LISTENER

Norma Miles

  • 96
  • reviews
  • 62
  • helpful votes
  • 96
  • ratings
  • The Singularity Trap

  • By: Dennis E. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,318
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,818
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,793

When Ivan Pritchard signs on as a newbie aboard the Mad Astra, it's his final, desperate stab at giving his wife and children the life they deserve. He can survive the hazing of his crewmates, and how many times, really, can near-zero g make you vomit? But there's another challenge looming out there, in the farthest reaches of human exploration, that will test every man, woman and AI on the ship - and will force Ivan to confront the very essence of what makes him human.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Taylor and Porter team up for another hit

  • By Thomas M. on 06-12-18

So far down the rabbit hole...

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

Reviewed: 07-22-18

The habitable world is shrinking, housing and food prices rising, without being born into money there is almost no chance to succeed. Although both Ivan and his wife, Judy, both have pretty good jobs, they can barely afford to rent a small, very basic home for themselves and their two children In a desperate bid to add to their income, they invest all they can in a share in a space mining operation and Ivan joins the crew of the Mad Astra, searching for that special asteroid which will make them all wealthy. But luck has been against them recently, the Mad Astra has not broken even on her two previous tours and with creditors circling, this could be her last. So the sighting of a promising large rock circled by a peanut shaped baby one, has everyone in a flurry of excited anticipation.
Until they find something unexpected

Although in my t.b.r. pile, for some reason this reader had so far avoided the Bobverse Trilogy so, with no no preconceptions beyond the obvious pleasure that those earlier books had delivered. was immediately drawn to the character of Ivan when the story began. Written with an humerous peek into the discomfort of a man out of place amidst the already space familiar soon-to-be work colleagues, the story developed at fairly rapid pace, enlarging outwards from the crew and their fears and expectations to that of world wide responses. The nicely drawn characters were fully brought to life, too, by the excellent performance of narrator, Ray Porter, man of many voices, who read with good pacing, intonation and inflection. With the addition of occasional special effects, it was easy to forget that this wasn't an entire cast and the bride book became a slow burn thriller very hard to put down.

Great narration, excellent immaginative ideas cleverly, but simply, written, with deeper moral, emotional and sociological undertones to ponder, this is a good science fiction thriller additionally blessed with humour. I loved it and happily recommend it to others with any fodness for the genre.

  • The Circumstantial Man

  • By: Gary Reilly
  • Narrated by: Michael Goldsmith
  • Length: 8 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

All he wanted to do that day was drive into town to look for a job. But when Pete Larkey turns the ignition key, his car won't start. He decides to walk to town. He'll have a morning beer at the Lemon Tree Lounge and buy a new battery for his car. He refuses to feel victimized. At least, he tries.
But inside the bar is the last man on earth that Pete Larkey wants to see. A guy named Morton will ask a few questions that will change the course of Pete Larkey's life in a deep, dark way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What did reality ever have to do with my life?

  • By Norma Miles on 07-19-18

What did reality ever have to do with my life?

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

Reviewed: 07-19-18

Now this is one hilarious story - unless you're the main protagonist, of course.
Pete Larkey is a loner, a bit of a recluse. At 38 years, divorced, he lives alone outside of Crestmore, in a rented house about a quarter of a mile from his nearest neighbour. Although a liberal arts major, he's always taken blue collar jobs and had recently been fired (again). Time to look for another job.But when he gets in his old blue car to drive into town, the battery is dead. And Pete's life is about to become, well, wider.

Wonderfully written in the first person, the reader follows Pete's unfolding circumstances as well as his musings - on life, the law and other people as well as the extraordinary events which occure. He's a bit of a grouch, a T.V. detective story officianado, and totally unprepared for what happens next to him and his little blue car. At first, Michael Goldsmith's narration seems a little bizarre, his slightly growly voice has strange intonation and tiny pauses in delivery. But very quickly he becomes the main protagonist, in the same way that George Kuch is the elderly detective in Robert Thornhill's wonderful Lady Justice series, - he's there, in person, intimately talking directly to us, the readers.

The occuring incidents might be hard on Pete but, for the listener, they and Pete's musings on them are hilarious. This reader kept feeling great rumblings of laughter rising that could not be suppressed. I had not heard of the author, Gary Reilly, prior to seeing this book advertised and had no idea what to expect. But whatever it was, it wasn't this. I am very grateful to the rights holder of the Circumstantial Man, who freely gifted me a complimentary copy, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. I loved it. My interest in the author is seriously stimulated and I see now why his friends are determined to publish his novels, all 25, apparently, following his untimely death several years ago.
This is a standalone novel, and one I can highly recommended.

  • The Mackenzie Dossier

  • By: John Holt
  • Narrated by: Steve Campbell
  • Length: 14 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 17
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15

Across the bottom of the screen the ticker tape announced in large black letters 'Governor Reynolds Murdered'. Apparently his body had been discovered earlier that morning, lying in his garage. He had been shot twice. One shot to the upper chest, the other hitting his shoulder. 'Police believe that the weapon used was a 38 revolver,' the reporter said. Kendall froze. Anthony Shaw had also been killed by a 38 calibre bullet. Kendall was not quite sure of what it all meant. What connection was there between Anthony Shaw, and the State Governor, and the business mogul, Ian Duncan. And what about Senator Mackenzie? Where did he fit in? And who or what was Latimer?

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Swing and miss.

  • By cosmitron on 03-28-18

Removed, cancelled, erased, deleted, dead.

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

Reviewed: 04-13-18

Mr.Holt's story, The Mackenzie Dossier, is one which could easily translate to an epic type T.V. short series. It has the wide open spaces, beautiful with woods, streams and fishing, prime land but zoned not for housing but agriculteral, a mysterious fenced enclave which seems to hold nothing but which has been labelled 'top secret' and no-one is permitted to approach, which suddenly appeared outside of the pleasant small town of Rosemont just where a popular picnic area used to be. There is the self made, multi millionaire industrialist, influential and power hungry, the curious small farmsteader who, with his family, has lived in the area for several generations, a nosey small town reporter, a small blue car, a Governor with secrets, a senator with expectations of a future in the White House - and all of the behind scene manipulation to make people, and one person in particular, powerful and in control. Total control.
Then there is Kendall, a small town private eye, engaged to look into the unexpected killing of a surveyor, by his mother and brother. An investigator who doesn't know where to begin. But as incidents escalate, he finds himself right in the middle of something very big.

This is not a mystery in the accepted sender - we, the readers, can deduce what is going on from the beginning, but for the people within the story it is an unknown to unravel. The book is quite long, however - too long. The earlier sections move slowly and a lot of words are spent on establishing the nature of one of the main protagonists through repititious conversations where one such would have been sufficient. Once passed this, however, the story increases in pace and unfolds neatly.

The narrator, Steve Campbell, goes through a similar transformation. His well modulated voice is pleasant to hear from the beginning but it isn't until later that he begins to bring the characters to life with his interpretive vocal renderings, making the book itself more satisfying.

This is a book for conspiracy theorists and those who feel that the electoral process could be flawed, as well as those with a fondness for clueless private detectives and ordinary people in tune with their homesteads. Overlook the rather slow beginning and stilted conversations there, and it is a good read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Relics: Three

  • Relics Singularity Series, Book 3
  • By: Nick Thacker
  • Narrated by: David S. Dear
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

In the end, the System will win. That is the belief shared by the humans who fight for the sentient computer system that controls them. That is the belief shared by those who want to keep the System in power. But there will still be an end.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great ending of a good series!

  • By Montzalee Wittmann on 03-15-18

Life expectancy cannot be determined.

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

Reviewed: 03-10-18

This is the final installment of an exciting and terrifying thriller with intriguing possibilities which immediately follows on from Relics Two. An out of control computer has taken over the world. Only one man might be able to stop it, an ex-U.S. President. But he's had his memory wiped and there is an huge bounty on his head
If only he could remember.
Expertly read by David Dears as he follows the text through different time periods and points of view of various protagonists. This is a roller coaster of a series, each book better than the one before and, once started, unstoppable.
Highly recommended. But start at the beginning with Relics: One.

  • Relics Two: Reckoning

  • By: Nick Thacker
  • Narrated by: David S. Dear
  • Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

An army of crazed, mindless Relics. An organized, power-hungry band of wandering Unders. A man, still lost in his own memories. A war is coming....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A game with different players pushing ...

  • By Norma Miles on 03-10-18

A game with different players pushing ...

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

Reviewed: 03-10-18

An A.I. that has taken control, two rival tribes about to tear each other apart in a war, a few desperate souls trying to stop the unstoppable and one man, with a plan - who has forgotten what it is.
This is a book which draws the readers into the confusion then spits them out again even more confused than before. And it is brilliant.
In this, the second volume, and don't even try to start without having read book one, we learn a little more about ex President Meyers in the years before he suddenly reappeared, without memory, hunted and the only one who might possibly save them all. It is action packed and enthralling, the tensions mounting as the pages are turned.
All very ably narrated by David Dear whose performance brings life to the numerous characters and urged the story ever onwards.
An exciting and terrifying thriller with intriguing possibilities. Prepare to be confused, engulfed, absorbed and blown away.

  • A Dead Certainty

  • By: John Holt
  • Narrated by: Miguel Rodriguez
  • Length: 1 hr and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

I'm not a gambling man. I mean, life's one big gamble, ain't it? The odds are stacked against you; you just can't win. You know there are some people who will do anything to make sure that they win, even if it means eliminating anyone or anything that stands in their way. They only bet on a sure thing...a Dead Certainty. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Mystery Express

  • By cosmitron on 03-13-18

Life's one big gamble, ain't it?

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

Reviewed: 03-07-18

Another delightful recounting by P.I.Jack Daniels of a recent case, this time out of the city and in the open spaces of a stables where one of the race horses has unexpectedly died and several accidents have also occured. The owner believes his very valuable horse did not die naturally but was murdered. Jack wasn't so sure and didn't really care. But he'd just finished a surveillance (all right, a snooping) job for a client and, with bills to pay, a big fee promised and the chance for a few days in the country, the laid back detective drives out to the hospitality of the ranch.

Author John Holt writes Jack Daniels stories as a monologue from the quirky detective, allowing all of Daniel's feelings and prejudices to shine through. He's not a gambling man and, though he likes animals, has never been on a horse and knows next to nothing about them or the big business of training horses to race. So he's a bit out of his element. For this story to work, the narrator has to convincingly become the detective and Miguel Rodriguez does this to perfection. His voice is rich and deep, with a lazy delivery and pace which suits the laconic style of the story telling. He narrates, with both character and intonation, as if talking one to one with his listener and faithfully follows the essence of the text and the person created.

It's short, it is well narrated and, overall, a great listen. Definitely recommended.

  • The Last Warrior of Unigaea

  • The Drachma Killers, Book 2
  • By: Harmon Cooper
  • Narrated by: Jeff Hays, Soundbooth Theater, Annie Ellicott
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60

The reason that Oric Rune became a Player Killer continues to loom at the back of his mind as he makes his way north with Sam Raid and Wolf. All is well until an ambush throws a wrench in their plans, forcing Oric to come to grips with his digital existence, and the fragile lives of those closest to him. With the Red Plague spreading, and the denizens of Unigaea becoming increasingly hostile, Oric must decide if he should go after those who have ambushed and betrayed him, or ride north to the Rune Lands and address the Red Plague head on.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • They have returned!!!!

  • By Ray Johnson on 03-01-18

Male pride is another word for sheer stupidity

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

Reviewed: 02-17-18

With the remarkably multi voiced, talented Mr.Jeff Hays narrating another book of imaginative fun and adventure by Mr.Harmon Cooper, what's not to like?
Recommended to all LitRPG, Fantasy, and everyone who enjoys a frolicking good story with character, readers

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Coyote Cal

  • Tales from the Weird West
  • By: Milo James Fowler
  • Narrated by: Rich Brennan
  • Length: 5 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5

There's trouble on the range. In these thrilling tales from yesteryear, Coyote Cal and his trusty sidekick Big Yap encounter a wizard able to change his shape at will, a scheming witch, a confused zombie, la chupacabra grande, bloodthirsty vampyres, and other sordid fiends. Our heroes will have to rely on their wits, skills, and loads of hot lead to ensure justice prevails.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Even heroes gotta eat.

  • By Norma Miles on 01-20-18

Even heroes gotta eat.

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

Deliciously satirical rendering of the Weird West, which has taken over from the Wild, whilst still retaining all the basic hallmarks: the horse riding attractive sharp shooting hero and his slightly less glamorous sidekick, the madcap posse gangs, bounty hunters, bars and brothels and lots of desert. But in the Weird West there are a few added extras.

The book comprises several stories of young Coyote Cal and his sidekick, Big Yap (think the Lone Ranger and Tonto, but with Tonto older and the Ranger little more than a kid), including a great story about how the met and became a team. All of the stories are fun but made superb in this audio production by the excellent lagubrious narration of Rick Brennan, who still somehow manages to infuse a smile into every word as he tells the stories and individually voices each character. And he has to do all of this, with perfect pacing and clarity, over a continuous comic soundtrack background throughout the entire book. Amazing.

The combination of story, soundtrack and narration make this a comedic book not to be missed - even if, like me, the listener is not a cowboy genre fan. Believe me, this is so much more.

  • A Fine Line

  • A Sebastian Drake Novel
  • By: Dan Burns
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Sebastian Drake is a novelist who’s trying to come up with his next story idea. But he’s stuck. Drake receives an unexpected visit from a man interested in hiring him for a project and who thinks he has just the solution to Drake’s writing challenges. His proposition to Drake is simple: become a hired agent to investigate a cold murder case involving one of Chicago’s most powerful political families.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Quite Good! Novel Story Line!

  • By Paula on 02-08-18

It's getting hard to find good staff nowadays.

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

Reviewed: 01-20-18

Sebastian Drake is getting pretty close to rock bottom. An author of three good selling books, for months he's been unable to write anything beside, 'A novel, Title to be decided.' He is running out of money, owes rent on his dilapdated apartment and alimony to his recently divorced wife and daughters, and he drinks. A lot. All day.
Then a visitor calls, someone he doesn't know. He wants to offer Drake a job, using his past journalism experience to look into the ten years old unsolved murder of a young woman who was to have married the visitor's son who died just after whilst on active service. Reluctantly, Drake agrees - five thousand dollars a week is a lot of cash. Especially when you're broke.

Well written, this is a fast action story of a cold case investigation, old memories and new beginnings. The author even gets to write his book. The main protagonist are well characterized, given backgrounds as well as current appearances and personalities.
And this already great read is further enhanced by the narration. George Guidall has the slightly gruff voice perfect for the tale teller of this story. His pacing is good, intonation and expression excellent. He also voices each character individually and appropriately, breathing life into their dialogue. A fine performance.

So, interesting story, well written, good characterisation and excellent narration, this is a most enjoyable book which holds the listener to the end.
My thanks to the rights holder who gifted me a complimentary copy of, A Fine Line, at my request, via Audiobook Boom. It is a book I would recommend to anyone with a liking for mystery thrillers and quirky investigators. This one will not disappoint.

  • Black Gold in North Dakota (Cooper Smith) (Volume 2)

  • By: Joe Field
  • Narrated by: Ward Paxton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11

When the granddaughter of a prominent North Dakota state senator goes missing from her hometown, law enforcement has a couple leads on out-of-state roughneck oil workers - but with the holidays approaching and the trail growing cold, each day that passes decreases the chances that she will ever come home. Reporter Cooper Smith is chasing a story about the Bakken oil industry for Minnesota Public Radio when he learns that the missing woman is his wife's best friend. Leaving the story behind, he puts his investigative skills to work to help rescue her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Rather Slow But the Kidnapping Kept My Interest

  • By DK on 11-12-17

You have the right to remain silent

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

Reviewed: 12-24-17

When investigative reporter, Cooper Smith, arrives in Dakota in pursuit of a story about the oil industry, he learns of the abduction by a couple of rednecks of Gabby, a member of the City Council, granddaughter of the local and long serving Sensor, and close friend of his new wife. With a storm approaching, the trail is literally going cold as Cooper investigates her disappearance, soon to also be joined by his wife.

In this cleverly constructed story, the reader follows both the initial kidnap of Gabby and the events following it as well as the Smith's investigation and the reactions of the powerful politicians of the state. This is a slow burn thriller with great characterisation, interesting and atmospheric insights into the oil industry and those involved in it as well as a good detective story in it's own right.

The narration by Ward Paxton was very pleasant to hear, pitched perfectly for this book, clear, steady, with good intonation and character voicings. It was easy to believe him to actually be the reporter, Cooper Smith. This is the second in a, so far, short series featuring Cooper but I was unaware of this when I requested, and was freely given by the rights holder, a complimentary copy of Black Gold, via Audiobook Boom. Not having read book one in no way diminished my enjoyment of this second story. It is completely stand alone.

This is a good, solid detective story with complimentary conspiracy thrown into the mix and with very three dimensional, realising characters and without too much overt violence. Recommended.