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  • 12
  • helpful votes
  • 45
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  • The Friends of Eddie Coyle

  • By: George V. Higgins
  • Narrated by: Mark Hammer
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 208

George V. Higgins, the internationally-acclaimed grand master of crime fiction, returns to thrill listeners with this riveting tale of cops, robbers, and big city low life. An expertly crafted story of loyalty and betrayal, it is peppered with wonderfully authentic dialogue and seedy black market atmosphere. Eddie Coyle is a small-time gun dealer with a big-time problem: who to sell out to avoid going to prison.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic Narration meets Fantastic Dialogue

  • By Roy Reiss on 06-18-12

Great Narrator For These Small Time Hoods

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

Reviewed: 01-19-19

Mark Hammer is the perfect narrator for this material. His reading of the prose actually adds to the atmosphere of the story. My only complaint about the narration is that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with which character is speaking. All the characters sound the same. Still, Hammer's narrating style is so entertaining that it makes up for this deficit.

If you like crime stories, this is a good one. It's a peek into the lives of small time criminals over a few days days. George V. Higgins has an interesting writing style. The reader learns the story more by context--by listening to the dialogue between characters--than by events that happen. Where Higgins excels is the dialogue. He nails the enjoyable way that these 70's hoods speak.

I know there's a 1973 film based on this book starring Robert Mitchum, but I'd love to see Scorsese grab a hold of this material and run with it. His movies such as Goodfellas, Casino, and Taxi Driver are so quotable. A movie from this book would fall right in line with those.

This book isn't going to blow your socks off and change your life, but it is entertaining.

I would recommend it to people who like crime stories and are hungry for a writer with a definite, interesting style.

  • How to Make and Sell Your Film Online and Survive the Hollywood Implosion While Doing It

  • No festivals. No distributors. No budget. No problem.
  • By: Scott McMahon
  • Narrated by: Scott McMahon
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

If the Hollywood implosion does come to fruition then where do aspiring filmmakers go to make a living? This unique survival guide is designed to help über-independent filmmakers navigate the terrain of direct digital distribution. It will show them how to really sell a product online.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's What Every Filmmaker Needs

  • By Tony Mendoza on 07-02-15

Excellent Book Unlike Any Other

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

This book will do exactly what it ways it will do on the cover. It will show you how to make and sell your no budget, micro budget, or low budget film online and actually make money in the process.

The book is packed with information. There's lots of online links to free stuff and helpful information. The advice is top notch.

I sound like McMahon is paying me to write this review. He's not. I don't know him. I've never even been to his web site. But, I read his book--as I have read a multitude (over a hundred) books about filmmaking--and I'm telling you, this book is top notch. It does a lot of the footwork for you--stuff that would take you years to learn by yourself.

This book is not as much about making a no/low/micro budget film as it is about selling that film. Yes, there is a hefty section where McMahaon provides several good ideas about making those types of films. But, the book's focus is really how to make money with that film once you have it done.

Lots of examples.

Lots of excellent ideas and advice.

Lots of freebies, via online link, that will help you get your film made and sold.

It's an awesome book.

Big thumbs up.

The audio version is an excellent way to experience the material, but I would recommend the print edition if you are serious about following McMahon's advice about selling your film. Why the print version? Because you can reference it. Audio is harder to return to a specific part of the book and re-read/listen to it.

If you are going to make an indie film and try to sell it at a film festival, then this book is not for you. If you got no bites at the film festivals and markets, and you still believe in the film and want to make income from it, then this book is where you will want to turn.

  • Never Call Me a Hero

  • A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway
  • By: N. Jack "Dusty" Kleiss, Timothy Orr
  • Narrated by: Mike Ortego, Cassandra Campbell, Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 190
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179

An extraordinary firsthand account of the Battle of Midway by one of its key participants, timed to the 75th anniversary: American dive-bomber pilot "Dusty" Kleiss helped sink three Japanese warships (including two aircraft carriers), received the Navy Cross, and is credited with playing a decisive individual role in determining the outcome of a battle that is considered a turning point in World War II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love the story, disagree with the title.

  • By STC on 08-21-17

Not Really About Midway

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

Reviewed: 08-11-18

I bought this thinking that it would be an intriguing insight into the Battle of Midway. It's not that. Yes, Dusty Kleiss scored three hits on two of the Japanese carries to help sink them during the battle, but the entire engagement, from Dusty's experience, was four minutes. Midway is covered, of course, but it only gets two chapters out of this entire book.

Most of the book is a survey of Dusty's career (and a lot of him longing to be with his girlfriend/wife).

I can't say that I'd recommend this book. I didn't learn anything new about the battle. And, to be fair, there's more information about the battle in the 1976 film, Midway.

One superb thing about the book, though is the narrator. He did an excellent job with material that became boring very often.

  • The Grifters

  • By: Jim Thompson
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 44

To his friends, to his coworkers, and even to his mistress Moira, Roy Dillon is an honest hardworking salesman. He lives in a cheap hotel just within his pay bracket. He goes to work every day. He has hundreds of friends and associates who could attest to his good character.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thompson at his best.

  • By Ron on 01-17-12

Sags in the Middle, But Great Narrator

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

I was expecting this to be an example of Thompson's best work. In my mind, it is the most popular, probably because of the movie.

It starts off good, and it has a good, Thompson-esque ending. But, the middle sags and sags badly.

The movie is close but different from the book. I think the movie is better than the book.

Barbara Rosenblat, the narrator, is flat out fantastic. She's a perfect fit for this material. She even does the male voices well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Swell-Looking Babe

  • By: Jim Thompson
  • Narrated by: Brian Troxell
  • Length: 5 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24

It was supposed to be only a temporary job - something to pay the bills until Dusty could get his feet back on the ground and raise enough money for medical school. After all, there's nothing wrong with being a bellboy at a respectable hotel like the Manton - that is, until she came along. Marcia Hillis. The perfect woman. Beautiful. Experienced. Older and wiser. But while Dusty has designs on Marcia, Marcia has an agenda of her own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • very good

  • By Darryl on 09-19-12

Not Thompson's Best

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

Reviewed: 07-13-18

I usually love Jim Thompson's work. Not this one. It's a mish-mash of competing stories. I don't think Thompson knew which one he wanted to tell. The entire book feels rushed, and, strangely, he changes point of view awkwardly.

The worst thing that I can say about any novel, I say about this one. About half way through the book, I just didn't care. I wanted the book to end--to get it done and over with so that I could move on to something else.

No recommended.

  • John Badham on Directing

  • Notes from the Sets of Saturday Night Fever, WarGames, and More
  • By: John Badham
  • Narrated by: John Badham
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 198
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 178

Veteran director John Badham explains the elements of action and suspense and dissects the essentials of any good scene from any genre. Continuing the work begun in his best-selling book I'll Be in My Trailer, Badham shares more insights into working with difficult actors, rehearsal techniques, and getting the best performance from your cast.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Kristofer Bryant on 03-02-15

Real Tactics From An A List Director

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

Reviewed: 06-26-18

John Badham was a powerhouse director back in the late 70's and through the 80's. He directed John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, Roy Schieder and Malcom McDowell in Blue Thunder, Ally Sheedy in Short Circuit, Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson in Bird on a Wire, Bridgette Fonda in Point of No Return, and a ton of other movies. The man knows something about working with actors.

And, he's still working! He directs TV on shows like Supernatural, Arrow, 12 Monkeys, Nikita, and several other series.

This book is about the director working with his actors, and it is packed full of interesting ideas, tactics, and strategy for managing the psychology of others.

This is a must read (listen) for anyone wanting to be a real movie director.

It is read by the author, himself, John Badham.

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

  • By: Alan Dean Foster
  • Narrated by: Marc Thompson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,015
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,246
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,227

More than 30 years ago, Star Wars burst onto the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Now the next adventures in this blockbuster saga are poised to captivate old and new fans alike - beginning with the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And alongside the cinematic debut comes the thrilling novel adaptation by New York Times best-selling science fiction master Alan Dean Foster.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Adds a bit to the Movie

  • By Brad on 12-22-15

Exactly What You Want From An Audio Novelization

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

Reviewed: 04-13-18

When I read (listen) to novelizations of films that I like, I want something new. I want a different experience. I want more information about the universe I saw in the film.

Alan Dean Foster is known for bulking up novelizations with extra material. When I see his name on a novelization, I know that it's going to be a good read.

ADF did not disappoint with this book.

The book mimics the movies, scene for scene, in the beginning. But, even here, though the same scene is played, each scene is changed a bit. Some scenes are longer, and almost all have different dialogue.

At about the part of the tale when Rey and Finn take the Falcon and leave Jakku, we are treated with some completely new scenes. For example, we watch Poe get off Jakku. And, there's a scene where Unkar Plutt shows up in Maz Kanata's tavern on Takonada, chasing the Falcon. I'd tell you about that scene, but I want you to discover it for yourself. I don't know if ADF added this to the film, or if this was a part left out of the movie for length or pace. If the latter, I can understand why it was cut--but it's a damn cool scene! It's something that I didn't know that I really wanted to see between Plutt and Rey.

Speaking of cool scenes, there's another one, when Hosnian Prime is destroyed, where we cut to Leia. She feels the destruction in the Force. I thought that this should have been in the film. It hearkens back to Ben Kenobi in ANH when Alderaan was destroyed. And, it reminds us that Leia is a Skywalker, too.

Another great scene not in the film is when Kylo Ren speaks with the projection of Snoke for the first time. In the movie, this is when Snoke reveals that Han is Ren's father. The scene is longer in this novel where Snoke asks Ben why the Empire fell. And, Ren replies, "Sentiment." That right, Snoke tells him. Had Darth Vader killed his son, then the Empire would still be alive today.

I liked that scene because it adds a lot of depth to Ben's action of killing his own father later in the story. I can see why it may have been cut from the film, though, if, indeed, it was in the original script, as it would telegraph Han's demise. Han's death would be less shocking.

Still, I love the scene in the novel.

Let's talk now about presentation, which is very important in an audiobook. The production value on this book is top notch. You get the wonderful Star Was music. There are sound effects--but not too much. There's just enough to enhance the story.

And the narrator, Marc Thompson, is, in my opinion, the best Star Wars narrator that there is. He does voice well. His Luke and Han are awesome. When he read General Hux's speech before the weapon on Starkiller base was unleashed, I felt his hatred for the New Republic. I came to see the First Order's view that the New Republic is an illegitimate government spawned by guerrillas who some how won the Galactic Civil War.

Heck, to my surprise, Thompson even does Rey well--and that's a rarity, a male doing a female's voice well.

This is an excellent audio experience. I found no fault with it, and I highly recommend it.

May The Force Be With You!

  • The Forever War

  • By: Joe Haldeman
  • Narrated by: George Wilson
  • Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,290
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,394
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,412

William Mandella is a soldier in Earth's elite brigade. As the war against the Taurans sends him from galaxy to galaxy, he learns to use protective body shells and sophisticated weapons. He adapts to the cultures and terrains of distant outposts. But with each month in space, years are passing on Earth. Where will he call home when (and if) the Forever War ends?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A classic.

  • By John on 09-24-08

Science Fiction Masterwork read by an OK Narrator

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

Reviewed: 01-25-18

It's an amazing book. It won the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Locus Award, all for Best Novel. The narrator is...just OK. I've heard a lot worse. But, he's not the gripping narrator that would keep me on the edge of my seat, waiting to return and finish the book.

The book is a better read if you read it in the traditional manner.

  • The 13th Valley

  • By: John M. Del Vecchio
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 27 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 225
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 203
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 200

The 13th Valley follows the terrifying Vietnam combat experiences of James Chelini, a telephone-systems installer who finds himself an infantryman in territory controlled by the North Vietnamese army. Spiraling deeper and deeper into a world of conflict and darkness, this harrowing account of Chelini's plunge and immersion into jungle warfare traces his evolution from a semipacifist to an all-out combat-crazed soldier.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • One of the classic novels of Vietnam

  • By Michael E. on 07-05-17

Could Have Been Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 12-03-17

The first half of this book mesmerized me. The narrator, Sean Runnette, does a great job of pulling you in and making you feel like you were there, a young punk kid, in Vietnam in 1970. I couldn't wait for my work commutes. I wanted to get back to the story and see what happens next.

Then, my attention started to drift. It's a long book. It's over 27 hours. I found that the author, Del Vecchio, padded the text and became repetitive. He stocked the chapters with long dissertations about politics, the history of Vietnam, and philosophy. It took me away from the magic of the book that had hooked me in the first place. No longer was I living the life of a grunt in the Vietnam bush but now listening to the characters wax and wane about the meaning of war--this in a totally uncharacteristic style. I felt as if the author of the book was determined to get his politics across whether it hurt the story or not.

By about three quarters through the book, I found myself just hoping for the damn thing to end. I'd had enough.

What a journey that was, from being completely captured by the book to not caring if I finished it or not.

The book flat-out needs a good editor. I think, if the book was shrunk by 50%, and most of the political/philosophical stuff were minimized, then this could be one of the best novels ever written about Vietnam.

As it is, I'd give it a 3 Star rating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Tarkin: Star Wars

  • By: James Luceno
  • Narrated by: Euan Morton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,554
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,114
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,103

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly…. and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Solid, but not earth-shattering

  • By kalei on 11-20-14

Tarkin's First Name is BORING

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

Reviewed: 09-15-17

There are several good things going for this audiobook, but it's not enough to save it from a boring listen.

What's good? The production quality is top notch. Music and sound effects are perfect. They actually make the book better than it is.

The narrator, too, is pretty good. He's not the best I've ever heard, but he's in the top tier. He's a hell of a lot better than a lot of other narrators that have put me to sleep.

Also in the "good" department is the sparse background information on Tarkin. Luceno did an excellent job giving this character the perfect childhood and career that builds the character we all know of as Moff Tarkin from A New Hope.

So, what's wrong with this book? The rest of it. The bulk of this tale is a very uninteresting mystery that Tarkin and Vader, together, attempt to solve. It's a very unimpressive mystery, and I kept asking myself, "Why is Tarkin and Vader concerning themselves with this? Why isn't some stormtrooper squad or intelligence team check this out and reporting back to Tarkin. The man is a MOFF in the story (not yet a Grand Moff), and he's running around the galaxy with the arguably the most powerful man in the galaxy, Darth Vader, trying to figure out the result of this silly mystery. Luceno tries to overcome this criticism by having Palpatine ask the two to follow the mystery. But, that makes no sense, either. I just didn't buy that Palpatine would waste their time like that.

Reading about how Vader and Tarkin work together was done well. And, there's an incredible section where Tarkin uses three Interdictor cruisers to pull ships out of hyperspace on a very busy trade route. This is heavily accented by the top-notch sound effects. But, it's not enough to save this book.

My biggest gripe is that much of the book reads like a biography. It breaks the dramatic rule of telling the reader what happens instead of showing the reading the events.

I found the book tedious, and although I finished it, it was an effort to get that far.