LISTENER

Steve Hammant-Stacey

Christchurch, UK
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 42
  • helpful votes
  • 55
  • ratings
  • The Alamo

  • John Milton, Book 11
  • By: Mark Dawson
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 713
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 655
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 649

New York isn't ready for Britain's most dangerous ex-assassin.... John Milton has finally found a place to escape the bloodshed: off-season Coney Island. No tourists. No special ops. Just peace and quiet. But when a local boy witnesses a grisly murder, Milton can't resist investigating. Milton uncovers a vicious drug kingpin and a group of crooked cops from a notorious precinct known as The Alamo. Against such dangerous foes, Milton's quest for redemption could come to an end.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another superb Milton thriller...

  • By Salter on 14-12-18

Another fantastic story...

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

Reviewed: 15-09-17

I first listened to the 'John Milton' books by accident. I travel a lot, so use audiobooks as I find them relaxing and easier than hoofing books everywhere as I am such a fast reader and don't like e-readers. I was looking for a book narrated by the same reader who had narrated the previous book and stumbled upon this series.

These books are simply superb. Very well-written, with really cracking plot lines and always a very clever denouement. Mark Dawson is a highly talented storyteller and with each story, Milton's character is able to be understood further through Dawson's ability to develop characters. Even for such a tough guy, he does have other facets. He's like a mix between a modern-day Kwai Chang Caine and James Bond, having a 'particular set of skills'...

Any book can be improved upon or ruined by the narrator; I have written about this in other reviews. However, I always find that David Thorpe's 'particular set of skills' enhances the Milton stories and enables me to enjoy them even more.

As someone who is in the process of writing the 'incredibly difficult first book', it's a joy to see that there are people out there who can write like this repeatedly and any would-be writer in this genre - and general crime/police procedurals - can, I think, learn from Dawson's style of writing in terms of character development and what he includes - and leaves out - for the story to progress. Also, the fact that each story is set in far-flung places gives the writer almost unlimited scope to be creative; very clever.

Milton does have a habit of sniffing out trouble though. I'm actually surprised that the organisers of the meetings he attends aren't less welcoming...

  • The Verdict

  • By: Nick Stone
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 21 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 847
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 779
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 779

Terry Flynt is a struggling legal clerk, desperately trying to get promoted. And then he is given the biggest opportunity of his career: to help defend a millionaire accused of murdering a woman in his hotel suite. The only problem is that the accused man, Vernon James, turns out to be not only someone he knows, but someone he loathes. This case could potentially make Terry's career, but how can he defend a former friend who betrayed him so badly?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Verdict by Nick Stone

  • By Steven on 29-01-14

Great story, great narration...

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

Reviewed: 19-05-17

Another great narration from David Thorpe. It really does make a difference. The story is superb and as someone who is half way through writing a novel, I have made notes on style and structure. Very well put together and worthy of Grisham and Connelly in its pace and twists. Highly recommended.

  • Blackout

  • John Milton, Book 10
  • By: Mark Dawson
  • Narrated by: David Thorpe
  • Length: 10 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 708
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 647
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 646

John Milton's life is about to change. The former government assassin follows a lead to Manila that he hopes will transform everything. But things don't go to plan. He never expected to wake up in an unfamiliar hotel room beside a dead body. And, unfortunately for him, Milton doesn't remember a thing about the night before.... Thrown into a gruesome Filipino prison, he puts together the clues of his betrayal. With no allies and even less hope, Milton must use his wits to escape and take revenge....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Epic....!

  • By Salter on 09-01-18

Another great listen...

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

Reviewed: 15-05-17

You know what it's like; it can be a great story, written by a favourite author, but the narrator ruins the book. Not the case with David Thorpe. He's a great performer and - I think - adds to the enjoyment of the story. Great stuff. Only problem is, I've now listened to them all...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Whisky from Small Glasses

  • A D.C.I. Daley Thriller, Book 1
  • By: Denzil Meyrick
  • Narrated by: David Monteath
  • Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,788
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,641
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,634

DCI Jim Daley is sent from the city to investigate a murder after the body of a woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the West Coast of Scotland. Far away from urban resources, he finds himself a stranger in a close-knit community. Love, betrayal, fear and death stalk the small town, as Daley investigates a case that becomes more deadly than he could possibly imagine, in this compelling Scottish crime novel infused with intrigue and dark humour.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellently read.

  • By fiona on 19-03-17

Finally! A great voice actor!

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

Reviewed: 25-03-17

This is exactly what you want from an Audiobook; a great story, well-written and brilliantly performed by someone who can actually 'do' accents.

Other books could be rescued by hiring this guy. Damien Boyd's books for instance. Fabulous stories, well-written, but narrated by someone who simply should have another career...

Looking forward to the next one already!

32 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Death Sentence

  • DI Nick Dixon, Book 6
  • By: Damien Boyd
  • Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129

The body of an elderly man is found in an abandoned World War Two pillbox beside the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. With no obvious motive and no credible suspect, DI Nick Dixon starts digging into the victim's past. The more he digs, the deeper Dixon is drawn into a case that takes him from the cave systems beneath rural Somerset to the heart of government, and threatens to expose a military cover-up at the highest level.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Spoiled by the narration

  • By C.C on 30-10-17

The many comedy voices of Napoleon Ryan

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

Reviewed: 02-02-17

Any additional comments?

I don't know Napoleon Ryan. I'm sure he's a very nice chap and a very good actor. The problem is with his narration. I love Damian Boyd's books. I really like the characters, the plot and the police procedural. However, the truly lamentable narration detracts from this. I am a huge fan of audiobooks. Travelling a great deal as I do, it's an easy way of relaxing.

The trouble comes when you're on a flight to - let's say - Germany, and Napoleon introduces a new character. This time, it's a Welsh one. He manages to make the guy - Cuthbert - sound like an Indian version of 'Yoda'. He cost me a whisky as I was laughing so much, I spilled it.

I have complained q.v. about Jan Cramer's sarcastic voicing of - let me see - ALL of her attempts, but she's up against some stiff competition now for the 'Razzie' of audiobook narration.

I'd love to stay and write more, but I've had a trying day and need cheering up, so I'm off to listen to see what's in store. Do I have any idea about what's going on? Barely.

But the comedy voices are a treat...

Come on Audible! Get someone in who knows what they're doing! At least let the author approve the narrator; I can't believe for a minute that Damien got through a couple of chapters without spilling his milk...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Dead Level

  • DI Nick Dixon, Book 5
  • By: Damien Boyd
  • Narrated by: Napoleon Ryan
  • Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 193
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 160
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 159

In the early hours of Christmas Eve, the wife of parliamentary candidate Tom Perry is brutally murdered in an apparent burglary gone wrong. With the by-election campaign about to start in earnest and the festive season in full swing, torrential rain brings with it flood warnings on the Somerset Levels.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Voices

  • By Maggie on 11-04-16

Who are these people?!

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

Reviewed: 16-05-16

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Firstly, let me make this clear; Damien Boyd is a great writer and the 'Nick Dixon' stories are really good. Better still if you know the area in which they are set. So; I have no truck at all with either the author or the storyline/characters etc.

However; who in the name of all that's holy picks the narrators for these things? This guy - Napoleon Ryan - seems to voice all of his characters in different joke voices. Nick Dixon for instance seems to be a mixture of Sam Spade and a local radio newsreader from the 1980s. The breathy voice of the female performer is almost indistinguishable between characters...

The voice of Harry Unwin actually made me laugh out loud; a 1950s 'B' movie villain seems to be the inspiration here!

All of this is terribly sad. It tempered my enjoyment of the book so much that I had to skip great swathes of it in order to stop listening to the truly terrible voices.

Damien Boyd - if you ever get the chance to a) read this review and b) choose your narrator, PLEASE choose a different one. And if you can't find a good one, I'll do the whole thing for expenses only. I can't offer a professional history in voiceovers, but I can promise one thing; I can DEFINITELY do a better job than this joker..

Seriously; Vladimir Putin and Pat Butcher ( yes I know she's not real ) would have done a better job...

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Napoleon Ryan?

ANYone. Seriously. Ron Pickering would have been a better option. John Prescott could have done a better job.

Seriously? How about someone with a modicum of talent?

Was Dead Level worth the listening time?

Not at all. Read the book and get some actual pleasure from the story.

Any additional comments?

I wish I'd known I could return the book...

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Silent Scream

  • Detective Kim Stone Crime Thriller, Book 1
  • By: Angela Marsons
  • Narrated by: Jan Cramer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 953
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 845
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 848

Five figures gather 'round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken, but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood. Years later a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders that shock the Black Country.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good story, dreadful narrator.

  • By G. Willoughby on 04-10-15

Great story; TERRIBLE narrator...

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

Reviewed: 16-12-15

What did you like best about Silent Scream? What did you like least?

This is a well-written first novel introducing a new character and is an inventive story with a good - if slightly predictable - plot and it rolls along nicely.

Sadly, the narrator is a total mismatch for this audiobook and has put me off buying another. Her tone is one of almost constant sarcasm. Her 'ability' at accents is laughable (for Welsh, you'll hear Pakistani) and I have no idea at all how she makes a living as a voice-over artiste. My only guess is that she must have been cheap...

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jan Cramer?

ANYONE!