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Stephen

WORCESTER, MA, United States
  • 44
  • reviews
  • 76
  • helpful votes
  • 49
  • ratings
  • A Time to Kill & The King of Torts

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Michael Beck
  • Length: 28 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,378
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,083
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,077

The life of a 10-year-old black girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime, until her father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Lively voices tell gripping plot

  • By Paul Cragin on 11-05-12

Uncomfortable

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

Reviewed: 08-10-18

In _A_ Time_To_Kill_ my main take-away is that I was quite uncomfortable by the number of times the "N" word is used. It would be one thing if the word was used by black characters, but it is most often used by white characters and often used by the author when no character is speaking. Another thing that made me uncomfortable is the (I assume) white reader speaking in the voices of black characters from Mississippi. Too many times the characters sound cartoonish and tat seems insulting to me.

  • Break In

  • By: Dick Francis
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,398
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,261
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,260

Dick Francis was a jockey and horse trainer for many years. His experience gives his questrian mysteries an authenticity that has attracted fans around the globe. To honor him, the Mystery Writers of America named Dick Francis a Grand Master for his impeccably crafted contributions to the genre. Jockey Kit Fielding has been riding the de Brescous horses in a succession of triumphs on the race course. But this winning streak is about to end. Kit’s twin sister, Holly, has come to him in desperation. Threatened by financial scandal, she and her husband may lose their training stables.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really very good!

  • By Nancy on 01-15-14

Delightful Surprise

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

Reviewed: 06-19-18

I have known about Dick Francis novels since the 70's and never read one. Finally, the first Dick Francis appeared in an Audible.com sale so I bought it. What a surprise! I loved the way the plot developed. The characters are lovely. People will tell you that Dick Francis books are all about horse racing. Maybe they are, but I think it is refreshingly different from cops and detectives, or FBI / CIA agents. The reader is terrific.

  • Saving Faith

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Michael Kramer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,181
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2,863
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,848

Not far from Washington, D.C., in a wooded area of Northern Virginia, a small house at the end of a gravel road serves a secret purpose. With its sophisticated security apparatus and hidden miniaturized cameras, it is being used by the FBI to interview one of the most important witnesses the agency has ever had, a young woman with an incredible story to tell. But a few people know about the secret meeting. And for them, a violent drama is about to begin.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed.

  • By B. Yardley on 08-25-16

Skip It

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

Reviewed: 06-19-18

I generally like Baldacci novels. He must have gotten better as he got older. Saving Faith seems to be a fairly old novel. There are a lot of things about the book I really didn't like but it comes down to ridiculous premise; poorly drawn characters; unrealistic relationships. In the middle of the book is a sexual assault that is followed the next night by dinner, dancing on the beach and finally consensual sex between the same people. The relationship comes out of the blue too - no build up, no hint that this might happen. Note even any clue that the characters have any interest in each other at all. Another problem is that a career FBI agent has the bureau turn on her in a weird outgrowth of her divorce. What sense does that make? So, I would recommend skipping this book - read something better. Parenthetically, I did not like the reader either, but I can;t be specific about what I didn't like.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Fallen

  • By: David Baldacci
  • Narrated by: Kyf Brewer, Orlagh Cassidy
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,538
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,604
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,555

Something sinister is going on in Baronville. The rust belt town has seen four bizarre murders in the space of two weeks. Cryptic clues left at the scenes - obscure Bible verses, odd symbols - have the police stumped. Amos Decker and his FBI colleague Alex Jamison are in Baronville visiting Alex's sister and her family. It's a bleak place: a former mill and mining town with a crumbling economy and rampant opioid addiction. Decker has been there only a few hours when he stumbles on a horrific double murder scene.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This was supposed to be a VACATION!!!!

  • By shelley on 04-17-18

Disapppointing For a Baldacci

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

Reviewed: 05-03-18

I am a David Baldacci fan, but this book was disappointing. It has what seem like all the right elements to make for a good story, but it never seems to take off. The verbal explanation at the end, which wraps up loose ends and explains how mos Decker solves the crime (sorry, did that spoil it?) is waaaay too long. Its like Baldacci didn't want to figure out how to work it all into a natural course of plot development, or would have created a 1,000 page novel. Whatever.

The readers are familiar to Amos Decker followers on Audible and they do a credible if not great job. I have developed a real disklike for Orlah Cassidy's voice, especially the southern accent characters. All of her voices make character sound either pathetic or angry.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • New York Station

  • By: Lawrence Dudley
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6

In August 1940 - 18 months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor - Anglo American MI6 agent Roy Hawkins is mysteriously rushed from Nazi-occupied Paris to New York. Enraged at being ordered away from what he believes is the real fight against Nazism and Fascism, he wants to get back to Paris as soon as possible, even though he knows it means almost certain death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Deja Vu

  • By Stephen on 02-25-18

Deja Vu

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

Reviewed: 02-25-18

Mr Dudley tells a fascinating spy story set in 30's. With remarkably constructed period detail, Dudley dishes up an utterly believable story of New York (City and upstate) intrigue.

The narrator, Christopher Lane, does a great job with both men's and women's voices and manages the various accents. He brings Mr Dudley's story to life.

[Full disclosure: I knew Mr. Dudley at one time]

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Midnight Line

  • A Jack Reacher Novel
  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,213
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,398
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,364

Reacher takes a stroll through a small Wisconsin town and sees a class ring in a pawn shop window: West Point 2005. A tough year to graduate: Iraq, then Afghanistan. The ring is tiny, for a woman, and it has her initials engraved on the inside. Reacher wonders what unlucky circumstance made her give up something she earned over four hard years. He decides to find out. And find the woman. And return her ring. Why not?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Reacher doing what Reacher does!

  • By shelley on 11-07-17

He's Baaaack

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

Reviewed: 11-23-17

For Reacher fans, this novel is worth the wait. I think the story line is terrific because it stays true to the serendipitous events that usually kick off a Reacher novel, and it also captures the typical plot trajectory of a modest inquiry that uncovers a whole mess of trouble.and complexity. Reacher's background in the military again plays an important role, but in this case it is not central to the plot. I think Lee Child does women characters better than most male writers of this genre and this novel is continues the track record with a twist as well. Unlike some of the earlier Reacher novels, this novel has less violence. I really liked the West Point plot point.

Dick Hill continues his track record of great renderings of Lee Child novels, which I was glad to hear. The last story I heard him read was not done well, and I thought he had gotten too old. He's still got it.

Highly recommend for Reacher fans. For others, it will still be good, but some color will be missing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Cuban Affair

  • By: Nelson DeMille
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 14 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,849
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,514
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 4,490

Daniel Graham MacCormick - Mac for short - seems to have a pretty good life. At age 35 he's living in Key West, owner of a 42-foot charter fishing boat, The Maine. Mac served five years in the army as an infantry officer, with two tours in Afghanistan. He returned with the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts, scars that don't tan, and a boat with a big bank loan. Truth be told, Mac's finances are more than a little shaky. One day Mac is sitting in the famous Green Parrot Bar in Key West, contemplating his life....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun read with a continuous build, ok finish

  • By Virgil on 09-22-17

Where's the Beef?

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

Reviewed: 11-02-17

There was a lot I disliked about this novel, but still rated it above average. DeMille writes reasonably well (I have not read his earlier works), but this story lacks . . . so much. The main character is not fashioned like after the hard-boiled detective. Rather, he looks like the modern highly skilled military veteran, but he acts and sounds like a 50's neanderthal. The entire first half of the novel he is consumed with getting laid, particularity by Sarah Ortega, who has a lot to offer beyond being the object of Mac's sexual fantasies. Mac seems t be bungling through the story aided mainly by dumb luck, although there are some allusions to be protected by God.

The plot is driven by the promise (hope?) of suspenseful conflict between Mac and the Cuban police; the big payoff; and a difficult escape back to Key West. The only one of these that happens is the difficult escape, which occurs in the few chapters. All the rest is a series of uneventful plot developments with no excitement, no suspense and no anticipation. The author pops your balloon before you even knew there was a balloon to be popped.

The narrator apparently (listen t the interview that follows the book) has read many books by the author and he speaks eloquently about how he works to bring out the author's voice. While I can accept that the reader intended to do that I am not convinced he can hear himself, or that he actually tapped into the author's voice. If he did, it speaks poorly for the author.

There are enough pluses about the book to recommend it with qualifications. Buy it on sale if you can.

  • The Death Factory

  • Penn Cage, Book 3.5
  • By: Greg Iles
  • Narrated by: David Ledoux
  • Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 428
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 379
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 381

When a heart attack sends Penn's father, Tom Cage, to the ER, Tom begs that his son be brought to his side to hear a dying declaration. But when Penn arrives, Tom denies ever making the request - keeping his secrets for another day. The emergency hurls Penn back to a chilling case in Houston, where he worked in a DA's office known as the "death factory", which sent more killers to death row than any other in America.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Nice short story

  • By Michael on 09-23-14

WTF?

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

Reviewed: 09-16-17

A prequel, except it seems really like just a good way to sell Iles fans a book that isn't a book. Disappointment.

  • Natchez Burning

  • A Novel
  • By: Greg Iles
  • Narrated by: David Ledoux
  • Length: 35 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,379
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,066
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,061

Raised in the historic southern splendor of Natchez, Mississippi, Penn Cage learned all he knows of honor and duty from his father, Dr. Tom Cage. But now the beloved family doctor has been accused of murdering Viola Turner, the African-American nurse with whom he worked in the dark days of the 1960s. Penn is determined to save his father, but Tom, stubbornly invoking doctor-patient privilege, refuses to even speak in his own defense.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Giving the Narrator One Star is Generous!

  • By Johni on 05-09-14

Long Goodbye

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

Reviewed: 09-16-17

Greg Iles lost me on Natchez burning. After reading his earlier Penn Cage novels I looked forward to the this very long novel. Iles weaves a very complex story and develops what has become a typical rogues gallery of bad guys who do what they have done in every other Iles novel - threaten Cages family members.This novel exceeds the others in length and the number of deaths, but moves this reader not at all. Does Penn's and Kaitlyn's relation grow at all? No. Does Penn's daughter grow up at all? No. Does Natchez change in any meaningful way No. Basically, nothing happens except bad guys do bad things, a lot of people die, and Penn Cage eventually figures it out and escapes death himself.

Iles writes better than your average crime writer. Maybe I should try a novel that is not a Penn Cage novel.

BTW, don't buy the prequel book. It is about 2 hours long. Does really nothing to prepare you for Natchez Burning and it costs the same as a full length novel.

  • The Devil's Punchbowl

  • By: Greg Iles
  • Narrated by: Dick Hill
  • Length: 23 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,711
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,700

As a prosecutor in Houston, Penn Cage sent killers to death row. But as mayor of his hometown - Natchez, Mississippi - Penn will face his most dangerous threat. Urged by old friends to try to restore this fading jewel of the Old South, Penn has ridden into office on a tide of support for change. But in its quest for new jobs and fresh money, Natchez has turned to casino gambling, and now five steamboats float on the river beside the old slave market, like props from Gone With the Wind.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Southern Thriller

  • By Brad on 10-01-13

Striking the Sacred Cow

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

Reviewed: 09-01-17

I like Greg Iles novels. This the third of the series and I really enjoy the language and the complexity of the stories. That said, so far this one is the weakest of the first three.

My real gripe about this recorded book is Dick Hill's reading. I have listened to Dick Hill read a LOT of books and for the most part I think he comes by his popularity honestly. His reading of this book though, leaves a lot to be desired. First, Dick cannot do a southern accent. Given that this book takes place in Natchez, MI, he tries to give everyone a southern accent and it comes off poorly, especially the black characters. Second, Dick puts hysteria into the voices of some of the characters at certain times and his hysteria is awful, especially women characters - very much over acted. Third, voice modulation. Voice modulation is essential to keeping the listener's interest. But Dick goes from loud to barely audible. I generally listen to the stories while commuting and find myself turning the volume up and down constantly mainly so I can hear Dick's vice when he goes sotto voce. Annoying, and the extremes of voice modulation really aren't necessary.

I am not sure why Audible decided to have these books recorded each by a different reader. In a series of novels it helps with continuity when the characters sound the same from one book to the next.