LISTENER

Simon Zohhadi

  • 45
  • reviews
  • 33
  • helpful votes
  • 59
  • ratings
  • Fear

  • Trump in the White House
  • By: Bob Woodward
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 999
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 882
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 877

The inside story on President Trump, as only Bob Woodward can tell it. With authoritative reporting honed through eight presidencies from Nixon to Obama, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies. Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • balanced and the text is served well by narration.

  • By David W. on 12-09-18

Catch 22 in the White House

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

Reviewed: 22-10-18


Fear by Bob Woodward is like Catch 22 in the White House. Very funny.

Trump on Income Tax:

“Sir...you can’t take the top rate up...”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re a Republican,” explained Cohn, who was a Democrat.

Trump on Corporation Tax:

“I like these big round numbers”

Only problem is that it is real. Trump’s Groundhog Day arguments with his appointed staff fill most of the book. Trump bludgeons all those around him with force of character. Everything Trump does is business orientated. Retaining diplomatic relations with foreign powers is of secondary importance. Fear is not a deep analysis and will be far from the definitive account of Trump’s presidency, after all, it only covers the early months but it sets the scene of the Trump White House and it is as amusing as Catch 22.

  • A Very English Scandal

  • Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment
  • By: John Preston
  • Narrated by: Daniel Weyman
  • Length: 10 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 633
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 590
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 586

It's the late 1960s, and homosexuality has only just been legalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he's desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his beautiful, unstable lover is around, Thorpe's brilliant career is at risk. With the help of his fellow politicians, Thorpe schemes, deceives and embezzles - until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed our society forever: it was the moment the British public discovered the truth about its political class.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By C Hall on 13-08-16

Beyond Reasonable Doubt ?

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

Reviewed: 10-02-18

Interesting account of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal. There were some unsavoury characters around in British politics in the 1970s and the Liberal Party had three of them: the Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, Cyril Smith and Peter Bessell. This account makes it clear that Thorpe was a manipulative "charmer" who exploited those around him including close friends like Peter Bessell. The trial itself was heavily biased in favour of Jeremy Thorpe and the summing up by the judge was appallingly one-sided. The jury was initially split 6-6 before Thorpe and his fellow defendants were acquitted. The author makes it clear what his verdict is. I agree with him. Was it an establishment cover-up to protect Thorpe ? Quite possibly, although there is an argument that the evidence was not beyond reasonable doubt. Those who commissioned the crime and the individual who was hired to do it claimed Thorpe asked them to do it but he denied their claims and there wasn't the evidence to prove it. It is likely he had an affair with Scott and was being "blackmailed" but in itself this is not enough to convict. Some may take the view that the sustained pressure the Liberal leader was put under by the victim was a reason why Thorpe was allowed to leave the public arena and live out the remainder of his years without too much intrusion. The attendance at Thorpe's funeral by other living Liberal leaders was in my view inappropriate.

  • A Murder of Quality

  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 4 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 598
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 543

George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged, and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess 'the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin'. Miss Ailsa Brimley is in a quandary. She's received a peculiar letter from Mrs Stella Rode, saying that she fears her husband – an assistant master at Carne School - is trying to kill her. Reluctant to go to the police, Miss Brimley calls upon her old wartime colleague, George Smiley.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must for any connoisseur of Le. Carre

  • By Mr. H. Watson on 15-08-16

Entertaining Whodunnit

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

Reviewed: 30-03-17

John Le Carre's second novel, A Murder of Quality, is an entertaining whodunnit. Not as good as his first nor does it have the complexity of his later books. Nevertheless, it features the brilliant George Smiley. I enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Perfect Spy

  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 20 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 503
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 425

Magnus Pym, counsellor at the British Embassy in Vienna, has suddenly vanished, believed defected. The chase is on for a missing husband, a devoted father, and a life-time secret agent. Pym's life, it is revealed, is entirely made up of secrets. The race is on to find the perfect spy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating insight into the mind of a spy

  • By Mr on 13-04-13

The Master of Espionage

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

Reviewed: 26-03-17

A Perfect Spy is a masterpiece. The perfect novel. You won't read / listen to a better piece of fiction.

  • Spy Hook

  • By: Len Deighton
  • Narrated by: James Lailey
  • Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 157
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144

The long-awaited reissue of the first part of the classic spy trilogy, Hook, Line and Sinker, when the Berlin Wall divided not just a city but a world. Working for the Department was like marriage is supposed to be--"'til death do us part"--but the Department is really not like that, and neither are many marriages, including that of Bernard Samson. The cool and cynical field agent of the Game, Set and Match trilogy has grown older and wiser.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The master of the spy story

  • By Mr Tristram Shandy on 13-02-15

Orange File

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

Reviewed: 16-03-17

Scenario 1: The airplane picks up speed on the runway but doesn't take off. Scenario 2: The airplane is standing still on the runway. Three-quarters of the way through Spy Hook, I'm thinking about either of the two above situations. Then things liven up. The funny thing is, bearing in mind what I consider to be the slow pace of the novel up to that point, I had to go back and re-read chunks of the last part of the book to fully understand it. The best espionage and crime novels get you thinking over the plot in this way. Does the ending provide all the answers or does it leave you asking for more ? The clue is that Spy Hook is the first instalment of the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy. Don't let this put you off. Another requirement of the best books of this genre, is working out who are the good and bad guys; this is an aspect of this book. Despite my earlier comments, I highly recommend Spy Hook. Looking forward to reading Deighton's full collection of writings.

My rating: 5/5.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • March Violets

  • By: Philip Kerr
  • Narrated by: Jeff Harding
  • Length: 9 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 383
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 314
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 312

Ex-policeman Bernie Gunther thought he'd seen everything on the streets of 1930s Berlin - until he turned freelance and he is sucked further into the grisly excesses of Nazi subculture. The year is 1936 and Berlin is preparing for the Olympic Games. Some of Bernie's Jewish friends are beginning to realise that they should have left while they could, and Bernie himself has been hired by a wealthy industrialist to investigate two murders that reach high into the Nazi Party.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Traditional detective idioms in an unusual setting

  • By chris on 19-01-09

March Violets

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

Reviewed: 12-03-17

Philip Kerr's first novel featuring the private investigator Bernie Gunther. 'March Violets' is set in 1936 Berlin with the Nazis in charge and Gunther investigating a double murder and corruption. We get a sense of the horror of Nazi Germany which we are all familiar with and Himmler, Goring, Jesse Owens and Dachau are all included. Günther, though, is the main character; his dialogue is full of wise-cracks interspersed with anger and disgust. Despite the subject matter, this novel is entertaining with brilliant dialogue.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Zodiac

  • The Shocking True Story of the Nation's Most Bizarre Mass Murderer
  • By: Robert Graysmith
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 208
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207

After Jack the Ripper and before Son of Sam there was only one name their equal in terror: the deadly, elusive, and mysterious Zodiac. Beginning in 1968 the hooded mass murderer terrified the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area with a string of brutal killings. A sexual sadist, his pleasure was torture and murder.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Detailed & thrilling

  • By Ian on 23-11-09

Zodiac - Unsolved

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

Reviewed: 28-02-17



Interesting and perhaps the most famous book about the Zodiac killings. "Starr" is Arthur Leigh Allen. Many including the chief Detective on the case - Detective Dave Toschi - believe Allen was the Zodiac killer. It is clear that he is one of the strongest suspects but he is one of several which suggests that the evidence against any of the suspects is far from watertight. Moreover, nobody has ever been charged with the crimes. There is even one brief suggestion that the Zodiac Killer could have been a British engineer ! This book is one of several good books about one of the most fascinating unsolved series of murders in criminal history. The same author has written an up to date version of his account.


My rating: 4/5. See also my review of another book on the Zodiac killings (on the 'Goodreads' website.





  • Dark Matter

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Jon Lindstrom
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,746
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,576
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,574

'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

Think Out Of The Box

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

Reviewed: 05-02-17

Dark Matter is a thought provoking science fiction novel. Family life is fine until the incident which changes the male protagonist's perception of his "own" life. Life distorting experiments and parallel universes follow. There is a thin line that divides cleverness and silliness. This entertaining novel treads that line. It gives a new meaning to the term "thinking out of the box" !

  • The Other Side of Silence

  • Bernie Gunther, Book 11
  • By: Philip Kerr
  • Narrated by: Jeff Harding
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 459
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 418
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 414

It is 1956 on the French Riviera. A world-weary Bernie Gunther is working as concierge at the Grand Hotel, living under a false name. Then his past walks through the door in the shape of Harold Hennig, a former captain in the Nazi security service. Bernie never forgets a face, especially when it belongs to a mass murderer who, in 1945, was responsible for the deaths of thousands; among them a woman Bernie loved. Bernie has a score to settle with Hennig…

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • OK but not great

  • By Mark on 13-08-16

A Superior Thriller with Great Dialogue

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

Reviewed: 13-01-17

A superior thriller in the film noir tradition with smart dialogue. Bernie Gunther is a wisecracking "concierge". Interesting real and fictional characters (including a famous author and the Cambridge spies) are integral to a great storyline. It is also highly amusing; it could be categorised under humour as well as the thriller genre. Bernie Günther is a German "Sam Spade" and the location of the novel is set in France. I found The Other Side of Silence hugely entertaining, as you will. It is elevated to the status of one of my favourite novels. Highly recommended. I can't wait to read Phillip Kerr's back catalogue.

My rating: 5/5. Brilliant.

  • The Partner

  • By: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Frank Muller
  • Length: 11 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 117
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 116

They watched Danilo Silva for days before they finally grabbed him. He was living alone, a quiet life on a shady street in Brazil; a simple life in a modest home, certainly not one of luxury. Certainly no evidence of the fortune they thought he had stolen. He was much thinner and his face had been altered. He spoke a different language, and spoke it very well. But Danilo had a past with many chapters. Four years earlier he had been Patrick Lanigan, a young partner in a prominent Biloxi law firm.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Book ruined by an over dramatic narrator

  • By jo johnston on 05-10-15

Predictable Story Line Well Told

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

Reviewed: 11-01-17


Man goes missing with money, fakes his death, is pursued by the authorities and the bad guys and is caught. The rest of the novel describes the above with a few added twists. There is nothing particularly original about this novel and the ending will not be a surprise to many. So why does The Partner receive such good reviews ? Maybe it's a story (albeit predictable) well told.

My rating: 3/5.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful