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Jim N

Chicago, IL
  • 117
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  • 412
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  • 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 1,702
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,590
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,581

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 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 22

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 344
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 320

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 2,876
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,676
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,671

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 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,976
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,282
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,271

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 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56

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.

  • A Rage for Revenge

  • The War Against the Chtorr, Book 3
  • By: David Gerrold
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 19 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 49

Still reeling from the alien plagues that killed two-thirds of the planet's population, humanity now confronts the most deadly enemy Earth has ever known - the giant man-eating Chtorr. Lieutenant James McCarthy has grown to manhood under the shadow of the terrifying invasion of the Chtorr. As a student, he learned all he could to understand their alien behavior. As a Special Forces commando, he made violent first contact. Now this battle-hardened warrior faces a profound challenge.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Unsettling and Memorable

  • By Jim N on 08-12-18

Unsettling and Memorable

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

David Gerrold warns the reader right up front that this novel is didactic and he's not kidding. There's a great deal of moralizing but it's done with purpose. This isn't the strongest book in the series but it may be the most memorable and I think it's the entry in which the series' key themes are most prominent. One of the most interesting aspects of the War Against the Chtorr novels is they're not simply a rip-roarin' military science fiction yarn about humans battling huge, purple alien worms. The series is also about humanity, about change and adaptation. Before it even begins, a substantial portion of the human race has been wiped out by a series of plagues. Everyone remaining is deeply scarred by those events. Faced with an ecological invasion that seems almost unstoppable, humanity's psychological response becomes as important as any scientific or military reaction to the Chtorran threat and that response is varied. We experience it in this series primarily through the protagonist, Jim McCarthy, who is young, thoroughly messed up and often angry, frustrated and confused. His psychological state is well-established in the first two books, as is his vulnerability, and that's crucial to understanding his behavior in this one.

In A Rage for Revenge, Jim finds himself captured, manipulated and indoctrinated into a cult. The cult represents one of the aforementioned adaptations to the alien Chtorran presence. It's an effort to live in harmony with the Chtorran ecology. Gerrold handles this quite well and the chapters involving the cult are both believable and unsettling. The section that follows is unnerving too and the book deals with difficult and uncomfortable themes (including pedophilia) in ways that some readers will find hard to handle. However, when viewed within the larger psychological context described above, I think it works. In other words, we're supposed to feel uncomfortable.

Much of the aforementioned didacticism involves chapters describing the Mode training, another (and controversial) human response to the invasion, designed to help humanity successfully hold itself together and find a winning strategy.

None of these books are for the timid or easily offended. In addition to the controversial themes mentioned above, this one features dirty limericks at the beginning of every chapter (for reasons explained in the book).

I've read this novel 3 times now and although I don't think it's one of the best books I've ever read, it's certainly among the most memorable. As good as it is in some places, it's didactic nature wears a little and there's an aspect of the story near the end that doesn't quite ring true to me. Nevertheless, I recommend it.

John Pruden's performance is excellent.

  • A Day for Damnation

  • The War Against the Chtorr, Book 2
  • By: David Gerrold
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 66
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

McCarthy was drafted from his college biology studies and became a member of the Special Forces. Then he is given the opportunity to contact the Chtorr, but when a helicopter crash leaves him and his companions stranded in enemy territory, he must decide whether to communicate with the Chtorr--or kill them!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Sequel that's Superb

  • By Jim N on 08-06-18

A Sequel that's Superb

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

A Day for Damnation is my favorite book in David Gerrold's excellent-but-unfinished War Against the Chtorr series. Gerrold ramps up the story in this second book, delving more deeply into the nature and diversity of the alien ecology that's invading the planet and into the impact living in a post-apocalypse world is having on the human race. The book features an extended sequence in which the main characters are trapped in something akin to an alien "blizzard" that is among the most memorable sequences I've encountered in decades of reading and listening to science fiction.

John Pruden's narration is excellent. Highly recommended.

  • A Matter for Men

  • The War Against the Chtorr, Book 1
  • By: David Gerrold
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 140
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 135
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 133

With the human population ravaged by a series of devastating plagues, the alien Chtorr arrive to begin the final phase of their invasion. Even as many on Earth deny their existence, the giant wormlike carnivores prepare the world for the ultimate violation--the enslavement of humanity for food!

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 20 years and no book 5, be warned

  • By Shane on 09-18-14

A Great Beginning!

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

Reviewed: 07-29-18

I've read A Matter for Men 3 times before listening to this version so obviously, I'm a fan. This book and the rest of the still unfinished War Against the Chtorr series owe a debt to the work of Robert Heinlein (and Starship Troopers in particular) but Gerrold's take on alien invasion is fresh and original (even though this novel first appeared decades ago). The great twist of these novels is that the very nature of the invasion itself is a mystery. There are no massive spaceships hovering over cities. There's no advanced weaponry wielded by a hi-tech alien civilization, no contact or negotiation with an intelligent, technologically advanced alien race. Instead, Earth is being invaded by an alien ecology that slowly reveals itself and grows more complex. It's source is unknown but it is voracious and dangerous.

Much of the groundwork for subsequent entries in the series is laid in this first novel but A Matter for Men tells a satisfying story on it's own too. The main character, Jim, goes through an emotional and psychological grinder almost from the very beginning and is well-developed. Some of the more philosophical and political aspects of the book may put a few readers off but they're an important part of the character development and they help explain the form humanity's response to the invasion takes. There's even a nod to a memorable scene in King Kong!

The audio version is well-narrated by John Pruden.

I can't recommend this series enough. It remains unfinished to this day but Mr. Gerrold is still working on the rest of the series. Hopefully, those books will see print soon but even if they don't, The War Against the Chtorr is worth your time.

  • Watch the Girls

  • By: Jennifer Wolfe
  • Narrated by: Khristine Hvam
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 51

Former teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her younger sister disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life. But all this time, someone's been waiting patiently to finish what was started.... Now 15 years later, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she'll pose as a real-life detective - a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to look into a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Unfortunate Misfire

  • By Jim N on 07-24-18

A Unfortunate Misfire

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

Reviewed: 07-24-18

Watch the Girls has a great premise and I found the first third of the book compelling but the intriguing mystery at the center of the story gave way pretty quickly to predictable reveals, painfully written sex scenes and a "startling" ending that felt both preposterous and unsatisfactory. I wish I had liked this more but it just wasn't for me.

Khristine Hvam gives her usual outstanding performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful