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Allison Smith

  • 11
  • reviews
  • 94
  • helpful votes
  • 166
  • ratings
  • Amy: My Search for Her Killer

  • Secrets and Suspects in the Unsolved Murder of Amy Mihaljevic
  • By: James Renner
  • Narrated by: James Renner
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142

Ten-year-old Amy Mihaljevic disappeared from the comfortable Cleveland suburb of Bay Village in the fall of 1989. Her picture was everywhere - anyone who watched the local TV news remembers the girl with the sideways ponytail. Tragically, Amy was found dead a few months later. Her killer was never found. Now, 15 years later, journalist James Renner picks up the leads. Filled with mysterious riddles, incredible coincidences, and a cast of unusual but very real characters, his investigation quickly becomes a riveting journey in search of the truth.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More than just a true crime story

  • By Dale on 11-28-18

Officially a James Renner Fan

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

Reviewed: 05-25-19

I don't know what it is about James Renner, but after two of his books I'd say I'm a fan. His style of writing and reading is slow and earnest. He doesn't take the popular angle of shock and drama. Instead his story telling is driven by curiosity and sincerity. The result is that I feel like I'm sitting across the table from a friend while he confides a deeply personal story. I felt this way about True Crime Addict, too. You care about him, the people in his story, and you wish your time together didn't have to draw to a close. He's a uniquely talented writer and reader. I'd love to hear more from him.

  • The Road Out of Hell

  • Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders
  • By: Anthony Flacco, Jerry Clark
  • Narrated by: Anthony Flacco
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 582
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 526
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 526

From 1926 to 1928, Gordon Stewart Northcott committed at least 20 murders on a chicken ranch outside of Los Angeles. His nephew, Sanford Clark, was held captive there from the age of 13 to 15, and was the sole surviving victim of the killing spree. Here, acclaimed crime writer Anthony Flacco - using never-before-heard information from Sanford’s son Jerry Clark - tells the real story behind the case that riveted the nation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Heartbreaker

  • By Jerrilynn on 09-09-14

Embarrassing Performance by Author

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

Reviewed: 05-14-19

I should have heeded the reviews about the bad narration. The reading of this is unbearable. I was so surprised to see the author and the reader are the same. How could a man who researched such a terrible ordeal involving children read this with overdramatic giddiness? He sounds elated. It's inappropriate and embarrassing. I am two and a half hours in. I can't get past it. I'll be retuning this unfinished.

  • Evil Has a Name

  • The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation
  • By: Paul Holes, Jim Clemente, Peter McDonnell
  • Narrated by: Paul Holes, Jim Clemente
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 10,878
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9,929
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9,887

For his victims, for their families and for the investigators tasked with finding him, the senselessness and brutality of the Golden State Killer's acts were matched only by the powerlessness they felt at failing to uncover his identity. Then, on April 24, 2018, authorities arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo at his home in Citrus Heights, Calif., based on DNA evidence linked to the crimes. Amazingly, it seemed, evil finally had a name. Please note: This work contains descriptions of violent crime and sexual assault and may not be suitable for all listeners.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Much respect for the Victims and the Families

  • By Amazon Customer on 11-16-18

Rank this with the best in true crime.

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

Reviewed: 11-16-18

This was the most compelling book I have listened to in years. It's not like any other audio book.
Interwoven stories, research, interviews, from multiple points of view. If you're interested in true crime, detective work, profiling, sensitive accounts from victims and police investigators... you will be captivated. I can't really say enough about it. 6 hours flew by in a flash. And such a relief to have an ending like this one.

84 of 91 people found this review helpful

  • Rough Trade

  • A Shocking True Story of Prostitution, Murder, and Redemption
  • By: Steve Jackson
  • Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 275
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 253
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251

Early one morning in May, 1997, a young couple in the mountains of Colorado spotted a man dragging a body up a secluded trail. The man fled, leaving behind a bloody, dying woman. The investigation into the death of young street-walker Anita Paley would lead from that idyllic spot to the seamy underbelly of Denver and a world of prostitution, drug dealers, and violent criminals. And it would expose the lives of suspect Robert Riggan and Anita's friend Joanne Cordova, a former cop-turned-crack-addict and hooker.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bob's "most favorite place in the whole world" . .

  • By Polly Poizendem on 10-22-16

It passes the time but nothing more.

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

I chose another book by Jackson at random, after reading No Stone Unturned, which was excellent- full of science and history. This book, however, is dry; never touching on forensics or psychology so it feels like a low-rent, base book meant to please anyone who just wants to hear a couple sad, violent story lines.
On the positive side, the reader elevates it enough to complete the book. So if nothing else, it did pass the time. I just aim higher than that when choosing audio books.

  • Private

  • By: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
  • Narrated by: Peter Hermann
  • Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25,103
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,377
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 22,350

Former Marine helicopter pilot Jack Morgan runs Private, a renowned investigation company with branches around the globe. It is where you go when you need maximum force and maximum discretion. The secrets of the most influential men and women on the planet come to Jack daily - and his staff of investigators uses the world's most advanced forensic tools to make and break their cases.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Thanks to Audible and Hachette Audio for...

  • By Wayne on 09-01-17

Pretentious Garbage. Zero Substance

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

Reviewed: 08-26-17

I am so glad this was free so I didn't waste a credit and now I know never to buy Patterson. Two hours in, too many story lines, countless name dropping and brand bragging. The reader kept me going this long but I can't even finish it. So cliche and no authenticity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • See What I Have Done

  • By: Sarah Schmidt
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Woodward, Erin Hunter, Garrick Hagon
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 156
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 145

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid, "Someone's killed Father." The brutal ax murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Rambling saved by narrators.

  • By Allison Smith on 08-07-17

Rambling saved by narrators.

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

Reviewed: 08-07-17

This story is told from four character's povs. The problem is that the writing style and rhythm barely changed from person to person. Even the narrators had trouble sometimes making the writing sound different from one character to the next. But it is the performances, I think, that saves this, which may be why the audio is getting higher reviews than the book.
Frankly, the story begins to ramble and get down right silly at times, in its theory of what took place. I found myself tuning out or shaking my head while listening.
A caveat: Maybe I am too much of a realist to take this book seriously. I prefer to stick to nonfiction, but this book didn't convince me otherwise.
Beautiful cover art.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

  • A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
  • By: Mark Manson
  • Narrated by: Roger Wayne
  • Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114,639
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 100,526
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99,967

For decades we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F*ck positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f*cked, and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is - a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mind-set that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A book for 20-somethings, but not me

  • By Bonny on 09-22-16

Trying to be Fight Club and Failing

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

Reviewed: 12-29-16

The first 40 minutes are entertaining with some valuable one-liners. What follows next is a string of disconnected, boring personal stories where the author reveals himself as a wanna-be Tyler Durden, only far less clever. The reader is good in the sense that he sounds like a genuine a**hole. That's all I can say about this. Worth a borrow, not a buy. I found the reviews way over-rated.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • You Are Not So Smart

  • Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself
  • By: David McRaney
  • Narrated by: Don Hagen
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,565
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,114
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,101

An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise. You believe you are a rational, logical being who sees the world as it really is, but journalist David McRaney is here to tell you that you're as deluded as the rest of us. But that's OK - delusions keep us sane. You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of self-delusion. It's like a psychology class, with all the boring parts taken out, and with no homework. Based on the popular blog of the same name, You Are Not So Smart collects more than 46 of the lies we tell ourselves everyday.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • It's official, I'm an idiot

  • By Christopher on 07-04-12

Needs a Warning Label

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

Reviewed: 12-06-15

About 1:52 into the audio, the reader walks you through a horrific nonfiction plane crash that happened and gives gory details. Furthermore he is describing the experience as though you are the passenger. "...without warning shockwaves of heat and pressure tear into your flesh..." That is just the beginning. I'll spare you the rest. I'm drinking my coffee on a Sunday morning and painting. I absolutely did not need to hear this, and certainly not in this manner, just to prove that we act unpredictably in a crisis. Have not heard anything new anyway and will be returning this without finishing it.

  • The Good Earth

  • By: Pearl S. Buck
  • Narrated by: Anthony Heald
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,830
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,692
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,711

This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By Ryan on 05-08-10

Allow me to retort...

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

Reviewed: 12-24-14

Long, dull, and astonishingly repetitious- the only thing that got me through this was the reader. I am astonished at the accolades this book received. I appreciate that Buck told a historical fiction story well enough to allow us a window into another place and time. I rejoice for all female firsts, as Buck was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature. But does anyone find her recognition painfully ironic given that even the voice of the author agrees with this place and time's horrible degradation and perceived worthlessness of women? I found that (no matter how accepted it was in her time) really tough to endure. History and unpleasantries aside, there was but one character I came to care for and wished to know more of as the hours droned on, and it was by no means the protagonist. Sadly it was not the author, either. There was no character arc, no climax, and seemingly no end.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Demonologist

  • The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren - The True Accounts of the Paranormal Investigators Featured in the film 'The Conjuring'
  • By: Gerald Brittle
  • Narrated by: Todd Haberkorn
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,156
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,868
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,858

If you think ghosts are only responsible for hauntings, think again. The Demonologist reveals the grave religious process behind supernatural events and how it can happen to you. Used as a text in seminaries and classrooms, this is one book you can't put down. For over five decades, Ed and Loraine Warren have been considered America's foremost experts on demonology and exorcism. With over 3,000 investigations to their credit, they reveal what actually breaks the peace in haunted houses. Don't miss the Warrens in the new blockbuster movie The Conjuring.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Scary fun.

  • By Cliff on 08-19-13

Equally entertaining and total hogwash

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

Reviewed: 12-21-14

What did you like best about The Demonologist? What did you like least?

The reader was great and some of the stories scary and entertaining enough to keep me listening. However, as we get deeper into the audiobook, an agenda for religion, self aggrandizement and martyrdom surface- some of them so far-out they made me chuckle.

Would you recommend The Demonologist to your friends? Why or why not?

If your interest and enjoyment of The Conjuring brought you to this book, then by all means, download it. It is as sensational, fun, and suspenseful as the movie. In that same vein, however, I'm confused by the number of reviews calling this horrifying. If you suspend your disbelief, some of the stories are thrilling, but that's as far as I'd go. I'm not a total skeptic either. I've purposely visited "haunted" hotels and houses for the history and fun. I believe in ghosts. But a demon car and green goo etc.? Bah! I will be keeping my Ouija board, thankyouverymuch.

Any additional comments?

With this book, as in life, I'd say: Be open minded, and you'll enjoy it. But not so open-minded that your brain falls out.