Steve M

McLean, VA United States
  • 3
  • reviews
  • 53
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  • 12
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  • Surprise, Kill, Vanish

  • The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins
  • By: Annie Jacobsen
  • Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
  • Length: 19 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 944
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 841
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 838

From Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen, the untold story of the CIA's secret paramilitary units.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Lots of facts, offset by too much fiction

  • By Steve M on 05-24-19

Lots of facts, offset by too much fiction

3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-24-19

Good book; excellent subject; needs additional substantiation.

Having spent 40+ years in the military and intelligence community, I was looking forward to reading (listening to) this book. This is my first opportunity to enjoy this author and, based on her comments in the prologue, I was encouraged by the evident thorough research and numerous credible references.

Unfortunately, I believe she put a bit too much trust into the veracity of one or two of her first-hand-account sources. For example:
- Reference to assistance from "Lieutenant Colonel John F. Kennedy" during WW II. Assistance from Kennedy is believable, but he was never a LtCol (he was in the Navy).
- So-and-so armed and relying on his '.375' caliber pistol. There is no such thing. Perhaps a mere typo for .357?
- "Each man carried 25 magazines of .223 caliber ammunition and each soldier had 25 grenades of various types." I call 'no-way' on this. As a retired Marine Corps careerist, I've carried M-16 magazines and grenades. 25 of each may be POSSIBLE to pick up, but not possible to maneuver and fight with.
- Numerous references to "RPG tracers" and one subject being "struck in the knee by an RPG." RPGs don't have or produce tracer identities and being struck in the leg with one would unquestionably take that leg clean off.

Trivial observations and unwarranted criticism? Perhaps. However I believe additional research into simple terms, concepts, and historical facts, as well as verifying the credulity of evident military "sea stories," would have moved this book from a 3-star to a 5-star review.

49 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Long Road to Mercy

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Brittany Pressley, Kyf Brewer
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 263
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 239
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 238

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a tiger by its toe. It's seared into Atlee Pine's memory: the kidnapper's chilling rhyme as he chose between six-year-old Atlee and her twin sister, Mercy. Mercy was taken. Atlee was spared. She never saw Mercy again. Three decades after that terrifying night, Atlee Pine works for the FBI. She's the lone agent assigned to the Shattered Rock, Arizona, resident agency protecting the Grand Canyon. So when one of the Grand Canyon's mules is found stabbed to death at the bottom of the canyon - and its rider missing - Pine is called in to investigate.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • abridged!?

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-02-19


3 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-20-19

Just an average story (I expected better from Baldacci) with too many assumptions, provisions from "friends," and inaccuracies. Narration is poor, prompting me to stop listening several times. I'm still not sure I'm up to pushing through to the end.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Liars & Thieves

  • By: Stephen Coonts
  • Narrated by: Guerin Barry
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 743
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 555
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 561

Tommy Carmellini is sent to post guard duty at a farmhouse in Virginia's remote Blue Ridge Mountains, where top government operatives are debriefing a star defector: the ultimate KGB insider, a man with records on every operation and every dirty trick the shadowy intelligence agency has ever run, from Lenin to Putin.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fast Paced - Good Read!

  • By Andrew Stone on 01-11-09

Barely tolerable

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-31-09

I've never written an audible book review before, but had to do so on this one. I wonder if actually reading this book would make it better, but listening to it by this narrator was untenable. If not THE worst narration, it was certainly at the bottom two or three I've ever heard in over 10 years of audible downloads. Barry may do well at other books, but this one was extremely poor.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful