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Jan

Galax, VA, United States
  • 36
  • reviews
  • 206
  • helpful votes
  • 62
  • ratings
  • Shibumi

  • By: Trevanian
  • Narrated by: Joe Barrett
  • Length: 16 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,437
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 937
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 943

Nicholai Hel, born in the ravages of World War I China to an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father, raised in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go Master, survives the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world's most artful lover and its most accomplished and highly paid assassin. Genius, mystic, master of language and culture, Hel's secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection: shibumi.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Only a Russian could be this shibumi

  • By David on 07-15-12

16 hours and not a single likable character

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

Reviewed: 01-30-18

I really wanted to like this book, but with 4 hours left, just had to stop.

The premise is OK; US vs. an assassin, with an evil consortium of energy companies running the US. The guy in charge of the consortium is a prick, no surprise. But the assassin is almost worse, supercilious and obnoxious to a fault. Just a hateful guy who says and thinks hateful things that I just didn't enjoy being around.

The author seemed to randomly choose his topics for exploration; with four hours left, I have no idea how the assassin became expert at his profession but did spend 3 hours exploring a cave in the Basque region of Europe for no reason I can ascertain, joined by an insufferable Basque poet more obnoxious than the assassin.

In fairness, the author does write beautifully and you learn a lot about a lot of topics, particularly the US endgame in Japan during WWII, and the beginning of the recovery. But after one piece of action near the start, I've gone about 10 hours without a shot being fired. I'm more of a Reacher fan than Mitch Rapp, but I do appreciate some action every once in a while.

Though generally competent, the narrator Barrett merges Russian, Basque, Japanese, and French accents into a blurry mess, which detracts from the story, particularly when voicing the Basque poet, who I didn't like anyway.

I gave up after the assassin spent an hour verbally emasculating a girl who had the temerity to be young and American, something that someone who truly sought Shibumi, a "particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty" (Wikipedia) would presumably never do. There are enough jerks in the real world; I don't need to spend my leisure time with one as well.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Verdict

  • By: Nick Stone
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 21 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,486
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,009
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,986

Terry Flynt is a struggling legal clerk desperately trying to get promoted when he is given the biggest opportunity of his career: to help defend a millionaire accused of murdering a woman in his hotel suite. The only problem is that the accused man, Vernon James, is not only someone he knows but someone he loathes. This case could potentially make Terry's career, but how can he defend a former friend who betrayed him?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • One of THE best audiobooks ever!

  • By Sarah on 05-22-16

A really good story buoyed by an amazing read

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

Reviewed: 04-03-17

I'm not usually into trial thrillers but took a flyer on this one. Boy, am I glad I did.

The storyline is rich and complex, the characters diverse, intriguing and compelling. It's set in London, and the reader was phenomenal, bringing the characters home with distinct voices with Irish, Scottish, cockney, aristocratic, male, female, judge and jury. It really pulled me into the whole experience.

It's the kind of book that keeps you cleaning the kitchen (or your particular analog) well past your bedtime so you can keep listening, and one that you'll be sorry when you finish.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Black Widow

  • By: Daniel Silva
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,860
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,307
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,256

Gabriel Allon, the art restorer, spy, and assassin described as the most compelling fictional creation "since Ian Fleming put down his martini and invented James Bond" ( Rocky Mountain News), is poised to become the chief of Israel's secret intelligence service. But on the eve of his promotion, events conspire to lure him into the field for one final operation. ISIS has detonated a massive bomb in the Marais district of Paris, and a desperate French government wants Gabriel to eliminate the man responsible before he can strike again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WGV

  • By Walter Glenn Viers on 07-18-16

Intriguing New Character Makes This Tale

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

Reviewed: 09-20-16

Silva introduces a badly needed new character in a topical and highly engaging story. I'm not a big George Guidall fan, he does a nice job with this one. If you've been a bit bored with the last few, this one will recapture your interest.

  • The Drifter

  • A Peter Ash Novel
  • By: Nick Petrie
  • Narrated by: Stephen Mendel
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 932
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 843
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 850

Peter Ash came home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with only one souvenir: what he calls his "white static", the buzzing claustrophobia due to post-traumatic stress that has driven him to spend a year roaming in nature, sleeping under the stars. But when a friend from the marines commits suicide, Ash returns to civilization to help the man's widow with some home repairs. Under her dilapidated porch, he finds more than he bargained for.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great lead in for a series until...

  • By Kim Hamblin, PhD on 01-27-16

A New Author is Always a Risk:This is Worth Taking

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

Reviewed: 03-08-16

My inclinations lean towards espionage and thrillers, more Jack Reacher than Mitch Rapp, more believable than superman. This book is the perfect meld of exceptionally likable characters, an intriguing story, and a narrator who was born to read this book. My only disappointment is that the next book in the series isn't available (at least not yet). If your inclinations are similar to mine, take a shot; you'll likely enjoy it as much as I did.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Night Crew

  • By: Brian Haig
  • Narrated by: Christopher Lane
  • Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,013
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 929
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 927

Five US soldiers, tasked with guarding Iraqi prisoners, stand accused of committing depraved atrocities against their charges. Drummond is assigned to defend one of them: a hardscrabble young woman who is either incredibly naive or deceptively evil...and whose incriminating photos made the case an international scandal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I have missed Brian Haig! Glad to have him back...

  • By shelley on 03-26-15

A stinker I couldn't finish

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

Reviewed: 01-15-16

I've loved most (but not all) of Haig's other books, both the narration and story lines. This one is awful on both fronts.

The basic story line evolves around prison atrocities committed by either unintelligent or totally unlikable soldiers. Drummond defends one of them with a civilian partner, of course, a beautiful woman whom with he has a history.The book spends a lot of time making fun of the lack of intelligence of the defendants (really? dumb people jokes?) and the funky relationship between Drummond and his partner. It's closer to a bad rom-com than an action novel.

The reader's voice seems better suited for dark noir novels than a 2015 (supposed) thriller. I liked John Rubenstein much better, who in my head is the "voice" of Drummond.

If you're thinking this is a Drummond action book along the lines of past thrillers, you're going to be disappointed, at least if you only get half way through, which is where I stopped for the last time. Maybe it picks up after that, but I couldn't stay with it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cold City

  • A Repairman Jack Novel
  • By: F. Paul Wilson
  • Narrated by: Alexander Cendese
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,045
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 907
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 907

If you've never read a Repairman Jack novel, this is the place to begin. It's 1990. A twenty-one-year-old named Jack has dropped out of college, leaving his old life behind to build a new one in New York City. Manhattan's rough edges are jagged enough to shred any unwary newcomer, but perhaps not one who is determined to stay off the grid, at any cost, in the busiest metropolis on earth. And to do so, he'll have to take jobs of a less than legal nature.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fun, as long you don't think too much

  • By Andrew Pollack on 01-17-14

excellent, but frustrating

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

Reviewed: 01-04-15

The story and narration are fabulous, engaging and very entertaining. But it just stops about (it seems) three quarters of the way through with about six story lines totally hanging.

No problem, you might think, I'll just buy the next edition that finishes the book. Well, there is none. In all other books (it seems, I only bought the first in the series that should have been the sequel), the character is older, the narrator different, the quirky sexy girlfriend gone, and all story lines dropped.

Was the time spent listening to this book worthwhile? Sure, but if you want a complete story (which I think I deserve for spending the money and time), this isn't it. I also think the approach is lazy and frustrating, at least for me. Authors should finish what they start (and get their readers engaged in) and I shouldn't have to use a full credit on a story that isn' t complete. Just my $0.02.

  • The Game

  • Victor the Assassin Series, #3
  • By: Tom Wood
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,568
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,443
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,448

Victor the assassin is living a solitary, peaceful life in Iceland when he's drawn into a job for an unidentified Swiss broker. Having passed the test, he's introduced to a group of mercenaries and killers who are tasked to perform the ultimate assassination.In this group, Victor meets someone from his past, someone who recruited him to the life he now knows-someone he thought was dead. And when he wants out, it's too late-his former mentor has other plans for him...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 1 Review for 3 books in series

  • By John on 01-07-14

I couldn't finish this one

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

Reviewed: 10-13-14

Victor is one of the least likable characters I've ever met, just zero personality, and the perfect at everything hit man, extra proficient with weapons, martial arts, and an incredible ability to instantly, and without knowing all the facts, make the absolute correct decision during times of extreme uncertainty.

No situation he can't perfectly handle, no mistakes, no faulty logic. Ever. No wisecracks, flirting, or fun and interesting relationships with other characters. Yawn. Maybe people like that exist, but you wouldn't want to hang out with them, or spend 12 hours reading about them.

Probably OK if you're looking for pure escapism, but if you're looking for an interesting read with compelling characters you might ultimately care about, this isn't it.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Target America

  • Sniper Elite, Book 2
  • By: Scott McEwen, Thomas Koloniar
  • Narrated by: Brian Hutchison
  • Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,651
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,527
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,523

When Chechen terrorists manage to smuggle a Cold War-era Russian nuke across the Mexican-American border, the president is forced to reactivate the only unit capable of stopping them: Navy SEAL sniper Gil Shannon and his brash team of SEALs and Delta Force fighters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Couldnt put it down! I had to know

  • By Nina on 06-19-14

Meh. Just OK

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

Reviewed: 09-01-14

I liked the first book in the series, but this one felt like cobbled together bits of cliches and platitudes, from the presidential adviser who hates the spooks (who always seem to save the day) to ranchers who all wear Carhartt (enough already) and gladly face armed Muslim fundamentalists to protect their neighbors. Not to mention the soldiers and Seals who gladly and without a hint of fear fly to their deaths to save American lives.

Most of this book takes place in the US, the bulk on a Montana ranch where a handful of ranchers with hunting rifles (all ex-military like their fathers before them) hold off 20 Al Qaeda fighters with AK 47s and other more advanced weapons until the cavalry arrives. The previous book was much more overseas, which felt like the writer's strength, or at least a lot more interesting to me.

I got through this to the end, but it was close. I probably won't buy another book in this series, and don't recommend this one.





1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Graveyard of Memories

  • John Rain, Book 8
  • By: Barry Eisler
  • Narrated by: Barry Eisler
  • Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,055
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 959
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 960

What makes a legendary assassin? For John Rain, it was the lessons of love, war, and betrayal he learned in Tokyo in 1972. Fresh from the killing fields of Southeast Asia, Rain works as a bagman under the watchful eye of his CIA handler, delivering cash to corrupt elements of the Japanese government. But when a delivery goes violently wrong, Rain finds himself in the crosshairs of Japan’s most powerful yakuza clan.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Kudos to Eisler for some real life lessons here

  • By shelley on 04-24-14

Fabulous Read

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

Reviewed: 03-16-14

In this prequel, we get to meet the young John Rain, and learn how he got his start. In many ways, this is the most likeable Rain, before the physical and mental wear and tear. Eisler's read is nuanced and more enjoyable given that he literally put the words in the character's mouths.

Probably the best Eisler yet, and a great place to get acquainted with him and Rain if you haven't had the pleasure before.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Red Cell

  • A Novel
  • By: Mark Henshaw
  • Narrated by: Rob Patterson
  • Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 278
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 256

Red Cell follows Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke, two outcasts in the Agency who are brought together in the Red Cell, the agency’s out-of-the-box think tank. Stryker is a young and beautiful agent who’s struggling to recover from a job gone bad, while Burke is a straight-laced analyst who’s pissed off all his colleagues. When a raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan ends in a shootout, CIA Director Cooke turns to the Red Cell to figure out why China is ready to invade the island nation without any fear of reprisal.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Buy the Book Not the Audio

  • By Dr. Meggin McIntosh on 03-12-13

Very good story ruined by an awful reader

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

Reviewed: 11-10-13

I've been an Audible member for over ten years (607 downloads) and I'm hard pressed to think of a worse read than this one. Every conversation sounded the same, whether deciding what to eat for dinner or staring down an incoming missile. Men, women, Americans, Chinese, all sounded the same. This was particularly frustrating when men and women were talking because you had to listen especially hard to figure out who was who.

I don't know who Rob Patterson is and what he's done before, but it's as if they pulled some random guy off the street and said, "here, read this novel." "Never done it before?" "No problem."

The biggest shame is that the story is actually quite good. Put in the hands of even a competent reader, and it would have been fabulous. As it was, I put this down three or four times and had to push myself to finish it.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful