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David M

UK
  • 86
  • reviews
  • 141
  • helpful votes
  • 86
  • ratings
  • The Moonstone

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: Ronald Pickup, Sean Barrett, David Timson, and others
  • Length: 22 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

Upon inheriting the Moonstone, a huge and priceless diamond, Rachel Verinder's delight turns to dismay when the gem suddenly disappears. But this is no ordinary theft. Sergeant Cuff of Scotland Yard is called in and immediately suspects an intricate plot. However, not even his powers of detection can penetrate fully the mysteries surrounding the diamond.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent and thrilling novel. Gripping from first to last.

  • By Harriet Lindsay on 22-10-15

Sorry to finish it

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

Reviewed: 18-09-18

Great book,l I was sorry when it came to an end. After 22+ hours, you feel that you are living with the characters.
The Indian connection is there to explain the bad luck associated with the Moonstone Diamond. The main action takes place in Yorkshire, London and a few other English locations.
The Moonstone goes missing and the story revolves around who may have taken it and where it is now. Similar style to The Woman in White, but much better in my opinion. A really cracking story despite its age, don't let that put you off. I thoroughly recommend it.
One downside to having a cast of 7 people to do the reading is that occasionally you have to have the same character's voice delivered to us by two or more different actors so it can be a little confusing. Personally, I prefer just one actor to do the reading.
Alongside listening to the audiobook, I also followed the analysis in SparkNotes. (You can Google them.) There's a lot more depth and meaning behind the story than I picked up on myself just by listening.

  • The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

  • By: Joanna Cannon
  • Narrated by: Paula Wilcox
  • Length: 11 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,421
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,327
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,327

England,1976. Mrs Creasy is missing, and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 1976 - long, hot and a wonderful experience

  • By Kaggy on 05-04-16

A quirky kind of book

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

Reviewed: 04-09-18

It took me a while to work out what the story was about, then some while longer to work out the meaning behind the story. If the reader still has any doubts by the very end of the book, the author comes on in person to explain it to us. It isn't just about the 1976 heatwave or a missing person, it's deeper than that.

As a book that actually means something that we can learn from, I've given it full marks and thoroughly recommend it to all potential listeners.

(I won't explain what it is about, discovering that for yourself is the main pleasure I think.)

  • The Retreat

  • By: Mark Edwards
  • Narrated by: Simon Mattacks
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 239
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 206

Two years ago, Julia lost her family in a tragic accident. Her husband drowned trying to save their daughter, Lily, in the river near their rural home. But the little girl’s body was never found - and Julia believes Lily is somehow still alive. Alone and broke, Julia opens her house as a writers’ retreat. One of the first guests is Lucas, a horror novelist, who becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to Lily. But within days of his arrival, the peace of the retreat is shattered by a series of eerie events.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another great book again by Mark Edwards.

  • By Danny on 15-05-18

More comic book than literature

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

Reviewed: 24-08-18

Yet another book about a missing girl and distraught mother. At least this one is not told from the mother's perspective.

Mark Edwards does come up with some great plots for his books but his style of writing really isn't the best. Rather like a schoolboy essay I think. Some quotes from this book to illustrate what I mean:

• "It had been the worst Christmas ever"
• "It took all my strength"
• "It was the worst day of my whole life"
• "It was the best present she'd ever had"

That's probably how I'd write myself if I tried to write a book. Also, he didn't really develop the personalities of the characters so that we as readers could empathise with them. Nothing very deep and meaningful in this book.

Simon Mattacks reads the words very well, but doesn't give me the feeling that he is personally engaged with the plot either.

  • The Woman in White

  • By: Wilkie Collins
  • Narrated by: Ian Holm
  • Length: 24 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 715
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 598
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 595

Late one moonlit night, Walter Hartright encounters a solitary and terrified woman dressed all in white. He saves her from capture by her pursuers and determines to solve the mystery of her distress and terror. Inspired by an actual criminal case, this gripping tale of murder, intrigue, madness and mistaken identity has never been out of print since its publication and brought Collins great fame and success.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Anthony on 13-01-11

Rather wordy, but a great book

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

Reviewed: 20-08-18

A long book, but there are many variations in style and feel as you go through, so it doesn't feel like one long 24 hour listen. The main story "Part 1" is narrated by various characters as they dip in and out of the action. It really feels like so many different authors contributed. Frederick Fairly I feel sure must have been the inspiration for the Simpson's Mr Burns. His narrative is written grudgingly, with much hypochondria, and wonderfully funny.

If I had one criticism, it would be that the author never actually explains what motivated the various narrators to put down their narrative in writing. Everything else in the book is explained to the nth degree,

Part 2 takes the form of an investigation, a sort of Victorian "Who done it", and the shorter Part 3 wraps things up.

Like many period dramas, this story involves landed gentry, nobility, and who gets to inherit what from who. Love, marriage, money and family responsibility all play a part of course.

Even if you aren't into period dramas I truly recommend this book as a psychological thriller as good as the best of modern day ones. I'm intending to listen to it again, and I've already bought another of Wilkie Collin's books from Audible.



  • Three Things About Elsie

  • By: Joanna Cannon
  • Narrated by: Paula Wilcox
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,001
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 926
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 921

There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first is that she's my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third...might take a little bit more explaining. Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died 60 years ago?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Extraordinary Life

  • By Amazon Customer on 30-01-18

Much better than I thought it was going to be

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

Reviewed: 11-08-18

This is about Florence Claymore, an inmate at an old people's home called Cherry Tree. She has a degree of dementia and is trying desperately to convince those assessing her, not to ship her off to the dreaded Green Bank.

We join the story with Florence lying on the floor of her flat after a fall, waiting for somebody to come and rescue her. Gradually her story is unveiled from 1953 onward when she used to know a man named Ronnie Butler, thought to be now dead. She was shocked to find a man called Gabriel Price who looks just like Ronnie Butler, turning up as a new inmate at Cherry Tree.

Elsie is Florence's best friend from years ago. Much of the book revolves around Florence's relationship with Elsie.

This is a great book, not just for the story which of course is fiction, but more for what we learn from it. It's full of wise snippets. I loved the concept of subjects from 1953 staring down a camera lens into the future. Copies of "Living with Dementia" magazines piling up because nobody knew how to cancel the subscription.

I don't think the book claims to be a thriller, but we get twists and turns and some big surprises as the book comes to towards the end.

It's more than a book just to read and forget. This book will stay with me for a while, as a good book should. I'm now going to seek out Joanna Cannon's other book which is also narrated by Paula Wilcox - The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.

  • Then She Was Gone

  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle Glaister
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,198
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,893
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,892

A missing girl. A buried secret. From the acclaimed author of I Found You and the Richard & Judy best seller The Girls comes a compulsively twisty psychological thriller that will keep you gripped to the very last moment. She was 15, her mother's golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone. Ten years on, Laurel has never given up hope of finding Ellie. And then she meets a charming and charismatic stranger who sweeps her off her feet.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Kate on 18-10-17

Yet another missing child 'thriller'

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

Reviewed: 05-08-18

Maybe I've read too many books advertised as suspense thrillers that are about a family with a missing child. This is just one more. The story was OK in theory, it had the right amount of twists, I just didn't care about the story and I wasn't engaged. Maybe it was the way the author put the words together?

Some of these family thriller books come close to chick-lit I think, for marketing purposes they just don't want to call them that.

I did lose concentration in places and there were a few things I didn't quite follow. I don't think that really mattered.

I like a book with more depth and meaning. Even with works of fiction, we should be able to learn something about life and people I think. Not from this book though.

It was a very good quality recording, very clear. Audible books do seem to vary in quality of sound. Not many people comment on that.

Gabrielle Glaister gave a decent performance as the narrator, not the best or the worst that I've heard.

  • Open Your Eyes

  • By: Paula Daly
  • Narrated by: Julie Maisey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44

Jane doesn’t like confrontation. Given the choice, she’ll let her husband, Leon, fight their battles. She’d prefer to focus on what’s going well, the good things in life. But when best-selling crime author Leon is brutally attacked in the driveway of their home, in front of their two young children, Jane has to face reality. With her husband in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, and the secrets that have been kept from her, if she’s to find out who hurt her husband - and why. Maybe it’s time to face up to it all. Who knows what you might find....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Audible Heaven

  • By Vanessa on 29-07-18

It has a Beginning, a Middle and an End.

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

Reviewed: 27-07-18

Great to find a story that is strong enough in its own right to be written straight through from beginning to end without the need to keep jumping between time frames and narrators in order to add artificial excitement.

It's a domestic, family thriller, with a normal woman set as the main character, constantly finding herself in jeopardy. The main characters (husband and wife) are writers or wanna-be writers, so interwoven with the plot, we get a wonderful insight into the world of writing and publishing. A particularly fine ending I thought.

The main plot revolves around the husband being attacked and left in a coma. The wife having no income is forced to dig into his affairs and starts finding things (and dangers) that she really wasn't expecting.

The book was well written and engaging. A good performance by Julie Maisey too - except perhaps for the few seconds of a Northern Irish accent!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • I Found You

  • By: Lisa Jewell
  • Narrated by: Antonia Beamish
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,684
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,550
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,547

East Yorkshire: Single mum Alice Lake finds a man on the beach outside her house. He has no name, no jacket, no idea what he is doing there. Against her better judgement, she invites him in to her home. Surrey: 21-year-old Lily Monrose has only been married for three weeks. When her new husband fails to come home from work one night, she is left stranded in a new country where she knows no one. Then the police tell her that her husband never existed....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful ,involving and moving l Antonia Beamish's narration outstanding.

  • By Susie on 28-03-17

Brilliant - this is the sort of book I like.

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

Reviewed: 22-07-18

The author follows the tried and tested formula of recounting episodes from several different stories, alternately. Each episode ends on a cliff hanger as we switch to one of the other stories. We know that all the stories will eventually come together, we wait to find out how.

The difference here is that the author does it brilliantly. Wonderful, detailed descriptions. We feel we are there and can relate to the different personalities.

Another "technique" used by the author is to have one of the main characters with a memory loss. His memories returning gradually (and conveniently), to fill us in chapter by chapter, cliff hanger by cliff hanger.

Alice finds a man alone, sitting on a beach in the rain with no memory of how he got there. She decides to call him Frank and being lonely herself, rather takes to him - but she doesn't know how he came to be there and whether he will turn out to be a good guy or a bad guy.

A great story, time flew by listening to it, I didn't want it to end.

The ending was rather drawn out after everything seemed to be already wrapped up. It seemed clear to me that the author must have another twist in store for us...

  • Life or Death

  • By: Michael Robotham
  • Narrated by: John Chancer
  • Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 513
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 481
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 477

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released? Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is. For 10 years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled, and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates, and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he's due to be released.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A compelling story

  • By Kirstine on 25-08-14

Quite a different book from Michael Robotham

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

Reviewed: 19-07-18

Why did the prisoner escape from jail the day before he was due to be let out? Just one of many intrigues that we are given to wonder about before the end of the book.

A great story which grabs your interest right from the start. Apart from a slightly flat period about mid-point, the mysteries and revelations kept flowing throughout the book. The author didn't save everything until the very end, but once you get within 2 hours of the end, you really can't stop listening.

Gradually, through reflections on what has gone before, the author fills us in on the story of Otti Parmer, how he came to be in prison in the first place, and what he must do now he is out.

I liked the narrator, although some of his voices (particularly Mexican ones), sound a bit like cartoon characters.

  • Don't Wake Up

  • By: Liz Lawler
  • Narrated by: Zara Ramm
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,004
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 889
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 892

A dark and gripping debut psychological thriller with a horrifying premise and a stinging twist. Alex Taylor wakes up tied to an operating table. The man who stands over her isn't a doctor. The choice he forces her to make is utterly unspeakable. But when Alex re-awakens, she's unharmed - and no one believes her horrifying story. Ostracised by her colleagues, her family and her partner, she begins to wonder if she really is losing her mind. And then she meets the next victim.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best book I"ve read for ages

  • By Mary Thompson on 21-10-17

Should have been better

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

Reviewed: 14-07-18

The premise was good, just the way the book was written I think. I didn't feel engaged with the characters. Same general idea as "The Girl on the Train". It just didn't work in this case.

We want to be on the side of the main protagonist but we have doubts about believing her because she is a flawed character, drinks too much. Just substitute Train for Hospital.