This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides - or are chosen.
I first speed-read this book in 1978 hardcover edition as a sort-of Christian teenager, then more leisurely a couple of years later in PB, then again as an aspiring author in the mid-90's, in part to study the craft. Every time I've read it, the book makes me feel like I'm IN it, but still... when it popped up on my Audio recommended list I almost didn't look, figuring I've moved on.
Stephen King was 31 when this was published, which means he wrote it around age 30 - extraordinarily early to compose such an ambitious novel. Reading it now as a middle-aged Atheist, I'm catching a few errors I missed before and I find myself slightly annoyed by the obvious Christian slant of the novel. But once again, I feel I'm there, in the book... walking to Boulder, shuddering at Harold's constant grinning, wishing I could be on the Committee.
At the same time, the story was written almost 40 years ago, at a time when the Government was responsible for all fictional apocalypses, when tokenism was the norm... when Gay Rights were theoretical, and Womens' Lib was still "a thing."
This time, I still find it hard to turn off, but I don't feel compelled to stay up late "reading" because I know what happens. It's a great value for a single Point, and exceptionally well read by Grover Gardner - to my mind the best narrators are like great actors - if they're really good, you shouldn't notice them at all.
It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse - the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a 15-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families.
First I'm SO glad I listened to this one instead of reading it! The narrator was perfect, and added amazing suspense to an already surprisingly suspenseful tale. It starts out so unassuming, and the primary/ first-person character is not someone you think you'd want to spend much time with. Yet you cannot stop listening... the most mundane asides are still captivating. I'm afraid to say much more for fear of dropping a spoiler, but... if you like mysteries, thrillers, or literary dramas featuring dystopian antiheroes... you will love this book!
Over the course of a steamy and tense afternoon, 12 jurors deliberate the fate of a 19-year-old boy alleged to have murdered his own father. A seemingly open and shut case turns complicated, igniting passions and hidden prejudices.
I really enjoyed this. My only complaint is that it didn't last longer! What a great departure from the ordinary audiobook = this is a "live" (before an audience) play reenacting the classic story. I have never seen the original movie or play, so although I knew the basic story the dialogue and characters were new to me. But I will listen to this one again, it's a lot of fun.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
This Dark Road to Mercy is a tale of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, a story that involves two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins. When their mother dies unexpectedly, twelve-year-old Easter Quillby and her six-year-old sister, Ruby, are shuffled into the foster care system in Gastonia, North Carolina, a little town not far from the Appalachian Mountains. But just as they settle into their new life, their errant father, Wade, an ex-minor-league baseball player whom they haven't seen in years, suddenly reappears and steals them away in the middle of the night.
This was a pleasant story, well told by a cast that presented the various characters nicely. It's not life-changing or even terribly memorable, but it kept me listening. This is an example of a book that is better on audio, and where having multiple readers was an excellent choice.
Two young girls who have been kicked around terribly by life, are faced with a choice: escape with the father they barely know, or face an uncertain future with grandparents they've never met? Unsurprisingly, they take off with Dad, and encounter unexpected adventure.
I could have done with more danger, and some actual resolution at the end. The characters are well developed (and this is emphasized by using multiple readers), the situation wonderfully conceived, but the plot is weak. It's as if Cash got too attached to the girls and didn't want to get them into too much trouble.
The Pyramids and the Pentagon is a detailed study of how and why government agencies have, for decades, taken a clandestine and profound interest in numerous archeological, historical, and religious puzzles. Focusing primarily upon the classified work of the U.S. Government, The Pyramids and the Pentagon invites you to take a wild ride into the fog-shrouded past.
First, this isn't my usual sort of book, but it was an interesting departure. Basically a fairly superficial overview of a number of less-publicized conspiracy theories from last-century US history. Obviously presented from the point of view of a true believer.
But the narrator's voice fairly drips with disdain for the material, and not in a funny or appealing way at all. I can practically hear him rolling his eyes as he narrates.
In most cases when I don't care for the narrator, I can at least respect that they are doing their best. But in this case it's as if the reader is deliberately trying to undermine the text. I'm already a skeptic regarding the material itself, but I'd like to hear it presented honestly as the author apparently intends.
Throw in the occasional gross mispronunciations (eh-mehr-AH-tus for emeritus? Really???) and it's hard to enjoy this.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Little more than 100 years ago, maps of the world still boasted white space: places where no human had ever trod. Within a few short decades the most hostile of the world's environments had all been conquered. Likewise, in the 20th century, medicine transformed human life. Doctors took what was routinely fatal and made it survivable. As modernity brought us ever more into different kinds of extremes, doctors pushed the bounds of medical advances and human endurance. Extreme exploration challenged the body in ways that only the vanguard of science could answer.
If you enjoy "True Medicine" books, this is a good one but at a number of points I wished I had read it instead of listening. It is a well-written combination of autobiography and state-of-the-art musing by a Hong Kong extracted Brit who grew up partly in (The Maldives?). But the narrator sounds like he's from South Africa, and his tendency to emphasize random words in a sentence, and his tedious cadence that has nothing to do with the author's work, is very distracting.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Audie Palmer has spent 10 years in a Texas prison after pleading guilty to a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. During that time he has suffered repeated beatings, stabbings and threats by inmates and guards, all desperate to answer the same question: where's the money?
First: I'm a fan. I typically await new books from Robotham eagerly, and have been listening since the days of audio CD's.
It's really hard to believe that this canned, corny story emerged from the same brain that gave us nuanced characters like Joe O'Laughlin and Vincent Ruiz, and riveting, believable stories like LOST and SUSPECT. In past books the author's research has felt comprehensive, his medical details plausible, and the lives of the characters rich.
Not here, sadly. While the premise is actually quite good, for some reason the author switched from familiar territory (London et al) to Texas... without apparently bothering to visit the state. There is NO local flavor. It feels like his research comprised of watching American "B" movies and looking at maps. It sort of feels like a historical novel written 200 years in the future, where the author could easily be forgiven for getting some of his period detail mixed up. The prison scenes in particular seem to be a mix of COOL HAND LUKE and bad westerns.
Most of the key back story is completely and obviously nonsense. Prisoners carry cash???? Cash slated to be destroyed doesn't have its serial numbers recorded??? A man with head trauma that put him into a coma and who could not speak 10 months later, is soon thereafter boxing and weaving and glibly conversing while ducking shivs and various attempts to kill him? (Many more examples that would constitute spoilers.) And every character is either saint or stone cold psychopath. None feels like a real person. The glaring impossibilities in the plot were very distracting for me.
Also, the reader was good with the narrative but most of the character voices were whiny and cliched. The accents were just plain bad.
That said, I did listen to the whole book. I'm not returning it. I will buy the next book, especially if it's set in England. I know MR can do better!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools - or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mütter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the 19th century. Although he died at just 48, Mütter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time.
This is a somewhat disjointed story of an early 19th century surgeon whose innovations were instrumental in the advancement of the medical profession. Thomas Mutter (MOO-ter) is someone most of us never heard of, yet he pioneered procedures that are still used today.
That said, the audiobook made me really appreciate the art of narration. If the author's prose is a bit florid, the narrator's tendency toward melodrama pulls the whole thing together in a way that fits the period when the story is set.
The "Marvels" refers to a collection of specimens Dr Mutter accumulated over his career, I suspect the title was imposed on the book by the publisher after it was written, because the collection is a very small part of the book as a whole story.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia - but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world.
The stories are well told, the theme carries through, and even though much of it is very dry material, it's easy enough to follow. Extremely distracting is the narrator's mispromunciation of numerous scientific words. He's actually a good reader, sounding confident and articulate... then he comes to a work he doesn't know and instead of learning how to say it, just plunges ahead repeatedly saying things like "zoe-ON-a-sis" for zoonosis, and "uh-SAY" for assay - to name a couple of the more annoying examples. This isn't a case of British vs American pronunciation, either, just an actor who should have been coached better.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
A family of four murdered in their hotel room. A single mother and her boyfriend both stabbed to death. A sordid history of violent crimes, repeated over and over - but decades apart. Olivia Barker is a therapist with no connection to the murders. But she has heard things. Stories that keep her up at night. Details that only a killer would know. A killer who could be one of her patients…Olivia has no proof for her suspicions. But as the body count rises, so do her fears. A rock is thrown through her window, her car tires are slashed, a chilling message is scrawled on her bathroom mirror.
I actually feel a little tricked into buying this one, based on the earlier rave reviews. This is basically a YA novel, though a fairly gruesome example of the genre. I didn't finish it, but I know how it ends - if you get my drift.
That said, it was very well performed and doesn't take a lot of effort to listen to so if you want a bit of brain candy and don't mind a made-for-TV-movie plot it's a reasonable choice.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful