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Stephen

Radstock, United Kingdom
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 23
  • helpful votes
  • 10
  • ratings
  • The Drowning

  • Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck, Book 6
  • By: Camilla Lackberg
  • Narrated by: Eamonn Riley
  • Length: 15 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54

Christian Thydell has been receiving anonymous threats since he began writing his novel, The Mermaid. When one message, secreted within a bouquet of flowers, causes him to collapse at the book's launch party, crime writer Erica Falck is compelled to investigate. Erica’s husband, detective Patrik Hedström, meanwhile, is puzzled by the disappearance of Christian’s friend Magnus Kjellner. When a body is found frozen in the sea near Fjallbacka, he has a murder enquiry on his hands.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Rather Disappointing

  • By Nom de Plume on 10-05-12

Not what I had hoped for

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

Reviewed: 27-10-15

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

Not unless there were very new to this type of literature - the crime story is so ordinary and the domestic asides and attempts at humour just gall.

What was most disappointing about Camilla Lackberg’s story?

The predictability - it wasn't so bad as to stop listening but the key premise was so obvious.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Some of the background scenes and the backstory of the antagonist works well.

Did The Drowning inspire you to do anything?

Probably to be a little more circumspect when ordering my next audiobook.

Any additional comments?

This is a very lightweight crime-fiction. For someone new to the genre it's fine but for an experienced crime-fiction devotee, it may disappoint.

  • Sleep Tight

  • By: Rachel Abbott
  • Narrated by: Melody Grove, Andrew Wincott
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,889
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,730
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,716

When Olivia calls the police to report that her husband and children are missing, she believes she will never see them again. Two years later,Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas is called to investigate, but this time it’s Olivia who has disappeared. Her car is in the garage, and her purse is in her handbag. For some reason every single picture of this family has been removed from albums, phones, and computers. Then they find the blood...

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow! Fantastic story!

  • By Liane on 12-02-15

A True 5-Star Review

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

Reviewed: 27-10-15

What did you like most about Sleep Tight?

The story is significantly tighter than many contemporary thrillers with the reveals well placed and not held-back by lazy writing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sleep Tight?

The opening section - entering on an immediate crisis feels like extreme acceleration and you are not left in any doubt as to the motivations of the key players.

Which character – as performed by Melody Grove and Andrew Wincott – was your favourite?

All were good, but Andrew Wincott's portrayal of the main detective works very well.

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

No - but the tension is handled very effectively.

Any additional comments?

I read a good number of thrillers and it now takes something interesting and fresh to get me truly enthusiastic - this book definitely managed that!

  • The Bone Clocks

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Jessica Ball, Leon Williams, Colin Mace, and others
  • Length: 24 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,952
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,945

One summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands what sort of asylum the woman was seeking.… The Bone Clocks follows Holly's life: not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air, and brief lapses in the laws of reality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Sodding marvellous

  • By Andy Parsons on 24-09-14

Fascinating Hybrid

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

Reviewed: 19-08-15

If you could sum up The Bone Clocks in three words, what would they be?

Compulsive Scatter-gun Disturbing

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bone Clocks?

The pure "sci-fi" part was the most fast moving and thrilling, even if this was, for me, the least human and therefore least interesting part of the book - an interesting paradox!

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

Ensemble cast. Teenage Holly and Crispin Hershey sections both exceptionally well done.

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

To connect specific moments of a long life as seen by that individual and her encounters with others from their perspective, draws the reader to care about Holly. The Crispin Hershey section is both the funniest and the sharpest - David Mitchell writing about a celebrated writer! The final section, set in 2044 is deeply disturbing.

Any additional comments?

Many similarities in composition to Cloud Atlas (which I hugely enjoyed). The narration is strong and each episode's specific narrative is interesting enough to carry what is a long book. The final section serves as a warning to consumerist attitudes as well as a closing chapter to the main character's life.

  • The Slaughter Man

  • By: Tony Parsons
  • Narrated by: Colin Mace
  • Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,244
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,152
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,152

On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away. The murder weapon is a gun for stunning cattle, leading Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man. But the Slaughter Man is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant!

  • By Ad the bad on 23-09-15

Well worth a listen

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

Reviewed: 05-08-15

What did you like most about The Slaughter Man?

The complexity of the story and even if, like me, you see the (reasonably well-telegraphed) twist coming a long way off, the intricacies of the plotting still keeps the story fresh and interesting.

What other book might you compare The Slaughter Man to, and why?

Tony Parson's previous book - The Murder Bag

What about Colin Mace’s performance did you like?

There's a real feeling of authenticity - critical given it's a 1st-person narrative,

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

Yes - but to describe it would spoil a key moment!

Any additional comments?

While it's good crime fiction, the real story is (as in Parson's other works) the relationship between single-father and child.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

  • By: Natasha Pulley
  • Narrated by: Thomas Judd
  • Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,261
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,106
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,103

It's 1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An enchanting read

  • By anne on 15-08-15

A little gem

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

Reviewed: 03-08-15

What made the experience of listening to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street the most enjoyable?

The story is very good, but flags in places and the ending very very rushed - but I found the performance by Thomas Judd to be excellent - much more subtle accents than usually provided which underlined a key plot-line - very well done indeed.

What other book might you compare The Watchmaker of Filigree Street to, and why?

The premise is a bit science-fiction, but because of the West to Japanese cultural exploration, the 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I liked the relationship between Grace Carrow and Matsumoto, particularly the early scenes in Oxford.

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

The sadness of Grace when she realised her hopes and dreams may get dashed.

Any additional comments?

Can't believe it's a debut novel!

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Treachery

  • By: S. J. Parris
  • Narrated by: Laurence Kennedy
  • Length: 19 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 398
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 370

Summer, 1585: Sir Francis Drake prepares to embark on an expedition by royal commission to cross the Atlantic and seize major Spanish ports, diverting King Philip of Spain’s treasure to Queen Elizabeth. When a ship captain is brutally murdered, and Drake’s life threatened, it becomes clear that someone plans to destroy the expedition before it begins. Giordano Bruno and Sir Philip Sidney hunt for the killer, but are they being lured into a trap?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The saga moves on...

  • By Alan R on 01-01-15

Not quite what I hoped for ...

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

Reviewed: 15-06-15

Would you try another book written by S. J. Parris or narrated by Laurence Kennedy?

Probably not - I could have made a mistake not listening to earlier books in the series, but I felt the predictability of much of the story-line left me wishing the story to end quicker than it did. It feels a significant mistake to use actual historical figures as the protagonists - it rather removes the element of threat at certain points. The way the characters went about discovering the perpetrators felt sub-Scooby-Doo at times and the management of information to the reader was intended to provide suspense by left me frustrated. This genre in this timescale is significantly better handled by CJ Sansom in the Shardlake series.

What could S. J. Parris have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Using fictional protagonists would have helped hugely as I knew what happened to Sidney and Bruno (and Drake for that matter). Equally, the story-line felt so well-worn and predictable that it was a comfortable and undemanding listen - it's OK, but I was hoping for much, much more.

Which character – as performed by Laurence Kennedy – was your favourite?

He narrates very well, albeit with general stereotypical accents, but differentiated the characters effectively. Bruno and Sidney are both well narrated and, while Drake is a bit two-dimensional, it's all effective.

Could you see Treachery being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Possibly - would need a good budget to do it well. Tom Hiddleston as Sidney and Max Minghella as Bruno.

  • The Collectors

  • By: Philip Pullman
  • Narrated by: Bill Nighy
  • Length: 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,869
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,563
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,578

"But the thing is," said Horley, "they didn’t know each other at all. Never heard of each other. It wasn’t about the makers. Only about the works." On a dark winter's night in 1970, Horley and Grinstead huddle for warmth in the Senior Common Room of a college in Oxford. Conversation turns to the two impressive works of art that Horley has recently added to his collection....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderfully dark story engagingly read

  • By Alexander Patterson on 12-09-15

The ghost of M R James ...

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

Reviewed: 05-01-15

Just a whiff of M R James - and just the right length superbly narrated. The multiverse thing is unnecessary but as a whole, a wonderful 35 minutes.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Cloud Atlas

  • By: David Mitchell
  • Narrated by: Garrick Hagon, Jeff Harding, Steve Hodson, and others
  • Length: 21 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 935
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 807
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 812

Cloud Atlas features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, brought to life better than any movie

  • By T on 25-02-13

Not for the faint hearted, but ...

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-04-13

Cloud Atlas is the third book by David Mitchell I have completed and whiIe found the others easier going (Black Swan Green and 1000 Autumns...), if you're not afraid or plot ambiguities and complications, different character voices and personalities and (if it wasn't complicated enough already) six different time periods, this is an immensely satisfying book. The interconnectivity of the characters and the inter-story references that pepper each section, could get a bit contrived if focused upon in isolation, but seen within the overall premise of the book they only cement the overall strength of the narrative. The fact that each style of voice (six overall) is different can be jarring (the first voice is writing a 19th Century journal, the second a set of letters to a close friend and so on), but if you're not too narrow in terms of your preferred literary style this actually works very effectively and you have to admire the author for pulling this off so authoritatively. Not the easiest of novels, but all the more enjoyable for that - and read well by all the narrators, particularly the narrator for Zachry.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Dominion

  • By: C. J. Sansom
  • Narrated by: Daniel Weyman
  • Length: 20 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,390
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,076
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,085

The Great Smog. London. A dense, choking fog engulfs the city and beneath it, history is re-written…1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dominion: Fantastic and Atmospheric Novel!

  • By David on 21-11-12

Worthy but not always gripping

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-03-13

After Winter in Madrid and the Shardlake series this is a solid addition to the CJ Sansom canon. The alternative reality in which Britain sues for peace after Dunkirk and in consequence the Third Reich dominates Europe and Britain through a puppet government is richly described. The plot concerning ordinary people being brave and achieving extraordinary things against all odds may be well worn but is told with freshness and honesty and the 1950s background is well evoked (particularly the smog). The narration is very well done and consistent throughout a long book. My only gripe is that the story has a tendency to drag in parts and could possibly have been told with 75% of the length without losing the key narrative threads. Overall though, very enjoyable.