music background did not over ride the narrators; their performance was clear, being enhanced by the effects.
Excellent, surprising, entertaining.
Other urban fantasy series like Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files.
The one with the hooker made me laugh the most. The fight scenes were also great. And I loved the parts where her lovers want more from her but she isn't ready for that.
Hey, when your job is dying for a living, is any health benefit package really sufficient?
Jesse Sullivan is a necronite and hired as a consultant by the government to participate in federally sanctioned life regenerations. Basically, a client pays a fee to the company, an AMP (a simple acronym for a fancy term for psychic) is consulted, and a necronite is assigned to shadow the person on the day of their predetermined death. When death comes, someone has to walk through the tunnel of light into the void and that is what Jesse is paid to do. Don’t worry, she regenerates in anywhere from a few hours to a day later (depending on the circumstances of death). The story opens on the morning of her 67th death as she meets her client, her life assistant (Allie) in tow. He’s a pretty dull business man and sure enough, Jesse saves him later in the day, after many hours of watching him make boring calls and process paperwork. The most exciting thing about this man was his use of improper slang, such as ‘zombie’ for necronite.
The 68th death was much more interesting. Jesse was assigned to a prostitute. Yep, Jesse got an education during this day’s work. These were some of the best scenes of the book, having me laugh out loud. Who was pretending to be the boat again? What are we bending the other direction? Of course, Jesse has to stay in the same room as the client the entire time, so she got to play a different role for each of the prostitute’s clients throughout the day, including a sex worker in training. Ha!
The story gets a little deeper when someone tries to outright kill Jesse (yes, even zombies can be killed) and it is just luck that her friends are able to save her in time. This event is the start of a deeper mystery for Jesse, Allie, and Lane (Jesse’s friend with benefits). There’s a lot of people and groups, including many religious organizations, that see the necronites as unnatural. It’s hard to nail down just which group or which individual wanted Jesse dead for good. Her case handler, Brinkley, goes missing and suspicion falls on him.
But then things get even weirder for Jesse. Most necronites don’t recall much of their lives before their first regeneration. Jesse’s first death was due to a barn fire. She has a complicated and sometimes painful past; as the story moves forward, Jesse has to start working through some of that. Then we have Gabriel, a black winged, suited man that only she can see and interact with. Now Jesse must question her own sanity.
I really enjoyed this fast paced urban fantasy. It used science to explain (sort of, it’s still fiction) the regenerations and then placed it within a boring government job. Jesse’s ability isn’t unique (there are others, although not bunches, like her) and it is used like a tool in her weekly job. I really liked this new take on zombies. With our current culture saturated with zombie books, movies, tv, music, costumes, games, etc., I wasn’t sure I would find this book interesting. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I didn’t want to put the book away.
And there was a love triangle! I despise love triangles in general, feeling that they are also overused in the last 10 years. But this one was different. Jesse wants simple – like friends with benefits kind of simple. She’s not looking for a long-term, deep connection kind of relationship. But both her lovers are. Plus our main character is bisexual (without it being a big deal). I loved this aspect because Jesse was so many things – government consultant, snarky wit, center of some big mystery – and oh, yeah, she also swings both ways. It was footnote to her character, not the main aspect. So the love triangle really worked for me, adding to the character building instead of ticking me off.
I almost passed on this book and I am ever so glad I did not. There’s a lot of cool stuff that happens in the second half of the book, but I don’t want to toss spoilers around. Let’s say that there is plenty of action, some sacrifice, more character development, and more dealing with the past. It’s excellent. I am very much hoping Book 2 in the series makes it’s way to audio as well.
The Narration: Hollie Jackson was a good fit for Jesse Sullivan. She really pulled off all of Jesse’s witty remarks and defensive mechanisms. She had distinct voices for all the characters and good range that included male and female characters.
Lots and lots of action.
This is the same question as above. Still, I like the action best.
He brought emotion and furry wolfish voices to the story. I really enjoyed his performance.
The aliens plan to dominate, but the wolves wish to remain free. The aliens are in trouble.
Note: This is Book 2 and I have not listened to Book 1 as I thought it would stand alone. It almost does. The plot is easy to grab on to, but the characters are introduced so quickly and little background is given that I lost track of who was who. So I recommend giving Book 1 a read/listen before venturing into this book.
OK, so we got aliens in mech suits stomping around our fair cities, rounding up humans for unknown uses. Then we have the werewolf pack lead by Zed Farr. His family and their friends are the only ones who can save humanity. There was at least 1 vampire in the mix and a sorcerer (though he might have also been a werewolf who just happens to be trained in the wizardly arts). Plenty of action and weapons make up the plot of this book. Oh, and death. Yes, there is death. In fact, I am not sure there will be a Book 3 in this series.
If I recall correctly, we started with Brian, who seems to have gone off on his own, lone wolfing it. He is gathered back into the family fold to battle the aliens. Zed, who takes on a southern USA hick accent (even though he is far older and can probably mimic any number of world-wide hicks), is the family’s leader. Then we had other players like Jennifer, Brooke, Nathan. But honestly, they were introduced so quickly with little to no background that I didn’t really get a sense of them. Also there is some rivalry between the Blood (trueborn werewolves) and the Turned (or was it Changed? – those that were bit and turned werewolf). One of the short stories gives a little more info on this, but largely it was pretty sketchy.
The action is fun, though the plot is very, very basic – kill the aliens before they kill you and eat you. While an alien or two have 2-4 lines late in the story, we never get any background on them and why they have invaded Earth and what their endgame is. Still, it was a fun lunch break listen. Honestly, it made me think of one of my PC games where I can just run around as a good(ish) guy and smash evil guys.
At the end of this novella, there were 2 short stories. I think they might have been better at the front to give the listener some background to a few of the characters. They were a nice addition to the audio version.
The Narration: David Dietz did a good job with maintaining distinct furry characters, blood suckers turning into mist, aliens in mech suits, and feminine voices. He made this book fun with his action voices – panicked, angry, sad, vengeful, etc.
The final poker game.
I'm going to skip this question for now. Nothing is coming immediately to mind.
Eddie Nelson, the main character.
Nope. But that's OK.
The story is told using a few flashbacks to bring the reader up to date on how Eddie Nelson got to this deplorable state. A Brit, he and his girlfriend came to Las Vegas for a vacation. He returned home to nurse his blossoming addiction for on-line poker. That on-line addiction grew to playing in live tournaments. Soon, he was playing professionally, and living by himself. Fast forward to present day and Eddie has been on a losing streak for weeks now. He’s out of money, considering who he can call to wrangle a plane ticket home when a sketchy stranger buys him a beer. Raphael wants to stake him in a high-stakes game. If Eddie wins, he gives half his winnings to Raphael. If he loses, then Eddie has to do Raphael a favor and play in a private poker tournament.
This tale started off a little slow for me and I think that is because I don’t play poker and some of the lingo was lost on me. There was a quick run down of game rules and terms at the beginning of the book, but such a list is hard to absorb in audio form. Anyway, the story does pick up with the flashbacks of Eddie spiraling into the poker addiction whirlpool. I really enjoyed watching Eddie go from a winning high to another high to another high and then the bum of a loss, and then another loss, and finally to the point where Raphael finds him.
And I guess I am free to talk about the Las Vegas vampire aspect since there is line about these poker vampires in the book’s description. The vampires don’t show up until about half way through the book. Mckenzie has created this whole underworld society in Vegas for these vampires. Even the taxi drivers know about them; or know enough to not ask questions. This part of the book was the true story, and the gem of the tale. It was for more interesting, suspenseful, and messy. Not everyone makes it out alive.
For much of the book, there are no females. Sure, Eddie had a girlfriend that had one or two lines at one point, but she didn’t play a real role in the story. There is an epilogue to the tale told from a woman’s stand point. It is done well, so one can see that the author is very capable of writing female characters. But it would have been nice to make some of the other players, a dealer, or even a few of the vampires female. We make up 50% of the population (even more as a generation ages because men just don’t last like us ladies) so why not have them make up 25% or more of the characters in a book? But that is my only complaint.
