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dumbclub

Penland, NC USA
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 181
  • helpful votes
  • 339
  • ratings
  • The President's Pilot

  • By: Robert Gandt
  • Narrated by: Thomas Block
  • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 780
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 710
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 699

A year and a half into her first term as President of the United States, Libby Paulsen is in a world of trouble. Her controversial agenda has placed her in a doomsday clash with a right wing cabal led by an enigmatic Air Force general. The conspirators will stop at nothing - including assassination - to remove Libby Paulsen from office. When the cabal targets Air Force One, Libby's Presidency - and her life - rest in the hands of a maverick pilot named Pete Brand, a man with whom the President shares a long-smoldering secret.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Is everyone drunk?

  • By Mike on 02-06-15

Could it get any worse than this?

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

Reviewed: 01-18-15

There may be a political/military thriller of intrigue and treachery in here somewhere, but to get to it, a listener would have to overlook the most incompetent and annoying reader ever heard on Audible.

I could have sworn I was listening to a drunken Walter Matthau with a mouthful of marbles, trying to distinguish voices by slurring and whining. He attempted to add drama to his reading by pausing awkwardly and throwing in an occasional inflection or lilt to add emphasis on all the wrong words.

Thomas Block is now officially blacklisted from my candidates for future purchase.

6 of 7 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 5,967
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,410
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,394

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

Too much is not enough

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

Reviewed: 06-23-13

The author freely mixes bits of modern parlance with his overuse of contrived Dickensian language. He wallows in the vernacular of the time, trying to convey a sense of life in 1699 America, but ultimately, the overuse is a distraction. Why say something plainly when you can force layers of awkward similes to make it sound "authentic". Edoardo Ballerini delivers this babble well, but he is unable to salvage the author's exuberance for flowery gibberish.

McCammon's attempts at eroticism come off as unfortunate and gratuitous sexual exploitation of his readers/listeners that would likely drive even Ken Follett to rethink what he believes the average reader secretly desires. McCammon is willing, even eager, to put a tawdry spin on nearly everything his poor characters do. After so much grungy titillation threatens the morality of his characters, his credibility takes a serious hit.

And when considering his trustworthiness as an author of historical fiction, his cavalier use of artistic license has to be challenged. His fact checking becomes secondary to inadvertently painting an inaccurate, but convenient portrait of life in the colonies. As a small example, the place where a blacksmith works is a smithy and he is referred to as a smith, not the other way round. The inaccuracies are troubling and they become such a distraction, that they undermine the strengths that an otherwise good story might have capitalized on.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • The Gray Man

  • By: Mark Greaney
  • Narrated by: Jay Snyder
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,708
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,867
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,832

Court Gentry is known as The Gray Man - a legend in the covert realm, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible, and then fading away. And he always hits his target. But there are forces more lethal than Gentry in the world. And in their eyes, Gentry has just outlived his usefulness. Now, he is going to prove that for him, there's no gray area between killing for a living-and killing to stay alive.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Move Over Jack Reacher

  • By Ed on 03-25-17

Just another predictable superhuman

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

Reviewed: 02-12-13

This genre demands a lot from the reader/listener - not just a suspension of disbelief, but also a willingness to accept a bankrupt morality that doesn't exist in real life.

From the beginning, we know that no matter how hairy it gets for our hero, he's going to find some extraordinary way to get through the mess he's in, only to find himself in the next even more incredible predicament that he will once again will find a way to annihilate his opponent, and so on.

In The Gray Man, our badass ultradude is just another cardboard cutout superman who's deeper motives are never challenged and whose character is never examined in detail. He simply goes his everyday assassin way, killing everyone who's trying (unjustly) to kill him first.

On the plus side, you can casually listen to this book and not miss a thing. We know that he's going to make it to the next book, so we don't have to pay close attention to the shallow plot.

25 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Involuntary Witness

  • Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1
  • By: Gianrico Carofiglio
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,273
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,116
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,118

A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Surprisingly Poignant

  • By chris on 01-06-12

Excellence

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

Reviewed: 07-28-12

Carofiglio has imagined this story from the benefit of his real life experiences as an Italian magistrate (similar to much better known attorneys-turned-authors, Grisham and Turow). The peculiarities of the italian legal system are effortlessly woven into the routine of the main character's life so that they are interesting to outsiders, and easily understood.

Patrick Creagh's fluid translation coupled with Sean Barrett's elegant and versatile voice gives the illusion that this book was originally written in English. It is easy to take their efforts for granted, but successfully translated audiobooks are not that common ("The Thief" comes to mind as a poor effort).

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • The Thief

  • By: Fuminori Nakamura, Satoko Izumo (translator)
  • Narrated by: Charlie Thurston
  • Length: 4 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 166
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 146
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 148

The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly that sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him; nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections.... But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life and offers him a job he can't refuse.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Well, it is short.

  • By Kyle on 03-30-12

Lost in Translation

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

Reviewed: 07-14-12

Nakamura's plot is actually clever and occasionally suspenseful, but the translation and reading spoil any chance of appreciation for the writing. The translator chose to occasionally insert bits of out-of-place american slang for these japanese characters speaking in their native country. The result sounded preposterous and highlighted the deficiency of the translation.

Charlie Thurston (the reader) has such a limited range that he attempted to distinguish the voices by simply deepening his voice and slowing the pace of delivery. That might work if there were only two characters, but instead, every male other than the protagonist sounded identical. It reminded me of a child trying naively to imitate the voice of an adult. I am reminded of five-year-old Danny in Kubrick's The Shining, talking to his finger in that scary gravelly murmur.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Rules of Civility

  • A Novel
  • By: Amor Towles
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,945
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,277
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,255

On the last night of 1937, 25-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its startling consequences propel Katey on a yearlong journey....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect narrator for this intriguing book.

  • By Cherie Walker on 08-28-11

Transporting

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

Reviewed: 07-13-12

This novel successfully took me to a distant and unfamiliar place and time. When I'm on the streets of New York these days, my mind's eye is often looking for the past, imagining the millions who've walked on every sidewalk or lived in any one of the scores of small apartments. In a place that has so many people, most of them transient, I'm fascinated by all of the life that must have taken place on a given spot.

Armor Towles' novel about one young woman's experiences of Manhattan in the late 30's illustrates what life there might have been like. Other reviewers have said it may not be a perfect picture of the city or it's people at that time, but it is a delightfully credible and believable story.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • A Separate Peace

  • By: John Knowles
  • Narrated by: Matthew Modine
  • Length: 2 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 36

Ever since its first publication in 1960, A Separate Peace has been hailed as a modern classic. Now the story of two best friends attending a New England boarding school during World War II comes to life in this powerful audio presentation. Featuring a dramatic reading by Matthew Modine, this abridgment of John Knowles's critically acclaimed novel provides a startling insight into war and youth that you will never forget.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Old Verison

  • By Tani on 09-28-05

A Great Story Spoiled

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

Reviewed: 06-06-12

John Knowles' coming-of-age introspective is a well written tale that captures the turbulence, excitement and controversy of America's role in World War II, especially from the perspective of draft age young men. It also reveals the very personal interaction and peer rivalries of this group of elite boarding school boys.

Unfortunately, this classic has been undermined by the excessive use of unnecessary sound effects and distracting long musical interludes. Matthew Modine has turned in memorable performances as a movie actor, but his dull uninspired recitation of this story is like a summer camp letter to his mom. His monotone reading is only sparked when he stumbles over new parts of the story that he apparently had never read before undertaking this project.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Lewis Man

  • By: Peter May
  • Narrated by: Peter Forbes
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 216
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 188

An unidentified corpse is recovered from a peat bog on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. News of the discovery soon reaches Fin Macleod. However, since swapping his life in Edinburgh for a quiet existence on Lewis, such mysteries are no longer a concern for the former detective inspector. Or so he thought. The sequel to The Blackhouse, which was selected for the WH Smith Richard and Judy Bookclub, and the second book in the Lewis trilogy. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Visit the Outer Hebrides

  • By dumbclub on 02-10-12

Visit the Outer Hebrides

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

Reviewed: 02-10-12

As I listened to Peter Forbes in his wonderfully accented Scottish, describing the diverse and desolate landscape of these islands, I came upon an idea to "see" the countryside more fully. l used the Street View feature in Google Maps to "drive" around the Outer Hebrides as I listened.

By following the author's detailed descriptions of prominent physical features in the story, I easily found landmarks, settlements, and roadways. This gave me a much deeper appreciation of the setting while adding great credibility to Peter May's illustration of these places he obviously knows well.

As for the story itself, I came to admire May's device of occasionally inserting chapters written in the first person voice of the elderly Tormod Macdonald, who gives us insight into the frustration of what it must be like to live with dementia.

For valuable background of this second piece of the Lewis trilogy, I recommend listening to The Blackhouse before enjoying The Lewis Man. The third part, The Chase Men, is due out in 2013.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • The Blackhouse

  • By: Peter May
  • Narrated by: Peter Forbes
  • Length: 6 hrs and 30 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 122
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 120

A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith. Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past. Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister. As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface and soon, he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unputdownable

  • By dumbclub on 01-31-12

Unputdownable

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

Reviewed: 01-31-12

I actually came across the word "unputdownable" while searching my thesaurus for a word to describe this audiobook. Peter May has created a believable cast of characters to take us through a bleak but memorable landscape that is plagued with the baggage of fractured relationships of every kind. Peter Forbes beautiful scottish gives the story authenticity and credibility as he reads it with a confidence that made me think he could have lived it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • 24 Hours

  • By: Greg Iles
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,084
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 899
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 899

24 Hours begins with the perfect family...on the perfect day...about to become trapped in the perfect crime.

Will Jennings is a successful young doctor in Jackson, Mississippi, with his whole life ahead of him. He has a thriving practice, a beautiful wife, and a young daughter he loves beyond measure.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rivoting and spine tingling.

  • By Donna Cooley on 04-01-13

Uncharacteristically Poor Performance by Dick Hill

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-27-11

The author, Greg Iles, is a novelist who conveys the nuances of life in the deep South with the insight that only a native can. Dick Hill is on my short list of favorite audiobook narrators and to my ear, he is the true voice of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. However, he is not the right choice to perform the accent of any character from a setting in the modern South. He uses bits and pieces of southern caricature snipped from Amos and Andy meets Gone With the Wind to produce his interpretation of contemporary life in the American South. These voices do not approach an accurate representation of what the well educated professional people in Greg Iles' stories should sound like. Rather, the accents are a mixture of antebellum field hands mixed with gangsta rap. Examples: "Wut fo" (What for?) and "Close da do" (Close the door). Equally unfortunate is his lack of knowledge of the correct pronunciation of place names: Natchez, Baton Rouge, Biloxi are examples. It is almost as if someone played a cruel joke on Hill by misdirecting him to repeatedly pronounce them in the most hysterical way possible. The credibility of an otherwise excellent reader is undermined by his lack of knowledge of the subject he has been asked to convey.

The clever and well-conceived story is spoiled by the distraction of the inaccurate narration.

8 of 12 people found this review helpful