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Charles Atkinson

Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 562
  • reviews
  • 8,331
  • helpful votes
  • 829
  • ratings
  • The Dollmaker

  • Forgotten Files, Book 2
  • By: Mary Burton
  • Narrated by: Christina Traister
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 990
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 984

Dr. Tessa McGowan had never seen anything quite like it. But the mutilated bodies on her exam table tell a stunningly macabre tale: someone with a twisted mind is kidnapping women and altering their faces to resemble real, life-size dolls. As a forensic pathologist, it's her job to aid the agent leading the case - even if that agent is her estranged husband.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Creepy!

  • By shelley on 11-17-16

Burton does procedurals like a pro.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-28-18

It is pretty easy to guess what the doll maker does with women. It’s pretty sick stuff, borderline horror material. Nevertheless the police procedural part was terrific.

Christina Traister does another great job with narration. However, with the male leads in both The Shark and The Dollmaker her voice is low and unemotional. She does an excellent job with accents and both sexes otherwise.

This is the second novel of 3 in The Forgotten Files trilogy. This time the focus shifts to Detective Dakota Parks of the Virginia State Police. His estranged wife has returned to his life and he isn’t sure how he feels about their relationship. She is the new Medical Examiner, which means they must work together. The Dollmaker case suddenly takes a personal turn for the couple, which furthermore complicates their lives.

Mary Burton is a great mystery writer!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Keepsake

  • By: Mary Burton
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Riker
  • Length: 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

Murder is not a one-size-fits-all crime. People kill for many reasons. Revenge. Jealously. Hate. Even love. Officer Georgia Morgan with the Nashville Police Department Forensics Unit didn’t generally care about motivation behind a killing. That was big picture. She cared about the micro picture: hair fibers, fingerprints, DNA, and all the other minute details that proved guilt or innocence. Homicide Detective Jake Bishop was her opposite.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Great Police Interrogation

  • By Charles Atkinson on 03-27-18

A Great Police Interrogation

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-27-18

A short story that covers 19 years? Brilliant! Smart police work in one heck of a interrogation. I’d love to hear more from the detective !

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Shark

  • Forgotten Files, Book 1
  • By: Mary Burton
  • Narrated by: Christina Traister
  • Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,980
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,776
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,770

At the grisly murder scene of a teen prostitute, Virginia state trooper Riley Tatum's past roars back to haunt her. When she was a teenage runaway, she was kidnapped, drugged, and left unconscious on the streets. She has no memories of what happened, only strange recurring dreams of two men playing cards. Former FBI agent Clay Bowman, Riley's old flame, is Shield Security's newest member. He's plagued by the unsolved case of a serial killer nicknamed the Shark who murdered girls as part of a sadistic poker game.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • worst performance ever

  • By W.H. on 01-13-17

Play for blood? That's just my game!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-26-18

Mary Burton does suspense as well as anyone. The Shark features great characters, a unique and believable premise and great storytelling.

Christina Traister narrated this novel brilliantly. Her southern accents are dead on, particularly the upper crust, old south drawl of the main character.

No spoiler here, but the quote above is from the film Tombstone, when Doc Holiday confronts Johnny Ringo. It fits in nicely with this particular story.

This is fast, fun ride with plenty of tense moments.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Murder in an Irish Village

  • By: Carlene O'Connor
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lennon
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,533
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,230
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,215

In the small village of Kilbane, County Cork, Ireland, Natalie's Bistro has always been warm and welcoming. Nowadays 22-year-old Siobhan O'Sullivan runs the family bistro named for her mother, along with her five siblings, after the death of their parents in a car crash almost a year ago. It's been a rough year for the O'Sullivans, but it's about to get rougher. One morning, as they're opening the bistro, they discover a man seated at a table with a pair of hot pink barber scissors protruding from his chest.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Debut of the feisty O'Sullivan Six!

  • By MDJeepGirl on 04-08-16

Quaint village with all the charm of the Irish

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-20-18

As with similar series, such as Her Royal Spyness, the mystery and story are secondary to the characters and the settings. So if the main characters are lacking in any way, the novel is sure to disappoint. Fortunately O’Connor created charismatic characters in a charming Irish village with just the right amount of humor and conflict.

For a fast read or light listening, you cannot go wrong with this novel.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • An Engineered Injustice

  • By: William L. Myers Jr.
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 189
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169

What if the deadliest train wreck in the nation's history was no accident? When a passenger train derails in North Philadelphia with fatal results, idealistic criminal defense attorney Vaughn Coburn takes on the most personal case of his young career. The surviving engineer is his cousin Eddy, and when Eddy asks Vaughn to defend him, he can't help but accept. Vaughn has a debt to repay, for he and his cousin share an old secret - one that changed both their lives forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting legal thriller!

  • By Wayne on 02-11-18

Intriguing Legal Story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-18

This is a first rate legal story, good enough to make a great movie. As you aware from the publisher summary, a passenger train is derailed and everything seems to point to an engineer 's error. Within hours after the crash, powerful litigation firms, all the local and national media zero in on the engineer. To complicate matters, one of the victims is the son of a Philadelphia mafia don.

My issue is in the lack character development. I found all of the characters intriguing, but I felt disappointed and wantedvto know more about the families and especially the law firms.

The narrator was far to bland for my taste. I felt he could have been far more creative with key characters.

This is indeed a great story. Despite my criticisms, I plan on trying more novels from this author.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Born to Run

  • By: James Grippando
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 131
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59

Best-selling author James Grippando is back with another innovative and action-packed thriller featuring the ever-popular Jack Swyteck. Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck guards his own family secrets as closely as anyone, and while his father's two terms as Florida's governor made some family rifts public, things are finally better between the two men. Whenever Harry Swyteck asks for Jack's help, he gets it, and suddenly he needs it more than ever before.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Blackmail, murder and Jack Swyteck!

  • By shelley on 02-27-18

Jonathan Davis/Grippando = Synergy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-18

Great characters come from great writing. However, if the novel is in audio form the narration of a book is almost as important as its author. Nowhere is this more true than the Swyteck series narrated by Jonathan Davis.

I give the story only 3 stars for a 5 star experience. It’s because while I struggle with the believability of it’s premise, I find the main characters are so authentic I love every moment with them. Jack Swytech, his father Harry, best friend Theo and his girlfriend Andy’s interactions and responses in very mysterious and complicated situations are as believable as they are heroic.

You can read the publisher’s primer for the story. What it cannot tell you is how magnetic the characters really are.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Afraid of the Dark

  • By: James Grippando
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 77

Then: Sergeant Vince Paulo held his best friend's daughter, McKenna, bleeding in his arms as she uttered the name of her murderer and ex-boyfriend, Jamal. That was minutes before a blast made everything go black for Vince - forever. Now: Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck has been called in to save Jamal from the death penalty for terrorist activity. Despite urgent warnings from his fiancee, undercover FBI agent Andie Henning, to stay away from the case, Jack finds himself inextricably drawn to Jamal's past - even believing his alibi that he was abducted....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Smart Writing, Great Narration

  • By Charles Atkinson on 03-02-18

Smart Writing, Great Narration

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-02-18

Great characters, clever narrative, a complicated and exciting story, wonderful writing and perfect narration make this another home run for Grippando. This novel, like all in the Swyteck series stands on its own merit. I have read five installments and none in sequence.

This story is complicated because Grippando takes into the dark worlds of surveillance, human trafficking, private military firms and Islamic terrorism. Thankfully it Is written with great clarity and authenticity. As the mystery unravels the suspense grows.

I realize Audible’s audiences are diverse and extremely well read. No author can please all of us. But if you are a fan of suspense like I am, James Grippando is the hidden treasure we have been looking for. Certainly many people are familiar with him, but thanks to two fellow Tar Heel reviewers, Wayne and Shelly, I have become a huge admirer of his work.

I read many of your reviews before I purchase a novel. In fact, I hold listener reviews far higher than professional reviewers. If this review is helpful, I would appreciate you acknowledging it!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • When Darkness Falls

  • By: James Grippando
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 10 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 75

Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck isn't looking for a new client, at least not one who is homeless and in jail for threatening to jump off a bridge. But from the moment Jack is called to defend the man, who calls himself Falcon, something is amiss. For one thing, Falcon comes up with the $10,000 bail in cash. Then, the body of a brutally murdered woman is found in the trunk of the abandoned car in which he is living.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Better Than Expected

  • By angel on 08-20-07

An Evil Man is Haunted by His Past

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-01-18

This is not a courtroom drama like those that have served the Swyteck series so well. Nevertheless it still a remarkable legal and political novel.

The publisher lays out the premise well enough, but like reviewer Shelly I was moved by the brutal political purge of thousands in Argentina in the 1970s. I was blown away by the author’s take on its history and have subsequently begun to research the subject on my own.

That said, the characters, suspense, intrigue along with Jonathan Davis’ outstanding narration make this a 5 star experience.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Most Dangerous Place

  • A Jack Swyteck Novel
  • By: James Grippando
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 267
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 250
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 250

It begins at the airport, where Jack is waiting to meet his old high school buddy, Keith Ingraham, a high-powered banker based in Hong Kong, coming to Miami for his young daughter's surgery. But their long-awaited reunion is abruptly derailed when the police arrest Keith's wife, Isabelle, in the terminal, accusing her of conspiring to kill the man who raped her in college. Jack quickly agrees to represent Isa but soon discovers that to see justice done, he must separate truth from lies.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Grippando puts the suspense in the courtroom.

  • By Charles Atkinson on 02-24-18

Grippando puts the suspense in the courtroom.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-18

What i love most about the Swyteck series is Grappando's placing the suspense in the actual courtroom. The strategies, posturing, questions and legal bantering are riveting.

This story revolves around rape. The author carefully guides us through all the troublesome legal aspects of from the victim's perspective, her family's, her husband, law enforcement, and both sides of the legal teams. It is little wonder so many rapes go unreported.

Another great thing about this and all the novels in the Swyteck series is that each edition stands on its own. I started with the newest novel and am going backwards.

Jonathan Davis is a remarkable narrator.

My highest reccomendation!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Death in Live Oak

  • A Jack Swyteck Novel
  • By: James Grippando
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 121
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 119

When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the Florida's flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime. Contending with rising political tensions, racial unrest, and a sensational media, Townson's defense attorney, Jack Swyteck, knows that the stakes could not be higher.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding Courtroom Drama

  • By Charles Atkinson on 02-22-18

Outstanding Courtroom Drama

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-22-18

A horrible lynching occurs in a small Northern Florida town close to Gainesville. The president of a black fraternity is the victim. Racist text messages have been retrieved from the victim‘s phone. The source is the phone of a white student, who happens to be the president of a white fraternity. With no other evidence a rush to judgement occurs without due process.

If it sounds like a current affair, it is on purpose. Rather than condemn one party, the author clearly reveals the travesty of every side’s ignoring due process. Law enforcement, media, civil rights leaders, academia are all guilty of condemning a young man before they understand the truth.

Make no mistake, the novel uncovers racism at every level of life in the community. In fact it makes the mistakes of the black community understandable.

And there is the clever parallel of two excellent students, one black and one white, trapped by predators from to opposite camps. In the end, it is simply great writing and great entertainment.

Highly recommended!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful