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Nigel Nicholson

London England
  • 23
  • reviews
  • 25
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings
  • The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

  • By: Stuart Turton
  • Narrated by: Jot Davies
  • Length: 16 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,493
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,394
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,390

'Somebody's going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won't appear to be a murder, and so the murderer won't be caught. Rectify that injustice and I'll show you the way out.' It is meant to be a celebration, but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed. But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden - one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party - can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself over and over again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Complex but Brilliant. A Classic in the making!

  • By Martin on 03-08-18

No cliche left unturned - ridiculously bad writing

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

Reviewed: 05-03-19

This is a gothic novel crowded with stereotyped Edwardian characters, totally driven by its ridiculous body-hopping revisiting of implausible country house drama. Every speech, every sentence is dripping with cliches (like that one). Nothing is left unqualified by simile metaphor or figure of speech. It is schoolboy writing. I suppose the "cleverness" of the plotting appeals to readers who admire novels that are puzzles. My preference is for strong characterisation and psychological realism, no matter how implausible the plot. Look at David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks for an example of how it can be done.
It is rare that I abandon a novel before halfway through, but this one is just too too awful.

  • Lincoln in the Bardo

  • By: George Saunders
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, George Saunders, and others
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 670
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 619
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 619

Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved 11-year-old son, Willie, dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Mistake

  • By L on 13-07-17

One of the great novels of this century

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

Reviewed: 06-01-18

I have seen criticisms by other readers, and I understand. I was a third of the way through my first read when I became very frustrated, but began to understand. I should have read a few words explaining what it was about before starting! I got to the end with a growing sense of wonder, and - for the record, I NEVER done this before - started rereading from the start and became overwhelmed with the beauty, tenderness, intelligence and dark heart of this wonderfully humane book. You ache with empathy not just for Lincoln witnesses the death of his most treasured and magnificent son, but all the other desperate inhabitants of the Bardo, reliving the landscape of life and death in perpetuity - until the end that is. Yes the citations are an irritant, but the writing is superb, the acting outstanding and the themes eternal. One of the great reads of all time.

  • Munich

  • By: Robert Harris
  • Narrated by: David Rintoul
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,047
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 964
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 958

Set over four days against the backdrop of the Munich Conference of September 1938, Munich follows the fortunes of two men who were friends at Oxford together in the 1920s. Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving in 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office - and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. They have not been in contact for more than a decade.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • excellent, shame a key passage was missing!

  • By Toast Cartoons on 02-10-17

Not his best, but good enough!

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

Reviewed: 03-11-17

Followers of Robert Harris have come to expect gripping plotting, historical fascination and great storytelling. This has all the elements, but unevenly. It is wonderfully captivating about the events of Chamberlain's supposed "appeasement" moment, portraying him with great sympathy as a duped man of honour, and whenever Hitler is in the room Harris makes your skin crawl suitably. However, the whole is held together by his most insubstantial plotting yet - two aides to the German and British sides; former chums at Oxford are drawn together as bit players on the stage of these events, but entirely inconsequentially. As a plot device it just about works, but its the history that compels you as a reader. Conclave, his previous book, by contrast is superbly invented from start to finish.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Luminaries

  • By: Eleanor Catton
  • Narrated by: Mark Meadows
  • Length: 29 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,402
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,275
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,271

It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully written, but slower than a snail

  • By Avril Sawers on 02-11-13

Too much plot - too little purpose

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

Reviewed: 10-10-14

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

I would to someone looking for terrifically written and complicated narrative - but it's a lot of work - I mean a long book, and one wonders why, after it all.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Irrelevant question - hardly anything to do with the merits of the title

Any additional comments?

This is one of the best plotted and carefully crafted works of fiction I've read in a long time, but where is the engagement? There's hardly anyone one cares about - almost like reading history of dead people. Ian McKewen's much shorter little masterpiece, The Children Act, accomplishes so much more in terms of moral complexity, character and revelation than this very long book comes close to

  • The Cuckoo's Calling

  • Cormoran Strike, Book 1
  • By: Robert Galbraith
  • Narrated by: Robert Glenister
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,709
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,885
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,862

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Entertaining and likeable

  • By Dragon on 06-05-13

JK loses the plot

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

Reviewed: 29-07-14

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Galbraith - aka JK Rowling - has found a genre and lost the plot. After the Potter books she did a wonderful about turn with The Casual Vacancy - as scabrous a commentary on English provincial life as you would wish for. Wonderfully entertaining, despite her cliched style. It bounces along with terrific verve. Here the plot rattles along but to no apparent purpose - you lose interest in who did it and why quite early on - the characters are diverting, as ever with Rowling, but the language is horribly clunky and the you end up thinking, why did I give so many hours to this. The answer is the reader - Glenister - who is peerless; absolutely superb - far to good for this farrago. And now there's a sequel - for God's sake JK come back to the wonderful satire you found in Vacancy, please!

May We Be Forgiven cover art
  • May We Be Forgiven

  • By: A. M. Homes
  • Narrated by: Nathan Osgood
  • Length: 19 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 186
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 159
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 159

Harold Silver, a Richard Nixon Scholar, has spent a lifetime watching his younger, taller, and more successful brother, George. But Harry knows that George has a murderous temper, and when he finally loses control the result is an act of violence which hurls the two brothers into entirely new lives. A savage and dizzyingly inventive vision that penetrates the dark heart of contemporary America to tell a darkly comic tale of 21st-century domestic life and how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By P Murray on 17-05-13

May she be forgiven

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

Reviewed: 29-07-14

Is there anything you would change about this book?

This is a female writer's attempt to enter the persona of middle-aged Jewish male via 1st person narration. I discovered this quite late but it explains the momentous failure of the attempt. I loved the start – ascerbic outrageous multivocal snappy before slow descent into American slush – like so many movies. Worse, she increasingly fails to conceal the gender of her voice ending up with this ridiculous super-idealised father figure with all his saintly instincts intact. Yuck! I hated it and couldn’t wait for it to end – after recommending it to people at the ½ way stage. Such a disappointment

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Third Policeman

  • By: Flann O'Brien
  • Narrated by: Jim Norton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 183
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 156

Flann O'Brien's most popular and surrealistic novel concerns an imaginary, hellish village police force and a local murder. Weird, satirical, and very funny, its popularity has suddenly increased with the mention of the novel in the TV series Lost.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Imaginative brilliance

  • By Nigel Nicholson on 10-03-14

Imaginative brilliance

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

Reviewed: 10-03-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The Third Policeman to be better than the print version?

Jim Norton is the best reader of audiobooks bar none. His reading of Ulysses is a revelation - making the book readable to me for the first time, but this is also inspiring - and very very funny for O'Brien's tale is a wonderful demonstration of how to make a nonsensical and unfilmable plot into something tangible and compelling. It is a perfect demonstration of how the requirements of logic can appear to be suspended and yet still operating at a narrative level. Totally brilliant all round.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The English Monster

  • By: Lloyd Shepherd
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 13 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 85
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 61

London, 1811: The twisting streets of Wapping hold many an untold sin. Bounded by the Ratcliffe Highway to the north and the Dock to the south, shameful secrets are largely hidden by the noise of Trade. But two families have fallen victim to foul murder, and a terrified populace calls for justice. Based on the real-life story of the gruesome Ratcliffe Highway murders, The English Monster takes us on a voyage across centuries. A brilliantly imagined debut from a major new literary voice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • what a mix

  • By Mark on 03-08-12

Life and death in London

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

Reviewed: 11-12-13

Would you try another book written by Lloyd Shepherd or narrated by Steven Crossley?

Possibly Shepherd but preferably not Crossley, whose narration is full of wrong inflections. He reads as if he doesn't care about the book or like it. His reading in the past has annoyed me equally. He does "voices" quite well, but that's just not enough. He detracts from the content of the book, which is a pity

What was one of the most memorable moments of The English Monster?

I loved the descriptions of London in times past. The author clearly has done great research and produces atmospheric descriptions. The plot is overly contrived and fantastical and one wonders what the point is. It is a book that doesn't seem to lead anywhere.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Wrong inflections - something condescending and unserious about his way of reading. Seems to trivialise the narrative

Was The English Monster worth the listening time?

On balance no.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Djibouti

  • By: Elmore Leonard
  • Narrated by: Nick Landrum
  • Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 9

Dara Barr, documentary filmmaker, is at the top of her game and looking for a challenge. So she and her right-hand-man - a six-foot-six African-American called Xavier - head to Djibouti on the Horn of Africa to tackle modern-day pirates. As hijacked tankers line up like floating bombs, Dara and Xavier know it's time for a showdown. But which guy is going to get the prize - and what will he have to do to get it?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Leonard not quite on top form

  • By Nigel Nicholson on 12-05-13

Leonard not quite on top form

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

Reviewed: 12-05-13

As usual plotting, characterisation and style are classic - fast, elegant, and evocative - it's a nice tale about the ironies of Somali piracy and the web ot those who profit from it, with some hip people making the story go. It's good entertainment but almost too languorously Leonard. The edge of passion, excitement and the unexpected are just not there, so in the end you don't really care too much about what happens. But nonetheless it's better than a lot of thrillers out there for literary style, observational accuracy and political interest.

  • The Virgin Suicides

  • By: Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Narrated by: Nick Landrum
  • Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 107
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 80

This nationally best-selling novel from Pulitzer Prize-winner Jeffrey Eugenides was adapted into an acclaimed film by Academy Award-winner Sofia Coppola. A haunting yet wickedly funny tale, The Virgin Suicides has captivated countless readers with its intoxicating portrait of lost innocence. A brilliant fusion of dark humor and tragedy, it is an atmospheric, allegorical masterpiece about five oppressed, suicidal sisters and the boys who dream of rescuing them.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Morbid but beautiful

  • By nandita on 09-05-16

Disappointing

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-13

I loved the Marriage Plot so went into this with high hopes. It uses an annoying first person plural narrative voice to recount the macabre observations of a dysfunctional family in a disordered community. All of this makes it hard to engage sympathetically though one should given the subject. Others may like this - he's a good writer but this doesn't do it form.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful