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John

Raynham, MA, United States
  • 18
  • reviews
  • 79
  • helpful votes
  • 52
  • ratings
  • The Sweet Forever

  • A Novel
  • By: George P. Pelecanos
  • Narrated by: Cary Hite
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 51
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 49
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 49

It's March madness and the college boys are playing basketball on T.V. But on the streets of D.C., the homeboys are dealing, dissing, dying. From behind plate glass, with an 80s backbeat pounding in his brain, Marcus Clay watches it all happen, and prays that he can make a go with his downtown record store. Then a car comes careening down U Street, and what Marcus sees next will plunge him into the middle of a war. A drug runner is decapitated in the crash. A bystander - a white boy desperate to buy a woman's love - snatches a bag of cash from the wreck, and a prince of crime wants it back.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • George Pelecanos...Glad I found him

  • By Roger on 07-15-17

A textbook on how to write crime fiction-brilliant

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

Reviewed: 09-25-14

It would be enough if this were simply a great character-drive novel. However, as compelling as this is for three-fourths of the book, as the climax nears Pelecanos just keeps building and building. You won't be able to stop listening once that final 90 minutes kicks in. Suckerman was also great. I hope the turn the other two books in the series into audio soon.
This was some kind of ride.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Killing of the Tinkers

  • By: Ken Bruen
  • Narrated by: Gerry O'Brien
  • Length: 4 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 71
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 71

Jack Taylor, a disgraced ex-cop in Galway, has slid further down the slope of despair. After a year in London he returns to his home town of Galway with a leather coat and a coke habit. Someone is systematically slaughtering young travellers and dumping their bodies in the city centre. Even in the state he's in, Jack Taylor has an uncanny ability to know where to look, what questions to ask, and with the aid of an English policeman, apparently solves the case.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • What a waste

  • By Lynda Rands on 10-06-14

Not sure how he does it...

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

Reviewed: 08-26-13

This is crime fiction where the crimes are incidental. In other words, this is literature loosely based around some wrongdoing. The fact that these books are character driven is the key; the fact that that character is Jack Taylor is immense. Highly literate, funny, daring, rightgeous and usually pissed, JT is great company.
On to book 3.

  • The Guards

  • By: Ken Bruen
  • Narrated by: Gerry O'Brien
  • Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 205
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 181
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 181

Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana, and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. He is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future non-existent.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This is literature, not just crime fiction

  • By John on 08-09-13

This is literature, not just crime fiction

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

Reviewed: 08-09-13

A friend told me I should check out this book.
I did.
I was afraid I'd get hooked.
I am.
Friends tell me I now talk like Jack Taylor as rendered by the marvelous Gerry O'Brien
I do.

This is a wonderfully written, humorous and touching story. The crime is nearly beside the point. I'm lining up the Ken Bruen books now and plan to devour them one after another.

Great stuff.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Henderson the Rain King

  • By: Saul Bellow
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, great audiobook

  • By Amazon Customer on 03-08-10

Tour de force by Bellow and narrator, Joe Barrett

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

Reviewed: 06-22-13

Funny, ironic, sad and packed with philosophical musings, this book is a tour de force. No other way to put it. One of those books you can't imagine how it was conceived nor how it was written. Just amazing. Joe Barrett brings it all to life. Could be the best narration I've experienced. Very enjoyable. Bellow is amazing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • In Memory of a Friend, Teacher and Mentor

  • By: Philip Roth
  • Narrated by: Philip Roth
  • Length: 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 137
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 140

In this moving eulogy, Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning novelist Philip Roth pays tribute to the Newark, New Jersey, high school teacher who helped to shape his ideas and the path of his life. Roth first met "Doc" Bob Lowenstein as an impressionable teenager at the end of World War II, and the friendship between the two men grew and flourished throughout Roth’s evolution as an accomplished novelist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Master Returns... For a Bit...

  • By John on 05-31-13

The Master Returns... For a Bit...

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

Reviewed: 05-31-13

This was a beautiful piece and I'm glad to have it. Read it in the NYTimes.

Looks like the master has not fully retired, eh? We'll get him back. He's got another gem in him, I know.

Enjoy this for now.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Odyssey

  • By: Homer, Robert Fagles - translator
  • Narrated by: Ian McKellen
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,954
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,667
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,657

The great adventure story tells of Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War, who - through a landscape peopled with monsters, sea nymphs, evil enchantresses, and vengeful gods - makes his tortuous way home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Shipwrecked numerous times, faced with apparently insurmountable obstacles, offered the temptations of ease, comfort, and even immortality, Odysseus remains steadfast and determined. Themes of courage and perseverance, fidelity and fortitude.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Fagles yes, McKellen yes, Production NO!

  • By Vic on 06-13-14

A Classic, Wonderfully Rendered

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

Reviewed: 02-27-13

One of the great stories in western culture, acted not read, by a true master. This is the way it was meant to be enjoyed, listened to as entertainment for several nights.

  • Emerson

  • The Mind on Fire
  • By: Robert D. Richardson
  • Narrated by: Michael McConnohie
  • Length: 26 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 150
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 151

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the most important figures in the history of American thought, religion, and literature. The vitality of his writings and the unsettling power of his example continue to influence us more than a hundred years after his death. Now Robert D. Richardson Jr. brings to life an Emerson very different from the old stereotype of the passionless Sage of Concord.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining, erudite, engaging

  • By John on 12-11-12

Entertaining, erudite, engaging

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

Reviewed: 12-11-12

Emerson was a fascinating individual, and this biography details his life and thinking in ways that are compelling. I was sorry when it was over.

Richardson also goes into great detail about Emerson's sources, and parses his essays and books, delves into his relationships and gives us a full portrait of the man.

A great biography. No wonder it is the standard in Emerson studies.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

  • A History of Nazi Germany
  • By: William L. Shirer
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 57 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,113
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,709
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,693

Since its publication in 1960, William L. Shirer’s monumental study of Hitler’s German empire has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of the 20th century’s blackest hours. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich offers an unparalleled and thrillingly told examination of how Adolf Hitler nearly succeeded in conquering the world. With millions of copies in print around the globe, it has attained the status of a vital and enduring classic.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Held my interest for 57 hours and 13 minutes

  • By Jonnie on 11-08-10

Endlessly fascinating account from an eyewitness

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

Reviewed: 09-17-12

For nearly sixty hours I was held in thrall by this history and the author's sources and insights.

I highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Bit on the Side

  • By: William Trevor
  • Narrated by: Josephine Bailey, Simon Vance
  • Length: 6 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

William Trevor is truly a Chekhov for our age, and a new collection of stories from him is always a cause for celebration.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Writing of the highest order

  • By Kathleen on 10-07-05

Great stories from a true master

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

Reviewed: 06-14-12

If you don't know the work of William Trevor, this is a great place to start. His attention to character and detail are first rate, and his plotting is always subtle, endings that will stay with you long afterward. Meanwhile, the writing is beautiful, but at the same time economical. A veritable lesson on the craft can be found in each of these stories.

There are many I re-listened to immediately. He's that good.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Helter Skelter

  • The True Story of the Manson Murders
  • By: Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 26 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,497
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,961
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,962

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Everything I remembered about the case was wrong..

  • By karen on 06-22-12

Masterful, start to finish

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

Reviewed: 06-05-12

A compelling true crime tale is nothing unless it's told with the proper organization, discriminating and orderly presentation of details and all sculpted into a story arc. "Helter Skelter" sets the bar in each of these areas.

I read this book as a teen and it stuck with me these thirty-plus years. Seeing it on audio, I was wondering if I would be interested in giving it thirty hours of my life. Man, I'm glad I did.

It was so intense, at times I thought I'd have to stop listening. It gets in your head a bit. By turns, this book is horrifying, fascinating, sad, edifying and, ultimately a history lesson on crime in America, the 1960s, cults and the judicial system, not to mention Manson and his Family..

I can't recommend it highly enough. Just don't listen in the dark.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful