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Tony B.

Shelburne, VT USA
  • 13
  • reviews
  • 60
  • helpful votes
  • 118
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  • A Column of Fire

  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 30 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,976
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 8,194
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,168

In 1558 the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, high principles clash bloodily with friendship, loyalty, and love. Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious divide sweeping across the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Follett is a Master Storyteller

  • By Charles Atkinson on 10-11-17

Best combo of writing+performance ever on Audible

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

Reviewed: 01-19-18

Where does A Column of Fire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top three for sure, with the other two books in the series taking the other two slots. If pushed I would say World Without End is the best of the three, but the first and (this book) third in the series are not far behind.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the way that Follett intersperses historically accurate characters and events with the interesting fictional characters in the story. I'll confess to reading up on some of the events on Wikipedia and finding myself recognizing some characters (the historically accurate ones) and wondering where Follett's fictional creations are!

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

Completely impossible to select one over the other. He does them all so well. He is clearly either educated or experienced in all the accents required - Scottish, High English, common English, Spanish, French, even Baltic countries. To be honest the performance by John Lee is close to surpassing Follett's outstanding research and writing in this case. A simply incredible, award-worthy performance by John Lee! Good show!

Any additional comments?

I was thrilled to learn in mid-2017 that this book was coming out and that John Lee would be the reader, as he has been for Follett's other Kingsbridge novels as well as the so-called Century Series. In my view the Follett+Lee combination stands a hand above even the best writer+performer combinations on Amazon today. For example, I very much like John Sandford+Richard Ferrone, and Lincoln Child+Rene Auberjonois. But Lee+Follett is without doubt the best combination I have ever heard in an audiobook. Thank you Penguin and Audible!

  • The Forgotten Room

  • A Novel
  • By: Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,938
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,742
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,745

New York Times best seller Lincoln Child returns with a riveting new thriller featuring the charismatic and quirky Professor Jeremy Logan, renowned investigator of the strange and the inexplicable, as he uncovers a long-lost secret experiment only rumored to have existed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Felt like some Chrichton style was channeled in.

  • By Josh P on 05-16-15

A lackluster effort from a great author

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

Reviewed: 07-27-15

What did you like best about The Forgotten Room? What did you like least?

I'm a fan of the Preston/Child "Pendergast" novels, but I found this solo effort by Lincoln Child somewhat disappointing. The story is lacking any of the deep research and convincing detail that's always present in the Preston/Child novels, and really seems better suited to a short story or novella length. This book is similar to the Pendergast novels in that there is an element of supernatural invoked and eventually resolved, but in this case (perhaps due to the lack of detail) it's somehow less convincing and believable. It' s set in a fictional location in Newport, RI; contrast this with the real backdrop of various sites in NYC and NOLA in the Pendergast novels. The early going is somewhat incredulous and the end is completely predictable in its broad strokes. It drags throughout, and I had a lot of trouble maintaining my concentration on the story.

What aspect of Johnathan McClain’s performance would you have changed?

Overall it's a bit too monotonic and the rising action sequences sound contrived, put on.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No.

  • Deliverance

  • By: James Dickey
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,929
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,587
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,585

The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state's most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • "A river runs through it..."

  • By karen on 11-01-13

American Literature in an Adventure Genre

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

Reviewed: 10-26-13

Any additional comments?

I downloaded James Dickey's Deliverance because I'd never seen the movie and was looking for a relatively short, entertaining listen to fill the space between detective thrillers from Sandford, Burke, and others. Deliverance filled the bill nicely in giving me something to listen to, but came up relatively short on entertainment. I found the story to be engaging and if I was looking to have deep thoughts about the implications of one man's struggle against the wild and other men I probably would have enjoyed it more. In other words this novel is justifiably considered part of the body of American literature rather than a "beach read".

The book really is all about the story and the implications of the protagonist's actions on his future and on the reader's thoughts. The characters themselves, other than the main character Ed, are at best very shallowly developed and at worst simply mute cardboard cutouts. The antogonists are hillbillies, not really the evil villain type; yes I get that it gives you something more to think about but I would prefer something more satisfying when they meet their fate. And for a novel set in a wild rapids river, there is very little action or suspense. Really as I was listening to it I just concluded, "This is really good writing and a decent story but it's not very exciting. Maybe it would do better if someone creative made it into a movie."

That said, Will Patton's performance is beyond compare and for me, and is the high point of the audiobook. Patton narrates the Dave Robicheaux novels from James Lee Burke and his laconic, accented reading style suit both Burke's and this novel really perfectly.

Bottom line, a decent listen especially if you like modern American literature in an adventure setting. For me, I can't wait to hit play on the latest novel from John Sandford, which just came out!

  • Two Graves

  • By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: Rene Auberjonois
  • Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,496
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,109
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,106

After his wife, Helen, is brazenly abducted before his eyes, Special Agent Pendergast furiously pursues the kidnappers, chasing them across the country and into Mexico. But then, things go terribly, tragically wrong; the kidnappers escape; and a shattered Pendergast retreats to his New York apartment and shuts out the world. But when a string of bizarre murders erupts across several Manhattan hotels, NYPD Lieutenant D'Agosta asks his friend Pendergast for help.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Whiplash from the emotional rollercaster

  • By GH on 12-13-12

Excellent Conclusion to the Helen Trilogy

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

Reviewed: 02-09-13

What did you like best about this story?

An excellent wrap-up to the so-called Helen trilogy by Preston and Child. There is so much packed into this novel that it would be impossible to write a good review without giving away some aspect of the plot. Suffice it to say that many story lines going all the way back to the Enoch Leng "Cabinet of Curiosities" book are tied up and explained. All of tho old characters are here - at least the ones who haven't been killed off in prior novels. And even one who ... Oops. Plus some new faces that had me saying, "Wait! Did I know these people??"

Rene Auberjonois simply IS the voice of A. Pendergast. His impeccable narration is the perfect complement to Preston/Childs' intricate plot and detailed writing.

A most enjoyable listen indeed.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Reversal

  • Harry Bosch, Book 16 (Mickey Haller, Book 3)
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Peter Giles
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,494
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,321
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,316

Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it

  • By Christian on 10-10-10

Bosch, Haller, and McPherson Team Up

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-18-10

In this latest installment of the Harry Bosch/Mickey Haller series, author Michael Connelly weaves a "Law and Order" style tale. Haller has switched sides in the courtroom and is now a prosecuter, teamed with ex-wife Maggie "McFierce" McPherson. Mickey, retained for political purposes, brings in his half-brother Harry and the trio are off trying to bring cold-case murderer Jason Jessup to justice.

I'm a fan of Connelly's work - The Lincoln Lawyer, the book in which Haller first showed up was my first Audible book. I thought he did a nice job with this one, weaving the well-known characters together and picking up Bosch's story where he left off at the end of last year's "9 Dragons". Connelly employs the same style as he did in the Bosch and Haller books before they knew each other: Bosch sections are narrated in the third person voice while Haller sections are told in first person. There are stubs of sub-plots in the personal interplay between Harry, Mickey, and Maggie - as well as their daughters - that are subtly done and clearly offer potential for future novels. The LA setting and LAPD involvement lend the same gritty urban background to this work as they do to Connelly's other Bosch/Haller books.

As others have observed I was somewhat disappointed in the ending of this book and that is the reason I gave it four stars instead of five. Unlike Connelly's other books, this one has a slow build with the interplay between courtroom drama and street investigation that seems to end too abruptly and too easily. I actually listened to the climax of the story twice, though, because I wanted it to last longer. And I thought the overall resolution at the very end was a little less satisfying than it could have been as well.

Production quality is up to Audible's usual high standard. Peter Giles does an excellent job of narration even though for me Len Cariou will forever be Harry Bosch's voice persona.

Overall - nice job, good read for Bosch/Haller fans.

  • Storm Prey

  • A Lucas Davenport Novel
  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,333
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,455
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,442

Very early, 4:45, on a bitterly cold Minnesota morning, three big men burst through the door of a hospital pharmacy, duct-tape the hands, feet, mouth, and eyes of two pharmacy workers, and clean the place out. But then things swiftly go bad, one of the workers dies, and the robbers hustle out to their truck-and find themselves for just one second face-to-face with a blond woman in the garage: Weather Karkinnen, surgeon, wife of an investigator named Lucas Davenport.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining & Edgy

  • By book me! on 05-20-10

Sandford Back In Fine Form

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-26-10

John Sandford returns to his previous form in this new novel about Lucas Davenport and the Minnesote Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. All the elements of classic Sandford are here. A vicious crime and a gang of miscreant criminals. A Minnesota winter. A side plot that could be its own novel. Plenty of Davenport. Virgil Flowers. What more could a Prey fan ask for?

I thought that a couple of Sandford's previous efforts, centered around a political convention held in Minneapolis, were really one book that had been split into two just because it could be. In other words, my view was that these two really should have been one book. But in Storm Prey, along with the last Virgil Flowers novel, Sandford has returned to the greatness he showed earlier in the series.

This story is well told and moves along at a very nice pace. There is one key side plot, one or two incorrect roads that Davenport and the team take just to keep it realistic, and a couple of very clear recapitulations of the whole story at a couple of points so that the listener can keep it all straight.

As usual the narration by Richard Ferrone is just excellent. I agree with a prior reviewer that Eric Conger's narration of the Flowers novels is a good switch for that series, but no one does Davenport like Ferrone. Others here have knocked his French accent - not hard to see why - but it really wasn't a big issue for me.

Overall, thanks for another Prey novel. This one felt much more like the early books in the series to me. Good show! Five stars.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • The Bricklayer

  • A Novel
  • By: Noah Boyd
  • Narrated by: Michael McConnohie
  • Length: 9 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 145
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 90
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 90

Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you're about to fail...and there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer. The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He's an ex-FBI agent who's been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable - and more deadly - by the hour.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Just silly

  • By Jami E. Nettles on 04-22-12

Joe Friday meets Kevin from Home Alone

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-21-10

I purchased this title from Audible right away after reading a glowing review in my local Sunday paper's book section. The review appeared right next to the NYT Best Seller list and the reviewer concluded his writing by saying he couldn't wait for more books in this new series.

I found this book to be adequate but it won't be on the NYT best seller list any time soon and I don't think I'll be likely to purchase any future installments.

The book's main character is a "retired" FBI agent who, in comparison with all of the book's other characters, has super powers of reasoning and physical prowess. The setup early in the book is promising but does in hindsight give away to book's very formulaic nature: retired agent gets pulled in by the very bureaucracy that drove him out in the first place and finds a way to overcome it once again to defeat the bad guy.

There were two important aspects of this book that just didn't work for me. First the characters seem to be straight from the '60's or 70's and kind of comic bookish in nature. The female lead is especially curious: somehow she managed to become an FBI Assistant Director but gets weak in the knees when Our Hero (the bricklayer) is around. Most of the lines of their dialog (Her: "Bet you say that to all the girls who get shot around you.") are transparent attempts at witty flirtatious banter but are just hard to take. Second, I found the many "traps" set by the bad guy to be just too improbable. Worse yet, Our Hero knows that things are being set up but just continues to walk into danger and somehow cleverly escape. The first time is not bad but after this happens about five times it seems kind of unrealistic.

The narrator is good in a 1950's tough guy kind of way and there are no notable production glitches. I finished the book because it does pick up a little near the end. For those interested in this genre, I'd recommend looking elsewhere.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Rough Country

  • A Virgil Flowers Novel
  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Eric Conger
  • Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,361
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,737
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,731

Virgil's always been known for having a somewhat active, er, social life, but he's probably not going to be getting too many opportunities for that during his new case. While competing in a fishing tournament in a remote area of northern Minnesota, he gets a call from Lucas Davenport to investigate a murder at a nearby resort.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Extraordinary Plot Twists

  • By Ruby on 10-05-09

Sandford Does Not Disappoint as Flowers Blooms

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-31-10

Sorry, couldn't resist. When Sandford first spun off the Virgil Flowers novels, my reaction as a dedicated Davenport fan was "oh no, please don't distract your efforts from the next Davenport novel!" I listened to the first Flowers novel (Heat Lightning?), though, and really enjoyed it. This latest story is no different. As always, Sandford spins a complex plot with an unknown killer in an unusual situation in the Minnesota north country.

As is often the case in Sandford's work, there are many characters and while they give the novel a sense of reality and complexity it is somewhat difficult to keep track of them all (a special challenge for an audiobook). In my view the way many of the characters are in the spotlight for a short time and then kind of fade away quickly leads too strongly to the real villain by a simple process of elimination in the reader's mind. That said, though, I really did not figure this one out until Virgil did. And when that key clue came to light - mentioned almost in passing - there was an AHA! moment that made the whole book worthwhile. And there was a twist at the very end in one of the book's key sub-plots that really got me. Others will see this coming but for me it was a bolt from the blue that again made the book really enjoyable.

Eric Conger does a perfect job of the narration. For me his voice is now as much a part of Virgil Flowers as Richard Ferrone's voice is of Lucas Davenport. Production is flawless, well directed, and clear and easy to listen to.

If Sandford holds to his usual cadence there'll be another Davenport story to listen to later this year, and another Flowers story at the beginning of 2011. I already can't wait. Thanks Audible for bringing back one of my favorites.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Paranoia

  • A Novel
  • By: Joseph Finder
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,607
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,348
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,355

Adam Cassidy is twenty-six and a low level employee at a high-tech corporation who hates his job. When he manipulates the system to do something nice for a friend, he finds himself charged with a crime. Corporate Security gives him a choice: prison or become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor, Trion Systems.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Clever and interesting.

  • By Karen on 02-02-04

A Willing Suspension of Disbelief ...

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-20-09

... although normally a criterion reserved for sci-fi, is a prerequisite to enjoy this book. It's an attempt at high-tech fiction but the scenarios and characters' actions are so implausible that it borders on science fiction. The book begins with an action on the part of the protaganist, Adam Cassidy, that is pretty unbelievable. Amazingly, this act is never really questioned, challenged, or explained but it forms the basis for the entire plot development. As the plot develops, its twists are fairly predictable and it's not too hard to see the ending coming from about two-thirds of the way through the book. When the ending does come, though, it is ultimately rather unsatisfying and the literal end of the book is so abrupt that one would think the author ran out of paper for his typewriter ... or space on is hard drive, or whatever. I was left wondering what happened to the characters after the ending.
All that said, though, I did not have any trouble hanging in through the end of the book. For all its predictability and cardboard-cutout characters, the plot is somewhat engaging and interesting. The author drops in a few realistic industry terms, leading me to believe he was either employed in high-tech at one time or did enough research in the area to at least know some of the lingo.
I found the reader to be acceptable, not the best but not the worst either; good voicing and dynamics. Not hard to listen to.
Overall I would say this was a bit of a guilty pleasure to listen to. I could tell that it was bad but didn't mind finishing it through to the end and even enjoyed it a little. But readers who are insistent on plausibility and well-researched characters and scenarios (think Michael Crichton or Dan Brown) will likely be disappointed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Scarecrow

  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Peter Giles
  • Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,327
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,539
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,533

Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paper to write the definitive murder story of his career. He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great newsman fiction from Connelly

  • By Tony B. on 08-18-09

Great newsman fiction from Connelly

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-09

As a big fan of Audible's collection of Harry Bosch and Lucas Davenport novels (by Michael Connelly and John Sandford, respectively) I found this novel to be a very good continuation of Connelly's Bosch series. What really struck me as most impressive is the way Connelly has built a whole group of characters around the LA cop beat and newspaper scene. Bosch, of course, is at the center and gets an unnamed nod in the Scarecrow. There's another mention of Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer, and Bosch's half-brother. But front and center in this book are LA Times reporter Jack McEvoy and FBI agent Rachael Walling. Both know Bosch, but it's their relationship and teamwork that really add the spark to this book. There's a creepy villain, as usual, and a couple of plot elements that the reader is privy to that the main characters have to discover the hard way. This book is classic Connelly in every way.

The reader is very good and voices the characters very well. I found his voice very easy to listen to. The reason I only gave this four stars, though, is that there are some serious flaws in the direction of this product. The reader flubs several pronunciations, voices, and phrasings throughout the text. This is to be expected, after all the guy is doing 10+ hours of reading, but the director should catch these and suggest "we take that last paragraph again." The production is good, with excellent audio quality throughout and engaging snippets of suspenseful music at key points.
I enjoyed this book a great deal. Classic Connelly.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful