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Mark

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Laugh Out Loud Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 23-05-20

This has to be one of the best written, funniest, rudest and most superbly read novels in all of Audible's library. It is certainly not for the faint hearted but I loved it. The writing, the narration and the cast of characters are amazing. 'Sick Boy' is just magnificent and the duplicitous old killer dog artist Frank Begby is slyly awesome. I'd love to see this as a film. 5 * at the least.

Niven on Top Form

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

Reviewed: 12-05-20

This novel has an audacious plot and is part political satire and part thriller. I loved it and raced through it. The book is not so much a whodunnit but more of a 'when's he going to do it and to whom and how?'. It is a shockingly believable portrait of an America that might just happen if the wrong people stay in control long enough and the right people get angry enough to do something about it. Crisply paced and brilliantly read, this is an absolute must for anyone who loves intelligent satire laced with warmth, wit, sadness and truly just deserts for those that need them.

Irreverent Satire: 'Be Nice'

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

Reviewed: 09-05-20

I really like John Niven and the filthier and funnier he is the better. Here, it's not so much religion that is being satirised (although it does come in for quite a lot of stick), it is humanity, or our lack of it, as we fight amongst ourselves and pursue ridiculously unnecessary goals - fame, wealth, religious righteousness etc. Basically God has been away fishing for a celestial week and in the earthly equivalent of that time, 400 years, we've really screwed things up so God interrupts JC jamming with Hendrix in Heaven and sends him back to earth to sort things out by winning American Pop Idol and saving humanity. Well that's the plan... God and JC come out of this really well, less so religion. The book moves along at a brisk pace and is populated by some great characters and I was delighted to see Niven anti - hero Steven Stelfox make a cameo appearance as a Simon Cowell like figure. If you like John Niven or just like funny satires on the modern condition then this is a book for you.




What is Normal?

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

Reviewed: 03-05-20

I listened to this book because I wanted to see what all the hype was about and to have it under my belt before viewing the TV adaptation. I appreciate that listener reactions have been of the Marmite flavour with people seeming to love it or hate it. I went into this with an open mind and came out of it with no extreme reactions. For me it is an accomplished piece of writing and that is something I respect. I didn't particularly like the main characters and felt some of the minor characters were thinly drawn. The plot, such as it was, lacked real drama and I found it hard to empathise with any of the characters. Rather than a Marmite experience, I was was left with two slices of white bread. I wish I had enjoyed this more and maybe it will be terrific material for the TV adaptation.
Postscript. I have now seen the TV adaptation and it is superb. The lead characters are beautifully played and so much more believable and sympathetic. Often great books make average films and average books make great films. Try both and decide for yourself.

1 person found this helpful

Brutally Brilliant Hard Boiled Noir

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

Reviewed: 26-04-20

Don Winlsow is a genius. Let's get that straight from the start. And this book is utterly brilliant. Channelling Elmore Leonard, Raymond Chandler, Ernest Hemingway and other crime fiction legends (as well as himself) these six novellas are a master class in the art of crime fiction. Having read all of 'The Don's' work I was delighted to see some of my favourite characters reprised albeit in cameo role for some. Long time fans will love this book and new readers will also enjoy it. Don Winslow is in 'the tube' and it is gorgeous.

The Sunnier Side of John Niven

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

Reviewed: 16-04-20

I love John Niven for his sharp, acerbic and viciously funny writing so this shift of gears to a gentler paced satire was a surprise to me. At first I thought it was like Lou Reed going all John Denver but actually he pulls it off with a bizarrely heartwarming tale of bank robbing ladies of a certain age, old lags, dodgy gangsters and clumsy cops all farcically embroiled in an intercontinental chase that never ceases to entertain.

Brilliant, Unsettling and Poignant

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

Reviewed: 09-04-20

This is a remarkable piece of work that has been extensively reviewed, revered and reviled in more or less equal measure.
What cannot be denied is that it is an astonishingly brilliant piece of writing and Jeremy Irons is the perfect narrator to help us navigate the swamp of HH's repugnant memoir of obsession and depravity. One of the best Audible books I've listened to.

A Serious Book About a Serious Subject

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

Reviewed: 02-04-20

This is an absorbing insight into the frustrations, idiocies and miscarriages of justice within the English legal system as seen from a working Barrister's point of view. It is superbly narrated and jam packed with information and examples that clearly illustrate the writer's views of the many shortcomings of our legal system. My blood froze when I realised the implications of facing criminal court proceedings without legal aid or the wherewithal to fund private representation. A truly illuminating book.

Great Stories of Life on the Road

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

Reviewed: 15-03-20

This is a very conversational listen - like you are in a late night bar with the road mangler holding forth on his amazing life. I suspect most of his anecdotes are true because it would be hard to make this stuff up. Actually I wouldn't care either way as it is such an entertaining listen and a great way to pass four hours.

What would you do?

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

Reviewed: 01-03-20

This is a fascinating insight into decision making in the fire service and how research has contributed to improvements that transcend traditional deference to hierarchy. Built around real life scenarios and realistic case studies the listener is put into the position of the fire commander and other colleagues as they seek to make the best decisions in life and death situations. This makes for a compelling listen and this listener was left feeling grateful and humbled that we have such committed fire fighters as Dr Sabrina Cohen - Hatton working on our behalf.