LISTENER

Carol

Massachusetts
  • 135
  • reviews
  • 2,139
  • helpful votes
  • 275
  • ratings
  • Cake: The Newlyweds

  • Cake Series, Book 4
  • By: J. Bengtsson
  • Narrated by: Joe Arden, Andi Arndt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,101
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,041
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,035

Fate doesn't own Jake McKallister. At least, that's what he tells himself. Life is better than ever. He's at the top of his game, performing to sold-out crowds the world over. He has his health and a solid, fun-loving family to keep him grounded. And he got the girl - the beautiful, quirky girl he's just made his wife. Yes, life is good. If only fate would stop screaming in his ear. Lucky is the best word for Casey McKallister. Yes, life is perfect...until it all comes crashing down around her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • THIS DESERVES SO MANY MORE STARS

  • By 🔹🔹🔹CAROLYN 🔹🔹🔹 on 03-01-18

How Do You Top 3 Home Runs in a Row?

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

Reviewed: 10-12-18

In all three of the previous books in this series, J. Bengtsson hit it out of the park with the bases loaded. Undoubtedly some of the best characters, writing, and storytelling in the entire romance genre (and should appeal beyond the genre as well).

Given that remarkable achievement, some disappointment was probably inevitable. "Newlyweds" is in no way a strike-out, pop fly, or foul ball--it's a good, solid, base hit, maybe even a ground-rule double. I agree with the review by Mike.

My main problem was the character of Casey, so wonderful in the first book, who for the first half of the book acts like a complete ditz. If I'd been Jake (who remains wonderful), I'd have been filing for divorce right after the honeymoon, or if not then certainly after the office Halloween party. The second half of the book, however, is more grounded, Casey is back to being a strong and relateable character, and there is more of the extended family we've come to love. This series has an unforgettable cast of characters that grow with each installment, and I was once again enthralled.

Please keep up the fantastic work, J. Bengtsson! There is so much rich material here for you to mine and for us to enjoy. Can't wait for the next book!

  • The Hunt for Red October

  • By: Tom Clancy
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 18 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,773
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,652
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1,646

Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The chase for the highly advanced nuclear submarine is on - and there’s only one man who can find her. Brilliant CIA analyst Jack Ryan has little interest in fieldwork, but when covert photographs of Red October land on his desk, Ryan soon finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek played by two world powers - a game that could end in all-out war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Spectacular

  • By Michael Borg on 08-02-18

A Classic Reinvigorated

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

Reviewed: 09-18-18

This is the novel that catapulted Tom Clancy to stardom, and it is truly a classic. It’s been available on Audible for a while, but in an early, badly narrated rendition. Now, in a feat of corporate nepotism timed to coincide with the Amazon Prime TV series, Scott Brick has recorded “The Hunt for Red October” to go with the many other Clancy tales he’s narrated, and Brick has done Clancy’s masterwork full justice.

“Red October” is the first-published (and the shortest) of Tom Clancy’s “Ryanverse” novels, although chronologically it comes after “Patriot Games” and “Red Rabbit.” It is a tense and engrossing story, filled with techno speak that seemed oddly clear to me even when I didn’t know what the heck they were talking about, not being up on the inner workings of nuclear submarines and other military paraphernalia Clancy describes--apparently so accurately that when the book first came out some people in Military Intelligence were afraid he’d breached security.

Although the basics of the story are pretty well known (thanks to the Sean Connery/Alec Baldwin movie), the full-blown plot is extremely complicated, with many characters and a lot of similar names. But it’s so well done I got swept up in the story without getting bogged down in the minutiae. In short, it’s extremely well written. And although the technology was cutting edge in 1984, one of my favorite scenes was our first-ever glimpse of Jack Ryan, working on a military history tome in WordStar, printing out his manuscript on a dot matrix printer, and saving the files to multiple floppy disks. Sadly, I am old enough to remember all three of those relics.

“Red October” is a must-read for anyone open to enjoying a military thriller, and who can overcome any prejudices about (or of course already agrees with) Clancy’s right-wing, hawkish, politics. In case the info is useful, I’m a female who likes romance novels (along with other genres), my politics are center-leaning-left, and I enjoyed the book immensely. You don't have to be a hawk to root for the Americans, and many of the Russian characters--even those who are not defecting to the Wonderful West--are portrayed with dignity, humanity, and surprising depth and understanding.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hart to Heart

  • By: M. E. Carter
  • Narrated by: Jacob Morgan
  • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 241
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 233
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 233

We're the Harts. Between an engagement, a wedding, and an adoption, we've had the best year of our lives. Things have never looked better for Jaxon, Addison, and myself. But just because you say "I do" doesn't mean you get a happily ever after. And sometimes you get tackled more in life than you ever did on the football field. The only way we're going to make it through is if we do it together...Hart to heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • ✫✫ 5 Stars ✫✫

  • By Cyndi on 11-16-17

Wonderful, Stirring, and Unique

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

Reviewed: 08-25-18

The books in this series are a continuing story, but each story has closure; they don't end with cliffhangers, as so many "duets" seem to. But do listen them in order--and definitely DO listen, they are great! "Change of Hart," the first book, is a fairly standard romance plot but is exceptionally well done.

Hart to Heart, the second book... what can I say that the other reviewers haven't already said? This is NOT a standard romance. It is a love story about a family--an extended family, really, that includes not only the central couple and their son, but parents, in-laws, and teammates. It's not an easy listen sometimes, but it's powerful and beautiful. There is a sense of reality about it, with minimal if any sugar-coating. There is a deep sense of engagement with the characters. It is a story about love and tragedy and finding the strength to endure what would seem impossible to endure.

Although both books have the happy endings that define romance novels, they transcend the genre and deserve wide readership and respect.

Wonderful writing by M. E. Carter and superlative narration by the terrific Jacob Morgan.

  • Dirty Sexy Games

  • By: Laurelin Paige
  • Narrated by: Elena Wolfe, Jacob Morgan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 580
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 550
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 547

Their union started with a simple plan: to fake a marriage that would allow Elizabeth to take over her father’s company and merge it with Weston’s holdings, creating a vast media empire. But what began as a pretend marriage has become all too real.... Now a bombshell about Weston’s past is keeping him rooted at home while Elizabeth must travel across the globe to take up the company reigns. But their intense connection could bring the entire game crashing down as they’re forced to choose power and family...or the love of a lifetime.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love Weston and Elizabeth!!

  • By Thelma on 08-14-18

Unloveable characters

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

Reviewed: 08-13-18

Apparently the new fashion in romance novels is to break one book into two short segments. Ahh, a money-making strategy worthy of the book's business genius hero!

I really enjoyed the first book of this "duet" about an engagement of convenience that by the wedding at the end of Book One had blossomed into real love. The first book ended with a bombshell revelation just before the vows, and I was looking forward to seeing how the sort-of-but-not-quite-happy couple Weston and Elizabeth handled the potentially interesting dilemma their life together had suddenly become.

Well, Book 2 was a major disappointment. The smart and interesting couple in a complex situation suddenly dissolved in the suds of soap opera. The characters do really stupid things (like the groom dancing with his ex-girlfriend before dancing with his bride, and the bride crying on her ex-boyfriend's shoulder about it, which as always happens in soap opera the groom saw and misinterpreted....)

And as in soap opera, if you're the new husband who's just been hit with a major piece of life-changing news, of course you are not going to tell your bride about it, but let her stew and worry as you leave her alone in bed the morning after the wedding night. And speaking of the wedding night, I know Weston is supposed to be an aggressively dominant alpha male, but to tell your bride "I'm going to **** someone tonight, do you want it to be you or not?"---well, from that point on Weston pretty much lost me.

AND if you're a young woman trying to prove you have the savvy and judgment to head up an international media corporation, of course you will call on your ex-boyfriend (who was sniffing around you while you were engaged and of whom your new husband is already jealous) to "check out" your new husband's background. Really? Good Judgment Call? Sayonara, Elizabeth.

I've given this installment a 3, mainly because I fast-forwarded over much of the middle part, and there were a few interesting twists. But in fact I never warmed to any of the characters--not the main couple or the supporting cast, and maybe it should have been a 2. Also, I am a huge fan of Jacob Morgan, but he read the entire thing with an annoying lisp. I got the feeling his opinion of the characters was right there with mine.

These books were both part of the Romance Package, so were essentially "free" for me, and I probably wouldn't have spent a credit on either of them. But I guess the interesting and unusual buildup of the first book made the experience worth it, and I'm happy now to hit "delete from device" on both of these.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Collapsing Empire

  • The Interdependency, Book 1
  • By: John Scalzi
  • Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,926
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,164

Our universe is ruled by physics, and faster-than-light travel is not possible - until the discovery of The Flow, an extradimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transports us to other worlds, around other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It's a hedge against interstellar war - and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Definitely not my favorite scalzi

  • By pat on 03-25-17

Hey. I Really Liked It!

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

Reviewed: 07-29-18

I'm not sure where all the seriously negative reviews are coming from. I really enjoyed this book. Maybe because it's the first Scalzi novel I've read. I read his novella "The Dispatcher," which is astonishingly good but very, very different from the space opera presented here (and, I gather, in his more famous "Old Man's War" series).

I am totally on board with the review by Jim "The Impatient." I found the world of the empire unique, and "The Flow," a sci-fi novelist's work-around for space travel, fascinating if completely unbelievable. We are told early on that only a minimal few people in a universe whose population has grown to many, many billions understand "flow physics." But the "inaccurate but useful" (the physicist's words) image of a river works, so we suspend disbelief and visualize it quite adequately.

Apparently some readers object to overkill profanity and hypersexual behavior, at least when these are present in a female character (would the reaction have been different if Kiva was a male, I wonder?). But she is only one of many characters, and In fact the book is completely gender-neutral in that the male and female characters fill roles without regard to whether those roles would be "typically" considered masculine or feminine. The title of the Empire's leader is the gender-neutral Imperox (the 'x' is silent), and both the current and first Imperox (I think it's the same in singular and plural) are female, although there have been many male Imperox as well.

The book is apparently the first of a trilogy, and it does end with a bit of a cliffhanger. The second book is currently expected in Fall 2018.

  • Secrets in Death

  • By: J. D. Robb
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 13 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,971
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,549
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,526

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it's not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that's exactly what happens one cold February evening.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Delightfully full of secrets!

  • By Kathryn on 09-05-17

Slow Burning Secrets

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

Reviewed: 04-15-18

This is Book 45 in the "In Death" series. That's Forty. Five. A couple of years ago Audible calculated the total hours of listening time for all the series in their library, and "In Death" came in first, leaving Robert Jordan’s "Wheel of Time" series in the dust. So a lot of people like these books, and I'm one of them.

I picked up "Witness in Death" (that was In Death #10) years ago without knowing JD Robb = Nora Roberts—it was still a trade secret in the early 90s. There was something about WiD that drew me in, and on my next trip to NYC I hit the 3rd floor (of 6) in the sadly now-defunct B&N at Lincoln Center, where you could find everything, and splurged on all first 9 books (they were only mass market paperback back then, no hardcover or audio versions).

It’s now 25 years and a LOT of episodes later and Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, McNabb, Mavis, Commander Whitney, and many others have become my imaginary friends. I want Terrible Trina to do my hair and I wish I had Summerset to run my household. Today we all carry around the "pocket link communicators" that seemed futuristic in 1993. We have self-driving cars and voice-operated home systems that turn on the lights for us, just like Dallas has always had. I can only hope that Robb/Roberts turns out NOT to be accurate about the Urban Wars that ravaged the In Death world in the 2030s, some 30 years prior to when the series is set. The Urban Wars scenario seems all too plausible to me.

All this is by way of saying that this series is an amazing achievement, and my hat is off to the author. It's also a lead-in to addressing a complaint I’ve seen in reader/listener reviews of "Secrets in Death"--that "it’s slow" and "nothing much happens." There is some truth in these comments. The shocking (and bloody) murder of a blackmailing sociopath happens early, and Eve’s unraveling of the various threads in the case may make the procedural-dense plot seem tedious to some.

Life in New York City in 2061 progresses slowly—I think I once calculated that 10 books = 1 year. Most of the books do have character progression and change for at least one of the large cast of core characters, and perhaps some of the complaints stem from the fact that that did not seem to happen here, although Eve does undergo a subtle but important battle with her conscience (I’ll stop here, no spoilers). Everyone in the cast ends up pretty much where they started, but I enjoyed the trip.

For the Friends of Dallas and the Fans of Roarke (let’s face it, in Roarke Robb has created the Perfect Male, alas that such exists only in fiction), Secrets in Death has the usual tropes and interactions, which I personally find soothing. The book was like Eve and Roarke’s marriage—settling down. If this goes on for too long, I might get bored, but the series is still a must-read/listen for me, and after 45+ episodes, that’s REALLY saying something.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Ghost King

  • By: David Gemmell
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18

Chaos and terror stalk the land, the King slain by traitors, the great Sword of Power vanished beyond the Circle of Mist. Saxons, Angles, Jutes and Brigante tribesman mass together to destroy the realm, aided by the powers of the Witch Queen and the Lord of the Undead. Against them stand a weakling boy and an old mountain warrior. But the boy has the blood of kings, and the warrior is Culain, the legendary Lord of the Lance. And he alone knows the dread secret of the Witch Queen.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Even Better After All These Years

  • By Carol on 03-13-18

Even Better After All These Years

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

Reviewed: 03-13-18

It’s not that often that something you remember fondly from 25 years ago is even better the second time around. I read "Ghost King" back in the early 90s, and I remember enjoying it, but I didn’t remember much of the plot except that it was a unique riiff on the characters of Camelot and also involved the Lost Legio IX of the Roman Imperial Army.

Many years and many Gemmell books later, this now strikes me as one of my all-time favorite author’s best books. The first of an epic-fantasy duology that melds vaguely Arthurian characters with the Gemmell-conceived Sipstrassi Stones of Power, it is full of page-turning adventure peppered with surprises. Gemmell’s quirk of giving the same character multiple identities in ways that make the plot twist in interesting and well-conceived ways is brilliantly used here.

In looking at reviews of "Ghost King" on Goodreads and Amazon, I noticed several people felt it was "rushed" and didn’t fully flesh out the characters. One reader noted that the leading character’s transition from frail, scholarly wimp to heroic swordsman happened unbelievably fast. (In fact, there is a throwaway line spoken by Maedlyn the Enchanter -- guess who that is in standard mythology -- that at least partly justifies the transformation.) I don’t agree with either assessment, perhaps because I read Gemmell’s epic fantasy novels long before experiencing the multi-volumes and millipages of the Martin/Sanderson era epics (and I like both those authors, especially Sanderson).

In the days before computers made word processing a relative snap, authors wrote less prolifically and often (IMHO) more carefully. If you are too young to have experienced the joy of retyping your handwritten draft of a 20-page history paper, you may not be able to fully appreciate this. Gemmell, who started as a newspaper journalist (me too) and bar bouncer (me never), undoubtedly typed his first manuscripts himself, and probably on a manual typewriter. The result in this case is a tight, well plotted novel told with maximum characterization and action, minimum embellishment, and maximum impact.

"Ghost King" stands alone, but the epilog (epilogs are another Gemmell trademark) sets up the sequel, "Last Sword of Power." Indeed, the ringing last sentence of the book pretty much leads right into the next one (but without cliff hangers). The Sipstrassi Stories continue after "Last Sword," but they jump a couple of millennia forward to the postapocolyptic world of Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man ("Wolf in Shadow" et al.). I was a little surprised to learn that "Wolf," which I reviewed on Audible recently, was actually written before "Ghost King." I guess Gemmell decided the Sipstrassi needed a backstory.

Christian Rodska narrates the Sipstrassi series, and does so brilliantly.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Wolf In Shadow

  • Jon Shannow, Book 1
  • By: David Gemmell
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 12 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55

It is 300 years since the world toppled on its axis and civilisation was destroyed. In this savagely reshaped world ruled by brigands and war makers, a rider seeks a lost city. Pursuing a dream to calm the violence in his soul, Jon Shannow, the brigand slayer, desires only peace. But from the Plague Lands emerges a fresh terror. The Lord of the Pit and his hell-born army seek to plunge mankind into a new demonic era. Seemingly invincible, they make a fatal mistake: they take Shannow's woman for blood sacrifice.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Wow! Whew… Whoa! and a little WTF?

  • By Carol on 12-30-17

Wow! Whew… Whoa! and a little WTF?

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

Reviewed: 12-30-17

Where to start on this one? Wolf in Shadow is a postapocalyptic heroic fantasy western with gunslingers, farmer folk, eskimos, magic stones, and a superhero driven by (among other things) religion, the love of a good woman, and a compulsion to find the City of Jerusalem. Enough different tropes there for you? Throw in Atlantis and a few others that shall remain surprises.

I am a huge fan of David Gemmell’s books. This one, written in 1987, is not typical. It is not 'historical fantasy' (Lion of Macedon, the Troy trilogy) or set in a medieval Earth-based fantasy world (the Drenai books and others). Its setting is a postapocalyptic, near-future Earth. The apocalypse was Earth tipping on its axis, with civilization (and most people) having been destroyed in massive floods as oceans and land masses switched places.

Why the people who are left should have become a society like that of the 19th century American West is never explained, other than by the fact that David Gemmell apparently grew up with an obsession for American western movies. Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man, arrives toting a gun and a Bible, in scenes vaguely reminiscent of the classic film 'Shane.' I can’t even begin to describe the events that follow. They come fast and furious, with constant action and unexpected twists and turns.

This is the third book set in world where magic is generated by golden Sipstrassi “stones of power.” The first two, “Ghost King” and “Last Sword of Power,” are loosely (*very* loosely) based on Arthurian legend, so there is a major jump in time. I recommend reading the first two--which are more typical of Gemmell’s style--first, especially Last Sword of Power, for reasons I won't explain due to spoiler potential.

I found Jon Shannow and his sidekick Batik unique, fascinating, and fully developed characters. I really enjoyed the book, even though it pulled too many rabbits out of hats (or, if you prefer, deuses out of machinas). It’s a breathless whirl of action that, in the final climactic battle, become a little Too Much--hence the WTF factor. The epilogue is highly satisfying, though, and the Shannow saga should have ended there, which I’ve read was what Gemmell originally intended. However, he went on to write two sequels. I read “The Last Guardian” years ago and did not like it and never bothered with the final one, “Bloodstone.”

The narrator is Christian Rodska. I think he's a great narrator and here he does a terrific job with a wide range of characters. However, I note that on Audible UK, a reviewer has taken the trouble to post a rather nasty diatribe about the narration under all three Shannow books, so I guess some people don’t agree with me, and you’d better listen to the narration sample.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • A Mackenzie Family Christmas: The Perfect Gift

  • Highland Pleasures Series, Book 4.5
  • By: Jennifer Ashley
  • Narrated by: Angela Dawe
  • Length: 5 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 590
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 548
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 547

The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration - the first of Hart and Eleanor's married life - one of Ian's Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the hour Eleanor's baby will arrive, to whether Mac's former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match, to who will be the first of the many guests to be caught under the mistletoe.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Charming and beautifully crafted

  • By Carol on 12-21-17

Charming and beautifully crafted

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

Reviewed: 12-21-17

If you've read and enjoyed the first four books of this series, I'm pretty sure you'll find this story is a delightful gift. Each of the four brothers gets a piece of the action, although it mainly revolves around Ian and his idiosyncracies (and you do need to have read "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" in order to "get it").

Jennifer Ashley does an noteworthy job of crafting a Christmas story that advances the characters and doesn't feel like a tacked-on "holiday special." It even has moments with the more minor characters--Daniel Mackenzie, Inspector Fellowes, and the MacBride brothers--that foreshadow books to come in the series.

Angela Dawe isn't my favorite narrator, but she suits this series, and has definitely captured the distinct personalities of each of the four brothers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Home

  • Myron Bolitar Series, Book 11
  • By: Harlan Coben
  • Narrated by: Steven Weber
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,218
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,787
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,761

A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For 10 years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for 10 years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Win comes home. So does Harlan Coben.

  • By Carol on 10-26-17

Win comes home. So does Harlan Coben.

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

Reviewed: 10-26-17

I enjoyed the first 6-7 books in this series, but the last few got too dark and depressing. Then Coben wrote out Winsor Horne Lockwood III. Now, I don't know why an effete-looking but brutally accomplished assassin, a semisociopath who also has access to his family's billions, should be the most engrossing character in the book. But he's the perfect foil to brooding do-gooder (but also brutally accomplished and anything but effete) Myron Bolitar, and without him the stories don't work as well.

Now Win is back "Home" and the series is back on track. Win even narrates part of this one. It's a great mystery that hangs together right through the ending. Coben's standalones often get so convoluted as to be unbelievable (and sometimes un-followable), but this story's secrets and twists all work. I really liked Steven Weber's narration; different from Marosz, who did the early books, but very easy to listen to.

"Home" is not exactly a happy book--books dealing with kidnapping, the sex trade, and other nasty things can't be. But ultimately it is an engrossing, occasionally thrilling ride. The mystery is tied up within the book, but an epilogue opens a door to new avenues for Myron and Win (and the younger set, Mickey, Ema, and Spoon). I hope Coben, an accomplished novelist, chooses to explore them. And keep Win in the picture!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful