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Alexander James Hawley (Hawley Reviews)

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Short story with unusual twist

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

Reviewed: 14-10-17

This 2 hour story was well constructed within the parameters of a short story. The time gaps were well explained and the Welsh accent of Jake Urry was well matched to the tale despite the fact that the main character was a woman. I hope you enjoy the conclusion as much as I did; it was novel.

2 people found this helpful

Reality meets fiction

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

Reviewed: 06-09-17

Where does Rattle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Normally as I have a 101 audiobooks in my audible list this will be difficult to do. However, on this occasion, I can compare it to Joseph Knox's Sirens, as they were both on the New Blood Panel in Harrogate. Just like Sirens, this book has unique protagonists allowing for a look into a world that most people will never see. Unlike myself who has a similar condition to victims in the book and if I was in that situation I may well be a victim myself. So this made for an interesting personal angle.

What does Karen Cass bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Reading an audiobook is a wholly different experience to reading a paperback, but as I cannot do this due to my dyslexia, narrators like Cass and others who allow the industry to provide these books ensure that people like me can experience the vast variety of crime novels out there. Cass did everything that I wanted from a narrator by not getting in the way of the story, although I do sometimes prefer a unique accent depending upon where the book is based. Cass allowed the short chapters to flow well and I felt comfortable listening to her for 11 hours.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

As I have already stated I have a condition which may well have made me a victim of the villain of the book. Although the possibility of this scared me, it didn't scare me as much as other books, such as Eva Dolan's After You Die, which was also based around a disability.

3 people found this helpful

Drug fuelled politics, family suspense

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

Reviewed: 28-08-17

If you could sum up Sirens in three words, what would they be?

Look at Headline

Who was your favorite character and why?

That would be the Bug, because he seemed to be the most in depth character, even though it was only a small role.

Have you listened to any of Lewys Taylor’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not as yet, but as this was Knox's first book he may well be used again in the future considering the publishing heavyweights he has behind him of Penguin and Random House.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book was not really designed for this, although the opening of the book reminded me of the opening to Lethal Weapon.

Any additional comments?

This book was a worthy addition to the 2017 Theakstons Old Peculier New Blood Panel, hosted and chosen by Val McDermid.

1 person found this helpful

Story expertly divided into distinct parts

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

Reviewed: 21-08-17

What made the experience of listening to The Distant Echo the most enjoyable?

The two distinct parts, which allowed you to develop empathy for all of the characters within the story. This allowed a cold case to be truly seen from both sides of the investigation.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Weird, because of his changing character throughout the narrative.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, but I did have a surprise reaction when I realised that Val had managed to stump me.

Any additional comments?

Great authentic Scottish narration.

1 person found this helpful

The reality of writers block

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

Reviewed: 15-08-17

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

I would recommend this book to any prospective writer as it describes what it would feel like for a writer who gets writers block, although it did have some bad elements as well.

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

In order to avoid spoilers I won't answer this question then.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

A narrator cannot help the way they deliver, it is just them.

Any additional comments?

Good to read an author from another country again.

1 person found this helpful

There is life in the old dog yet

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

Reviewed: 11-08-17

What made the experience of listening to Rather Be the Devil the most enjoyable?

James Macpherson has always been synonymous with Rebus' audiobooks and without his dulcet tones it would be a different experience.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Rather Be the Devil?

A good book does not have just one memorable moment, but a gripping story and Rather be the Devil is a prime example of this.

Which character – as performed by James Macpherson – was your favourite?

After 21 books the title character would have to be the answer, although the development of Malcolm Fox and Rebus' recent love interest made the story different to others before it.

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

Most crime books worth their salt are impossible to listen to in one sitting because they are too long. However, the characterisation in the Rebus books did lead me to listening to it late at night, risking falling asleep to finish it.

2 people found this helpful

PI's family issues add good spice

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

Reviewed: 03-08-17

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Due to the narration of this book which I will admit that I didn't enjoy, I had to listen to this book longer than I would have liked because I fell asleep a number of times through no fault of the author. The story had multiple layers, though, which got absorbed in the story.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I might have shortened it and put a few less characters in, as I think it may have some legs with his later books if it is more tightly focussed.

How could the performance have been better?

The voice of the narrator didn't suit me, I would have preferred someone who was a bit more lively.

Do you think Games People Play needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

He's already done two, Old Friends and New Enemies and Before the Devil Knows you are Dead.

Any additional comments?

Thanks to Bloodhound books for introducing me to a new author.

1 person found this helpful

Story teaches you not to take things at face value

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

Where does Lie with Me rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This question has something of an ironic answer, as I am currently reading it as part of the Theakston's Crime Shortlist. To say where this lies alongside the other nominees would be currently unfair as I've not had chance to read them all. However, against other books it comes out well because of its style and tone.

What did you like best about this story?

The surprising amount of detail taken to construct the backstory needed for the plot to work.

What about Kirk Bage’s performance did you like?

The performance matched well with the character.

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

Don't take things at face value

Any additional comments?

This is the first book I've listened to via Alexa and it has meant that I've been able to listen to it for longer as I could tackle my disability through it.

1 person found this helpful

Mephisto gets his 3rd outing

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

Reviewed: 07-06-17

What did you like about this audiobook?

As this is the 3rd book it was finding out about what happened to the characters.

How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

The genre is one that I regularly read and I was encouraged to read it after Elly Griffiths was given the role of Chair at the Harrogate Crime Festival 2017. I would have read this anyway at some point.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

1. Question is not gender neutral and incorrectly describes it as a male.
2. The book is a work of fiction so the role of the author is to provide a world to escape to and not present knowledge in the way presumed.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Nothing overly wrong with it, just that it was a different narrator to the previous 2 books which spoilt it a bit.

Do you have any additional comments?

When setting these questions it would have been nice for the original questions to be saved or an option to save the review.

5 people found this helpful

The reader beware of this cunning tale

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

Reviewed: 17-05-17

Would you listen to A Rare Book of Cunning Device again? Why?

Yes, given its short length it was a great distraction on a horrible day of bad weather.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Greater explanation of the plot.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Not relevant on such a short length.

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

The possibility of getting squished in a library made me laugh.

1 person found this helpful