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Cass

  • 10
  • reviews
  • 42
  • helpful votes
  • 230
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  • The King Is Dead

  • By: Ellery Queen
  • Narrated by: Mark Peckham
  • Length: 8 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 26
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 27

Someone is threatening to kill the King, and Ellery must take on the task of saving his hated life. Virtual prisoners, Ellery and his father are whisked away to an island "somewhere in the Atlantic." In a frightening atmosphere of industrial slavery and brute militarism, Ellery comes to grips with a baffling murderer who calmly announces the exact moment of the assassination. The trouble is, Ellery is with the confessed murderer at the time of the crime - so how could he have possibly done it?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing and tedious

  • By Cass on 05-08-18

Disappointing and tedious

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

Slow, boring and predictable. A lot of things in this story happen for no reason at all and the turning points of the "mystery" are underwhelming and presented in a clunky, repetitive manner. There is a lot of long, opinion-laden exposition that is very tedious to get through. The whole set-up is very cartoonish and when the eventual truth is revealed you can't help thinking that there had to have been about a million easier and more effective ways for the person in question to achieve the desired result, all of which would have rendered this entire book and the Queens involvement completely unnecessary. The end of the book actually proves this conclusively, just in case there was any doubt as to how unnecessary it all was.

I like old mystery stories and am generally willing to overlook outdated views, stereotypes, and storytelling modes, but the overall story itself has to compensate and feel worth the effort, and in this case it unfortunately just didn't. This would have made a great 30 minute old time radio drama, or even an hour long special, but 8 hrs and 43 minutes was at least 7 hours too long for me.

  • In the Blood

  • Jefferson Tayte Genealogical, Book 1
  • By: Steve Robinson
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,817
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,644
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,635

Two hundred years ago a loyalist family fled to England to escape the American War of Independence and seemingly vanished into thin air. American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to find out what happened, but it soon becomes apparent that a calculated killer is out to stop him.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Slow beginnng but 2nd half really good

  • By Ann on 03-31-14

Wonderful, interesting and suspenseful!

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

This entire series is gold. It's a great, unique take on the mystery genre and I have enjoyed every moment of this book and the ones that come after it. The mysteries are interesting and engaging as are the characters both past and present. This book, and the whole series, does a great job of balancing dual story lines and of interweaving the past and present into one comprehensive story that keeps you always wanting more. Tayte is an interesting character. I appreciate the way he's handled, and that his story lines and character progression generally feels organic and natural and doesn't fall too often into the common literary potholes by being too cookie-cutter or stereotypical. Well written mysteries and well rounded characters, what more could one want?

I would recommend this book and this entire series to anyone who loves a lot of mystery, a dash of history, and a very well told tale.

  • Magpie Murders

  • A Novel
  • By: Anthony Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Samantha Bond, Allan Corduner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,511
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,996
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,972

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the best-selling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A British Whodunit

  • By Sara on 07-24-17

Very Engaging

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

Reviewed: 12-10-17

The plot device of having two murder mysteries going at once, one "fictional" and one "real" that both relate to one another could easily have become rather cliche and forced, but the author does such a great job with both sides of the story that it is instead totally engaging and keeps you interested and attentive the whole time. The story is very well written and cleverly presented.

I really enjoyed both sides of this book, although perhaps my love of classic mystery stories shows in that my favorite side may have been the "fictional" story. I have deeply enjoyed both of Mr. Horowitz' entries into the Sherlock Holmes world and having him essentially in spirit venture into an homage to Agatha Christie was delightful. He has a skill for imitating the best parts of style and tone while still making everything uniquely his own. It's a little amusing, although not surprising given the necessary circumstances for the story set up, that he gives this same skill to his unpleasant author character. It becomes doubly amusing then when his author character in turn vests aspects of himself into a unpleasant character in his own book. Life imitates art imitates life is a theme in the book and I feel there's a little tongue in cheek going on there, although I could be wrong.

It is clear that Mr. Horowitz has a very good understanding of what people enjoy about mystery stories and why. It makes for excellent reading, although, to be honest, my only criticism of the story somewhat stems from this same point. While it is interesting to have a "who-done-it" that ponders the whys and wherefores of its own genre within itself, there were a few instances when this felt a little heavy-handed, as if the author were perhaps trying a little too hard to explore the topic of the genre itself and how people relate to it. While that certainly had a place in the theme of the story, there's a little bit of a tipping point for me whenever it comes across in a book that the writer feels they really understand what motivates a broad group of people in any particular way and either intentionally or unintentionally sets it out authoritatively as fact. I don't know why, perhaps it's just me, but it always rubs me the wrong way.

However, this one small irritant was in no way enough to cast too long a shadow over my enjoyment of the rest of the book. The characters were all well written and interesting, and the mysteries were as intricately interlaced, cleverly laid out and full of subtle clues as the author himself points out is essential to a successful entry in the genre. :)

I also feel like foreshadowing was used to great effect in this book. The fact that the present-day narrator tells us from the very beginning some part of what is to come but without any other context, keeps you looking at everything with an extra layer of interest and eases the otherwise just a little bit jarring transition between the "fictional" and the "real" that inevitably has to occur partway through the book.

One interesting thing is that although all the strings are tied up by the end in both sides of the story, I felt like the "real" half was, perhaps appropriately so, a little less tidy, a little less certain. That's odd considering it definitely is certain on the surface, but I can't help feeling like there may have been a few possible contributing elements of some sort that were overlooked, not by the author, but by the narrator, for personal reasons. Was she an entirely reliable narrator of her own tale? Perhaps. I hope so for her sake, and that it is only the cynical part of me that looks doubtfully upon a few aspects of how everything ended up and the terribly convenient way certain things came together to propel the direction her life took. I don't know if this trace of ambiguity was intentional on the author's part, or if I'm reading far too much into it, but in some way it works and feels fitting with the theme of tidy and untidy, reality vs fiction that the book explored.

At any rate, I very much enjoyed the book and laughingly have to admit, that if Atticus Pünd were a real series, I would actually look up and read the rest of the books.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • My Sister's Grave

  • By: Robert Dugoni
  • Narrated by: Emily Sutton-Smith
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,531
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,178
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,164

Tracy Crosswhite has spent 20 years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House - a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder - is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Quite good...

  • By Rebecca on 10-18-15

Good mystery, well paced

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

Reviewed: 08-12-17

This was a good, solid mystery story with nicely developed characters and good pacing. The flashbacks to the past were well used to give us a picture of the deceased sister so she could be real for us like she was for Tracy and we could care about what had happened to her, as well as giving insight into other characters along the way.

The twists weren't shocking, but they were well handled and enough trails were laid that it kept you guessing and hopping from one possibility to another. I liked the layered aspect of the characters as well, where few people were entirely what they seemed at first and everyone had at least a few dimensions going on.

Enjoyable story, engaging mystery and an all around good book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

  • By: Theodora Goss
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 13 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,599
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,486
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,478

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents' deaths, is curious about the secrets of her father's mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father's former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture...a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde's daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Cute, erratic, sloppy but not without charm

  • By Rachel on 07-07-17

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 08-12-17

Great premise, unfortunate choices in writing style with characters constantly breaking the flow to comment on the narrative and talk to one another. Made it impossible to ever fully settle into the world of the story.

  • 14

  • By: Peter Clines
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38,460
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35,624
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 35,628

There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • good narrator but extremely boring story!

  • By Amazon Customer on 02-08-18

Unique, Engaging Story

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

Reviewed: 01-19-17

This was a unique and very interesting story. It was neither a typical mystery nor a typical sci-fi story. It was something wholly unto itself and whatever it was, I enjoyed it immensely.

The characters were interesting and well portrayed. The individuality of the relatively large cast and how well their personalities fitted into the story and the things that happened there is definitely one of those things that makes the book work so well.

The creativity of the plot paired with the visual writing style pulled me firmly into the world of the story and let me experience everything first hand. It was a great ride from start to finish. The initial pacing could easily have seemed slow in the beginning when everything was being set up, but it didn't because there was always just enough interest and sense that something was "off" woven into the flow that it kept you engaged.

Overall, I was very impressed and I recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting, fun, engaging read.

0 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Obsidian Chamber

  • By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
  • Narrated by: Rene Auberjonois
  • Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,566
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,284
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,279

After a harrowing otherworldly confrontation on the shores of Exmouth, Massachussetts, Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast is missing, presumed dead. Sick with grief, Pendergast's ward, Constance, retreats to her chambers beneath the family mansion at 891 Riverside Drive - only to be taken captive by a shadowy figure from the past. Proctor, Pendergast's longtime bodyguard, springs to action, chasing Constance's kidnapper through cities, across oceans, and into wastelands unknown....

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Looking for a plot

  • By Olive on 11-23-16

Aggravatingly Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 10-31-16

An alternate summary for this novel might be: very smart people making strings of bafflingly stupid decisions and mistakes for completely unconvincing reasons.

It's heartbreaking because I really, really wanted to like this book and I simply couldn't. The beginning was interesting and attention-gripping, but everything went downhill from there.

There was no mystery to be solved in this book which felt very strange. I mean, I suppose Pendergast had a mystery for part of it, but we, the reader, did not since we knew what was happening and why for the majority of the book and were simply waiting for him to figure it out. I think I could have overlooked the lack of mystery if what took it's place was more compelling, but it wasn't, and frankly didn't make much sense either.

SPOILERS - The rest of this review contains spoilers. Please do not read further if you have not read the story yet and want to avoid spoilers.

I had a hard time buying any of the main cast's motivations for why they did the things they did in this story. There was not at all enough reason given for Diogenes' complete reversal of character and it was unrealistic in the extreme. "I fell in a volcano so I'm suddenly magically a better person?" What is this, Darth Vader in reverse? Also, for someone as supposedly as smart as he is - he interacted with Flavia under the identity he intended to later assume permanently? When he always intended to eventually ditch her? WHY?! Wouldn't he have used another disposable alias? So many people doing so many stupid things.

Like Constance. Just trusting everything he told her. I mean, yes, I know she had her own thing going on, but if he actually HAD had bad intentions, she would have been a goner. I mean, he tells her her health is going to fail and she just believes him? He gives her some unknown substance and she's like yeah - hook me up? Why is she SO sure she can read him, given what happened the first time? At least I actually did understand (and guess) her initial motivation. It was not pleasant, but it did seem in keeping with her character. She's always had a very distinct dark side.

I would have had more respect for what she did at first, except that by the end she completely stopped making sense and both she and Pendergast seemed to take the same mind-altering stupid pills that made them somehow forget all the truly horrible things Diogenes has done, and is fully capable of doing again. I get that family is complicated, but if you want to show pity on the man put him in a mental institution so he can get help, for goodness sake! Don't release him into the wild and hope his better nature just somehow wins out after he's had all his hopes and dreams stepped on and has, like, nothing to live for? That seems bound to go SO well, don't you think?

While I'm ranting - blaming what Diogenes became on Pendergast because he was responsible for getting his brother stuck in a box with scary pictures when they were children is ludicrous. Up until now, I always understood Pendergast's feeling of guilt, because yes, an older sibling would feel that way, and sure, it was a mistake with horrible, tragic consequences. These are the kind of things we feel guilty about whether it's justified or not, but to actually spell it out like it IS entirely his fault (and not that he just feels that way) is to completely ignore Diogenes' free will and total ability to make his own choices (not to mention the rest of their obviously questionable upbringing). You cannot void the man of all responsibility for the many horrible things he's done because "something bad" happened to him. It actually makes me very upset how the whole end of the book was handled. If it was a physical book I probably would have thrown it against the wall in frustration.

Of course, I'm only so upset because I love these characters and this world so much that it physically pains me to witness such a miserable, confusing train wreck.

I have been an avid fan of this series for many years and I suppose any series this long will have a few disappointments in it. They are definitely far outnumbered by the brilliant, masterful successes, so, I shall try to convince myself that this book was all a bad dream that never happened and wait for the next one.

34 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Transformation

  • Rai-Kirah, Book 1
  • By: Carol Berg
  • Narrated by: Kevin Stillwell
  • Length: 16 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206

Seyonne is a man waiting to die. He has been a slave for 16 years, almost half his life, and has lost everything of meaning to him: his dignity, the people and homeland he loves, and the Warden's power he used to defend an unsuspecting world from the ravages of demons. Seyonne has made peace with his fate. With strict self-discipline he forces himself to exist only in the present moment and to avoid the pain of hope or caring about anyone.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Seriously Excellent

  • By Sharon on 09-25-13

Wonderful Story, Wonderfully Written

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

Reviewed: 03-15-16

I absolutely LOVED this book.It might be my favorite book ever. I could barely bring myself to stop listening even though I wanted to spread it out and make it last for as long as possible. The writing is excellent and evocative, the characters multi-dimensional and so enjoyable, and the story held my attention from beginning to end!

I feel as if someone looked into my mind, found all the kinds of things I love, and put them into this book. If you like the hurt/comfort genre, if you like whump, if you like stories about deep and unexpected friendships, peril, angst, and characters you can't help falling in love with, then I am sure you will adore this book as much as I did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Hard Day's Knight

  • Black Knight Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: John G. Hartness
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 725
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 664
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 667

This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to save a client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined. Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil. Soon, they've enlisted the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel, and a strip club proprietor to save the world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Hard row to hoe, but well done!

  • By Author Tonia Brown on 03-17-15

An Unexpected Gem

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

Reviewed: 04-10-15

I was happily surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The usual suspects and scenarios were handled with some nicely unique little touches that, in my opinion, make it rise a notch above many of the other, similar offerings in this genre. The story was not complicated, but I kind of like that about it. It was interesting, fun, and easy to follow. The characters and their relationships to one another, especially the two main vampire protagonists and their childhood best friend the priest, are very enjoyable.

I have to give the author special props for creativity in the character department, I never realized that sweet, overweight geek vampires with superhero complexes were something I needed in my life, but now I do. I enjoyed the style of the narration, and the narrator as well, who did a great job reading this story and really bringing it to life.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to more from this series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • The Monogram Murders

  • The New Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Sophie Hannah, Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Julian Rhind-Tutt
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 675
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 609
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 610

Hercule Poirot's quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified - but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done. Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman?

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not Agatha Christie

  • By Molly on 09-17-14

Good story from a slightly aggravating POV

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

Reviewed: 12-12-14

I enjoyed the flavor and level of writing in this story, and the reader was excellent. The author did a good job of capturing the feeling of a Christie novel and of Poirot's character and quirks. The plot was enraging and kept you guessing, although the pacing did drag a bit towards the end. All things considered, I would have given this five stars except for two annoying factors that kept me from enjoying it quite as much as I wanted to:

1) The narrator. Not the reader of the audio book, he was great, I mean the gentleman telling the story within the book. His constant neurosis became tiresome and I find it very hard to take him seriously as a homicide detective when he is so continually and viscerally rattled by the mere sight of dead bodies (to the point of it potentially messing up the investigation) and when he becomes overwrought just because Poirot is presenting him with multiple possible theories to contemplate. At first I thought all the things that put me off about him were leading somewhere and it had the potential to be quite interesting, but ultimately I found what explanations were offered to be disappointing and vastly unequal to the oddities presented.

2) There are points when the story seems to side-track from the plot to go on little detours to explore various aspects of people's views on morality that felt kind of out of place and forced. Some of the revelations that came out towards the end of the book also felt somewhat flat and confusing in the face of the previous build up.

Other than those issues, however, I found it a fairly enjoyable listen. It didn't quite achieve the greatness it felt like it could have from the skill of the writing, but it was still good.