LISTENER

highmyope1955

  • 15
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  • 9
  • helpful votes
  • 28
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A refreshing change

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

Reviewed: 02-09-20

I greatly enjoyed this book. It covers several topics, each one relevant. One thing that comes across is that parents seldom see their or think of their children objectively. Given that the protagonist has brought about the death of this couple's daughter it is not surprising that they are biased and have convinced themselves that they must keep his children from him at all costs.

The children are interesting. They obviously loved their father and do not fully understand the events that put him in prison. They also love their devoted and caring grandparents. Scarlet, the eldest, tries to make Hannah, her possessive grandmother, understand that if she and her two siblings return to their father it need not mean the end of their relationship. Joseph finds he has no choice but to seek custody of his children via the courts.

The ending is happy; realising how torn his children are Joseph, in true chalk circle fashion, decides to abandon his action. Scarlet speaks honestly to Hannah and a compromise is reached; the children will reside with Joseph and spend plenty of time with Hannah and their ailing grandfather. Joseph's friend Rosie decides to abandon her vocation (if indeed it was such) and throw her lot in with him. Ben, the youngest child, turns the situation to his advantage with various demands. Theo, the middle child, is happy but complains that the new cottage is not as interesting as the caravan site where his father previously lived; he has friends there.

This book is well written. I am often disappointed with the poor standard of English in books by new authors. I shall be getting more Charity Norman books.

An intensely moving and informative book.

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

Reviewed: 06-08-20

It's said that Charles Dickens laughed and cried whilst writing A Christmas Carol more than any of his other books. That was my reaction reading and listening to this book.

Chris Atkins makes no excuses for himself, accepts that he was rightfully convicted and starts his sentence. What follows is incarceration in a filthy, crumbling Victorian slum with an astonishing crowd of fellow inmates. I was reminded of Sir Brian Leveson's anecdote about a conversation with his consultant psychiatrist father at the time when Mrs Thatcher was closing down long-term psychiatric facilities. Leveson père told his son "If things continue in this way, in twenty years' time my patients will be silting up your prisons". This prophecy has come true. Mrs T also cut down on education in prisons. There is no longer any rehabilitation, just endurance and suicide and self-harm for those who cannot cope. I am no longer surprised that drug-taking is rife in prison.

Chris is honest about the advantages of being educated and relatively affluent, and of having his young son on the outside awaiting his release. He makes us fear the other inmates, or men as one is supposed to call them now, yet also feel sorry for them. It's amusing to read of his situational ethics and one admires his honesty about them. Although his taking on the task of being a Listener is not altogether for altruistic reasons, he comes genuinely to care about the people to whom he gives his ear and his time.

The account of the open prison opened my eyes. I have volunteered in a charity shop where men from Ford come to work when they are being prepared for release. I have never met one that I did not like; they are usually cheerful, industrious and helpful. I think my respect has greatly increased if they can remain so after Ford.

I could go on: this book gives great insight into the uncaring attitude of the government towards prison reform and the penny-wise, pound-foolish strategy of the Grayling years. It is tragic, although that sounds melodramatic, that fifty percent of male prison inmates are functionally illiterate. Some have learning difficulties and never stood a chance from the beginning of their lives.

I recommend this book.

A study in stupidity.

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

Reviewed: 24-07-20

There's a lot to this story but it does not really go anywhere. I could not get beyond the stupidity of the protagonist. She could have spent some of her advance on changing her locks, installing window locks and a key safe. Then the psychological warfare would not have happened.

A book written by a man to respect and admire

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

Reviewed: 05-06-20

I was one of the few people who did not believe the absurd allegations made by "Nick". I have long been disturbed by the readiness of people to believe this kind of accusation when there has been no trial. Keir Starmer gave validity to this attitude when he ordained that all sexual assault complainants must be believed. I read the Henriques report and was pleased when I learned of Sir Richard's book.

The book does not deal only with Operation Midland. There are thirteen other cases including the trial of James Bulger's killers. I was impressed by Sir Richard's treatment of this. It could not be other than harrowing but his reasoned and meticulous approach made it readable.

The introduction, A Fisherman from Madeira, gives a witty account of Sir Richard's family and his life and legal career. It stresses that the book is not about him but reading it gives a clear picture of a brilliant, erudite and compassionate man.

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 18-10-19

The narrator is all wrong; more than one narrator is needed and should be the right gender for the character.

This book is like the curate's egg; good in parts. The story is not bad, although the prose tends to purple. It's a bit too much like many other books I have read/ listened to.

Not as good as I have come to expect from this aut

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

Reviewed: 29-01-18

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

Yes, because it is interesting and deals with something really relevant to the present day.

What did you like best about this story?

The important social issue. One could discuss it at length.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Not really. It needs more than one narrator to do that.

Could you see And Then it Happened being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I watch very little television, so cannot comment on that.

Any additional comments?

I did not especially like the narrator. This really needs more than one to keep one's interest.

2 people found this helpful

Different, but not different enough

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

Reviewed: 24-11-16

What did you like best about The House on Cold Hill? What did you like least?

The performance was excellent.

This story was too derivative, if that is the right word. Echoes of The Canterville Ghost and other ghost stories. It was well written, though.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

It was rather too predictable.

What about Nicholas Boulton’s performance did you like?

He has a good voice, does not mispronounce words as so many narrators do.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No.

Any additional comments?

I have enjoyed Peter James' short stories in this genre but this was not as good as I expected it to be.

Purple passages and poor grammar spoil it somewhat

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

Reviewed: 13-10-16

Would you try another book written by Katerina Diamond or narrated by Stevie Lacey?

If it was a daily deal or I could borrow it from the local digital library I would, but I would not pay full price for it.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I wish that narrators would learn how to pronounce words properly. I do hate it when people say "droring" instead of "drawing".

Did The Teacher inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

The plot is good although a little too convoluted. I think that the author should read Val McDermid and improve her style. The characters are not really credible.

1 person found this helpful

A good book on the whole

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

Reviewed: 24-05-16

What made the experience of listening to In Bitter Chill the most enjoyable?

I liked the characterisation and the irony of the plot. Little clues were to be found all through the book. The ending was sad but happy as well; life was moving on and old issues were resolved.

What was one of the most memorable moments of In Bitter Chill?

When Rachel discovered that her family history was not quite what she thought it was.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Yes, it did, but I was disappointed with the mistakes that keep happening in audio books. It is not GeneOlogy, it is GeneAlogy. And it is NOT renumeration it is remuneration, from the Latin verb munire, to reward.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I really don't know; the story is a little complex to tag.

Any additional comments?

I would listen to another of this author's books.

2 people found this helpful

Worth sticking with.

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

Reviewed: 05-03-16

What did you like most about Black Widow?

I liked the main character, Diana Jager. She doesn't come across as likeable at first but as one gets to know her, one can see that she is essentially a good person who has been a little unwise and has been very unlucky. She's also human and very dedicated to her profession.

The other characters are interesting, too. Jack Parablane isn't as engaging as he should be; a bit of a stereotype. However, he does add a lot to the plot and the action. The Elphinstone siblings are rather repellent from the start, which fact helped me guess the probable ending. I was glad that the relationship between the two police officers did not take up too much of the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Black Widow?

I cannot reveal that without hinting at the ending. I did like the fact that the denouement was not full of gore. It was clever enough without any fighting.

It took a while really to get into this book but I am glad that I stuck with it. I shall get some more by this author.

Have you listened to any of Angus King and Scarlett Mack ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is my first Christopher Blakemyre and my first audiobook with these narrators.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I think that the author's "On trial for his life" sums it up.

Any additional comments?

No.