LISTENER

Norma Miles

  • 726
  • reviews
  • 236
  • helpful votes
  • 786
  • ratings
  • Missing: A Mason Gray Case

  • By: William Markham
  • Narrated by: Adam Barr
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Mason Gray, a former cop, has a knack for solving puzzles, but the corpse on his living room floor is a piece that doesn’t fit. As the number one suspect, Gray races to find the killer before the cops can pin it on him. But the cops aren’t the only ones out to get him. Those responsible for the murder want him dead and will use any means necessary to put him in the ground including vampire hit-men. To survive, Gray must choose to go through the looking glass; wrestle with demons, both figurative and literal; and put the bad guys in the ground first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A very dark world through the looking glass.

  • By Norma Miles on 13-11-18

A very dark world through the looking glass.

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

Reviewed: 13-11-18

A detective noir with an hint of the supernatural.
After being thrown out of the Chicago police for irregularities in his proceedures, Mason Gray was picked up and given a job in his P.I.business by Frank, and became part of his extended family, with wife, Nancy, and their two children. When Gray finds a dead body in his apartment and the computer files on a new missing person case completely disappear from the office computer system, Gray suspects a connection. And had the body in his room been a case of mistaken identity? Was someone really gunning for Gray?

Written mostly in the first person from Gray's perspective, the sentences are snappy, easy to read with some hints of humour. The main characters are mostly well defined, the action, when it happens, well described and visceral and the whole is visual, intense and often colourful. Because Gray has strange dreams, suffused in red and blue, which do affect his waking hours. The storyline is also intriguing - a missing girl, a wisp of politics and a shadowy organization which seems more than human. It all makes for an exciting read.

The narrator, Adam Barr, does an excellent job of further bringing the characters to life. Each has a distinctive voice, accents faithfully realistic, and the whole is delivered at a gentle pace well suited to Gray's personality. Barr's voice is pleasant but slightly gruff, steady, determined but with an underlying sense of guilt, despair almost, to match Gray's mental state and his anger, when performed, is desperate but cold. A good performance.

Not supernatural or paranormal in the sense of having super powers or magic or being able to commune with the dead, there is still the creepy otherworldly feel to the story at times which increases as the book progresses, so still acceptable, even recommended, to purists of the noir genre, as well as those looking for a detective with just a little bit more than basic human. I personally really enjoyed this book and wish to thank the rights holder of Missing, who, at my request, freely gifted me with a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. The first, I hope, of a long series of Mason Gray cases to come.

  • Summer of '79

  • By: Darren Sapp
  • Narrated by: Eddie Frierson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

Devil’s Backbone dirt road weaves through tall East Texas trees. The eerie Claymore mansion sits silently along the path. Thirteen-year-old Kevin Bishop and friends plan to spend their summer swimming, playing baseball, and erecting a massive fort in the nearby woods. Their daily journey requires a bike ride down that road and by that mansion - the site of a gruesome unsolved murder near the turn-of-the-century. They stumble upon evidence to solve the mystery as unforeseen adversaries make this a summer they’ll ever forget. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • For Dickie and his family.

  • By Norma Miles on 12-11-18

For Dickie and his family.

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

The small town of Mead Creek was notable for only two things: a skirmish during the Civil War and the unsolved triple murder of a family. After the school term finishes, and in the heat of the Texas summer, three young teenage friends, Larry, Kevin and Slads, and brother and sister, Butt and Wendy, set off on their bicycles along the Devil's Backbone track, past the creepy old derelict mansion some kids said was haunted, and into the forest to build a secret fort, or clubhouse, where they could have out without any adults to bother them. Where they could have adventures, swim, fish and have fun.

This delightful thriller mystery is not fast paced, no big shoot outs, no fast car chases. It moves at a slower speed, like the time: this is 1979, with T.V. but no computers, only very basic electronic arcade games like Space Invaders, no mobile phones to keep in touch and only maps to find directions. Need to find something out? Go to the library. And for the five young people, the days were long and languid, supervision minimal. There are numerous cultural iconic mentions of the time in the story, but it is the conjuring up of the exuberance and curiosity of youth which really suffused the book. The story's mystery might be somewhat predictable to the reader, but that doesn't matter: it is the youngsters following of the trail itself which is thrilling, an innocence and a capacity to move forward. Although not individually fully formed three dimensional characters, the group works well as a whole, dialogue between them, with small insults and interuptions, felt genuine, real.

Like the storyline, the narration by Eddie Frierson is slow and languid, with clear definition, good intonation and each character is separately and appropriately voiced. It all adds to enhance the leisurely atmosphere of the time. Only forty years ago but so much has changed. And an occasional burst of background sound track is added to give greater depth. One complaint, however: the silent gaps between chapters was often overlong, giving rise to a slight anxiety that something had gone wrong with the playback.

My thanks to the rights holder of Summer of '79, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. It was a pleasure to hear, to mentally step back into more gently moving times and relax into the magical age between childhood and adu!t - without having to personally suffer the angst which goes with it. Recommended for all ages and as a family read-together.

  • Star Trap

  • By: Simon Brett
  • Narrated by: Simon Brett
  • Length: 6 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 39

Christopher Milton is one of TV’s brightest stars and the natural choice to play the lead in Lumpkin!, the musical version of She Stoops to Conquer. His is a ruthless, egomaniacal talent, guaranteed to turn his co-cast’s rehearsals into nail-biting hell. Charles Paris suspects him of harbouring at least one dark secret from years past. And then the ‘accidents’ begin. Soon it is plain that someone will stop at nothing in order to sabotage the show for their own ends.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I beg yours!

  • By Norma Miles on 11-11-18

I beg yours!

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

Simon Brett's delightful thespian comedy detective mystery is set in England of 1975, before home computers and mobile phones, where to make a call meant using the public telephone boxes. Charles Paris is an aging, often out of work actor with an unspectacular career and a useless agent. His personal life is also a mess. So the idea of some solid acting work sounds very good. When a lawyer friend offers him a role in a forthcoming show starring a very popular T.V. star, with several weeks touring culminating in London's West End and a nine month contract, how can Charles refuse? But his friend also wants Charles to do some undercover sleuthing: two accidents to cast members, exactly one week apart, have already caused delays and he fears sabotage. Charles is there to ensure his investment is safe. But Charles believes that the accidents are just that, accidents, nothing sinister, until, that is, there are more
Pity, because for the very first time, Charles hsd thought he just might be in a hit...

Simon Brett reads his own book with clear English voice, understanding, gentle wit and great character voices. Visual and amusing, the Charles Parish books are great fun and still very enjoyable some forty years later (a number of them have also been made into BBC productions, starring a full cast and Bill Nighy as Paris). A very enjoyable light read. Recommended

  • Roger Daltrey

  • Audible Sessions: FREE Exclusive Interview
  • By: Holly Newson
  • Narrated by: Roger Daltrey
  • Length: 15 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 6

Coming to prominence in the mid-'60s as the founder and lead singer of rock band The Who, Roger Daltrey has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years. Famed for his stage presence and powerful voice, Roger has also carved a solo career as well as an acting one. His memoir, Roger Daltrey: Thanks a Lot Mr. Kibblewhite, was published in October 2018. Roger Daltrey talks to us about the time he was chucked out of The Who, making his own Fender guitar and discovering he had three more children after his 50th birthday.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • We've never cheated

  • By Norma Miles on 10-11-18

We've never cheated

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

A short question and answer interview with the lead singer of The Who, introducing his book, Thanks a Lot, Mr.Hepplewhite, and reminiscing over his youthful years.
Great for any fans of the band.

  • Quantum Tangle

  • Targon Tales - Sethran, Book 1
  • By: Chris Reher
  • Narrated by: Will Damron
  • Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

Dropping out of subspace into the wrong galactic sector, Sethran Kada wakes up with a headache and an extraordinary alien aboard his ship. She implores him to help stop the abductions of her people, a newly evolved species emerging from subspace. Their dangerous potential has caught the attention of rebel factions as well as the ruling Commonwealth. When contact with her kind turns pilots into casualties, the Governors fear an imminent invasion engineered by their rebel enemies.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'm starting to think people don't trust me.

  • By Norma Miles on 10-11-18

I'm starting to think people don't trust me.

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

Sethran is a loner: spy, agent, assassin? Perhaps all three. His home is the little ship, Dutchman. And he's well connected - his boss is one of the ten Commonwealth leaders. Waking from a subspace jump he finds he is somewhere other than where he expected to be, every instrument on his ship flashing warnings. And a voice in his head telling him to sleep. No way he was going to do that, except he does, for the next five hours.
Everybody knows that there is nothing in subspace, except a voice in his head tells him he is wrong, a real voice, not his own, one of a non organic sentient species which had found him 'in between' when he went by. The creature rapidly learns languages and takes on a form visible to Sethran which only he can see, a disconcertingly beautiful woman who decides to call herself Koe, and she asks Sethran for held: others of her kind had been abducted, including the one who binds them all together, without whom their race would end. She's in his head - what else can Seth do but agree?
So begins a race around the galaxy which will uncover power plots, put Seth into frequent danger and the associated frequent fights, and a strange romance with that someone in his head.

The story is action filled after the initial section, the first contact with the entity. The world which they inhabit is only lightly drawn but the characters are interesting, from pirates to telepaths and, of course, those sub space brings themselves. Will Damron, the narrator, brings it all alive with multiple voices for the various protagonists whilst, in between, the text is read clearly, with good intonation and a warmly pleasant to hear voice. A nice performance.

Not having read any other of Chris Reher's books set in this universe, there were times this reader felt some confusion, but it was only slight. Overall, the storyline was g9od, the concept intriguing (if a little worrying) and the two main protagonists well drawn and empathetic. I will certainly be looking out for further books in this series - this particular volume is a stand alone but with an ending which encourages the reader to read on - and I can happily recommended it to any science fiction fan.

  • Al Clark, Book 2: Avalon

  • By: Mr. Jonathan G. Meyer
  • Narrated by: Timothy McKean
  • Length: 6 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

One thousand people left a failing Earth to embark on a 30-year journey to a promising new world. All passengers were placed in hibernation pods, to be awakened one month before obtaining orbit around their new home. The starship they traveled in was fully automatic and worked almost flawlessly. When they arrived, they found a virgin world of breathtaking beauty, with sparkling water and clean, fresh air. Avalon was paradise. What these pioneering colonists would soon discover is...paradise comes at a price.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The measure of a man...

  • By Norma Miles on 10-11-18

The measure of a man...

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

For several years, the small colony from earth has thrived on Avalon, surrounded by a security fence and protected by Al Clark and his team. But unknown to them all, a plan is being conceived to change all that and rid the planet of the newcomers.
This second book in the series continues the story of Al and his close friends as they explore their new homeworld and find a huge surprise. Easy to listen and gently exciting, the book is again narrated by Timothy McKean, clear and well intonated. A pleasurable listen. And what a stunning cover!

My thanks to the rights holder of Avalon, who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. With interesting characters, especially Al himself, prehistoric creatures and fascinating technology, the mix of action and discovery makes this an intriguing sciences fiction book suitable for all readers apart from the very young.

  • Last of the Nighthawks

  • By: Greg Dragon
  • Narrated by: Cari Scholtens
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Helga Ate is finally getting her chance. Chosen for a coveted slot in the glorious Nighthawks, Special Forces, she will certainly be able to prove herself as more than a half-alien outcast. But when her team deploys to the moon of Dyn, tragedy strikes, and Helga is put to the ultimate test - survival. Facing insurmountable odds and escaping torture, Helga and her mentor, Cilas Mec, are forced to face a fate worse than death. Battling brain-eating aliens and human pirates, the odds are stacked against them in every way. The rescue should be coming.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Should have been born with wings

  • By Norma Miles on 09-11-18

Should have been born with wings

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

It starts like many other military S.F. books, young rookie pilot joining the elite team of the special forces squadron, the legendary Nighthawks. The seven man team knew and trusted each other, had worked together, were already a 'family'. She was new, young, and a woman who had, all her life, experienced rejection by virtue of her birth and didn't like the way they looked down on her. She had to prove herself to become one of them. But almost before she has a chance to do so, things change, throwing the whole story not just into a series of battling aliens (with whom the Alliance had been at war for more than a century) and pirates but also with a central mystery - why was everything going so wrong now?

Clearly written, with an host of well characterized protagonists, and excellent world building formed with a paucity of words, the story weaves it's way between characters and ships, suspicions and fighting, the brooding mystery becoming ever more prevelant. Fear is palpable. This is fighting for survival.

Narration by Cari Scholtens is good, not easy for a woman to give realistic voicing to a predominantly male range of characters. But she does it , and does it well, each being distinctive in tone and accent. The text reading between conversation is also steady, well paced with good intonation and conducted in the manner more of observer than participant, not getting excited when the action hotted up but leaving that part to the reader's imagination. It works well.

Last of the Nighthawks is the first in Greg Dragon's new series, Lady Hellgate, which will presumably follow the progress of our rookie, now much more experienced, into future adventures, a series i personally do not want to miss. My thanks to the rights holder who, at my reqhest, freely gifted me a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. I am an admirer of the author's previous books, but this is one of his best. Good science fiction, and recommended.

  • Infinite Mayhem

  • A Roak: Galactic Bounty Hunter Novel
  • By: Jake Bible
  • Narrated by: Andrew B. Wehrlen
  • Length: 6 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 5

Roak has a plan. It is not a good plan. It is not an easy plan. But it is a plan. And with a crew he doesn't want, a nemesis who is always one step ahead, and the power of the Galactic Fleet about to come down on him with all its might, Roak is going to need every ounce of his experience and skill as the galaxy's greatest and deadliest bounty hunter to execute the plan. If his infinite enemies don't execute him first! 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • But me and you die right now.

  • By Norma Miles on 08-11-18

But me and you die right now.

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

Reviewed: 08-11-18

They thought they had killed Father. They hadn't. Now Roak and his murderous 'sister' need to finish what they had started and she, together with the duplicitous Bishop, and Nim and the multi tentacled Yellow Eyes are traveling as his crew, team, whatever, and hurtling like billiard balls around the galaxy in execution of Roak 's plans, at the same time as they are pursued by the Galactic Fleet. Constantly battling, and planning, and escaping from one bizarre situation after another through the brilliant flying of Hette the ship's sentient A.I., , Roak's crew, team, whatever, squabble and generally annoy Roak's patience, with Rec, his 'sister' even meddling with Hette - and it's never a good idea to upset the A.I.

This faster than fast action book in the Roak series is even better than the earlier ones, packed with traps, colourful alien types, suspicions and plans, significant body counts and gloriously enjoyable in house (ship?) conversations and arguements, enough to drive Roak to distraction, so much so that he even seems to be the quiet, reasonable one at times. Gloriously funny as well as exciting. And the narration matches the text, with a super fast paced reading from the exceptional Andrew Wehrlein, who voices the rich cast of characters individually whilst still keeping the action stunningly vibrant, heart stoppingly exciting and full of humour and angst. A simply superb performance.

I love this series. My thanks to the rights holder who, at my request, freely gifted me a complimentary copy of Infinite Mayhem, via Audiobook Boom. Although the book is a completed episode in Roak's adventurous life, it does end with a cliff hanger - and I await the next book with great anticipation. Great book, great narration, great series, great immagination, great fun - just great

  • Roger Daltrey: Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite

  • My Story
  • By: Roger Daltrey
  • Narrated by: Roger Daltrey
  • Length: 8 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 59

Roger Daltrey is the voice of a generation. That generation was the first to rebel, to step out of the shadows of the Second World War...to invent the concept of the teenager. This is his story, from his birth at the height of the Blitz through tempestuous school days to his expulsion, age 15, for a crime he did not commit (though he was guilty of many other misdemeanours he'd got away with). Thanks to Mr Kibblewhite, his draconian headmaster, it could all have ended there. The life of a factory worker beckoned. But then came rock and roll....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Thanks A Lot Mr Daltrey!

  • By Phil Jackson-Ward on 23-10-18

Behind blue eyes.

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

Reviewed: 08-11-18

Long time fans of the group, The Who, are used to periodic public pontificating by Pete (Townsend) but from Daltrey, not so much. In fact, hardly at all. So this is a very welcome book from the band's singer and voice of Tommy who was there from the very inception of the group fifty years ago. And because he's written it himself, his voice shines out from every page, telling his story, correcting some myths and describing his journey with the three other legends, Pete, of course, the genius behind the music, their crazy talented drummer, Keith Moon, and the bass guitarist who changed the way that instrument was played, John Entwistle. All were huge talents, all had enormous egos and it was down to Roger to hold it all together - which miraculously he did, even after the deaths of two of their number.

This is a modest book from a man who not only fronted - and still continues with Pete - one of the greatest rock bands ever, but who also works hard to raise money for the Prince's Teenage Cancer Trust. There is very little name dropping even though he has played and been acquainted with many of the top stars in the industry, but when someone is mentioned, it is usually to thank them. Instead, he concentrates on personalities, his own and the others in The Who, and his general life history, no punches dodged, from growing up in the post war deprivation to his now much more comfortable life with his family. And what comes through it all most strongly, as in Michael Caine's autobiography, B!owing the Bloody Doors Off, is the dedication to hard work with singleminded pursuit of the goal combined with the love of and reliance on family.

This is a quick and easy book to read. I had first purchased the hardback then saw it's availability on Audib!e. Roger Daltry narrates, his distinctive voice slightly gruff following a throat injury and life threatening illness not too long ago. It has always amazed me that someone who can belt out Pete's lyrics with such power - and, oh, that scream in Won't Get Fooled Again! - could still talk at all. But he can and his warmth in the telling of his story, with just a tinge of bitterness at times, shines through. Whilst almost identical to the text version, the audio does have occasional small differences, a word changed, a sentence ommitted, nothing much, but what isn't in the text book and is so precious is Roger's occasional burst of delighted laughter at a memory recovered. Pure magic.

A must for all Who fans, this is also a book to be enjoyed by everyone: with a vibrant picture of life in the post war years, the coming of music and colour in the sixties and a story of four completely different and distinctive personalities who came, and somehow stayed, together to help change the music scene. Great stuff.

  • Lady Justice and the Broken Hearts

  • By: Robert Thornhill
  • Narrated by: George Kuch
  • Length: 4 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 2

Walt goes under the knife for a heart operation and, while in the hospital, stumbles upon a series of mysterious deaths that are certainly not from natural causes. He solves that mystery only to discover that people on the transplant waiting list are suddenly dying as well. Then, information about a terrorist plot is found on a heart attack victim who has been rushed to the ICU. Throughout it all, Walt discovers that there are many ways that a person may die of a broken heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • No such thing as dignity...

  • By Norma Miles on 07-11-18

No such thing as dignity...

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

Another glorious romp with author Robert Thornhill's elderly detective, as usual interpreted to perfection by his alter ego narrator, George Kuch.
Walt is now 71, has left the police force of Kansas City and opened his P.I.business with Maggie's brother, Kevin, and was on a job when pain struck. A kidney stone or two which had to be removed. But pre-operation investigation determined his heart was also in need of attention and he was booked in for open heart surgery.
This book covers not only the outcome of his post operative stay in hospital, but also reflects on a number of cases in which he and his various friends and family had been previously involved - so this is a good starting place for any reader who is new to this terrific series, funny, contemplative and filled with a host of colourful characters as well as great story line. Narrator George Kuch is the story teller, recounting Walt's thoughts and experiences intimately, just to the listener: a fine perfomance, as always. And Walt is Walt, somehow still managing to be at the heart of criminal activity even in the hospital. And deliciously, he meets an author, one Robert Thornhill.

I have to confess, I love this series. If you haven't already done so, try it, read it, see what you think.