LISTENER

Mark (markrjohnston@hotmail.com)

UK
  • 10
  • reviews
  • 10
  • helpful votes
  • 58
  • ratings
  • Dark Matter

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,929
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,749
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,747

'Are you happy in your life?' Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he wakes to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before the man he's never met smiles down at him and says, 'Welcome back, my friend.' In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW - This was a weird one

  • By Jules on 26-10-16

well executed

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

Reviewed: 14-06-18

the plot has something of a Twilight Zone feel about it... the narrator does an efficient job and the story moves along briskly while still taking the time to consider the emotional impact of what the main character is going through. I read a dreadful book called "The Fall" some years ago and "Dark Matter" has a similar theme (although the actual execution, the writing, the plotting and so on are are far, far superior here)... unfortunately for me this somewhat impacted my enjoyment of this book. If, however. you've never read "the Fall" (don't, please, don't), then you should find this an entertaining listen.

  • Orphans of the Carnival

  • By: Carol Birch
  • Narrated by: Helen Johns
  • Length: 14 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 25

Julia Pastrana is the singing and dancing marvel from Mexico, heralded on tours across 19th-century Europe as much for her talent as for her rather unusual appearance. Yet few can see past the thick hair that covers her: she is both the fascinating toast of a Governor's ball and the shunned, revolting, unnatural beast to be hidden from children and pregnant women. But what is her wonderful and terrible link to Rose, collector of lost treasures in an attic room in modern-day South London?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A remarkable novel..

  • By jaffareadstoo on 07-10-16

Drawn out

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

Reviewed: 24-06-17

Initially engaging and intriguing, the narrative soon becomes repetitive and long-winded as we are we are told over and over again how people react to the heroine's peculiar appearance and how she dances and sings and and travels... chapter after chapter sounds pretty much the same as the story inches along... and the parallel story, set in modern times is just as slow and drawn out and is taking an absolute age to show any connection other than a doll owned by both characters... I'm about three quarters of the way through and I'll finish it out of sheer stubbornness.The book could've used some tightening, condensing and stricter editing... there's a good story in here but a lot of padding. Fine performance by the reader, good range of voices.

  • Kill Someone

  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,263
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,223
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,219

Here are the rules. Method: you can't use a gun. You can't use explosives. You can't use poison. It has to be up close and personal. You don't have to worry about leaving evidence; that will be taken care of. Victim: no one suicidal. No one over the age of 65. No one with a terminal illness. Choose your method. Choose your victim.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dark and gripping

  • By M. Williams on 17-03-17

great audiobook

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

Reviewed: 13-01-17

This is my second Luke Smitherd audiobook and it won't be my last. He's an incredibly inventive author and although his stories appear to be high concept, he fleshes them out with plenty of psychological intrigue and has the reader/ listener constantly wondering how they would react if they were facing the dire situations Smitherd's protagonists find themselves in. Both the books I've enjoyed so far, Kill Someone and The Stone Man, have an hint of Tales of the Unexpected or Twilight Zone about them, a slightly fantastical twist that never loses sight of reality and plausibility. Please, give this guy a go, you won't be disappointed, but be warned, he goes to some very dark places.
Oh, and very importantly for audiobooks, Matt Addis is a superb reader, well suited to Luke's wry style of writing... the Man in the White Suit (a character in Kill Someone) was a particular favourite of mine, his amiability make him all the more sinister. Loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Magpie Murders

  • By: Anthony Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Allan Corduner, Samantha Bond
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,587
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,326
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,314

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She's worked with the revered crime writer for years, and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It's just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway.... But Conway's latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Who? How? Where & Why?

  • By Mrs Q on 10-10-16

so original and gripping

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

Reviewed: 27-11-16

I've heard Anthony Horowitz on the radio many times and always found his interviews interesting but never got round to reading any of his books... I've been missing out! He's a superb storyteller and this is one of the cleverest plots I've come across in a long time. If you're struggling to decide on your next audiobook, rest assured this is a great choice; an original story, well told and read superbly by its two narrators. I'll certainly be looking to download more of Horowitz's work.

  • The Murder Bag

  • By: Tony Parsons
  • Narrated by: Colin Mace
  • Length: 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,476
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,385
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,376

Twenty years ago seven students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter's Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. Detective Max Wolfe follows the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the corridors of power. As the bodies pile up, Max finds he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Standard, but a high standard

  • By Philip on 05-04-15

Needs a good editor

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

Reviewed: 11-07-15

Tony Parsons is a respected journalist and author so maybe it's too daunting a task to have to ask him to tidy a few things up, tweak a line here, drop a paragraph there... and pay attention to the plot... lots of holes and scenes that don't play out very well (the "fire in the basement scene' doesn't really make sense)... I haven't quite reached the end of this book, but, depending on how satisfyingly it wraps up, I'll probably give the next book in the series a try.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Never List

  • By: Koethi Zan
  • Narrated by: Kristen Zieh
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 31

There were four of us down there for the first 32 months and 11 days of our captivity. And then, very suddenly and without warning, there were three. Even though the fourth person hadn’t made any noise at all in several months, the room got very quiet when she was gone. For a long time after that, we sat in silence, in the dark, each of us wondering what this meant for her and for us, and which of us would be the next in the box. Never get in the car.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thrilling story

  • By Pinkbee on 07-07-14

Meandering melodrama

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

Reviewed: 18-06-14

I bought this book based on the Richard and Judy interview with the author. It promised to be an insightful account of prolonged abduction and torture and how the protagonist deals with the the aftermath. Instead I found it to be meandering and convoluted, with revelation after twist after revelation towards the end, with a simply daft, almost Scooby-do type finale.
Amma Donoghue's "Room" was a much better account of life as an abductee, touching and truly harrowing, largely because of the understated way it is written, although I didn't have the audio of that book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Gone Girl

  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,592
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,950
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,962

Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do? Just how well can you ever know the person you love? These are the questions that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Keep going with this

  • By E on 23-02-13

Love it!

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

Reviewed: 21-03-14

A great story, really well read by both the female and the male narrators. Haven't quite finished it yet, but can't wait to see how it concludes, absolutely rivetting and so beautifully structured. So glad I took a chance and chose this one.

  • The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

  • Burton & Swinburne, Book 1
  • By: Mark Hodder
  • Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 244
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 187
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 183

Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman. His reputation has been tarnished, his career is in tatters, and his former partner is missing and probably dead. Algernon Charles Swinburne is an unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade, for whom pain is pleasure and brandy is ruin. The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum, when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not for me

  • By L on 03-06-15

Highly entertaining

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

Reviewed: 21-03-14

A superb match of narrator and material, Gerard Doyle's telling of this highly original and fast-paced adventure captures the 'Boys' Own/ Flashman' sensitivity of the story while giving it a dry irony and wit that makes the characters feel authentic and yet doesn't take itself too seriously. Can't recommend this book highly enough... looking forward to the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Guilty One

  • By: Lisa Ballantyne
  • Narrated by: Hugh Lee
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 243
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 201

Daniel Hunter has spent years defending lost causes as a solicitor in London. But his life changes when he is introduced to Sebastian, an 11-year-old accused of murdering an innocent young boy. As he plunges into the muddy depths of Sebastian's troubled home life, Daniel thinks back to his own childhood in foster care - and to Minnie, the woman who adopted him and whose love saved him, until she, too, betrayed him so badly that he cut her out of his life. But what crime did Minnie commit that made Daniel disregard her?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping

  • By Val on 15-10-12

excellent courtroom drama

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

Reviewed: 11-05-13

Incredibly well read, every character is brought to life through no-holds barred acting. The courtroom scenes are easily as riveting as the best in movies. The flashbacks are every bit as absorbing as we discover more about the defendant's lawyer and his own tragic past... highly recommended.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • 11.22.63

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Craig Wasson
  • Length: 30 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,247
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,060
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,050

What if you could go back in time and change the course of history?11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless.... King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of Elvis and JFK, of Plymouth Fury cars and Lindy Hopping, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill who becomes the love of Jake's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Return to top form

  • By John on 14-12-11

a perfect audiobook

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-13

a brilliantly realised what-if story with fleshed-out characters you can invest in, a real sense of initial wonder as the protagonist travels back to what at first appears to be a better, more innocent time and the fascinating sensation of observing historical figures close up. The story moves along at a relentless pace and yet there is time to appreciate various sub-polots and relationships without these holding things up. Real high-stakes drama as the clock counts down to that pivotal moment in history... all wound up with a rich and fulfilling ending... and as for the narrator, I can't praise Craig Wasson highly enough - the perfect reader for any Stephen King novel, his range of voices, his pacing and tone really bring the whole thing to life. A long story that never lags or feels drawn out, the author has a great tale to tell and the narrator does it justice. Fantastic.