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L. M. Roberts

Southern California
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-25-15

Oddly Nostalgic; HIghly Recommended

I first speed-read this book in 1978 hardcover edition as a sort-of Christian teenager, then more leisurely a couple of years later in PB, then again as an aspiring author in the mid-90's, in part to study the craft. Every time I've read it, the book makes me feel like I'm IN it, but still... when it popped up on my Audio recommended list I almost didn't look, figuring I've moved on.

Stephen King was 31 when this was published, which means he wrote it around age 30 - extraordinarily early to compose such an ambitious novel. Reading it now as a middle-aged Atheist, I'm catching a few errors I missed before and I find myself slightly annoyed by the obvious Christian slant of the novel. But once again, I feel I'm there, in the book... walking to Boulder, shuddering at Harold's constant grinning, wishing I could be on the Committee.

At the same time, the story was written almost 40 years ago, at a time when the Government was responsible for all fictional apocalypses, when tokenism was the norm... when Gay Rights were theoretical, and Womens' Lib was still "a thing."

This time, I still find it hard to turn off, but I don't feel compelled to stay up late "reading" because I know what happens. It's a great value for a single Point, and exceptionally well read by Grover Gardner - to my mind the best narrators are like great actors - if they're really good, you shouldn't notice them at all.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-08-15

Astonishing On Every Level

First I'm SO glad I listened to this one instead of reading it! The narrator was perfect, and added amazing suspense to an already surprisingly suspenseful tale. It starts out so unassuming, and the primary/ first-person character is not someone you think you'd want to spend much time with. Yet you cannot stop listening... the most mundane asides are still captivating. I'm afraid to say much more for fear of dropping a spoiler, but... if you like mysteries, thrillers, or literary dramas featuring dystopian antiheroes... you will love this book!

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-14-15

Wonderful Audio Play

I really enjoyed this. My only complaint is that it didn't last longer! What a great departure from the ordinary audiobook = this is a "live" (before an audience) play reenacting the classic story. I have never seen the original movie or play, so although I knew the basic story the dialogue and characters were new to me. But I will listen to this one again, it's a lot of fun.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-15

A Safe Choice

This was a pleasant story, well told by a cast that presented the various characters nicely. It's not life-changing or even terribly memorable, but it kept me listening. This is an example of a book that is better on audio, and where having multiple readers was an excellent choice.

Two young girls who have been kicked around terribly by life, are faced with a choice: escape with the father they barely know, or face an uncertain future with grandparents they've never met? Unsurprisingly, they take off with Dad, and encounter unexpected adventure.

I could have done with more danger, and some actual resolution at the end. The characters are well developed (and this is emphasized by using multiple readers), the situation wonderfully conceived, but the plot is weak. It's as if Cash got too attached to the girls and didn't want to get them into too much trouble.

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3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-15

Reader/ Writer Mismatch

First, this isn't my usual sort of book, but it was an interesting departure. Basically a fairly superficial overview of a number of less-publicized conspiracy theories from last-century US history. Obviously presented from the point of view of a true believer.

But the narrator's voice fairly drips with disdain for the material, and not in a funny or appealing way at all. I can practically hear him rolling his eyes as he narrates.

In most cases when I don't care for the narrator, I can at least respect that they are doing their best. But in this case it's as if the reader is deliberately trying to undermine the text. I'm already a skeptic regarding the material itself, but I'd like to hear it presented honestly as the author apparently intends.

Throw in the occasional gross mispronunciations (eh-mehr-AH-tus for emeritus? Really???) and it's hard to enjoy this.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-01-15

Odd Choice Of Narrators

If you enjoy "True Medicine" books, this is a good one but at a number of points I wished I had read it instead of listening. It is a well-written combination of autobiography and state-of-the-art musing by a Hong Kong extracted Brit who grew up partly in (The Maldives?). But the narrator sounds like he's from South Africa, and his tendency to emphasize random words in a sentence, and his tedious cadence that has nothing to do with the author's work, is very distracting.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-30-15

Nothing here makes sense

First: I'm a fan. I typically await new books from Robotham eagerly, and have been listening since the days of audio CD's.

It's really hard to believe that this canned, corny story emerged from the same brain that gave us nuanced characters like Joe O'Laughlin and Vincent Ruiz, and riveting, believable stories like LOST and SUSPECT. In past books the author's research has felt comprehensive, his medical details plausible, and the lives of the characters rich.

Not here, sadly. While the premise is actually quite good, for some reason the author switched from familiar territory (London et al) to Texas... without apparently bothering to visit the state. There is NO local flavor. It feels like his research comprised of watching American "B" movies and looking at maps. It sort of feels like a historical novel written 200 years in the future, where the author could easily be forgiven for getting some of his period detail mixed up. The prison scenes in particular seem to be a mix of COOL HAND LUKE and bad westerns.

Most of the key back story is completely and obviously nonsense. Prisoners carry cash???? Cash slated to be destroyed doesn't have its serial numbers recorded??? A man with head trauma that put him into a coma and who could not speak 10 months later, is soon thereafter boxing and weaving and glibly conversing while ducking shivs and various attempts to kill him? (Many more examples that would constitute spoilers.) And every character is either saint or stone cold psychopath. None feels like a real person. The glaring impossibilities in the plot were very distracting for me.

Also, the reader was good with the narrative but most of the character voices were whiny and cliched. The accents were just plain bad.

That said, I did listen to the whole book. I'm not returning it. I will buy the next book, especially if it's set in England. I know MR can do better!

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-21-15

Fascinating Medical History

This is a somewhat disjointed story of an early 19th century surgeon whose innovations were instrumental in the advancement of the medical profession. Thomas Mutter (MOO-ter) is someone most of us never heard of, yet he pioneered procedures that are still used today.

That said, the audiobook made me really appreciate the art of narration. If the author's prose is a bit florid, the narrator's tendency toward melodrama pulls the whole thing together in a way that fits the period when the story is set.

The "Marvels" refers to a collection of specimens Dr Mutter accumulated over his career, I suspect the title was imposed on the book by the publisher after it was written, because the collection is a very small part of the book as a whole story.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-14

Fascinating, but not Riveting

The stories are well told, the theme carries through, and even though much of it is very dry material, it's easy enough to follow. Extremely distracting is the narrator's mispromunciation of numerous scientific words. He's actually a good reader, sounding confident and articulate... then he comes to a work he doesn't know and instead of learning how to say it, just plunges ahead repeatedly saying things like "zoe-ON-a-sis" for zoonosis, and "uh-SAY" for assay - to name a couple of the more annoying examples. This isn't a case of British vs American pronunciation, either, just an actor who should have been coached better.

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12 of 13 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-08-14

Formulaic YA Novel

I actually feel a little tricked into buying this one, based on the earlier rave reviews. This is basically a YA novel, though a fairly gruesome example of the genre. I didn't finish it, but I know how it ends - if you get my drift.

That said, it was very well performed and doesn't take a lot of effort to listen to so if you want a bit of brain candy and don't mind a made-for-TV-movie plot it's a reasonable choice.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful