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D. Backshall

  • 49
  • reviews
  • 141
  • helpful votes
  • 195
  • ratings
  • The Silver Ships

  • The Silver Ships, Book 1
  • By: S.H. Jucha
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,421
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,321
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,325

An explorer tug captain, Alex Racine detects a damaged alien craft drifting into the system. Recognizing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make first contact, Alex pulls off a daring maneuver to latch on to the derelict. Alex discovers the ship was attacked by an unknown craft, the first of its kind ever encountered. The mysterious silver ship's attack was both instant and deadly.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Smart protagonists!

  • By William R. Brown on 05-28-16

An original premise and a cool start to a series

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

What an original sci-fi novel!

I've read plenty of sci-fi that quickly fits into a predictable "Oh, it's one of those" category, but The Silver Ships has a premise I had not encountered before.

Here we have two civilizations, originating from Earth at basically the same time, when its resources were drained beyond repair. The peoples were equipped with the same technology of the time, but brought different cultures with them as they escaped to worlds unknown. The differing peoples were unaware of other survivors, and focused on surviving and growing (apart) as their situations dictated.

Fast forward a millenia, and they find each other. Marvelling at how differently they have evolved is only part of how this story will excite and surprise you. I won't give anything away, but yeah, it's worth a read to find out what happens and what may be in store as the series progresses.

  • Hardly Even Rich

  • A Short Story
  • By: Dennis Canfield
  • Narrated by: Nick Podehl
  • Length: 58 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

Three million dollars, illegal drugs, and a woman with a violent history - what could possibly go wrong? Brian Jeffries is a life insurance agent who's willing to cut corners if he must to sell a policy. It's all fine until the death of a client puts everything he values at risk.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE...

  • By Victoria Haugen on 09-10-18

Prepare for things to escalate quickly!

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

Reviewed: 09-23-18

What an exciting short story! Hardly Even Rich blends the sins of pride, greed, envy and wrath into one all-too-realistic spiral of events.One small lapse in judgment is all it takes sometimes, and in this case, a man's seemingly insignificant exception to a rule, paired with a woman's brazen greed, enables a huge nightmare for many.

What would I do in the same situation? That's the question you can't help but ask yourself as the feces hit the fan.

The narration for this short was remarkably well done by Nick Podehl. His work is worth searching out if you're looking for well-narrated books to add to your wish list.

  • Copycat

  • By: Alex Lake
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 83
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 79

When an old friend gets in touch, Sarah Havenant discovers that there are two Facebook profiles in her name. One is hers. The other she has never seen. But everything in it is accurate. Photos of her friends, her husband, her kids. Photos from the day before. Photos of her new kitchen. Photos taken inside her house. And this is just the beginning. Because whoever has set up the second profile has been waiting for Sarah to find it. And now that she has, her life will no longer be her own....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I highly recommend reading the physical book

  • By Mariam on 10-16-17

This was awesome! Why all the mediocre reviews?

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

Reviewed: 09-19-18

I put off reading Copycat for almost a year, because the reviews said it was merely "good", not thrilling or life-changing or even great. How I wish now I'd gone with my gut and jumped on it when it was released! I give it five enthusiastic stars.

Copycat falls into the category of a currently popular type of mystery novel: a female character witnesses something that affects her personally, she tries to warn people and figure out what's going on, NO ONE BELIEVES HER, and her sanity circles the drain as she tries to salvage her relationship, job, family, everything through some kind of resolution of the situation. I have to admit I love this kind of novel, and can never get enough of these frustrating but thrilling stories. The Woman in Cabin 10 and Baby Teeth are good recent examples of similarly structured novels that were also well-written and compelling.

Sarah, the main character, finds out she's becoming the victim of identity theft. Not in the old-fashioned taking-all-her-money way, but in the much more violating impersonation way. Someone created extra accounts in her name and is posting pics, sending emails and texts, and basically effing with her in strange ways. Sarah and her husband shrug it off as nonsense, but it ramps up quickly into something that seems too real and too perfect to be blamed on an outsider. When fingers start pointing at Sarah for sabotaging her own life, things go off in ways all of us can relate to.

While I didn't agree with how all of this was handled as it "went down", I can see how one might react similarly in real life. Books like this, that beg you to formulate a game plan and ask plenty of "what if?" questions, are important. In the 21st century, where more of our interactions are electronic than in-person, being faced with this kind of scenario is fairly probable. We *should* be scared, and we should be prepared, for when imposters try to invade our personal lives, hiding behind the veil of The Cloud.

  • The Fall of the House of Usher - Unabridged

  • By: Edgar Allan Poe
  • Narrated by: Kevin Theis
  • Length: 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8

"The Fall of the House of Usher" tells the tale of Roderick and Madeline Usher, ailing siblings who inhabit a gigantic mansion that is, as they are, slowly deteriorating.   

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Classic story with a great narrator

  • By Spooky Mike on 09-18-18

Old school dramatization of a creepy story

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

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Narrator Kevin Theis gets totally into 19th century character for this creepy Edgar Allen Poe story. At a little less than an hour, it's more than worth your time to give it a listen. This dramatization allows you to drift back to a time when horror was less about gore and more about getting inside your head to free your worst nightmares.

  • Girls' Night Out

  • A Novel
  • By: Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke
  • Narrated by: Karen Peakes
  • Length: 10 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 372
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 327

For estranged friends Ashley, Natalie, and Lauren, it’s time to heal the old wounds between them. Where better to repair those severed ties than on a girls’ getaway to the beautiful paradise of Tulum, Mexico? But even after they’re reunited, no one is being completely honest about the past or the secrets they’re hiding. When Ashley disappears on their girls’ night out, Natalie and Lauren have to try to piece together their hazy memories to figure out what could have happened to her, while also reconciling their feelings of guilt over their last moments together.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Waste of time.

  • By Yikes on 07-25-18

Much ado about nothing except drama and more drama

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

Reviewed: 08-01-18

I was so excited for this book, and bought it the day it came out. A travel adventure gone awry? I absolutely love that stuff!

And then once I dove in, I was like "ehh, this isn't all that". Thankfully the narrator was pretty good, or I would have dropped off within the first hour.

Truthfully, the girl drama was way over-the-top for me. It was MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. I get that people develop resentements, and I can accept how a long history can inspire some strong feelings, but the angst driving the plot here seemed so very contrived. If I personally knew women who were this dramatic and resentful, I'd have closed them out of my inner circle long ago. Life is too short for such exasperating entanglements.

So a whole book about three drama queens, without much going on besides their constant arguments, secrets and back-biting, didn't add up to anything compelling for me. Was it interesting? For the most part, kind of. Mostly I just grew to dislike each of them and their pettiness, and I don't think that was really the authors' point.

The litmus test: Was I dying to get back to the book, to find out what happened to Ashley? What would happen with the Revlon deal? Whether or not Marco was a bad guy? Nope, nope, and nope.

And a couple questions about the men were never answered, things that could have spiced up the story a bit. Were the women honest about them? We'll never know.

And there you have it. Three stars, because while it was well written, there just wasn't enough meat to it for me to state "yeah, that made for a good story".

  • The Drowned Girls

  • An Angie Pallorino Novel, Book 1
  • By: Loreth Anne White
  • Narrated by: Julie McKay
  • Length: 16 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,354
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,105
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,103

Detective Angie Pallorino hasn't forgotten the violent rapist who left a distinctive calling card - crosses etched into the flesh of his victim's foreheads. When a comatose Jane Doe is found in a local cemetery, sexually assaulted, mutilated, and nearly drowned, Angie is struck by the eerie similarities to her earlier unsolved rapes. Could he be back?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent New Series

  • By Lia on 10-05-17

A totally dislikeable main character

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

Reviewed: 07-29-18

So many people were raving "you're missing out if you miss this!", I jumped at the chance to start a great new series.

Uhh, yeah. I want to disagree on the "great" part.

Unless you're dying to get inside the head of a totally dislikeable main character and to experience chapter after chapter of explicit sex and female mutilation. If so, then rock on! You're in for a treat if you also crave cliché male characters with contrived speech patterns like "sos…hows about…" and "you knows...". Bonus if you enjoy juvenile nicknames for characters like "Mr. Big Dick".

I want to know how someone can carve a crucifix into all these victims' foreheads? A cross, sure, but an entire crucifix? That would be some impressively intricate work. But hey, the killer is circumcizing women, so I guess anything is possible.

If you're a true glutton for punishment, this audio version adds an even more annoying narrator. McKay uses this affected PNW twang for the atmospheric parts, then pops into a kind of squeaky-gravely NYC accent for all the men. I spent the entire 16 hours cringing at her narration.

  • You

  • By: Caroline Kepnes
  • Narrated by: Santino Fontana
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,006
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,216
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 11,199

Beck is everything Joe has ever wanted: she's gorgeous, tough, razor-smart, and sexy beyond his wildest dreams. Joe needs to have her, and he'll stop at nothing to do so. As he begins to insinuate himself into her life - her friendships, her email, her phone - she can’t resist her feelings for a guy who seems custom-made for her. So when her boyfriend, Benji, mysteriously disappears, Beck and Joe fall into a tumultuous affair. But there's more to Beck than her oh-so-perfect façade.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow. This. Book.

  • By Emily - Audible on 07-17-15

A realistic and pretty sick thriller

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

Reviewed: 06-30-18

While this book may not be for everyone, if you think you'd enjoy a realistic thriller that will make your stomach ache while you watch, from the inside out, a sociopath following his cringe-worthy instincts, look no further.

Narrator Santino Fontana has been perfectly cast for reading this novel. He manages to capture the snarky, narcissistic and obsessive Joe in a way you could never get from reading the book. Fontana presents Joe with the crazy, addled pace of a truly insane man's stream of consciousness. JOE IS CREEPY, so much so I couldn't get enough of this.

You have been warned.

  • When the Sky Falls

  • A Sky Fall Event Series, Book 1
  • By: Joseph Bendoski
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 14
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

In 1938 the War of the Worlds hoax panicked millions of Americans, then in 1988 another fictional media broadcast convinced nearly half of Portugal that sea monsters had risen from the ocean to destroy their cities. A team of CIA agents was sent to study the aftermath of this 6th Skyfall Event in the hope that they could turn it into a weapon of war. When the team consultant turns up dead, everyone scrambles to be the last man standing: the one who will decide if or when the sky falls.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Book 1 in the series

  • By MEDY L on 05-11-18

The "what if" of this novel is a scary one

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

Reviewed: 06-07-18

When the Sky Falls is an action novel by Joseph Bendoski that keeps a fast pace while delivering the alarming message of the atrocities that can result from the intentional and malevolent perpetration of Skyfall events.

While the novel delivers relevant eye-openers and plenty of other food for thought with regard to manipulation of the public, is it a compelling story in itself? I'm still on the fence about this. It could happen, and apparently has happened, but was this story one that will resonate? Time will tell.

I guess my disappointment lies in the fact that this novel delivers non-stop dialogue and break neck action, but it offers practically no character development, unless you consider the concept of Skyfall to be its main character. We are given little to no background on, or reason to care about, any of the agents, consultants or bad guys as they are introduced into the narrative. For the first half of the book, they all seemed almost interchangeable as they explained the concepts and pitfalls surrounding Skyfall events. I could barely tell them apart while I listened to the predominance of dialogue over characterization. They seemed to serve the sole purpose of providing information about Skyfall events and the massacre the carefully orchestrated events can inflict upon a community or nation.

As for the narration, Bill Nevitt did a fine job but I believe he would be better suited for newscasts or military non-fiction. His declarative voice is too dispassionate and matter-of-fact to effectively deliver a thriller. The narrator here should be bringing the urgency and characters to life, but this comes across more like a business report.

  • The Outsider

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 18 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 29,432
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27,010
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26,896

An 11-year-old boy's violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City's most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Meh

  • By Roger on 06-30-18

Don't waste the credit -- read, don't listen

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

Reviewed: 06-03-18

I'm returning this so it's not worth writing a review that Audible will promptly trash as soon as I do.

But hear me when I say Will Patton's narration is TERRIBLE, DREADFUL, and altogether AWFUL in this 4th in the Bill Hodges "trilogy". Patton's portrayal of Holly, who you'll only know if you read/listened to that trilogy (a dependency which no marketing for this novel seems to mention), is so bad it's not even funny.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Paris Is a Bitch

  • A Rain-Delilah Short Story
  • By: Barry Eisler
  • Narrated by: Barry Eisler
  • Length: 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 404
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 360
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 357

For most couples, a quiet dinner for two at Auberge de la Reine Blanche on the Ile Saint Louis would be just the thing to smooth out the complications in a romance. But for gorgeous Mossad operative Delilah and trying-to-retire contract killer John Rain, nothing is ever easy, and when Rain sees a crew of hard-looking men setting up outside the restaurant, he realizes someone has been bringing her work home with her. Is it a hit - or something even worse?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great little read

  • By Theo on 12-14-12

More like a chapter or epilogue to #6 than a short

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

Reviewed: 05-24-18

I'm not sure what I was expecting from a "short" in the John Rain series, but this was certainly a satisfying peek into the John-Delilah dynamic, explaining the ultimate demise of this doomed-from-the-get-go couple.

I will never cease to be amazed at how Barry Eisler manages to make fight scenes so engaging.