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M. Allen

Raleigh, NC
  • 34
  • reviews
  • 40
  • helpful votes
  • 37
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  • The Stranger She Loved

  • A Mormon Doctor, His Beautiful Wife, and an Almost Perfect Murder
  • By: Shanna Hogan
  • Narrated by: Pam Ward
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 247
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 224
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 223

In 2007, Dr. Martin MacNeill - a doctor, lawyer, and Mormon bishop - discovered his wife of 30 years dead in the bathtub of their Pleasant Grove, Utah, home, her face bearing the scars of a facelift he had persuaded her to undergo just a week prior. At first the death of 50-year-old Michele MacNeill, a former beauty queen and mother of eight, appeared natural. But days after the funeral, when Dr. MacNeill moved his much younger mistress into the family home, his children grew suspicious.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The story of a true psychopath

  • By Michelle in New York City on 11-27-15

Info is stretched a little thin but pretty good.

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

Reviewed: 06-20-19

My biggest complaint is the narrator. She's one of those narrators that obviously loves the sound of her own voice, almost chewing her words sometimes and pronouncing things strangely as if she wishes she were British. She mispronounced many very simple words, after the first few times I noticed this was happening I started paying attention more and I believe she pronounced words in a way that made the sentence sound more lyrical or floral, purposely mispronouncing words a toddler would know how to correctly pronounce. It was distracting, I felt like correcting her like she was my child.

The material itself was solid. I saw the 20/ 20 and was curious about the book bc the author was heavily featured on the show. The book included details left out of the show- the sexual assaults and the author emphasizes the fact the victim defecated in the bathtub every time she describes the crime scene. I thought that was a strange choice but hey, I'm not an author.

  • Wolves of the Calla

  • Dark Tower V
  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,270
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,802
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,810

Roland Deschain and his ka-tet are bearing southeast through the forests of Mid-World, the almost timeless landscape that seems to stretch from the wreckage of civility that defined Roland's youth to the crimson chaos that seems the future's only promise. Followers of Stephen King's epic series know Roland well, or as well as this enigmatic hero can be known. They also know the companions who have been drawn to his quest for the Dark Tower: Eddie Dean and his wife, Susannah; Jake Chambers; and Oy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Frank Muller is Sorely Missed

  • By Brad Marlowe on 02-07-04

Every chapter has the end cut off.

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

Reviewed: 06-12-19

My favorite dark tower book, huge bummer it was messed up when they created the chapter cutoffs. Every single chapter is cutoff before it' ends.

It's shocking it's being sold this way. There's 0 chance they didn't notice prior to releasing it. They simply do not care. This book deserves better.

Regarding all the complaints about the new narrator- come on, take it easy. The original was ok but really annoying in a lot of aspects. Eddie's voice in particular. His voice was straight out of a 1930 NY gangster film, totally absurd and made me burst out laughing so many times imagining that voice coming from a young man in the 70s- 80s. His Susannah accent should be considered a hate crime. The new guy did a fine job, people are just so quick to fall in line and remember things better than they actually were just bc they are familiar.

  • Ghost

  • My Thirty Years as an FBI Undercover Agent
  • By: Michael R. McGowan, Ralph Pezzullo
  • Narrated by: Mike Dawson
  • Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 251
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 248

Within FBI field operative circles, groups of people known as “Special” by their titles alone, Michael R. McGowan is an outlier. Over the course of his career, McGowan has worked more than 50 undercover cases. In this extraordinary and unprecedented book, McGowan will take listeners through some of his biggest cases, from international drug busts to the Russian and Italian mobs to biker gangs and contract killers to corrupt unions and SWAT work. Ghost is an unparalleled view into how the FBI, through the courage of its undercover Special Agents, nails the bad guys. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting story, but narration eh

  • By Ahdumb on 10-06-18

This book's goose is cooked.

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

Reviewed: 05-20-19

The author is pretty corny but I guess for an FBI agent saying things like, "His goose was cooked" is considering street talk and really cool. For a normal person he's a really nerdy, uptight person trying very hard to be funny and cool. It's hard to see a picture of the author and imagine him tricking anyone into believing he's anything but a cop or maybe a substitute high school gym teacher. I guess if you're dealing with mafia or drug people they typically have double digit IQs and are very high all the time so maybe it's easier than we'd think.

The actual story, the descriptions are very plain, very little details. I assume the original draft was given to the FBI and they demanded all the interesting parts be removed. What was left was not very memorable. I usually love true crime/ autobiographies. I definitely wont be listening to this one a second time.

Just like the author did, this book made me feel like laying on the floor and going to sleep.

  • The Godfather

  • By: Mario Puzo
  • Narrated by: Joe Mantegna
  • Length: 18 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6,459
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,969
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5,970

More than forty years ago, Mario Puzo wrote his iconic portrait of the Mafia underworld as told through the fictional first family of American crime, the Corleones. The leader, Vito Corleone, is the Godfather. He is a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. His command post is a fortress on Long Island from which he presides over a vast underground empire that includes rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation''s mighty. Mario Puzo, a master storyteller, introduces us to unforgettable characters, and the elements of this world explode to life in this violent and impassioned chronicle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Huge fan of the movie, loved this audiobook!

  • By Dana on 10-04-13

Good book but much better movie.

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

Reviewed: 05-15-19

It's easy to see why this was made in to some of the best movies ever made. It's easy to see how the screenwriter jumped from the book to the way the movie portrayed the story. Unfortunately the book also included about 50% content that was correctly edited from the story in the movie. There was so much wildly dated, unnecessary, and bad story telling included in the book that strongly took away from the enjoyment of the half of the book that was wonderful.

Very strange experience. I think the challenge was at the time it was groundbreaking and the gangster trope did not exist. Puzo essentially created it with this book. It hadn't become as refined as it did later. The idea of a vagina reduction surgery in an unnecessary character taking dozens of pages seems absurd and wildly in need of being edited out of the book but at the time the publisher probably though the whole story was equally as distasteful and unnecessary. The editor should've removed ~ half the story to an amazing story, basically the movie.

  • The Wild Heart of Stevie Nicks

  • By: Rob Sheffield
  • Narrated by: Rob Sheffield
  • Length: 2 hrs and 43 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,350
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,939
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,932

Grab your lace shawl and top hat and get ready to twirl—this is a full-throttle appreciation of the life and voice of Stevie Nicks from one of rock criticism’s most celebrated writers.   

Best-selling author and Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield explores the music and artistry of the rock goddess who has kept generations of music lovers totally bewitched and spellbound, with such classic rock hits as "Rhiannon" and "Gypsy".

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • As much Fleetwood Mac as Stevie

  • By Michael W. Travis on 05-05-19

Interested subject but poorly written.

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

Reviewed: 05-06-19

I love biographies and autobiographies of musicians so this was an obvious choice but it was pretty disappointing. I recognized the narrator's voice, then noticed it was read by the author so I looked him up. I remember him from one of those vapid talking head vh1 shows where mincing hollywood insiders make snarky comments about performers trying to earn a living. I also saw that he'd written for rolling stone magazine, etc. No idea how someone that writes this way is this successful.

Many, many much better biographies of musicians. At least this was free, I'd have definitely returned it otherwise.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Five Families

  • The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires
  • By: Selwyn Raab
  • Narrated by: Paul Costanzo
  • Length: 33 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,299
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,178
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,166

Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo, and Lucchese. For decades these Five Families ruled New York and built the American Mafia (or Cosa Nostra) into an underworld empire. Today, the Mafia is an endangered species, battered and beleaguered by aggressive investigators, incompetent leadership, betrayals, and generational changes that produced violent, unreliable leaders and recruits.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great!

  • By Rik B on 12-30-15

One of the best mafia books, encyclopedic

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

Reviewed: 04-22-19

After the 1000th time the word "Appalachian" was mispronounced I almost stopped listening. I don't know why but true crime books are always plagued by poor writing, bad narration, and other issues rarely present in other subjects. It's disappointing.

This is much better than most mafia based nonfiction books. Raab clearly did his homework and wrote about it realistically and effectively. It was a nice balance of objectivity and general enthusiasm and avoided the disgusting hero worship Philip Carlo and others often use. Rather than treating these cowardly, back stabbing opportunistic rats as under dogs and american self starters he presented them as they were. Although it was funny how he used the same few expressions to describe everyone. Everyone and everything was 'impassive' and anyone over 5ft 5 was 'hulking', lol. Minor annoyances considering how much material is here.

This was a refreshing alternative to the usual true crime curse of having to trade an interesting subject matter for a professional writer and narrator.

  • The Gospel According to Luke

  • By: Steve Lukather
  • Narrated by: Steve Lukather
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 661
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609

In this incisive memoir, Steve Lukather tells the complete Toto story. He also lifts the lid on what went on behind the closed studio doors, shedding light on the unique creative processes of some of the most legendary names in music: from Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, and Elton John to Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, and Aretha Franklin. Lukather’s extraordinary tale also encompasses the dark side of stardom and the American Dream. Frank, engaging, and often hilarious, The Gospel According to Luke is no ordinary rock memoir.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow Best Rock Biography Ever

  • By NAME_NOT_RETURNED on 09-29-18

Great autobiography for musicians or fans.

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

Reviewed: 04-08-19

I don't listen to Toto but can appreciate all the famous people he's played with. He's a very cool guy and he led an amazing life. It's really amusing how he just casually mentions all the famous people he's known most of his life.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Mafia Prince

  • Inside America's Most Violent Crime Family and the Bloody Fall of La Cosa Nostra
  • By: Phillip Leonetti, Scott Burnstein, Christopher Graziano
  • Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 907
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 823
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 822

Mafia Prince is the first-person account of one of the most violent eras in Mafia history - "Little" Nicky Scarfo’s reign as boss of the Philly family in the 1980s - written by Scarfo’s underboss and nephew, "Crazy" Phil Leonetti. The youngest-ever underboss at the age of 31, Leonetti was at the crux of the violent downfall of the traditional American Mafia in the 1980s when he infiltrated Atlantic City after gambling was legalized, and later turned state’s evidence against his own.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Guilty pleasure.

  • By Nurture Learners and Able Observers on 03-28-14

My favorite mafia informant autobiography.

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

Reviewed: 04-08-19

Very good story telling elements used to bring together autobiographic details with some fiction and revisionism mixed in here and there. One moment present in every single mafia informant story is the point where they decide their gang is no longer looking out for them. It just so happens in every single one of the stories is that this moment occurs when a cop threatens them with 50+ years in prison. Then all of a sudden their morals and conscience change drastically. So dumb.

It's still very entertaining. It was free to listen to a for a long time on Audible and I liked it so much I bought it bc I know I'll listen more than once.

  • Gaspipe

  • Confessions of a Mafia Boss
  • By: Philip Carlo
  • Narrated by: Alan Sklar
  • Length: 12 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 387
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 278
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282

Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, the boss of New York's Lucchese crime family, was a Mafia superstar, responsible for more than 50 murders. Currently serving 13 life sentences at a federal prison in Colorado, Casso has given journalist and New York Times best-selling author Philip Carlo the most intimate, personal look into the world of La Cosa Nostra ever seen.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very good

  • By J. M. Batista on 06-05-12

Bizarre distorted view of facts and poorly written

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

Reviewed: 03-26-19

Philip Carlo picks fascinating topics for his true crime themed books but unfortunately he's not a good writer and is completely incapable of maintaining any level of objectivity. He clearly worships this psychopath. The tone and the ludicrous misinterpretation of Casso's life and general character clearly indicates Carlo's conscious choice to view this dimwitted elementary school dropout murderer through rose tinted lenses. Extremely strange. It appeared the author's family knew Casso's family...not sure but I guess that'd explain why he'd describe this little man as some god like super criminal when in reality he was just a common thug. Below average IQ and obviously just operating on base instincts, any time he was confused or scared he'd kill the person. Not exactly the criminal mastermind Carlo'd have you believe. Watch a few interviews and observe him, the juxtaposition of reality and this book is really hard to explain.

Like his other books, great topic but the repetition and poor form reads like a elementary school book report. It read as if he'd write for a few hours, stop, and then start again and not remember what he'd already written. If his books have been edited the publisher needs to replace that editor with one with a memory longer than 2 paragraphs.

I learned my lesson, no more Philip Carlo audiobooks.



  • Beastie Boys Book

  • By: Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz
  • Narrated by: Michael Diamond, Adam Horovitz, various
  • Length: 12 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,324
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,007
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3,981

A panoramic experience that tells the story of Beastie Boys, an audiobook as unique as the band itself. Formed as a New York City hardcore band in 1981, Beastie Boys struck an unlikely path to global hip hop superstardom. Here is their story, told for the first time in the words of the band. Adam “ADROCK” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond offer revealing and very funny accounts of their transition from teenage punks to budding rappers. For more than 30 years, this band has had an inescapable and indelible influence on popular culture.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • License to Listen - The Illest Communication

  • By J. Combs on 12-12-18

Great autobiography, probably one of the best.

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

Reviewed: 01-18-19

This is one of those almost unbelievable autobiographies that is truly amazing. Not only the content was excellent but the celebrity writing and voicing the book was extremely impressive. They're super nice guys and should serve as inspiration for people with more drive and support than talent. I don't mean that in a bad way, by the way.

I love autobiographies and this is probably one of the best. Keith Richards' is also excellent.