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Peter

Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 19
  • reviews
  • 131
  • helpful votes
  • 32
  • ratings
  • The Girl in the Spider's Web

  • Continuing Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo Series, Book 4
  • By: David Lagercrantz, George Goulding - translator
  • Narrated by: Saul Reichlin
  • Length: 16 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,349
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 3,119
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,123

Mikael Blomkvist is contacted by renowned scientist Professor Balder. Fearing for his life, but more concerned for his son's well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story. More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder's advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker. It seems that Lisbeth Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters that will soon bring terror to the streets of Stockholm, the Millennium team....

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Oh Dear!

  • By mollyeyre on 05-09-15

Doesn't live up to the original books

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

Reviewed: 17-02-16

Any additional comments?

I loved 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo', it was totally compelling. The second and third books in the trilogy were a bit more uneven but I persisted at the times they lagged a bit as I was invested in knowing what would happen to the characters, especially the intriguing and sexy Lisbet Salander.
Stieg Larsson did have a tendency to become very wordy and a bit unfocussed at times which seemed to interrupt the flow of the story. Things like listing the complete contents of Lisbet's shopping cart at IKEA. Or those lengthy chapters where she followed a wife-beater around some Caribbean island, eventually killing him on the beach in the hurricane. I waited all the rest of the book to see how that was going to fit into the ongoing plot, but it never did. It seemed rather to be a distracting bit of padding.
I confess I bought 'The Spider's Web' against my better judgement, believing that reworkings of characters and themes by a different author usually turn out to be let-downs. And, this is the case with this book. I have ploughed through maybe 30 or 40 minutes of the book and I am left unmoved and completely uninterested. Lagercrantz seems to have the waffly quality that Larsson sometimes drifted into, without any of the focus and drive a thriller requires to keep you intrigued. It feels more like your grandad telling you stories of what he did in the war, rather than the compelling narrative of a crime thriller.
I'm going to return this to Audible as I really can't see myself being able to put up with another 15 hours of it on the off-chance something interesting might happen.

  • Pines

  • By: Blake Crouch
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael Garcia
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 880
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 823
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 827

Wayward Pines, Idaho, is quintessential small-town America — or so it seems. Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in search of two missing federal agents, yet soon is facing much more than he bargained for. After a violent accident lands him in the hospital, Ethan comes to with no ID and no cell phone. The medical staff seems friendly enough, but something feels…off. As the days pass, Ethan’s investigation into his colleagues’ disappearance turns up more questions than answers. Why can’t he make contact with his family in the outside world? Why doesn’t anyone believe he is who he says he is? And what’s the purpose of the electrified fences encircling the town? Are they keeping the residents in? Or something else out? Each step toward the truth takes Ethan further from the world he knows, until he must face the horrifying possibility that he may never leave Wayward Pines alive…

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Simmering suspense

  • By Derek on 26-06-14

Gripping story. Keeps you on your toes.

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

Reviewed: 05-01-16

Any additional comments?

This is a terrific book, gripping from the very start and very clever. It keeps you guessing. As the story progresses it is hard to pin it down to a specific genre - at some point it seems to be a psychological thriller but then maybe it is a crime mystery or maybe a horror or even a scifi? I looked for these audiobooks after enjoying the TV series based on the books so, before I started I already knew the big secret 'reveal' of the plot but this didn't spoil it for me. It is similar enough to the TV series to have the same haunting atmosphere but different enough to still be fresh. The narrator does a pretty good job reflecting the tension and mystery. A little gory for the squeamish but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone looking for something exciting, compelling and a bit out of the ordinary.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • The Maze Runner

  • The Maze Runner, Book 1
  • By: James Dashner
  • Narrated by: Mark Deakins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,053
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 965
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 961

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrol its corridors, to try and find out.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable

  • By A. Crawford on 15-02-16

There are much better teen fiction scifi trilogies

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

Reviewed: 18-11-15

What disappointed you about The Maze Runner?

The first concept of this book is quite compelling - the ever-changing maze, the stranded boys, the 'how did they get there? what's going on?' element to it and it manages to hold itself together like that for the first half of the first book. But it begins to lose coherency when we begin to learn the 'secrets' of the maze and why it changes every night. The explanation Thomas discovers is so stupid as to be laughable and to be frank the whole trilogy unravels from there. I have just returned the second and third books to audible so can't write reviews for these but as the story progresses its lack of consistency in the characters, its lack of logic in the plot and the, frankly, pedestrian writing style become more and more annoying. I made myself listen right to the end of the story just to see if it was worth it but I was getting more and more fed up with the inconsistent characters and incoherent plot. When I got to the end … it wasn't worth the effort.So summary of my review is - don't bother. Go for the Hunger Games, the Divergent Trilogy or the Partials trilogy -they're all far more satisfying than this twaddle.

  • Smiley's People

  • The Karla Trilogy, Book 3
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 983
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 732
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 729

George Smiley was summoned from his dubious retirement by two seemingly unconnected events - an old woman in Paris is promised the return of a daughter she will never see, and a handover is to take place on a steamer in Hamburg.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An underrated writer

  • By Claudia on 24-09-12

Another work by the master

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

Reviewed: 20-07-15

Would you consider the audio edition of Smiley's People to be better than the print version?

Yes, because of Michael Jayston's excellent portrayal of the characters, especially the (Alec Guinness-like) Smiley

What did you like best about this story?

The wonderfully deep and convoluted pathway through the puzzle of the plot, gradually pulling disparate elements together to reach a powerful ending.

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

I have several other John Le Carre audiobooks read by Michael Jayston. To me his reading of them adds amazingly to the already wonderful texture of the written works. His performance is pretty much perfection.

Any additional comments?

I have listened to this audiobook at least three times since I bought it and I am sure I will listen to it many more times over the years.

  • Under the Dome

  • By: Stephen King
  • Narrated by: Raul Esparza
  • Length: 34 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,086
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,090
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,091

In Stephen King's mesmerizing new masterpiece - his biggest, most riveting novel since The Stand - a Maine town and its inhabitants are isolated from the world by an invisible, impenetrable dome. Celebrated storyteller Stephen King returns to his roots in this tour de force featuring more than 100 characters - some heroic, some diabolical - and a supernatural element as baffling and chilling as any he's ever conjured.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Typical Stephen King

  • By Robert on 01-01-10

Gripping from the very outset

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

Reviewed: 29-12-13

What made the experience of listening to Under the Dome the most enjoyable?

I hadn't seen the TV version of Under The Dome but had heard good things about it. I have enjoyed Stephen King novels before and so thought I'd give it a go.The story is gripping from the very start and barely lets up. I have only got about half way through - after all there's something like 36 hours of audio book! - but I am hooked.

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

I haven't listened to any of Raul Esparza's other book but I certainly will look out for him as a narrator in the future. He has a very easy, natural style of narration which moves the story along without being hammy or overly dramatic. His range of different voices and accents for the characters is amazing, and characterisation remains very consistent throughout the reading.

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

No way could you do this whole book in one sitting! - but I could see you wanting to give it a try, though you'd have to set yourself up with an awful lot of sandwiches and a very big thermos of coffee!. I listen to it while driving deliveries for work. Makes the time on the road fly by and gives me something to look forward to in going to work.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this book to anyone, as long as they're not too squeamish. There's some quite violent, gory bits to the story - but it IS a Stephen King!

  • I Am Pilgrim

  • By: Terry Hayes
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ragland
  • Length: 22 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,516
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,322
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,319

Pilgrim is the code name for a man who doesn't exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed up a secret espionage unit for US intelligence. Before he disappeared into anonymous retirement, he wrote the definitive book on forensic criminal investigation. But that book will come back to haunt him. It will help NYPD detective Ben Bradley track him down.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exciting but a bit too full of cliches

  • By Anna on 19-12-16

Disappointing

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

Reviewed: 09-09-13

Would you be willing to try another one of Christopher Ragland’s performances?

Unlikely, I found the range and 'accents' of his various characters rather limited and hard to distinguish from each other

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from I Am Pilgrim, Volume 1?

All the stuff about how the president got to be president for a start.

Any additional comments?

I bought this to listen to on holiday, to fill down-time gaps. Even for this undemanding role it was at best 'just about OK'. The books seems to be confused as to what genre it wants to be. It starts off as a basic whodunit - body in hotel room, mysterious circumstances etc. Then becomes a memoir of 'my time as a spy', followed by a rather self-indulgent bit about what an awful life the protagonist had as a fostered kid. Then it becomes a long-winded tale about how a young Saudi becomes a terrorist and what he sets out to do. Then it becomes something of a political drama, with all the Washington in-fighting of politicians. Interspersed in all this is a lot of stuff about how awful 9/11 was and how brave lots of Americans were that day And to be honest it doesn't do any of these particularly well.
The writing is inconsistent and unsophisticated in a lot of places. The 'shock-horror' aspects (what the terrorist plans to do, how he accesses the secret lab. etc) are not that original and rather derivative. But I ploughed through it waiting to find out how it all ends - only to realise towards the end of the book it doesn't end at all. The various strands of the book barely touch each other but we are left in the last chapter with what, I guess, is supposed to be a teaser of how they might begin to in the next book. I felt cheated that, having had to push myself to get through the book in places, I was left without any kind of resolution - other than to buy the next book. Something I will certainly not be doing!

13 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • 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 514
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 403
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 400

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

Souless and overblown

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-04-13

Having adored both ‘The Road’ and ‘No Country for Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy, I searched Audible for what else he had written and downloaded Blood Meridien. After struggling to listen to it all the way through, waiting for something to convince me it was a worthwhile use of my time, I exchanged the book for something which I would enjoy listening to again. Having seen so many other reviewers waxing lyrical about the book, I felt I just wanted to put an alternative view.

The book is really just a narrative – a descriptive account of what the characters do – there is no attempt to develop the motivations or inner personalities of the protagonists. Not even with The Kid, the main character throughout, are we ever taken inside his head to discover what’s driving him to commit his atrocities. Consequently there is no-one in the book you can actually empathise with and, for me, I simply did not care about any of the characters or what might happen to them.

Everyone in the book is horrible – no-one has the slightest redeeming feature. There is not one character with whom I could empathise in any way or care less what might happen to them.

The book is full of mindless violence and destruction, cruelty and unnecessary viciousness. Not that I have a particular problem with violence, both The Road and No Country for Old Men have a considerable share of gruesomeness. But in these you understand why people behave that way.

As for the style of writing in Blood Meridien, I suspect that there was a deliberate decision on McCarthy’s part to contrast the horrific, mindless violence of the narrative with an elaborate, beautiful prose, as an artistic device. But for me that simply did not work. I found the language of the text so overblown and blousy that it was simply irritating and, to be frank, a bit up itself.

I am sorry Mr McCarthy, I loved the other books but this one just left me cold.

22 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • The Inimitable Jeeves, Volume 2

  • By: P. G. Wodehouse
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 3 hrs and 16 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 32
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 26

From money-making schemes involving placing wagers on vicars to poor Bingo having to produce the village school Christmas entertainments, every one of Wodehouse’s superb short stories are guarantee to raise a smile from even the most stony-faced listener!

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great - nearly brilliant

  • By Lyro8 on 07-03-15

Lovely story but not quite the right narrator.

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-13

If you love the Wodehouse stories of Jeeves and Wooster, the text is wonderful. In my opinion though, Martin Jarvis doesn't quite pull off Jeeves - his Wooster is suitably plummy but to me he makes Jeeves sound supercilious, almost a bit hostile. My recommendation is go for the Jonathan Cecil version of this same book (also here on Audible) which is sublime.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Little Drummer Girl

  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 20 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 410
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 355
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 351

In this enthralling and thought-provoking novel of Middle Eastern intrigue, Charlie, a brilliant and beautiful young actress, is lured into ‘the theatre of the real’ by an Israeli intelligence officer. Forced to play her ultimate role, she is plunged into a deceptive and delicate trap set to ensnare an elusive Palestinian terrorist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Superb. lé Carre at his best

  • By Janine on 02-06-14

The perfect post-Cold War spy story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-13

I love this book, probably my favourite of John Le Carre's novels. Its use of the Iraeli/Arab conflicts as an alternative to the old Cold War, us against the Russians, is inspired. Filled with an array of compelling characters, lovingly detailed, beleiveable, flawed in a very human way. Absolutely gripping from start to finish. And Michael Jayston is the perfect narrator, his tired, jaded, roué voice fits the story well and he has a remarkable range of consistent voices and accents. Hardly a laugh-a-minute but I highly recommend this book.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Snow Falling on Cedars

  • By: David Guterson
  • Narrated by: Peter Marinker
  • Length: 14 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 42

Heavy snow falls on San Piedro and impedes the progress of Kabuo Miyomoto's trial. Hatsue, Kabuo's wife and Ishmael, a journalist on the case, find themselves reckoning with the past and their lost love.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Compelling if unusual book

  • By Peter on 09-04-13

Compelling if unusual book

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-04-13

This is an unusual mxiture of a books - part detective mystery/courtroom drama, part love story, part social commmentary on racism towards Japanese immigrants to America during WWII and beyond. Rather bleak and you know that anything close to a happy ending is going to be hard to resolve - perhaps a homage to the Oriental approach to narrative where the 'happy ending' is not so much the boy and girl riding off into the sunset together but the knowledge that they have endured suffering with honour and not disgraced themselves or their families. But a very moving and very compelling book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful