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L. Jay

South Louisiana: the heart of paradise
  • 8
  • reviews
  • 17
  • helpful votes
  • 12
  • ratings
  • The Yard

  • By: Alex Grecian
  • Narrated by: Toby Leonard Moore
  • Length: 14 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,778
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,596
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,595

Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only 12 detectives - known as “The Murder Squad” - to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable annoying book

  • By Debra on 07-13-12

Superior Character Building

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

Reviewed: 02-26-18

Interesting story and fun in a Victorian sort of way. Alex Grecian brings London of the late 1800s to life. I did take issue with a couple of incidents that seemed far fetched and dubious, but that didn’t take away from the overall story.

The most interesting thing about “The Yard” is that I had no idea I was so involved with these characters until the denouement. It was at this point I realized how much I’d invested in them over the course of this otherwise average mystery story. I say average in the sense that there is really nothing astoundingly new here, but an enjoyable yarn, nonetheless. The great strength of “The Yard” is the characterization, and some rather interesting characters at that. There were at least three plot lines that all merged together in the end. Well done really, and an enjoyable read. But after the climax of events with everything neatly tied together and as we were getting ready to wrap up with the settling in of the characters, I found myself emotional moved. Did I really like these people that much? Apparently so. Grecian swept me away in his character development without me even being aware of it. For that reason alone this book is worth the read.

I am well inclined to visit Inspector Day, Dr. Kingsley, Sgt. Hammersmith and Co. in their next adventure, “The Black Country”.

Toby Leonard Moore did a fabulous job with the narration. Initially the excessive breath intakes were annoying, but I kinda got used to it. Perhaps that should have been muted in the editing process. Otherwise, the narration was spot on; his representation of the characters well performed.

  • Murder in the Bayou

  • Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?
  • By: Ethan Brown
  • Narrated by: Traber Burns
  • Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 98

Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of eight women were discovered around the murky canals and crawfish ponds of Jennings, Louisiana, a bayou town of 10,000 in the Jefferson Davis parish. Law enforcement officials were quick to pursue a serial killer theory, opening a floodgate of media coverage, from CNN to the New York Times. Collectively the victims became known as the "Jeff Davis 8," and their lives, their deaths, and the ongoing investigation reveals a small community's closely guarded secrets.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • terrible

  • By Carol on 10-21-16

Disappointing, Misdirecting and Subjective

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

Reviewed: 04-03-17

Being from South Louisiana, with “Murder in the Bayou”, I was expecting to read an objective exposé on the troubling and tragic issue euphemistically referred to as the Jeff Davis 8. Instead what I read, mixed among the facts as they are known, is a series of unsubstantiated allegations and abuses of journalistic decorum.

Initially, Brown’s line of reasoning seemed intriguing if not a bit forced at times. As the book progresses, however, one gets the impression that Brown’s antagonism is directed at law enforcement in general, from the Jeff Davis and Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office, to the Louisiana State Police implicating the whole lot, and not focused on the real aspect of the case and actual evidence pointing to certain perpetrators. Ethan, just because someone doesn’t want to talk to you doesn’t mean they have something to hide. If I was Sheriff Wood, I wouldn’t talk to you either. Every authority figure that does talk to you is painted as a conspirator in drugs, prostitution and murder.

Of course police and political corruption exists, and probably in this case. Nevertheless, Brown, fails in his attempt to pin the murders on the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Department. Although it has not been established, it is not beyond the realm of possibility, and may even be probable, that some in authority in Jennings are culpable in the incidents surrounding the deaths of these 8 prostitutes and others. (Most of the allegations of high level police misconduct originate from the criminal element of Jennings, by the way. Hmm, go figure.) Brown, however, finds a conspirator and accomplice under every rock, as long as it’s wearing a badge. His ridiculous attempt to implicate Governor Bobby Jindal, by association and his derisive remark that “Jindal’s dissatisfaction fixed nothing” reveals much of Brown’s agenda.

This is revealed in Brown’s jargon as well. His incessant use of term “sex worker” instead of prostitute*, is not only annoying but comes off as nothing more than a clandestine attempt to legitimise that criminal activity. The innocuous locution does not dislodge the truth, however. Sheriff Edwards in his frankness, was absolutely right, the drug-addicted prostitutes of Jennings, known as the Jeff Davis 8, lived a “high risk lifestyle.”

*The word ‘prostitute’ is used not one single time in the entire book. Not surprisingly, neither is ‘whore’, ‘hooker’, ‘harlot’, or ‘wench’.

In Brown’s reasoning, the criminal element “might” be responsible for some foul play, but they are nothing more than pawns and victims of society being controlled and manipulated by the true offenders; the law.

Sadly, some of Brown’s assumption and theories may not be far removed from the truth, but to no avail. He loses all credibility and reveals himself as someone antagonistic to law enforcement and sympathetic to thugs explicitly in the Acknowledgements at the end of the ebook.

Brown states:

“So I have to express my incredible thanks and boundless gratitude to the protesters in the Ferguson/St. Louis area for bringing the issue of law enforcement misconduct into the public discourse. In a few months, you made possible what criminal justice system reformers have been unable to achieve for decades. Thank you. The future belongs to folks like y’all.”

A group of riotous thugs burning down their neighborhood has Ethan Brown’s boundless gratitude? Very telling. Brown’s misrepresentation of the incidents in Ferguson, Baton Rouge, et.al., to which he refers in the Acknowledgements is appalling. Surely, he cannot be uninformed on the facts of the cases. All this type of attitude does is demean the victims of actual police brutality and makes it more difficult for departments to deal with those officers.

Finally, although it is reasonable to believe that some cover-up has taken place, and that some officers were involved in at least some of the events surrounding these murders, it is reporting like this that paints an unambiguous picture, confuses the real issues and perpetuates a false narrative that too many people then assume to be true; because after all, they read it in a book.

Traber Burn's narration is well done and enjoyable to listen to. I have other titles narrated by Traber and have not been disappointed.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Revenant

  • A Novel of Revenge
  • By: Michael Punke
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,137
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,510
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,501

The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Hugh Glass is among the company's finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive. Two company men are dispatched to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies. When the men abandon him instead, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • solid entertainment

  • By jude butler on 07-11-15

Magnificent Performance Saves Disappointing Ending

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

Reviewed: 03-09-17

Enjoyable historical fiction work. Compelling story and good writing. As much as I wanted to rank this book higher, I simply couldn't because of the big let down in the end. The denouement is decidedly disappointing. It's as though the author simply got tired of writing, decided to stop and chose what he thought to be the quickest resolution to a complex situation. Hugh Glass' actions in the end just do not comport with his vengeful quest throughout the entire book. All that Glass went through and then suddenly, in the midst of pursuit, he's almost there and then...ah, nevermind. Just doesn't make sense. A disappointing conclusion to an otherwise riveting book.

Holter Graham is absolutely magnificent. His accents, foreign languages, inflections and character building are spot on. It was worth the time on this book just to listen to Holter. He saved this book from an otherwise dismal review.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hamlet: The Arkangel Shakespeare

  • By: William Shakespeare
  • Narrated by: Simon Russell Beale, Imogen Stubbs, Jane Lapotaire, and others
  • Length: 3 hrs and 25 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 98
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 91

Distressed by his father's death and his mother's over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is faced by a specter from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet's beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Presentation

  • By L. Jay on 11-22-16

Excellent Presentation

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

Reviewed: 11-22-16

It's been over twenty years since I last read Hamlet, and fifteen prior to that; high school lit. being the occasion. Makes me wonder why I've let it aside for so long. I read along with my old paperback while listening. This presentation is absolutely marvelous. The Arkangle Shakespeare is definitely a go-to for your Shakespeare craving. Hamlet being my first listen from this publisher, I must now away to acquire another title. I think I'll try Julius Caesar.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Heir of Novron

  • Riyria Revelations, Volume 3
  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 31 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 17,445
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,264
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 16,264

On the holiday of Wintertide, the New Empire plans to burn the Witch of Melengar and force the Empress into a marriage of their own design. But they didn’t account for Royce and Hadrian finally locating the Heir of Novron—or the pair’s desire to wreak havoc on the New Empire’s carefully crafted scheme.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • AN EXCELLENT TRILOGY

  • By Randall on 12-24-18

A Really Wonderful if not Expected Ending

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

Reviewed: 04-22-15

Any additional comments?

Not a spoiler but may prompt surmisings best left to the end.

As I got to the closing scenes of the book I shouted, "I knew it!" Then wondered if I really did. Perhaps I suspected it (even as early as 'Rise of Empire'), but there was always enough suspense and action and plot twists to elicit a "hmm, well - maybe not." This is a great series. Kudos to Michael Sullivan. Reynolds is excellent.

On to "The Crown Tower"

  • Rise of Empire

  • Riyria Revelations, Volume 2
  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 26 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,584
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 15,348
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15,336

Best-selling author Michael J. Sullivan’s mesmerizing Riyria Revelations series has found a welcome home with fans of magic, clashing swords, and daring heroes. This second volume finds Royce and Hadrian on a quest to enlist the southern Nationalists to aid the ever-weakening kingdom of Melengar. Royce suspects an ancient wizard is manipulating them all, but to find the truth he’ll have to decipher Hadrian’s past—a past Hadrian wants to keep secret.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great continuation of the first book. Tons of fun!

  • By Adnan on 05-30-12

The Riyria Slump?

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

Reviewed: 11-01-14

Any additional comments?

Ok, we lost a star in the story category. The story seemed to bog down a little with the whole adventure to Calis. Not damaging, but slowed up a bit. While there remains plenty of action, I kept asking myself, "Is all this necessary?" It almost seemed as though I was reading two different books. But plug on...it's worth it.

Hadrian took a little while to come to life for me, as he was out of character at the beginning of the book; or more accurately he didn't seem to "snap out of it" until well into the story. Once again, not damaging to the overall story, because when he did "show up" he did so in his typical flare.

And the cliff hangers.....

I'm plowing straight in to "Heir of Novron" and looking forward to meeting up these old friends again as we continue on this absolutely wonderful adventure.

Once again, Reynolds' performance was riveting. Not to be missed.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Theft of Swords

  • Riyria Revelations, Volume 1
  • By: Michael J. Sullivan
  • Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
  • Length: 22 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,208
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,735
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,714

Acclaimed author Michael J. Sullivan created instant best sellers with his spellbinding Riyria Revelations series. This first volume introduces Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, two enterprising thieves who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the death of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy bigger than they can imagine, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery - before it’s too late.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A GOOD START TO A SERIES

  • By Randall on 12-24-18

What A Wonderful Adventure.

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

Reviewed: 10-10-14

Any additional comments?

A Delightful listen. Some of the best character development I've seen in years. You quickly come to love Royce and Hadrian and the bad guys are easy to despise. While those caught in circumstances were ... well ... interesting people and played their parts in character.
Tim Gerard Reynolds does a fabulous job of catching the character nuances, with just enough voice inflection and variation to help differentiate between the characters without distracting from the story.
I liked that you could sometimes surmise what lay beyond the next corner. Sometimes - and then only just before turning the corner. Even when one does anticipate what is going to happen, Sullivan still makes it fun, exciting, thought provoking.
I like books that make me smile or that make me say, "Oooh". Royce and Hadrian kept me doing the former while the yarn itself increased the latter.Case in point: Royce's wit is defined very early in the book with this response to Alenda, "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say your father? I meant the other marquis, the one with the appreciative daughter." And Tim Reynolds makes it sting. "Ouch!" I found myself talking back to this audiobook quite often.
All in all, a wonderful adventure. Absolutely Wonderful!!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Speaks the Nightbird

  • By: Robert R. McCammon
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 30 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,799
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,236

The Carolinas, 1699: The citizens of Fount Royal believe a witch has cursed their town with inexplicable tragedies -- and they demand that beautiful widow Rachel Howarth be tried and executed for witchcraft. Presiding over the trial is traveling magistrate Issac Woodward, aided by his astute young clerk, Matthew Corbett. Believing in Rachel's innocence, Matthew will soon confront the true evil at work in Fount Royal....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Dark, Twisted Period Piece with GREAT Characters!

  • By aaron on 06-05-12

Simply Awful!

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

Reviewed: 10-10-14

Would you try another book from Robert McCammon and/or Edoardo Ballerini?

McCammon, sadly, NO. Ballerini, I'd like to hear him do something less repulsive.

What was most disappointing about Robert McCammon’s story?

I'm probably going to make some McCammonites mad, but, I couldn't make it through the second chapter. Such awful language and blatant sexual allusions. I realize there is a little of that in much literature, but I quite frankly was appalled at the free use of perverse language - and in such a small portion of the book. When did authors decide they had to be so trashy to be read? Are such boorish scenes really necessary? I read McCammon years ago and thought I remembered liking Stinger, Swan Song and Boys Life, and the others. I don't know, maybe a little age has made me realize that if you have to sink to these depths, you really don't have anything to say. I had remembered McCammon as being a wonderful wordsmith. A shame too, this had the potential to be a really good story.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Not read this book. My respect for his talent was lost in the ignominy of the narrative.

What character would you cut from Speaks the Nightbird?

Everyone from the tavern in chapter two. That's as far as I stomach it.

Any additional comments?

Okay, a little tacky extravagance is understandable in some cases, maybe even needful for the storyline at times. But this went beyond the realm of vulgarity into the dark crevasses of surreal deviancy. If it's this low by the middle of chapter two, what pray tell can be expected by the time the final page is turned? If you've any moral propensities, avoid this one.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful