LISTENER

James W.

  • 55
  • reviews
  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 59
  • ratings
  • Jack Reacher: One Shot

  • A Novel
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,300
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,913
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,897

Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me. And sure enough, from the world he lives in - no phone, no address, no commitments - ex–military investigator Jack Reacher is coming. In Lee Child’s astonishing new thriller, Reacher’s arrival will change everything.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Work of Adventure Fiction

  • By Me & My Girls on 10-21-14

Great thriller on what Jack Reacher movie is based

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19

This was a very enjoyable read. I was concerned before I began since I had seen the Jack Reacher movie that was based on this book. I was worried that there would be no suspense. But that wasn’t the case. Yes the movie is based on the book, but there are significant differences. The basic concept is the same, but the movie melds several characters and there are major plot differences. The story concerns a troubled ex-army sniper who may have been framed as a serial killer. Reacher shows up due to prior history with the guy and he gets drawn into the action. Typical Jack Reacher suspense and action. Dick Hill does a great job as narrator.

  • The Surgeon's Mate

  • Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 7
  • By: Patrick O'Brian
  • Narrated by: Patrick Tull
  • Length: 15 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1,193
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 911
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 900

Jack Aubrey, Post Captain in the British Royal Navy, is suffused with happiness. The Shannon's engagement with the U.S. Chesapeake off the New England coast has resulted in victory, just another in a long string of them for Aubrey, nicknamed Lucky Jack for his tendency to win big. But Jack is less sure-footed by land than by sea.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great series

  • By Dan Wynkoop on 07-04-17

Like the series, this has its ups and downs

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

Reviewed: 04-06-19

I’ll admit, I am working through this series because I want to finish it. I don’t quite get the devotion some have to this series. I found my mind wandering frequently when listening to this book, though there were some good stretches of action. The story opens with a Jack, Stephen and Diana arriving in Halifax. Then they travel to England, escaping pursuing ships on the way. Stephen visits Paris with Diana, attending a science conference. Jack and Stephen then travel to the Baltic and convince some Castilian soldiers guarding a strategic island for France to flip allegiance. On their way escorting these troops to Spain, Jack helps an English ship catch a French ship, but damages his own ship, resulting in its capture. Stephen gets found out by French intelligence, but anti-Napoleon French underground agents help them escape. Overall, this book is a bit of a slog to get through at times, but there are good parts. Best to listen at 1.25x speed.

  • Tell No Lies

  • By: Gregg Hurwitz
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,887
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,886

The scion of an old-money San Francisco family, Daniel Brasher left his well-paying, respectable money-manager position to marry his community organizer wife and work at a job he loves, leading group counseling sessions with recently paroled violent offenders. One night he finds an envelope - one intended for someone else that was placed in his office mailbox by accident. Inside is an unsigned piece of paper, a handwritten note that says, "Admit what you've done or you will bleed for it."

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • The purgatory of group therapy

  • By karen on 03-07-14

Definitely not Hurwitz’s best work

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

Reviewed: 03-27-19

I have read and very much enjoyed several other books by Gregg Hurwitz. This book was definitely the weakest from him that I have read so far. I think that Hurwitz has a tendency to make characters act in ways that would be totally contrary to their natures, but this tendency seems to be on steroids in “Tell No Lies”. I don’t want to do any spoilers so I won’t give any specific examples, but there are very wealthy people with long histories of smart wealth management make imbecilic investment mistakes; the police officers were rather incompetent; hardened criminals melt into tearful repentance when their counselor has them join hands and sing kumbaya; and villains who act like psychopathic Bernie Sanders extremist fans. One or two anomalies would be okay, but there are way too many here. And the main character makes a lot of stupid decisions and doesn’t take some obvious steps, if you are being closely targeted by a psychopathic killer and your wife who you dearly love is also at risk, and the killer could set on you at anytime, wouldn’t you acquire a gun? And wouldn’t you have your well connected mother pay off whatever San Francisco politicians or party bosses necessary to procure a carry permit? All this tends to make the book too far-fetched to really enjoy, but I will say that Hurwitz is a compelling story teller and Scott Brick is a great narrator. Overall, I give this 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3. There are better thrillers out there.

  • One Corpse Too Many

  • The Second Chronicle of Brother Cadfael
  • By: Ellis Peters
  • Narrated by: Patrick Tull
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 406
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 346
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 348

When the castle of Shrewsbury is taken during the war between Empress Maud and King Stephen, 94 prisoners are taken, 94 are hanged. When Brother Cadfael arrives to perform the burial rites, he finds one corpse too many among the bodies stacked about the fortress.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Must-Listen!

  • By CatBookMom on 05-08-10

Great absorbing story with a mystery on the side

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

Reviewed: 03-17-19

This, the second story in the Brother Cadfael series, is more of a captivating adventure story set in medieval England than a detective mystery. The mystery lies behind the adventure, and does get solved in the end, but it isn’t the lifeblood of the story. It tends to have more of a flavor of a cozy mystery. The characters are mostly quite likeable and the reader gets drawn in to Brother Cadfael’s clever plotting. Patrick Tull isn’t my favorite narrator, but he doesn’t detract from the book. I read this series a long time ago, and I find I am enjoying them again. All in all, well worth listening to.

  • Heat Rises

  • By: Richard Castle
  • Narrated by: Johnny Heller
  • Length: 10 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,003
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 875
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 884

The bizarre murder of a parish priest at a New York bondage club opens Nikki Heat's most thrilling and dangerous case so far, pitting her against New York's most vicious drug lord, an arrogant CIA contractor, and a shadowy death squad out to gun her down. And that is just the tip of an iceberg that leads to a dark conspiracy reaching all the way to the highest level of the NYPD.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun, mild suspense and a bit inane!

  • By Wayne on 03-11-18

Solidly mediocre series for Castle fans

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

Reviewed: 03-10-19

This is the third, and probably best so far in the Nikki Heat/Richard Castle series. As with the first two books, it starts slow but becomes more interesting towards the end. I’d give the first half two stars but the second half three stars, so three overall. I find that I don’t care much for the wisecracking, glib writing and the characters are completely undeveloped. If you aren’t a Castle fan, you’d have no investment whatever in the characters. I will say that the ending was very unexpected and couldn’t be foreseen. All in all, only consider reading this if you are a big Castle TV fan. Otherwise there are much better books to read.

  • Shroud for the Archbishop

  • A Sister Fidelma Mystery
  • By: Peter Tremayne
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lennon
  • Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 139
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130

Wighard, archbishop designate of Canterbury, has been discovered garrotted in his chambers in the Lateran Palace in Rome in the autumn of AD 664. The solution to this terrible crime appears simple, as the palace guards have arrested Brother Ronan Ragallach as he fled from Wighard's chamber.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • meh...

  • By Jana L. Kane on 12-21-15

Good mystery, story telling a bit wooden

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

Reviewed: 02-15-19

Overall, I enjoy the Sister Fidelma series. This is the second book in the series, set in the seventh century and following the mystery solving Irish religious Sister Fidelma and her sidekick and amour, the Saxon Brother Eadulf. The author is Peter Berresford Ellis (writing under the name Peter Tremayne) who is a noted British historian and he includes some great historical details. This mystery was well thought out. I had an inkling of who the guilty parties might be, but the story was still good. The plot doesn’t drag but keeps a good pace. There are a few things I don’t like so much. Tremayne doesn’t seem to be a natural storyteller and so the plot is not nearly as smooth as say a Steven Saylor or Ruth Downie novel. Tremayne’s storytelling feels a bit wooden. Tremayne also tends to have very black and white characters and sides, often representing causes he feels strongly about. So Fidelma and Irish church are all good, and seem like progressive Episcopalians from the 1990s transported back to the seventh century. The Romans and Saxons are often the bad, corrupt, money-hungry conservatives. It would be nice to have a bit more complexity. I also find Sister Fidelma to be a bit pedantic and uptight. Tremayne tries too hard to make her the feminist superwoman - I think she’d be a more likable character if she had some foibles. All in all though, my criticisms are minor and this is a book well worth a read.

  • I, Sniper

  • A Bob Lee Swagger Novel
  • By: Stephen Hunter
  • Narrated by: Buck Schirner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,174
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 668
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 669

Four famed '60s radicals are gunned down at long range by a sniper. Under enormous media scrutiny, the FBI quickly concludes that Marine war hero Carl Hitchcock, whose 93 kills were considered the leading body count tally among American marksman in Vietnam, was the shooter. But as the Bureau, led by Special Agent Nick Memphis, bears down, Hitchcock commits suicide. But Nick is suspicious and asks his friend, the retired Marine sniper Bob Lee Swagger, to examine the data.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • from a former MOS8541 and Hunter reader

  • By Steven on 12-21-10

Starts a bit slow, but overall another great read

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

Reviewed: 02-03-19

I will admit that this Book started slow. The first quarter just dragged for me. But once Bob Lee got on the trail, things heated up and this was another great addition to the Bob Lee Swagger series. I really love Bob’s character, and Buck Schirner’s voice is an excellent match. I also loved Hunter’s implicit critique of journalists. He hit the mark in his comments as closely as Bob nails his targets with his sniper rifle. There was a superb monologue in which one FBI agent is speaking to another. Here are some excepts from the conversation: “The narrative is the set of assumptions the press believes in, possibly without even knowing that it believes in them. It's so powerful because it's unconscious...it's a set of casual...assumptions about a reality they've never really experienced that's arranged in such a way as to reinforce their....importance to the system and the way they've chosen to live their lives. It arranges things a certain way that they all believe in...it permeates their whole culture.” so true. But overall, if you enjoy Stephen Hunter’s books, you’ll enjoy this one too. Stick with a somewat dry beginning and you’ll be richly rewarded.

  • Scarlet

  • King Raven Trilogy, Book 2
  • By: Stephen R Lawhead
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 467
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351

After losing everything he owns, forester Will Scarlet embarks on a search for none other than King Raven, whose exploits have already become legendary. After fulfilling his quest - and proving himself a skilled and loyal companion - Will joins the heroic archer and his men.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Performance

  • By Teresa S. on 03-02-14

Good second installment in the series

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

Reviewed: 01-15-19

Readers should bear in mind that this series is aimed at a young adult audience, though it can be enjoyed by older audiences as well. I found this book to be mostly enjoyable, though I dropped a star due to it dragging in a few places. For most of the book the story is told as a story being told by Will Scarlet to his captor. I like this set up as it has you curious as to how things got the way they were. Then the story catches up to the “present” and the two storylines come together. The ending sets up the third book of the trilogy but seemed a little unrealistic to me. Still, this is a book well worth reading.

  • A Dangerous Talent

  • By: Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins
  • Narrated by: Kate Rudd
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,264
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,140
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,140

From the outside, Alix London appears to have it all. Unfortunately for Alix, what you see isn’t exactly what you get. A brilliant, once-promising art student, the daughter of a prominent New York art conservator, Alix and her world were left in ruins when her father went to prison for art forgery. Then she meets Christine Lemay, a novice art collector with deep pockets and a handle on a recently discovered painting by American master Georgia O’Keeffe. Chris needs the painting authenticated....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • I enjoyed this

  • By Constance Jenkins on 09-11-17

Enjoyable art mystery

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

Reviewed: 12-23-18

This is my first book by these authors, and I found it to be an enjoyable mystery. It is not a thriller and strikes more like a Mary Higgins Clark style than Baldacci or Child. This was a easy listen, but overall wasn’t as gripping as some other mysteries can be. I did like the scene in which Alix was able to unjam a pistol, which is the same procedure that basic handgun classes will teach you. It lent credibility to the story. All in all, this series is worth continuing with.

  • Stalking the Angel

  • Elvis Cole - Joe Pike, Book 2
  • By: Robert Crais
  • Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
  • Length: 6 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 438
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 402
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 392

Hired by a hotel magnate to locate a priceless Japanese manuscript, L.A. private eye Elvis Cole encounters the notorious Yakuza, the Japanese mob, and is drawn into a game of sexual obsession, amorality, and evil.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Not Crais’ Normal Standard

  • By Nancy F. on 01-12-18

Last third is okay, otherwise there are better

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

Reviewed: 12-16-18

The final third of this book is okay and would get 3 stars, but the first part of this book is pretty forgettable. This is my second Robert Craise book and second of the series, and I found his first book like this also. Once Craise forgets about trying to create a cliched, wisecracking caricature of a noir PI and gets into telling the story, he’s pretty good at it. It’s also when I start to care about the characters. Initially i didn’t find any of them compelling or interesting (I actually found all the characters irritating at first) but later on when they are in the midst of action, they become likable. I’ll still continue in this series, hoping that the books get better. That’s sort of what many comments suggest so hope it is true.