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  • Lovecraft Country

  • A Novel
  • By: Matt Ruff
  • Narrated by: Kevin Kenerly
  • Length: 12 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,480
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,376
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,377

Critically acclaimed cult novelist Matt Ruff makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An effective mix of influences

  • By Jim N on 04-10-16

Worthy of a Victory Dance

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

Reviewed: 09-26-17

Whoa-- this one is a winner. I had to stop listening several times to do a victory dance! Ruff's 'Lovecraft Country' is a huge demonstration of intelligence, imagination, skills, and reverent appreciation of the early giants of Science Fiction. Despite the difference in genres, Ruff crafted this tale in a way that brings to mind Underground Airlines by Ben Winters. Ruff's development of so many distinct, relatable characters who represent every point on the personality spectrum is spot on. The characters are constantly placed in tough scenarios that challenge their values and beliefs. You're constantly wondering "Darn, what would I do in this situation?" Equally well executed are the pace (nice builds balanced with action that crests and valleys throughout the listen) and the 360 degree views of people and plot. The dialogue was so intimate and realistic that I often felt like an eavesdropper.

Regarding the narration, Kevin Kenerly depicted each gender and vast variety of dialects, moods, and personality nuances very well. One off-putting point that occasionally (maybe a bit more than occasionally) jolted me from the story was his mispronunciation of certain words, e.g. 'milieu' became 'mee-lay.' The good news is the writing and story are both magnetic enough to prevent you from being thrown draw too far for too long.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Extracted

  • Extracted, Book 1
  • By: R. R. Haywood
  • Narrated by: Carl Prekopp
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,692
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,510
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,502

In 2061 a young scientist invents a time machine to fix a tragedy in his past. But his good intentions turn catastrophic when an early test reveals something unexpected: the end of the world. A desperate plan is formed: recruit three heroes, ordinary humans capable of extraordinary things, and change the future.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fast-Food Science Fiction

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 04-07-17

Oh Yaaaasss!

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

Reviewed: 09-22-17

Whew! What a ride. This action packed jaunt works extremely well. It is whisked to a thick, frothy foam with "no-reveal" plots and sexy backstories that mingle science and history with imagination. The dollops of character development are hah-uge (translation: "huge" yes, but actually colossal). Our three heroes are likable, relatable, and believable, AND despite the underlying time travel theme, the credibility thread is super strong throughout the entire stretch of story yumminess. Oh and by the way, the bad guys are as interesting and have as much "draw" power as the main characters. Yaaaasss!!

The narrator massages each character with an "Oh so right!" reality rub that sidesteps any notion that you're listening to a story someone else made up. The man's got skills! Amen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lady Justice and the Cruise Ship Murders

  • By: Robert Thornhill
  • Narrated by: George Kuch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

Ox and Judy are off to Alaska on a honeymoon cruise and invite Walt and Maggie to tag along. Their vacation plans are soon shipwrecked by the murder of two fellow passengers. The murders appear to be linked to a century-old legend involving a cache of gold stolen from a prospector and buried by two thieves. Their seven day cruise is spent hunting for the gold and eluding the modern day thieves intent on possessing it at any cost.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great story!

  • By Wayne on 09-08-17

Cruising with Goldrush History

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

Reviewed: 08-02-17

Robert Thornhill's shtick is educating through the craft of storytelling. He doesn't fail in this installment, giving us a well-limned backdrop of Alaska and the Pacific. Thornhill steers away from politics, food and drugs this time, and takes a refreshing and historical detour to the gold rush. Along the way, he divvies out tips and tricks of cruising.

I didn't find the guest characters as interesting as those presented in previous installments. Also the believability factor took a dip. Still, Thornhill does not disappoint, even giving a not so subtle but all appropriate shoutouts to an Alaskan cruise ship captain and Master Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Eating the celebrity chef's signature fare must indeed have been a treat for Thornhill and his wife during their real-life cruise. My mouth was definitely watering under Thornhill's take-no-prisoners descriptions.

George Kuch delivers a personable performance that is so convincing, I am sure Walt Williams is a character in real life. 😊

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Night and Day

  • Gideon Lowry Key West Mysteries, Book 2
  • By: John Leslie
  • Narrated by: David A. Wood
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

Gideon Lowry is playing his weekly piano gig at a quiet hotel, fighting his daily urge for a drink. That's where Asia finds him. She's trying to find her estranged husband, who's lost in the reverie surrounding his obsession: Hemingway. But Asia doesn't want him back, she wants a divorce. As the Hemingway festival builds to its crescendo, mainland violence pays a nasty visit. There's an evil dancing behind the carefree facades of Duval Street, and it will take every sun-bitten ounce of Gideon's Conch resolve to reel it in...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful Detective Story

  • By Booklover on 07-31-17

Needs a Lift AND Has Great Potential

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

Reviewed: 08-02-17

PI Gideon Lowry's former friendly flame is escorted out in a stilted but effective manner. Enter new, younger potential romantic interest with a songbird voice and a big problem, all of which gives N and D some lift without actually putting it into full flight. The new potential flame is tantalizing, alluring, and comes with all the excitements that draw a man to a woman and makes him want more until he realizes she doesn't have much depth, which makes him not care. I had a similar experience with N and D. The story holds super inticing potential without being fully delivered. The characters are stereotyped and barely interesting, and the premise is weakly plausible, both of which rip texture from the plot and-- even with a West Key backdrop and all the references to Earnest Hemingway-- leaves the story feeling a bit worn and lacking a genuine sense of place.

The upshot is that audiobook comes with a pretty enticing preview of the next installment. I must say it hints very strongly of John Leslie upping his skills and stepping more strongly into his craft. I plan to check it out.

Narrator David A. Wood gives a much improved performance from the first installment by pumping more life in both male and female character portrayals without being overly dramatic. I listened to half the tale at 1.5 speed before cranking it up to 2.0 with no problem.

I was given this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Nightmares in Analog

  • Three Supernatural Tales
  • By: Jonathan Chateau
  • Narrated by: Aaron Shedlock
  • Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

The fading memories Jacob has of his deceased mother are buried on a few VHS home movies. Recently haunted by recurring dreams of her, he sets out to pick up a used VCR, and finds one at a local yard sale. However this is no ordinary VCR. According to the owner, this particular model not only plays movies, but it allows one to communicate with the dead. Fueled by curiosity, Jacob takes it home and soon discovers that what he possesses opens a doorway to darkness, death, and lust.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Two Great Stories and one Not so Much

  • By Jim "The Impatient" on 04-07-17

Some Familiar Themes, One Unique Story

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

Reviewed: 05-17-17

They say imitation is the best form of flattery and it looks like these guys undoubtedly learned from the best. There were elements of Stephen King all over the place: a tricked out clownish, demonish figure with multiple personalities like IT, a teenage girl with super powers not much different than Carrie's, etc. Fortunately for all concerned parties and despite the perceivable throwbacks, A DEAD MAN manages to gift us with a rather unique narrative. The story stands on its own an, overall, I enjoyed listening to it.

Beware, rough language (not too bad and not too much IMHO) and violence of the gory type may prick the hairs of sensitive ears.

Here's one more observation: There are multiple narrators and their styles differed quite a bit, but the most obvious difference lay in the style of the multiple writers. The writing in the second and third stories was entertaining but comparably inferior to the skill demonstrated in the first installment of the triptych. In that same vein, I also liked the first narrator best. It would be nice if Audible would develop a rating system to accommodate multiple narrators. As it stands now, it is impossible to either unfairly over or under rate one or the other, unless the strength of each respective performance is equal.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lady Justice and the Watchers

  • By: Robert Thornhill
  • Narrated by: George Kuch
  • Length: 5 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29

Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games, Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World and George Orwell wrote 1984. All three novels were about dystopian societies of the future. In Lady Justice and the Watchers, Walt Williams sees the world we live in today through the eyes of a group who call themselves 'The Watchers'. Oscar Levant said that there's a fine line between genius and insanity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lady Justice and the Watchers

  • By MANI on 04-19-17

Light on Action, Heavy on Humor, Clear Messaging

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

Reviewed: 05-16-17

I'm all onboard with the way Robert Thornton uses zany characters and a strong sense of civic duty to help his readers/listeners to see things in various lights. Lady Justice and the Watchers is riddled with a healthy amount of entertainment value-- it has a discernible plot, keeps it mysterious (as in who's watching whom), and maintains steady movement. If you like storytelling that is light on action, won't let you sleep on relevant societal/cultural/political facts, and is drenched with humor (even if it doesn't always garner an "lol"), then Watchers might be the one for you.

The narrator does a skillful job keeping up with character, pace, and mood shifts.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Lady Justice and the Candidate

  • Lady Justice, Book 9
  • By: Robert Thornhill
  • Narrated by: George Kuch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 27

Will American politics always be dominated by the two major political parties or are voters longing for an independent candidate to challenge the establishment? Benjamin Franklin Foster came on the scene capturing the hearts of American voters with his message of change and reform. Powerful interests intent on preserving the status quo with their bought-and-paid-for politicians were determined to take Ben Foster out of the race. The Secret Service comes up with a quirky plan to protect the candidate and strike a blow for Lady Justice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Book # 9

  • By MANI on 05-14-17

Crafted in America

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

Reviewed: 05-13-17

Walt becomes a politician (kind of, sort of) in this somewhat predictable but very much fun Lady Justice installment. As is Robert Thornhill’s MO, he leaves us with much to think about. Take this combined passage for example.

"The FDA can make laws and enforce them without congressional approval or debate .... (paraphrasing here) laws preventing people from saying that, for example, oranges prevent scurvy without the risk of being imprisoned." The big problem with this is that large corporations have a significant influence over the FDA – – ask Monsanto.

The narration is right on target with the varying moods and tempos of the story.

Regardless of political persuasion, I recommend this mainly first-person narrative for those looking a bit of light action and a pound of humor. You might accidentally learn a few things, too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • One Man's Opus

  • A Survival and Preparedness Story
  • By: Boyd Craven III
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 6 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 309
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 295

Rick is like many Americans. He's concerned with what he sees on the news, and how the country seems to be ready to tear itself apart. His biggest concern has been civil unrest. Already an avid camper, he sets out to secure his future, and career, by finding his own Eden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A refreshing and authentic apocalyptic tale

  • By Brian on 05-28-17

Middling in Action, High in Story

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

Reviewed: 05-05-17

Well, if it isn’t one thing it's another. Choose your poison— except you can’t. Our protagonist Rick tells us early in this first-person tale that he is an absolute loner (which I totally get because, well, I am one too). But nothing is really absolute, as we soon learn. Our protagonist, Rick, is also a writer who actually makes enough money from his Amazon sales to, well, to survive. I really liked this idea, so serious points were scored there. Rick believes in self-sufficiency, and although I am a closet prepper at best, I am onboard with this idea. So in a word, Rick does not sleep on ANYTHING. He’s not perfect, but he is alert. He remains aware (not paranoid) of the infinite number of ways life as we know it is under constant cataclysmic threat, and how to live a relatively normal life, regardless.

For Rick, one threat comes from the nation’s racial unrest; another comes from within his very own “Garden of Eden”— the newly found haven where he sought shelter from potential madness, and where assumed he would be safe; and yet another comes in the form of a natural disaster, all of which proves one has no idea from whence trouble will come so best-be-PREPPED.

This loner is lucky in at least one way. Despite his aversion to most social situations, he chances upon excellent companionship in the form of a tight squeeze. She is packaged with a “fuzzy buddy”— a German Shepard named Opus who practically steals the show!

This was an enjoyable listen— as intelligent, educational, and entertaining as Hoyt's "Devil Dog" installments. "Opus" also has constant movement. Be warned though, this story does not tons of action per se.

As demonstrated in Hoyt’s “Devil Dog” series and Franklin Horton’s ”Borrowed World,” series, Kevin Pierce’s narration is a total win. He nails Rick and the other characters, male and feel, and with cadence and pitch and that certain intangible “something,” he depicts the moods without off-putting over-dramatizations or related missteps. The only thing I note is, for particular story (“One Man’s Opus”) Pierce’s voice sounds a bit older than the age of our main character, Rick,

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Insomniac City

  • New York, Oliver, and Me
  • By: Bill Hayes
  • Narrated by: Stephen Bel Davies
  • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 83
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 74

Bill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at 48 years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city's incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Addicting

  • By espanolish on 05-04-17

Addicting

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

Reviewed: 05-04-17

I grew up in New York City, Lower East Side primarily, but also Greenwich Village and Staten Island. Insomuch as I have been transient most of my post college graduate years, I no longer call the Big Apple or any patch of land my home. Though the City author Bill Hayes describes is no longer the same one in which I spent my formative, prepubescent, young adult years, it is undoubtedly the place I currently frequent and readily recognize— right down to the shoutout to Russ and Daughters Deli on Orchard Street. Hoyt captures in equal measure a definite sense of place (NYC, but also any locale that one holds dear), time (the present now, more or less), and mood (joy, grief, and a complete array of experiences in-between), making the book relevant and relatable and entertaining. The work is as much an ode to the ever mutating and always addicting Manhattan as it is an expression of gratitude for the imperceptible spark of life that, out of nowhere it seems, sparks to full fire and gives us a boost just as we are about to give up— or already have given up.

I liked the way Hoyt was able to connect with nearly every walk of life padding across Manhattan's terrain. I'm sure my NY bred cynism is coloring the feel that perhaps some more "realistic" experiences were either figuratively "photoshopped" or otherwise eliminated. Thus the drop in points. Maybe I would have felt different if I had grown up familiar with the inimitable personality of neurologist Oliver Sacks. Instead, I was inundated with Archie Bunker pop culture (I hope to goodness I am not dating myself!). Despite my spiky take on Hoyt's what... syrupy??... take, I’ll likely be reading this again.

Narrator Stephen Bel Davies left no lines between himself and Hoyt (sans the saccharine).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Killing Me Softly

  • Gideon Lowry Key West Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: John Leslie
  • Narrated by: David A. Wood
  • Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

Between the gentle trade winds and the thriving tourist trade, the year-round summer days and the languid nights, the living is easy in Key West. That's just the way P.I. Gideon Lowry likes it. These days, when he's not bird-dogging AWOL witnesses for the state attorney's office, Gideon's at the keyboard, giving them Gershwin and Porter to chase away the blues and help chase down the booze. That's where Virginia Murphy finds him. Shrouded in somber white, she's come back to Key West to lay a real ghost to rest - by finding out who murdered her sister.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • OK, not great

  • By John S. on 05-15-17

Predictable, Yes: Also Very Good

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

Reviewed: 05-04-17

I liked this first-person story. It was predictable but it was also very good. A flawed former police officer, who earns money as a pianist (nice!) and moonlights as a PI, migrates through the mire of his complicated familial past while trudging through the muddy waters of a motley of characters, the lives of whom are intermingled with his own under a gnarly tangle of secrets and deceit. The backdrop locale being "the southernmost city in the United States" was a nice touch-- not at all from the POV of vacation and tourists-- but rather the grunt, grind and ill-histories associated with local families, law enforcement, judges, and politicians.

My one notable gripe is that there were several distracting instances of set-up dialogue, a tool comedians use right before delivering a punch line, but intended here to add profundity. Each time the technique was engaged, I was tempted to hold up my wrist, time an imaginary second hand as it ticked around the face of an imaginary watch and say... "Wait for it ... Here it comes." One or two of these rimshot drum-tap zingers is okay, but when a sea of dialogue is littered with them, it can toss you right out the tale. Sometimes it's best to let the story be the story. Still, it was well-worth the read/listen.

While the writer did a good job at unfurling the yarn, the narrator read with the passion of an unenthused news reporter. Overall, his characterizations of most of the personalities were actually good, but he seemed disconnected from the story as a whole, and specifically, from the protagonist's role. Too bad.

The author or narrator gifted this book in exchange for a review.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful