Sunday, February 19, 2006

Audio Bookapalooza

Yes, I am a wannabe writer who seldom reads actual books (in fact I owe John Cowart a book review of The Lazarus Project, which I liked quite a bit).

But I listen to decent amount of unabridged audio. Here are the last couple months of listens and my opinions.


Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow, read by Edward Herrmann

Publisher's notes: "Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who'd always refused to talk about his war..."

Fantastic. Great character development, an engaging story, a fantastic narrator, and best of all for a freak like me: a bonus interview with the author at the end of the audiobook. An enthusiastic 5 stars!


Reversible Errors by Scott Turow, read by J.R. Horne

Publisher's notes: "Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph is a Yellow Man, an inmate on death row for a 1991 triple murder in Kindle County. His slow progress toward certain execution is nearing completion when Arthur Raven, a corporate lawyer who is Rommy's reluctant court-appointed representative, receives word that another inmate may have new evidence that will exonerate Gandolph…"

A good legal "thriller" but not nearly as good as Ordinary Heroes. 4 stars


Cadillac Beach by Tim Dorsey, read by George Wilson.

Publisher's notes: "Serge A. Storms is back! The one-man crime spree hits no speed bumps as he swings through Tampa, Disney World, and parts south before settling down in Miami Beach to team up with a former sidekick and launch his long-overdue offbeat travel service…"

This is a great, fast paced book with an anti-hero who you cannot help but like. It's a little like Carl Hiaasen at his best and just as fun. 5 stars!


Cell by Stephen King, read by Campbell Scott

Publisher's notes: "The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay Riddell and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature...and then begins to evolve…"

I loved that fact that I could download and start listening to this book the night before it hit the shelves in Anchorage. I also liked the plot quite a bit. It won't spoil anything to tell you that it doesn’t have the deus ex machina ending which Steve-o sometimes throws at you. It also doesn’t have quite the character development that I love about most Stephen King stories. Heck, he's still the King. 4 stars.


From a Buick 8 by Stephen King, read by James Rebhorn, Bruce Davison, Becky Ann Baker, and more

Publisher's notes: "The state police of Troop D in rural Pennsylvania have kept a secret in Shed B out back of the barracks ever since 1979, when Troopers Ennis Rafferty and Curtis Wilcox answered a call from a gas station just down the road and came back with an abandoned Buick Roadmaster. Curt Wilcox knew old cars, and he knew immediately that this one was...wrong, just wrong. A few hours later, when Rafferty vanished, Wilcox and his fellow troopers knew the car was worse than dangerous…"

This is an example of King's more traditional work. Some folks hated this book but I liked it; it has excellent character development and the police bits are amazingly well researched. The cast is also very good. I'm giving it 5 stars.


Hot Plastic by Peter Craig, read by Stephen Hoye

Publisher's notes: "Kevin's dad, Jerry, is a crook. And he taught his son every trick in the book. Masters of identity theft, Kevin and Jerry move from one seedy motel to another, always trying for the big score. Colette is a runaway who dreams of conning her way into the upper echelons of high society. Just a teenager, she's already a tough and talented grifter, and soon becomes Jerry's girlfriend and accomplice. When Jerry is arrested, Colette makes Kevin her willing shill, dragging him along in her endless pursuit of sophistication…"

A fun crime thriller from the point of view of the criminals. It doesn’t really compare to Turow or King but it's a good ride. 4 stars


Nothing's Sacred by Lewis Black, read by the author

Publisher's notes: "You've seen him on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart offering up his trademark angry observational humor on everything from politics to pop culture. You've seen his energetic stand-up performances on HBO, Comedy Central, and in venues across the globe. Now Lewis Black's volcanic eruptions can be found in Nothing's Sacred, a collection of rants against stupidity and authority, which oftentimes go hand in hand…"

Thank you Lewis Black for writing a book about your life and not just a list of rants. Remember when Dennis Miller was funny? Now Miller is just a grumpy old well-read man. Black tells his story in the way I envision The Smussyolay telling hers. 4 stars.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, read by Alyssa Bresnahan

Publisher's notes: "When we first meet 14-year-old Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. In the first chapter she recounts her brutal rape and murder at the hands of a neighbor. The rest of the novel, spanning nearly 20 years, is narrated by Susie from heaven. Susie describes heaven for us as she watches her family struggle to come to grips with her death. She keeps a watchful eye on her younger brother and sister, her friends, and even her murderer and his fate..."

One of the best books out there. The writing is good and the plot development is outstanding. Definitely one of the best audiobooks I've listened to – ever, and that's saying a lot. 5 stars plus!


otilius said...

You might consider ANANSI BOYS by Neil Gaiman...

Eric said...

Thanks! I really liked American Gods.

Plunky said...

Omg, The Lovely Bones, I am in love with that book. My favorite book of all time. Ok, the Stephen King book, I am reluctant. Is it insanely slow to start like most King books but then get crazy good? I agree you def should read Anansi Boys!

Jas said...

What? No Augusten Burroughs?

I love Lewis Black!