The Narration: The narration started off a bit rough, like I could hear background noises. This was when the basics of poker were being introduced. But once the story started proper, the narration became excellent. So I wonder if that part at the beginning was tacked on as an after thought? Anyway, Hyde-White did a great job with Eddie’s voice, the few accents, and keeping each character distinct. He even had to make a few creepy vampire noises which were done well.
I've listened to a lot, perhaps 300+ audiobooks. I will put this in the top 200.
This is a thinky-thinky question and I am posting this while I am tired. I have read a few other stories that involve a virtual reality, and I have read some books that mix SF and Fantasy. Then there are a few stories that involve mind-controling aliens with tentacles. So, I would compare this book to those.
distinct, geek accent
Almost. It is a little long for that. I was OK with breaks.
Kyrathaba is the name of a virtual reality world. Set in the future by nearly 200 years, humans exist in only subterranean remnants. The Earth suffered a devastating attack from aliens and what few humans are slowly dying out due to radiation poisoning. Sethra, a member of compound A-3, has found a way to enter Kyrathaba, and perhaps stay there indefinitely. Things look grim and Sethra, along with a few close friends, seriously contemplate the possibility that humanity as we know it may not be able to continue in their current form.
The story starts off with Sethra and Byron sharing a morning beverage of U Tea. Since they live in these completely enclosed underground capsules, everything, including their urine, is recycled. I am sure you can figure out what goes into the U Tea. Of course, I was enjoying my own morning cup of tea when I listened to this part of the book. And yes, I stared at my tea suspiciously.
So you can see that I was sucked into the straight-faced humor of the book right away. I enjoyed learning about the characters first, letting their current world unfold around me as Sethra and his friends went through their daily routine. Radiation poisoning is killing them off bit by bit. Even though they continue to reproduce as quickly as they can, attrition may well win out; humans are facing the very real possibility of becoming extinct. Compound A-3 has a regular security force who have a regular schedule. Their food is bland. The medical staff and care is the best they can maintain under such circumstances. And there are robots, which is the cool part in all this gloom.
While Sethra looks deeper into the possibility of long-term virtual reality habitation, Earth has a bigger issue. There’s an alien ship in orbit and it’s sole purpose is to monitor the remaining humans. I don’t think humanity could stand up to a second alien invasion. Meanwhile, the geoscientists explore drilling further into the Earth to escape the radiation and expand their living quarters. They discover an underground cavern with a clean water source. In exploring the depth and width of the water source, they make a very surprising discovery. I think this was the secondary plot line I enjoyed the most and want to learn more about. So many questions!
Kyrathaba itself is a Dungeons and Dragons kind of world; there’s magic, Orcs, plenty of sharp weapons, and paragon points to be earned. This magical world complimented, rather than contradicting, the science fiction tone of the larger story. I don’t always enjoy scifi and fantasy melding, but in this case it was done very well. The story had a good mix of characters, both male and female characters having crucial roles to the plot. Plus we had a range of ethnicity and ages. Definite plus!
My one criticism lies in the use of radiation poisoning to be the initial driver of the plot. I did radiological work for several years, dressing in yellow Tyvek, full-face respirator, nasal swabs, etc. To make it very simple, you either have a radiation source emitting radiation or you have radioactive particles that you have ingested or inhaled. For the first, you put shielding between you and it and you should be good. Shielding can be lead, several meters of earth, etc. And compound A-3 had all that in place between it and the surface of the contaminated Earth. The story didn’t really mention the possibility of the population all repeatedly inhaling, imbibing, or ingesting radioactive particles. Basic HEPA filters would take care of this problem and would be the first solution for signs of radiation poisoning. Also, with enough radiation to be causing prolonged radiation sickness over generations, then we would see the electronics failing left, right, and center. Electronics do not hold up well in the glow of radiation. At the best, they get buggy and stay that way. In this tale, we have a lot of cool tech and all of it was working just fine, showing no signs of electronic wear due to prolonged exposure to radiation.
But if I wasn’t such a know it all, the radiation threat would probably work just fine. Over all, I enjoyed the tale and the multiple plot lines. I really want to know what is in that big cavern pool of water! I want to know what happens to Sethra and his friends in the virtual world of Kyrathaba. There are enemies every where it seems, human, alien, and potentially something else. Indeed, there is plenty of worth in this book to propel the reader into the next installment.
The Narration: Padovan did a decent job of narrating. Her characters were each distinct. In fact, she did most of the book with a geek accent which was well suited to many of the characters as they were half raised by their computer implants. Her male voices could use a bit more masculinity, but that is my only negative comment.
The sex. Both characters enjoy themselves and that makes the story satisfying.
Laura, because she is exploring her sexuality.
She wasn't shy at all about the sex scene.
My man was 'moved' enough to eavesdrop while claiming to be there 'just to fold the laundry'.
Laura decides to answer a job ad for a submissive legal assistant. She had previously worked as an accountant but was laid off with a generous severance package. Right up front, she knows that BDSM is part of the job requirements and she has to admit to herself that she is pretty curious. Showing up for the interview, she considers leaving because she has no experience in BDSM and is worried that she won’t be qualified. However, she waffles too long in the waiting room and Mr. Hobbs calls her in to the interview before she leaves. As he goes over her resume, he asks her plenty of questions and also lets her know what would be expected of her. Things heat up when the interview moves to the hands-on portion!
This was a fun, quick erotica story. It was easy to get into and to have fun with. I felt it was a good balance between the two characters with dialogue and they share the narrative (though most of the story is told from Laura’s point of view). While Mr. Hobbs lead the action, Laura always had the opportunity to walk out of the interview. This particular scenario involved a heavy spanking. Most importantly, both characters felt satisfied at the end of the tale. There was a little cuddling and the beginning of affection between the two.
My little quibble is that I would have enjoyed the two characters vocalizing during the act. While it was a hot description, it was just that: an internal monologue description of the act by Laura. Surely Mr. Hobbs was doing some sort of animal-like grunting at the least with all the physical action he was doing? This criticism won’t keep me from listening to further adventures of Laura and the law firm.
Once again, my man conveniently popped in while I was listening to this audiobook and helped fold the laundry. He did this with Zane’s tales too. I really should listen to more erotica so that I get assistance with housechores. Hmmm… I bet this book would go good with cooking dinner.
The Narration: Shoshana Franck did a great job. There was no hesitancy with the erotica parts and she was good voice for Laura. She did a decent male voice as well.
It needed some editing as there was plenty of repetition. Also, there were some minor discrepancies that made these pot holes in the plot line.
The fire fighter stuff was really glossed over. And half the book was set up for the arson mystery. That's a long time to wait for the main mystery to appear.
He did a good job with the male characters. But with the female characters, nearly all of them sounded like little kids and it was difficult to differentiate between them.
Yes. I really liked the relationship between Sher and his grandfather. Those scenes were the best in the book and a few were even poignant.
Sher (short for Sherwood or Sherman, I forget) Foxworth grows up in the deep South in Larkspur, Mississippi. His grandfather has money, like mansion-size money, and his father was a successful plastic surgeon for a number of years. The first half of the book meanders through Sher’s early years and his family, his constant lack of attention in school, and his relationship with his grandfather. We know that Sher’s parents are out of the picture, but it’s not until much later in the story that we find out why.
I know I might be in the minority with this book, since it won an award or two, but I felt that it needed some work in several areas. First, it is very repetitive in some areas and this made the book longer than it needed to be (and potentially boring). As an example of the repetitiveness, I will point to a scene where Sher and his girlfriend get pulled over for supposed reckless driving. It takes ~20 minutes to get through this scene where Sher goes over again and again, verbally with the cop and in his own head, all the reasons he shouldn’t be ticketed. There are several scenes where this happens.
About half of the book is set up for all the good stuff you read in about in the book description posted on Goodreads, etc. If you read that blurb, then you know that eventually Sher joins a fire department. But this doesn’t even happen until 3/4 of the way through the novel. So the arson mystery is lightly touched on here and there but not really investigated until near the end of the book.
There were some discrepancies, places where a characters words or actions contradicted what they had said or did prior. I don’t know if this was something missed during the final drafts or left in and the explanation for the discrepancies were not made clear. For example, one of Dr. Foxworth’s plastic surgery patients came in for some fat removal and boob job. He also decides to give her a butt lift. As such, he has to draw the correct incision marks on her rump before she goes in to surgery. She is awake, aware, and not drugged when he does this. There was a whole discussion among all the characters involved. Later on, after surgery, the patient claims she didn’t know she was getting a butt lift. So, discrepancy? Or did the author plan to add in a bit about how the sedatives gave her a little memory loss but then forgot to do so?
Since the fire department stuff and arson mystery are part of the book’s description, I feel I can talk about them (even though some might feel they are spoilers since that all happens near the end of the book). Sher does a stupid thing at one point, running into a burning building without having called 911 or alerted a neighbor, etc. He has no equipment and no training at this point. Afterwards, Sher is regarded as a hero and invited to join a fire department. He eventually does so and goes off to firefigther academy, which takes up like 3 sentences. Sigh…..This could have been one of the most interesting parts of the book and instead is 3 sentences. Also, his fellow firefighters don’t beat the habit of running into burning buildings without backup out of him, which is what would happen in real life. Instead, he is praised by the fire department. So, I found that whole part (a crucial part to the plot) unbelievable.
OK, I just gave you 4 paragraphs of stuff I didn’t like. I can tell you I did like Sher’s complicated relationship with his grandfather. His life started off privileged and happy, with parents and a grandfather. But when his father’s surgery practice takes a decline, they have to live in the poolhouse at the grandfather’s estate. Depression and failure affects all, even the privileged. Still, I didn’t feel too bad for the Foxworth’s at that point. Later, when Sher’s parents are no longer in the scene, his bond with his grandfather grows, even as he struggles with college. I found these scenes concerning Sher’s family to be some of the best written in the book.
The ending was a surprise, but it also felt rushed. It came so quickly that I actually relistened to a few minutes of it to see if I had missed something. While the twist was welcome, making sense as it did, and giving me a bit of a surprise, I felt there could have been a little more to the wrap up to explain things.
The Narration: Wolinsky’s narration of males in this tale were good, each one being distinct. He carried out a believable Southern accent for the characters that required one. However, nearly all of his female characters sounded like little kids, and many of them were not discernible from each other. I have listened to other books narrated by Wolinsky and they are well narrated. Perhaps this was a book he narrated earlier in his career.
I really enjoyed the modified beasties and the mechanical men. The narrator went the extra mile with the voice for Dr. Faraday.
We had multiple viewpoints, and plot lines, making the story more interesting. We even got to knock around in the decrepit heads of the bad guys for a bit.
I love his werewolf voices, and the voice for the mechanical man Dr. Farday was great. He went the extra mile with that one.
We know from the beginning that there is a spie/traitor among the good guys. At the end, there was a twist and that twist was a particularly poignant moment in the story.
Zach Black and his motley crew pick up just where Book 1 ended. Much of their time is spent trying to cross a desiccated and abandoned war zone. William Weaver the werewolf and Neanna the vampire keep him company as they continue their quest to find the Heart of Endra. Meanwhile, Anna Black is still in the hands of the ghoulish pirates along with uncle Thandel. Throat and his evil sister, Delf, continue to make plans to take out Zach and his companions.
I enjoyed this book more than I did Doorways (book 1 of the series). We have a new character, Dr. Faraday, that Zach & crew meet in the desert. He’s a mechanical man and has plenty of talents along with mysteries about him and how he came to dropped in the middle of a desert, turned off. We also have Anna playing a more pivotal role, along with Willow Weaver (William’s mother) and Delf playing bigger roles (in Book 1 we were just introduced to them). In this book, we get to follow a few plotlines, instead of just one, as these secondary characters have tasks and challenges of their own.
And then there is this pretty cool thing: The mechanical men made a mistake some time back. Fascinated with the animal life of Earth, they brought several species through before they realized that Endra didn’t act as an exact mirror. They were changed when they came through, creating strange, wondrous, and often terrifying modified beasties, such as the semi-mechanical tiger motorcycles. I quite enjoyed this part of the tale because it was beautiful, sad, and creepy all at once.
Then we have the bad guys. Searching for eternal life and beauty, they have fallen into crustiness and flatulence. While Throat has become a shadow of the mage he once was, his sister Delf has open, maggot-riddled sores, horrid breath, and gas. They are both uniquely twisted and disgusting in obvious and subtle ways. Though I have to say that Delf does seem to care for her mount, a large dog, who she feeds maggots to.
While all this is going on, Willow went on a quest to find the League of Doorways and ask their assistance in saving Endra. She finds Wally, an old family friend. I don’t want to spoil how her quest turns out, but let me say that it wasn’t simple and the answer wasn’t what she expected.
Up front, we know there is a concern that a traitor exists in Zach’s little group. He’s vigilant, keeping his eyes on a possibility. The ending wasn’t what I expected and I look forward to having Book 3 on audio to continue the tale.
The Narration: I enjoyed Fred Wolinsky’s performance more in Book 2. I think his polish of his character voices increases with each book he does. Once again, he had a variety of voices, both male and female, both human and nonhuman, and each was distinct. He did a great mechanical voice for Dr. Faraday and I really appreciate the extra effort that must have gone in to that. Zach still sounded more like a 12 year old boy instead of one for a boy on the cusp of manhood but I don’t think this should deter folks from enjoying this series.
Yes, because I like the narration. Also, I can listen as I work, so that gives me the time to enjoy books like this.
Jamie is so easy to relate to. And I loved the multiple plot lines - the murder mystery, the mystery of Jamie's father, and the minor romance plotline.
Duke and his sarcastic friendship, his accent.
Yes. It was quite fun.
Note: Although this is Book 2 in the series, it works fine as a stand alone.
Jamie Quinn, family practice lawyer, returns in this sequel to Death by Didgeridoo. She’s handling cases that she’s trained for (mostly divorces) until someone ends up dead and her divorce client is a suspect. Once again, folks turn to Jamie to untangle a murder mystery. She calls in her associate, an annoying man who just happens to be good at his job as a private eye, Duke Broussard. To add to the mess, Jamie wishes to find her long lost father, or at least, learn a bit more about him. As with Book 1 in the series, this mystery is set in modern day Hollywood, Florida.
I think I enjoyed this book even more than Book 1 because there were two plot lines; the main plot followed the murder investigation and the minor plot was the search for info on Jamie’s father. Plus there was a little side romance that added to the story and was not distracting from the main plot. The story starts with a judge dismissing Jamie’s motion in a divorce case. Becca and Joe have 2 kids and now Becca has to allow Joe to see them on Friday. She has a bit of a melt down when Joe, once again, threatens to sue for sole custody of the kids. Plenty of nasty things are said back and forth and one of these lovely people ends up dead.
The story was easy to get into and it was quite fun riding around in Jamie’s head as she tried to solve the murder mystery, while at the same time untangling the mystery of her long lost father. Duke Broussard alternately irritates Jamie and perks her up. He’s a good friend, even if he can be a bit annoying at times. I really enjoyed the back and forth between these two. While the ending was a little predictable, this is a great read for day off in a porch swing, or curled up by a fire.
The Narration: Martz once again was a good voice for Jamie. She imbued the role with emotion as needed. I loved her accent for Duke.
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