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  • The Silver Pigs

  • Marcus Didius Falco, Book 1
  • By: Lindsey Davis
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 458
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 338
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 335

One fine day, A.D. 70, Sosia Camillina quite literally runs into Marcus Didius Falco on the steps of the Forum. It seems Sosia is on the run from a couple of street toughs, and after a quick and dirty rescue, P.I. Falco wants to know why.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Murder, Mystery and Mayhem in First Century Rome!

  • By Broadland Wanderer on 25-09-08

A great story from a narrator with personality

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

Reviewed: 12-04-19

Christian Rodska is a wonderful narrator, giving Falco lots of personality through his gruff working class tone of voice. It is easy to imagine Falco in his slightly grubby second best tunic wielding a sword or dagger, being injured in a fight, or battling with his conscience over his sexual desires. The story was quite involved and I may be hazy about one or two characters but mostly there was a good cast of well defined players. I will definitely be listening to Book 2 in this series.

  • The Hoarder

  • By: Jess Kidd
  • Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 455
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 411
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 410

Maud Drennan - underpaid carer and unintentional psychic - is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her. With only her landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal's decades-old hostility and the strange activities of the house itself.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful, magical, gripping. Brilliant.

  • By J. O'connor on 23-03-18

Ghosts and saints and a cantankerous old man

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

I'm not usually a fan of Irish whimsy, but because Maud anchored the story by being practical, implacable and cynical, I didn't feel that I was sinking amongst the make-believe, despite the ghostly saints who are her constant companions.
The narrator has such a lovely voice that does real justice to the wonderful descriptions of the bizarre contents of the house, the cats and Renata. There are also some twists and turns in the plot which keeps the story interesting, as well as light hearted humour.
A unique story. I shall look for more books by this author.

  • White Teeth

  • By: Zadie Smith
  • Narrated by: Pippa Bennett-Warner, Ray Panthaki, Lenny Henry, and others
  • Length: 18 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 98
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 100

Zadie Smith's White Teeth is a classic international best seller and an unforgettable portrait of London. One of the most talked about fictional debuts ever, White Teeth is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-listen.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Spoilt by uneven narration

  • By S. Brearley on 29-08-18

Interesting story, but I was unmoved

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

Reviewed: 20-03-19

The characters were well defined, each having their own quirky background story. They all come together at the tense theatrical denouement after a meandering storyline told from the perspectives of the different protagonists. I can understand why this book was so popular and well-reviewed. It was vital and compelling.
For some reason I did not enjoy it as much as I expected, and I am struggling to understand why. It could be that I find London too ordinary and depressing. It could be that I had no empathy with any character. It could be the narration that started well with Lenny Henry, but lacked energy and emotion by the end.

  • Murder in Belgravia

  • By: Lynn Brittney
  • Narrated by: Gabrielle Glaister
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 228
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 204

London, 1915. Just 10 months into the First World War, the city is flooded with women taking over the work vacated by men in the armed services. Chief Inspector Peter Beech, a young man invalided out of the war in one of the first battles, is faced with investigating the murder of an aristocrat, and the man's wife, a key witness and suspect, will speak only to a woman about the unpleasant details of the case. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow!

  • By M. Price on 28-09-18

Cosy period murder mystery

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

Reviewed: 09-03-19

Cups of tea, jolly cockneys, nice policemen and determined ladies who are too gentille to join the suffragettes. A light-hearted, straightforwardly written novel with a fairly predictable plot that required no effort in the listening. It was a pleasant distraction when painting the kitchen.

  • Our House

  • By: Louise Candlish
  • Narrated by: Deni Francis, Paul Panting
  • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,472
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,365
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,360

When Fi arrives home to find a removals van outside her house, she is completely blindsided. Trinity Avenue has been her family's home for years. Where are all their belongings? How could this have happened? Desperately calling her ex-husband, Bram, who owns the house with her, Fi discovers he has disappeared. The more Fi uncovers, the more she realises their lives have been destroyed by a nightmare of their own making. A devastating crime has been committed, but who exactly is the guilty party?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Really good story

  • By Rory on 12-08-18

Rewarding in the end

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

Reviewed: 06-03-19

I realised quite quickly that this was not really my cup of tea. All the tedious details about their suburban home, the neighbours, house prices and other middle class domestic fixations made it sound like an example of the kind of self absorbed modern novels I try to avoid. Even their careers which must have been extremely well paid to afford the house were hardly mentioned. I love technology but found the constant references to the timings of Fi's broadcast and Bram's Word document also tedious (and found their names annoying). I reset the speed to 1.25 to get through it quicker.
The introduction of the additional baddies caused me to grit my teeth and suspend my disbelief further.
However as we approached the final stretch, threads started to unravel in unexpected ways, and I did not see the final twist coming. I found I had no empathy for any of the characters (intentional?), and therefore found it all quite satisfying. Except I now feel like a cold-hearted, hard-faced, cynic.

  • Notes From a Small Island

  • By: Bill Bryson
  • Narrated by: William Roberts
  • Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,517
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,160
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,155

After nearly two decades in Britain, Bill Bryson, the acclaimed author of such best sellers as The Mother Tongue and Made in America, decided it was time to move back to the United States for a while. This was partly to let his wife and kids experience life in Bryson's homeland, and partly because he had read that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another. It was thus clear to him that his people needed him.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Note From A Small Islander

  • By Jo on 05-11-08

A weary, care-worn narrator

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

Reviewed: 01-03-19

I may read another Bill Bryson book myself, just to see if his voice is really as depressing as the narrator's. At the start it was mildly amusing to hear his misadventures in a Dover that was closed, it being after 5pm. However the perpetual weariness in the voice of the narrator meant that even Bill Bryson's admiring descriptions of Durham left a feeling of dreariness. I was interested to hear an outsider's view of Britain, but I had hoped for some spark of delight at our eccentricities and calm acceptance of trivial frustrations. By the end (I tended to skip passages eventually), I wondered how the author could continue to live in this country, unless pointing out the disintegration of towns, village life and industry gave him a feeling of superiority, having grown up in a country lacking local, ancient, enduring examples of historical change. I couldn't really find anything amusing - but, as I said, maybe it was all due to the tone of the narrator.

  • Perfect Death

  • DI Callanach, Book 3
  • By: Helen Fields
  • Narrated by: Robin Laing
  • Length: 13 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 366
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 363

There's no easy way to die.... Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible - engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it's too late.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Luc Callenach rides again!!!

  • By Su L on 30-01-18

Enjoyable crime story

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

Reviewed: 28-02-19

I was a little perplexed by the number of characters at the beginning, but this resolved as the story unfolded. The narrator was good with a great variety of accents and tones making the characters easy to distinguish. The storylines kept me engaged, although there were times when I wanted to shout "get backup first". But I guess walking into situations alone is a feature of the genre. Not outstanding, but good enough fodder for taking my mind off the cooking and housework.

  • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

  • By: Gail Honeyman
  • Narrated by: Cathleen McCarron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,349
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11,399
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,370

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive - but not how to live. Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything. One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Viva Eleanor!

  • By Kaggy on 30-06-17

Unusual and entertaining<br />

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

Reviewed: 15-02-19

I loved Eleanor. She is intelligent despite her eccentricities, and this leads to thoughtful reflections and delightful views on social norms. (I have recently despaired at stories narrated by flawed characters which put so much restraint on the description that it hobbles the story.) The awful revelations which unfold provide a bitter contrast to the lighthearted matter of fact observations of Eleanor during her weekly routine. It is heartwarming but not overly sentimental.

  • Lethal White

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 4
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 22 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,024
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,614
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,579

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The most epic Galbraith/Rowling novel yet

  • By Mikey on 19-09-18

Another great story

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

Reviewed: 18-12-18

The story has a good number of twists and turns, and kept me wanting to listen. The plot also contains inventive scenarios and objects from an author obviously experienced in exercising her imagination. But for me it is the characters who make these novels superior to many of this genre. Strike and Robin are well developed protagonists with their own subplots, at times, as interesting as the main plot. Despite the number of other people supporting the story, I never get characters confused. Each one remains a distinct individual, as if I had met them personally. This is also due to the narrator who seems to handle a large cast effortlessly. Please let there be another one.

  • Dissolution

  • Shardlake, Book 1
  • By: C. J. Sansom
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 14 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,289
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,166
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,167

It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. Henry VIII has proclaimed himself Supreme Head of the Church. The country is waking up to savage new laws, rigged trials and the greatest network of informers ever seen. And under the orders of Thomas Cromwell, a team of commissioners is sent throughout the country to investigate the monasteries.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Time Travellers Beware.....

  • By Hannah on 01-12-14

Intrigue in the monastery

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

Reviewed: 19-11-18

A well-written murder mystery, within the cold, forbidding atmosphere of a medieval monastery. Shardlake is a sympathetic character, who is kind to the vulnerable where possible but ultimately persevering in his duty. The story weaves its way amongst mad monks, dead bodies, embezzlement, lust and torture, peppered with lots of historical detail. A medieval feast.