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Phebe

Maryland, United States
  • 101
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  • 473
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  • The Homecoming

  • By: Alan Russell
  • Narrated by: Luke Daniels
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 856
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 783
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 784

Seven years ago, young Stella Pierce vanished from the face of the earth. Now her grieving, broken family - along with Detective Orson Cheever, who never stopped working her case - is stunned by her mysterious return. The now-teenage girl claims to have spent her missing years in the company of Travelers - extraterrestrial nomads - voyaging through space. Despite her family's effort to keep Stella's incredible tale secret, the story becomes a national sensation.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Weak Offering

  • By Casey on 06-14-17

The original is by Graham Joyce

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

Reviewed: 08-05-18

I have the original novel with this plot in my library: Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, 2012. In both novels a young girl goes missing; years later she returns to her family to say that Travellers from outer space took her travelling with them. In the English version the girl leaves at age 16 and returns 20 years later --- still clearly age 16: time is different out there. In Russell’s version, the time lapse is 7 years and the girl ages normally to 14. In Russell’s Americanized version, the father is a Congressman, and there are mysterious government agents trying nefarious ways to keep the “travelling” secret. There is money, property, a brother going into the U.S. Air Force, lots of TV, high-school mean girls, an evil stalker --- Russell throws in the whole kitchen, including the sink. It becomes incoherent, with no plot resolution. The English version by Joyce is more homely and fey and believeable, and we learn what happened.

Something Like a Fairy Tale is a highly original plot. I greatly admire creative plotting. That means that Russell’s 2017 version in The Homecoming was simply stolen --- and that I don’t admire.

  • Gone to Dust

  • By: Matt Goldman
  • Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
  • Length: 7 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,919
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,692
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,688

A brutal crime. The ultimate cover-up. How do you solve a murder with no useable evidence? Private detective Nils Shapiro is focused on forgetting his ex-wife and keeping warm during another Minneapolis winter when a former colleague, neighboring Edina Police Detective Anders Ellegaard, calls with the impossible.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Above Average

  • By wisconsinclark on 11-06-17

The vacuum cleaner murder

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

Reviewed: 05-07-18

The murder is an interesting plot device, a lot of vacuum cleaner dust spread around the corpse and the house so no DNA of the killer could be identified. Cute idea: but it’s immediately abandoned for nearly the rest of the book.

Good things about this novel are that it is beautifully read, with wonderful North Country accents. And that it’s relatively gentle so it can be used as a sleep book, which violent and exciting murder mysteries often cannot.

But it’s leftwing political, and no one needs that these days, with the country like it is. First, the ex-policeman/private eye is Jewish. What, in Minneapolis? And why: why a Jewish detective? It makes no sense, unless it’s to set up the line when he and a half-Somali woman go to a funeral: they get there late and the whole church is full so they have to sit in the balcony – “That’s where they put the Jews and blacks,” sez our protag, gratuitously. What, should they have raised a shout and insisted that two people already seated downstairs go up to the balcony so they could sit on the main floor? Darn, maybe this precious pair should have come on time. Lots of anti-church propaganda, too. Anyone who is white, goes to church, has a nice house in a nice neighborhood with nice furniture and amenities of life they worked hard for is in for a put down in this book, be sure. And the white guy with three businesses who hires lots of people and gives parties and has a nice car and cooperates with the FBI --- a guy like that MUST be the villain, right? He’s the main suspect throughout, anyway. Check your privilege, whatever that means.

And about that Somali woman – of course this story follows the new rule that every movie and every novel has to promote miscegenation, and so our detective ends up lusting and in bed with the black woman. The new cliché. But this woman has a terrible character --- she has betrayed and abandoned everybody who ever took care of her. It’s a pattern. Also, given that she is in medical school, how can she run around the city so much? I thought medical students had to study all the time. Even the book questions her active social life. Doesn’t she have to pass the tests like other students? Her character is so bad, I decided she was the murderer. It does work. I may have made a mistake about that – or the author did. All the women are bizarre and improbable in this novel – male fantasy stuff.

Early on I was thinking I’d read Matt Goldman’s other novel, what with the calmness and the interesting plot idea. I won’t, though --- too much leftwing propaganda for me in this novel to try the second. I so wish authors wouldn’t promote their pet Social Justice Warrior ideas in their murder mysteries. Recreational reading ought to be safe from politics, even these days.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Woman in the Window

  • A Novel
  • By: A. J. Finn
  • Narrated by: Ann Marie Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21,559
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19,824
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19,769

Anna Fox lives alone - a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times...and spying on her neighbors. Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, mother, their teenaged son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn't, her world begins to crumble. And its shocking secrets are laid bare.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • An excruciating listen.

  • By Debra on 01-12-18

We've seen this movie too often before

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

Reviewed: 04-23-18

I got halfway through the book and gave up. This is YET ANOTHER "our heroine is a drunken sot" book. Why oh why do so many authors think women want to identify with or admire a day-in, day-out lush? This author is a man, using initials to pretend he is a woman, so maybe he can't be expected to know most women aren't alcoholics and most women won't like alcoholics, but there are too many women authors doing this also. I'm not reading any more "she's a drunk" novels.

I liked the agoraphobia slant and the support website for people who can't go outside. I liked the old movies. It was obvious, however, that at a crisis point she would have to go out despite the agoraphobia, duh. It was also obvious that the phone calls with her husband, but mysteriously not with her daughter, were suspicious and so were probably the "We Have to Talk About Kevin" kind of communications. Given that the phone calls are suspicious in that way and she has serious agoraphobia from a trauma, it was obvious that the solution to that mystery in her past, which she draws out for a lonnnnnng boring and depressing time, was going to be "excruciating," as all the reviewers say. I saved myself the downer and switched to "John Dies at the End," a comedy fantasy about demon hunters.

I went to Charlotte's Web Spoilers and found out that Anna's weird events continue and the solutions are not obvious ----- finally, something in this novel that isn't obvious!

I just hope she stops drinking like a fish; the spoiler site didn't remark on that.

  • Girl on a Train

  • By: A. J. Waines
  • Narrated by: Melissa Chambers
  • Length: 9 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 631
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 544
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 544

Headstrong journalist Anna Rothman knows what suicide looks like - her own husband killed himself five years ago. When Elly Swift, an agitated passenger beside her on a train, leaves a locket in Anna's bag before jumping onto the tracks, Anna starts asking questions. But everything points to suicide and the police close the case. However, Anna believes that Elly's fears for Toby, her young nephew who was snatched from St. Stephen's church six months ago, fail to explain the true reason behind Elly's distress.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Adequate Performance; Utterly Ridiculous Ending

  • By Karen W. Lam on 08-10-16

A train, or THE train? This is the better novel

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

Reviewed: 04-02-18

Girl on A Train or The Girl on The Train? The second one got all the big reviews and superlatives: this one, however, is much more readable and fun. "The Train" one has as its heroine a drunken sot: neurotic, self-pitying, obsessive, dipsomaniac, acutely embarrassing to watch, never mind identifying with, forget that. This novel by A.J. Waines has a heroine with character who is liked by all, and no wonder.

It is obvious quickly why this woman's husband left her -- apparently committed suicide, in fact. The usual thing; and it's so easy I was worried the whole novel wouldn't be worth thought. Whoops, that was wrong: it's a puzzle novel with depths on depths, and you will NOT foresee whodunnit: Nope, won't happen. This novel is a lot of fun and is well read and possible to follow read aloud. So enjoy.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Silent Child

  • Audible's Thriller of 2017
  • By: Sarah A. Denzil
  • Narrated by: Joanne Froggatt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,817
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,965
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,922

In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son's red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year - a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned. His body was never recovered. Ten years later Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life...until Aiden returns.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Absurd!

  • By K. Dale on 09-13-18

Excellent! Creepy but original

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

Reviewed: 04-02-18

Our heroine's little son has fallen into the river in a terrible flood --- at least, that is what everyone thinks, certainly after his red jacket is recovered from the river bed two weeks after the flood. For ten years they think that ---- until the boy himself, 16 now, walks out of a forest and ends up at a police station and is identified beyond mistake.

In the meantime his mother has married, has friends, is pregnant, has another life. All of that goes immediately to the wall when her lost son returns: we can all identify with that.

The boy has been held prisoner for ten years, that is clear. By whom? Where? Why?

This is an excellent and creative plot. The heroine is easy to identify with and we root for her.

  • Blackwater: The Complete Saga

  • By: Michael McDowell
  • Narrated by: Matt Godfrey
  • Length: 30 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,891
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,635
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,627

Blackwater is the saga of a small town, Perdido, Alabama, and Elinor Dammert, the stranger who arrives there under mysterious circumstances on Easter Sunday, 1919. On the surface, Elinor is gracious, charming, anxious to belong in Perdido, and eager to marry Oscar Caskey, the eldest son of Perdido's first family. But her beautiful exterior hides a shocking secret. Beneath the waters of the Perdido River, she turns into something terrifying, a creature whispered about in stories that have chilled the residents of Perdido for generations.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A 6 Star Worthy Epic!

  • By jksullycats on 10-29-17

Poor reader, great story

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

Reviewed: 01-24-18

Michael McDowell's Blackwater is a Southern Gothic, and like his other two deep Alabama novels, Elementals and Cold Moon Over Babylon, need to be read by a Southerner who understands the cadence and meaning of the words used. Southern Gothics are novels of manners and very subtle: Anne Rivers Siddons The House Next Door, for instance. This young male reader barely has any Southern accent at all and his cadence of speech is very poor. The characters simply would not have talked that way. This is a magical story but it needs a new reader for the audiobook.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Plum Island

  • By: Nelson DeMille
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 19 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,005
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,904
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,888

Wounded in the line of duty, NYPD homicide cop John Corey is convalescing in rural eastern Long Island when an attractive young couple he knows is found shot to death on the family patio. The victims were biologists at Plum Island, a research site rumored to be an incubator for germ warfare. Suddenly, a local double murder takes on shattering global implications - and thrusts Corey and two extraordinary women into a dangerous search for the secret of Plum Island....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thanks Nelson for bringing an oldy to AUDIBLE

  • By Paul on 12-03-10

Warning: sexual harassment pretending to be wit

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

I read this when it came out in 1997 and didn't notice the sexual harassment, which is extreme: I'd say this novel wins the prize for most focus on sex against the woman's will. It's all verbal, fortunately: the protag John Corey more or less keeps his hands to himself. However, from the first moment he sees the female detective (she looks like she's smuggling balloons, he thinks), he relentlessly, constantly talks to her about nothing but getting sex from her. The invitations, innuendo, open propositions and suggestions never stop. This is supposed to be clever and witty; nowadays we consider it abusive.

The victim, Elizabeth, is continually irritated by all this, but she can't stop it. She sighs, she looks unhappy, she refuses, she tries to change the subject --- she can't do her job with him around, it's quite a struggle to try to solve the crime with his one-track mind.

I had to stop reading eventually. The hero is a villain: the hero is a pig. I don't care whodunit if I can just get away from him.

  • Afraid

  • By: Jack Kilborn
  • Narrated by: Phil Gigante
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,022
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 767
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 769

Nestled in the woods of Wisconsin, Safe Haven is miles from everything. With one road in and out, this is a town so peaceful it has never needed a full-time police force. Until now... A helicopter has crashed on the outskirts of town and something terrible has been unleashed. A classified secret weapon programmed to kill anything that stands in its way. Now it's headed for the nearest lights to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • A Lesson Learned

  • By David on 06-27-12

This is like the Saw movies

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

Reviewed: 12-04-17

No, this is terrible. It's torture porn, and has no redeeming literary value that I could see, and I stopped at the point when the town's lights all went out. I say no literary value because it's trite: the monster is being carted around on a restraint gurney in an Army helicopter when the copter crashes, with a lot of help from the monster. Why the Army would be doing such a silly thing, I don't know; Hannibal Lecter wouldn't have had much trouble with the scenario, and this monster is 7 ft. from neck restraint to ankle restraint, easy-peasey. So one is supposed to imagine a big Frankenstein type, especially since that word is referred to. However, he has a Rumanian accent, and one of the diner employees in town is named "Fran Stoker," so take a wild guess what kind of monster we've got.

He's a lot more interested in sucking on women's pain and horror and anguish and agony than blood, however, and the author dwells slowly and lovingly on this monster turn-on. The reader does a good job, which doesn't help anyone listening. You know, in PC-crazy America, you'd think torture porn with a male torturing women wouldn't entertain so many people as apparently it does. Not me, though. Kornrath and Killborn: same writer, nevermore.

  • The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

  • By: Joyce E. Salisbury, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Joyce E. Salisbury
  • Length: 12 hrs and 4 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 505
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 463
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 458

Spain has played a unique and essential role in Western civilization. To understand the unfolding of Spain's epic history is to come to terms with one of the West's great cultures, and to grasp its enduring presence and impact on the world stage. In these 24 accessible lectures, Professor Salisbury presents a broad and enthralling panorama of Spanish history, covering the centuries from the first prehistoric settlement of the peninsula to Spain's 20th century civil war.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • As much travelogue as history

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-22-17

History of Spain tilted left

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

Reviewed: 11-23-17

I didn't like it. It wasn't awful, but the lectures are annoyingly tilted left politically, and the lecturer's voice is strident. She prefers whatever outgroup wandered into or around Spain, stealing everything they could, like the gypsies (still a big problem after centuries) and the Muslims (still a big problem despite the Reconquista in the 1490s). The normal decent citizens trying to make a living are just background. This is the standard leftist tilt, and since I am particularly interested in the 1930s Spanish Civil War, because of the possibilities for something similar to happen in the U.S., I didn't much like her blaming the generals for everything and cheering on the communists, despite their ever-escalating calls to eliminate everyone in the middle class and higher social groups. And that well before the war started. When I noticed she calls all the leftist groups "intellectuals" I realized what was going on, as it's a common modern ploy.

Politics aside, she covers a lot of Spanish history, from prehistory on through the Romans, the conquest of the New World, and art (considerable contribution there by Spain). The tactic is to inform us what was going on generally, such as the rise of Islam, and then bring it back to Spain, which works. If you are leftist, you might like it as a quick and dirty introduction to Spanish history. Spain is a very interesting country. It used to be quite important.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Burnt Offerings

  • Valancourt 20th Century Classics
  • By: Robert Marasco
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 7 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,876
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,751
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 1,749

Ben and Marian Rolfe are desperate to escape a stifling summer in their tiny Brooklyn apartment, so when they get the chance to rent a mansion in upstate New York for the entire summer for only $900, it's an offer that's too good to refuse. There's only one catch: behind a strange and intricately carved door in a distant wing of the house lives elderly Mrs. Allardyce, and the Rolfes will be responsible for preparing her meals. But Mrs. Allardyce never seems to emerge from her room, and it soon becomes clear that something weird and terrifying is happening in the house.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Haunted house story more creepy than horrific

  • By Calliope on 05-03-17

Good Housekeeping Horror

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

Reviewed: 11-15-17

This is a classic and I have read it over and over; this audio version is excellent. The male reader does female voices very well. It's appropriate to basically have a male perspective because this novel is about the horror potential in a woman loving a house and the things in it to obsession and putting that ahead of everything else in her life, including her family --- a quintessentially mid-20th century issue, I have always thought. I long thought it the most terrifying book I knew. (Though Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House eventually won out.) The movie of that title is also well worth watching; it illustrates this story well.