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David M

UK
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Stone Cold Heart cover art
  • Stone Cold Heart

  • By: Caz Frear
  • Narrated by: Jane Collingwood
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21

A fractured marriage. A silent family. A secret that connects them all. When DC Cat Kinsella is approached by Joseph Madden for help with his wife, Rachel, there's not much she can do. Joseph claims that Rachel has been threatening him but can't - or won't - give Cat details as to why. Dismissing it as a marriage on the rocks, Cat forgets about it. That is until Naomi Lockhart, a young PA, is found dead after a party attended by both Joseph and Rachel, and Joseph is arrested for the murder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beauty Among the Beasts!

  • By Simon on 13-07-19

You Always Protect Family

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

Reviewed: 17-07-19

Clearly from the same stable as book one in the series. Set in central London, we follow a murder investigation from the perspective of DC Cat Kinsella of Murder Investigation Team 4. The story is linear and told using the first person present tense. There's no jumping about between time periods and there's lots of dialogue so it's rather like listening to a radio play in real time.

You don't have to have listened to book one before this one, but it would help. This book only briefly explains what previously went on between Cat, her father, Marianne and Cat's "Uncle Frank" from Ireland, but it probably explains enough.

As with book one "Sweet Little Lies" there's quite a bit of lying going on in this book too, by the suspects and witnesses as they try to protect themselves and their families. We also hear quite a bit about the personal and working lives of Cat Kinsella and her police colleagues so they feel to us like real people.

The story gets quite exciting towards the end as the truth starts to be revealed. The very end is intriguing, and hints at the possibility of a third book to come in the series.

This is a great book if you like police investigations or books with lots of dialogue. Personally, I prefer suspense thrillers and car chases. This is not one of those, but I'm still giving it 4 stars. It is really well written and narrated.

The Confession cover art
  • The Confession

  • By: Jo Spain
  • Narrated by: Michele Moran, Christopher Bonwell
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 291
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife, Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn't know the identity of his victim.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I cannot rate this book highly enough.

  • By Deirdre More on 18-02-18

A Really Good Suspense Thriller

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

Reviewed: 09-07-19

We hear in detail about the rather toxic marriage between an exceedingly rich Irish banker and his alcoholic wife, how he avoided going to prison after the 2007 banking crisis.

Then in 2012,apparently out of nowhere somebody breaks into their house and beats the husband 'to a pulp' with a golf club while the wife looks on. The intruder willingly gives himself up and confesses to the police.

What is really going on is what this book is about. We think we know, then that changes several times, particularly as we get close to the end of the book. All good suspense stuff and what we look for in a book like this. The reader needs to pay attention to avoid missing the good bits.

Thoroughly recommended.

The One That Got Away cover art
  • The One That Got Away

  • By: Lucy Dawson
  • Narrated by: Karen Cass
  • Length: 10 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

Molly Greene loves being married. Exciting adventures lie ahead for her and husband, Dan, that will change their lives forever, but Molly's not sure they're making the right choices. While teetering on the brink of the biggest decision she's ever faced, she sends an impulsive message to the very last person she ought to contact, someone who should have stayed forgotten and is now coming looking for her. When he finds her, there is no turning back. One night is all it takes to threaten everything she holds dear - for good.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Average; saved by narrator

  • By Nicks on 27-04-19

Pleasant easy listen

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

Reviewed: 03-07-19

So you're a happily married woman, your husband wants to try for a baby, you kind of want a baby but at the same time you're scared of having a baby so you're playing for time. Then you bump into an old boyfriend and sleep with him because you are drunk. In the morning you wake up next to him and tell him it was a big mistake, but he still has the hots for you and begins stalking you relentlessly and you feel this will threaten what you already have with your much loved husband...

Meanwhile we hear all about your circle of friends and your family life, your brothers, mother and father, grandfather, nieces and nephews. We hear about your parents-in-law with whom you perhaps have a less agreeable relationship...and so it goes on.

Oh yes, and the suspense bit, we spend most of the book wondering whether our heroine will manage to save her marriage. (I won't spoil the ending.)

Everything brought to life and made real by the excellent performance by Karen Cass.

Don't Ever Tell cover art
  • Don't Ever Tell

  • By: Lucy Dawson
  • Narrated by: Georgia Maguire, Rachel Atkins
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 115
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 114

Never make a promise you can’t afford to keep.... This is a story about Charlotte - a mother and a wife with the perfect job, the perfect life...at least, that’s how it looks from the outside. But behind closed doors, the marriage is breaking, and Charlotte’s husband, Tris, doesn’t even know how much. He has no idea what Charlotte has planned for him, who she has found, why she has hired someone to pretend to be her. But he doesn’t have long to wait to find out.... 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Cracking Good Book from Lucy Dawson

  • By David M on 29-06-19

Another Cracking Good Book from Lucy Dawson

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

Reviewed: 29-06-19

Charlotte is struggling as a thriller writer, it seems that her best years as a writer may be behind her. The best years of her marriage to Tris may lie in the past as well.

Then Charlotte bumps into an actress called Mia at the Edinburgh book festival. Mia has a striking resemblance to Charlotte, only she is 20 years younger. Charlotte is inspired by a plan to boost her flagging career - a plan which promises to lead to a multi-million pound book deal.

I was totally hooked by this book. The quality of the writing by Lucy Dawason had me totally gripped, I felt I was there as the plot took its twists and turns. At about the 8 hour mark, it felt like everything was just about wrapped up, then off the story went again on a new tack. I couldn't wait to see where we were being taken.

Lots of good stuff around family relationships, parents, adopted children, grandparents, ex-fiances etc.

Quite a satisfying ending I thought...except what happened about the contractual commitment for the second book? That was a loose end I was waiting to have resolved but it never was. It had the potential to be somebody's downfall.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Little Sister cover art
  • Little Sister

  • By: Lucy Dawson
  • Narrated by: Emma Gregory
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 19
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19

In the dead of night, Kate receives a phone call. Police have recovered her sister Anya's clothes and personal belongings at the poolside of a remote hideaway in Mexico - a place she had no idea Anya would be. Anya was last seen getting into a vehicle with a local diving instructor, but now he's missing, too. Their relationship has been complicated ever since a devastating tragedy blew their family apart, but Kate cannot believe Anya would willingly travel somewhere so isolated with a man she barely knows...would she?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing, from different perspectives

  • By Emma Reed on 23-04-19

Very good book. Thoroughly recommended.

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

Reviewed: 28-06-19

There are two concurrent threads to this book:

There's Anya trapped in a dark, watery cave in somewhere Mexico wondering whether she will ever see daylight again. Then there's the story of Anya's home life. She is infact "middle sister". There's also elder sister Kate and youngest sister Emily.

There's not a great deal to say about somebody sitting in a cave for several days hoping to to rescued, although that does provide a lot of the tension. Mostly this book is about family life back home, mum and dad, grandparents, tragedy, boyfriends, marriage breakups, ambitions, guilt, love and romance. It's a bit of a weepy in places.

We also wait with baited breath to hear the story about what lead Anya to get into that situation in the first place.

Time passed very quickly while I was listening to this, so that's a sign of a good book. I was 100% engaged in the story.

Great narration by Emma Gregory, particularly the male voices. Easy to suspend disbelief and think you are actually listening to a male voice.

She Chose Me cover art
  • She Chose Me

  • By: Tracey Emerson
  • Narrated by: Genevieve Swallow
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 3

Grace has returned to London after 20 years abroad to manage her dying mother's affairs. When she receives a blank Mother's Day card in the post, she is confused and unsettled. Who could have sent it to her and why? She isn't a mother. Another Mother's Day card arrives. Then come the silent phone calls. Haunted by disturbing flashbacks, Grace starts to unravel. Someone is out to get her. Someone who knows what she has done. Someone who will make her face the past she has run from for so long....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Maybe I missed the point?

  • By David M on 24-06-19

Maybe I missed the point?

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

Reviewed: 24-06-19


Being billed as Thriller / Suspense, I was expecting something from this book that didn't actually happen. As the end approached I was waiting for the big twist...but no twist was apparent.

OK, the book successfully built up the suspense which was good, but the reader rightfully expects suspense to lead to something. It didn't.

Every chapter starts with a date stamp. There were many, many chapters. We hear each chapter from the perspective of different protagonists, but the author doesn't tell us which protagonist is narrating. Very confusing!!! Luckily Genevieve Swallow is a truly excellent reader and puts on the appropriate character's voice to enlighten us.

There's a lot of deliberate ambiguity on the part of the author so it took a while to work out what was happening. Polly has senile dementia and is in a care-home. Polly's daughter Grace (43) has some mental issues and is an unreliable narrator. Grace in turn is being stalked by 19 year old Cassie who herself also has issues. The gradual clearing of intentional ambiguities felt like twists in the plot, but only gentle twists.

Mainly, the story is about relationships. If it isn't giving too much away, there was very little (if any) crime, and nobody got murdered. Surely every "Crime/Thriller/Suspense" book needs a murder doesn't it?

The quality of the recording seemed a bit poor when I first started listening, but I got used to it and after a while, didn't seem too bad.

One final moan is the author's frequent use of "I" when it should be "me". For example: "This matter concerned her and I alone". (This line was spoken by a teacher in the Capital School of English.)

The Suspect cover art
  • The Suspect

  • By: Fiona Barton
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Mark Meadows, Sian Thomas, and others
  • Length: 10 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 903
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 829
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 830

When two 18-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared? Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth - and this time is no exception. But she can't help but think of her own son, whom she hasn't seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Kate's Muddied Waters

  • By Simon on 29-01-19

Quite a good crime drama

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

Reviewed: 22-06-19

Quite a good crime drama, nothing exceptional.

It's about two 18 year old girls who raise a little money and go off together for a back-packing holiday in Thailand. The holiday starts to go wrong when they meet up with other young travellers in Bangkok, fall out with each other and start going their separate ways.

The actor reading Alex's part really wasn't very good. The voice just didn't sound like an 18 yo girl having a troubled holiday in Thailand. It just sounded like a voice reading a book without having any real idea what the book was about.

The story is told from several perspectives: Alex, The Reporter, The Mother, and finally The Detective. I found myself not knowing which one to empathise with, and in the end have very little empathy with any of them.

I've listened to a couple of other Fiona Barton books that were better.

A Face in the Crowd cover art
  • A Face in the Crowd

  • By: Kerry Wilkinson
  • Narrated by: Alison Campbell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

Lucy gets the same bus every day. She hopes to get a seat to herself, tries to avoid eye contact, and, if she’s really lucky, reads a chapter of her book. But it’s a Friday - and the bus is always crammed at the end of the week. Personal space doesn’t exist. She keeps her elbows close and clings to a pole at every juddering stop. When she gets off, something feels different. An envelope stuffed with thousands of pounds is in her bag. Is it the answer to her prayers, or the beginning of a nightmare? Because, in the end, everything has a price.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointed- not for me

  • By Mrsaj56 on 14-06-19

Easy Listening

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

Reviewed: 11-06-19

A rather gentle psychological thriller. No jumping between time periods, not too many characters, not hard to follow. The author did a good job of painting a picture of each scene making it easy to visualise.

The story centres on Lucy finding that somebody unknown had deposited an envelope containing more than £3k in her bag, which in her current financial state, was desperately needed. A few other odd things start to happen as well, and Lucy sets about trying to establish what is going on and who is behind it all.

Excellent narration by Alison Campbell. Her voices were no distraction to the story at all.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Spare Room cover art
  • Spare Room

  • By: Dreda Say Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Kristin Atherton
  • Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 147
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 128

Home is where the nightmare is. The number one international best seller everyone can't stop talking about. Beautiful double room to let to single person. Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely First Class Thriller

  • By David M on 08-06-19

Absolutely First Class Thriller

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

Reviewed: 08-06-19

This book with the unpromising title turned out to be a first class thriller. With revelations coming along at regular intervals it became so much more than a story about a spare room with a past. We had characters we could believe in and empathise with. Much helped by Kristin Atherton's excellent narration.

In a bit more detail, Lisa Kendall (25) rents a top floor room in a big house in London. She soon finds that the room and the landlords aren't everything they seemed before she moved in and she is not as comfortable in her room as she hoped that she might be. We gradually learn that the room has a past, the landlords, Lisa, Lisa's parents, previous occupants of the house all have a past.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anybody looking for a good psychological thriller.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

The Passengers cover art
  • The Passengers

  • By: John Marrs
  • Narrated by: Kristin Atherton, Roy McMillan, Clare Corbett, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course. The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife - and parents of two - who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive, but are the passengers all that they first seem?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing but did rather go on and ruined by sfx

  • By Patricia on 15-08-19

Just a Balloon Debate

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

Reviewed: 07-06-19

A balloon debate; something they use all the time in training courses so nothing new. The author just substituted autonomous vehicles for a balloon in an attempt to make it modern and relevant. After the 'debate stage' was concluded, the story was dragged out to the length required to make a book. Silly story really. I don't understand the high ratings given by others.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful