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New Orleans, United States Minor Outlying Islands
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  • Wrecked

  • An IQ Novel
  • By: Joe Ide
  • Narrated by: Sullivan Jones
  • Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 598
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 554
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 550

Isaiah Quintabe - IQ for short - has never been more successful or felt more alone. A series of high-profile wins in his hometown of East Long Beach have made him notorious. Dodson, once his sidekick, is now his full-fledged partner, hell-bent on giving IQ's PI business some legitimacy. So when a young painter approaches IQ for help tracking down her missing mother, it's not just the case Isaiah's looking for but the human connection. And when his new confidant turns out to be connected to a dangerous paramilitary operation, IQ falls victim to a threat even a genius can't see coming.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointment for this once promising series

  • By Terry on 10-27-18

“I Broke A Nail”?

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

I love this idea of the urban fixer – the one who will solve the problems the police or social services can’t or won’t. IQ uses his observation and problem-solving skills to help his friends and neighbors. This third book in, Dodson and IQ are partners, and while Dodson wants to elevate their business – he has a new baby to think about – IQ is content to keep working for baked goods. He’s a little too content and Ide has him almost wallowing in his poverty. There’s no moment of reflection on the needs of his business partner, or even on the fact that his work is a business. Ide tries too hard to portray IQ’s deeds for his neighbors as noble gestures. Because his work is not grounded by any realities of life, IQ spends the bulk of this book being pensive, humble and noble – and boring. IQ’s arc is very slight in this book.

Dodson, on the other hand, has shown the most growth and change over the three books even though he is the comic relief sidekick character. In this book, he’s got a new baby to care for, a mother-in-law to appease, an apathetic business partner, and a few former life loose ends to tie off and do so without upsetting wife & mother-in-law, and without the help of IQ. In many ways this is Dodson’s story.

And while Ide does a good job writing Dodson, he doesn’t write women well at all. His female characters are all hollow shells. He’s got the mysterious, ambiguous love interest; the brassy “round the way girl;” the demanding wife, and the dissatisfied mother-in-law. Any ground Ide has gained as a progressive storyteller was lost in this book in a single line – “I broke a nail.” He has a female character utter this phrase at a point in the climax. I think it was supposed to be funny, intended to break up the tension, but using a trite, and now old-fashioned, female stereotype is just lazy writing and not the way to go. All other indicators are that Ide is a better writer than this.

On the whole, Wrecked read like a bridge story on the way to something more and better – I hope.

  • The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten

  • By: Harrison Geillor
  • Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
  • Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 31

When Bonnie Grayduck relocates from sunny Santa Cruz California to the small town of Lake Woebegotten, Minnesota, to live with her estranged father, chief of the local two-man police department, she thinks she's leaving her troubles behind. But she soon becomes fascinated by another student - the brooding, beautiful Edwin Scullen, whose reclusive family hides a terrible secret. (Psst: they're actually vampires. But they're the kind who don't eat people, so it's okay.)

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not A Bad Deal At All

  • By Cidney on 01-20-16

Not A Bad Deal At All

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

Reviewed: 01-20-16


I think in order to appreciate Mr. Geillor’s storytelling one can’t take the source material too seriously. I’ll say upfront that I am not a fan of the Twilight series, and I imagine that diehard fans would not enjoy this send-up of their beloved story. It’s less a love story and more a dark fable about power and seduction, lies, secrets and manipulation. And while the story is funny, it’s not as funny as “Zombies of Lake Woebegotten,” and it is more sarcastic than laugh-out-loud hilarious. This story is dark and the primary character, Bonnie Grayduck, is rather unlikeable, not because she is bland and under-developed, like the character in the original story, but because she is a self-professed monster.

Geillor, whoever he or she really is, can write, and he wrote the heck out of these characters. He took the source material out of the young adult world and placed it firmly in the adult world. He took trite characters, twisted them up, and gave them characteristics that made them interesting. He plotted this story not so that one thing happens, and then the next and the next, although that does happen, but the plot unfolds through the characters and the consequences of their actions. If you read “Zombies” then you’ll remember Principal Levitt. He reappears in this story, and who he is, is important to the story because who he is drives his actions and his actions have serious consequences. Things don’t just happen to Principal Levitt and he doesn’t just respond.

Finally, I have to wonder if it is “Ms.” Geillor, and not “Mr.” because while the story is dark and violent there are a number of observations that are straight out of a feminine experience. I think women are less afraid of their own dark sides, and we know how and when to hitch on a smile and play along in order spare someone’s ego or avoid a conflict when what we really want to do is burn something to the ground. And maybe I just like the idea of this kind of story being written by a woman.

Eileen Stevens did an amazing job narrating this book, especially the voice of Bonnie, but… I did miss Phil Gigante’s baritone. He would have been wonderful as the Narrator, especially in Garrison Keillor mode.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Outlander

  • Outlander, Book 1
  • By: Diana Gabaldon
  • Narrated by: Davina Porter
  • Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53,787
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,784
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44,633

Why we think it’s a great listen: An all-time Audible favorite that mixes historic fiction, adventure, and romance with one of the most fascinating literary devices: time travel. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love. In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. But their blissful reunion is shattered....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Time Travel VS Romance Quandary

  • By Sara on 09-10-14

Jesus H Roosevelt Christ!

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

Reviewed: 04-23-15


I got this book on the recommendation of a friend who validated its current wild popularity. I’m not a romance fan, but my friend’s retelling of the story made it sound interesting and like something I might enjoy. Wow, I should have stuck with her version of the story! I like action, mysteries and thrillers. My favorite authors range from Agatha Christie to Michael Chrichton to Stephen King -- just so you know where I’m coming from. With that background I was unprepared for the plodding narrative of this story. After the first section, I found it extremely boring.

Gabaldon’s love scenes were hot, but everything else? Dry as dust. And I found myself not liking the primary character, Claire, very much. There’s something about her initial situation – accidentally traveling back in time – that didn’t ring true for me. She was a little too eager to go along with what was happening to her. She was a little too savvy, and her internal conflict – getting back to her own time vs. going along to keep her secret – didn’t last long. Soon she finds herself married and dragged along into her new husband’s familial and political dilemmas.

Perhaps if I found 18th century Scottish history more interesting I’d be more into the story and it’s historical aspects. Perhaps I’m too American. Pre Civil War American history – shoot, pre Revolutionary War American history! – is far more interesting to me than Scottish clan squabbles. And the writing could have done with a stricter editor. Gabaldon loves to linger on scenes that have nothing to do with anything – a difficult child birthing scene, a long, graphic description of Jamie’s broken hand, a romp on horseback – nothing that happened in these scenes did anything to move the story along. In fact, I skipped close to 20 hours and went straight to the last hour, and found I hadn’t really missed anything. Hearing the names of characters I didn’t know didn’t bother me. It was easy to get the gist of who they were to Claire fairly quickly. Hearing the end result of events summed up pretty tidily and without confusion the events that happened. It was enough to know “there was a war and people got hurt” than to go through the long, laborious description of the war and then the aftermath. I find it telling of the writing that one doesn’t have to hear the whole story to know the story and know exactly how it ends. This type of storytelling is just not my cup of tea.

I wanted to like this book because it is wildly popular. I wanted to be on the bandwagon for change, but I’m afraid that I won’t be continuing with this series. I’ll binge watch the first season when it comes out on Amazon, and probably get more out of the show than I would the books anyway.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Third Floor

  • By: C. Dennis Moore
  • Narrated by: Gary Tiedemann
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 208

Welcome to Angel Hill, Missouri, a town that shot blood from the ground at its own groundbreaking. There are only two roads in or out of town, and everything within those borders is subject to the whims of reality. Those who grew up here are immune to the town's peculiarities. But Jack and Liz have just moved here, and for their young son, Joey, it's almost like coming home again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • great read

  • By pandabear on 09-14-14

Creepy Comfort

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

Reviewed: 12-27-14


You’ve read this one before. It’s a classic haunted house story, with all the haunted house trademarks – doors that won’t stay latched, footsteps on the floor above when no one is there, lights that turn on by themselves. It’s all here including the skeptical spouse and the vulnerable child. It’s the slow burn storytelling and subtle build up that create the creepy atmosphere. This is aided by the other spooky stories about earlier events in the neighborhood. It seems that there’s more to Angel Hill than one haunted house, and I would welcome further exploration of this strange community.

There is comfort in that you know this story. You know how it ends. If you’re in the wrong frame of mind, this could be boring, but if you’re looking for something mildly scary to while away an overcast afternoon you could do worse than The Third Floor. It won’t challenge you too much but it is a solidly entertaining tale.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Never Coming Back

  • By: Tim Weaver
  • Narrated by: David Bauckham
  • Length: 14 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 47
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 46

Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie's house to find the front door unlocked, dinner on the table, and the family nowhere to be found - Carrie, her husband, and two daughters have disappeared. When the police turn up no leads, Emily turns to her former boyfriend David Raker, a missing persons investigator, to track the family down. As Raker pursues the case, he discovers evidence of a sinister cover-up, decades in the making and with a long trail of bodies behind it.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Where’s the Pho’ograph?

  • By Cidney on 07-30-14

Where’s the Pho’ograph?

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

Reviewed: 07-30-14


This one could have done with more storytelling and less explaining.

Part of what made “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series such compelling novels was that the main character, through his actions, told the story. That is, we the readers discovered the story along with the character. In “Never Coming Back,” the main character, David, doesn’t do much worthwhile discovering on his own.

Just as in the “Dragon Tattoo” there is a photograph and a missing person – well, a whole family, actually – and a distant family member comes to our investigator and says find ‘em. Unlike in the “Dragon Tattoo,” our investigator doesn’t follow one clue to the next and the next. He argues with his partner, he fights with witnesses and suspects, and he doesn’t follow-up on significant leads. Ultimately our investigator follows one corpse to the next and the next, and this high body count does not bode well for our missing family!

The Big Reveal isn’t learned through independent action on the part of our investigator, but instead is explained to us via exposition from a character on an iffy cell phone connection. I suppose the author intended the dropped words to build suspense. Instead it was tiresome and frustrating. And the last solid 30 minutes of the book is nothing but exposition, the Bad Guy sitting with David explaining why he went along with certain schemes and did what he did.

All in all “Never Coming Back” is not the best book for fans of mysteries and thrillers. Perhaps someone less familiar with the genre would find this book enjoyable. I found it somewhat uninspired.

David Bauckham overall wasn’t awful to listen to, but his American accents? Pretty awful to listen to!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Code Zero

  • Joe Ledger, Book 6
  • By: Jonathan Maberry
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 16 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,461
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,174
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,149

For years the Department of Military Sciences has fought to stop terrorists from using radical bioweapons - designer plagues, weaponized pathogens, genetically modified viruses, and even the zombie plague that first brought Ledger into the DMS. These terrible weapons have been locked away in the world’s most secure facility. Until now. Joe Ledger and Echo Team are scrambled when a highly elite team of killers breaks the unbreakable security and steals the world’s most dangerous weapons.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Back Off! Or I'll Bite

  • By Mel on 04-01-14

Like a Greatest Hits Album

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

Reviewed: 07-24-14


They’re all here! Amira’s zombies, the Jacoby twin’s berserkers, and Junie, Toys, Helmut, Violin and Arc Light all make an appearance, and there’s even a shout out to one or two of the short stories. It’s like a fireworks grand finale – they all go off fast and furious, and you have just enough time to recognize one monster before the next one explodes overhead.

Zombies, berserkers and quick-onset Ebola are scary enough, but what’s even more frightening is the DMS fighting the ultimate monster – one it created. There’s the real sense that Ledger and Echo Team are up against their greatest challenge. And in the end, do they really prevail? “Mr. Church” must answer some serious questions - for himself if no one else - about the DMS teams he’s created.

Code Zero is a fast-paced thrill ride full of monster mayhem and Ledger’s military might. Ray Porter’s narration is, as usual, brilliant. He is Joe Ledger. He is Mr. Church. He is Rudy, Bunny, Top and Circe too.

If you’re into monsters and badassery you can’t go wrong with Joe Ledger and the DMS. If you’re new to Ledger this isn’t the best book to start. At least read Patient Zero or the Dragon Factory first. For longtime fans and those who’ve read all the previous books, Code Zero is a real treat.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Bird Box

  • A Novel
  • By: Josh Malerman
  • Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 5,521
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,088
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 5,079

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, Malorie has long dreamed of fleeing to a place where her family might be safe. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: 20 miles downriver in a rowboat blindfolded with nothing to rely on but Malorie's wits and the children's trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Don't look!

  • By Lesley on 05-22-14

Dreary

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

Reviewed: 07-04-14


Not a fun summer read.

In this book terror takes the form of a knock on the door, a change in the sound of birds cooing, and imagined threats. “Something” is out there! Something unidentifiable, something that, though you don’t know what it is and wouldn’t know it even if you saw it, if seen would drive you mad to the point of murder and suicide.

Malorie, a young mother, attempts to pilot herself and her children down a river in a rowboat blindfolded. Her destination is a supposed refuge some 20 miles downriver. How Malorie got to the moment of this desperate act is the bulk of the story. She spends most of her time pregnant and scared in a house full of characters that are ill-defined and largely uninteresting. There are Tom, Don and Jules, among others. Tom is fatherly and curious, Don is paranoid and angry and Jules is good with dogs, and that’s about all we get to know about them. They bicker and they plan and they debate the nature of something they can’t see, have never seen and can’t study. All they know is if you see it, you die, and you will likely take a bunch of other people with you when you go down.

Seeking things with the ends of broomsticks and moments of attempting to identify half heard sounds are obvious attempts at suspense and terror, and end up being neither suspenseful nor terrifying. Imagine you’re standing in full daylight on a beautiful spring morning watching someone blindfolded, obviously terrified of what they only think they’ll run into, attempt to fill a bucket from a well. Yeah, that’s how I felt throughout the whole book. I waited for something to happen, something that wasn’t imagined by the characters or from a second-hand story they heard on the news.

And the soft, tremulous voice of the narrator only added to the heavy grayness of the story.

Perhaps this book wasn’t the best choice after reading exciting rip-roaring fare like “Mr. Mercedes” and “Skin Game.” Perhaps this is a story better suited to overcast, wintery days, but I found it somewhat depressing and claustrophobic. I wanted to rip off blindfolds and have the story just be told.

12 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Night Chill

  • By: Jeff Gunhus
  • Narrated by: James Lewis
  • Length: 13 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 135
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 136

Jack Tremont moves his family to the quiet mountains of Western Maryland hoping to leave behind a troubled past and restart his life. Instead, he finds himself caught up in a nightmare when his daughter Sarah is targeted by Nate Huckley, a mysterious and horrifying stranger driven by a dark power that will stop at nothing to possess Sarah. When Sarah goes missing, suspicion falls on Jack and he must uncover the secrets of the small mountain town of Prescott City and face the evil secret hidden there.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you like Koontz...

  • By R. J. Thorne on 09-19-14

More Frustrating Than Frightening

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

Reviewed: 02-16-14


“Night Chills” wasn’t a horrible story, but I did do a lot of eye-rolling listening to it.

One of the fiction writer’s credos is “only trouble is interesting.” But when the trouble comes about because of your character’s asinine decisions or forced and inexplicable circumstances, then the trouble is more frustrating and less interesting. Here is an example: You’re at a public rest stop. Your kids are in the car with you and you need a pay phone. You spot one some distance from where you’re parked, but instead of driving closer to the phone, you decide to get out and walk to it leaving your kids alone in the unlocked car. Oh, and this just after you’ve gotten a creepy message telling you that someone wanted to hurt one of your kids. So, of course, while you’re on the phone, you turn around to see a creepy man chatting up your daughters in the backseat. My first thought was, “dude, you didn’t see this coming? You’re in a public rest stop! Nothing good ever happens in a public rest stop,” and I rolled my eyes.

Here’s another one: Your young daughter is lost in a hospital. To help find her you’ve enlisted a couple of orderlies to wander the halls calling her name. It occurs to you that your daughter might not respond to a couple of strange men shouting after her, and so you conclude that she must be hiding. I’m thinking, “hospital is big enough for a child to get lost in but not big enough to have a PA system? Get on the PA and let her hear her mother’s voice,” but this wouldn’t have worked for the story as written. Child stays lost, story moves on, and I rolled my eyes.

The story’s interesting MacGuffin isn’t revealed until the last third of the novel, and then it’s not fully explored, which makes me think there might be a book 2 on the way. If so, I just hope that Gunhus can make his plot devices a bit more believable.

James Lewis didn’t do a bad job. In fact he did a great job. He has the wonderfully deep basso voice of a TV news anchor, great for reading the news but doesn’t allow for a wide range in personality and characterization.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Dark Places

  • By: Jon Evans
  • Narrated by: William Michael Redman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 28
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24

Paul Wood is a modern vagabond, a man who chooses to leave the comforts of San Francisco to spend months backpacking through some of the world's most challenging terrain: Cameroon, Indonesia, Nepal. While hiking in the Himalayas, Paul gets more of a rush than he bargained for when he finds the body of a murdered hiker, the victim mutilated in a way that Paul has witnessed once before, years ago and thousands of miles away. To quell a scandal, the police rule the death a suicide and close the case. But Paul can't let it go....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exotic Locals, Banana Pancakes & Serial Killing

  • By Cidney on 02-09-14

Exotic Locals, Banana Pancakes & Serial Killing

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

Reviewed: 02-09-14


The Lonely Planet traveler knows how to see some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic locations on the cheap. A passport, a backpack, a pair of good boots and a map of the local youth hostels and you’re on your way. Typical problems on the road revolve around disease, transportation, food and water. Who would think to add serial killer to this list? This is the idea presented in this creepy little story.

International backpackers are typically affable, easy-going and a happy-go-lucky bunch. Easy to make new friends of a variety of cultures and always up for “whatever” they are the low hanging fruit to the traveling sociopath on a budget. Our Hero, Paul, a world traveler of The Road, encounters this serial killer and begins a slow chase to find him and stop him forever. Part of this is a revenge quest – Paul’s girlfriend was one of the victims – but along the way Paul learns that the whole situation is even creepier than simple murder.

This slow thriller, set in the early aughts, has Paul traveling from internet café to internet café, from Cameroon to Nepal to Indonesia. The author paints each location beautifully; you know he’s been there, that he’s eaten the food and seen the sights. The thrill isn’t in the mystery, Paul figures out who the killer is pretty quickly, but in how he’s going to resolve the situation. Local and international law enforcement are less than helpful. It’s down to him, a Lonely Planet web editor, and a handful of acquaintances he met on The Road.

The storytelling is a little dry, and I would have preferred more mystery, but the backpacking lifestyle and each location is brought to vivid life, and it made me want to pack a pack, buy a water filter and hit The Road – despite the serial killer.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Dead Eye

  • A Gray Man Novel
  • By: Mark Greaney
  • Narrated by: Jay Snyder
  • Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,622
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,837
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,859

Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows - to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before. A killer who is just like him. Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fits well into the series

  • By Julius Butcher on 12-16-13

Boiled Down Bourne

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

Reviewed: 02-02-14


Take the Bourne stories and shave away character development, simplify the plot to good guy runs/bad guys chase, and you’ve got the Gray Man stories.

This is not necessarily a criticism. What remains is a consistent character – Court Gentry will always be a “singleton,” a lone operator, his character will never be complicated by relationships, and whatever trouble he gets into he will rely only upon himself and his wits to get out of it.

What we miss are answers to questions like how did Gentry become who he is? Why does the government want him dead? After four books we’re still left with vague and incomplete answers.

The action is non-stop and the book is a page-turner; I didn’t want to stop listening to it. And it’s a return to classic Gray Man after the book 3 side trip to Mexico. I do wish that there was more character development, and that the storyline had more meat on it. The action was projected; it was too easy to see what was coming next. I like the character Court Gentry. I’d like to see him interact within a more complex storyline.

Maybe we’ll get that in book 5. Now that Gentry is hooked in with a powerful foreign intelligence agency he’ll start doing the chasing instead of being the chased, and we’ll find out why the CIA wants him dead!

I love listening to Jay Snyder read these stories. He can go from Frat Boy Dude to Commando in an eye blink. His narration makes all the difference.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful