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  • The Reckoning

  • A Novel
  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 17 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14,413
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,053
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 13,019

Pete Banning was Clanton's favorite son, a returning war hero, the patriarch of a prominent family, a farmer, a father, a neighbor, and a faithful member of the Methodist church. Then one cool October morning in 1946, he rose early, drove into town, walked into the church, and calmly shot and killed the Reverend Dexter Bell. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • different

  • By Kelly on 10-29-18

If you read Tears in the Darkness...

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

Reviewed: 01-20-19

If you liked Tears in the Darkness: The Story of the Bataan Death March and Its Aftermath, don't read the Reckoning. This hybrid of forgotten World War II history, Grisham's court room expertise and ability to create obsessive, compulsive and somewhat dislikable characters and spin a good story don't work here. Tears in the Darkness probably remains the gold standard of historical accounts of the Bataan Death March and its politics. The Reckoning isn't. Nor does it work as a story. It's heavy-handed Grisham. I even increased the speed because it was so ponderous. Grisham is enamored with euphonisms so three words work when two would be more descriptive--so Pete became a graduate of the military academy, occasionally he names it West Point. Stella has no personality, she simply cries--Florie has wandered away from a Tennessee Williams short story, and Pete is a bad rendition of a Pat Conroy military father. Looking forward to welcoming Grisham back to the 21st century and writing the stories he does best. Military history is already a crowded field. It doesn't benefit fromJohn Grishman's clumsy attempts at trying to provide a vivid eye-witness account of a horrific episode. It did make me appreciate and remember the power of Tears in the Darkness.

  • After Anna

  • By: Lisa Scottoline
  • Narrated by: Mozhan Marno, Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,706
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,349
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,338

Dr. Noah Alderman, a widower and single father, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie Ippolitti, and for the first time in a long time, he and his young son are happy. Despite her longing for the daughter she hasn’t seen since she was a baby, Maggie is happy too, and she’s even more overjoyed when she unexpectedly gets another chance to be a mother to the child she thought she'd lost forever, her only daughter Anna.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • So Bad That I Couldn’t Stop Listening

  • By Felicity Xenia Spamotic on 05-04-18

Dumb and Dumber

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

Reviewed: 04-22-18

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

the plot is so transparent and each character is stupider than the next that it's worth listening to just to figure out how much sillier it can get. The women are Stepford wives and Scottoline indulges in really purple prose as Maggie thrills over reuniting with the imposter daughter and then defies police, a raging snow storm, and the safety of her ten-year old step son to rush to the rescue of her "real daughter". Spoiler alert if you really haven't guessed the outcome somewhere around the first ten pages-- The murderer who has set up a clever scam for a $50million windfall, murders the "golden goose" because she seems to be getting arrogant. Obviously, a man of values--Of course the murderer is in Maine and the main action takes place in PA--but they have to be regularly in contact because on the side she's soliciting her classmates for him and a sex trafficking operation in Maine's backwoods--obviously a hugh demand for underage girls in those cold winters. The police work to convict the hunky doctor hero is lame--anyone who has read at least one mystery and watched Law and Order once can poke holes in the prosecution for the hero to walk through--but he has to be convicted so Scottoline can write a prison abuse scene--again stupidly rendered. And then she brings it to the happy ending with Mom Maggie in raptures over a chance to mother her real daughter--imposter daughter killed after a breathless two weeks in the bosom of her duped family--And because Scottoline has a modicum of realism, daughter is suffering from post traumatic stress after 7 months as a sex worker and recovering brilliantly in therapy.
Mary Higgins Clark has been writing this kind of book brilliantly forever. But her plots are crafted and her fairy tale endings don't feel tacked on. The book is not an endorsement for suburban living outside of Philadelphia. The only dumber people, were the friendly folks in Maine, the villains, Oh, and me, for actually listening to the whole thing!

Has After Anna turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, just Scottoline

What does Mozhan Marno and Jeremy Bobb bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Probably wouldn't have finished it if I were reading it. It's that dumb. And the purple prose works better coming out of a narrator than wading through it in print.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Laughter

  • I've Got My Eyes on You

  • By: Mary Higgins Clark
  • Narrated by: January LaVoy
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,165
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 995
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 997

After a party when her parents are away, 18-year-old Kerry Dowling is found fully dressed at the bottom of the family pool. The immediate suspect is her boyfriend, who had a bitter argument with her at the party. Then there is a 20-year-old neighbor who was angry because she didn't invite him to the party. Or is there someone else who has not yet been seen on the radar? Kerry's older sister, Aline, a 28-year-old guidance counselor, is determined to assist the prosecutor's office in learning the truth. She does not realize that now she is putting her own life in danger....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Riveting

  • By Nichole Laurencin Scott on 04-05-18

Did Mary Higgins Clark have laryngitis

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

Reviewed: 04-09-18

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Does Mary Higgins Clark have laryngitis, or did she recommend the plot and someone else write the narrative? The plot follows the time tested Clark formula, young women life put in peril by not suspecting the right suspect, rescued by handsome, young----just fill in depending on the location, the other characters and the murder at the center. Because she's a great story teller who over the years has developed a distinct voice and cadence it works. This plot is hers, the voice isn't.

What do you think your next listen will be?

whatever captures my imagination

What about January LaVoy’s performance did you like?

She's a perfect narrator for this type of book.

Do you think I've Got My Eyes on You needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

All of Ms. Higgin's books are follow-ups, heroine's are interchangeable, venues are all upper middle class, Irish catholic, and the heroes are all aspirations of what we hope for our daughters.

Any additional comments?

Mary Higgins Clark books are great listens. Unlike a book, when you can go back and check a factual discrepancy, you can't with an audible but with her books it really doesn't matter. The enjoyment comes from the swiftly moving actions and the manipulation of unrealistic coincidences to reach a resolution and enough verisimilitude to make locations realistic --that's gone, although Princeton U did have a star turn, but what used to be real restaurants--particularly in Chatham and NYC are invented--Xavier's restaurant in Yonkers, on the water, is now Le Petit--and recognizable sites, the old Meekers Hardware in Danbury comes to mind, described perfectly although named something else. Other discrepancies, the 2 acre lot zoning that doesn't seem to apply to the Crawley's who are described as having a small yard--even the reworked character of lottery winner Elvira and her husband, recast here as Mary the housekeeper and her plumber husband lack that spirit and insight and Irishness that characterized Clark's more colorful characters. And is everyone in Saddle River Catholic? And why is a low-functioning retarded boy on whom the plot resolution pivots reduced to an absurd cardboard stereotype? "the big guy" conceit, is it him or me is not really effective in keeping a fearful mom and a benign Catholic priest from going immediately to the police. But then, it would have been a short story, not a novel.

  • The Switch

  • A Novel
  • By: Joseph Finder
  • Narrated by: Steven Kearney
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 609

Michael Tanner is on his way home from a business trip when he accidentally picks up the wrong MacBook in an airport security line. He doesn't notice the mix-up until he arrives home in Boston, but by then it's too late. Tanner's curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers that the owner is a US senator and that the laptop contains top secret files. When Senator Susan Robbins realizes she's come back with the wrong laptop, she calls her young chief of staff, Will Abbott, in a panic.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best Joseph Finder

  • By Shucks Jones on 06-16-17

Finder channels his inner Trump

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

Reviewed: 07-12-17

What did you like best about this story?

Nobody does chase better than Finder but this one is so topical, a woman senator downloads classified info to her laptop, it's switched and the chase is one with our young hero pursued by the NSA, the Senator's Chief of Staff and of course the Russians. There's fake news, secret interrogations, electronic tracking implants--where were the drones?--and even a hit man turned Buddhist who tries to implant wisdom and restraint. Oh, and artesinal coffee. So because I like my beans small batch roasted, I'm addicted to MSN, and I'm always up for the whiff of a good conspiracy theory, this is one of my favorite Finders'. And the moral ambiguity of the hero Skinner makes it all the more complex, just like a good second cuppa....

Have you listened to any of Steven Kearney’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Mostly listen to Finder books because they are well read and the story is always gripping

  • The Second Life of Nick Mason

  • By: Steve Hamilton
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 8 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 962
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 873
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 870

Nick Mason has already spent five years inside a maximum security prison when an offer comes that will grant his release 20 years early. He accepts - but the deal comes with a terrible price. Now, back on the streets, Nick Mason has a new house, a new car, money to burn, and a beautiful roommate. He's returned to society, but he's still a prisoner. Whenever his cell phone rings, day or night, Nick must answer it and follow whatever order he is given.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Rock and hard place plot

  • By Lesia on 06-01-16

A Writer's Writer Tries for the Series Gold Ring

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

Reviewed: 07-09-16

What would have made The Second Life of Nick Mason better?

Hamilton is a critically acclaimed author and mystery series award winner. He even has an Edgar. He apparently doesn't have sales volume. So he created Nick Mason, an anti-hero--a small time Chicago thug imprisoned for 20 and strikes a deal with a devil to sell his soul for a lifetime of crime in order to get out. So he ends up in this fantasy townhouse with lots of muscle cars, an untouchable beautiful woman as a roommate, a pet store manager as his girlfriend, a happily married ex-wife and a 10 year old daughter whom he watches from afar as she plays soccer and a string of violent murders that he commits with the help of his master's on site handler, probably the most interesting character in the story, a Latin gang-banger, Quitaro. Nick of course has a heart of gold--he's molded on Jack Reacher and Hamilton puts him in the same comic book impossible and implausible situations so he can hero his way out. But Reacher does it with brains and brawn. Mason basically shoots to kill, and then does the self-reflective guilt--did I really do that--but to remain somewhat moral, he only shoots really bad guys and really dirty cops. The clichés fly by in this story. Even the characters are sterotyped. The Jarvais cop, the imprisoned master, the hapless and cowardly friend who at least can shot straight. And its derivative. When he's not channeling Lee Childs, he copies Preston and Child and their penchant for underground caves and labryniths. The best scene in the book is a shoot out in a water tunnel in a stone quarry in Chicago. And of course it ends with a cliff hanger as our anti-hero leaves his warm bed and girlfriend to go off, who knows where--Others can wait for volume 2. I won't. Only Ray Porter's narration kept me involved to the end. He has just the right tone of menace and dread.

Any additional comments?

Hamilton is respected by writers like Stephen King that I respect and why I listened to this book. What a disappointment. I know he changed publishers. Did he also try to change his style? This reads like a old fashioned dime novel. I didn't know they wrote those anymore.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Fear Nothing

  • Detective D. D. Warren, Book 7
  • By: Lisa Gardner
  • Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,678
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,380
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,386

The last thing Boston Detective D. D. Warren remembers is walking the crime scene after dark. Then, a creaking floorboard, a low voice crooning in her ear… She is later told she managed to discharge her weapon three times. All she knows is that she is seriously injured, unable to move her left arm, unable to return to work. My sister is Shana Day, a notorious murderer who first killed at fourteen. Incarcerated for thirty years, she has now murdered more people while in prison than she did as a free woman.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating look at a killer family!

  • By Charles Atkinson on 01-14-14

Fear Nothing--Except Writer's Block

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

Reviewed: 01-31-14

What did you like best about Fear Nothing? What did you like least?

The narrator as always is terrific. I suspect Lisa Garner had this manuscript buried away in a file and under contract obligations to produce a new book dusted it off, updated it, baby Tom is now three, and submitted it--the plot strains credibillity, the characters are flat and it has all the action of an old British Agatha Cristie with everyone pondering did he, she, it do it, while sitting in Dee Dee's living room drinking coffee. The premise is psychologically interesting--two grown daughters of a famed serial killer, one who can feel no pain and is on the outside as a respected psychiatrist, and the other a lifer emprisioned for duplicating dear old dad while just wanting to protect little sis--But somehow Garner's usual psychological probing and suspense gets lost in some plot twists that are so poorly written, motivated, and badly thought out, it'--the prision break and the subsequent stroll through Boston--sounds like Gardner who is usually masterful either has writers' block or an early manuscript and a demanding publisher.Dee Dee, Phil and Alex no longer have individual identities and Dee Dee sounds more like a thrill seeker with an need for adrenilian highs than a conflicted woman with her cop-identity a big part of her coping skills.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Whatever it is it won't involve serial killers in Boston

What does Kirsten Potter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

makes a ridiculously flat story and characters come alive and adds a aura of forboding and suspense and even realism to parts that would be laughable. Some of this sounds like a parady of a bad mystery. "A high rise Boston condo in which the killer is able to disable the carbon monoxide detector and turn on the gas" Really!

Do you think Fear Nothing needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Lisa Gardner in the past has written some of the most interesting and complicated, psychologically driven thrillers and DeeDee Waren was becoming a fascinating detective now struggling with motherhood, dependency and toughness--now she's just a mechanism for moving the plot and these are characteristics that allow the reader to know which character is talking.

  • The Sound of Things Falling

  • By: Juan Gabriel Vasquez
  • Narrated by: Mike Vendetti
  • Length: 7 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 145
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 146

In the city of Bogot, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medelln cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above. Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Colombian Tragedy

  • By David on 09-14-14

Narrator makes book or book makes narrator

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

Reviewed: 10-14-13

What did you love best about The Sound of Things Falling?

the combination of the narrator and the prose make it a perfect listen

Who was your favorite character and why?

no favorite characters but Elenor Fritz because of Mike's pronunciation and the sonerous way that her husband kept saying it made her memorable. The author doesn't realize her fully and her motives for her abrupt return to the US and then her return when her husband summons her doesn't work

What about Mike Vendetti’s performance did you like?

Her captured the mood and voice of the author perfectly. The prose is poetic and sinister, the story romantic and yet ominous and bleak, it's a mirror of the dense jungles and mountainous terrain of Colombia and it's all there in his performance. I listen to the book again just to hear him read it.

If you could rename The Sound of Things Falling, what would you call it?

Slouching toward Byzantine --the book is reminiscent of the Yeats poem in its bleakness and beauty and about the end of things, a culture, a people, love.

Any additional comments?

Perfect audible experience

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Sleight of Hand

  • A Novel of Suspense
  • By: Phillip Margolin
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 182
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 161

Ten years ago, Horace Blair fell in love with Carrie, the prosecutor during his DUI trial. After a torrid courtship, he persuaded her to marry him and to sign a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her twenty million dollars if she remained faithful during the first 10 years of their marriage. The week before their 10th anniversary, Carrie disappears, and Horace is charged with her murder. Desperate to clear his name, the millionaire hires one of D.C.'s most brilliant and ruthless defense attorneys - Charles Benedict.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • It should've been a better book

  • By Mary on 04-18-13

If Jack Reacher were a girl

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

Reviewed: 04-28-13

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Phillip Margolin who writes too infrequently has created an evolving character, Dana Cuttler who could rival Jack Reacher in violence, intelligence, and personality. Margolin's plots are always carefully crafted and following the conventions of a thriller, the reader knows the villain, the suspense is discovering whether the heroine in this scenerio can succeed or be thwarted. In sleight of hand, he pits Dana against the crafty lawyer, magician, Charles benedict and the head of the Russian mob. Even the main murder victim, Carrie Blair has a brief plot turn to thwart Dana. Margolin gives Dana her first staring role in Sleight of Hand--in previous books she was supported by young lawyer Brad Miller--and she doesn't disappoint. To emphasize his point that this is Dana's story, when Dana flies to the Pacific Northwest, she doesn't even contact her friend Brad who has moved off the pages to a quieter lifestyle.
Margolin shows his control of plot and characters. Even stock characters, the uber-wealthy and powerful, the downtrotten police, the Washington legal eagles, play well in Margolin's skillful analysis,. Charles Bendict is a worthy advesary and a compelling badguy. The set-up that opens the story, a rift on a thirties film noire, is cleverly worked into the plot. Margolin has that same economy of style as Lee Childs (or a very thorough editor) so not a detail dangles.
And Jonathan Davis is the perfect narrator although his Russian mobster accent sounds a little like somebody in a NY deli. Rather than overdramatizing, his slightly forbodding tone implies more violence, suspense, and action that makes this a "page turner"

I've never read a Margolin book, they are too good as audio-stories. They only thing missing is why the audible editors don't spotlight them in mystery picks!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Wanted Man

  • A Jack Reacher Novel
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,704
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,007
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,981

Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified. Within hours, the FBI descends, laying claim to the victim without ever saying who he was or why he was there. All Reacher wanted was a ride to Virginia. All he did was stick out his thumb. But he soon discovers he has hitched more than a ride.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Wanted Man is Wanting ~ And I Want 14 Hours Back

  • By Bill on 09-16-12

complex story

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

Reviewed: 10-18-12

Would you listen to A Wanted Man again? Why?

yes. The story is complex, the writing is brilliant--notbody crafts a sentence like Child's and it is marvelous escapist fiction to listen to.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

This is a page-turner. There's the formulaic Child's stock characters with a twist. He doesn't have a chance to bed this lady. The lanquid laconic Reacher who becomes a Rambo character when it's necessary and the descriptive sentences that intrepret the action to describe a gun, a type of construction, good devices to pull back from the action and involve the listner intellectually.

What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

His tone seems to fit the character

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Stay Close

  • By: Harlan Coben
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,583
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,068
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,075

Three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past never truly fades away. Even as the terrible consequences of long-ago events crash together in the present and threaten to ruin lives, they will come to the startling realization that they may not want to forget the past at all.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Many Secrets

  • By NOKWISA on 04-23-12

scott has drama lessons harlan studies philosophy

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

Reviewed: 04-17-12

What would have made Stay Close better?

Is Scott Brick taking drama lessons? Suddenly, even the menus at fast food restaurants are filled with portends of what--food poisoning? A good reader goes rogue and spoils a slowly unfolding horror story where the every dayness and prosaic ordinariness of upper class suburban NJ unfolds to the evils of Atlantic City.Harlan meanwhile is still doing his subtle rift on Philip Roth was action set in the Pine Barrens, where a memorable Roth character once had a shack and his philosophical probing of love, loss, and the darker side of the human mind. Despite an overly long and melodramatic ending, the plot is rich with complicated characters and enough twists to make it compelling listening. Flair the attorney returns in a minor role and the dark side of Wynn is there in two characters, Ken and Barbie.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Great characters made it worthwhile but a few plot teasers like Megan's mother-in-law's supposed stalker and Dave's hidden past are disappointing.

What didn’t you like about Scott Brick’s performance?

Sounds like he has taken drama lessons and is determined to give everything great importance. It becomes distracting. More than reading, he is declaiming.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

not one of Coban's best but a good story that could have been better told by both the author and the narrator

3 of 4 people found this review helpful