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Melanie Preston Lewis

London
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  • reviews
  • 119
  • helpful votes
  • 286
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  • The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency

  • The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Book 1
  • By: Alexander McCall Smith
  • Narrated by: Hilary Neville
  • Length: 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 169
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 132
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective. Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J.L.B. Maketoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than on television!

  • By Dorothy on 19-07-09

Smashing

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

Reviewed: 13-12-18

There is no doubt that Alexander McCall Smith can write a book that is the most sublime experience to read. It's like a hot chocolate, in front of a warm fire, on a cold winter's day. There is nothing to dislike about The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. The stories are divine, they conjure the most wonderful imagery until the reader feels they are actually in Botswana. Mma Ramotse is a fabulous character and I love every single book in the series. However, as is my habit, I haven't listened to the stories in order, and further on the books are narrated by Adjoa Andoh. Hilary Neville did a perfectly good job narrating, but Adjoa Andoh really brings the book alive. If I hadn't heard her narration, I'd have not had any issue with Ms Neville's performance, but I have. I will be buying more of the series, but only books narrated by Ms Andoh, as she really brings something very special to the audio version. Well worth a listen, it's a real treat.

  • Seismic Crimes

  • Disaster Crimes, Book 2
  • By: Chrys Fey
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3

An Internal Affairs investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane - Beth Kennedy. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs. When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • enjoyable listen

  • By TG on 14-12-18

Very cute!

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

Reviewed: 06-12-18

Full disclosure here; I do NOT like romance books and I never listen to them. However, Bill Nevitt is such a top notch voice actor that I'm thrilled to listen to anything he narrates, so I plunged in! It was actually quite pleasant. The love story aspect was sweet, without being too syrupy! It was realistic attraction between grown ups. The thriller part of the book was also enjoyable. I especially appreciated the fact that Beth was a kick-ass female who's perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She chose to allow Donovan to help her, but it was very clear she was able to function and fight off attackers independently. The ending of Seismic Crimes leaves you hankering after book 3, which I understand is called Tsunami Crimes, (Beth and Donovan have lots of things going for them, unfortunately 'luck' isn't one of them), and as book 2 kept my interest and the third book is also narrated by Bill Nevitt, I think I'll be treating myself to it. I haven't listened to book 1, and I don't feel it impacted on my enjoyment, it was a clear story line, and anyway, it's not narrated by Bill Nevitt so I probably won't bother with it. It was nearly 8 hours of pure escapism, which I'm happy to recommend.

  • Nine Perfect Strangers

  • By: Liane Moriarty
  • Narrated by: Caroline Lee
  • Length: 19 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 541
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 509
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 504

The 10-day retreat at boutique health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises healing and transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage and absorb the blissful meditative ambiance while enjoying their hot stone massages. They are all on a path to a better way of living. Or at least a better waistline.... Watching over them is the resort's director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate these tired bodies and minds. But to what lengths will she go to achieve her goal? These nine perfect strangers have no idea what's about to hit them.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Did not like this book at all

  • By sabine on 21-10-18

Gorgeous

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

Reviewed: 06-12-18

Let's first of all discuss the narrator, Caroline Lee. She has narrated all of Liane Moriaty's books, and every time makes a superb job of it. She's a wonderful voice actor, and I know when she's narrating a book, I'm going to enjoy listening. Now the story, as usual, Ms Moriaty's characterisation is sublime. Her comments and observations on every day people living their every day lives are always spot on. Frances Welty's menopausal suffering had me nodding with agreement. Ben and Jessica made me sad, Tony and Lars made me hopeful and Carmel made me once again accept that men really are simple! But it was the Marconis' story that really captured my heart. Their pain over Zak's death was almost tangible. My heart broke over and over again with their individual stories. Ms Moriarty has an excellent sociological eye for detail and in decades to come, her books will be a fascinating anthropological study of today's society. This 19+ hour book was over far too quickly for me. This is a real treasure, so I recommend you treat yourself to a copy. You can always thank me later!

  • Guarded Prognosis

  • By: Richard L. Mabry MD
  • Narrated by: Bill Nevitt
  • Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

When Dr. Caden Taggart saw the two men sitting in his waiting room, he didn’t think they were patients. He was right, and when they introduced themselves as agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency, things started to get bad. Then Caden felt as though someone had gut-punched him when his father, Dr. Henry Taggart, told him he probably had carcinoma of the pancreas. When he talked about his son assisting with his suicide, Caden wondered how he could talk him out of that.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • well explained mystery

  • By TG on 07-12-18

Erm?

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

Reviewed: 30-11-18

Medical thrillers is one of my favourite genres, so I was very excited to get this audiobook. I don't want to be negative, as that helps no one, but I'm struggling here. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I was living in the 1950s! After all, who, in 2018, gives up work when they get married? The story was so sexist that it made my hackles rise. "The only thing she could make for dinner was reservations"! Who says that? Why couldn't Caden make his own bloomin' dinner, and Beth's at the same time? It put my back up and irritated me. Then we were all leaving things to God, and getting lessons on the bible. What that's got to do with DEA investigations I have no idea, and detracted from the story, for me. The thriller aspect of the book wasn't so thrilling. I'd pretty much lost interest by then. I do have to applaud the wonderful performance turned in by narrator Bill Nevitt. With so many people to voice, both male and female, he had a mammoth task on his hands and he handled it brilliantly. In fact, it was Mr Nevitt's narration that kept me listening.

  • The Trauma Cleaner

  • By: Sarah Krasnostein
  • Narrated by: Rachael Tidd
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 646
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 591
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 587

Sandra Pankhurst founded her trauma cleaning business to help people whose emotional scars are written on their houses. From the forgotten flat of a drug addict to the infested home of a hoarder, Sandra enters properties and lives at the same time. But few of the people she looks after know anything of the complexity of Sandra's own life. Raised in an uncaring home, Sandra's miraculous gift for warmth and humour in the face of unspeakable personal tragedy mark her out as a one-off and make this biography unmissable.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating

  • By Bee on 31-03-18

A moving tale

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

Reviewed: 16-11-18

The Trauma Cleaner is a deeply moving and troubling tale. Sandra is a fascinating subject; you have to salute her bravery and resilience. How anyone can do the work that she does still remains a mystery to me, but thank goodness there all people prepared to undertake such tasks. Not for the faint hearted, this is a story to remind many of us to count our blessings. Sandra Pankhurst sharing her surname with a famous suffragette is remarkable symbolism. Mrs Pankhurst, I salute you.

  • While My Eyes Were Closed

  • By: Linda Green
  • Narrated by: Emma Gregory, Maggie Mash, Gareth Bennett-Ryan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,652
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,513
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,513

Dare you close your eyes for even a few seconds? One, two, three... Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to 100 during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter, Ella, is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Page turner

  • By Ms on 26-03-16

Loved it

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

I thought this was a brilliant book. Very clever concept, excellently executed. Linda Green takes us through myriad emotions, and I think the strongest was sorrow. Beautifully written with intelligence and great thought, I would recommend this highly.

  • A Journal of Sin

  • A Sarah Gladstone Thriller, Book 1
  • By: Darryl Donaghue
  • Narrated by: Georgina Tate
  • Length: 7 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 18
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 19

A murdered priest leaves behind records of confessional secrets. Secrets someone would prefer he took to the grave. A small town in the English countryside isolated by a severe storm, and a young female officer, alone and out of her depth. A troubled priest is brutally murdered, leaving behind a journal of the residents' confessional secrets; secrets certain people would have preferred he took to the grave.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable

  • By Louis on 22-08-16

Rather formulaic

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

Reviewed: 11-11-18

The blurb was enticing, but I just didn't get into this story. I couldn't get on board with Sarah, she didn't seem to have any relationship with her own mother. The whole flood and town being cut off for weeks seemed far fetched. It just irritated me. I also thought that the narration wasn't great. The word is 'SOCO', not 'sew-co' and various other mispronunciations that got under my skin. I'm sure this will appeal to lots of people, it's merely that I'm not one of them.

  • A Man with One of Those Faces

  • By: Caimh McDonnell
  • Narrated by: Morgan C. Jones
  • Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 29
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 29

The first time somebody tried to kill him was an accident. The second time was deliberate. Now Paul Mulchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history. Or else they’ll be history.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Outstanding

  • By Moz on 14-09-18

Hilarious!

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

Reviewed: 06-11-18

This is one of the very few books I would call a "double dipper"! That rare breed of book that's so good, I'll read it and I'll listen to it on Audible. Caimh McDonnell is a fabulous writer and his creations; Bunny, Jimmy, Paul, Bridget and the rest are all just adorable. I love them so much, and their escapades never fail to make me roar with laughter. This is the first book in the series, and sets the tone for ever increasing bizarre and dastardly deeds. Luckily, or not, depending on your point of view, when you throw police officers like Bunny into the mix, and upright citizens like Bridget in with him, chaos generally ensues. Definitely one of the funniest books I've listened to in a very long time, with the criminal element thrilling enough to keep any reader/listener on the edge of their seat. (Word of warning; find a low seat because if you're sitting right on the edge when a funny bit comes on, you may cause yourself a nasty injury!). Fabulous writing and a marvellous start to a superb series.

  • I Am Watching You

  • By: Teresa Driscoll
  • Narrated by: Elizabeth Knowelden
  • Length: 8 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,741
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,589
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,586

When Ella Longfield overhears two attractive young men flirting with teenage girls on a train, she thinks nothing of it - until she realises they are fresh out of prison and her maternal instinct is put on high alert. But just as she's decided to call for help, something stops her. The next day, she wakes up to the news that one of the girls - beautiful, green-eyed Anna Ballard - has disappeared.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Glowing Five Stars

  • By Caroline Mitchell on 23-10-17

Heartbreaking!

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

Reviewed: 28-10-18

A heartbreaking tale of dysfunctional families, lies, secrets and deception. This was so sad, because it was too believable. Families aren't kind enough to each other, children take their parents for granted, spouses abuse their other halves trust, parents bury their heads in the sand rather than confront the truth. Although this was an example of what happens when all those elements are taken to the extreme, the underlying premise, that we are unkindest to those we love the most, rang all too true. Very clever writing by Teresa Driscoll, with great sociological insights and beautiful narrating by Elizabeth Knowelden made this an absorbing, emotional and sad listen. The sadness of the people involved leaks out of every word. I highly recommend this book, but have a box of tissues on standby. You can thank me later!

  • The Torment of Others

  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Saul Reichlin
  • Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 485
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 438
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 437

A dead girl lies on a blood-soaked mattress, her limbs spread in a parody of ecstasy. The scene matches a series of murders which ended with the conviction of Derek Tyler. But Tyler's been locked up in a mental institution for two years, barely speaking a word. Criminal psychologist Dr Tony Hill thinks this is not a copycat murder but something much stranger. Hill heads towards a terrifying face-off with one of the most perverse killers he has ever encountered….

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A bit predictable

  • By Amanda on 18-10-17

Perfection

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

Reviewed: 28-10-18

Val McDermid's writing coupled with Saul Reichlin's narrating, what's not to love? Needless to say I've listened to the Dr Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series entirely out of order, but here's the thing, it hasn't mattered. These books are so good that I reckon I could listen to them backwards and they'd still be the standard bearer for all great crime novels. They're like the template for other writers, if you can make your book as good as Ms McDermid's, you'll have a winner. Thank you for the words Ms McDermid, and for this one, the 14 hours and 28 minutes of thoroughly brilliant escapism. Fab-u-lous!!!