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Jim N

Chicago, IL
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  • 416
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  • The Girl with the Long Green Heart

  • A Hard Case Crime Novel
  • By: Lawrence Block
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

She was every man's dream - and one man's nightmare. Johnny Hayden and Doug Rance had a scheme to take real estate entrepreneur Wallace Gunderman for all he was worth. But they needed a girl on the inside to make it work. Enter Evelyn Stone: Gunderman's secretary, his lover - and his worst enemy. Gunderman had promised to marry her, but never came through. Now she's ready to make him pay...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Inside the grifters life

  • By J. M. Batista on 02-22-09

The Long Con

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

Reviewed: 01-13-19

I really enjoyed this entertaining (if dated) story about a couple of grifters trying to pull a long con. Block's writing is taut, his characters interesting and of course, there's some unexpected intrigue!

The Hard Case Crime series rarely seems to disappoint and Alan Sklar's narration is a perfect match for Block's writing.

  • The Gutter and the Grave

  • A Hard Case Crime Novel
  • By: Ed McBain
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

Detective Matt Cordell was happily married once, and gainfully employed, and sober. But that was before he caught his wife cheating on him with one of his operatives. Now Matt makes his home on the streets of New York and his only companions are the city's bartenders. But trouble still knows how to find him, and when Johnny Bridges shows up from the old neighborhood, begging for Matt's help, Cordell finds himself drawn into a case full of beautiful women and bloody murder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Classic Noir

  • By ZUrlocker on 09-29-17

Excellent Noir Novel

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

Reviewed: 01-10-19

The Gutter and the Grave is a little dated but it's great noir, a well-written novel with a great cast of characters. I wouldn't quite call it a classic but I thoroughly enjoyed it and Richard Ferrone's performance is top-notch!

  • Burning Paradise

  • By: Robert Charles Wilson
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 104
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 94
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 95

Cassie Klyne, 19 years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015 - but it's not our United States, and it's not our 2015. Cassies world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. Poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing everywhere; social instability is rare. But Cassie knows the world isn't what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: That for decades - back to the dawn of radio communications - human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I'm not much for science fiction, but....

  • By Eliot and Jamie on 11-15-13

A new variation on an old theme

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

Reviewed: 01-08-19

I wouldn't rank Burning Paradise among Robert Charles Wilson's best efforts but it's an interesting and original variation on the old "aliens who look like humans" theme that doubles as an alternate history novel. Conceptually, I liked it quite a bit but the story plays as out as a thriller that never quite becomes thrilling. Some of that may be due to the narration. Scott Brick usually does a solid job but he read this book in a somnambulant, melancholy tone that rendered both action and drama a little lifeless.

The novel ends on a strong note and it was an enjoyable diversion but I can't quite recommend it.

  • The Gone World

  • By: Tom Sweterlitsch
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley
  • Length: 13 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 527
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 487
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 488

Shannon Moss is part of a clandestine division within the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. In Western Pennsylvania, 1997, she is assigned to solve the murder of a Navy SEAL's family - and to locate his teenage daughter, who has disappeared. Though she can't share the information with conventional law enforcement, Moss discovers that the missing SEAL was an astronaut aboard the spaceship USS Libra - a ship assumed lost to the darkest currents of Deep Time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What an amazing find!

  • By Veronica on 03-07-18

Complex, Engaging Science Fiction

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

Reviewed: 12-13-18

I won't waste time trying to describe the plot of this well-written novel. I'll simply recommend it. It's a time travel/thriller/mystery/horror/science fiction story with an original (and very memorable) main character. It requires attention and rewards it. This is definitely among the best books I've read or listened to in 2018.

Brittany Pressley does a great job with the narration.

  • Emma in the Night

  • By: Wendy Walker
  • Narrated by: Therese Plummer, Julia Whelan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,751
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,636
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,626

One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: 15-year-old Cass and 17-year-old Emma. Three years later Cass returns without her sister, Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family, Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Could not stop listening

  • By Pamela (@SpazP) on 08-23-17

Painful.

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

Reviewed: 11-04-18

I rarely review a book I haven't finished but 2/3 of the way through this novel I realized I disliked every character and didn't care about the outcome. In fact, I was avoiding going back to the book. As reviews go, I realize this is somewhat unfair because I'm not addressing the story as a complete whole. On the other hand, I hope it provides some insight into the nature of this tedious mystery.

  • Fender Lizards

  • By: Joe R. Lansdale, Cassandra de Cuir - director
  • Narrated by: Kasey Lansdale
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

Dot waitresses on roller skates at the Dairy Bob, doesn't care for smoking, at least partly on account of her dad having never returned from a cigarette run, and carries on the family tradition of philosophizing. Life hasn't done her any favors in her 17 years so far. But if there was ever a heroine built for turning things upside down and seeing what shakes out, it's Dot. Determined to find out who she is and why she's the way she is, an opportunity presents itself when her heretofore-unknown uncle suddenly moves his camper into the front yard.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Pure Fun

  • By Bob on 02-12-18

Funny and Charming

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

A appealing coming-of-age story, quite different from the crime and horror novels I've read by Mr. Lansdale, but no less entertaining. As usual, the characters are memorable, there's a nice dose of humor and you can't wait to find out what will happen next. Kasey Lansdale (the author's daughter) does a superb job of narrating the story. Highly recommended!

  • The Anomaly

  • By: Michael Rutger
  • Narrated by: Brandon Williams
  • Length: 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 687
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 650
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 648

If Indiana Jones lived in the X-Files era, he might bear at least a passing resemblance to Nolan Moore - a rogue archaeologist hosting a documentary series derisively dismissed by the "real" experts, but beloved by conspiracy theorists. Nolan sets out to retrace the steps of an explorer from 1909 who claimed to have discovered a mysterious cavern high up in the ancient rock of the Grand Canyon. And, for once, he may have actually found what he seeks. Then the trip takes a nasty turn, and the cave begins turning against them in mysterious ways.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best Book of 2018

  • By Jeffrey veals on 07-04-18

Fun Archeological Adventure

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

Reviewed: 10-20-18

The Anomaly is a solid pulp adventure in the more modern tradition of thrillers by Crichton, Preston/Child or perhaps James Rollins. The premise is fun and the novel moves along at a good pace, keeping the twists and mysteries coming. It all gets a bit silly (arguably even groan-worthy), as novels like this sometimes do, but overall it's enjoyable.

  • Blackwater: The Complete Saga

  • By: Michael McDowell
  • Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
  • Length: 30 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,134
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,920
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,914

Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919. On the surface, Elinor is gracious, charming, anxious to belong in Perdido, and eager to marry Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of Perdido's first family. But her beautiful exterior hides a shocking secret. Beneath the waters of the Perdido River, she turns into something terrifying, a creature whispered about in stories that have chilled the residents of Perdido for generations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A 6 Star Worthy Epic!

  • By jksullycats on 10-29-17

Epic and Memorable

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

Reviewed: 09-20-18

An epic family saga with supernatural overtones, Blackwater is complex, memorable, full of vividly realized characters and some very creepy moments. The story's supernatural elements play a significant role but it's primary focus is on the characters and dynamics of the Caskey family and the town of Perdido. It takes place over decades and it's steeped in the language and culture of the American south.

The audiobook is superb, with an excellent narrative performance by Matt Godfrey.

Highly recommended!

  • The Last Child

  • By: John Hart
  • Narrated by: Scott Sowers
  • Length: 14 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,007
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,309
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,298

his most powerful and intricately-plotted novel yet. Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stick With It!

  • By Christine on 10-19-09

A Compelling Listen

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

Reviewed: 08-15-18

The Last Child was a pleasant surprise. I stumbled across it in an Audible sale and decided to take a chance on it. I'm glad I did! It's a well-written, compelling listen from start to finish, with superbly drawn characters, intense drama and a captivating mystery. Scott Sowers' narration is outstanding. This is the best mystery I've read or listened to in a long time. Highly recommended!

  • A Season for Slaughter

  • The War Against the Chtorr, Book 4
  • By: David Gerrold
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 21 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

The story of humanity's courageous struggle for survival against the greatest threat Earth has ever known. As the tenacious invaders remake Earth's violated surface, transforming its flora and fauna into a replica of their own terrifying home world, a handful of scientists, soldiers, and citizens prepare to fight back - hoping it isn't already too late. In Mexico, a dead Chtorr leads to a stunning discovery about the aliens.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Always been my favorite of the series

  • By Gregory on 09-15-15

The Invasion Grows More Intense

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

A Season for Slaughter is the fourth and, thus far, final book in the unfinished War Against the Chtorr series. I've been waiting decades for more and supposedly, substantial portions of the fifth and six books are coming one of these days. Meanwhile, even incomplete, this remains a series worth reading.

This entry contains some of the most memorable scenes in the series. We're given much more insight into the Chtorran ecology and how it interacts with both terrestrial lifeforms and other Chtorran life. This is great stuff and throughout the books, whenever Gerrold delves into the nature of the alien invasion, he really delivers. Unfortunately, I think he overplays his hand a bit with some of the character interaction in this novel, going back to the well of protagonist Jim McCarthy's hair trigger temper and difficulty with relationships a little too often. There's also a relatively long and somewhat heavy-handed lull in the middle of the novel focusing on McCarthy's romantic relationship with "Lizard" Tirelli. It's not the she isn't an interesting character or that the relationship hasn't been developed over the previous 3 books. It's just a little too much of everything and consequently, doesn't quite work. However, the book bounces back from that lull with a vengeance and the final third of the novel contains some of the most disturbing and spectacular scenes to be found in the whole series. Definitely recommended.