Sutton, Australia
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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-04-18

So Much Potential Not Acheived

This book is OK, pretty well written with an interesting scientific premise. The book puts the science back into science fiction, something sorely missing in many so-called science fiction novels. If anything, there is a bit too much science, creating long sandbars of information that may strain your attention. The book starts out very strong, but fails to maintain that momentum. To paraphrase Elvis,it needed a lot less talk and a lot more action. The glaring flaw is the main male character's seemingly never-ending praise and adoration for the main female character, which is repetitive to an "all right, already" degree. We get it - she's ultra-smart, creative, resourceful, wonderful, etc. etc. etc. - I could itemise many more examples of this overkill. Too bad, as it reduces any interest in both of the characters and the plot.
Joe Hempel was excellent with the delivery of the story and made an average book good to listen to

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-27-18

Action Packed

Another solid Nathan McBride story, it had thrills, suspense, and action. But it also had a lot of heart tugging moments. In this one we are given an even bigger insight into Nathan McBride's heart as his life is turned upside down. Though not as heavily action based, it is nicely balanced between action and story. Well done Andrew Peterson. Can't wait to see what happens next and to see if my predictions are right.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-27-18

Facinating Thriller

The mystery is a good one, with plenty of hints and red herrings as to the kidnapper’s identity. We aren’t left in suspense as to whether Whitney was indeed captured by the Ten Mile Killer–she was. He puts her through grueling dance routines all day and whips her when she fails any of his rules, insisting she call him “Daddy” and show him proper gratitude for his efforts. We’re mostly left to wonder who of the various possible men is the kidnapper/killer, and how Whitney’s own story will end. Meanwhile Janie is the closest thing to a main character I’d say, even though we see things through a variety of characters’ eyes, and she’s a compelling character. She’s already made great strides with her crippling anxiety, but that doesn’t keep her from having a hard time of things when Whitney goes missing and she sees her parents fall apart even further than they already have.

Many thrillers concentrate on the hunt for the bad guy, but this one is much more about his effect on his victims’ families. The characters are very ‘real,’ with believable quirks, flaws, and strengths. Probably my only quibble in this area is that the only female agent involved had a history in which she tried to get into bed with the main (married) male agent and left him wondering if she had slept her way up the ladder. It would have been nice to have more major character detail than that. However, on the good side, the ending made me tear up a bit in several places, and that’s a sign of an emotionally riveting tale. All in all, this was a good listen.
All the narrators did a great job with the delivery of the story. My only issue was why five narrators for me it made the listen a bit disjointed. One or two narrators would been plenty.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-22-18

I Wanted More

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did. Don't get me wrong, I DID enjoy it. But it still feel a little short.

The book is about a guy, the titular Bob, who hires a cryogenic freezing company to freeze him upon death, then promptly dies. When he wakes up he's in a government program trying to build Von Neumann probe. This is an interstellar probe that will prepare a star system for colonization for humans by flying there and self replicating to take care of the multitude of tasks. To increase the chance of success out in the field the government decides to implant Bob's consciousness inside of a more limited AI.

The premise is relatively interesting, however quickly it gets bogged down with what I found were unnecessary details. For instance the US(and North America) get turned into a theocracy after two tumultuous elections and then a coup de tat. I'm not sure if the author was going for some kind of social commentary, or maybe some variety beyond the other world powers(in which most of the world consolidates into a few major states). However the complications of the totalitarian theocracy could have happened in a natural progression of our current political state. Competing projects, ethical concerns over using a real human consciousness, budget problems, foreign interference all could have accounted for the trials of the project in the beginning.

The science overall is pretty soft. They've developed a powerful space drive, and manipulated it into sensors also. A lot of tasks are carried out by semi-autonomous drones. Most of the characters are actually copies of the original Bob, though each one is a little difference.

In that regard the book seems to sidestep any of the heavy serious questions it could have asked about identity. Bob basically falls back onto "I think therefore I am" then sees little differences between himself and the copies he makes as proof he is still human, and still an individual.

A lot of the conflict has much of its tension removed by the fact that they can back up and replicate themselves, and the fact that like Fry on Futurama, he is thrown into the future where everyone he knows and loves is dead. He has very little to be attached to aside from his wonder at travelling and exploring the stars. It makes it very difficult to feel very worried when any of the Bobs go into action.

Since there are many Bobs you jump around from one to the other. Each one going about exploring new systems, or heading back to check on Earth. While I don't have a problem with this technique, it does leave the overall advancement of the plot a little slower.

My only other two minor complaints are that sometimes it seems like you're reading someone's overview of a 4X strategy game than really a story. Also, because Bob is far from home, and has no one basically, he uses a lot of pop culture references.

Ray Porter was outstanding with the delivery of the story.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-21-18

Engaging Suspence

"Shadow of the Lions” is a fascinating, engaging and wonderfully written book. Christopher Swann transports the reader down a wormhole of page-turning adventure whereby the sights, sounds, energy and anxiety of the adolescent boarding school experience can be consumed and appreciated by the listener. The impressive depiction and depth of the struggles of the protagonist and those closest to him gives way to a fascinating and suspenseful twist that arcs the past to the present and keeps the reader invested in every page.

James Anderson Foster was very good with the delivery of the story

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-18

Action A Plenty

McEwen and Kolonair are new author for me and they have combined to create a new set of heroes who are not afraid to "go dark" on unauthorised missions when those in power hesitate. A great bunch of characters, lots of contacts in other "agencies" and some really cool equipment at their call make this group of Special Forces Operators fun to read and root for on missions that could be one way trips. Characters are believable and likable, you want them to be safe but you also know that someone might not be coming back from the mission.
This is a great debut for these two and the next edition in the series is highly anticipated; I can't wait to see where Gil Shannon takes care of business next.
Brian Hutchison was good with the delivery of the story

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-18

Robert Dugoni and Emily Sutton-Smith - Fantastic

Robert Dugoni continues to hit all the right notes with the latest entry in the Tracy Crosswhite series, "A Steep Price". This around, the story delves into issues as varied as race, drugs, poverty, culture, education, pregnancy and workplace.

Tracy and her partner, Kins, are called in to help investigate the disappearance of a young University of Washington student. When her body is found at the bottom of an abandoned well not far from her home, the initial ruling is suicide. But Tracy's not buying it and investigates it as a murder.

Meanwhile, Faz and Del are assigned to the killing of a local mother and activist in a high crime neighborhood. Their investigation puts them at odds with both the community and the cartel that seems to run things. It also puts them into real danger.

The author keeps everything fluid and moving and real, including Tracy's conundrum about when and how to announce her pregnancy. As usual, the writing is crisp and clear and realistic, right down to the park I pass almost every day on the way to work.
Outstanding book I can't wait for more
Emily Sutton-Smith one of my favorite narrators her delivery of the book just bring the story to life.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-18

Fantastic Installment To The Series

I really enjoyed this book. Great story, well written. Beautiful observations of the nature of humanity.
I loved the way the story is interwoven with deep insights on humanity, grief, relationships, power, greed, jealousy and fear. Superb.
Great respect for the narrator , sensitive, intelligent and a skilled actor.
Well done the whole production team. Highly recommended, much more than a crime story.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-18

Over The Top In Places

Lt. Samantha (Sam) Holland is whisked away from the scene of a murder investigation by Secret Service agents. It all happened so abruptly that neither she nor her partner, Freddie, could stop them or get answers to their questions about what was going on. Sam finds herself locked down in a safe house along with the rest of her extended family. She eventually learns of the credible threat against them (especially the children) after she’s joined by her husband, Vice President Nick Cappuano. Needless to say, Sam is very verbal in her displeasure over being locked down and unable to pursue the investigation or her other cases. She insists on going to work in spite of the danger to herself and others.

The police procedurals in these cases are always intriguing. I enjoyed following the evidence along with Sam and other detectives as they worked together to solve this case. I love these characters and have enjoyed reading about their lives. However, there are things occurring that just don’t work for me. Sam is the Second Lady – the Vice President’s wife – and yet she roams around the city easily recognized without protection of any kind…because she stomps her foot and demands it be that way. There’s no consideration for Nick or anyone else – just Sam doing what Sam wants to do.
I loved that she continued to work after becoming Second Lady and think the plot has great potential, but it’s becoming harder to suspend belief and accept the fact that no agent covers her, and it’s never been more evident (or over-the-top) than in this book. Sam’s continued blatant attitude, along with some other issues, was so profound in Fatal Threat that I found myself shaking my head a few too many times. It lessened my enjoyment of this book.

I’m a fan of the series. I’ve loved the journey with Nick, Sam, and Scotty as well as the awesome support cast. I’m intrigued with their lives and future and am really hoping to see a more believable stance going forward. Yes, even Romance/Suspense has to be believable to a point. The saving grace for this book is the Bonus Story at the end concerning Avery and Shelby. I loved it and them!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-21-18

Jude and Uriah are Back

This is the 2nd in the series and I think the ending leaves it open to have another one.

Jude Fontaine was kidnapped, tortured and held captive for over three years. She was a police officer and returned to that duty after she found her way out. Now she is on the case with her partner, Detective Uriah Ashbyd. Uriah is also trying to live the demons following his wife's death.
They are called on the case of a serial killer, who is slitting peoples throats. But now the killer or killers are escalating, they seem to be following a formula, which takes them from 3 to 5 to 8 and killing the number of people.

Lots of action and one of the people that Jude thinks might be involved, her next door neighbour.

Hope this is followed up with a 3rd one!

Emily Sutton-Smith was as always outstanding in the delivery of the story

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