What are we listening to? (audiobooks)
#2781  sun surfer 01-05-2020, 01:05 PM
I finished The Blue Lagoon and it was wonderful. I didn't think the 1980s film was as salacious as everyone made out (but of course I was pre-pubescent when I saw it the first time and so watched it without any thoughts of anything like that), but the book was even less so being very naturalistic even if a sort of idyllic fantasy. I was surprised how closely the film followed the book, aside from Richard having auburn hair in the book. The narrator, Adrian Praetzellis, (apart from a few dodgy accents) did a very good job which I was happily surprised by with it having originally come from librivox. It's the first narrator I've listened to from librivox I think. I had assumed the recordings might not be as professional but Praetzellis could easily rank in with the professionals.

Now I'm onto In the Woods by Tana French narrated by Steven Crossley. Others have mentioned the book not so long ago, but it's about a girl that is murdered in the woods near Dublin, and the detective narrating had been found in the same woods as a kid while his two friends had gone missing (and he hides this so he can work on the case).

First off, I am not enjoying the narrator at all. I feel I've listened to him on something else too but I'm not sure (one reason I'm happy about the roster of narrators built in the other thread, to help with this sort of thing). It's so off that I'm considering returning it to switch to the other available narrator, John McCormack, which I probably should've got in the first place.

As to the story, I already have my suspicions.

Spoiler Warning below

I'm about a fifth in, and I am hoping it's a giant red herring so as not to have solved it too early, but I'm suspecting the older sister of Katie. There are a few reasons. I didn't suspect her when the family was told of Katie's death. But her second scene, in the church at the funeral, I did. She runs to the detective to implore him to solve the murder, and I thought, maybe she's the type of person that needs attention, and murdered Katie because Katie was getting it all, especially about to leave for the prestigious ballet school. Then I remember that Munchausen by proxy had been mentioned a few times referring possibly to the mother as a suspect. But it could be the older sister poisoning or otherwise abusing her younger siblings slowly the past many years, leading to Katie's earlier ailments and even to Jessica's mental impairment. This could have been done because the older sister was ignored after the younger girls were born, especially being identical twins.

The she wants to meet privately with the detective, and when they meet she wants to sit outside, which I thought fits as she'd want to be seen speaking to the detective and get that attention. She doesn't give him much info of value but does succeed in getting attention from him. Then Jessica has something to tell the detective, and the older sister brings her to meet the detective in the middle of Dublin at a nice place. This again could've been a ploy to get more attention herself and she could've fed Jessica what to say, and anyway at first she herself wanted to tell what it was and not let Jessica.

Also, there are mysterious calls to the father from the centre of Dublin, and now we know that the older sister knows Dublin well and is familiar with the area the calls could come from. And then whomever murdered Katie didn't do a clean job of it and didn't seem to be experienced in it, which could fit the older sister. As for the rape/vaginal penetration, it was very shallow and inexperienced, which again the older sister could've naively done thinking it would be enough to throw the scent off it being a woman. As for the mysterious large man in the blue tracksuit, I think the boy from the dig could've made him up as the detectives had first thought, and then the older sister found out about the man somehow and latched on to it. And then there's the fact that the detective dismisses her early on as a suspect and keeps lumping her in with the ones to 'protect' along with the dead Katie and the other sister Jessica, and any time she does something suspicious we're explained how it could be to protect their abusive parents or whatever. I do hope, however, that this has all been planted by the author as a red herring to point to the older sister when in fact there's another solution.

Separately, I also think this 'Sandra' that Metallica had been with in the tree in the 1980s is going to have a bigger part later or be someone from present day.

Finally, I have no idea if the detective's missing friends from the 1980s will be solved this book, or if that will be a books-long running mystery (since this is a series). As such I haven't focused on solving it yet as I don't know if I'll have enough info.

#2782  taosaur 01-07-2020, 02:19 AM
I set The Terror aside for a while and, cruising Overdrive for what was available, ended up with The Passage by Justin Cronin, which I finished tonight. My final impression is strongly ambivalent. Cronin hedges his bets, but it is in many respects a Left Behind / 28 Days Later crossover novel: noble cops and soldiers doing The Lord's will to save women and children from a world overrun with super-rapists and super-pedophiles (also The Lord's will). On the one hand, I kind of applaud going that direction with a zombie or vampire story, as "It's a virus!" is no more plausible or less superstitious, just superstitious about different things. On the other hand, the whole world and all the characters reflect a kind of evening-news paranoia, preoccupied with sex crimes and child abuse and justifiable violence. What held my attention a lot of the time, especially in the extended "present day" prologue, was more a car-wreck fascination with the mindset behind the story than the actual characters or events.

So of course, I'm starting the sequel.

#2783  pwalker8 01-09-2020, 01:32 PM
I've tried reading The Passage a couple of times, but never really could get into it. Just not my cup of tea, I guess.

I just noticed that the Stirling and Drake series, the General, has appeared on Audible. Apparently, the first book, The Forge, arrived in August, but I missed it. I haven't heard of the narrator, a fellow named Franklin Pierson, before but the reviews are good. I'll listen to that after I finish Rise of Empire, only 10 more hours to go. Rise of Empire is about 26 hours long, so one definitely gets one's money's worth out of it! I've really enjoyed it so far.

#2784  CRussel 01-10-2020, 12:10 AM
I've just started listening to No Fixed Line, the latest Kate Shugak book from Dana Stabenow, read by Marguerite Gavin. For some reason it released a week before the eBook. IAC, I'm quite enjoying it.


#2785  sun surfer 01-10-2020, 12:06 PM
Quote Bookworm_Girl
I just finished Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield and narrated by Juliet Stevenson. I loved it. Very enchanting. Lots of stories within stories with a Dickensian cast of characters. It's a character-driven mystery and is more about the journey than the destination. One of the main characters is a fictional representation of Henry Taunt, a real-life Victorian photographer of the Thames. Not recommended for people who like fast-paced mysteries.
This sounds very interesting. I read her The Thirteenth Tale a long time ago and wasn't impressed; I love atmospheric mysteries but I just thought it tried a bit too hard without enough meat. Your review of this one though has me thinking I should give her another try.

#2786  Bookworm_Girl 01-11-2020, 04:31 PM
Quote sun surfer
This sounds very interesting. I read her The Thirteenth Tale a long time ago and wasn't impressed; I love atmospheric mysteries but I just thought it tried a bit too hard without enough meat. Your review of this one though has me thinking I should give her another try.
I loved The Thirteenth Tale too. However, the two books are different styles. I could see that you might like one and not the other.

I am currently listening to Olive Kitteridge. I probably should have watched the HBO series instead. The narration by Kimberly Farr is excellent, but the book is boring with a few sparks of interest. I like Olive's character but not so much the other people in town.

#2787  sun surfer 01-23-2020, 02:51 AM
I finished In the Woods. All I can say is that I pretty much had it all deduced from the start, which my mind can work in overdrive and I grew up on reading mysteries, so I generally come up with some theory early on when reading mysteries and sometimes I get it right. I didn't terribly mind not having any surprises, but I did mind that the author apparently assumes she's so clever that no one reading would have solved her mystery ahead of time. She has the audacity to have the narrator of the book (the detective) break the 'fourth wall' so to speak and actually tell the reader near the end that they (they reader) didn't figure it out ahead of time. I literally rolled my eyes reading that and if I weren't holding an electronic device would've thrown the book across the room.

Aside from that though, the book was all right, and if you don't solve things early on then I don't think you'd mind all that. I loved the setting, the characters were interesting (aside from some tropes I could've done without), and for a police force (garda) mystery, the 'procedural' and forensic investigative aspects that I'm not as interested in were there but toned down in favour of the good mystery aspect. I might be interested in reading another of hers to see if she can do a better job putting me off the scent next time.

Quote Bookworm_Girl
I am currently listening to Olive Kitteridge. I probably should have watched the HBO series instead. The narration by Kimberly Farr is excellent, but the book is boring with a few sparks of interest. I like Olive's character but not so much the other people in town.
I've been wanting to try Olive Kitteridge for a long time. Your review makes me less enthused about it.

#2788  pwalker8 01-23-2020, 08:09 PM
I finished up Rise of Empire, by Michael J. Sullivan, book 2 of The Riyria Chronicles. It was very good, but after 26 hours, I was ready to give the series a rest for a couple of weeks. I started listening to The Forge, by SM Stirling and David Drake, book 1 of The General, narrated by Franklin Pierson. I loved the series as ebooks. As far as I can tell, the General series are the only books narrated by Franklin Pierson. I just started it, so I'll have to see what I think of him.

#2789  sun surfer 01-24-2020, 07:06 PM
I started and finished The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks read by Stephen Kenny. It's sort of a black comedy drama thriller set in the early 1980s about an isolated, odd and possibly sociopathic teen boy who lives with his father just off the coast of a small town in Scotland connected by a bridge to their own island. He has an older brother who is insane and in a mental institution, and has escaped.

None of the shown Goodreads genre shelves for it listed humour, so I wasn't expecting it to be funny, especially for how dark it is (and it's very very dark... this book is the blackest of black humour). There were some parts that were so funny I unexpectedly laughed out loud, and there was one part in particular that was so funny I had to stop the audiobook until I was done laughing, and then rewind and listen to it again so I could start laughing again. It had to do with someone's last words and I'll leave it at that.

However, this is not only a dark book, it's a gross and violent book, especially towards animals, and I'm sure some people would have trouble reading some of it. I'm personally not a fan of realistic and descriptive violence in books (hence not generally being a big fan of war books and such), but I am okay with off-screen(/off-scene) violence or with it treated less realistically or not going into detail about it. It's odd in that I'd say this book's treatment of violence towards animals is disturbing while its treatment of violence towards humans - including children for goodness sake! - is less realistic and, dare I say, even bleakly funny at times. But I still found the sadistic violence against animals very off-putting and stomach-churning. Still, I have to say I was impressed by the story and its unique perspective and despite that integral aspect that I didn't like at all, I really liked the book overall by the end.

#2790  Tarana 01-24-2020, 11:59 PM
Currently listening to the 4 book epic Heritage of Shannara by Terry Brooks (it's one story). I'm on book 2 - Druid of Shannara. I started a relisten of the Shannara books in anticipation of the final book currently scheduled to be published in June. I won't be able to get the audiobook until I rejoin Audible in November, but I think it will take me until then to get the rest done anyway.

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