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  • A Taste for Monsters

  • By: Matthew J. Kirby
  • Narrated by: Anna Mountford
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

The real monsters are men. London 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, with nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in London Hospital. Evelyn wanted to be locked away from the world like he is, shut away from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • My taste was sated.

  • By Kindle Customer on 03-01-17

An Outstanding Heroine and Deeply Humane Story

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

Reviewed: 10-20-16

I had high hopes for this novel, but I was unprepared for how thoroughly it won me over. I was entranced.

As a historian, I'm very interested in the Whitechapel murders and their context in the East End of London, and the careful research in evidence in A Taste for Monsters satisfied me deeply. I've walked in the characters' footsteps at London Hospital, Spitalfields, and Whitechapel, and I delighted in the sharp detail Kirby brought to the story.

But there's so much more. So many times in historical novels -- especially YA novels -- the desire to have a plucky, gutsy heroine leads to all kinds of anachronistic behavior, dialog, etc. Not here. Evelyn is an outstanding heroine, a young woman disfigured by her work with poisonous phosphorus as a "matchstick girl" and struggling to find a means of supporting herself with dignity. Similarly, Kirby addresses Jack the Ripper in a most refreshing fashion, focusing not on following the monster who killed but instead on restoring and respecting the humanity of the women who were murdered.

This entire story is shot through not only with delicious Gothic atmosphere and genuine peril, but also with gentle, humane insight. Evelyn's work and friendship with Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, is a centerpiece of this mystery/horror/historical/coming-of-age story, and it's simply beautiful.

I can't recommend this enough!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Children of the Different

  • By: S. C. Flynn
  • Narrated by: Stephen Briggs
  • Length: 9 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 12
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Nineteen years ago, a brain disease known as the Great Madness killed most of the world's population. The survivors all had something different about their minds. Now, at the start of adolescence, their children enter a trance-like state known as the Changeland and emerge either with special mental powers or as cannibalistic Ferals. In the great forest of South West Australia, 13-year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah go through the Changeland. They encounter an enemy known as the Anteater who feeds on human life.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Unique!!

  • By Natalie @ ABookLoversLife on 03-28-17

A Different Dystopia

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

Reviewed: 09-05-16

There are plenty of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories out there for younger readers, but I'm pleased to see that Children of the Different offers an alternative from the "same old same old" for its audience.

The novel falls somewhere between the middle-reader and young-adult categories, and it follows the compelling characters of thirteen year-old Arika and her twin brother Narrah, inheritors of a world ravaged by the Great Madness, as they experience their coming-of-age via the dreamlike otherworld of the Changeland. S.C. Flynn blends science fiction and fantasy, original ideas and indigenous tradition, to create an imaginative journey with high stakes and able protagonists vividly set in Western Australia.

What I appreciated most in this story is how it empowers young readers, giving them credit for courage and will and agency, and refusing to talk down to them. The final takeaway is one I definitely can get behind: technology can cause problems and it can also offer solutions. What science does, whether it is "good" or "bad" when applied, ultimately depends on the choices of the individuals who use it. Arika and Narrah wrest hope from apparent hopelessness, and the reader imagines that they will choose to heal their people and their world.

The solid narration by Stephen Briggs is helpful, because his accent and pronunciations assist listeners in feeling like they're in Western Australia.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Call

  • By: Peadar O'Guilin
  • Narrated by: Amy Shiels
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 821
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 776
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 778

Fourteen-year-old Nessa lives in a world where every teen will be "Called". It could come in the middle of the day, it could come deep in the night. But one instant she will be here, and the next she will wake up naked and alone in the Sidhe land. She will be spotted, hunted down, and brutally murdered. And she will be sent back in pieces by the Sidhe to the human world...unless she joins the rare few who survive for 24 hours and escape unscathed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Haunting, Harrowing, and Fantastic

  • By Amy on 09-03-16

Haunting, Harrowing, and Fantastic

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

Reviewed: 09-03-16

If you're within the sound of my voice -- or, more appropriately, the sight of my written words -- please take this as a given: I want to sit you down, shove this book into your hands (or the audiobook into your ears), and insist that you enjoy it. Now.

It may be easy to overlook what a stunning achievement this novel represents, but that's because Peadar Ó Guilín makes it seem so effortless as he draws the reader on from one page-turning moment to the next. It is a stunning achievement nonetheless, with its meditation on how a people's history returns to them for rectification; its all-too-relevant consideration of mass culture during its descent ("I don't care if I don't make it... I mean it. The country is done for, and we all know that's the truth. Aiofe is right. Even the survivors have nothing to look forward to except decline..."); its seamless world-building, folding real and mythic Irish history, language, and poetry into its storytelling ("Never has a generation of Irish children been so aware of its own folklore"); its related and stunning sense of place; and its utterly compelling depiction of a three-dimensional, dynamic, and partially (and permanently) disabled heroine.

I don't sell young adult dystopias short, but I also feel confident in saying that The Call transcends the labels others would place on it. Both adult and YA readers of science fiction, fantasy will find much to appreciate here.

The premise is this: Ireland is a nation cut off from the rest of the world, plagued by terrible retribution. Thousands of years after the Sidhe, the people of the mounds, the followers of the Goddess Danu, were displaced by the Irish and banished to a colorless netherworld, they have returned with a vengeance to destroy those who removed them. Every Irish child will face the three minutes of the Call during his or her adolescence. Few return alive, and most of those are twisted beyond recognition. Nessa, whose polio-twisted legs all but promise she will not outrun the Sidhe when her time comes, stubbornly prepares to meet the Call and win her survival.

What I appreciate most -- and that's saying a lot, considering how much I love about this novel -- is the nuanced, insightful way The Call handles the question of, and challenges readers about, conquest and conflict. What are the causes and costs of war? How we determine who is responsible? What does it mean to be guilty/innocent or winning/losing?

Take for instance this passage:

"'Listen,' he says, 'we don't need the Sidhe to teach us evil. We were the ones who put them in the Grey Land, remember? And not just for a day or however long it is the Call lasts. We Irish... we trapped an entire race of people in hell for all eternity just so we could take their homes for ourselves. You can read it in The Book of Conquests. I mean, look at it from their point of view.... There they were, a few thousand years ago, living in a place they loved so much that they called it the Many-Colored Land. Then this other group arrives, pretty much the same as them, speaking the same language even, except this new lot -- our ancestors -- were the first in the world to have iron weapons. They thought it gave them the right to take everything! Everything!'"

And this one:

"'How long must I wait?' she asks the mirror in Sidhe.
"As a survivor, she doesn't need to speak the language anymore. But many like her are more comfortable in it than English, and since they have no choice but to marry each other, the primary schools of the country are filling with tiny tots whose innocent mouths spout the long-dead language of their distant ancestors, which also happen to be the living, never-changing tongue of the enemy. Some day, she thinks, we will be them, a greater victory for the Sidhe than if they kill us all."

Like all great speculative fiction, The Call provides us metaphors by which we can question our condition and examine current issues in our world today. It also provides a window into history, art, and our common humanity. And it does so while providing a chilling and fascinating ride.

Amy Shiels' beautiful narration helps ground the text in its Irish context and bring the characters to life.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Jack the Ripper Victims Series: Of Thimble and Threat

  • By: Alan M. Clark
  • Narrated by: Alicia Rose
  • Length: 4 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

In Victorian London, the greatest city of the richest country in the world, the industrial revolution has created a world of decadence and prosperity, but also one of unimaginable suffering. Ever-present in its streets are rats, parasites, filth, death, decay, danger and sorrow. Catherine Eddowes is found murdered gruesomely in the street. When the police make their report, the only indicators of her life are the possessions carried on her person, likely everything she owned in the world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Sensitive Portrait of the Life of a Ripper Victim

  • By Amy on 12-03-15

Sensitive Portrait of the Life of a Ripper Victim

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

Reviewed: 12-03-15

This elegant and moving little novel takes its inspiration from the personal effects found on the body of Catherine Eddowes after her murder during the Autumn of Terror in 1888. Eddowes apparently carried all that she owned in the world with her, and Alan M. Clark extrapolates a life story from these items. The result is a powerful and well-researched meditation on the conditions faced by women in the East End of London during the late Victorian period.

This is not a novel about Jack the Ripper or about Eddowes's death (which is covered in a few brief paragraphs); it is a tragic and compelling tale about a woman's life. Its sensitive story puts a human face on both the so-called People of the Abyss and a victim of the Whitechapel murders.

Alicia Rose's narration fits the feel of the novel very well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

  • By: Katherine Howe
  • Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
  • Length: 12 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,536
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 847
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 857

Connie's mother asks her to sell an abandoned house once owned by her grandmother in Salem, Mass. Relunctantly, Connie moves to the small town and inhabits the crumbling, ancient house, trying to restore it to a semblance of order. Curious things start to happen when Connie finds the name "Deliverance Dane" on a yellowed scrap of paper and begins to have visions of a long ago woman condemned for practicing "physick," or herbal healing, on her neighbors in 1690s Salem.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Love it!

  • By Darinda on 06-20-09

What if the Salem accused really were witches?

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

Reviewed: 08-05-14

During her oral exams for Ph.D. candidacy at Harvard, Connie's advisor asks her the following about her understanding of the colonial American witch trials: "Have you not considered the distinct possibility that the accused were simply guilty of witchcraft?" Here lies the major premise of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.

No, Connie hadn't considered this possibility, and she doesn't take it seriously when Professor Chilton raises it. After passing her orals, Connie divides her summer between clearing out her grandmother's decrepit home in preparation for selling the place and trying to find an avenue of research for her dissertation proposal. Both endeavors meet when she realizes she may have a lead on a previously unmined primary source: a "recipe" book owned by one of the forgotten prosecuted "witches" from the Salem witch trials. Most of the novel follows Connie's search in 1991, but this narrative is broken up and complemented by extended interludes set during the colonial witch trials.

Howe's strength rests in description. Her portraits of colonial and contemporary Massachusetts bring the settings to life and make them central characters in her story. The fact that Howe herself is the descendant of Elizabeth Proctor (who survived the Salem witch trials) and Elizabeth Howe (who did not) also adds depth and texture to this intergenerational tale.

As a Ph.D. in history myself, I found much of Connie's experience as a graduate student to be familiar. The time frame for her research is wildly condensed from "real life," but Howe offers an explanation for Connie's advisor's crazed expectations. More than a few times I thought that writing this novel must have offered cathartic moments in exorcising Howe's own graduate school experience.

That said, Connie seems a naive, clueless, and inexperienced in her chosen field of study and even basic research methods, and I wasn't quite sure how she'd made it to candidacy at all. A third of the way into the novel I guessed exactly how the rest of the story would unfold, and I ended up being right on every count. This book therefore fails as a procedural story or a mystery. Its enjoyment lies in its sense of mood and atmosphere, as well as the strong connections it underscores between the past and the present, place and memory, history and identity.

Katherine Kellgren's narration was an obstacle to enjoying this book, especially the voice she used for Professor Chilton, which was such an outrageous caricature that it belonged in a farcical comedy. It's difficult to take a tension-filled scene of peril seriously when the narrator's reading makes you want to laugh.

  • London: A Short History of the Greatest City in the Western World

  • By: Robert Bucholz, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Robert Bucholz
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 823
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 724
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 730

No city has had as powerful and as enduring an impact on Western civilization as London. But what made the city the perfect environment for so many great developments? How did London endure the sweeping historical revolutions and disasters without crumbling? Find the answers to these questions and more in these 24 fascinating lectures.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Starting Place or Refresher

  • By Amy on 08-05-14

Good Starting Place or Refresher

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

Reviewed: 08-05-14

I went to these lectures in order to brush up on my knowledge of London's history (which varies depending on the era from "rather expert" to "rather sketchy") and gain new perspectives on the "Cool Britannia" phenomenon today, and this fit the bill. Robert Bucholz offers an interdisciplinary and broad history of the city drawing from court history, literature, sociology, urban planning, economics, and other approaches. He manages to cover a great deal in a short time, complete with entertaining asides and corny humor. I especially appreciated his guided tours of the city during different stages of its life (Chaucer's time, Shakespeare's time, Samuel Pepys's time, Dickens's time, and "Millennial London"), which provided very useful comparisons and contrasts. A work this brief covering such a time span cannot be all things to all people, but for someone already familiar with the history and wanting a refresher, or someone wholly new to the history and seeking an introduction, this is an ideal resource.

The individual lectures are as follows:

1. There's No Place like London
2. The Rise and Fall of Roman Londinium
3. Medieval London's Thousand-Year Climb
4. Economic Life in Chaucer's London
5. Politics and Religion in Chaucer's London
6. London Embraces the Early Tudors
7. Elizabeth I and London as a Stage
8. Life in Shakespeare's London—East
9. Life in Shakespeare's London—West
10. London Rejects the Early Stuarts
11. Life in Samuel Pepys's 17th-Century London
12. Plague and Fire
13. London Rises Again—As an Imperial Capital
14. Johnson's London—All That Life Can Afford
15. The Underside of 18th-Century London
16. London Confronts Its Problems
17. Life in Dickens's London
18. Two Windows into Victorian London
19. Questions Postponed and the Great War
20. London's Interwar Expansion and Diversions
21. The Blitz—The Greatest Target in the World
22. Postwar London Returns to Life
23. The Varied Winds of Change
24. Millennial London—How Do You Like It?

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • The Name of the Star

  • By: Maureen Johnson
  • Narrated by: Nicola Barber
  • Length: 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 274
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 244
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 247

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city - gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific work of Jack the Ripper in the autumn of 1888. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Boarding school fiction with a paranormal twist.

  • By Noelle M. on 07-30-15

Paranormal Ripper-Related YA

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

Reviewed: 08-05-14

It's hard to rate this novel, because it does many things.

For one, it's a YA fish-out-of-water tale about a small-town Louisiana girl who suddenly finds herself in a boarding school in London. As a glimpse of London life, popular culture, and history through an American lens, it's a very successful and often laugh-out-loud funny tale.

The novel is also a Jack-the-Ripper thriller about a copycat murderer who uses the original Ripper slayings as inspiration for "tribute" killings, with some clever and chilling contemporary updates to the 1888 story. This aspect of the novel, with its atmospheric descriptions and creepy depiction of the morbidly fascinated public at large does work on its own, although it's somewhat jarring next to the more upbeat schooldays story.

But wait, there's more! This book also serves up a paranormal coming-of-age and coming-into-your-powers narrative about ghosts (or shades), those who see them, and the secret police who are in charge of cases involving them. (Think of the Torchwood group dedicated to ghosts. I couldn't unsee Torchwood throughout this section of the novel.) In some ways the novel hangs together - thank heavens Maureen Johnson confined herself to the copycat killer and didn't go back to the mystery of the original Ripper - but in some ways this combination felt overly ambitious, as if everything but the kitchen sink had been thrown into the mix.

Johnson telegraphed at least three of the intended "big reveals" far in advance, so the mystery angle of the book fell flat. The less said about the teen romantic scenes, the better. In addition, I normally really enjoy Nicola Barber's narrations, but her varied attempts at a Louisiana drawl were so outrageously bad that they kept shocking me out of the story. Just dreadful.

I don't think I'll be following up on more of this series, but I'm not sorry I listened to the novel. Perhaps those who enjoy paranormal YA works will enjoy it more than I did. I listened to it for the Ripper connection primarily, and there were enough innovations there to make this worth my while.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Ripper Hunter

  • By: M. J. Trow
  • Narrated by: Terry Wale
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

Who was Inspector Frederick Abberline, the lead detective in the Jack the Ripper case? Why did he and his fellow policemen fail to catch the most notorious serial killer of Victorian England? What was he like as a man, as a professional policeman, one of the best detectives of his generation? And how did he investigate the sequence of squalid, bloody murders that repelled - and fascinated - contemporaries and has been the subject of keen controversy ever since? Here at last in M. J. Trow’s compelling biography of this preeminent Victorian policeman are the answers to these intriguing questions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Step in the Right Direction

  • By Amy on 08-05-14

A Step in the Right Direction

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

Reviewed: 08-05-14

It seems remarkable that there's never been a biography dedicated to Frederick Abberline, Chief Inspector for the Metropolitan Police and arguably the most famous of the professionals involved in the Autumn of Terror's search for Jack the Ripper - remarkable, that is, until one realizes just how much information we don't know about the man. I applaud M.J. Trow's attempt to put Abberline's life and work (both Ripper and non-Ripper related) into a larger context. I hope this is a starting point from which others may launch new research. I certainly learned a great deal about Abberline's other cases, and I was pleased to hear the Ripper murders put into a different perspective.

I especially appreciated how Trow used popular perceptions of Abberline and police officer George Godley, such as their portrayals by Michael Caine and Lewis Collins in Jack the Ripper (1988) and Johnny Depp and Robbie Coltrane in From Hell (2001), as framing devices for his deeper explorations into historical reality. (I only wish he had engaged with the portrayal of Abberline and Edmund Reid in the current Ripper Street from 2012-present, as well, although this book's publication date would have made that a very tight squeeze.)

This is not a flawless study, but it is both useful and interesting to those fascinated by the history of law enforcement, detection, and/or the Autumn of Terror. It has the sense of a "good starting place" about it, and I hope it will inspire more exhaustive research along these same lines. Solid narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Silkworm

  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 17 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,262
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,932
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 14,901

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy In Contemporary London

  • By Gretchen SLP on 08-24-16

A worthy sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling!

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

Reviewed: 07-01-14

This was a thoroughly satisfying sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling, and I'm looking forward to more in this series. As with the first novel, J.K. Rowling (as Robert Galbraith) gives readers a new perspective on a world she knows well: in this case, the publishing industry. When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in Cormoran Strike to track him down and send him home. Of course, all is not as it seems, and ultimately Strike must investigate Quine's gruesome, grisly murder -- which Quine himself apparently described in detail in his latest unpublished manuscript, a text which also cruelly attacks almost everyone he knows (and thus offers many motives for murder). The mystery itself is expertly constructed, well paced, and clever.

Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin both grow as individuals and a team. One mystery from the first novel is solved -- that is, what Strike's ex-fiancee Charlotte did that was truly unforgivable enough to break up their sixteen-year on-and-off-again relationship -- while another is introduced regarding Robin's personal history. Both characters remain compellingly three-dimensional. Strike's defense of Mrs. Quine and both characters' interactions with the Quines' developmentally disabled daughter Orlando remind readers why these flawed individuals are nonetheless the "heroes" of the tale. Cormoran's younger half-brother Al also puts Strike in a new perspective, and I hope we'll see more of him. London is very much a character in its own right, as well, and Rowling paints its portrait in beautiful detail.

This novel has none of the symptoms of second-book symptom. Rowling knows how to draw characters, plot mysteries, and evoke settings, and all three talents are well displayed here.

This is the third audiobook I've listened to narrated by Robert Glenister, and he continues to blow me away with his pitch-perfect readings. He is perfection.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Hell Is Empty

  • A Walt Longmire Mystery
  • By: Craig Johnson
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,246
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,798
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,788

Spur Award-winner Craig Johnson has garnered critical acclaim for his Walt Longmire mysteries. In this riveting seventh entry, Wyoming’s Absaroka County sheriff, Walt Longmire, is pushed beyond his limits. When three hardened convicts escape FBI custody in a mountain blizzard, an armed psychopath leads them up Big Horn Mountain. As Longmire struggles to track their treacherous ascent, he’ll need all the help he can get from the tribal spirits of the towering summit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The MOST exciting and suspenseful book in the seri

  • By PlantCrone on 07-11-15

Walt Longmire follows Dante into a frozen hell

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

Reviewed: 04-26-14

Craig Johnson manages to do something different with every new addition to his Walt Longmire series, and in the case of Hell is Empty, he's created one of his most memorable and meaningful novels yet. The majority of the novel follows Walt's one-man hunt for the convicted and escaped murderer Raynaud Shade in the icy hell of the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area at 13,000-foot elevation during a winter blizzard. This cat-and-mouse pursuit unfolds as an extended reimagining and commentary on Dante's Inferno, complete with its own Virgil -- that is, the return of Virgil White Buffalo from Another Man's Moccasins, who happens to be the grandfather of one of Shade's victims, and who may or may not be dead at the time he helps Walt on his quest.

(Needless to say, this is not the place to start the Longmire series. But if you're already a fan, this is a special treat.)

Suffering from a concussion, hypothermia, exhaustion, and the effects of high elevation, Longmire is hardly a reliable narrator, and Johnson satisfyingly offers both mystical and medical explanations for (most of) what happens in the mountains during Longmire's long night of the soul. This seventh Longmire novel transcends traditional man vs. man and man vs. wilderness conflicts to achieve an introspective, philosophical, spiritual tale worthy of Dante (seasoned with plenty of Homer for extra flavor). I completed this with breathless relish.

George Guidall was made to read these books. His narration is perfection.