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  • 117
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  • Extreme Prey

  • Lucas Davenport, Book 26
  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 26
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25

After the events in Gathering Prey, Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation: he is no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA. His friend the governor is just cranking up a presidential campaign, though, and he invites Lucas to come along as part of his campaign staff. 'Should be fun!' he says, and it kind of is - until they find they have a shadow: an armed man intent on killing the governor...and anyone who gets in the way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another thrilling read

  • By JASON M. on 20-06-18

Builds and builds. Excellent.

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

Reviewed: 16-03-18

The criminals plot. The hunter chases. Take care, Lukas Davenport is after you. Try to run.

  • Field of Prey

  • Lucas Davenport, Book 24
  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 11 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

Layton had picked the perfect spot to lose his virginity to his girlfriend - an abandoned farmyard in the middle of cornfields. The only problem was something smelled bad... He mentioned it to a county deputy he knew, and when they looked, they found a body stuffed down a cistern. By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, the police were up to fifteen bodies and counting. The victims had been killed over many years, one every summer. How could this have happened without anybody noticing?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A True Thriller<br />

  • By Eugene on 18-02-18

A True Thriller<br />

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

Reviewed: 18-02-18

Davenport hunts. The stakes are high. The killer is practiced and prepared. It's no easy chase. Excellent.

  • Shadow Prey

  • A Lucas Davenport Mystery, Book 2
  • By: John Sandford
  • Narrated by: Richard Ferrone
  • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 32

An orchestrated series of ritual killings has shocked the nation. Partnered by New York police officer Lily Rothenburg, Detective Lucas Davenport will need all the tricks he has learnt on the streets of Minneapolis as he searches through the shadows and mysteries of the American Indian community, trying to track down the obsessed minds behind the bloody vengeance killings - before the team of killers finally goes out of control.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hunter and Hunted

  • By Eugene on 11-04-16

Hunter and Hunted

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

Reviewed: 11-04-16

A high quality Lucas Davenport Thriller. The last third delivers the required action and thrills.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Secret History

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: Donna Tartt
  • Length: 22 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,453
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,184
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,183

The smartest murder-mystery you will ever hearA misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An interesting tale

  • By mj on 06-09-16

Folly of Youth

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

Reviewed: 20-07-15

What made the experience of listening to The Secret History the most enjoyable?

The book is a long read, so to be able to listen to it in audio makes it easier to enjoy the book for a second and third time: its writing style and the detail it takes to tell the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Henry is the most talented of the six students, somewhat of a tragic hero and the leader of the group. As such he is the most intriguing character. However, perhaps not truly appealing. Henry is seen through the viewpoint of the initially over-impressed narrator Richard Papen and so the story acts as a warning to resist superficial attractions and the appeal of those who seem to shine above the rest.

What about Donna Tartt’s performance did you like?

The energy, the focus, the precision of the expression, bringing the book to life. Because she is the author Donna Tartt is able to give the story full expression, using irony and emphasis in her reading which another performer might not allow themselves.

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

The story is distanced, ironic and amusing, but it builds to a tragedy as the superficiality of the characters is eroded by moral weight. A rich experience.

Any additional comments?

Once you've read or listened to the novel there's no need to start again from the beginning and its possible to dip in and enjoy different elements. Coming back to the same moments having a full understanding of the story makes Richard Papen's folly more touching and the failings of the characters more resonant. One despises the narcissism and snobbery of characters and at the same time its possible to empathize with their youth and the pretensions of those who wish to be special.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

  • By: Dai Sijie, Ina Rilke - translator
  • Narrated by: B.D. Wong
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13

From within the hopelessness and terror of China's Cultural Revolution, Dai Sijie has fashioned a beguiling and unexpected story about the resilience of the human spirit, the wonder of romantic awakening, and the magical power of storytelling. "An unexpected miracle," raves the Los Angeles Times Book Review, "a delicate, and often hilarious, tale."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I adored this book

  • By Rowan on 19-11-10

A Romance Within The Cultural Revolution

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

Reviewed: 18-12-14

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

Given that the book is both a relationship story and also specific to a period in Chinese history I don't know of many friends who would find the book to their taste or interest. I think that the setting and the relationships are well told, so I like the book, but its not a genre novel; it isn't that easily categorized. The appeal might be that the book is somewhat unique. A personal rather than a historical view of being re-educated as part of China's cultural revolution is unusual. Being written by a Chinese author, but published first in French, indicates the unique nature of the novel. Its also a quietly humorous novel, which makes it appealing.

What other book might you compare Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress to, and why?

The stories of Eileen Chang might be compared to this novel. Both authors write relationship stories within a Chinese setting. They are Chinese authors, but write within a naturalistic style, that of the European novel. The stories take place at authentic moments in Chinese history, but are fictions, part-autobiography, part fiction. The reference to Balzac in the title links the book to the naturalist tradition in French literature of the 1800's, and this is the written style of the story: small scale characters within a larger historical setting. The characters in the book are individuals but they cannot live apart from their societies and their histories.

What does B.D. Wong bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The book is an account of a personal experience, so an audio book gives the author a actual voice. I didn't really notice the reading of the audio book in terms of who was reading it. The voice just matched what I expected from the novel, so the audio seemed like a perfect fit for the narrator.

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

The book represents a meeting between cosmopolitan Chinese who have European tastes and communist Chinese villagers who understand this European influence as corrupt. The story of the violin shows this conflict and also how there is a shared humanity in the experience of music. What makes the book moving rather than simply a love story in an exotic setting is the fact that the 'Little Seamstress' in an insightful and intelligent person. This relates to Eileen Chang's representation of Chinese women: these are women who need to fulfill their social role, which can make them seem subservient and ornamental, but this simplistic view is is not the case if one considers these women's lives in depth and detail.

Any additional comments?

The novel is something of a contradiction which makes its a stimulating book. Its sensitive tone suggest that it takes a conciliatory approach to the cultural revolution, there are no evil villains. The book might also be understood as condescending towards the village-based Chinese as they are shown to be ignorant, so that the book represents a Western based superiority towards Chinese culture - hence its popularity in the West, perhaps. However, looking at the the story more closely, it also mocks the European educated men who are exiled in the village, and the Little Seamstress might be seen as a woman who has to make her own path within Chinese society where there are two opposing and conflicted cultural and political forces: Modern China shifting towards a European social and cultural model, and authentic Chinese life with its long standing and complex history. The story of the Little Seamstress is an account of a woman living within a specific social setting where European ideas and culture are an intrusion and not necessarily a solution.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Catch 22

  • By: Joseph Heller
  • Narrated by: Trevor White
  • Length: 16 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,627
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,213
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,205

At the heart of Joseph Heller's best-selling novel, first published in 1961, is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful

  • By Keith on 25-05-09

All the Madness You Could Ever Want

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

Reviewed: 18-12-14

What made the experience of listening to Catch 22 the most enjoyable?

The reading of Catch 22 gives you the energy that comes from reading the book off the page. There's a sense that the narrator Yossarian is figuring out events as they occur in the story: so the 'discovery' tone of the reading is what is needed for the audio version. The conundrums of the novel, facts being known, facts being startling, things never getting any better, life being more comic as each tragedy takes place is well served by the reading.

What other book might you compare Catch 22 to, and why?

Given its comic tone, the scope of its characters, the complexity of its telling, its hard to find a book that acts as a comparison to Catch 22. Classic literature gives you long social novels, but they don't necessarily offer you such profound comedy, and in Catch 22 each sentence is carefully crafted. Oddly, perhaps only a novelist of social insight, comedy and irony such as Jane Austin comes to mind as a comparison in terms of concentrated observational style. The American novel has its austere social authors, such as John Steinbeck, and its ironists, like Tom Wolfe or Brett Easton Ellis, but I would set Catch 22 apart as one of the 'big American novels'. Perhaps John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany is the only book I know that has the length and laugh out loud joy, frustration and despair of Catch 22.

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

The reading shows the enjoyment that the written book offers. The tone of the reading matches the persona of the narrator Yossarian. In this sense the reading adds to the book. Trevor White embodies the character of Yossarian very well.

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

I would never want to read this book in one sitting. It's an immense work, with so many characters, so many funny events. Returning to this book through the audio is the enjoyment of it. I sometimes start at the beginning of the book, but then often just listen to a chapter by dipping in. The book is told with overlapping stories, and with so many different characters. Its a book for a lifetime: rereading is better each time.

Any additional comments?

I wonder if it might be quite hard to listen to the audio version of Catch 22 without prior reading of the full novel or a detailed synopsis to hand. In this respect going to a list of the characters to be sure who is who, or having to go back and re-read or listen to the book should not be seen as a problem with the story. The interlocking, repeating, developing stories are part of the experience. The book is so precise and so quick that it requires familiarity for enjoyment of it or concentrated listening. This might make the audio book seem like a challenge. It is more demanding than a linear story where if you have a sense of the plot you can move forward even if you miss something. This is not the case with Catch 22. There's also a sense that Catch 22 has been copied in its style by other more recent war novels. Catch 22 can be understood to stem from the comic picaresque novel of Don Quixote, but what Catch 22 has is tragic depth, which is not always the case with pallid imitators. Catch 22 offers the reader or the listener more each time they return to it. There's nothing superficial about Catch 22.

  • Helter Skelter

  • The True Story of the Manson Murders
  • By: Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 26 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 596
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 528
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 523

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Evil: Step by Step

  • By Eugene on 18-12-14

Evil: Step by Step

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

Reviewed: 18-12-14

Would you consider the audio edition of Helter Skelter to be better than the print version?

In both print and on audio the book becomes more and more engrossing as it develops. It's length makes the audio version preferable for a second reading. There is so much detail only an unabridged version is acceptable.

What did you like best about this story?

The detail of the story, what might be described as the boring work of detection that a fiction thriller would leave out is the most compelling aspect of the story. Detectives, as they say, 'work the case' and in Helter Skelter it's clear what this really means. There's also a sense of people reacting to a murder in different ways,creating their own version of events when they don't know the truth, being unable to see the truth, because they have created their own narrative of the crime. What comes through step by step is the sense of evil: of people being able to decide and plan and want to murder, and to believe they have the right to murder. The facts of the case are famous, but the detail is what makes an engrosssing and morally insightful story.

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

I recognize the name Scott Brick, but don't track my audio books by performance. Brick's reading is slow and steady and clear. Some might say that this is not dramatic enough, but it would be a betrayal of the book to give it an over-dramatic reading. Brick also avoids any sort of accents or performance for the dialogue, which is also the right approach.

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

I read the book in print many years ago and decided to revisit it in audio. At 26 hours its not a book for a single sitting. Its a book I will listen to for an hour and then leave for some time, treating it more like a serial than single story. 26 parts is a long tale. Also there are a lot of people and events. Its more involving to mull over events, rather than consume them at one gulp. The book is structured to move slowly towards the killers, chronologically, this does work as a dramatic device. The public history means that you know who will be convicted, but the book recreates this process, giving you a sense that how things turned out were not always inevitable and clear.

Any additional comments?

A book like Donna Tartt's The Secret History, a fictional crime story, is lauded as a literary work, and this is justified. There's always some sense that a true crime story is more sensationalist and morally tawdry compared to true literature. There is badly written true crime, but Helter Skelter is written with the detail and diligence that makes it a great book. It's a social novel, about people who lived and worked in Hollywood in the sixties and a study of a 'cult'. Both these topics are often treated superficially, but in working from the facts, using the development as the investigation as an insight into the people, their motives and personality become understood.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Club Dead

  • Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #3
  • By: Charlaine Harris
  • Narrated by: Johanna Parker
  • Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

There's only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with - at least voluntarily - and that's Bill. But recently he's been a little distant - in another state distant. His sinister and sexy boss, Eric, has an idea where to find him, and next thing Sookie knows she's off to Jackson, Mississippi, to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than TV!

  • By Wombat on 07-04-13

Sookie Outside of Bon Temps

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-12-12

Sookie Stackhouse fights for her lover, and goes deep into the heart of enemy territory to keep to her sense of honour and true love. She's a heroine because she's a woman who will do what needs to be done to keep her man, without ever giving up her own identity and self-worth. In Club Dead, Sookie leaves Bon Temps for an adventure within the world of the dangerous vampire supernatural community. The reading of this book is just right: not too coy and not too knowing. An excellent book in the series and one which shows the scope and imagination of Charlaine Harris's writing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Headhunters

  • By: Jo Nesbo
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 445
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264

Roger Brown has it all. He's the country's most successful headhunter. He has a beautiful wife and a magnificent house. And to maintain this lifestyle, he's also a highly accomplished art thief. At a gallery opening, his wife introduces him to Clas Greve. Not only is Greve the perfect candidate for a position with one of Roger's high-profile clients, he is also in possession of 'The Calydonian Boar Hunt' by Rubens, one of the most sought-after paintings in the world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Best yet!

  • By Jill on 26-05-12

Tension, Breath Stopping Tension

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

This is a story where it's so tense you feel that you want to speed up the storytelling because its so good. The eponymous Headhunter is smug, manipulative, deceitful, but there's always someone fiercer out there in the world. A thriller in every sense; putting the reader right in the middle of the menacing heart-stopping experience - and unbelievably its also make you laugh out loud. After listening to this Jo Nesbo book its hard not to start straight away on another. A good story and good listening.

  • Blood Meridian

  • Or the Evening Redness in the West
  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 468
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 362
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 360

Author of the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most provocative American stylists to emerge in the last century. The striking novel Blood Meridian offers an unflinching narrative of the brutality that accompanied the push west on the 1850s Texas frontier.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Visionary, violent, yet redemptive. A masterpiece.

  • By Peter Kettle on 07-04-13

Madness, Violence and Greed

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-12-12

The mythology of the European settlement of America begins with the search for the religious sanctuary of the Mayflower, and is enshrined in the Constitution which recognizes the equality of all men. What also saturates and permeates the American psyche is barbaric violence. Blood Meridian is a story that can't be listened to without a break for emotional recovery: it's so vicious, violent and remorseless that it is unbearable. This, of course, is the book's greatness. It's an epic saga of pitiless aggression, automatic racism, all stemming for the false self-belief, and religious hypocrisy of one of the central characters. In our contemporary society where the aim is to present the campaigns of war as fights for rights and freedom, and all of this is presented in a video game format, Blood Meridian, keeps to the fore what is still essential: the depravity of men who cannot limit or challenge their own ignorance, madness and blood lust.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful