LISTENER

Langer

  • 99
  • reviews
  • 21
  • helpful votes
  • 113
  • ratings

Heckuva Thriller. One of Gardner's best!

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-22

Like it's ripped from the headlines. This book reads like a 'Based on a True Story' Docu-drama. Gardner writes this one very well. Plot with plenty of twists, interesting characters (that you don't really LIKE per se), vivid descriptions, great atmosphere and tension.

I have one issue with Lisa Gardner's plots. She HATES loose ends. Her protagonists are police detectives and FBI agents. You expect a tale of an investigation, complete with 'Red Herrings' and 'Dead-ends' that keep you guessing. But she doesn't give her readers that. You need to pay close attention. She writes supposed mysteries, but nothing distracts you, nothing is superfluous. EVERY event and character in her books wind up playing an essential role in the too-neatly-tied-up conclusions of her books. But I like loose ends and false leads. Not much of a 'mystery' without them, is it? Gardner writes rather Psychological Thrillers with "Holy Cow" Twists.

The plot in this one (a story following an abduction) is no different. But the good FAR outweighs the bad, even though there are MULTIPLE abductions. It gets a little confusing... "Now which time is this?" But an engrossing story.

Kirsten Potter is an excellent reader. Lots of emotion, great cadence, superlative enunciation. The only irritating thing is her occasionally sharp intakes of breath between sentences.

Very small issues. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5

Great book

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-19

At times this is a dry, cerebral book. It's generally more of a discussion of mortality and the nature of God dressed up as a SciFi story than a true Science Fiction tale. It is an extremely effective plot device to discuss philosophical and really weighty issues: Mortality, Religion, Intelligent Design vs Strict Atheism.
Tom sounds like a cross between my Paleontology professor in University and the TA we had for Comparative Anatomy. Hollis, the alien, sounds like a reasoned and very intelligent pastor. This is NOT a debate, however, but a story with a plot and everything (and a pretty good one, though not perfectly executed - at points it gets silly and clichee'd)
Jonathan Davis does a pretty good job reading some stretches of fairly bland writing. His choice of light accent for Hollis is like an Oxford-educated maharaja from Colonial India. At times it sounds like he's reading an instruction manual of some kind. A little monotone for my tastes.

Notwithstanding, a decent reading of a great "Makes ya think, don't it?" novel. Easily 4 out of 5 stars.

Pleasantly surprised...great book!

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-15

I will bet you 20 bucks that Sansbury Smith is balding. It seems that with every new character introduced, there's a focus on what their hair looks like.
Notwithstanding his follicular obsrssions, this is a fantastic novel. It's well-written, full of action with great pacing. The premise (the remnants of humanity taking to the skies to survive nuclear apocalypse) is on it's face absurd. But Sansbury Smith puts enough pathos and tension into the story to make the plot almost realistic. I found myself liking and caring about the characters. The author puts them in plausible, genuine jeopardy. The plot implies urgency, and the author's staccato pacing makes that evident.

I was offered this book on sale as a Daily Deal and thought "Eh...why not?" I thought it probably wouldn't be great. Very glad that I decided to try it.

R.C. Bray is quickly becoming one of my favorite readers and honestly is a big reason that I decided to try the book. He's again great in this one.

This book is a solid 4.5 stars out of 5

Great collection for Fanboys

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-12

Have to admit I'm a nerd. I play D&D and Video Games, read lots of SciFi and Fantasy, and enjoy campy Action and Horror flicks. I really savored this compendium of action-filled stories, almost all under an hour, about one of my favorite characters.

I was pretty worried when buying this book that such a visually impressive creature (almost tailor-made for Movies/TV and Graphic Novels) wouldn't be done justice in this format. I was wrong. It translates great to audiobook.

There are a few lame stories and dreadful performances, but what do you expect from 16 different recordings?...not all are going to fit your tastes perfectly. Personally, I'm not a fan of stories written from the perspective of the Alien. I think it's more effective if the creature remains mysterious, not thinking of it's "clan" back home. I don't really care for it's motivation. Concentrate on events, especially in short story form. I don't really care that the stories develop the "character" of a relentless, ruthless hunter. Switching back and forth from human and Predator perspective is done, too. Quite a few of those.
And face it, Salman Rushdie is never writing a "Predator" tale. Some of the authors aren't exactly MENSA members..."He instructed they put 3 minutes on the clock. They put up a countdown of seconds for more drama. It counted down from 240..."You were expecting 'literature'?

Overall it's fun, and more hit than miss. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

Came for the Rothfuss..

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

Reviewed: 2019-10-08

...stayed for all the others
Note: This is a CROSS-GENRE ANTHOLOGY. I got it for all the Fantasy/SciFi authors, but many of the tales fit other story types. There's a couple of mysteries, a horror story, even a pulpy detective story! The Rothfuss, Martin, and Abercrombie are great.

Like any collection of many authors and an ensemble of readers, there are a variety of results. There are some good readings of kinda lame stories. There are a couple of sub-par performances of very good stories. All of the stories in this collection (except 'Bad Brass' - reads like a puerile but profanity-laced Nancy Drew; 'Bent Twig' - just plain awful; and 'The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives' - misanthropic feminist drivel) are at least decent. Some are very good...even excellent (see 'The Caravan To Nowhere' and 'The Lightning Tree'). If you have an open mind and eclectic tastes, this collection is great. If you're looking for strict Fantasy/SciFi, look elsewhere.

I was a little worried by some raters noting the messed-up format for this production - downloaded in multiple chunks for each tale and apparently no way to navigate. Not so. Each "Chapter" is an individual story, listed with the title in the menu. Each is preceeded by a short CV for the author. Pretty clean, actually. They must have fixed it.

This compendium is a decent 3.5 Stars out of 5 for fans of short stories.

Start with 'Chapter 2'

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-23

Thank you Audible readers. Chapter 1 really should be an 'Afterword', as many raters said. This story is a fun action romp in a dystopian future. The plot is straightforward, but with a Shyamalan twist near the end. Preface actually gives it away.

The story structure is like nothing I've ever read before. It's divided into small bite-sized chunks. I've seen short chapters before, usually as we approach the climax, to build pace like a 'Hurry-up' football offense. Never for a whole book. Bible Chapters are longer. I wonder if King planned this beforehand, or cut up his story after it was done. Kinda cool way to try and keep up a breakneck pace.

My issue with this presentation is with the narrator. Kevin Kenerly reads this book with all the sombre solemnity of somebody delivering a eulogy. You know what The Joker would say to this guy while describing why he has facial scars. Kenerly IS way too serious. The book is a fun action story. Nowhere near lighthearted, but Kenerly reads it like every line will determine his kids' fate.

What we have here is a "so-so" reading of a decent novel. Not King's best work. I give it 3, maybe 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Unique plot device works. Great novel

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-22

This book has all the best elements of a Stephen King book. Fascinating characters, a creepy 'What The...' plot (not really spooky in this one), and amazingly realistic descriptions of events and people. I'm convinced the man could make shopping for shoes interesting...turning mundanity to something fascinating. There is nothing in this book that's mundane.

The book has NO CHAPTERS. The whole thing is written in a strict first person perspective...one long confession in a police examination with ONLY the protagonist's voice. Gutsy approach that reminded me of Kafka and Hunter S. Thompson in it's attempt at something non-conventional. It works!

Frances Sternhagen does a fantastic job narrating. Her Eastern New England dialect is bang-on. A perfect Maine accent that's not over-the-top. Excellent emotion, appropriate pauses. You are not listening to her reading a transcript of an interview, you're with her in the interrogation room.

The book and presentation does have a couple of flaws:
Dolores is inexplicably well-read. A folksy bumpkin one moment, quoting Shakespeare the next. And why does this woman, clearly feeling justified in what she did, even give this confession? Guilty conscience? Afraid? Doesn't quite fit this iron-willed character.
For some reason they add music to some specific images Dolores describes. The musical interludes are out-of-place, reminding me of the red-coated kid in 'Schindler's List' but way less effective. I mean, they put in sound effects to make it sound like a recorded interview, then add a splash of "artistic" theme music?

This book and it's performance still rates a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Marvelous novel. NOTE: Abridged; poor narration

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-19

Elsewhere on Audible, there is a full version of this novel (3× the length) read expertly by John C. Reilly. That is not to say this isn't a very good reading of this story. This 'Reader's Digest' version of the book maintains all important moments and scenes. Perfect for an afternoon in the garden or a road trip.
Kesey is not a great reader. Not horrible, but you can tell he's not a professional. He reads characters like Mcmurphy (always Nicholson in my mind's eye) like they're characters in a Robert Service poem. To his credit, he avoids accents, but all the characters sound kind of the same.

The interview at the end with the author is interesting. I give this version of an outstanding story 3.5 out of 5 stars

Great 'Find the Killer'. Narrator falls short

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-19

This is a masterfully written mystery. The realistic investigation isn't cluttered with suspects and false leads, but has "loose ends" aplenty, with plausible twists and red herrings. Connelly's characters seem true-to-life with interesting motivations. The pacing is great. Forays away from the main plotline are infrequent and add, rather than detract, from the mystery. Small wonder this was made into a movie.

That's not to say the book has no flaws. The love interest plotline makes little sense on the whole. The 'quirky' sidekick seems contrived. The people that McCaleb deals with seem to come in 3 strains: outwardly hostile, sycophantically helpful, or reluctantly cooperative. Few characters fall outside of these categories, to the point that I would consciously guess which people fit where as they were introduced.

The narration by Dick Hill is enthusiastic and competent, but somehow doesn't work that well here. He reads the characters with emotion and good cadence, which is great. A goodly portion of the dialogue is over the telephone. Hill uses voice effects for these, also appreciated. But after a few hours - HOURS - of phone conversation (not his fault) it gets grating, like listening to a pop singer that uses autotune too much. Some of Hill's accents are straight-up bad, and others make little sense. Why do all these L.A. cops sound like they're from Brooklyn?

With a better reader this is easily a 5-star novel. As it is, I give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Probably the Weakest in the Series

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

Reviewed: 2019-09-17

Don't get me wrong. This is an excellent book, very necessary as you go on in Harry Potter's world, setting up lots that happens. It's just a little weak on plot, starts to introduce much of the stuff I hate about YA (Harry becomes more and more surly, the misunderstood loner kid with a heart of gold), and doesn't flow as well as Rowling's other books.
But I still give it a solid 4 stars.