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  • On the Exhale

  • An Audible Original
  • By: Martin Zimmerman
  • Narrated by: Polly Frame
  • Length: 1 hr and 7 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1

When a senseless act of violence changes her life forever, a liberal college professor finds herself inexplicably drawn to the very weapon used to perpetrate the crime - and to the irresistible feeling of power that comes from holding life and death in her hands. Starring Polly Frame and directed by Christopher Haydon, this Edinburgh Fringe First winning production of Martín Zimmerman’s "startlingly original" (The New York Times) play is a compulsive and visceral examination of American gun violence, and how we're all part of the problem. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Crackling Performance

  • By Simon on 13-11-18

A Crackling Performance

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

Reviewed: 13-11-18

Polly Frame gives a performance, and it is a performance rather than a narration, that will at times send shivers down your spine. Backed by a sparse but extremely effective soundscape Frame delivers this short play with real vigour. I wasn't totally taken in by the story but in this very brief production there were a couple of moments that sent real chills down my spine. The ending is extremely good and the journey there is quick and emotional. Okay it is very short but I felt has the quality to make it more than worthwhile.

  • Sharpe's Fury: The Battle of Barrosa, March 1811

  • The Sharpe Series, Book 11
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Rupert Farley
  • Length: 12 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 237
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 212
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 210

Captain Sharpe has to protect a philandering diplomat and, deserted by his ally, faces the enemy. In the winter of 1811, the war seems lost. Spain has fallen to the French, except for Cadiz, now the Spanish capital and itself under siege. Inside the city walls an intricate diplomatic dance is taking place and Richard Sharpe faces more than one enemy. The small British force is trapped by a French army, and their only hope lies with the outnumbered redcoats outside refusing to admit defeat.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best, but bloody good.

  • By Kuleshov on 04-07-15

Like an Old Friend . . .

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

You know what you are getting with these books if you have got this far through the series. Backed by Rupert Farley's excellent narration Sharpe is a class act. Tough, belligerent but with his own strong sense of right and wrong Sharpe is the Jack Reacher of the Georgian era battlefield. This one has all the classic hallmarks of the series including his sidekick Harper, lots of excellently recounted action and of course intrigue and senior officers who are very mixed in their levels of approval for Sharpe's unique approach to soldiering.

If you've enjoyed the previous books in the series and want some more then Cornwell delivers it in generous measure.

  • Tracks: Series 1 and 2

  • By: Matthew Broughton
  • Narrated by: Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Jonathan Forbes, Kai Owen, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 199
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 179
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 180

When Dr Helen Ash witnesses the brutal and disturbing crash of the plane that is carrying her father, the incident sets her on an investigation into a dark conspiracy. Florian Chauvin was flying to Wales to tell his daughter something important, but his plane fell out of the sky. In the aftermath of the crash, Helen discovers that one of the passengers doesn't seem to have a heart. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Had me gripped from start to finish,

  • By Amazon Customer on 17-08-18

Breathless Acting That Gets a Bit Bonkers!

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

This is certainly an interesting find, it's a very well acted sci-fi drama with a gorgeous soundscape - I'd listen to it again just to hear the screaming jet engines that play such a big part of it! Romola Garai who plays Helen is to be particularly commended for a succession of stressed scenes, screams and acting groggy as she come round from her character's latest mistreatment. The storyline in series 1 is fairly bonkers but I think original and interesting enough to keep most people entertained.

Series 2 which is actually a much shorter two-episode prequel to Series 1 had similar quality sound and acting and a vaguely equivalent level of bonkersness. Anyone who wants to listen to it first can forward to 1 hour 34minutes and 30 Seconds to go to listen to it safely without risking hearing anything to spoil the first series. I wouldn't particularly advise it, the real value is in series 1.

I'm not as sold on it as many others seem to be though i can see much of the attraction.


  • Someone Like Me

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Robin Miles
  • Length: 17 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

Liz Kendall wouldn't hurt a fly. Even when times get tough, she's devoted to bringing up her kids in a loving home. But there's another side to Liz, one that's dark and malicious. A version of her that will do anything to get her way - no matter how extreme. And when this other side of her takes control, the consequences are devastating. From the author of the million-copy best seller The Girl with All the Gifts comes an utterly unique thriller with a twist....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What Ya Gonna Read? Genre-Busters!

  • By Simon on 09-11-18

What Ya Gonna Read? Genre-Busters!

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

Reviewed: 09-11-18

When you love a book but by the end find yourself struggling for ways to describe it you know you've read something special. Ever since Carey broke into my awareness by taking one of my favourite genres and literally breaking the mould with The Girl With All The Gifts this has been an author I've wanted to follow. This is another one bursting with imagination and it is going to draw comparisons with all sorts of authors, none of which will quite capture its essence. I feel that if I described one of the major characters a significant portion of people would probably stop right there and decide to give it a miss. Hell, I was a bit nonplussed as things went on but by halfway through I was rooting for all of them and that character became my favourite!

Much like Fellside this one doesn't seem too concerned about falling into a particular genre: psychological thriller, supernatural, and maybe some horror. Carey is a writer for whom boundaries seem to mean very little. He builds his stories, taking his time where it's needed, meaning both his characters and plots have a genuine solidity and depth about them. I really cared about what happened to Liz and the other characters her family got involved with.

Of the narration, I wasn't convinced by Robin Miles at the start, occasionally her relatively clipped tones and maybe a little lack of inflection in some narrative phrases jarred slightly. However, given how utterly immersed I became later I'll have to concede she did an extremely fine job.

This is a little different so obviously quite how much it draws a reader in will depend on the individual, all I can say is that if do you tune into it you're likely to feel like being fairly anti-social until you've finished it all!

One last thing, I would definitely avoid reviews of this one that try to summarise the plot or give any of the game away. Just like The Girl With All The Gifts this one unfolds beautifully and is much better as a true voyage of discovery!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Past Tense

  • By: Lee Child
  • Narrated by: Jeff Harding
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 202
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 180
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 185

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Past Tense by Lee Child. From number one best seller Lee Child, the thrilling new blockbuster featuring hero Jack Reacher. Reacher, the eternal drifter, happens by chance on the small New Hampshire town he remembers his father was supposed to have come from. But when he starts looking for his dad's old home, he finds there's no record of anyone named Reacher ever having lived there.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Jack Goes Back to Basics!

  • By Simon on 06-11-18

Jack Goes Back to Basics!

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

Reviewed: 06-11-18

In Past Tense Lee Child has reached back to the essence of some of the most classic Reacher stories. Jack drifting from anywhere to pretty much anywhere arriving in the middle of nowhere and trouble ensues. It's not so much if you're looking for trouble you've come to the right place as much as you've found the right guy. Here Reacher stumbles upon the birthplace of his father and of course a simple enquiry reveals a whole lot more and Reacher's robust application of his moral compass soon lands him in trouble. It's classic Reacher, Child's completely unforgettable character doing what he does best.

Jeff Harding to me is the voice of Reacher, gloriously gravelly tones that just crunch through Child's direct, simply structured prose. The now expected, almost slow-mo fight sequences broken down to almost fractions of seconds and the classic Reacher logical thought processes. For me at least Reacher doesn't need some huge international espionage setup etc, he just needs bad guys to fight. That said, if there is one weakness in the last few books it is that the bad guys aren't quite tough enough. I like Reacher beating up the bad guys but recently he's had it too easy. To quote the awful corporate world that I sadly exist in Child needs to set Reacher some stretch goals if he's to be the best vigilante he can be.

This is very much a stripped back to basics Reacher thriller with some interesting filling in of Reacher's back story and some clever mystery thrown in. More like this please, just beef up the bad guys a bit more!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • A Sea of Gold

  • By: Julian Stockwin
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 9

1809. After his heroic actions during the retreat to Corunna, Captain Sir Thomas Kydd is the toast of London society. Here he falls in with the legendary frigate captain Lord Thomas Cochrane. So begins a relationship, professional and personal, that will be unlike any that Kydd has known: a relationship that will lead him, almost simultaneously, to first glory, then ruin. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Here be Treasure!

  • By Simon on 04-11-18

Here be Treasure!

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

Reviewed: 04-11-18

Julian Stockwin is like the gift that just keeps giving. This is an excellent series that I suspect will just never grow tired of listening to and this is one of the very best of the recent books. There is lots of action, intrigue and for me no little learning about the period in which it is set. Including a welcome adventure for Kydd's oldest shipmate Renzi, now known as Lord Farndon, in the world of high finance. We finally get the two in harness once more with some classic lines and situations.

The book contains an absolute panoply of connected story lines. Oddly the one that fascinated me the most concerned Kydd foraying into the world of maritime insurance. In today's connected world it seems incredible how information of such huge import would take so long to arrive. A world of hand-written notes, great ledgers and gentlemanly agreement and probably none the worse for it.

It's hard to believe that this series has been going so long but when Stockwin can keep the like of Kydd, Renzi, Sturk and co so fresh and introduce new and vibrant characters like the somehow dourly swashbuckling Cochrane to the scene and Rodska can bring them all to life so authentically a prognosis for a long and happy life for the series seems sound.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Lieutenant Hornblower

  • By: C. S. Forester
  • Narrated by: Christian Rodska
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 205
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 206

In this new adventure, Hornblower is overjoyed to discover his next task is to serve aboard the mighty HMS Renown. After witnessing some unsettling scenes however, he soon finds himself struggling to serve under the captain, James Sawyer, whose unsound mind leads him to treat his crew with extreme suspicion and contempt.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • History Revisited!

  • By Simon on 04-11-18

History Revisited!

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

Reviewed: 04-11-18

Discovering that this series is available on Audible has been a sheer joy so far. The stories seems just as fresh and entertaining as they did when I read them decades ago. Of course part of this is down to the excellent Christian Rodska who I swear has salt water running through his veins, he is simply the best when it comes to narrating historical naval fiction.

I can see a few credits being spent on Mr Hornblower's adventures!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Heroes

  • Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures
  • By: Stephen Fry
  • Narrated by: Stephen Fry
  • Length: 15 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 126
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 125

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Heroes, written and read by Stephen Fry. There are heroes - and then there are Greek heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils or outwitted scheming vengeful gods quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his best-selling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ancient Myths from a Modern Legend!

  • By Simon on 02-11-18

Ancient Myths from a Modern Legend!

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

Reviewed: 02-11-18

This is an audiobook that I simply can't recommend enough. One of British entertainment's legends in Stephen Fry dusts off these ancient tales and breathes a contemporary form of life and colour into them in his own unique style. It's a mixture of description, a little conjecture and of course the lion's share being taken by these grand old tales themselves. They take front and center stage and while Fry cleverly interweaves background and information it never feels like anything other than being told an engaging story. Of course being Stephen we also get charming nuggets of etymology thrown into the mix as well.

Using a fairly informal, almost irreverent approach, for example he pronounces the names of people and places as comes most easily to him, Fry brings these stories to life like few others ever could. The Gods, heroes and of course villains are given an often-missed humanity and character that is both charming and humorous.

In fairness, although clearly a lot of personal research went into these re-tellings it's neither a comprehensive collection, more of a Greatest Hits if you will, nor is it a hugely scholarly work. However, if like me you mainly have a passing knowledge of the Greek Myths or you want to dip your toe into them for the first time this is a fabulous place to start.

My favourite has always been Jason and his Argonauts ever since watching Don Chaffey's 1963 film as a boy. Even with this one though, the one that I'm most familiar with I learned more about the back story and how the plot developed and has been toyed with than I ever have before. Then, right at the end Stephen describes "Mythos" as a trilogy which I wasn't aware of so hopefully to match his shows there will be one more of these which will cover the Trojan war and its aftermath. I can't wait!

So, if you want to spend some time listening to a modern legend breathing life into ancient myths, this is very much the right series!

30 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Elevation

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Stephen King
  • Length: 3 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 55
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 51

Castle Rock is a small town where word gets around quickly. That's why Scott Carey wants to confide only in his friend Doctor Bob Ellis about his strange condition: he's losing weight, without getting thinner, and the scales register the same when he is in his clothes or out of them, however heavy they are. Scott also has new neighbours, who have opened a 'fine dining experience' in town, although it's an experience being shunned by the locals; Deidre McComb and her wife, Missy Donaldson, don't exactly fit in with the community's expectations. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Pretty Long for a Short Book Cut Short!

  • By Simon on 30-10-18

Pretty Long for a Short Book Cut Short!

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

Reviewed: 30-10-18

I'm a big fan of Stephen King and credit where it's due rather than his staple horror / thriller territory he has strayed into writing what could be described as an uplifting story . . . in more ways than one. It's a fairly light-touch fantasy about a man who is continually getting lighter without looking losing his pre-existing heavy appearance. It tries to tug on the heart strings and I think some will get involved in this story and enjoy it with its poignant ending.

It didn't work for me because while King is an okay narrator he isn't a great one but more than that it felt like a good idea for a short story stretched out and tortured on the rack of King's desire to write a novella. A lot of the dialogue was particularly stilted.

On top of that, one of my pet hates, almost a quarter of the running time is another short story, it's probably just me but that irritates me when a book is not advertised as containing other material so it's going back.

Some, I'm sure will enjoy re-visiting Castle Rock and this lighter and brighter mode of King's writing but for me it just didn't inspire at all.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Darkwater Bride

  • An Audible Original Drama
  • By: Marty Ross
  • Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Donal Finn, Jamie Glover, and others
  • Length: 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 59

Late Victorian London. When James Miller, the most respectable of Scottish businessmen, is pulled, dead, from the Thames, his daughter is drawn into an investigation which reveals a whole world of secrets and corruption. Alongside local detective Culley, Catriona’s search for her father’s killer leads all the way to the tragic truth behind the ghostly legend of The Darkwater Bride and the power of her deadly kiss. An epic drama starring Adrian Scarborough, Claire Corbett, Freya Mayor and Jamie Glover, The Darkwater Bride combines the genres of the Victorian mystery thriller with the equally classic Victorian mode of the ghostly tale.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Ghostly Thriller With a Dark Heart!

  • By Simon on 30-10-18

Ghostly Thriller With a Dark Heart!

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

Reviewed: 30-10-18

This is another deeply atmospheric Audible Studios offering coupling a rich soundscape with some high quality acting which evokes a feel of the darkness that was much of Victorian London. It would be fair to call it a piece of Victorian Noir as what begins as a young girl's attempt to find out what happened to her father descends into the seediest and darkest corners of a depraved city. It's also truly a ghostly tale and most definitely not one for those who like "cozy" mysteries.

I wouldn't rate it quite as highly as say the wonderful "Scarlet City" out of these Audible productions as it is a little repetitive in terms of the relationship between the two main characters; the poor hapless Culley striving to keep his feisty female companion in what he saw as her place. And some of the acting is also perhaps a little overwrought at times but it's a very enjoyable play all the same overall which builds up to what I thought was a thoroughly satisfying climax.

A genuine ghostly thriller with a dark heart, well worth a credit.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful