LISTENER

Robyn

  • 132
  • reviews
  • 184
  • helpful votes
  • 133
  • ratings
  • Without Mercy

  • Obsession and Murder Under the Influence
  • By: Gary Provost
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 8 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 497
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 454
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 452

On any Sunday morning in the Florida Redlands, Dee Casteel might have served you pancakes at the IHOP. She was a hard-working, cheerful waitress, one of the nicest people you'd ever want to know. She was also a three-bottle-a-day alcoholic, hopelessly in love with the IHOP's manager, Allen Bryant. Bryant wanted his live-in lover, IHOP owner Art Venecia, dead. And Dee Casteel helped him to arrange it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I Thoroughly Enjoyed This Book

  • By Stephanie on 02-08-17

Unusual take on a murderer

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

Reviewed: 06-21-17

This is the story of Dee Casteel who was convicted of murder for her role in organising and covering up two murders: the first a man murdered for his money, and the second an attempt to ensure that the first murder would not be discovered. I just couldn’t get onto the same wavelength as the author who appears to believe that Casteel’s active participation in the planning and cover-up of the murders and subsequent fraudulent activities to gain financially from the crimes is over-ridden by the fact that deep down she is/was a lovely woman whose every life choice was governed by the demon drink and, later, by her love for a homosexual (and therefore unattainable) man 20 years her junior. More than an explanation for Casteel’s crimes the book reads almost as a justification. Provost seems to have been swayed by meeting her and listening to her side of the story. Understanding and forgiveness are one thing, but this goes beyond that. The victims of her crimes remain shadowy figures – we hear from many who give glowing character references for Casteel, but barely a word from people who knew or loved the victims. It just doesn’t read right and I was puzzled at the slant Provost took, hoping all along that it would eventually make sense but for me it never did. The chapters in which Provost speaks directly to Dee and the victims are superfluous – there are enough facts to make this a story worth telling without imaginary conversations. Kevin Pierce is wonderful as always.

  • Silas Marner & Under the Greenwood Tree

  • By: George Eliot, Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Tadhg Hynes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

Reputed to be Eliot's favorite novel, Silas Marner is set in the early years of the 19th century. Marner, a weaver, is a member of a small congregation in Lantern Yard. Falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit, he leaves his home and lives a solitary life near the village of Raveloe. Under the Greenwood Tree, Hardy's second novel, was published in 1872 and became the first of his great series of Wessex novels.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightful

  • By Robyn on 06-20-17

Delightful

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

Reviewed: 06-20-17

Two great novelists, wonderful story-lines, authentic characters and true-to-life settings - what more can a reader want? With Tadgh Hynes doing justice to the works with his sensitive interpretation and wonderful voice, these two books have it all.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • So, Anyway...

  • The Autobiography
  • By: John Cleese
  • Narrated by: John Cleese
  • Length: 13 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 78

John Cleese describes his nerve-racking first public appearance, at St Peter's Preparatory School at the age of eight and five-sixths; his endlessly peripatetic homelife, with parents who seemed incapable of staying in any house for longer than six months; his first experiences in the world of work, as a teacher who knew nothing about the subjects he was expected to teach; his hamster-owning days at Cambridge; and his first encounter with the man who would be his writing partner for over two decades, Graham Chapman.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • He's funny!

  • By Mikko Hiltunen on 01-20-18

Boring

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

Reviewed: 06-08-17

If I had known this book was only about Cleese's first 30 years, I would not have bought it (caveat emptor!). That initial mistake acknowledged, it's seldom I stick to a book if I am not being informed or entertained, but I managed to finish all 13+ hours of this one simply because I couldn't believe that, with such an intelligent and brilliant author, it wouldn't improve. Sadly, it did not. Cleese's school and university years take up the first half of the book and they were no more interesting than mine. Even when he gets onto the stage, there is too much about writing and production and performance analysis and not terribly interesting anecdotes about other artists - all deadly dull unless, perhaps, you are an aspiring actor or theatre historian. The book is only slightly redeemed from Chapter 11 with the inclusion of a few sections from Cleese's best known skits. Overall the material is mundane, the writing pedestrian, and the tone uninspiring.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Kick: The True Story of Kick Kennedy, JFK's Forgotten Sister and the Heir to Chatsworth

  • By: Paula Byrne
  • Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

The remarkable life of the vivacious, clever - and forgotten - Kennedy sister who charmed the English aristocracy and was almost erased from her family history. When Kathleen Kennedy sailed to England after her father had been appointed ambassador to Great Britain in 1938, her wit, aloofness and sexual charisma at once became the source of endless fascination for the British public.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating sidelight on the Kennedy family

  • By Liz on 03-20-18

Mediocre

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

Reviewed: 05-21-17

Paula Byrne has written a book which is readable enough, although it wasn't a 'page-turner'. She documents Kathleen's early life of privilege and everything money could buy, and clearly brings out her vivacity and charisma. The tone inevitably changes as Kick's life is blighted by the various tragedies which she experienced toward the end of her short life. I had two problems with Beamish's narration. 1. Some narrators are a pleasure to listen to and some are not - Beamish for me is in the latter category but that's merely subjective and probably irrelevant. 2. Her mispronunciations really detract and distract from the content. Those I committed to memory in my irritation were Maginot, egregious, Cliveden, beguine, Roosevelt (sometimes rooz and sometimes rose), and mores (as in societal norms). Anyway, I think I learned more about Kathleen Kennedy from Barbara Parry's 'Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch' (audible.com version).

  • Wicked Takes the Witness Stand

  • A Tale of Murder and Twisted Deceit in Northern Michigan
  • By: Mardi Link
  • Narrated by: Jim McCance
  • Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 125
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 124

On a bitterly cold afternoon in December 1986, a Michigan State trooper found the frozen body of Jerry Tobias in the bed of his pickup truck. The 31-year-old oil field worker and small-time drug dealer was clad only in jeans, a checkered shirt, and cowboy boots. Inside the cab of the truck was a fresh package of expensive steaks from a local butcher shop, the first lead in a case that would be quickly lost in a thicket of bungled forensics, shady prosecution, and a psychopathic star witness out for revenge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Justice system Vs Conviction system

  • By Sean on 11-14-16

Could not switch off

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

Reviewed: 05-06-17

Everything about this book is 5-star. I think it would be excellent reading for any citizen who is eligible for jury duty so that, if the occasion arises, they will have some idea of what to be alert for when listening to evidence and adjudicating.

  • Hear No Evil

  • Scientific Analysis of the Forensic Evidence in the Kennedy Assassination
  • By: Donald Byron Thomas
  • Narrated by: David Rapkin
  • Length: 26 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 38
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

Groundbreaking scientific analysis that breaks the JFK assassination wide open! Did a shot from the "grassy knoll" kill President Kennedy? If so, was Oswald part of a conspiracy or an innocent patsy? Why have scientific experts who examined the evidence failed to put such questions to rest? In 2001, scientist Dr. Donald Byron Thomas published a peer-reviewed article that revived the debate over the finding by the House Select Committee on Assassinations that there had indeed been a shot from the grassy knoll, caught on a police dictabelt recording.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Most Comprehensive Assassination Book To Date

  • By Parrish on 11-20-13

Probably better in hard-copy

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

Reviewed: 05-06-17

This book is jam-packed with scientific information about every aspect of the JFK assassination. Getting the most from it requires basic science and, even then, I would have been better off with the hard copy so that I could re-read difficult points. I assume the hard copy book has diagrams which would make a huge difference. If getting though the chapters can sometimes be a struggle, the summaries at the end of each chapter tie it all together in simpler language and are a big plus. Overall, the book is well worth the effort.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shadow of Doubt

  • The Trial of Dennis Oland
  • By: Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
  • Narrated by: Elisabeth Rodgers
  • Length: 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

On July 6, 2011, Richard Oland, scion of the Moosehead brewing family, was murdered in his office. The brutal killing stunned the city of Saint John, and news of the crime reverberated across the country. In a shocking turn, and after a two-and-half-year police investigation, Oland's only son, Dennis, was arrested for second-degree murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well written and compelling

  • By COJoebro on 03-26-17

too long, too slow

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

Reviewed: 04-24-17

This is true crime without much by way of twists and turns. There was one victim and only ever one suspect in the eyes of the police. Their investigation was sloppy with a number of avenues of inquiry which were never followed up, possibly important evidence destroyed before it could be recorded and analysed, and some witnesses not interviewed until much later. The wealthy victim and his family provide some interest but, apart from money, their lives were pretty run-of-the-mill. This is a book which could do with some serious editing down, there was way too much detail; for example income and outgoings reported to the cent, blood spatter evidence, DNA evidence (or not), all of which tended to get the story bogged down. It was as though the author had taken a huge pile of notes and was determined to cram everything into the book. Elisabeth Rodgers did a fine job of narration, and if she hadn't mispronounced 'genealogy' as 'geneOlogy' every time I would have given her five stars.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Light and Shadow

  • Memoirs of a Spy's Son
  • By: Mark Colvin
  • Narrated by: Mark Colvin
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

Mark Colvin is a broadcasting legend. He is the voice of ABC Radio’s leading current affairs program PM; he was a founding broadcaster for the groundbreaking youth station Double J; he initiated The World Today program; and he’s one of the most popular and influential journalists in the twittersphere. Mark has been covering local and global events for more than four decades. He has reported on wars, royal weddings and everything in between. In the midst of all this he discovered that his father was an MI6 spy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Probably of most interest to Australian readers

  • By Robyn on 04-12-17

Probably of most interest to Australian readers

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

Reviewed: 04-12-17

I really enjoyed this book, but I think that was in large part because I'm a contemporary of Mark Colvin and have listened to his reports for decades and hold him in high esteem and affection. But so much of his story has Australian references which would be lost on anyone not familiar with Australian geography, history, politics, and culture. To take just one example: If you don't know what The Dismissal refers to, this book is probably not for you (or you'll have a lot of looking up to do along the way). I am happy for Mark to keep his private life private, but I was surprised that the first mention of a woman in his life was reference to a wife and son - when did they appear? Nonetheless, it was an interesting trip through his journalistic career and his fitting together the pieces of his father's espionage puzzle. It was a great pleasure to listen to Mark's familiar voice narrating his story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Monster of Florence

  • By: Douglas Preston, Mario Spezi
  • Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 822
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 422
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 423

In 2000, Douglas Preston and his family moved to Florence, Italy, fulfilling a long-held dream. They put their children in Italian schools and settled into a 14th century farmhouse in the green hills of Florence, where they devoted themselves to living la dolce vita while Preston wrote his best-selling suspense novels. All that changed when he discovered that the lovely olive grove in front of their house had been the scene of a double-murder.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable true-crime novel

  • By SFort on 07-04-08

A hilarious/disturbing tale

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

Reviewed: 01-11-17

This is a story of Italian Keystone Cops, with a judicial system to match. Part one of the book outlines the facts of the decades-old case, popularly known as the Monster of Florence. This concerns a series of murders of 'courting' couples in parked cars on the outskirts of Florence. Part two takes off at the point when Douglas Preston moves to Florence with the intention of living a wonderful life and writing another novel. But his interest in the Monster story is piqued, he begins investigating, and eventually ends up being a character in the Monster of Florence story. Meanwhile, the police investigation and criminal proceedings become increasingly bizarre. No doubt every country has its stories of corruption within law enforcement systems, but the Florentine system is unlike those familiar to true-crime readers in the English-speaking world and this adds an extra dimension. Mario Spezi, both author and actor in the case, is a very likable character and the voice of reason throughout. The book also provides an interesting look at Florentine culture with its roots dating back many centuries. Dennis Boutsikaris has just the right voice for this story and his dead-pan delivery is perfect since the bumbling and ineptitude speak for themselves. He also does a good job with the Italian accent. True crime, injustice,and 'local colour' with a twist. Well worth reading.

  • The Most Wonderful Tales of the Year

  • Holiday Memories Written and Performed by Our Favorite Narrators
  • By: Audible Narrators
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis, Kate Reading, Michael Kramer, and others
  • Length: 1 hr and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,738
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,099
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,087

Here at Audible, we know just how much of an impact a voice can have on a story - taking simple words and filling them with elation, wonderment, tragedy, or pure satisfaction. We rely on our narrators every day to bring our favorite stories and characters to life - to introduce us to new authors and genres, or even to a new (perhaps longer) commute. And though our narrators are the best story tellers in the business, it's usually someone else's that they're telling.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Is Some Kind of White Elephant Gift?

  • By Dave on 12-12-16

Lovely personal stories

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

Reviewed: 01-07-17

Having narrators share with us their personal Christmas or holiday season stories was a treat. Each story is quite different, but they all contain elements which will resonate with different listeners. Some bring a smile, others a tear to the eye - all interesting. A very nice end-of-year read. Thank you Audible and narrators.