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richard

63 y/o psychologist with two sons, living in SF Bay Area. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting for my reviews. It's very gratifying. Thanks to all of you.

San Anselmo, CA, United States | Member Since 2006

ratings
7
REVIEWS
3
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
8
HELPFUL VOTES
26

  • Criminal Enterprise

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Owen Laukkanen
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    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.

    Richard Delman says: "Laukkanen & Ballerini have everything."
    "Laukkanen & Ballerini have everything."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really loved Mr. Laukkanen's first book. I really love this one too. And Mr. Ballerini has now firmly installed himself as my favorite narrator since Frank Muller, which is high praise, indeed. Like the first book, this one is a race down a highway to hell. It does not have the feel of a sequel, though. Carter Tilton, the head of the gang, bears little semblance to Pender, the main crazy in the first book. An accountant who loses his job, and who has a mansion and a family, Tilton gets quickly sucked down into the vortex (I just had to use that trope, I know) of crime, and his crimes rise rapidly in their violence. He starts with little notes to bank tellers, and proceeds to much higher wattage crime in a hurry. His female assistant is just as wacko as he. Her boyfriend drives the getaway car. The team of Kirk Stevens of the Minnesota BPA and Carla Windermere of the FBI is once again charming. They are in dogged pursuit of the criminals, and they both just will not quit. The sexual tension is everywhere: between the two of them, between Tilton and his wife Becca, between Tilton and Tricia, his accomplice. You can cast the movie in your mind with favorite actors. I would absolutely love Cate Blanchett in the Tricia role. As you can see, I had a lot of fun with this book. Laukkanen writes very well, with authority, with an informed sense of place that makes you believe he lives in Minneapolis-St. Paul (although in the first book I could have sworn that he lived in Seattle). He puts you in the car and drives you with each turn of events. There is no way that you can put this book down, other than to catch your breath. I also love that the editor/publisher allows Mr. Ballerini to read at his own pace: his voice is lustrous, his pacing exactly right, his ability to do precisely what the author wants him to do: all exactly on the money. I have heard a few books in which he was clearly pushed to go too fast, which was something that was done to Mr. Muller, too, on occasion. When you allow these guys to slow down, they show you every nuance of their mighty skills. I would dearly love it if Mr. Ballerini had a career as long as or even longer than that of Mr. Muller, who died in a motorcycle accident when he was in his fifties. A voice this rich, combined with the actorly skills and all the rest: we could be in for one of the most enjoyable audiobook careers imaginable. Listen to this. Trust me. Would I steer you wrong?

    18 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Fidelity

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (344)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (135)

    When Phil Kramer is shot dead on a deserted suburban street in the middle of the night, his wife, Emily, is left with an emptied bank account and a lot of questions. How could Phil leave her penniless? What was he going to do with the money? And, most of all, who was he if he wasn't the man she thought she married?

    Jerry Hobart has some questions of his own. It's none of his business why he was hired to kill Phil Kramer. But now that he's been ordered to take out Kramer's widow, he figures there's a bigger secret at work - and maybe a bigger payoff.

    richard says: "Thomas Perry is, quite simply, brilliant."
    "Thomas Perry is, quite simply, brilliant."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The above is a quote from Robert B. Parker, a guy who should know. I am now in the process of reading all of Mr. Perry's novels, and I am sad to say that there are only a couple left. The man is remarkable, and again, Michael Kramer is the perfect voice for these amazing books. Mr. Perry is the opposite of formulaic. His creativity and inventiveness seem to know no bounds. This book starts with a killing, and takes almost the whole book to solve it. Through the book we get to know a number of people who are so much flesh and blood that we might actually know them in real life. The villains, however, are so scary that we are glad not to know them. Each time I listen to one of these, I just can't imagine how Mr. Perry is going to top this one, and yet, he does. At times here the suspense is literally unbearable. The plot quickens to the point where I had to put it down to make it last longer, if you understand. I was tempted to just sit and listen to the whole thing, but summoned up enough will power to let it be. Once again Mr. Perry writes with wit that is sometimes understated and sometimes just hilarious. He skewers a rich man who is also a monster, and also his sycophantic wife, and their lives of sheltered unreality. This man hires a killer to stalk the wife of the detective who dies at the beginning, and the contest between the two of them is a war of wills and wits. Emily is another extremely well drawn woman, something which Mr. Perry does easily while other male writers struggle with their inability to write nothing but cardboard women. At first I thought that The Butcher's Boy could not be topped. Now I know that Mr. Perry's talents are truly limitless. Enjoy yourselves. Mr. Perry cannot be beat.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Sixkill

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Robert B. Parker
    • Narrated By Joe Mantegna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (247)
    Performance
    (150)
    Story
    (150)

    On location in Boston, bad-boy actor Jumbo Nelson is accused of the rape and murder of a young woman. From the start the case seems fishy, so the Boston PD calls on Spenser to investigate. Things don't look so good for Jumbo, whose appetites for food, booze, and sex are as outsized as his name. He was the studio's biggest star, but he's become its biggest liability...

    Jean says: "SixKill"
    "Parker: a marvelous old friend who makes you happy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert B. Parker was one of this country's most prolific authors, in league with Elmore Leonard. Like Leonard, he simply wanted to entertain us, and he succeeded almost every time out. Likewise, Michael Prichard was an amazingly prolific performer (and may still be). And Joe Mantegna is also an incredibly prolific and likable actor and narrator. Choosing between these two narrators is like trying to choose between the best apple pie and the best peach pie: very hard to do. In Sixkill, Parker again puts Spenser in his usual slot: a very tough guy on the outside with a very tender inside. The dialogue is, as always, witty and brief. You start chuckling right out of the gate. Mantegna seems to have a little more trouble with the repetitive "he said, she said" stuff than Prichard. I seem to notice that less when hearing Prichard. Mantegna, OTOH, is a face many of us know from movies and TV, and his voice is that of a friendly guy who might live next door to you, who happens to be one of the best storytellers anywhere. The plot of Sixkill is really just an excuse for Spenser to act, to play the tough guy when he wants to and the tender lover of Susan Silverman when he needs to. Not that the plot is trifling: it is clever and tugs at your heartstrings, in some ways. Sixkill is a huge Indian who once played great football, but then fell down a terrible slide. Spenser takes him on as a project, and between Spenser and the talk-about-tough-but-silent Hawk, they reclaim Sixkill in a way that is very humane and caring. Parker was a genius. Both Prichard and Mantegna make him sound wonderful. I have only tried to listen to one book narrated by David Dukes, and I hated it. Sit down with Parker and have a great time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Butcher's Boy

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Thomas Perry
    • Narrated By Michael Kramer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (557)
    Performance
    (352)
    Story
    (347)

    Thomas Perry's Edgar Award-winning debut novel follows a professional hitman on the run from both the mafia and the government.

    richard says: "A writer with extreme talents."
    "A writer with extreme talents."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is Mr. Perry's first book, originally published in 1982. Although it's a little dated (a full gas tank, 12 gallons, for $10!) that is the only flaw I can find. Michael Connelly, one heck of a writer himself, has written an introduction to the book, which accurately describes Perry's awesome talent and assuredness. Connelly uses the word "velocity" as a description of plots that delight us, and this is the perfect word for Perry's plot. There are only two main characters, the unnamed professional hitman, and the Justice Department agent Elizabeth Weiser, plus many other characters. Perry cleverly alternates chapters between these two characters to hold our interest, and this is a very successful suspense device. The book flies by. The hitman takes on the Las Vegas mafia families single-handedly, and you believe that he can manage it. He is no non-human superhero, though. He is believable in every way. Likewise, Elizabeth is also a real human being, in the field reluctantly for the first time, and simultaneously doubtful and self-confident. You just have to read Perry's work to see how smoothly he creates these characters. He also sees Las Vegas as what it is, or was thirty years ago. The narration is flawless. Mr. Kramer understands the writer, and has narrated all of Mr. Perry's books. He is fluid and entertaining. He builds the suspense for us. You can never guess the plot's twists and turns. You will at one moment fully suspect that someone with a gun will sneak in the door, and then Mr. Perry surprises you. Even Elizabeth is surprised and hoodwinked. This is a terrific book, and I am sure that I will eventually listen to all of Mr. Perry's books. Great entertainment!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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