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Arius

Annandale, VA United States
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-25-18

True Crime, Animal Offender

Where does Night of the Grizzlies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's in the middle of the pack, largely because so many of my audiobooks are excellent.

What other book might you compare Night of the Grizzlies to and why?

Part Heart of the Sea/Moby Dick, part True Crime, the book both capitalizes on the fear we have of the unpredictability of powerful animals around humans and on the mystery of how a crime unfolded. It's written by a True Crime author and read by Kavin Pierce who has narrated a lot of True Crime audiobooks.

Which character – as performed by Kevin Pierce – was your favorite?

I'd say and of the National Park Rangers were my favorite.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

When it comes to Kevin Pierce and True Crime, I always want to listen all the way through. This is very similar. And it helps that Jack Olsen is one of my favorite True Crime authors.

Any additional comments?

Applying his approach to storytelling and True Crime to the events of 1967, Jack Olsen does a thorough exploration of the events, people, and atmosphere that were responsible for and led up to the Night of the Grizzlies. Witnesses to strange bear behavior, unwise incentives created by tourists and concession operators, and the Park Service's casual enforcement of good practices are all reviewed and tied together to create some understanding of how things came to a tragic, horrible climax one night in Glacier National Park. It's the kind of complete approach I've appreciated in Olsen's other work, and Pierce lends a voice that is both pleasant and gives a sense of authority to the work. His emotions are always appropriate and never over-done.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-11-18

Well Done

If you could sum up The Exorcist in three words, what would they be?

Creepy, vivid, classic

What other book might you compare The Exorcist to and why?

I don't often read this genre so I really can't compare it,

Which character – as performed by William Peter Blatty and Eliana Shaskan – was your favorite?

The demon

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

Maybe it's because I saw the movie first, and as a child, when I was home alone, this wasn't as frightening as the movie.

Any additional comments?

This book delivers what any fan of the movie would expect. No more, no less. I'm glad I listened to it and I might listen to it again sometime in the future.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-17

An almost sympathetic murderer

What did you love best about Without Mercy?

The story was compassionate, but not overly so, for the main subject of the story. Some might argue it spends too much time humanizing her and not the victims, but I think there's something valuable in getting that humanization - that you can never tell.

What other book might you compare Without Mercy to and why?

It's hard to find something sufficiently close. All the other true crime books don't have someone who seemed mostly duped into murder.

Have you listened to any of Kevin Pierce’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This one is easily as good as the others. It may even be the best one, with the multiple voices being sufficiently distinct.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The nicest person you meet could hire your killer

Any additional comments?

It's easy to feel sympathetic towards Dee Casteel, the woman at the center of the story. She almost was disconnected from it all, believing that since she was part of a conspiracy, she was not as culpable as the originator or the executors of the conspiracy. she didn't even profit from it. But the fact is, she helped arrange the murders, and ended up on death row.

The book does need an update, based on what I found upon googling her.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-17

Determined Mothers and a Determined ADA

What did you love best about Every Mother's Nightmare?

It's hard to "love" anything about a true crime novel about child victims, but it's always satisfying when a determined underdog fights for justice.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Every Mother's Nightmare?

Finding that the judge was able to mitigate the defense's attempts to add insult to injury.

Which scene was your favorite?

How one of the more aggressive mothers spoke to the defendant.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Victims' rights are pretty truncated - more so than one might think.

Any additional comments?

This is one of the better true crime novels, although I'm disappointed at some of the behavior of certain law enforcement authorities.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-17

The Children's Horror Must Have Been Profound

Would you listen to Bogeyman again? Why?

I probably wouldn't listen to it again. While I would love additional updates, other true crimes have a better sense of closure than this one does.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bogeyman?

When profound fear wasn't being felt by the children, but by the perpetrator

What about Kevin Pierce’s performance did you like?

His fatherly yet authoritative voice fits the genre just right. It's sympathetic, but still maintains an air of formality - like what you might imagine a good detective might sound like when speaking with victims.

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

No, though I might if I think too much on how the children died and what it must have been like for them.

Any additional comments?

Without getting into spoilers, there are true crimes books with a more complete sense of justice at the end.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-17

Comprehensive and Interesting

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

I would consider it on the list of books that are worth listening to. It's not great, but it covers the crimes well, though perhaps too well in that it is probably longer than it needs to be.

What did you like best about this story?

I think I like best who caught him. It's the only such case that I can think of.

What aspect of Tom Zingarelli’s performance would you have changed?

It's hard to diagnose because the material itself is such a large variable in the outcome.

If you could give The Night Stalker a new subtitle, what would it be?

It will make you want to work the night shift.

Any additional comments?

This is a very detailed book - so much so, that at times the book's narrative structure suffers a little. I don't regret having listened to it - it made me go look up a few more things about him. But it's simply not up to the standards of some of the other true crime authors.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-17

Story marred by politics

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

This is a delicate subject and it's hard to tell the story objectively, I'm sure. But this kind of thing needs that objectivity to be more than a painful listen for anyone who isn't emotionally engaged in pro-life positions.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I moved on to less politically sensitive true crime books.

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

A strong Irish accent.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It did demonstrate that the industry requires regulation to prevent the kinds of abuses described in the book.

Any additional comments?

At worst, the book is an anti-abortion screed that found its perfect criminal example to parade around in support of its message. At best, there's way too much editorializing. I actually feel it's a bit of a bait and switch because I'd classify this as a political book rather than true crime simply because of the unnecessary and extensive commentary. While doubtless that Gosnell was a criminal and deserves the excoriation he receives, it's nevertheless not what one normally imagines when one picks up a true crime book.

Really, this book is more of a, "Everything repulsive about abortions that we've said over the last 40 years is true! This proves it! They're all the same!" book. If you're pro-life, and looking for true crime, you still might not consider this to be what you wanted when looking for a true crime book. If you're pro-choice, you'll find the editorializing infuriating.

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8 of 13 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-17

Detailed Nuclear Power for the Layman

What made the experience of listening to Atomic Accidents the most enjoyable?

It's an interesting subject, and knowing more about how things go wrong and why gives perspective and understanding.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

People being people, our not unjustified concerns have nonetheless resulted in our being stuck with far more dangerous reactors than we should have because we won't license new ones, and we have 20 times more waste than we need to for political reasons.

What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?

He captured the preposterousness of some of the accidents.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

Any additional comments?

This book is written with what many anti-nuclear activists would consider a bias in favor of nuclear power. It's not a constant companion to the narrative, though. Still, if you're looking for a book that simply bashes nuclear power, this isn't one you'll like. It's also fairly technical. I liked finding out precisely how it works and it made it entirely understandable that people did counter-productive things because nuclear power is, in many ways, counter-intuitive. If you don't like a lot of technical detail, you won't enjoy this book very much.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-19-17

Unusual Presentation Makes You Invested

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

I would recommend this book to any True Crime enthusiast. It's an unusual presentation, partly because the family history is so difficult and there's a tremendous backstory to involve the listener with the victims. You get a deeper sense of loss as the family experiences it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I would say the mother is one of the strongest people I've heard of. She undergoes such trying and difficult times even before the true tragedy strikes.

Have you listened to any of Kevin Pierce’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to many of his performances and this one is on par with his other books.

If you could give Salt of the Earth a new subtitle, what would it be?

Listen to Your Warning Signals

Any additional comments?

The construction of this book, as the forward states, is unusual for a True Crime. In and of itself, the approach is worthy of note, and it is uniquely appropriate for this story. It demonstrates Olsen's skill with writing a story based on how it is best written than simply adopting stories to a style.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-19-17

Be Careful Who You Believe

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

The psychology of the critical character is so bizarre that it makes for interesting reading. I would recommend it to anyone who is into abnormal psychology even if they weren't into True Crime.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The private investigator who takes on the case and insinuates themselves into the plot.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene where the police realize they were all wrong about the private investigator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - the situations were so unreal I just wanted to see what insanity was going to manifest next.

Any additional comments?

It's not my favorite Jack Olsen book, but its weirdness made it more interesting than the description hinted.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful