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Summary

Winner of the CWA Goldsboro Gold Dagger award 2015

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he's due to be released?

Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is. For 10 years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled, and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates, and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he's due to be released. Everybody wants to find Audie, but he's not running. Instead he's trying to save a life...and not just his own.

©2014 Michael Robotham (P)2014 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    261
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    164
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    6

Performance

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    33
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    9
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Story

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

A compelling story

I pre-ordered this book thinking it would be the next in the series featuring the forensic psychologist Joe O’Loughlin so was surprised when the book turned out to be set in the USA and involve an escapee from high security prison. The early chapters made me think I’d made a mistake in choosing this book as the violence and brutality of escapee Audie Palmer’s prison life. Fortunately, thereafter the book becomes much more intriguing as various agencies try to capture him. A string of interesting and memorable characters are introduced and one is bowled along by the compelling story that gathers pace to end with a surprising but plausible outcome.

Apart from a couple of supernatural interludes which sat awkwardly in the narrative this is a gripping and well-narrated book.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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

Bored to Death

Would you try another book written by Michael Robotham or narrated by John Chancer?

My loyalty lies with Michael Robotham. This book was weak, but I am sure Michael Robotham will deliver again. Unfortunately I am not a fan of the narrator nor this book.

Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Robotham again?

I have loved all of Michael Robotham's books. Especially the Joe O'Loughlin series which I have listened to quite a few times! Unfortunately 'Life or Death' was an epic fail for me. I struggle to believe that Michael Robotham had written this. This book has been such a disappointment.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The performance was so 'hammy' and heavy handed. I would cringe every time John Chancer attempted an accent and character's voice.

What character would you cut from Life or Death?

Hard to say. I really disliked the main character Audie Palmer.

Any additional comments?

I never write reviews but I was so disappointed I felt compelled to do so.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Disappointing

What did you like best about Life or Death? What did you like least?

The main character was well developed. I didn't like the constant return to the love interest - it got boring.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The story was too complex and it seemed deliberately twisted, the bad guys were too obviously bad and the love story was overplayed. More development of the other characters might have helped

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator was good

If this book were a film would you go see it?

no

Any additional comments?

Not up to this writer's normal standard

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 20-08-14

Think John Grisham rather than Michael Robotham

Listening blindfold I would have thought I was listening to a John Grisham - and if you like his work then you'll enjoy this. There's also a touch of the Shawshank Redemption about it too. I found the story a little bit predictable and Audie, the main character, just a little bit perfect - but the listen was thoroughly enjoyable nevertheless. It seemed to me very different from what we are used to from Michael Robotham - but I would still recommend.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Eleanor
  • ForkhillUnited Kingdom
  • 27-07-15

Very annoying

I have listened to 5 hours and 40 minutes of this book and I don't think I can continue. At least 4 times the conversation between two people has been with one whispering and the other talking at nominal volume so you have to rewind, have hand on volume and up and down depending on who is speaking. What a ridiculous way to narrate a book.

I just can't summon up enough interest to find out what happened to either party.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nils
  • Olstykke, Denmark
  • 21-09-14

All threads being weaved together in the end

The plot is very well thought out, and the reader is kept ignorant in the right way (at least for me) up until the very end.

Chancer is an excellent narrator, and in essence, I am extremely happy with this title.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

A book without Joe O'loughlin...Oh Joy!

If you could sum up Life or Death in three words, what would they be?

No Joe O'Loughlin

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really enjoyed them all. Each character had a apart to play and were easily created in my mind with Robotham's excellent dialogue and a really good narration. Forget what people might say, the choice of an American was perfect for this book. Yes I love Sean Barrett, but not for this gig.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Can't say without creating a spoiler

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

As above, this is a silly question really

Any additional comments?

I would reccomend this book I thoroughly enjoyed it but it's not a joe o'loughlin novel and yes I liked those too. But Joe was beginning to get on my nerves a tad and how many times can your wife and kids be kidnapped, tortured or put into protective custody. Nice one Michael, more like this please.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • c
  • WALSALL, United Kingdom
  • 18-08-14

Simply Fails To Deliver

What did you like best about Life or Death? What did you like least?

The narrator is terrific!

The plot promised to be an interesting and unusual one and I looked forward to the unwinding of the full story and to the baddies getting their dues!

The book failed to deliver in both departments and generally I found the characters and the story-line to be quite unbelievable.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The plot in general was an interesting one but as time went on the whole thing lacked credibility. I found the lead character to be pretty uninspiring overall and that spelled the end for me!

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Sorry, just can't bring one to mind. Never thought I'd say that about a Michael Robotham novel.

Again though I must mention that the narrator John Chancer does a tremendous job. Pity he hasn't got better material to work with.

Do you think Life or Death needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. Simply not good enough.

Any additional comments?

This won't put me off reading any other Michael Robotham novels. It's the first one of his that I've not liked - at all.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jill E
  • Yelverton, United Kingdom
  • 15-08-14

Brilliant

Would you listen to Life or Death again? Why?

Enjoyed this book so much I couldn't stop listening and was disappointed when it finished.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Exceptional story

This was a fantastic story from beginning to end couldn't stop listening. The reader was absolutely first class and made every character's voice different. Highly recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Heather
  • 05-11-15

Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!

Michael Robtham is a genius. I am working my way through everything he's written. He doesn't disappoint !

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ásdís
  • 14-11-14

Really a great book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend this book to all that enjoy a good thriller/crimestory with mystery feel to it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Life or Death?

So many memorable moments in the story, so many big characters.

What does John Chancer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

John Chancer is so very good narrator and brings depth to the story.

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

A little bit of both!

Any additional comments?

Just you read this book, you will not regret it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Thomson
  • 05-02-15

Gripping to the end

Better than expected, unique way of investigating a crime and of describing the details of earlier events, police and the justice system on trial. Great story of inmate humanity against the odds, Ardie and Moss were great characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Rajiv Lochan Shukla
  • 14-01-15

Entertaining!

Spoilers!

Entertaining story and started out well but the jail break was not very realistic! The story developed quite well and the narrator was very good I'd say slightly short of excellent and a taut story line with lots of twists and slow reveal of the past was a wonderful way of handling a pretty straightforward story which kept an air of mystery and excitement going throughout! The ending was below par but still the treatment of the characters was excellent! One complaint though, the cop should have been handled better and the family life needed more elucidation! The whole good father bad guy thing and the revelation of the actual father and finding that your hero was not the real deal could have been done better. The writer should have killed the lead character!
This was the first Robotham book that I read/heard (got the Kindle version also) and this will not be the last!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lia
  • 11-06-18

Another Great Book From This Author

I came across this book after checking out listener pages of people I used to follow. I must say again how much I dislike the way Audible has redone the new listener page. I have written them and would like to suggest that others do so as well, maybe if they get enough complaints they will change this new format. One can only hope!

Great book! Robotham is an excellent writer, and I have always enjoyed his books, but this one really captured me for a few days! Sure, there are places where it strains credibility, but most good stories do that now and then. Admittedly, the fact that it was set in south Texas increased my interest, but this story would play just as well in any other setting. I was a bit surprised that an Australian author captured names, places, and demographics perfectly. Again, though, this story would work well anywhere. A slice of prison life and temporary(?) freedom mixed together that brings out the true humanity of its characters. I was pulling for the "hero" throughout, and was sorry when the book ended.

John Chancer was excellent with the delivery of the story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon L
  • 01-01-18

A very well woven story

This was one of my favourite books of 2017. I really liked the way the story worked to complete the total picture, weaving memory, evidence and present day. I have never listened to John Chancer before, but he was excellent at performing different characters and genders, always with an ear to the urgency and pace of the story. I would reccomend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wanda
  • 15-10-15

Entertainment at it's best.

Admittedly. I was a bit disappointed to not find my usual favourites starring in this book but I soon forgot all about them as Michael Robothom once again wrote a thriller that kept me buys and kept me listening.

I listened to this book on audio and loved the production.
The story is intricate. At times almost slow but never really slow. A bit predictable but not completely. It is a lot of almost things before it turn a bit and becomes more.

In the end though the book did what I want from a book. Escape. Fun. Relax.

So if you are a fan. Do pick up a copy. If your not a fan...try this book. It will change your reading list forever.

WaAr

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christie
  • 02-08-15

A twist I didn't see coming

A great recommendation for those who enjoy a great "who-dunnit" read. Kept me interested right until the end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful