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Alex

  • 21
  • reviews
  • 65
  • helpful votes
  • 21
  • ratings
  • Only the Dead Can Tell

  • By: Alex Gray
  • Narrated by: Joe Dunlop
  • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 40

When Dorothy Guildford is found stabbed to death in her home, all signs point to her husband, Peter. The forensic psychologist is convinced there's more to the case than meets the eye, but Police Scotland are certain they have their man. While DC Kirsty Wilson searches for evidence that will put Peter away for good, she is shocked to discover a link with a vast human-trafficking operation that Detective Superintendent William Lorimer has been investigating for months.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Ludicrous - and ENOUGH with the baby mush.

  • By Alex on 20-05-18

Ludicrous - and ENOUGH with the baby mush.

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

Reviewed: 20-05-18

I've read all the books in this series and I had forgotten I had said 'Never Again' when I finished the last one, so it's my own fault I got lumbered with this piece of nonsense. I know it is fiction, but surely there has to be some degree of believability? Difficult to elaborate without turning a review into a list of spoilers. Just say that from the first crime to the ludicrous number of coincidences in the plot it stretches credibility too far. Working pregnancy, or lack thereof, into almost as big a theme as the crimes in fifteen books over sixteen years has also become very wearing.

Joe Dunlop (naturally) does a good job with the Scottish accents, but the author throws in various English, Slovakian, and Australian characters for him to voice and he struggle, or later in the book seems to forget what he used for them earlier. Even names are causes for sniggering, one of the female characters surname is pronounced Faarench, and it sounds like a very affected way of saying 'French'. For someone of Alex Gray's age and background to include a character called Dr. White can only be deliberate, and if so, a poor joke.

This time it really is 'Never Again' and I just hope Audible's refund policy extends to cover bad memory on the part of the purchaser.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Winter's Return (Guy Winter Mysteries Book 4)

  • By: James Philip
  • Narrated by: Melanie Fraser
  • Length: 7 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 3

Guy Winter and his faithful sergeant, George Ransom, are heading for the English Midlands, where on a country estate a few miles south of Coventry, Helen Chase, the nation's most famous actress, has been grievously wounded in an apparent orgy of mindless violence that has claimed several other lives in the most bizarre and gruesome of circumstances.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Self published trash

  • By Alex on 13-12-17

Self published trash

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

Reviewed: 13-12-17

Names and dialogue that would be embarrassing in a Billy Bunter book. One minute Jane Austen the next torrid explicit bodice ripper. A chapter given over to the history of Scotland Yard which sounded as if it had been copied and pasted from another publication. Then it went downhill. The author is churning out this and several other series of books at a great rate of knots and it shows. Absolute rubbish.

I've complained to Audible regarding self published books before. I think they should make it clear that this is the case or put them in a separate section.

Unlike the other reviewers I paid for my copy, but I will be returning for a refund.

Caveat emptor.

  • Protected by the Shadows

  • By: Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy - translator
  • Narrated by: Suzanne Toren
  • Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

In this final installment of the internationally best-selling Irene Huss Investigations, the gang warfare that has been brewing in Goteborg is about to explode. A member of a notorious biker gang has been set on fire - alive. Even in a culture where ritual killings are common, this brutal assault attracts the attention of both Irene's unit and the Organized Crimes Unit. Anticipating a counterattack, the two units team up to patrol the lavish party of a rival gang, but that doesn't stop another murder from occurring just outside the event hall.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I'm glad this is the last in the series.

  • By Alex on 01-12-17

I'm glad this is the last in the series.

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

Reviewed: 01-12-17

Constant doggy talk, cookery hints and tips, a preoccupation with motorcycle gangs, the main character's family bring menaced... Sound familiar? If so you have probably read one of (or all) the previous books in this series. If you haven't you may enjoy this one, otherwise you may think you are just re-reading one of the earlier ones.

I have to say I really enjoyed the first couple of Irene Huss novels but I'm glad this is the last as I wouldn't be buying any more. I've tried to rate this book on its own merits but it is difficult when it is just replaying elements from the previous stories.

The translator seemed to be unsure if it was intended for British or American audiences. Some terms, for example 'pacifier' are American, others, like Customs & Excise, seem to be aimed at British readers/listeners. (Even though C&E ceased to exist in the UK in 2005, long before the book was written or translated.)

Some of the narrator's pronunciations were a bit idiosyncratic and did jar a bit, but only briefly.

I don't think you need to have read any of the others to enjoy this one, in fact probably best if you haven't.

  • The Mystery of the Malcontent Misanthrope

  • The Adventures of Ossian Macbrádaigh
  • By: Jack B. Rochester
  • Narrated by: Michael Larrain
  • Length: 1 hr and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars 1

Meet Oissan Mac Brádaigh - Brady for short - a handsome, two-fisted, poetry-loving private eye with an office in the heart of Harvard Square. His assistant, Sarah Friedman, cute as pie, has a totally huge crush on Brady. His client is Edward Whiteside, an alcoholic drink-at-his-desk attorney who has hired Brady to find Rolland Toulouse, the wealthiest rock 'n' roller-cum-computer game inventor cum-author in history, who's gone missing.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Hard to describe how bad this is.

  • By Alex on 19-08-17

Hard to describe how bad this is.

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

Reviewed: 19-08-17

Possibly the worst book I have ever 'read' and the worst audio production I have ever heard. I can only assume that it was a vanity publishing by the owner of Audible or that someone had blackmail material on same. Audible should be ashamed for putting something this bad in their catalogue and should withdraw it.

The story itself is ludicrous and seems to have attempted to be a parody of Raymond Chandler mixed with Scott Meyer's, Off To Be The Wizard. It fails on all counts.

The book summary claims 'the original (and often humorous) sound effects from Faux Fiction Audio make the story come alive in ways you never expected.' Laughable yes, humorous no. The sort of thing a stage comedian does by tapping the microphone or blowing into it to indicate door knocking or a stormy night. Again self publishing amateurish in the extreme. Where other effects are used they are on a loop and drown out the narrator (no bad thing) as in the party/game scene where they seem to have recorded and repeatedly looped the screams from a roller coaster.

Then there was the narration. The worst thing about it. Each section starts with a quote from Scottish poet Robert Burns. I am dual nationality Scottish and Irish. I should have quit as soon as I heard the opening quote. The accent is like a Scooby Doo Irish, but nothing like any Scottish accent I have ever heard. (The Irish accent attempted when quoting W B Yeats is worse.) Not only did he make a mockery of the accent he couldn't pronounce the words. Some research might have helped, and he might even have managed to get the name of a famous, but awful, whisky correct.

One final insult by author and narrator. At one point he describes someone as being as lovely as woman in a Robert Burns novel. Really? I and a world of Burns scholars would love to know where he found such a thing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid

  • Lennox 5
  • By: Craig Russell
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162

Lennox liked Quiet Tommy Quaid. Perhaps it's odd for a private detective to like - even admire - a career thief, but Quiet Tommy Quaid was the sort of man everyone liked. Amiable, easygoing, well dressed, with no vices to speak of - well, aside from his excessive drinking and womanising, but then, in 1950s Glasgow those were practically virtues. And besides, throughout his many exploits outside the law, Quiet Tommy never once used violence.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another winner

  • By Rogayah on 03-12-16

Russell - Barrett - Lennox: A real dream team

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

Reviewed: 10-08-16

Much as I like Craig Russell's Hamburg based Jan Fabel books I think the Lennox series set in late 1950s Glasgow is his magnum opus. The combination of more realistic plot lines,not tied to legends or fairy tales, with excellent period detail, (maybe not always 100% accurate - more later), and superb characterisations make the printed works amongst the best in class. When you add the incomparable narration talents of Sean Barrett as the voice of Lennox, you get my favourite series.

Lennox is a Canadian who stayed behind in Scotland after the war and became what could probably be kindly called, a shady PI. You don't have to have any great insight to spot the obvious parallels with, and homage to, Raymond Chandler's work in the anti-hero that is this latter day 'McMarlow'.

Sean Barrett could make cricket sound interesting, and the hybrid Canadian/Scottish accent he uses for the central character is one of many variations of transatlantic keelie to be found in the west coast of Scotland at the time. Spot on.

The publisher's summary gives enough enough plot detail to decide if the storyline is for you. I would advise reading the whole series in order, but any of the books can be read as a stand alone.

Quibbles are very few and they are with the very slight inaccuracies mentioned earlier. They would probably go unnoticed except by someone like me who was born grew up in that part of the world at around the time the books are set. There are a couple of late 20th century idioms which NOBODY in the area would have used in the late 1950s. Construction of Inverkip Marina, which features towards the end of the book, only started in the mid '60s and it didn't open until 1971. In a previous book in the series the author took a few liberties with the geography of my home town. All of these minor flaws are wiped out and forgotten by the acknowledgement Russell gives in the narrative to the genius of another Greenock boy, the late great Chic Murray.

An outstanding book in any format but especially in audio. Highly recommended.

More please Mr. Russell.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Undesired

  • By: Yrsa Sigurdardóttir
  • Narrated by: Nick Underwood, Karen Cass
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 39

The light spilling in from the corridor would have to do. Though weak, it was sufficient to show Aldís a boy sitting in the gloom at the farthest table. He had his back to her, so she couldn't see who it was but could tell that he was one of the youngest. A chill ran down her spine when he spoke again without turning, as if he had eyes in the back of his head. 'Go away. Leave me alone.' 'Come on. You shouldn't be here.' Aldís spoke gently, fairly sure now that the boy must be delirious. Confused rather than dangerous.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Further Depression Over Iceland

  • By Alex on 02-12-15

Further Depression Over Iceland

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

Reviewed: 02-12-15

If you are familiar with the author's Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series you will know that she seems to struggle to know where to pitch her books.From the grisly murder of her first book, Last Rituals, to the Scooby Doo farce of her second, My Soul To Take, up to what was, even for gloomy Icelandic Noir, a seriously depressing scenario in the the most recent in the series, The Silence Of The Sea. This stand alone follows on with the depressing note right from the start, which paradoxically is 'The End'. That may seem an odd way to start a book but it is meant to be that way. The problem that gives is that you don't have to go very far into the book proper to figure out how it is all going to come together.

The book jumps back and forward between two scenarios and eras. A repressive children's home/correction centre in the 1970s through the eyes of a young female working there, narrated by Karen Cass, and a contemporary investigation into events that took place at the home in the 70s narrated by Nick Underwood. The male character in the modern section has just lost his ex-wife in an accident and has taken on the care of the young daughter he barely knows.

As someone who hates to see children being menaced in any format I found both parts of the book equally depressing and disturbing. I find it strange that someone who is a mother and who also writes children's books, would keep delving into that situation as the author does. I have now read/listened to all her adult fiction and with each one I have said it will be my last. This time it will be.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Anything Short of Murder

  • By: Tony Piazza
  • Narrated by: James Romick
  • Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 1

If it's anything short of murder, Logan's interested! The minute the dame walked up to Logan, he smelled trouble. A real looker, with tons of money and a daddy who liked to spoil her. She asked him to investigate a threatening note whose message was clear: Keep your mouth shut or die. The first day on the job its fatal warning comes true, and the woman is murdered, or so it seems. Very shortly he discovers that it wasn't the woman at all but someone who looked very much like her.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Laughable

  • By Alex on 29-08-15

Laughable

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

Reviewed: 29-08-15

In a word this is rubbish. Bad grammar in direct speech can be put down to inarticulate characters but it is so bad in the narrative it suggest a barely literate author. The writer is a former bit part/stand-in actor in American films and TV shows of the 1970s, and although I haven't looked at his credits I can only assume one of them was Quincy. That show has always been my bench mark for the worst possible 'explain the plot' wrap-ups. The denouement of this book is one of the longest and most convoluted I have ever read or heard. It is written in the form of the classic 1930's 'whodunnit' stage play, and smacks of an understudy being given his chance in the spotlight and refusing to relinquish the stage. The character even says as much at times.

The narrator's attempts at accents, particularly that of the 'Oirish' cop would normally be enough for me to stop listening and delete, but I found it was so funny I kept going just to hear what dialect he would use next. He seems to have attempted all counties of Ireland, north and south of the border, most of the western isles of Scotland, a touch of Geordie, definite hints of Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, and at times lapsing into Nigerian. The laughs I got from that are the only things stopping me returning this for a refund.

  • Oblivion

  • By: Arnaldur Indridason
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

'The Quick'. A woman swims in a remote, milky-blue lagoon. Steam rises from the water, and as it clears, a body is revealed in the ghostly light. 'The Dead'. Miles away, a vast aircraft hangar rises behind the perimeter fence of the US military base. A sickening thud is heard as a man’s body falls from a high platform. 'The Forgotten'. Many years before, a schoolgirl went missing. The world has forgotten her. But Erlendur has not.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Master Of Nordic Gloom

  • By Alex on 21-07-15

The Master Of Nordic Gloom

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

Reviewed: 21-07-15

I have enjoyed all of this series. It seems that Arnaldur Indridason has run out of inspiration for scenarios for the main detective, Erlendur, in the chronology he had been following from the start of the series. In the two books prior to this one, the first had Erlendur on holiday and the case being handled by his assistants, the second was a backwards leap in time to when Erlendur was a beat cop, and how he became a detective. This one pretty much picks up from where that left off. It is set in 70's and even then Erlendur is looking back to what is really a cold case as well as a 'current' murder linked to the US Base at Keflavik. What that means for the series is that we have lost two of the more interesting characters, Erlendur's grown up, problem children.

As always, the historical detail regarding Iceland and the American bases there, adds an interesting perspective to an excellently plotted and paced story. With Sean Barrett as narrator you can't ask for much more. My only quibble with the series is in the fact that the author determined not to identify the character, Marion, Erlendur's mentor, as male or female. I find that the writing becomes very contrived in trying to maintain this 'subterfuge'. In the earlier books, Marion was a bit-part character, already retired and while the non-identification was noticeable it wasn't too intrusive. In this latest volume Marion is effectively the lead detective, and so features quite heavily. The constant use of the name rather than a pronoun does become wearing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • A Classic Tales Christmas

  • By: O. Henry, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, and others
  • Narrated by: B.J. Harrison
  • Length: 13 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 4

All of your favorite Christmas stories in one fantastic collection. From heartfelt stories such as O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" to tales of mystery from G. K. Chesterton and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Here is a treasure trove of tales from some of the best writers in the world, narrated by the voice of the Classic Tales: B.J. Harrison. Each story is presented unabridged.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Awful narration

  • By Sahm_ennis on 15-12-15

Tenuous links to Christmas

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

Reviewed: 19-12-14

I gave up at around a quarter of the way through this book. In that time there were crime stories, ghost stories, 'Do you see what I see?' sung in the style of Jeeves and Wooster, no story just someone singing the song, and the life of Christ as written for his children by Dickens. This last took about around 12% of the total running time of the book, and while The Nativity is the very basis of Christmas, that was finished in a few minutes and the next hour and a half was effectively a children's paraphrased reading of a gospel. If you are looking for uplifting Christmas cheer then murder and goblins in a graveyard, which just happen to be set at Christmas, are probably not what you want.

The Dickens piece was apparently never intended for publication and wasn't published during his lifetime, indeed not until 1938. That should tell you all you need to know. Why it was included in a 'Christmas' collection is beyond me, especially when the King James Bible version of The Nativity is already included. Seems like a cash-in of public domain material and one which I will be looking to return

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Paris

  • By: Edward Rutherfurd
  • Narrated by: Jane Wymark, Jonathan Keeble
  • Length: 31 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 189

Inspired by the haunting, passionate story of the city of lights, this epic novel weaves a gripping tale of four families across the centuries: from the lies that spawn the noble line of de Cygne to the revolutionary Le Sourds who seek their destruction; from the Blanchards whose bourgeois respectability offers scant protection against scandal to the hard-working Gascons and their soaring ambitions. Over hundreds of years, these four families are bound by forbidden loves and marriages of convenience; dogged by vengeance and murderous secrets , and brought together by the tumultuous history of their city.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A great book - hard to follow in Audible format

  • By Penny on 29-11-13

Good but I need to read another

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

Reviewed: 08-07-14

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Undecided. This was my first Rutherfurd and there was good and bad. Interesting enough for me to read another to see if the bad points were unique to this book.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The interweaving of information and historical fact with the fiction.I learned a few things. For example that the French Army went to the front line in WWI in taxis.

Which character – as performed by Jane Wymark and Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

Louise, much much more than the usual 'tart with a heart'.

Was Paris worth the listening time?

Marginal yes.

Any additional comments?

I found the way of drip feeding information about historical figures before revealing who they were to be patronising in the extreme. I suppose it was designed to make SOME listeners may feel smug and self satisfied at knowing who they were before they were named.I just found it obvious and irksome. It got to the point I was expecting a primary school teacher voice to cut in with 'Do you know who it could be children?'

In any book of this length the linking and drawing together of many characters over an extended period becomes contrived. Add in the many real writers, artists etc. with whom the fictional characters had interactions, and it became more than slightly ridiculous.

Having said that all that there was enough good in the book that I will listen to another of the author's works before I jump one way or other from my seat on the fence.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful