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  • gilwilson 9:49 PM on May 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bill hodges, , detective, ,   

    “Mr. Mercedes” By Stephen King 

    18775663Mr. Mercedes
    By: Stephen King
    Narrated by: Will Patton
    Series: Bill Hodges Trilogy, Book 1
    Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
    Release date: 06-03-14
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

    A few years ago I could proudly say that I had read every single Stephen King book written.  This was about the time he “retired.”  Well, Mr. King did not retire but I slacked off reading his books. (I went off on an Isaac Asimov & Frank Herbert binge about that time).  Last year I was looking for something to read and found out he had written somewhere near a thousand books since retiring.  (Maybe I exaggerate.)  So time to catch up again.

    I start out by jumping into his retired detective Bill Hodges trilogy which this was the first.  It felt like slipping in to those old worn slippers that feel so comfy.  By no means am I saying Stephen King is old an worn, it’s just that he’s so darn comfy.  I find it easy to get into his writing style, the Stephen King tropes, and the characters that are fully developed before you even read their backstories.

    In this book, Bill Hodges, a recently retired detective, has several unsolved cases that just seem to bug him.  While contemplating his lonely life he sits in front of the TV in an easy chair and  idly toys with a loaded gun.  One of Hodges’ major unsolved cases is labeled the Mercedes Killer.  Someone stole a Mercedes and ran it through a crowd killing several.  Now the Mercedes Killer begins taunting Hodges.

    Investigating the case again Hodges gets help from some unlikely assistants.  Jerome, the kid down the street, a student getting ready for Harvard and handyman to Hodges. And the borderline personality disorder cousin of the woman whose Mercedes was stolen.  As is perfect with any Stephen King novel the unlikely trio fight time to stop Mr. Mercedes from killing again.

    Will Patton once again delivers a Stephen King audiobook with perfection.  Patton has become another favorite audiobook narrator of mine.  Between him and Scott Brick, I will listen to anything they narrate.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    In a mega-stakes, high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely and winning heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands.

    In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

    In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

    Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

    Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

    ©2014 Stephen King (P)2014 Simon & Schuster

     
  • gilwilson 3:38 PM on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: asperger's syndrome, , , , , , , detective, , , ,   

    “Colin Fischer” by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz 

    colin-fischer-audiobook

    “Colin Fischer”
    by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz
    Read by Jesse Eisenberg
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Running time: 4 hrs, 16 mins.

    I think that this book had “too big to fail” written all over it, it’s got an Oscar nominated actor reading the audiobook, it is written by two people who were the screenwriters for “Thor” and “X-men: First Class,” a hero with Asperger’s Syndrome and a facial expression guide on the cover of the hard copy version. What could go wrong? Well, absolutely nothing. This book is a big win and once again proves that Young Adult readers always get the best books aimed at their age group.

    Penguin Audio listed this book as one of their upcoming releases and the first thing that grabbed me was the authors listed. Being a comic book fan, this got my attention immediately then seeing that this was a an older version of Encyclopedia Brown with some Sherlock Holmes thrown in made it that much more interesting. Then throw in that the main character, Colin Fisher, has Asperger’s Syndrome, I knew it would be not only very interesting but fulfilling and I immediately requested a copy.

    Recently the BBC did two seasons of a television series version of Sherlock Holmes, “Sherlock”, which explained that the genius behind the deductive reasoning of the famous detective was due to having Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. In this book many aspects of Asperger’s syndrome are observed in Colin that are humorous, those are: he has a vicious dislike for the color blue, he cannot stand to be touched, he needs index cards to recognize facial expressions and does not get humor. These all combine in Colin Fisher to create a very quirky genius detective.

    It’s Colin’s first day in High School and he feels he’s armed for the worst, with his notebook for jotting down observations, his collection of cards with various facial expressions and his intellect. But that all goes to pot (literally) within the first few minutes when his nemesis, Wayne Connelly dunks Colin’s head in the toilet. So much for High School being different.

    Some things have changed however, Colin’s nerdy female friend returns from the summer having had the full effect of puberty hit head on. In other words; she left middle school a nerd, but comes to high school as a hotty. Throughout Colin’s school life she has always been a friend to him. When her friends bring her a cake to school to celebrate her birthday, the school’s peaceful atmosphere is forever shattered when a gun is fired amid a scuffle between boys wanting to get some of the cake.

    The gun is found on the cafeteria floor with a smudge of frosting by Colin, to which he simply replies, “Interesting,” while all of the other student’s run out of the cafeteria in fear for their lives. The school officials immediately put the blame on Wayne Connelly, but Colin knows better and sets out to prove his nemesis’ innocence.

    Putting the powers of Asperger’s Syndrome to work, Colin is able to find the real owner of the gun and create some humorous situations that can only happen to Colin. One of the fun things about this audiobook is that whenever a situation arises that needs further explanation or just that something reminds Colin of a fact he knows, there are footnotes. In the production of this book all footnotes and Colin’s journal entries are produced with a slight reverb-type effect that gives the listener the feel that this occurs within Colin’s brain. Nice production trick that makes this book very interesting. By the way, there are several footnotes that range from in depth explanations of Asperger’s Syndrome, the doctor for whom the syndrome is named after, various logical thinkers in history and fiction and sharks.

    Speaking of the production, Jesse Eisenberg (who starred in “Zombieland” and “The Social Network”) narrates the audiobook and in my opinion has the vocal fortitude and acting talent to bring the character of Colin to life. He is able to deliver parts of the story with the proper emotional level and yet,when portraying Colin, is able to be the non-emotional Asperger’s Syndrome personality that makes Colin tick.

    All in all this is an extremely fun book for all ages, to prove that, I had the audiobook playing during one of my family’s out of town shopping adventures, and everyone in the car; my 12 year-old son, my wife and myself were quite and absorbed by the story. This was yet another audiobook which my son would not let me listen to unless he was present. We all had a blast with this story, and from the way the book ended with a hint of ongoing adventures, look forward to many more Colin Fisher stories.

     
    • Lucy 10:36 PM on January 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I thought this book was really fun too, and I loved Jesse Eisenberg’s narration. That’s great that your whole family could enjoy listening to it with you!

      Like

  • gilwilson 1:20 AM on November 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , detective, , galaxyaudio, , , , ,   

    “Killer’s Law” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Killer’s Law”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy audio
    Approx 2 hours

    It’s funny when you think about it, many people complain about today’s youth in reference to their short attention span. This complaint has been blamed on the MTv generation creating short films and high-speed messages from the 80s. The funny part however can really be traced back to the middle of the century. During this time period there were short cartoons and serials before movies and the movies were at the longest 90 minutes. In the literary world there were the pulps. Pulp fiction magazines that were full of short stories that ran the gamut of available genres.

    Many of these pulp magazines featured great authors telling great stories in the short story or novella format. Some of the stories may be lost forever, but thanks to Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press, the pulp fiction era stories from L. Ron Hubbard are being re-released. The non-audiobook versions have the look and feel of the old pulp magazines. They have made the covers sturdier so that they will last longer but once you crack one of these open the feel of the paper on which the books are printed is the thick and pulpy texture that gave the magazine’s the pulp fiction nickname.

    The audiobooks are a completely different approach to these fun stories. The audiobook productions are full cast performances complete with sound effects and original transitional music that make for a full surround feel of these stories, placing you as the listener right in the middle of the story. They also have the sound of classic radio plays from the same era of the pulp fiction releases.

    The voice actors are all phenomenal in that these stories feature over the top characters and each actor brings the characters to life with great voicework. The sound effects keep the story rolling without overpowering the scene set by the story.

    This release from GalaxyAudio features 4 short stories that come from the Mystery genre and each one features a detective story with the inevitable twists and turns that L. Ron Hubbard did best.

    The first story is the title story “Killer’s Law,” it was originally published in the September, 1947 issue of “New Detective” magazine. When Sheriff Kyle of Deadeye, Nevada comes to Washington D.C. at the request of a senator to bring evidence against a wealthy copper king he finds himself in the middle of a scandal when he’s knocked unconscious and awakens next to the dead body of the senator he was to meet. The sheriff must then solve this mystery to clear his name.

    The next story is “They Killed Him Dead,” which was originally published in the May, 1936 issue of “Detective Fiction Weekly.” Detective “Careful” Cassidy literally walks into what seems to be a murder just as it happens. After all, he hears the gun shot and as he turns the corner sees a man holding a gun and another man dead with a gunshot to the head. Seems pretty much like an open and shut case. Normally Detective Cassidy would look at all aspects of the case but seeing as this seems pretty normal, arrests the man with the gun and sends the body to the morgue. Once in the morgue the coroner takes a look and the case doesn’t seem to be so open and shut, with the dead man having possibly died from a stabbing, or a broken neck, or from choking. “Careful” Cassidy arrests four suspects before unraveling the truth to this mystery.

    The third story is “The Mad Dog Murder” and was originally published in the June, 1936 issue of “Detective Fiction Weekly.” This one is a bit of a cute murder mystery in which the main suspect is at first a rabid Pekingese. A man dies of rabies and yet the dog doesn’t seem to have the disease after a few days in the pound. Yet a doctor with a penchant for animal testing seems to be under suspicion.

    The final story in this collection is “The Blow Torch Murder” and was originally published in the March, 1936 issue of “Detective Fiction Weekly.” In the days before great television CSI problem solvers a detective must uncover the murderer from the usual suspects who are conveniently in jail for various minor crimes at the time of death. A cleverly devised murder, that appears to have been committed with a blow torch, is solved by a homicide detective with only a wristwatch as a clue.

    In today’s age all of these mysteries could be solved in a single episode of a CSI program, however being the mid-20th century the detectives have only their wits to solve what today’s crimes are solved by extreme graphics, closeups and CGI.

     

     
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