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Giftgiver

  • 32
  • reviews
  • 76
  • helpful votes
  • 62
  • ratings
  • Passenger 23

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Sebastian Fitzek
  • Narrated by: Max Beesley, Rebecca Hall, Anthony Head, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,504
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,395
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,399

With no police to investigate and no escape, could it be the perfect setting for a crime? Martin Schwartz (Beesley) is an undercover detective who is recovering from his wife and sons' bizarre disappearance from a cruise ship 5 years ago. He is a desperate man willing to take big risks. Martin never wanted to step onto a cruise ship again until he receives a call which can't be ignored. On average, 23 people per year disappear without a trace from cruise ships. Never before has someone come back... until now.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Really Interesting stuff!!!

  • By lynsey Patina on 22-12-15

Stellar cast of narrators let down by the story

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

Reviewed: 11-04-19

The first couple of graphic, grisly scenes made me dubious about continuing to listen, but I'm made of stern stuff and persevered. On reflection, I should have trusted my instincts and called it a day.

The author appears to have stuffed as many possible crimes as possible into one book. Not content with child abuse, we have online grooming, abduction, fraud, torture and murder (there may be more - my mind is somewhat numb). And those crimes aren't all strands of the same plot - there are several plots being served up here at once.

The structure of the work is peculiar, too - I spent much of my time wondering if we'd ever find out about the amputated leg mentioned in the very early stages and it didn't feature again until the Epilogue. I can quite understand that other listeners might have missed that entirely, because the Epilogue came after the extensive cast and crew list. If I hadn't been driving at the time I would have turned off during the list and never heard the extensive tying up of loose ends contained in the Epilogue. On reflection, there must have been at least three occasions where the story appeared to be over but it wasn't.

I haven't read any other of this author's works and probably won't in the future. I can't imagine that any of the cast of narrators would see this as a jewel in the crown of their respective careers, although they all did a good job with the material they were given.

  • Good Samaritans

  • By: Will Carver
  • Narrated by: Ciaran Saward
  • Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 32

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his phone book, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into daytime meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker when Seth brings Hadley home.... And someone is watching....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Now, how can I put this?

  • By Giftgiver on 04-12-18

Now, how can I put this?

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

Reviewed: 04-12-18

Great narration of an intriguing story with plenty of twists.

One or two reviews have made mention of the graphic content - I naively thought they were referring to gruesome deaths or injuries,which I'm fairly comfortable with, being a strong-stomached aficionado of crime fiction. Deaths and injuries do feature, but the frequent description of sexual arousal and response was frankly tiresome in my opinion. The story would have been just as strong without them, and I wondered whether the author was aiming for some sort of psycho crime/soft porn mashup to double his potential readership?

Having said that, I did listen to then end. Probably won't be seeking out Will Carver's works again, though.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Other Wife

  • By: Michael Robotham
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 926
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 854

 

Childhood sweethearts William and Mary have been married for 60 years. William is a celebrated surgeon, Mary a devoted wife. Both have a strong sense of right and wrong. This is what their son, Joe O'Loughlin, has always believed. But when Joe is summoned to the hospital with news that his father has been brutally attacked, his world is turned upside down. Who is the strange woman crying at William's bedside, covered in his blood - a friend, a mistress, a fantasist or a killer? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Really excellent

  • By mollyeyre on 16-06-18

Doom and gloom

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

Reviewed: 16-08-18

I've read the earlier books in the series and although Joe's life is never a bowl of cherries, this time it's unrelentingly grim. The narration reflected this, but just added to my very negative experience. I didn't feel any empathy with Joe, his mother, his father, their friends or any other of the characters except Vincent, whose loyalty and friendship is the only testament to the character of Joe that we've got to know in the earlier works.

I'll be looking out for the the next book in the series because this is the first time that Michael Robotham has disappointed me and I'm hoping for return to form in the future.

  • Beside Myself

  • By: Ann Morgan
  • Narrated by: Lisa Coleman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,959
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,800
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,805

Six-year-old Helen and Ellie are identical twins, but Helen is smarter, more popular, and their mother's favorite. Ellie, on the other hand, requires special instruction at school, is friendless, and is punished at every turn. Until they decide to swap places - just for fun, and just for one day - and Ellie refuses to switch back. Everything of Helen's, from her toys to her friends to her identity, now belongs to her sister.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely outstanding

  • By Kaggy on 08-12-17

Poor

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

Reviewed: 19-10-17

Well narrated and well written, the whole is let down by the entirely implausible plot. My engagement with Ellie, Helen and their alter egos diminished with every chapter. There were plenty of opportunities for the deception to be exposed long before its effects started to take their toll.

I hope that Ann Morgan will continue to write, as she's obviously talented, but would ask for a more believable plot.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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 12,371
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11,418
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 11,388

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

Highly recommended

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

Reviewed: 27-09-17

The recommendations of a couple of friends led me to this book, and now in my turn I'm recommending it. The socially awkward Eleanor made me laugh and brought tears to my eyes at various points. Her story is very delicately told, with deft signposts to the progress she's making making her character entirely believable. Raymond, too, is a delight - I was confident that his relationship with Eleanor would be exactly what was best for both of them.

The entire backstory isn't revealed till the very end and it was satisfying to have correctly predicted what has happened (although this is probably a testament to the author's skill rather than my powers of deduction).

Narration is top notch and contributed greatly to my enjoyment of this work.

  • Lying in Wait

  • By: Liz Nugent
  • Narrated by: Caoilfhionn Dunne, David McFetridge, Lesley McGuire
  • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,064
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 983
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 985

Lydia Fitzsimons lives in the perfect house with her adoring husband and beloved son. There is just one thing Lydia yearns for to make her perfect life complete, though the last thing she expects is that pursuing it will lead to murder. However, needs must - because nothing can stop this mother from getting what she wants....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Horrifically superb!

  • By Ann D on 07-01-17

A benchmark for audiobooks

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

Reviewed: 25-07-17

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

For me, this was an excellent example of what I look for in an audiobook - compelling story, interesting characters, clear narration. Not knowing how it would end until the actual end was a bonus.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I was fascinated by the awful Lydia - her veneer of respectability and maternal love hid a very different character. That she didn't really suffer the consequences of her actions wasn't something I took issue with - that is sometimes the case in real life.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

All three were masterful. Lydia's refined, controlled determination was fabulously credible - I fully expected her to lose her cool towards the end of the story, but she kept her everything reined in. Poor Lawrence - his awkwardness and struggles to lose weight and wrest some independence from his mother were very realistically represented. Unlike another reviewer I found Karen's portrayal to be excellent - the relaxed demeanour of the very beautiful, with underlying lack of confidence were conveyed well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When it became clear that Lydia's machinations wouldn't be discovered.

Any additional comments?

I'm going to read more of Liz Nugent's work, and will be keeping an eye out for anything read by the three narrators of Lying in Wait.

  • Good Me Bad Me

  • By: Ali Land
  • Narrated by: Hannah Murray
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,388
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,283
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,276

Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way Annie can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind. The secrets of her past won't let her sleep, even with a new family and name - Milly. A fresh start. Now surely she can be whomever she wants to be. But Milly's mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Download this book NOW

  • By Anne on 23-01-17

Left me feeling uncomfortable

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

Reviewed: 10-02-17

I heard the author being interviewed on Woman's Hour and thought this sounded like my sort of book. Most of the reviews were enthusiastic, so I made my purchase.

The narrator does convey Millie's mindset very well, but I wasa little irritated that she also used the monotone when other characters were speaking. She conveyed Millie's confidence gradually building very well, though.

I'd guessed the truth about Daniel fairly early on, but was on the edge of my seat in terms of Morgan's, MK's and Phoebe's safety. Very gripping situations, all of them.

Had I not known the author's firsthand knowledge of this sort of situation I would probably not have found the book so disturbing; as it is I felt very uncomfortable contemplating what had happened and what was likely to happen in the future. Presumably this was the author's aim, in which case she succeeded!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Behind Closed Doors

  • By: B A Paris
  • Narrated by: Georgia Maguire
  • Length: 8 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,696
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,470
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,464

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie? Jack has looks and wealth; Grace has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows. Sometimes the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • WOW !!!!

  • By M F Herbert on 23-04-16

Sorry, this didn't work for me

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

Reviewed: 30-01-17

The premise on which the story is based is pretty much implausible. Without wishing to give anything away for those who haven't read it, I felt that the complete absence of red flags before Jack's true character emerged was unbelievable. Grace's compliance, over many many moths, with only a couple of feeble attempts to extricate herself irritated me beyond belief.

The solution to her situation was bizarre and risky - she'd had enough time to think through the disadvantages but miraculously everything went according to plan. Her new friend apparently had psychic powers to enable her to know what was going on, and was willing to risk a great deal for a woman she appeared to have met only a couple of times. I'm all for female solidarity but that was ridiculous!

Narration was good.

  • Kill Me Again

  • By: Rachel Abbott
  • Narrated by: Lisa Coleman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,138
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,961
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,947

When your life is a lie, who can you trust? When Maggie Taylor accepts a new job in Manchester, she is sure it is the right move for her family. The children have settled well, although her husband, Duncan, doesn’t appear to be so convinced. But nothing prepares her for the shock of coming home from work one night to find that Duncan has disappeared, leaving their young children alone. His phone is dead, and she has no idea where he has gone or why.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Smooth and Classy Thriller

  • By Simon on 26-08-16

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 18-01-17

I've read/listened to other Rachel Abbott titles and was pleased to see this one advertised and praised. Police procedure is described in an interesting (and presumably realistic) way and I was pleased to be in the company of Tom, Becky and colleagues again. The author makes it clear that apart from gut feeling and insight police detective work involves a lot of hard slog.

The Maggie/Duncan story was what let this title down. You know the feeling you get when watching a film where the heroine ventures alone, in killer heels and without a torch into a disused cellar? For me, that feeling was present whenever Maggie featured in the plot. As previous reviewers have remarked, this is a person who is educated, conversant with criminals and a caring mother - there is no way such a person would behave in the way Maggie does! Her thought processes and actions are seriously flawed with the only explanation being that she loves her husband, and I couldn't believe that a husband who deceived her so extensively would be worthy of her protection.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Suitable Lie

  • By: Michael J. Malone
  • Narrated by: Steven Cree
  • Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 225
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 209
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 210

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she's his perfect match.... And she loves his son, too. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Domestic abuse noir

  • By Timi on 18-07-17

Made me think

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

Reviewed: 06-12-16

What did you like most about A Suitable Lie?

The usual interpretation of domestic violence is turned on its head in this novel. Andy's reaction to Anna's fits of rage was entirely believable, as was his reluctance to tell anyone of his predicament.

What did you like best about this story?

The author describes family relationships in a very straightforward way. Andy's mother's love of her sons and grandsons is in no way mawkish or sentimental. Andy and Jim's relationship is close but not stifling and undergoes changes that don't alter their bond.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

During the period while Andy was keeping his situation to himself I was willing him to open up to someone who could steer him towards the help he so badly needed. When he finally did admit what was going on I was mightily relieved.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I seldom listen to a book in one sitting but had I been on a long car journey I would have been happy to listen to it all at once.

Any additional comments?

By including details of Andy's work situation the author added another dimension to his character. Sheila was an interesting and likeable character, although I doubt that Andy's future could lie with her bearing in mind their shared experience.

The narrator did a marvellous job (although to be honest a Scottish accent will always start in pole position for me!) in terms of pace and characterisation. He can portray old, young, male and female characters in a very effective way. I'll look out for him on other audio books.

Michael J Malone is a new author to me - I hope Audible will feature more of his work in the future.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful