LISTENER

Stephen

Kensington, MD, United States
  • 5
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  • 7
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  • 7
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The Secret History audiobook cover art

Great Book, Credible Narration

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

Reviewed: 09-05-19

To praise this first novel by Donna Tartt is rather redundant, given it's wide success and popularity. I loved it in print and I love it in audio. The world and mood that Tartt creates in this book are seductive, addictive. Although we know from the start that a murder was committed and who committed it, the final outcome is anything but certain. Richard, the first person narrator, is interesting and tells his story well. I will be listening to this audiobook many times again.

I found Tartt's narration to be much more than adequate. If this seems like damning with faint praise, I take note of some of the criticisms of her narration voiced in other reviews here. But I think that she does a perfectly fine job of distinquishing the characters and in adopting a tone that is completely appropriate for the story. Her voice for Bunny is grating in the extreme, but then he is a grating character. I got used to her narration very quickly and I would say, give it a chance. One shouldn't miss out on this great story and apparently there isn't going to be a movie of this one!

Uncommon Type audiobook cover art

A Delightful Collection

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

Reviewed: 09-05-19

I found this collection of short stories by Tom Hanks to be entertaining, moving and overall, delightful. Some are better than others, or more to my liking, than others. Naturally. Hanks' use of the typewriter as a common thread to link the stories (very loosely), is clever and never heavy-handed. My favorite is the story that actually features typewriters and someone acquiring an appreciation for them. Hanks is one narrator who can truly do justice to his own writing. You hear his familiar voice and are at home in the story. I hope that he writes more.

Betrayers audiobook cover art

Time to Retire?

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-18-10

As a long-time Pronzini and Nameless fan, I’m sorry to say that maybe it’s time for Nameless to retire permanently. Betrayers follows the formula that Pronzini has adopted for the Nameless novels in recent years: Multiple story lines/mysteries presented in alternating narration by the principals of the agency: Nameless, Tamara, and Jake Runyon. According to the formula, someone, near the end of the book, will be in grave physical danger, but will somehow save themselves or will be rescued. The story lines will all be resolved and some version of justice will be done. Given these constraints, the novel provides interest, entertainment and satisfaction. Its vivid San Francisco settings and atmospheric descriptions are a Pronzini trademark. It’s a reasonably good read. I’m not complaining here about the formulaic nature of the book, but about the soap-opera flavor that has been included. I’ve noticed this in the past several Nameless novels, but in Betrayers it has reached an almost cringe-inducing level for this listener, at least. I believe this is made worse by Nick Sullivan’s reading. To give him credit, Sullivan is a master of multiple character voices, including both men and women. This makes the narration entertaining and very easy to follow. But I’ve been reading Nameless for over 20 years, and Sullivan does not sound like him. His voice and inflections are a little too light and cheerful for Nameless.
Inclusion of Nameless’ personal relationships and problems has always been part of the series. In fact, those details have no doubt made Nameless so beloved to Pronzini’s readers. However, we now have a family crisis in every book (This one is no exception); Jake’s dreary relationship with his lady friend; and Tamara’s trials and tribulations with her boyfriends. In Betrayers, not one but two of these personal situations generate investigations which become major storylines. It’s all just a bit much for me.

Futureland audiobook cover art

Masterful SciFi from a master of mystery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-31-10

I've been out of Science Fiction for many years, but an Easy Rawlins fan for many years since then. Thought I'd give this a try. After the first few stories, I was tempted to abandon the book: too dark and dystopian. But I stuck with it, and so should you. Mosley, like all good SciFi authors, creates a unique and real world. In this case, a rather frightening one, but intriguing. His mind/machine/spirit concept is uplifting, for lack of a better word. His characters are real and compelling, as you would expect from the man who created Easy and his corner of the world. Readers who stay to the end will be rewarded by the return of earlier characters, an increasingly fuller explanation of the world, and the possibility of redemption. This book is well worth your time. I hope Mosley brings back some of the people that he created here.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

The Other Side of Silence audiobook cover art

Another view of the narrator

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

Reviewed: 05-22-09

First off, let me say that I understand Robert's objection to the narrator. I'm a big Pronzini fan, and this is the first of his books I've listened to on audio. I wouldn't have picked this narrator. That said, I don't find his voice as irritating as the other reviewer did. I like this book so much that I am now listening to it a second time. Although the narrator's normal tone takes a bit of getting used to, I've come to appreciate that he does the other voices, male and female, extremely well, IMO. Not every narrator can do this. In this narration, you get more of the feel of hearing an ensemble of actors perform the story. One of my favorite narrations is Jeremy Irons' narration of Lolita (who can compare to Irons?) But even he falls a bit short in the female voice. As for this story, it's suspenseful, surprising, and satisfying; a great example of Pronzini's writing. So I highly recommend this audiobook, and say give the narration a chance, even if it takes most of the book to do it. It's outstanding Pronzini, of the non-Nameless variety.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful