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Mark

  • 12
  • reviews
  • 71
  • helpful votes
  • 62
  • ratings
  • The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau

  • By: Graeme Macrae Burnet
  • Narrated by: Geoffrey Breton
  • Length: 8 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 390
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 367
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 365

Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adèle Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. But one day, she simply vanishes into thin air. When Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, is called in to investigate the girl's disappearance, Manfred's repressed world is shaken to its core.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absorbing Tale

  • By Deirdre More on 04-08-18

It must be better in French........

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

Reviewed: 08-03-19

This must be a classic case of lost in translation.

There is no mystery or twist, there is no police investigation.

There is a character study of a boring man, which is written without any whit or imagination. The rest of it comes off like 6th form written clichéd nonsense.

Avoid.

Edit;

Ah, now after Googling I now see that the whole "translated from French" angle was part of the joke and that this was a first novel from a Scottish author that was deemed "no good" and then, after he wrote something better, was published with a "literary conceit" in-joke to excuse the fact that it rubbish.

  • 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 558
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 447
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 444

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

3 hours in, no apparent plot

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

Reviewed: 26-02-19

This was my first Cormac McCarthy, so perhaps it wasn't the best place to start.

I loved the atmosphere generated by his prose style, but this only took me so far.

After 3 hours of one random act of violence after another I had had enough. You have no access to the thoughts of any of the characters and there is no narrative drive.

Maybe I'll try again with one of his shorter works, I did like the descriptive passages.

  • Nothing Is Real

  • The Beatles Were Underrated and Other Sweeping Statements About Pop
  • By: David Hepworth
  • Narrated by: David Hepworth
  • Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 49
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 44
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43

Pop music’s a simple pleasure. Is it catchy? Can you dance to it? Do you fancy the singer? What’s fascinating about pop is our relationship with it. This relationship gets more complicated the longer it goes on. It’s been going on now for 50 years. David Hepworth is interested in the human side of pop. He’s interested in how people make the stuff and, more importantly, what it means to us. In this wide-ranging collection of essays, he shows how it is possible to take music seriously and, at the same time, not drain the life out of it. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • More Gold-Dust from Mr Hepworth

  • By Colin on 03-12-18

More Accurate Observations Than Greenwich

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

I really enjoyed Mr Hepworth's previous two books, 1971 and Uncommon People and this one is just as good.

This is an excellent collection of articles covering music and the industry that provides it. It is very funny, and I was constantly smiling as he nailed every observation.

If you're a middle aged bloke may find yourself squirming as he exposes all the snobbish opinions you have bored your mates with for the last 20 years.

My only criticism is that it is that I wish it had been longer!

  • Un-Making a Murderer

  • The Framing of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey
  • By: Shaun Attwood
  • Narrated by: AmadeuS
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 31

Innocent people do go to jail. Sometimes mistakes are made. But even more terrifying is when the authorities conspire to frame them. That's what happened to Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, who were convicted of murder and are serving life sentences. Un-Making a Murderer is an explosive book which uncovers the illegal, devious, and covert tactics used by Wisconsin officials.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not the book that this case deserves

  • By Mark on 01-11-18

Not the book that this case deserves

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

Reviewed: 01-11-18

I purchased this book after watching the 2 seasons of the Netflix documentary "Making A Murderer".

Like most people that have seen it I was intrigued by the murder case of Teresa Halbach and the subsequent trials and appeals of those found guilty. But I was curious about the facts of the case beyond those that were presented in the programme. Mostly because while I was watching it I was aware of how biased it was towards those two defendants. After all, they had been found guilty and from the way the programme was presented you would believe that nobody in the world, other than the investigating police force, agreed with that verdict.

A quick look around the internet (Google/Reddit) tells you that there are plenty of people who do not accept the programme's interpretation of the evidence and make good points about the supposed guilt or innocence. This audiobook had good reviews, so I was hoping that it would present things that I had not heard, or at least provide a fresh questioning voice to give a counterpoint to the TV programme.

Sadly, it is even more biased.Also, if you have not watched the show it would be absolutely incoherent. There are some things raised that I had not heard but there is very little detailed analysis and a lot of questionable assertions. The content is also very poor. Large parts of it are just verbatim narrations of the Brendon Dassey confession. It begins with a dictated letter from the author to one of the prosecution lawyers where he suggests that he hopes the lawyer ends up in prison and has a mishap in the showers. Very odd.

On the plus side the narrator does do a good job at distinguishing character voices.

So if you want a book that provides a more balanced look at the case look elsewhere. I am not sure there is one yet, but Reddit is a good place to start. I remain unconvinced either way. I hope that some more of the truth comes out, the victims family deserves it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Perdido Street Station: New Crobuzon, Book 1

  • By: China Mieville
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Oliver
  • Length: 31 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 442
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 334
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 330

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores. In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none—not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Flawed. Overlong. Masterful.

  • By Will on 31-01-12

Great for fans of the word "Pugnacious".....

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

Reviewed: 21-06-18

.....because you be hearing it every hour, on the hour, and it will drive you nuts.

This replaces Kate Mosse's Labyrinth as the worst book that I have ever finished. I am not sure why I kept going till the bitter end. It did start out quite well. He creates striking visual imagery, but then he keeps going, and going and going.

Desperately in need of editing, it reads like a 6th former has found the thesaurus button on Word, but let it auto correct, so you have the same arcane word used again and again instead of simpler more direct language. Pugnacious was a particular bug-bear of mine, but other include "stolid", "vertiginous" and "ululate".

It seems to me that he started the story wanting it to be a character study of the weird animal, Cronenberg like, creatures that he had created, but about half way he lost confidence in that and turned it in to James Cameron's Aliens. Shame the former would have been much better.

A note on Jonathan Oliver's narration. He seems to be doing a John Hurt impression, but with the most irritating pauses that stretch every paragraph out to interminable lengths. This is how it ended up at 31 hours. Even fans of this book must think that this is too long.

I gave up with this version and sought out (yeah, I'm a glutton, why did I bother?) another version (although not on Audible). There is one by John Lee, also unabridged, which is only 24 hours long, so you can save yourself 8 hours of pauses and get it over with faster.

  • Under the Banner of Heaven

  • A Story of Violent Faith
  • By: Jon Krakauer
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick
  • Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 79
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63

At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism's violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating, infuriating, terrifying

  • By Ron on 26-11-18

No mention of The Osmonds

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

Reviewed: 23-05-18

Really enjoyed this. It was as much a history of the Mormon religion as a true crime book, which is just as well as the case wasn't exactly a whodunit. So if you find religion an interesting topic, specifically the reasons that people believe and how powerful that belief can be, then you will enjoy it too.

Usual "voice of doom" performance from Scott Brick, which is appropriate for the subject matter.

  • How to Listen to Jazz

  • By: Ted Gioia
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 6 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5

In How to Listen to Jazz, award-winning music scholar Ted Gioia presents a lively introduction to the art of listening to jazz. He tells us what to listen for in a performance and includes a guide to today's leading jazz musicians. From Louis Armstrong's innovative sounds to the exotic compositions of Duke Ellington, Gioia covers everything from the music's history to the building blocks of improvisation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Did exactly what I wanted it to do

  • By Mark on 14-02-18

Did exactly what I wanted it to do

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

Reviewed: 14-02-18

I came to this book with a small amount of Jazz knowledge, but I wanted to expand my understanding of the styles and find a way in to pieces that I found difficult to appreciate.

This book does just that. It gives you and good oversight of all the main sub-genres, players and the history of the music. But most importantly for this sort of book, it gave me the enthusiasm to seek out the suggestions and go deeper than I had before. I would recommend this to anyone that is on the begining of their Jazz journey.

The narrator has a smooth but slow delivery, and I was quite happy to turn him up to 1.5x speed.

Ps. He still hasn't sold me on Ornette Coleman!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • My Absolute Darling

  • By: Gabriel Tallent
  • Narrated by: Alex McKenna
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 374
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 347
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 351

At 14, Turtle Alveston knows the use of every gun on her wall; that chaos is coming and only the strong will survive it; that her daddy loves her more than anything else in this world. And he'll do whatever it takes to keep her with him. She doesn't know why she feels so different from the other girls at school; why the line between love and pain can be so hard to see; why making a friend may be the bravest and most terrifying thing she has ever done; and what her daddy will do when he finds out....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • So grim

  • By Mrs. Caroline Bradshaw on 11-01-18

Tough going, but ultimately rewarding

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

Reviewed: 22-09-17

This is a tough book. Not just because at 14 year old girl being sexually abused by her father, but because every emotion and thought is described in such raw and uncompromising prose.

You only view the world from the point of view of the girl, Julia (Turtle), so you spend the whole 15 hours in her head and this is an confusing and troubling place to be. I found the early parts of the book especially difficult. When it is just Julia and her dad (who only seems to use a handful of phrases, "Jesus Christ" is particularly grating) and I nearly gave up with it several times during this section.

The book does lift though, when other characters come into the story and there are some wonderful passages of prose describing the natural world. And, while I don't want to give away the ending, stick with it, you won't feel as though you wasted your time.

So, not for everyone, but if you can cope with some tough writing you will be rewarded with a gripping story that you will not forget.

20 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • How to Stop Time

  • By: Matt Haig
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,376
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,207
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,205

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he's been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to jazz age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover - working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he'd never witnessed them firsthand.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb as I expected from Matt Haig

  • By Kaggy on 17-07-17

Plot does not live up to the concept

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

Reviewed: 13-09-17

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I thought I was going to.

The central idea of a man ageing 15 times more slowly than normal is a strong one. It generates some nice scenes, and some thoughtful passages on the perception of time and the appreciation of the passing of it.

However there is a "thriller" element to the plot that does not seem fully realised. It is not particularly tense and rather fizzles out towards the end.

Also, the writer makes the same philosophical point too many times and therefore lessens the impact.

The narrators performance is good, well suited to the tone of the book and he handles the various accents competently.
I would recommend this book, but with some reservations.

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • The Girls

  • By: Emma Cline
  • Narrated by: Cady McClain
  • Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 597
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 547
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 548

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air, and the sidewalks radiate heat. Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls. And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The human side...

  • By Mark on 05-01-17

The human side...

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

Reviewed: 05-01-17

I thought this was a wonderful book. However, it is not a thriller, or a study of murder. If you want that get Helter-skelter, which is also wonderful.
This is a coming of age book, which just happens to use the (Fictionalised and renamed) Manson family murders as a narrative device to pull you through the book.
It is really about a mother-daughter relationship and then about female friendship, and then ultimately about first love. It handles all the characters believably and their interactions show genuine insight into the human condition.
There is excellent imagery in nearly every paragraph and the prose keeps the story moving at a nice pace.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes good writing as much as they like a good story.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful