Janie has moved to New York to try to make it as a writer, all the while serving as part-time lover in a polyamorous relationship with Veronica and TJ and full-time nanny to their daughter, Beth. Janie's life is already incredibly full when she runs into an agent one morning who sees great potential in her - and not just as an author. As Janie's relationship with Josh blooms and her career takes off, Ronnie's happy surprise turns into a problem that even a vacation in a mountain cabin with the Baumgartners can't fix.
I'm a bit of a fan of Selena's approach to erotica, which is fun, sexy, and head and shoulders above other self-published works. And among her stories, her best might be the Baumgartner stories.
Holly Hackett's voice seems custom-made for this book, but for whatever reason there are these awkward pauses right in the middle of sentences that feel like speed bumps and knock me right out of the story for that brief second. It might not be so bad if it was an isolated thing, but it happens frequently through the course of the audiobook and fairly ruined the overall listening experience.
There is a bit of the old "that's awfully convenient" with how the story kind of plays out, but it's hardly anything to shake your head at, and the whole New York literary vibe had a nice fantasyland feel to it.
John Golden is a debugger: He goes inside the computer systems of his corporate clients to exterminate the gremlins, sprites, and other fairies that take up residence. But when he gets a frantic call from Serpentine Systems, a top-of-the-line anti-fairy security company, John finds out he's on much more than a simple smurf-punting expedition. With the help of his sarcastic little sister Sarah (currently incarnated in the form of a Dell Inspiron) and a paranoid system administrator, John tackles Serpentine's fairy problem.
There is nothing exciting about working IT. Nothing. Django Wexler found a way to make it exciting though, and all he had to do was throw in a metric ton of sci-fi and fantasy to do it. Sounds about right. It's hard to pin down, but I suppose if you took The IT Crowd, threw in some Johnny Mnemonic, then you might wind up with John Golden: Freelance Debugger.
It's less than a hundred pages, and the Audible version I listened to clocked in under two-and-a-half hours. And the story just whizzes by with action and snark galore.
So imagine a world in which faeries are real and they have a knack for infecting technology. Enter John Golden. He's like a Ghostbuster ... well, a Faebuster. Just a blue-collar guy with a particular set of skills and his sister, Sara, backing him up on the job. While managing to provide a good amount of tension and daring do through the course of the novella, things are kept fairly light as far as tone goes. A lot of witty repartee between John and Sara, especially with her serving as a bit of a narrator or voice of reason through a series of footnotes that complement the story.
Kevin T. Collins and Jorjeana Marie do a great job bringing the characters to life with an instant chemistry that has them, if not battle weary siblings, at least a familial bond in battle.
There's a second John Golden book, which I'll be reviewing soon, and after that who knows. I'd like to think Wexler has more stories in this universe to come, because if not then this is a cruel tease of what might have been.
Something is devouring Milo, and this time it isn't just his guilty conscience. Meet the Bentley brothers; Milo, a troubled young man who slaughters women at the behest of his cruel older brother, Spencer. Their already complicated lives slip into a spiral of madness when Milo is attacked by a werewolf during a routine body disposal. While Milo is unsure what is happening to him, Spencer finds he prefers the company of the wolf, and does everything he can to keep Milo from discovering the truth.
After reading Tonia Brown's Skin Trade and Lucky Stiff, it was readily apparent she knew how to twist the zombie genre in new and interesting ways. So when I had the chance to listen to this audiobook, I had to wonder what she would have in store for the werewolf mythos. Hoo boy, she had plans.
The Bentley brothers, Spencer and Milo, are killers. Though, Spencer being the older brother leaves him calling the shots, and taking more of a fiendish delight in the trail of blood they leave behind. But it's when Milo is attacked by a werewolf one night that the family dynamic changes ... in more ways than one.
The interplay between these two brothers feels almost Shakespearean in nature, although there's less eloquence in their back-and-forth than there are expletives. Throw in the fact that Milo's shifting into a wolf has a bit of a Jekyll & Hyde element, and the dynamic becomes all the intriguing.
Giving voice to these characters was Luke Smith's narration, who did a real good job conveying the tension, rivalry, and deeply flawed nature of each character. His performance as the wolf was especially chilling.
If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path with your werewolf stories, but want something raw and nasty all the same, this book is for you. And if you can score the Audible version, the performance should make the experience that much more visceral.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
When John Simpson hears of a bizarre animal attack in his old home town of High Moor, it stirs memories of a long forgotten horror. John knows the truth. A werewolf stalks the town once more, and on the night of the next full moon, the killing will begin again. He should know. He survived a werewolf attack in 1986, during the worst year of his life. It’s 1986 and the town is gripped in terror after the mutilated corpse of a young boy is found in the woods.
It wasn't long after I finally watched Dog Soldiers that I listened to the audiobook version of Graeme Reynolds' High Moor, so I had quite the experience with British werewolf stories. And I gotta say, I had a heckuva time with each.
Werewolves, like vamps and zombies, are an oft-used monster in horror and fantasy, and as well they should be because they are just so tragic and fierce and emotive--maybe Beyonce is a werewolf, come to think of it. Anyway, Graeme's approach is less about the werewolves, although the brand of beast he creates are a vibrant and vicious sort that I think any fan of the genre will appreciate, but the humans populating the smalltown of High Moor are the ones that steal the show for me.
If you're an 80s child, even one outside of the U.K., I am sure there are going to be more than a few identifying moments and characteristics featured in the story to enjoy, coupled with small town hijinks and a ferocious pace that doesn't let up, yet somehow allows enough breathing room for characters. If the flashback-y stuff doesn't suit you, you might be a bit disgruntled by the novel, but it plays in really well overall, and I'd really prefer this novel featuring the bulk of its tale in the 80s more so than present day. The nostalgia factor was set high for me on this one.
Sometimes an audiobook feels like you are being told the story, then there are the ones--like this one--that you simply experience the story. I'm sure had I read the print version of High Moor, I would have been equally pleased with Graeme's artful manner in presenting his characters in all their fabulously fallible glory. Having Chris Barnes practically imbue his voice over each character in a way that causes him to disappear and the story shine through just makes this audiobook a treat, especially for a fan of British horror.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
When the body of Hunter Gearhardt washes up on the banks of a seasonal river outside of Pomacochas, Peru, with only samples of vegetation, a handful of feathers, two black- and gray-streaked rocks, and a golden headdress of indeterminate origin in his possession, his grieving father launches an expedition to determine how his son died. The party uses these clues to divine Hunter’s route into the jungle, where they find a surviving offshoot of a primitive tribe, long thought to be extinct, and something far more sinister, something that’s been able to avoid discovery for eons for one simple reason: No one leaves the rainforest alive.
What's worse than trudging through a jungle? How 'bout trudging uphill through a jungle? Set in the Peruvian rainforest nestled along the mountains, a dead body is discovered and prompts and expedition to find out who--or what--killed him, and where he found that snazzy gold artifact tucked in his bag.
After a wealthy industrialist learns his galavanting son has died under mysterious circumstances in South America, he leads a recon team of scientists and mercenaries into the jungle for answers, guided by the bush pilot that found his son's corpse and the golden crown in his possession. Suspicion on all sides over who knows how much weighs heavy as they venture into the wild, but their own little quabbles are quickly outweighed as it becomes all too apparent that there is a tribe in the jungle, one that has until now gone undiscovered, and the team finds themselves in a race for answers as well for their lives.
If you like those globe-trotting thrillers and encounters with the unknown, you're likely to really get a kick out of this book. What could just be a paint-by-numbers horror/thriller fare is quite capably handled by McBride, who turns this into something just a little bit more riveting than what you might find late at night on SyFy. The characters are fleshed out much more than the run-of-the-mill stories you might be used to, and while the broad premise of the book doesn't feel all that original, its execution helps it stand out from the pack.
The ending isn't quite so revelatory, but a minor complaint for an audiobook helmed by Gary Tiedemann who does a great job in keeping the tone and pace of the story just right, and the characters engaging the whole way through.
If you're a fan of those Preston/Child novels, I'd wager you would be a fan of this one.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
Martin H. Ehrengraf, dapper and diabolical, may be Lawrence Block's darkest creation. He's the defense attorney who never sees the inside of a courtroom, because all his clients are innocent - no matter how guilty they may seem. Some even believe themselves to be guilty: They remember pulling the trigger, or wiring the dynamite to their spouse's car, or holding the bloody blade. But things have a way of working out when Martin Ehrengraf is on the case.
Martin H. Ehrengraf is a smooth motherf**ker. Cunning, too. Devious might be a better word. He's a lawyer after all. If you're in a real jam, he's the man you call. Martin's trick is that he hates going to court. He'd much rather get everything settled before he has to set foot in the halls of justice to defend his client. He's got a flawless record, though. And that comes at a fairly high price.
There are twelve stories in all, eleven of which previously appeared in the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magaine. From what little I've read of that mag, it highlights the more clever mysteries as opposed to the more hard-boiled, hard-bitten tales, and this bunch certainly falls into the realm of clever. There is, by virtue of the rather ominous deals struck between Ehrengraf and his clients, that I suspect stood out from the usual fare of that mag.
For many of his clients, it appears on the surface that he hasn't done much lawyering at all to ensure their exoneration. Extenuating circumstances and simple strokes of luck seem to be the order of the day, and that gives some pause in honoring the steep payments demanded of them. And there's one thing you do not do with Ehrengraf and that is renege on an agreement.
Don Sobczak's voice work for the audiobook is really good in capturing that casually sophisticated tone of Ehrengraf that holds an undercurrent of menace. It's just a hint really when he gives his subtle warnings to his clients about the costs of his services and the resoluteness of his approach to keeping them "innocent."
The stories may come off a bit repetitive when digested in one swoop, but bear in mind these were published weeks or months apart originally, and the setting is always the same, so there are some limits to how the story can progress and how multiple stories can be received all at once. But Block fans shouldn't be too troubled by that, and should find that same wry passion for crime fiction, as always.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Rodney's life started to spiral out of control after the untimely death of his beloved wife. He ended up on the rough streets: fighting for his sanity, his next fix, and his next meal. But it was his hunger for getting high and trying to forget his former life that was the hardest for him to control. Or at least he thought. Then came the night when he and another junkie walked into Parkside Cemetery, dug up the dead body of Becky Smithshire and...bit into her cold body. That's when Rodney's life really changed....
I've never been the kind of guy who enjoyed hanging out in graveyards. If I'm stepping out for the night, I want to go someplace a little more--wait for it--livelier. Oh, I'm terrible.
In Grave Intentions, Derrick and Craig are the best of friends. And before they head out to college, they grab some booze and a couple gals for a final night of celebrating. The meeting place of choice? The local cemetery, of course. If you think about it, it's a good choice if you're more interested in having privacy and less interested in not being surrounded by corpses. But the horny foursome aren't alone. A couple of drunk derelicts are wandering the graveyard, too. And one of them is about to unleash his inner beast after gaining a taste for human flesh.
Oh man, this novella is sick--but in a good way.
Nothing good happens in graveyards, and Grave Intentions works hard to prove that with a raw, pulpy story of revenge, regret, and really hungry monsters. Randy Capes' narration goes a long way to present distinct characters and ratchet up the tension and terror with each scene. Where I found the story lacking was in some of the dialogue. Specifically between Derrick and Craig, whose relationship felt genuine amidst the insanity, but their motivations felt uneven at times, and the provocation into a showdown with the big, bad wolf nipping at their heels seemed to run against what I would consider a desire to keep breathing in and out.
I will say this about Ty Schwamberger's brand of horror: the man does not hold back. For a guy who counts Richard Laymon among his favorite authors, Ty Schwamberger knows how to tap into his inner Laymon.
Emmy Award-winning actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Malcom in the Middle) follows in the exasperated footsteps of Samuel L. Jackson, giving voice to the long-suffering father whose indifferent child will just not eat in this hilarious follow-up to Adam Mansbach's international best seller, Go the F--k to Sleep.
I don't know how much a small child would appreciate Bryan Cranston's performance and the increasingly profane prose of this little book, but my inner child certainly did.
Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.
John Scalzi's name has been bandied about for years as a sci-fi writer whose work I need to read, so when I had the chance to listen to the Audible version of his latest novel, I figured it was about time to see what all the fuss was about.
In this stand-alone novel, a virus devastates humanity in the not-too-distant future. It acts like the flu for most, but about 1% of those afflicted suffer what is eventually called "Hayden's syndrome," rendering them paralyzed and unresponsive, forever trapped inside their own bodies. With millions afflicted, a new industry arises. Androids are made, basically robotic bodies that can be remotely controlled by the bedridden, and offer nearly all tactile experiences a human body can. Then there are other afflicted people who are still mobile, yet they possess an innate ability to serve as surrogates themselves, suppressing their own consciousness to allow the locked in to use their bodies. All this creates a certain societal morasses, and amid all of that we jump into the story a quarter century after the outbreak, just in time for a murder mystery.
The two detectives on the case of a dead integrator, a person who rents out the use of their body, who appears to have been killed by an unknown attacker in a hotel room. Shane is the rookie, a lock in herself and the daughter of a powerful politician crusading for the rights of the afflicted. Vann, a grizzled vet herself on the force, has reservations about working with Shane at first, but the opposites attract plays out really well as they gauge each other through the course of the investigation.
The window dressing for this book feels reminiscent of Robert Venditti's comic series, The Surrogates, but that's really just a surface level thing, because Scalzi's story explores different themes altogether and doesn't pose as much skepticism and wariness towards the technology as found in Venditti's story. Here, much of the story relies on Shane finding her footing, literally and figuratively, as she makes a name for herself apart from the long shadow cast by her family's dynasty.
The star of the book, at least in the audiobook experience, may be Amber Benson. Wil Wheaton also offers narration in another edition of the audiobook, but I went with Benson for the sake of the protagonist being female, and Benson's performance was spot on throughout, and went a long way to drawing me in as a listener. It didn't hurt that Scalzi's characters and pacing and the pay off at the end all aided in creating one heckuva story melding sci-fi with police procedural.
If this is the kind of stuff Scalzi writes, I'm definitely gonna have to read more of it ... or listen to it. Either way.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Turning 29 years old, Janet Giddings Kurland starts a journal and records her comfortably routine suburban lifestyle. But when she rolls the dice with her friend's husband, she starts down a path that will lead her to the hip streets of Greenwich Village. Amidst the sexually free, Janet blossoms and her housewife's journal turns into a sex diary filled with unexpected encounters, dangerous partners, and drug-fueled sexual escapades.
In reading Lawrence Block's crime fiction, I have to come to expect his proficiency in highlighting a character's desperation, his/her frailty. Turns out he's been doing that under pen names as well, as evidenced by this erotic novel originally published under the name Jill Emerson.
With Janet, a twenty-nine year old wife, Block shows a desperation of a life not yet lived. Oh, she has the loving husband and the house and the comfortable life, but it absent of passion. And as she nears her thirtieth birthday, desperation sets it. This can't be all there is. Oh no, it is not.
It begins with a brief, almost spontaneous encounter with a young man that she invited into her bed, and after that Janet's life is irrevocably altered. She sees a way out of her dull existence, leaves her husband, drains their savings, and moves to New York. From there, her experiences become more fiery, and skirt towards even manic.
Emily Beresford offers a pitch-perfect narration through the book, as Block has it written as a series of diary entires. Emily quite capably captures the prim and proper bourgeoisie, continually tempered by her obsessions, self-doubt, and fear with each subsequent diary entry.
Erotic at its core, it also offers a fair share of suspense when Janet becomes a bit overwhelmed with at least one of her encounters. It might feel a bit dated, but heck, so did 'Mad Men' on AMC and that was well-received.