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Richard Delman

San Francisco
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  • November Road

  • A Novel
  • By: Lou Berney
  • Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26

Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out. A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn - he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate - a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A new look at life after the JFK Assassination

  • By stuartjash on 10-10-18

Run out and get this book right now!

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

It is a thrill to review a book that is this great. I have liked Lou Berney's prior books, but this one is better than the other three or four combined, and they were excellent. The publisher's summary lets you know about the setting and the characters, but there is nothing like listening to the fantastic narration and getting to know the people and following along in their extremely romantic, funny, thrilling romance and adventure. Frank Guidry is a con man who knows too much about the assassination of JFK, and as a result his superiors in the mob are determined to track him down. He hits the road. And there he comes upon Charlotte Roy and her divine little girls, Joan and her sister, whose name I have temporarily blocked. In any case, Frank falls hopelessly in love with the three of them. They are on the road running away from a needy, alcoholic father and husband, Dooley. The family has been living in a small town in Oklahoma, which, as it turns out, is where Lou Berney grew up and still lives. His imagination is just a marvelous thing. The reassembled family hits Route 66, all the way through the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and on to Las Vegas, where they meet up with Moe Dalitz, a mobster in his own right. Moe hates Carlos, the opposing mobster who is Frank's boss. Moe hates Carlos so much that he is willing to send Frank all the way to Viet Nam to run his own new interests (read: gambling, prostitution, drugs and who knows what else). If only to spite Carlos. Moe has a stable of lily-white teenage boys and girls who laze around his mansion playing ridiculous, dangerous, drugged-out games for him. Confused? Don't be. Lou Berney pulls all of this off with supreme aplomb. You root for Frank and Charlotte all the way, even though Frank must invent an identity to protect himself from the cold killer Paul Barone, who will off anybody just for kicks.
I love everything about this book. I hope you do too. I cannot imagine what Mr. Berney and the delightful Jonathan McClain can come up with next. I can't wait.

  • Freedom

  • A Novel
  • By: Jonathan Franzen
  • Narrated by: David LeDoux
  • Length: 24 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,681
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,294
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,303

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul - the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter's dreams. Together with Walter - environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man - she was doing her small part to build a better world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable book. Really liked the narration.

  • By R. Spangler on 12-13-10

Masturbatory. Boring.

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

Reviewed: 10-16-18

Is this the same guy who wrote The Corrections? It is hard to believe. This entire book, all twenty-six hours of it, is about three people, and not a one of them is all that interesting. The family in The Corrections was really interesting, each one of them being worth reading about. The writing was stellar. The plot kept you guessing. Franzen is now gliding along. The fact that the first book was such a hit, and I did love it, has allowed him to sit back and cruise. I imagine he made a truly substantial amount of money for the first book, and he deserved it. This one, though, isn't worth a credit. I was curious to see what a second act would give us, but, honestly, save your money. Richard, Walter and Patty do not fill up such a humongous empty space. They're not even worth writing a whole book about. Their escapades are strictly vanilla. And not even a good vanilla. So Richard and Patty finally get it together, after an endless ten hours or so. Whoopee! What a ride. Save your time and your money. Life is too short to listen to boring stuff like this.

  • Button Man

  • By: Andrew Gross
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56

Andrew Gross delivers a stirring story of a Jewish family brought together in the dawn of the women's garment business and torn apart by the birth of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s. Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grew up poor and rough in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves. Morris, the youngest, dropped out of school at 12 and apprenticed himself to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to accounting school; but Harry, scarred by a family tragedy, fell in with a gang of thugs as a teenager.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent historical suspense HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

  • By shelley on 09-19-18

Truly excellent writing and narration.

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

Reviewed: 09-30-18

I agree with the five-star reviews. This is one of the most enjoyable works that I have listened to in a long time. Edoardo Ballerini has been my favorite living narrator, maybe other than George Guidall, for years. Andrew Gross has also claimed a niche in historical thrillers. The plot has been nicely summarized by the publisher and also by the other Audible readers. Morris is the center of the book, but there are a handful of other characters who are also very vivid. You half-expect to find Jimmy Hoffa in here somewhere. I had no idea that the men who developed the unions in the 20's and 30's were serious gangsters. At this point in time unions seem to me like a benign force, helping their members accumulate power in negotiations for health insurance, pensions, investments and other benefits that those of us who are self-employed pay through the nose for. Anyone who can negotiate with insurance companies has my congratulations. Having been a health care provider for almost fifty years, insurance companies have been the bane of my existence.
Sorry: I get derailed when thinking about that topic. There is violence in the book, and some of it is stretched out for reasons that I don't quite understand. Toward the end, Morris survives an encounter with thugs that makes him seem like he should have a capital S on his uniform. A gunshot wound at close range, several knife wounds also administered at close range, then he is tied up with chains and falls (was pushed) into the East River?! And then he wrestles with a vile gangster, throws off the chains and THEN is able to swim to the next pier? Mr. Gross, you must be kidding.
Thankfully there is little of that. The rest of the book is excellent. Mr. Ballerini is so gifted that Yiddish sounds utterly natural coming out of his mouth. Mr. Guidall is Jewish, and I'm not sure that his Yiddish is as good.
This book will give you many hours of enjoyment. It once again elegantly begs the question: how much of this is fiction and how much is real?

  • How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets

  • By: Garth Stein
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 126
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 85
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 85

Evan had a hit single, but that was 10 years ago. Thirty-one now, hes drifting, playing in a local band and teaching middle-aged men to coax music from an electric guitar. Now, 14 years later, he experiences unplanned parenthood when he undertakes to raise the resentful teenage son hes never known. Off beat and disarming, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets portrays a contemporary American family with unfailing honesty.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great narrator of a fine story.

  • By Richard Delman on 09-28-18

Great narrator of a fine story.

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

Reviewed: 09-28-18

Oliver Wyman is a wonderful reader. His narration of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk has been one of the highlights of my twelve years of listening to audiobooks. I find myself telling people about how great that book is regularly. How Evan Broke his head is nothing like that. The book stars Evan and his son Dean, and then there is a cast of characters around them. The plot moves slowly. Mr. Wyman is again a perfect narrator of the material.There are excellent moments, in which we see the father and son growing into enjoyment of each other. I agree with the reviewer who said that the author's fascination with the Seattle music industry seemed to be far greater than his interest in his own characters, and that is no doubt why the book flags so badly in the second half. There is a fundamental rule about parenting: once you are yelling, you've lost. This book is largely about learning parenting from scratch when the "child" is a fourteen-year-old adolescent. When Evan begins screaming at Dean, and Dean spits in his face and screams "I hate you!": this is the point at which the book becomes hard to tolerate. If you can keep listening, though, you will be rewarded. Evan does a number of dumb, self-destructive things, but in the end the father and son reunite, and they both are wiser for the experiences. I love Oliver Wyman, and I hope I can find another book that is anywhere near as fantastic as Billy Lynn. This book is worth the listen, but I hope to hear Mr. Wyman narrate another book that is even better. I can recommend this book to you, with the caution that some of it is really tough to hear. It is not for the skittish or the squeamish.

  • Next of Kin

  • By: James Tucker
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 157
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 158

A New Year's Eve celebration begins with the pop of a champagne cork - and ends with the bone-chilling screams of a killer's victims . Ten-year-old Ben Brook is the lone survivor of the brutal murder of his wealthy family at their upstate New York compound. But from the moment he evades death, Ben's life is in constant danger. Can NYPD detective Buddy Lock keep the boy safe from a killer intent on wiping out the entire Brook clan?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Excellent Loved It - Just Get It

  • By shelley on 10-23-17

Absolutely brilliant.

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

Reviewed: 09-12-18

Don't miss this. Mr. Tucker has written a very moving, thrilling book about a boy named Ben, a NYPD officer who comes to love him, and the woman who loves them both. The plot is complicated but not that hard to follow, because I was glued to my seat for the entire eight and three quarters hours. And Christopher Lane is perfect. Perfect. His voice has become deeper and more nuanced with age. I just cannot say enough good things about this entire production. I feel that virtually any reader who loves a great thriller will be thrilled by this book.
The plot, as above, is so complicated that I can't possibly do it justice here. It goes all the way back to the Holocaust, which becomes the seed of the events here. A family gets extraordinarily wealthy by buying important paintings from Jews, at bargain-basement prices, because the Jews are about to be shipped off to Auschwitz, where millions died and few survived. The present day family of the buyer, the Brooks (I believe that that name was originally Bruch), have become unimaginably wealthy because of their inheritance of the Brook Corporation, which holds some crucially important chemical engineering patents. There are four brothers, with their families, who share in the ownership of the corporation. These people are systematically murdered by a person who will go unnamed. Ben is the ten-year-old son of the first parents to be killed. He spends most of the book being cared for by Buddy Lock and Mei Adams, and they spend most of their time trying to keep him from being murdered. Anyway, this amount of detail doesn't really need to be here. The suspense of the book is gripping as the end draws near. Mr. Lane ramps up the narrative pace, in an extremely convincing way. I was scared sh...less. Few books grab me like this one has. I just pre-ordered Mr. Tucker's next book, a thing that I hardly ever do. I hope you love this book as much as I do. It will hold you in its thrall for hours and hours.

  • Depth of Winter

  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 7 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,211
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,143

In Craig Johnson's latest mystery, Depth of Winter, an international hit man and the head of one of the most vicious drug cartels in Mexico has kidnapped Walt's beloved daughter, Cady, to auction her off to his worst enemies, of which there are many. The American government is of limited help and the Mexican one even less. Walt heads into the 110-degree heat of the Northern Mexican desert alone, one man against an army.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I miss Vic and Henry!

  • By Nancy R on 09-06-18

Walt is becoming a cartoon character.

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Funny title. What the heck does it mean?
Count me among the disappointed. Like most readers, I have eagerly awaited this book, and it has seriously let me down.
Craig Johnson has written the latest in the Walt versus the horrible guys series. And as usual it is George Guidall who is the real star of the proceedings. George is now eighty years old! And still working just as hard and just as brilliantly as he has for his whole career as far as I can tell. I am thinking about listening to him read Crime and Punishment, which is something like thirty-six hours long, translated from the Russian. George is the only narrator alive today who could seriously tempt me to such a Herculean effort. (Mine as well as his. All I have to do is listen. Can you imagine how hard this guy has been working in order to produce the kind and quality of catalog that he has?)
Nevermind. This book stretches credulity way beyond the snapping-off point. Walt’s daughter Cady is kidnapped by a vile, evil villain named Bidarte, who has an appropriately slimy, sleazy henchman named Culpepper. Not to spoil it for you, but these are the kind of monsters who strip the facial skin off of men and then plaster the faces onto soccer balls! Disgusting! Craig! Have you no shame? More importantly, do you have a graphic artist for these cartoons?
So Walt of course takes the bait and goes down into Mexico without any support. Sadly, Vic and Henry and the other support troops stay home, and they are sorely missed. An entire book without Vic and Henry: why? Just so once again Walt can run around proving that he is the world’s loneliest superhero? And with people like Vic and Henry available to him? I say again, why? And, the unkindest cut, where did Walt's sense of humor go?
Walt picks up a bit of support in Mexico, but of course he convinces these folks that he must, must perform his feats of derring-do unaided. He is turning into Dudley Doright. He sneaks into Bidarte’s camp and frees Cady. Along the way we learn that Walt is worth over four million dollars. Where did this come from? Bidarte sets up an auction in which people are bidding for Walt, presumably to torture him and kill him for his bad acts. We know, however, that Walt must live on, else where would the series be? At this point I am expecting Walt to slip into a phone booth (anyone remember those?) and come out with his cape, ready to fly off over the buildings. Maybe with a W on his chest.
I continued listening to this book primarily because George is so wonderful. It is suspenseful, but Craig’s tricks have gotten, not exactly stale, but have begun stretching, as above, the suspension of disbelief to the point at which we have a hard time going along with it. Faces stripped off and sewn onto soccer balls? Really?

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Oh, the Places You'll Go!

  • By: Dr. Seuss
  • Narrated by: John Lithgow
  • Length: 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 519
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 408
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 403

Here is the incomparable Dr. Seuss' story of an unnamed "you" whose travels through the world involve a series of ups and downs. His ultimate success, however, is "98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!"

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Lovely effects!

  • By Cesar on 11-26-12

What a great way to wake up!

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18

Did you know that Theodore Geisel had to receive forty rejection notices before he got one Yes!? Given that his stuff was so revolutionary, it's not that surprising that publishers were shy of pushing the envelope with this ingenious world of ideas and delightful illustrations. I doubt that any person has ever had the chutzpah to deliver these lines as a commencement speech, but someone should, with appropriate credit given. And while we're at it, I listened to the sample of Ted Danson reading the Lorax, and I gotta tell ya, Ted is no John Lithgow. His voice is wrong, contrived and phony from the git-go. Lithgow once again entertains us with his actorly skills and his knowledge of the world as it is, as opposed to the world as we wish it to be. I love Dr. Seuss. I love John Lithgow. How can one go wrong?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Yertle the Turtle

  • By: Dr. Seuss
  • Narrated by: John Lithgow
  • Length: 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62

A modern fable in humorous verse.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of the greatest pleasures in the Audible files

  • By Richard Delman on 09-03-18

One of the greatest pleasures in the Audible files

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

Reviewed: 09-03-18

Dr. Seuss and John Lithgow! Geniuses galore. I read these books to my sons and we loved them. John Lithgow gives such a thrilling performance that I can't imagine a finer one. And, although I know that this is completely off the wall, it struck me around two minutes in that the story predicts the current political nightmare. I know, I know, it was written long ago, and recorded in 2006. Nonetheless, Yertle is a preposterous figure. Exactly like someone we know.
If you don't love this, then I just don't know what.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Shut Your Eyes Tight

  • Dave Gurney, Book 2
  • By: John Verdon
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 17 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 410
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 406

When he was the NYPD’s top homicide investigator, Dave Gurney was never comfortable with the label the press gave him: super detective. He was simply a man who, when faced with a puzzle, wanted to know. He was called to the investigative hunt by the presumptuous arrogance of murderers - by their smug belief that they could kill without leaving a trace. There was always a trace, Gurney believed. Except what if, one day, there wasn’t?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An excellent read

  • By Andi on 08-13-11

Mr. Brick makes my ears hurt.

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

Reviewed: 09-03-18

The second Dave Gurney adventure pales in comparison to the first. Many of the same characters are here. The initial murder is a good hook: plenty gory and well set up. But the book is all over the place, full of so much contrivance and what ifs that it utterly strains credulity.
Particularly while listening to the voice of Scott Brick, the wedding scene sounds reminiscent of Nelson DeMille, which is to say it is utterly without subtlety. Every single thing is wildly overblown. As if what we wish to do is listen to a British coronation. The fabulously wealthy distant suburbs of NYC, where everyone has a castle and a moat and a yacht, etc. When Dave Gurney finally succumbs to the charms of the (of course) luscious Val Perry, agreeing to look for her of course glamorous, genius (IQ=168) daughter, who has been grossly beheaded by the gardener during her wedding to of course internationally brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Scott blah blah Ashton, while being given away by the of course world’s most wealthy and decorated neurosurgeon, who makes the of course average amount for the Zipcode: $44 MILLION per annum (no physician in the history of the universe has ever come anywhere near this insane sum). And there is more and more and more.
And then there is Dave’s wife, Elizabeth Taylor in blue jeans. The contrivances build up and up and up until the entire operation is balancing on a structure that is as flimsy as a spider web: you could just blow hard (mmmm...) and it would collapse completely. Dave comes up with so much pure speculation that the governor and the top cop and his henchmen all fall down! The idea that all of the murders could be based on a play that is so old and obscure, with names transferred and the scheme of the killer and the apparent conspiracy of the women who have left "Mapleshade School" (personally, I think that that is an awful name for a school). Anyway, I gave up on old Dave and on Mr. Brick. Mr. Verdon will have trouble writing a book as good as Think of a Number. He does not have a good feel for what the reader will swallow. I know that quite a number of readers liked this book. You might like it. I didn't.

  • The Auschwitz Escape

  • By: Joel C. Rosenberg
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,357
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,981
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,986

A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz’s beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans - especially Jews like Jacob and his family - are treated like dogs. When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare - trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Engaging novel of Nazi horrors

  • By Mark on 02-26-18

Christopher Lane is wonderful.

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

Reviewed: 08-31-18

I have said before that I thought I had heard enough about WWII. This book proves me wrong on that score. And I am awaiting the re-appearance of Schindler's List in theaters for its 25th anniversary with a kind of related anticipation/dread as it is such a masterpiece. I'm getting a bit sidetracked here, but here goes anyway. Billy Wilder, a great director and survivor of Auschwitz, said after he saw the movie that the first time he saw it he watched the screen, the second time he watched the audience, and the third time he looked for his mother in the shower scene. This is powerful praise from one master director to Mr. Spielberg, who was in his mid-forties at the time he directed the movie.
In any case, to return, the character of Jacob is the protagonist in the story. The first part of the book, as others have pointed out, happens in France during the Nazi takeover of that country. A family escapes from a ruined town in the north near Belgium and makes its way carefully to the south, where they proceed to shelter many Jews who are escaping death. He (sorry, I have forgotten his name) and his wife Claire soon recruit the entire town to do the same, and they eventually begin looking for a like-minded community to do as they are doing. The second part starts with Jacob as a teenager and protege of his uncle Avi in the resistance movement within Germany. Jacob gets caught during a raid on a train of Jews being brought to the slaughter, and in the raid his uncle Avi is shot down by the Nazis. Jacob is accidentally trapped in the train car, and is off on his traumatic journey, which is only the beginning, as we know.
When we get to the scenes in Auschwitz and Birkenau, it really takes a strong stomach to continue to listen. Mr. Rosenberg spares us almost nothing in describing the unimaginable monsters the German soldiers have become, in their thrall to the madman. The ovens, the horrible stench, the Jews forced to rip rings and gold teeth and any other valuable thing from the dead bodies: if you are at all squeamish, as I am becoming, you will have a hard time listening. In spite of this scenery, so to speak, Christopher Lane is voicing the book in such a fine and masterful way that you can thoroughly enjoy his performance while at the same time being fully disgusted at what is happening in the concentration camps. Jacob manages to get himself a cushy assignment in Canada, the storage area in the camp, which is managed by a sympathetic guy who is subversively saving lives while managing all of the stuff that has been stolen from the Jews. If you are old enough to remember Hogan's Heroes, this is a bit like that, but with none of the humor. We got to watch Hogan and his boys outwitting the idiot Schultz every week. And we laughed. This book is nothing like that.
The pure evil of the individual Nazis is indescribable, frankly. It is hard to understand how people can have so much raw, unthinking hatred in their beings. One would think that it would wear on them. They are ruthlessly beating, as an everyday occurrence, completely helpless human beings with malice and intent to maim. Germany has been an important society over the history of the last few centuries. To hear the names of Mendelsohn, Mahler, Bach, Beethoven, both Robert and Claire Schumann, Heidegger, Von Braun and all the other leaders in their day, one wonders how the extraordinary society that has produced these truly great men could have also created the monsters that we hear about, and how the people somehow managed to approve of Hitler and turn a blind eye to the Nazi atrocities: it boggles the mind.
The fact that the book has a happy ending is nice, but it has taken us a very long time to get there, and the pain involved has been intolerable. I think the book is great, but you have to know in advance what you are getting into. I would be very careful about buying this book. Don't blame me if you hate it. Not my fault. You have been warned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful