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Ian C Robertson

South Australia, Australia
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  • Reversible Error

  • Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi Series, Book 4
  • By: Robert K. Tanenbaum
  • Narrated by: Traber Burns
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 47

Assistant District Attorney Butch Karp is finally recognized for his heroic service to New York City when a group of politicians back him for the top job as Manhattan's district attorney. But a series of cases involving vigilante murders begins to reveal the true motives of those civil servants standing by his side. It's Karp versus the dirty city in one of Tanenbaum's most revealing and caustic legal thrillers - a stunning indictment of civil corruption and overreach.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another Good Installment In The Series

  • By Lia on 10-06-16

More Fun with B and M

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

Reviewed: 03-30-16

Another in the Butch Karp/Marlene Ciampi series, this one is perhaps not as interesting as the previous three, but still fun. I like the direction the series is taking (into the politics of the DA system, a system that is completely foreign to the way we practice in Oz). Butch is on the cusp of the big jump into the political arena, but is he cut out for the half-truths and even more deals than he has to do just to get through a regular day?
I also like the slowly evolving relationship between the genders (pitched in and at an age when equality hadn't become the byword it now is). Karp is a big goofball, but not dump; perhaps the opposite of dumb. He's tough and sharp (in a good sense) in Court. Ciampi is smart, not yet a feminist (in the modern sense), but militant and sexy at the same time. She's on the verge of motherhood. How will that change her career path? Will it change it at all?
Then there's the surrounding entourage of quirky dingbats that populate the DA's office in NY in the aftermath of the Knapp Commission's drive to identify and eliminate systemic corruption in the NYPD. They're forever getting into one scrap after another (Guma's play on the Judge had me in stitches, for example), but all to the betterment of the overall plot, both funny and serious.
Finally, Burns is by now the voice of them all.
I look forward to the next installment of fun with a spoonful of the seedy underworld to help it go down; deep.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Ken Follett

  • The History of the Thriller at the 92nd Street Y
  • By: Ken Follett
  • Narrated by: Ken Follett
  • Length: 1 hr and 12 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

Ken Follett uses his gift for storytelling to present a detailed account of the thriller's place in history and literature. Follett is the author of more than a dozen best-selling novels, including Eye of the Needle, The Pillars of the Earth, and Whiteout. He is also president of the Dyslexia Institute, a member of the National Literacy Trust, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Background for any thriller lover

  • By Guthridge on 09-17-11

Pleasing Discussion

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

Reviewed: 03-30-16

Another in the highly entertaining 92Y series, this features popular novelist Follett discussing the essential ingredients of a "thriller". Plainly, Follett is very well read and researched and his part-time lecturing comes in handy, here. He is easy to listen to, has an interesting thesis and responds well to questions from the audience.
This is another worthwhile listen in this usually very consistent series and won't eat into much more than a lunch hour (if such things still exist).

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • The Agnostic Lawyer

  • Clarence Darrow Explains His Disbelief in God, Christianity, and the Bible
  • By: Clarence Darrow
  • Narrated by: Jack Nolan
  • Length: 2 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 15
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 14

Before there were the famous books of Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris on atheism, there were Clarence Darrow's brilliant witty essays on his disbelief in God, Christianity, and the Bible. This book contains several of Darrow's most witty and penetrating essays on his non-belief. Highly entertaining.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Of Historical Value

  • By Ian C Robertson on 03-30-16

Of Historical Value

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

Reviewed: 03-30-16

This collection of articles and speeches is of historical value, if nothing else. Darrow was, of course, passionate upon this topic. I am not sure I agree with all his contentions. Many of them are much better expressed by Dawkins, Hutchens, etal in more recent times and others are just superficial. However, many others are as strong today as they were when he first articulated them and show the foundation for his "examination" of William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes Monkey Trial and the meticulous work that went into that endeavour. I am not persuaded that Darrow's agnosticism shouldn't have given way to atheism, but he would have resisted that almost as fervently as christian fundamentalism.
I enjoyed the debate (albeit one-sided), even given the repetition from time to time of some of the arguments and examples between respective papers. Nolan does a good job capturing Darrow's nuance of speech. At times I could make him out as Darrow, standing on a glorified soap box between the parting cigar smoke, preaching to the audience. Occasionally there is a glitch in the production/recording, but by and large it is passable.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Monkeyville Case

  • The Famous Trials Series
  • By: Edgar Lustgarten
  • Narrated by: Edgar Lustgarten
  • Length: 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8

Here it is: the original Bible-versus-evolution trial. In 1925, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan, two of the greatest lawyers ever, joined battle in the case of a young schoolmaster charged with teaching the theory of evolution. An historic and very entertaining trial resulted.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • An Entertaining Summary

  • By Ian C Robertson on 03-30-16

An Entertaining Summary

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

Reviewed: 03-30-16

I didn't expect to get chapter and verse on this trial when I downloaded this title, so I was not disappointed. However, don't be trapped into expecting too much, either. This is a fun and entertaining hop, skip and lope through parts of the trial, some lovely purple verse and the occasional irate outburst. It is not the heart of the matter, the guts of the trial or an explanation of its importance in the pantheon of great trials. Some "great" trials just weren't that great. Some are boring. Some are frustrating. Some are plain stupid. However, what makes them "great" is that they influenced a generation or generations. This trial fits that bill.
Most people know the story. Mr Skopes, a teacher, flaunted a law that prohibited him teaching matters inconsistent with the Bible. It was an act of civil disobedience. Darrow (then in his 70s) took the trial to advance his agnostic agenda. William Jennings Brian took the prosecution to advance his fundamental teaching agenda. Each was utterly outrageous to each other and, at times, to the Court. All that makes for entertainment better than HBO!
Lustgarten, the collator of this series of Famous Trials, is also the reader. He does a more than serviceable job with the characterisations. Unfortunately, the production values are a bit wanting (it's not a flash recording), but the content makes up for that provided you listen carefully. In my opinion, this is worth the listen, and not just for lawyers or the clergy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Fighting Chance

  • By: Elizabeth Warren
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Warren
  • Length: 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,197
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,011
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,010

As a child in small-town Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren yearned to go to college and then become an elementary school teacher - an ambitious goal, given her family’s modest means. Early marriage and motherhood seemed to put even that dream out of reach, but 15 years later she was a distinguished law professor with a deep understanding of why people go bankrupt. Then came the phone call that changed her life: could she come to Washington, DC, to help advise Congress on rewriting the bankruptcy laws?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Book. Great Narration.

  • By Amy on 06-03-14

Very Listenable

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

Reviewed: 03-30-16

In a modern era when, generally, we think so little of politicians, it is always a breath of fresh air that blows away these fetid thoughts. Elizabeth Warren is that breath. She is the fighting grandma (no disrespect intended) of my youth; the one everyone who ought to be afraid, was afraid of. My gran was as feisty as they come when she was defending something she believed in. Warren strikes me the same way. Passionate in her beliefs, personable in her presentation of them and, above all, tough as old boots.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story of her life, from a small town to the seat of power, and points in between. She is gracious when she needs to be, brutal when it's required and very, very sympathetic (unless you area Giant Bank, in which case you can take a short step of a high cliff). I enjoyed the detail of the Bail Out and the Consumer Bureau. I missed some of the detail of her life at Harvard Law School.
The best part of this autobiography is that Warren reads it herself. She has the nuances to give it a life beyond the mere words. If she ever retires, she has a new career in narration that awaits her.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Pelican Brief

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Alexander Adams
  • Length: 10 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8

In suburban Georgetown, a killer's Reeboks whisper on the floor of a posh home. In a seedy D.C. porno house, a patron is swiftly garroted to death. The next day America learns that two of its Supreme Court justices have been assassinated. And in New Orleans, a young law student prepares a legal brief. To Darby Shaw it was no more than a legal shot in the dark, a brilliant guess. To the Washington establishment it's political dynamite.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A Clever Yarn

  • By Ian C Robertson on 03-03-16

A Clever Yarn

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

Reviewed: 03-03-16

Grisham needs no introduction nowdays. You know what you will get and he usually delivers. This is one of his earlier outings and, in my opinion, one of the more interesting plot lines. Darby Shaw is innocently drawn into a conspiracy to eliminate SCOTUS Justices. She's a law student having an affair with her burnt-out lecturer one day and on the run from hired gunmen the next. Then we have the makings of a cover-up in the Whitehouse and an intrepid reporter from the Washington Post who threatens to expose the lot. Good Grisham stuff. Not formulaic, but entertaining. Weekend reading rather than beach holiday pulp (not that there's anything wrong with the latter on beach holidays).
The reason I rate this plot line more than some others is that it in fact required Grisham to apply some of his practical legal knowledge. The legal investigative parts of the story are accurate and detailed; as they should be. Strangely, when he came to write the screenplay, I think he did an even better job. The exposure of the plot is a bit early in the book as compared to the screenplay, and the casting for the latter now dominates the psyche when listening (it's hard not to picture Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington). But that is what it it.
Adams does a good job of keeping the engine moving at high speed. I've no complaints on that score.

  • The Vampire Lestat

  • The Vampire Chronicles, Book 2
  • By: Anne Rice
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 21 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,682
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,425
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,426

Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rockstar in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying exsitence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice's best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Finally unabridged! Excellently read, great listen

  • By Patricia on 06-29-11

Modern Queen of Goth

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

Reviewed: 03-03-16

Anne Rice is the modern Queen of Gothic literature. Not pulp, not softcore written for the hopeful serialisation on a Cable channel, not gratuitous violence - just good literature. This second installment of the Vampire Chronicles is as good as the first ("Interview with a Vampire") and, in my opinion, better. It considers those deep questions of lore and longing and compels you to keep listening because, just possibly, you will understand the origins of these dark and evil creatures. Yes, it's fiction, but fiction real enough to bite. I especially enjoyed the adventure back to the deep origins sandwiched between the rock and roll of Lestat's re-awakening. The post modernist meets the goth. Terrific.
And Simon Vance is one of my favourites. If he can do wrong (which I doubt), then it can't be when reading this genre.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Atheist's Guide to Christmas

  • By: Ariane Sherine (editor), Richard Dawkins, Simon Le Bon
  • Narrated by: Richard Dawkins, Simon Le Bon
  • Length: 5 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 252
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 139
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 137

Here is a fantastic listen that works brilliantly alongside the massively popular The Atheist's Guide to Christmas. This Guide was edited by Ariane Sherine, who has managed to compile a wonderful concoction of the world's most entertaining writers, scientists, comedians, and philosophers to read, perform, and narrate pieces that they had all written for the print book version.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Can’t duplicate Brit humor

  • By James on 11-30-10

Fun(d) Raiser

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

Reviewed: 02-23-16

This Guide was obviously an adjunct to a fund raising venture to assist the Terry Higgins Trust, a UK HIV charity. It is a collection of 42 (in honour of the late Douglas Adams) short essays read by the respective authors. This makes for an eclectic mix of style, quality and interest. Some were very entertaining listens; funny or thought provoking. I enjoyed Simon Singh's ode to star watching and Simon Le Bon's simple message of festive (secular) cheer, to name but two. Some are a bit dull and some downright annoying. Some are from the famous (Dawkins etal) and some are a bit unknown (at least to Australian audiences). But overall, it's a bit of fun and was for a worthy cause.
PS: I suggest that you listen at Christmas. It makes it more pertinent.
PSS: the last two essayists are repeated, so don't sit through the same thing twice by accident, like I did!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • In Sheep's Clothing

  • Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
  • By: George K. Simon
  • Narrated by: Kevin Foley
  • Length: 4 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 937
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 805
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 795

Dr. George K. Simon knows how people push your buttons: your children---especially teens---are experts at it, as is your mate. A coworker may quietly undermine your efforts while professing to be helpful, or your boss may prey on your weaknesses. Manipulative people have two goals: to win and to look good doing it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great enlightenment for confused codependents

  • By Darcy on 05-20-14

Interesting and educative

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

Reviewed: 02-22-16

I think I misread the blurb for this title, or the title itself. In my professional life I deal with a number of people that I think fit the description "manipulative". I cross examine them, negotiate with them and take instructions from them. I thought this book would help me understand where they are coming from and help me to deal with them. That was not entirely correct, but that was my mistake. It is really about learning about what most of us are inclined to be predisposed to and how others take advantage of the predisposition. It really comes down to what the author means by "manipulative".
For all that, I found the book very informative and I did (inevitably) see the ghosts of acquaintances and girlfriend's past in the illustrative examples. That was interesting and educative to the point of wanting to learn more.
So success from a false start, but success none the less. On reflection, this is a better guide for dealing with interpersonal relationships that it is for dealing with professional ones, but the classes are not mutually exclusive.
There was nothing wrong with the narration and nothing that grated on me other than the occasional strange pause, but I attribute that to post production, not to the narrator.
Finally, and for the record, I think lawyers are a sub-class of covert-aggressive and obsessive compulsive personality types, rather than the channeled aggressive sub-type argued for in the text; but then again, I would say that according to the author's theory!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Sea

  • By: John Banville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 169
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 173

The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child; a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OVERWHELMINGLY FINE

  • By Karen on 07-20-07

A Time to Live and to Die

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

Reviewed: 02-22-16

Blanville captures so beautifully both the time to live (the coming of age, young love or lust) and the time to die (oneself, and to reflect on the death of loved ones) in the rightly acclaimed winner of the Booker Prize. It evoked in me so many of the times of my youth, many of them painful, embarrassing or both (like the misapprehended longings and misjudged romances) and put into perspective so many of the things that I saw my grandparents go through toward the end of their lives. The language is languid and precise; placed together like a purposefully created ceramic mural. And that language is old and new (the resonance of the frustrated swearing juxtaposed to the prose still echoes in my minds ear). Really lovely.
By comparison (and I know that I wade into deep water here), I find John Lee's reading challenging. I am not sure why that it. Perhaps the Celtic rasp doesn't suit my ear. But like "100 Years of Solitude", the cadence just didn't sympathetically meet my expectation, albeit Irish-like. Alas, there are so many Irish lilts that I just wasn't taken with this one. That doesn't mean that the performance was bad; just not as I expected.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful