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Richard Delman

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  • Heartburn

  • By: Nora Ephron
  • Narrated by: Meryl Streep
  • Length: 5 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,028
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,837
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,824

Is it possible to write a sidesplitting novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. For in this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as a proper gravy depends on flour and butter.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just a treasure

  • By David Shear on 07-10-13

Meryl Streep can do anything. Nora, not so much.

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

Reviewed: 06-20-18

As above. Meryl Streep is one of the very best actors of my lifetime. I had no idea that she had narrated audiobooks, but of course she does this just as well as she has done anything else in her career. Just hearing her voice evokes some of the best movies of my lifetime, particularly Sophie's Choice, the French Lieutenant's Woman and others. She can be very funny, as in The Devil Wears Prada, and she can be very serious, and everything in between. The book has some good things about it, but if it weren't for the narrator I probably wouldn't even have bought it. The book seems to be heavily autobiographical, and my thinking about that is that Nora Ephron has led a particularly uneventful life. She, too, can be funny, and the idea of writing a cookbook by inserting it into a novel is clever. However, most of the book is pure gossip. And I mean pure gossip. It is difficult to elevate gossip to the level of a novel, particularly when the gossip is autobiographical, and the people in it are really quite ordinary. So her husband Mark is having an affair with Thelma Rice, the wife of Jonathan, who is something in the State Department. And their couple-best friends, Arthur and Julie, are so normal that they are squeaky-clean. When Arthur is seen kissing a big-titted blonde on a park bench, this is supposed to be absolutely the wildest thing. Really? And the fact that Nora is working on her second marriage, and that her Dad is in a loony bin, etc etc etc. Gossip. Virtually plotless, and with precious little character development as well. Now that I think about it, I'm not at all sure why I gave the thing an overall 4 rating. My bad. Shoulda been a 3. If I were you, I would pass, unless you feel that the opportunity to hear Meryl Streep narrate an audiobook is just too rare to pass up. I will now search Audible to see whether Meryl has read other, perhaps better, books.

  • Stone Cold: Joe Pickett, Book 14

  • By: C. J. Box
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,535
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,381
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,391

Everything about the man is a mystery: the massive ranch in the remote Black Hills of Wyoming that nobody ever visits, the women who live with him, the secret philanthropies, the private airstrip, the sudden disappearances. And especially the persistent rumors that the man’s wealth comes from killing people. Joe Pickett, still officially a game warden but now mostly a troubleshooter for the governor, is assigned to find out what the truth is, but he discovers a lot more than he’d bargained for. There are two other men living up at that ranch. One is a stone-cold killer who takes an instant dislike to Joe.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Didn't expect to like it as much as I did

  • By AudioAddict on 01-03-16

CJ Box and Joe Pickett ride again!

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

Reviewed: 06-09-18

I find myself almost giving routine 4's to all three aspects of the Joe Pickett series. This may not be a great idea, but it is the way I feel about these books. Mr. Box keeps writing these in ways that provide very enjoyable reading. It's not "literature," but none of us is looking for Shakespeare here. These, as I have said before, are great "tie the maiden to the railroad tracks" books, in which the suspense is cranked up very effectively, so that you once again worry that Joe will finally take a bullet in the chest. But of course we know that that isn't gonna happen, as Joe needs to ride again in each new book, unless Mr. Box has the courage to stop this series when he feels that he has run out of great ideas. Only one genius of the past generation has had the courage and insight to acknowledge that even a fantastic series needed to have an end. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I refer to Bill Watterson, the mega-genius who drew the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. I know that this is 100% tangential, but nonetheless, I am mentioning it because I feel that a number of authors who have successful series will never have the courage to pull the plug. Many of them should, but capitalism calls. Just one more reference to Bill Watterson: for those of you who have never read Calvin and Hobbes, I would suggest that you find the strip somewhere and prepare yourself for one of the best examples of entertainment ever conceived. Calvin was a six-year-old boy who was quite a firecracker. He had a stuffed tiger named Hobbes. Hobbes was only animated when the two of them were the only figures in the frame in the strip. Whenever any other person was in the picture, Calvin was just a stuffed tiger. Wowee! Talk about creative. Find it. I am serious. There are several books which you can get on Amazon, I believe.
In any case, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted...the other reviewers are very nicely telling you the plot of Stone Cold, just so I won't need to do that. The locale of Medicine Wheel County is dramatic country, and the populace sounds like 75% of it is on either welfare or disability. One fabulously wealthy guy named Wolfgang Templeton decides to move there, and it turns out that he has been making some of his humongous pile of money by taking on contracts (hits) on people who are felt to be "very bad individuals." So the customer pays Templeton boatloads of money to kill the person that he or she wants to be dead, and Templeton has built himself a literal castle in the snow in Medicine Wheel County. Soon almost everyone in the town is financially dependent on Templeton. None of them ever wants to work again, and they have latched onto this gravy train with their teeth firmly clenched. Heavy corruption ensues. Joe manages to crush the entire operation, including having the Castle burned down to the ground by Templeton himself. With only Nate to help him out. Believability be damned! Full speed ahead! Even with a broken-down 1989 snowmobile, Joe somehow outruns and out-thinks the baddies. I will keep reading these while he writes them. The narrator is once again ideal. You will be entertained.

  • Breaking Point: A Joe Pickett Novel Book 13

  • By: C. J. Box
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,376
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,232
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,233

The recipient of Edgar, Anthony, and Macavity Awards, New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box has won almost every honor in his field. In Breaking Point, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett is glad to catch up with old friend Lyle Pendergast, but then the man goes missing and is named a suspect in the death of two EPA employees. All signs point to Lyle’s guilt, but the more Joe digs into the case, the more he realizes he’s stepped into the middle of a deadly power play.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Darn near a true story...

  • By karen on 10-23-13

Both Joe's fans and his detractors are correct.

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

Reviewed: 06-07-18

I have read about ten of C. J. Box's books in the Joe Pickett series. I gave this book four stars, but I will say that, as above, there is truth on both sides of the reviews. Joe is in fact a kind of stick figure. He is rigid, extremely righteous, mighty quick to anger, and he always wins. Nate is a far more interesting creation, IMHO. On the positive side, Joe is a fine family man. He is totally in love with Marybeth and his daughters. Even when April starts to see Dallas Cates, not in this book, Joe still dotes on her, although Sheridan, the first-born, is obviously his favorite. In addition to Joe's personal characteristics, the plots are also things about which I am ambivalent. In this book, the federal employees, who work for the EPA, are cast erroneously as wealthy, evil, vindictive and grasping. I did read the review of the attorney who defended the Sacketts in the Idaho case, and one cannot argue with her. The federal declaration of property as wetlands, and the subsequent confiscation of family farms and devastation of lives: these things have indeed happened. This fact does not render the entire agency an abomination. The setup does work in a way that propels the novel forcefully. The final chapters of the book are absolutely masterful. The fire, Joe and Dave Farkus and ex-sheriff McLanahan running from it and crossing Savage Run Canyon: this is one of the best "tying the maiden to the railroad tracks" exercises that I have read in many a year. It is fantastically well written. However, once again in the final chapter Joe pulls a rabbit out of his hat in such a remarkably unlikely way that it beggars belief. I won't spoil it for you. Also, the way in which Joe is used by Governor Rulon is again so unlikely as to be laughable. No state agency would ever be run in such a completely idiosyncratic way, not ever. It does serve to make Rulon a figure of fun, which may be the entire point of it, but it throws Joe into these obvious conflicts with his fellow game wardens: of course they think that he is spying on them, because it is totally obvious that he is!
I know that this may not be absolutely kosher, but for just a moment, consider the differences between Joe and Walt Longmire, assuming that you read both series. Walt is so much deeper than Joe, so much more analytic and complicated, so much more filled with the kind of passion that really makes Walt stand out from most fictional characters. For my money, I could keep reading Walt's adventures long after I have given up on Joe Pickett. True depth wins out every time over simple, two-dimensional cartoon characters. That is a bit harsh on Joe, but if you read both series, then you know whereof I speak.

  • Blood Trail

  • By: C. J. Box
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,170
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 972
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 969

Former game warden Pickett is now a special agent reporting directly to the governor. With someone targeting elk hunters, Pickett must head off a potentially deadly showdown when a flamboyant anti-hunting activist rolls in to town.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Each book better than the one before

  • By Bergerhoo on 12-20-15

Joe and Nate come out on top again.

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

Reviewed: 06-02-18

This series is becoming one of my favorites. Both Mr. Box and Mr. Chandler are gifted artists, and we see them in their prime. I, too, hope that they go on doing this for a very long time.
Blood Trail is a little gory. If you are squeamish, you might get upset by several of the episodes. I won't be too specific. The bad guys are vicious, particularly the self-aggrandizing rabble rouser who gets his jollies by intimidating and humiliating classes of high school kids. The truly awful bad guy, who speaks in his own voice in his chapters, is actually killing hunters and treating them as if they were animal carcasses. We just love to hate bad guys like this, and Box has a remarkable ability to create some of the worst. Joe is again working surreptitiously for Governor Rulon, who will deny any involvement in the investigative work that he has Joe do for him. These assignments have Joe leapfrogging over Randy Pope, who is the director of the department of Fish and Game. He, of course, is infuriated by this situation; plus, we find out near the end of the book that Pope has another important reason to be terrifically upset and frightened. So he takes out his rage on Joe. Once again Nate proves to be the ideal partner for Joe. Nate does things that Joe is way too straight-laced to even think about doing. These two guys are perfectly complementary to each other. The fact that Sheridan has become a junior falconer, with Nate's tutelage, serves to complicate the relationship between the men further. And, just to tantalize us a little more, Marybeth has a twinkle in her eye for Nate. Oh my my my.
A reader who says that he or she can predict the ending of this book is a true seer of the future, IMHO. There is no way I could ever have guessed who is stalking the hunters. Ever.
Having grown up a city boy, I have never been a hunter. However, Mr. Box is so articulate in his description of the philosophy of hunting that I almost (almost) find myself leaning toward their point of view. I do know a hunter, who tells me that if I were sitting in a duck blind in the very early morning, and a bunch of ducks (bevy? school? flock?) flew overhead, I would pull the trigger. I think he is right about that.
Blood Trail is one of the best books in the series, if you are not put off by the infrequent but detailed gore. I recommend it to you highly.

  • Florida Straits

  • A Key West Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Laurence Shames
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 100
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 87
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 87

In the grand tradition of Elmore Leonard, Laurence Shames creates an outrageous heavyweight thriller that’s heavy on atmosphere and action. Joey Goldman is a low-level New York hustler. He’s taking a working vacation in South Florida and looking to score big with a time-share scam. His half brother Gino Delgatto is a man in need of a fall guy. When they meet in Key West, the term dysfunctional family takes on a new meaning. Will one of them succeed? Or will the Miami mob find an eye-popping way to dispose of them both?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Florida Funny

  • By stephen on 08-20-16

Key West is home to quirks, quacks and real ducks.

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

Reviewed: 05-29-18

I first read the print version of this book and others by Laurence Shames in the early '90s. The books are very entertaining, with some recurring characters and some new ones. Florida Straits is the story of Augie and Nina Silver. Augie is a painter who has had a long career doing good but not great work. Augie disappears in the ocean one day, and his disappearance sets off a furious cycle of fun: his apparent death raises the prices of his paintings, and his agent decides to hold an auction at Sotheby's, the timing being just right. Augie has a few friends. He has been giving away his paintings for a long time. The bulk of the book is the story of the people around Augie. They struggle with the conflict between keeping the paintings in memory of their friend, and selling them at terrific prices at the auction. It turns out that some of them are up to their eyeballs in debt, and so the conflict is easy to resolve: SELL! The situation gets totally mixed up when Augie unexpectedly reappears. At that point a lot of money is at stake and someone makes attempts to kill Augie. The plot thickens. My favorite recurring character makes a brief appearance. His name is Bert the Shirt. The name derives from his fabulous collection of custom-made shirts. He also carries around on his arm a tiny, sickly Chihuahua, which is a major figure of fun. Bert talks to the dog constantly. Bert is a retired Mafioso, and so is a sage in the community when it comes to shady people and shadier deals. Real estate scams are everywhere. Tourists are fleeced at every corner. The heat and humidity are so constant that the climate is almost a character in the story. Joey Goldman is another recurring character, another Mafioso who has fled New York and is trying to become a big gang guy with absolutely no skills and no contacts. Of course he ends up in real estate. There is also Reuben the Cuban, a touching, gay houseboy who becomes one of the Silver family.
Mr. Shames has a terrific sense of humor and so you giggle regularly. Richard Ferrone is an excellent narrator, who delivers the material with style and gusto. The book builds up suspense due to the attempts on Augie's life, several of which are vicious. In one of them Augie's parrot Fred takes one for the team by eating a poisoned pastry. In a fantastic scene one of the guys, who owes $40,000 to the mob, is held over a giant tank in which is a humongous hammerhead shark. The vig is $1200 a week!
I enjoyed this book a lot. You will have fun, too. Fun is good.

  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

  • 50th Anniversary Edition
  • By: Ken Kesey, Robert Faggen (introduction)
  • Narrated by: John C. Reilly
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,825
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,610
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,607

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceptional

  • By Anon on 06-04-18

Wow. An American classic, done right.

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

Reviewed: 05-29-18

It is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of this classic. It is a remarkable story. Many of you may remember some of it, but fifty years is a long time. I had forgotten a lot of it. The book is the story of the patients in a psychiatric hospital in Oregon. The narrator is Chief Bromden, AKA Chief Broom, voiced by John C. Reilly, whom some of you may know as the schlumpy husband of Roxie Hart in Chicago, the guy who sang Mr. Cellophane. Mr. Reilly is a genuinely multi-talented man, and the vocal talents on display here are at the top of the mountain. I had never heard him narrate an audiobook before, but I sure do wish that he does more of them. Chief Broom is an Indian (Native American) who for most of the story is playing possum, i.e. convincing the staff and other patients that he is deaf and dumb, which in truth he is not. So we listen to his view of what happens on the ward, which is divided into Acutes and Chronics. The ward is run by Nurse Ratched, a purely villainous woman who viciously controls everything that happens on the unit. She is a tyrant. She runs her little fiefdom with an iron fist (no velvet glove) until the day that Randle Patrick McMurphy is admitted. Anyone who saw the movie will remember that this was one of Jack Nicholson's first important roles, and he was spellbinding. McMurphy is a ferociously lively, daring, outspoken, dangerous, charismatic psychopath who is a natural leader. He quickly becomes the Bull Goose Loony, running the show from the Patients' side of the window, on the other side of which is Nurse Ratched, always vigilantly watching. Much of the action is the power struggle between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy. The funny scenes are LOL hilarious. The sad, tragic story of the mens' lives is woven throughout the narrative, and one never forgets that these men are locked up. It turns out that some of them are voluntary, which is in a way sadder than the plight of the committed patients. The book is a bit like a ten-round professional boxing match between the Big Nurse and McMurphy. Louise Fletcher played the nurse in the movie, and she was perfect. Mr. Reilly does all of these characters, and more, and I just can't rave about him enough. The book is suspenseful, in a way, just as one never knows who will win any fight. However, we know that the odds are heavily stacked against McMurphy. We know that his bid for independence, and for control of the group of patients, is doomed. The pathos of this situation is beautifully demonstrated. There is, truly, not a false note in the entire work. I will not spoil the end (I hope that I haven't done that already), but it is just about the saddest ending that a great book can have.
I believe that most members of the Baby Boom generation will love this audiobook. And perhaps others who can appreciate great literature and a wonderful performance. I cannot recommend it more highly.

  • Child 44

  • By: Tom Rob Smith
  • Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Length: 12 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,508
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,224
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,225

It is a society that is, officially, a paradise. Superior to the decadent West, Stalin's Soviet Union is a haven for its citizens, providing for all of their needs: education, health care, security. In exchange, all that is required is their hard work, and their loyalty and faith to the Soviet State. But now a murderer is on the loose.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Be Prepared Be Forewarned

  • By Steven on 02-22-10

A brilliant first novel. How can he do better?

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

Reviewed: 05-14-18

The reviews at the beginning of the section are universally very positive, and I agree with all of them. There may be other readers who don't like the book as much, but to each his own. I have always been interested in Russia, as it is the country of my ancestors. Polar Star, by Martin Cruz Smith, was the first absolutely outstanding historical novel about Russia during WWII, and many others have come along. Mr. Smith and Mr. Boutsikaris are flawless here. Neither tries too hard. The material is so gripping that they do not need to fluff it up with production values, although the little musical snippets seemed like gilding the lily to me. The Stalin era in Russia was by far the most destructive tyranny that the Russian people have ever endured. Mr. Smith describes the perfect insanity of Stalin's rule. In terms of numbers, Stalin's pogroms murdered many times the number of Jews who were put to death by Hitler in the ovens. There can be no exact number, but one can envision a viciousness and inhumanity that defies rational human thought. The protagonist, Leo Demidov, spins through the web of lies and pretend truths, trying to hold onto some principles of his own when the only real strategy is survival. It really is quite a mind-bender to imagine all the horrors that were perpetrated by the Communist Party against the Russian peasants. You can listen to the stories about food stores in which you must wait in three long lines for six to eight hours in order to buy a few rotten groceries: it is just almost impossible to accept that those stories are true. And yet they were. Leo is manipulated by the Party to testify against his own wife, Raisa, whom he loves without reservation. The Party pushes him very hard to call her a spy for the West. In the end he stands firm to his principles, even when his own parents are telling him how "practical" it would be for him to agree to do it. Leo's parents have been living a comfortable life as a result of his Party loyalty. They are merely trying to survive. They actually like Raisa: as it is said, it's nothing personal.
The book can be hard to take at times, because you know that there is little pure fiction in it, and you just don't want to believe that human beings can be so incredibly cruel to each other. But hang in. The book accelerates around Act III, and at that point you are a captive. The invention, the style of writing, the fullness of humanity in the characters, the pure villains Vasily and the "doctors" who inject camphor oil into the bloodstreams of people whom they are torturing: all of these will keep you up at night. I wonder what Mr. Smith will do next. I can't imagine how he could top this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Best Intentions

  • By: Joseph T. Klempner
  • Narrated by: Jeff Cummings
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38

It starts with some innocent family fun. Writer Stephen Barrow's divorced wife, involved in a second marriage, has given Barrow custody of their six-year-old daughter, Penny. Father and daughter share a relationship that is tender, poignant, and funny. Their home life in a small upstate New York town is a happy and entirely wholesome one.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great true story with outstanding narration!

  • By Wayne on 04-15-18

Meh.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-08-18

It is seldom that I write a review of a book without actually finishing the book. However, in the case of Best Intentions, I will make an exception. Mr. Klempner is a good writer, and the narrator is fair. But the entire, and I do mean entire, premise of the book is laughable, and not in a good way. I know that the author is a former attorney. However, the idea that simply taking a picture of your six-year-old daughter in the bathtub, no matter what posture she strikes, is "sex abuse," is so ridiculous on its face that it makes the rest of the book (I am projecting here, I know), so grossly improbable as to render the book unreadable, IMHO. I live in California, and I have about forty-five years of experience as a forensic and clinical psychologist in the criminal justice system, including some time in the great state of Michigan, and also in the context of federal laws. "Sex abuse" is not what this is. Usually sexual abuse involves some amount of physical touching of the "victim" by the "offender." Statutes like this do not get used to prosecute doting dads who do not have a moment's experience with the criminal justice system. These laws do not apply to a man who is taking family photographs. A prosecutor who ruined people's lives in this way would be voted out of office immediately, as the populace would worry that they themselves might be treated by the man/woman in a similarly insane way. So the ludicrous problem with the law and the justice system personnel being slavishly adherent to every last codicil in it, then contaminates the nature and good sense of the town's population severely. Working on the premise that everyone in the town and in the area in general is a 100% space cadet who cannot think at all, the author thus slips into the indefensible position that every single one of these people is stupid, gullible, easily excitable and extremely eager to blame others no matter what might have happened, no matter what they might think about the incident in question. To use a word that my twenty-five-year old son has recently introduced me to, they aren't people, they're sheeple. Isn't there a single member of the community who will raise his or her voice about this travesty? Really? They are all just unthinking fools? I don't believe that. The moment that the drug store clerk called out "sex abuse," I began to worry about the author's approach to reality. The idea that even the defense attorney, who should have his client's interests at heart, takes the damn "statute" so totally seriously is pathetic. The trial process could take a YEAR? What world are they living in? And he could be imprisoned for FOUR YEARS? Four years in state prison for taking a picture? Come on. A good novel is allowed to stretch the truth, heaven knows, but the readers must be able to suspend disbelief, as the lit people say. I have suspended belief in this book. Obviously I encourage you to use your own God-given good judgment about this book, but my advice is: don't bother. Life is too short to read bad books.

  • Out of Range

  • By: C. J. Box
  • Narrated by: David Chandler
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,228
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,064
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,065

C. J. Box's best-selling Joe Pickett novels have earned him a spot on every serious suspense fan's shortlist of favorites. The tightly constructed Out of Range brings game warden Joe to a new, remote beat in Wyoming's vast countryside to investigate the suspicious death of the previous warden.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One Good Man In A Three Horse Hole

  • By gone2ground on 07-30-12

Joe gets tempted and solves a murder.

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

Reviewed: 05-07-18

This is a terrific book, possibly the best in the series, which is saying something, as I have come to really enjoy these books. The fact that I am coming to the end of the series is sad, indeed. Although there is a certain amount of sameness to each of the adventures, Mr. Box is an excellent writer. As with Craig Johnson in the Walt Longmire series, Mr. Box is a wonderful descriptor of Wyoming and its natural treasures, as well as the not-so-treasured human inhabitants of the state. Lesser authors are sometimes caged in by a successful series. Both of these men, along with the amazing Stuart Kaminsky, can keep the books fresh by introducing new settings, new people and new plots. This book finds Joe in Jackson, once called Jackson Hole. The game warden there, whom Joe knew fairly well, has committed suicide, and Joe has been sent to both cover the territory, which is as big as his own, and also to poke around about the death of Will Jensen. Joe quickly comes to feel that the death was not a suicide. Powerful forces exert strong, corrupt influences on the environment in Jackson. Joe meets a woman named Stella Ennis, who attracts him in an almost overwhelming way. He is only in Jackson briefly, which is clearly by design, as one gets the feeling that a couple of weeks longer would have threatened the bonds of Joe's marriage to Marybeth. Also, Stella disappears, which is no accident, so to speak.
As Joe investigates Will's death, he meets Don Ennis, Stella's husband, who is the developer of a humongous project in the hills above Jackson. It becomes clear to Joe that the project was going to be held up by the objections of Will Jensen, who had strong concerns about disruptions of wildlife migration patterns, and other concerns as well. The heat gets turned up very high as Joe finds himself in grave danger of being trapped in the same web that destroyed Will. I won't spoil the ending for you, but it is excellent. An author once said that it is extremely difficult to write a great ending for a great book. Mr. Box accomplishes that feat here.
David Chandler does his usual fine job. I have no complaints about him, except to say that he is no George Guidall.

  • The Dry

  • A Novel
  • By: Jane Harper
  • Narrated by: Stephen Shanahan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,955
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,570
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,563

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nothing dry here!

  • By green ice cream garden on 01-18-17

A fine thriller from the Land Down Unda.

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

Reviewed: 04-30-18

I notice that there is a fair amount of disagreement among the reviewers of this book. I guess tastes differ. I enjoyed the book quite a lot, although I'm not going to fall all over myself drooling in praise for it. The plot keeps you involved: there is a horrendous crime that occurs twenty years ago, and then there is a kind of parallel crime in the present. The author moves back and forth between then and now in a herky-jerky way that some people will find annoying, I'm sure. However, I liked it quite a bit, because the characters were interesting and well-drawn; the depiction of small-town Oz is accurate, given my minimal data base in that regard; and the narration is excellent, in my view. I spent a month in Australia at the turn of the century, and my family and I loved the place. The Ozzies are very different from us, and some of those differences are delightful. However, the men, or at least a large number of them, are in many ways creatures of the early twentieth century. Not to condescend to them, but once you get to know a few of them you can see it. The women, by contrast, live fully in the current world, and the contrasts between the genders make for some fascinating relationships. Ms. Harper shows these to us in a number of clever and articulate passages of the book. She is a just plain excellent writer, and this book shows off many of her terrific skills. The ending, for example, is spell-binding, IMHO. It is often extremely hard to write a great ending for a great book. Hang in for the ending, please. I was actually holding my breath.
It takes a bit of doing to get into the book in the beginning. This is because the narrator does a very good Strine (the Australian version of spoken English). If you haven't heard it before you may find it hard on your ears. However, I would urge you to hang in here, too, as the narrator is doing his job extremely well. It is just full of strange sounds to us Yankees, as we sound strange to them, as well. It turns out, though, that Mr. Shanahan is just about as talented a narrator as Ms. Harper is an author. Once you get into the book, perhaps a third of the way through, (plus or minus) you will not be able to put it down. The small town is representative of many small towns all over the place. There are deep, dark secrets that are held for extremely long times, and harsh, erroneous opinions that are held onto with ferocious hostility. It sure is great to be repelled by what you think is awful behavior in a really bad person, don't you think? People can hold onto mistaken bad judgments for decades, and in some places centuries. Think of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Think of the Middle East (or, better yet, don't).
So, I recommend this book highly. Try to look past the small annoyances and you will be rewarded with a terrific novel, full of real people, real passions and a story that will grip you to the end.