LISTENER

Barry S. Sharpnack

Santa Barbara, CA
  • 36
  • reviews
  • 682
  • helpful votes
  • 270
  • ratings
  • Wild Thing

  • A Novel
  • By: Josh Bazell
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff, Stephanie Wolfe
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 572
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 514
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 514

It's hard to find work as a doctor when using your real name will get you killed. So hard that when a reclusive billionaire offers Dr. Peter Brown, aka Pietro Brnwa, a job accompanying a sexy but self-destructive paleontologist on the world's worst field assignment, Brown has no real choice but to say yes. Even if it means that an army of murderers, mobsters, and international drug dealers-not to mention the occasional lake monster-are about to have a serious Pietro Brnwa problem.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Lot Like Cotton Candy

  • By Dr. on 02-24-12

Wow, so much worse than his first. Really too bad.

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

Reviewed: 09-05-14

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Democrats, and extreme cynics.

What could Josh Bazell have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not sure... maybe scrap the idea for this book, and start over with a new story.

Which character – as performed by Robert Petkoff and Stephanie Wolfe – was your favorite?

None

What character would you cut from Wild Thing?

Sarah Palin

Any additional comments?

It's too bad when fiction writers need to inject their real-world political opinions into their fictional stories. Stephen King does that too sometimes, and it almost always lessens the quality of the novel.
I'm no fan of Sarah Palin, but putting her in this book and making her such an awful character not only rubs a lot of people the wrong way, it distracts from the storyline. But the story in this book wasn't very good anyways, so even if he left Palin out, it would still be a terrible book.
To Josh Bazell: I might give you one more chance if you write another novel, but if you pull the same stunt again and write such a comically bad story, well... never again.

  • A Dark Matter

  • By: Peter Straub
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 75
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 73

The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body and the shattered souls of all who were present.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Incomprehensible hype

  • By Nancy Bauer on 02-24-10

Waste of a credit.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-11-10

I really wanted to like this book. I loved older books written by Straub, like Ghost Story and Koko. Ghost Story is still one of the best horror stories I've ever read.
But Peter Straub began to slip some time in late 80's or early 90's. His books became strained, vague, and uninteresting. He completely changed genres. So I basically gave up on Straub.
With A Dark Matter, I decided to give him another shot, hoping that he had returned to some form of horror. I shouldn't have wasted my credit. I should have known better.
This story is boring and repetitive. It simply explores several characters' bizarre dreams and imaginations (I think). It was frankly difficult to follow. I gave up on the book before I finished it. I just couldn't hang in there. I can't tell you if the ending was any better because I never got to the end.
The only good thing about this book is the narrator. Robertson Dean is excellent, I've listened to some of his other narrations, and he never dissappoints.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Trust No One

  • By: Gregg Hurwitz
  • Narrated by: Patrick G. Lawlor
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 956
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 839
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 834

As Nick peels back layer after layer of lies and deception, buffeted between the buried horrors of the past and the deadly intrigues of the present, he finds his own life - and the lives of nearly everyone he loves - at risk. And the only thing guiding him through this deadly labyrinth are his stepfather's dying words: TRUST NO ONE.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable and kept me listening

  • By Shawne on 04-28-12

Ruined by the narration.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-14-09

First of all, let me say how much I hate the voice of this narrator. He has a high voice, and sounds like a 16-year old. And he runs his sentences together without a proper break. No talent at all at voices. I don't know how he got into audiobook narration, maybe he's related to a producer or something... this is a classic case of a bad narrator ruining a decent book.
The story is only decent. I loved The Crime Writer and The Program, both excellent. But this book seemed to be too similar to other thrillers I've read (e.g., Harlan Coben, etc). It just seemed formulaic, and it never grabbed my interest. It gave me the feeling that I'd read the same story somewhere before.

I will remain a Gregg Hurwitz fan, and will try to read all his books. I know he will write better books than this one. I just hope his future books aren't mutilated by the narrator as this one was.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Under the Dome

  • A Novel
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Raul Esparza
  • Length: 34 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,428
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,606
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,634

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when - or if - it will go away.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Less Believable Than the Earth is Flat

  • By Jeffrey on 07-30-18

*Yawn* ...typical late King.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-03-09

First off, I am a huge fan of the "early" Stephen King, what he wrote in the 70s and 80s... The Shining, Christine, Pet Cemetary, It, Misery, etc. All excellent top-of-the-genre horror novels.
Since the early 90s, King has softened up quite a lot. Books like "Dolores Claiborne", "Duma Key" and "Lisey's Story" make me just scratch my head and wonder if this is really Stephen King writing.
He's written consistently "soft" novels since the early 90s, and "Under the Dome" is no exception. It's not horror, not a thriller either, but more a story about political and religious corruption, and lust for power. Many of King's recent novels have his own political ideas injected into them, and this one is no different. It gets tiresome after a while. If I want politics I'll turn on CNN.

King does a very good job with characters, I'll give him that much. But this book is so long, it drags. After the first 20 hours, it was very hard for me to keep interested. The book became totally predictable, and the novelty of the "dome" completely wore off.

It's also pretty sad how every Christian is portrayed as a complete nutcase.

About the narrator: I'd never heard Raul Esparza before, and I must admit I didn't like him at all. For some reason his voice sounds too young to me, and didn't really fit the story. He made the doctor Rusty sound like a 17-year old surfer dude. The voice he used for the little girls made me cringe. Yikes! Awful... I think he's just new at audiobook narration, and obviously needs more practice. This book would have benefitted from a more mature male voice.

To sum up: it starts out interesting, but gradually tapers off and I lost interest as the hours passed... and passed... and passed.
I wish the old Stephen King would come back and write something scary. I want to be frightened again.

26 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • The Road

  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
  • Length: 6 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13,652
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,664
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 9,693

America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • pushing a shopping cart with a whiney child

  • By C. Ward on 09-03-07

I loved this book

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-25-09

I like McCarthy's writing style, but its never been better than in The Road. The setting is a bleak future, a man and his boy holding on to each other despite having absolutely nothing to live for. The story moves along well, with McCarthy's brilliant prose, but the bleak atmosphere is not something all will appreciate.
Many criticize this book because of the lack of sophisticated dialog. In fact, a man and his son travelling along a road in the cold of winter probably would not have many deep, philosophical discussions.
The story is simple, but it's what McCarthy does with it that gives its complexity.
There are some moments in the story that are some of the most memorable I've ever read; particularly the man's remembrance of the final conversation he had with his wife.
The author manages to introduce a fair amount of realistic suspense into the story. I cringed at what the man found in the basement of that house...
McCarthy is one of the most brilliant writers, and he is at his absolute best here. But you'll probably either love it or hate it.
Oh yeah, Tom Stechschulte's narration is perfect for this book.

23 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • The Shimmer

  • By: David Morrell
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19

When a high-speed chase goes terribly wrong, Santa Fe police officer Dan Page watches in horror as a car and gas tanker explode into flames. Torn with guilt that he may be responsible, Page returns home to discover that his wife, Tori, has disappeared. Frantic, Page follows her trail to Rostov, a remote town in Texas famous for a massive astronomical observatory, a long-abandoned military base, and unexplained nighttime phenomena that drew onlookers from every corner of the globe.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thriller set within a real-life mystery

  • By Snoodely on 09-18-12

Bad effort my a good author.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-09

I like Morrell. The Protector was excellent, and so was Creepers. But I just could never get into this one. Mystery lights in the wilderness mess with people's minds. There isn't a whole lot to this story in the way of plot. It probably should have been a short story. It's slow and fairly boring. It's also a little unbelievable, the way so many people fall under the control of these "lights". Skip this one, and try some of Merrill's other books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Off Season

  • By: Jack Ketchum
  • Narrated by: Richard Davidson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 393
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 340

September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River - off season - awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By Barry S. Sharpnack on 11-22-09

Wow!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-09

Where has this autho been all my life? I'd never heard of Jack Ketchum till recently, and took a chance on this book. I am partial to this type of story, and the genre in general, but I didn't expect the book to be as good as it was. Very, very intense, graphic violence, but for a good reason. The antagonists (the family of cannibals) are truly froghtening, even the children. If you can deal with the violence, I highly recommend this book. One of the most frightening stories I've read in a long time.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl Who Played with Fire

  • The Millennium Series, Book 2
  • By: Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland - translator
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 18 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,823
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 17,005
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17,026

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading journalist and publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to publish a story exposing an extensive sex trafficking operation between Eastern Europe and Sweden, implicating well-known and highly placed members of Swedish society, business, and government. On the eve of publication, the two reporters responsible for the story are brutally murdered.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • irritatingly engrossing

  • By David on 03-16-10

Perfect follow up to a perfect book.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-09

Rarely do I say this about a sequel, but in this case, the sequel is even better than the first book (The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo). I recommend reading the first book before reading this one, though. Both are interesting, and very intelligent novels. Plenty of suspense, intrigue, mystery in each, with outstanding characters. Narration by Vance is top notch.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Pursuit of Honor

  • Mitch Rapp Series
  • By: Vince Flynn
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,438
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,710
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,696

The action begins six days after a series of explosions devastated Washington, D.C., targeting the National Counterterrorism Center and killing 185 people, including public officials and CIA employees. It was a bizarre act of extreme violence that called for extreme measures on the part of elite counterterrorism operative Mitch Rapp and his trusted team member, Mike Nash.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Outstandung Vince Flynn Book

  • By Jason J Preston on 10-21-09

His books are becoming repetitive

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-09

I am a big Vince Flynn fan, and really enjoyed reading his books in the past, especially "Consent to Kill", which is my favorite. Guidell does a great job of narrating them.
But now it seems that his recent books are just copies of what he's already written. I hate to say this about Flynn, because I am a big fan. But there was nothing new in this book. Same thing as before: Mitch Rapp chases sadistic terrorist around, always one step behind, while the terrorist unflinchingly kills anyone who gets in his way. The action always leads up to a final plot to blow up/assasinate someone or something important.
I would like to see Flynn add a little more originality to his books, he's starting to repeat himself.

  • Nine Dragons

  • Harry Bosch, Book 14
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Len Cariou
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,646
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,078
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,088

The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Ordinary at best

  • By P.Keith Daigle on 06-23-10

Bosch vs. the Chinese cartel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-22-09

I love Harry Bosch, and have read every book. This one is a nice departure, as it involves the Chinese gangs, and part of it takes place in Hing Kong. Nobody writes crime like Connelly, and this book is no exception. Highly recommend.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful