Tag Archives: audio review
- ISBN-13: 9781478906179
- ISBN-10: 1478906170
- Publisher: Little Brown and Company
- Publish Date: May 2015
the main character still trying to distance himself from his fathers’ legacy as a crackpot, is giving safari tours
Zoo is a half-baked, science-fiction suspense-thriller, that with some comedy relief and backwards humor could’ve been a very good “spoof,” I really wanted to like this book, but the one dimensional characters were impossible to care about. The artificial pacing and choppy dialogue made it difficult to stay immersed in the story. I have been a James Patterson fan since the irst Alex Cross novel. Over the years there have been some books that weren’t as good as others, but in recent years there seems to be more bad than good. Only the name on the cover is familiar, – Gone is the masterful storytellers’ voice I had enjoyed so very much.This is especially true with Zoo. I understand this is a collaboration, that there will be a lot of Michael Ledwidge’s influence, however, in previous works I could at least recognize Patterson’s input. Zoo is not absolutely terrible, it’s ok. But with so many number one best sellers to his name, I expect more than okay.
Also available in Hardcover
What’s on RJ’s Wish List?
Wow, I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by Richard Montanari, but it certainly won’t be the last, I have already reserved Rosary Girls at my local library. Honestly, I really missed the boat with this author – but now that I have secured a quiet listening corner, I’m in for the long ride.
Although this is the eighth book in the series, it works as a standalone. There’s enough information about the characters to carry the reader through. And these are well drawn, three dimensional, and easily relateable. Philadelphia Homicide Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are interesting, work well as a team, and have a palpable respect for one another. Byrne is more experienced, kind hearted and determined. While Balzano is opinionated and shrewd, with an equally warm heart. I particularly liked the absence of romantic entanglement.
Richard Montanari weaves multiple angles together into a disturbing tapestry of missing children, murdered children extravagantly posed on painted surfaces, and a convicted child killer weeks away from her final walk. Are they connected? Time is running out for Balzano and Byrne to find out. Throughout the reader discovers information only moments before the detectives. Montanari gives the reader credit and doesn’t spell everything out letter for letter. The Doll Maker is more about motives and concepts, than actual brutality and violence. The latter being the tools used to create his ‘art.’ The creepy tea dance invitations he leaves at each scene add yet another layer to an already colorful piece.
This is disturbing on so many levels – there were entire chapters that gave me goose-bumps (and I don’t frighten easy). Montanari has a gift – the ability to write realistically, believable stories that are the stuff nightmares are made of, but sadly could be the lead story on the news tonight. The Doll Maker is an outstanding book. Period. No matter what opinion you read, good or bad..if you enjoy suspense/thrillers – read this one for yourself.
*DO NOT form your opinion based on the prologue. Yes it is graphic, gruesome and extremely disturbing, but this does not fairly represent the rest of the story.
by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
*Also available in hardcover
David Baldacci (Website)
Hachette Audio (Website)
Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.
Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.
Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.
That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.
I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.
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Solitude Creek is the fourth book in the Kathryn Dance series and not my favorite. The idea of a killer that sets the stage for people to cause their own death is thought provoking…. Would it be every man for himself, a literal dog eat dog type mentality? Sadly, time and again it plays out just that way. When local roadhouse patrons try to escape what they think is a fire, only to find the exits blocked, several are killed and numerous others injured, as fear and panic replaced rationale and human decency. All to the delight and amusement of “event murderer,” Antioch March.
California Criminal Investigations Detective Kathryn Dance has been placed on Civil Division Duty, unable to carry a weapon or work criminal cases. Forced to the sideline as the gang related drug smuggling case she was heading moves forward without her. However, she is able to stay in the loop on that case and consult with local authorities on the Solitude Creek stampede. And her usually mild mannered, well behaved kids (a son and daughter), pick now to start acting different…causing Mom a few more worries. Oh, she also has two men vying for her time and affection.
It felt to me like Deaver just tossed things on the wall and hoped something would stick. Compared to the Lincoln Rhyme series, Kathryn Dance doesn’t measure up. True they are very different characters, and that is great, but where Rhyme is a well rounded character, Dance feels like a bunch of strings that never form anything. With the first book, Bone Collector, I cared about the participants and what transpired in both their professional, as well as, their personal lives. Again, there’s a disconnect between me and Dance. Solitude Creek could have been a really good book, but not with Kathryn Dance in the lead. Having the audio version made it a lot better, because the narrator did an exceptional job keeping me in the moment, whereas left on my own with the hard copy I would have had a difficult time finishing it.
**Antioch March is an “event murderer”, meaning he causes the event, but the choices people make cause their deaths.
Visit Jeffery Deaver’s Website
Visit Hachette Audio’s Website
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire.
Kathryn Dance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. She and her team must race against the clock to find where he will strike next before more innocents die.
- ISBN-13: 9781478903598
- ISBN-10: 1478903597
- ISBN-13: 9781478904250
- ISBN-10: 1478904259
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Narrated by Rene Auberjonois
visit: Preston & Child online
Named an Amazon Book of the Month
I’ll not waste time repeating the dust jacket or give away spoilers, this is simply my thoughts about Blue Labyrinth.
The suspense/thriller genre is crowded with interesting, exciting protagonists, but Agent Aloysius Pendergast, is in a class of his own. A Chongg Ran practitioner, with an extensive knowledge of food and wine, and unparalleled verbal skills. His appreciation of finer things always on display – designer suits, handmade shoes, a grand mansion on Riverside Drive, a lovely apartment in the Dakota, and his chauffeur driven 59 Rolls Royce.
Blue Labyrinth is the 14th novel in this series and while all of them have been “good”, some definitely shine brighter than others, as I’m sure is true of any long running series. The story weaves together the murder of Pendergast’s son, (Alban), and that of a Museum of Natural History technician. It was great to see P&C return to the roots of the series. But I still expected Agent Pendergast to be the star of Blue Labyrinth. He is not. Fighting for his life on the sideline, the spot light shifts to long time friend, Detective Vincent D’Agosta (NYPD), Dr. Margo Green (Curator, MSH) and Constance Greene (Pendergast’s ward). These three beloved characters take center stage as they try to assemble a puzzle with seeming unrelated pieces in time to save Pendergast. It was an entertaining read that revealed more about the characters than it did about the villains.
Blue Labyrinth is a solid read, with vivid depictions, three dimensional characters and plenty of the eccentricities I’ve come to expect from Preston and Child. Rene Aberjonois has one the most distinctive voices in narration. His ability to breathe life into fictional characters takes the listener inside the book from cover to cover. He uses tone, tempo, accents and pitch to make each character an individual and every setting a beautifully drawn scene. Blue Labyrinth is a good book and even better audio experience. There are flaws, but none so flagrant as to turn me away from the series. At times it felt like the authors were preparing for the demise of Aloysius Pendergast and maybe that was their intention. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in Blue Labyrinth, so there’ll be a #15.
Also available in hardcover
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- ISBN-10: 1455525898
- ISBN-13: 978-1455525898
Often referred to as the Christian Thriller author, Dekker seems to have embraced the title and run with it – right onto the best seller shelf with A.D. 30. Both thriller and biblical fiction, this incredible piece of work will have you on the edge of your seat from Maviah’s exile, through her perilous journey across the Nafud dessert, right to the court of King Herod. Dekker’s depiction of the dessert is so vivid you can almost feel the heat rising from the sand as the camels lumber across the dangerous terrain. During Maviah’s conversations with Yeshua Dekker’s talents truly shine, as he weaves the gospel of Jesus seamlessly into the fictional world of A.D. 30.
Dekker’s characters are strong, believable, and easy to care about. A.D. 30 is Biblical Fiction at its finest. Ellen Archer’s narration brings the words to life. She utilizes pitch and inflections to differentiate the various characters and their ways. The audio book is an incredible listening experience, not to be missed.
also available in Hardcover
- ISBN-13: 9781599954189
- ISBN-10: 1599954184
- Publisher: Center Street
- Publish Date: October 2014
- Page Count: 432
Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
ISBN 10: 1600242650
ISBN 13: 9781600242656
Grand Central Publishing
Unabridged Audio, 12CDs, 13.5hr
Read by Rene Auberjonois’
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have long been known for their ability to stand out amid a very crowded genre – and they certainly carved a niche’ with Cemetery Dance. Agent Pendergast has worked his share of interesting cases and had more than his fair share of close calls, but this time he has to risk much more than his physical safety…in Cemetery Dance, Pendergast dances with the devil, stepping in between the shadows on a journey that will take him places even he never imagined.
The narrative opens on the remnants of a wedding anniversary celebration interrupted by a knife wielding assailant, that leaves New York Times reporter William Smithback Jr dead and his wife, Nora Kelly (Museum of Natural History anthropologist) clinging to life. There seems to be no question as to the identity of the assailant – several neighbors within the Upper West side apartment complex readily identified the attacker as one of their own, a neighbor, Collin Fearing. But that is impossible…Collin Fearing had been dead and buried for nearly two weeks. Thus setting the stage for an intriguing tale that will take our team of detectives into the lair of a modern day cult in the heart of Manhattan.
Vodou rituals, mysticism, sorcery, within this realm the Obeah is the most dreaded and the most feared of all practitioners. The Obeah or Obeahman is believed to have virtually limitless powers, including the ability to resurrect the dead, which seems to be what someone wants the residents of New York to believe. Digging into this case, Pendergast will find some unusual characters hiding sinister motivations beneath the cloaks of the cult.
With several well known and beloved characters reprising their roles in Cemetery Dance fans are in for a real treat – however, as with their other novels, this one stands alone. So, there’s no reason to hold back – if you have never read a Preston/Child novel before, you can pick this one up and dive right in. Their writing is so spot on, detailed and character driven there’s nothing missing accept you! And with Rene Auberjonois’ providing the narration even those who have read the print version will be intrigued by his incredible presentation. His portrayal of Agent Pendergast breathes life into the fictional character, pulling him off the pages of the book and presenting him in living color. I was amazed by the depth and range Auberjonois employed throughout, going so far as to incorporate gutteral, zombie noises into the narrative. Which I must admit gave me a shudder and added a bit of “oh my” to the vibe. The audio version of Cemetery Dance (from Hachette Book Group) is exceptional and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting novel that doesn’t fit into any of the pre-determined, cookie-cutter classifications. Preston and Child do an extraordinary job delivering highly unusual material in an intelligent manner that enlightens the reader and engages your senses on a variety of levels. The information revealed in the novel was so provocative, it peeked my curiosity, prompting me to dig deeper into the topics. This is entertainment at its finest, from two of today’s most popular authors. Knowing this and accepting the story for what it was intended allows you to sit back, relax and thoroughly enjoy this unique work.
Beat the Reaper
Little, Brown & Company
Hachette Book Group
Unabridged, 6CD, 7hrs
Read by Robert Petkoff
Set in Manhattan’s worst hospital, Josh Bazell paints a dismal, picture for the main character, intern, Dr. Peter Brown. Working long hours, surrounded by an uncaring, overworked staff, that are unaffected and uninvolved, he finds himself waging a one man war to help his patients beat the reaper. But for Peter Brown, the war is much more personal, he too is trying to outrun or outwit death…and Brown knows all too well, that the reaper has many faces.
Through flashbacks and memory spurts, we learn Peter Brown a.k.a. Pietro Brnwa is hiding more than a few skeletons in his hospital locker. Rescued from his neglectful parents by doting, devoted grandparents only to see them brutally murdered at the tender age of fifteen. He became determined to a state of near obsession to find those responsible for his grandparents death. He joins the Locano Family, who quickly put his hatred and anger to work as an assassin, known as Bearclaw. Experiencing a change of heart, Pietro flips sides, entering the Witness Protection Program, from which he is now on the lam. Adding fuel to this multi-level fire, Brown is recognized by one of his new patients- the chart lists him as Mr. LoBrutto, but this long time mafia associate was at one time known as, Eddy Squillante and he harbors a deep grudge against the good Doctor Brown and knows numerous other mobsters who would kill him on sight.
This edgy story is littered with street humor, that borders on crude at times and yet it is perfectly suited for the depressing, death trap hospital scenario Bazell has designed as Brown’s stomping-group through-out “Beat the Reaper.” The mature language and detailed violence are not suited for younger audiences or those who are offended easily by brash, over-the-top cursing and blood, guts and gore. It says something about the author’s ability to write the material and the narrator’s ability to convey it that this one needs a “Mature Content” warning label. However, as most adults will agree some things are for children and others are not –and that’s okay – ….”Beat the Reaper” is a grown up tale that will having you snickering one second and out right laughing the next. So, if you are looking for a good story to take you away from the ordinary for a few hours, Beat the Reaper is an excellent choice.
I am looking forward to Josh Bazell’s future works!
Paperback available September 14, 2009
LISTEN TO A SAMPLE CLIP
from Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
The Brass Verdict
Unabridged, 10CDs, 11.5hrs
Read by Peter Giles
Hardcover, 432 Pages
Little, Brown & Company
New York Times Bestselling author Michael Connelly takes a leap of literary faith uniting two well known characters in one novel and lands softly amid adoring fans and rave reviews. Actor Peter Giles narrates, bringing the characters to life with special wording, accents and voice inflections, individualizing each, making the characters recognizable and believable.
In 2005’s The Lincoln Lawyer, we were left with Haller’s promise that he would return – and return he has…albeit divorced, estranged from his daughter and recovering from both the gun shot wound and an addiction to pain killers. With his ex-wife (Lorna) as secretary/manager and her fiancée (Cisco), as his lead investigator, Mickey plans to slowly recoup his clientele and rebuild his rolling practice. Operating a lucrative law office from the backseat of a Lincoln town car was but one of his signature tricks and he was determined to reassert himself as the quintessential Lincoln Lawyer.
But his plans for a slow comeback are fast tracked when fellow attorney Jerry Vincent is found murdered in the parking garage adjacent to his office. Summoned to a closed door meeting with Chief Judge Holder, Haller is unceremoniously informed he has inherited Vincent’s practice and is responsible for his case load. A laundry list of cases was the last thing Haller wanted, so he quickly disposed of most of them. However, there was one case he hoped to maintain – that of millionaire, studio executive Walter Elliot, accused of murdering his wife and her lover.
It would appear Vincent’s untimely demise handed Haller the goose that laid the golden egg, wrapped in box with a beautiful bow…but, then again, nothing is ever as it appears, is it?
Attorney Mickey Haller, from The Lincoln Lawyer’s and Detective Harry Bosch (33 year veteran of the police dept), from the celebrated Bosch series, share the spotlight in this murder-mystery-legal drama, sparring and teasing each other throughout with bits of carefully worded information meant to illicit more than it reveals. Forever questioning the intentions of the other, on the surface they seem to represent polar opposite points of view, but they have a great deal more in common than either is willing to acknowledge.
This novel barely scratches the proverbial literary surface of this brotherly relationship and I am anxious to see Connelly explore this further in the future.
Exciting, interesting and filled with twists that satisfy fully – “The Brass Verdict” is a solid good read!
Brass Verdict = cop slang for an execution
available August 29, ‘09