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  • gilwilson 11:05 PM on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , dirty cops, eoin colfer, , irish, john keating, mistaken identity, mob, mob boss, , , steroids   

    “Plugged” by Eoin Colfer 

    “Plugged”
    by Eoin Colfer
    Read by John Keating
    Published by AudioGo
    8 hours 27 min.

    You never really know what will attract you to a book. The saying goes, “Never judge a book by it’s cover,” and for the most part that is true. But, no, it wasn’t the cover that attracted me to this book, in fact, I had not seen the cover until I received the book in the mail. Sometime ago I heard mention of this author, Eoin Colfer. I had heard that his “Artemis Fowl” series was a great sci-fi/fantasy series for young adults, and I was going to start reading this series. I love Young Adult fiction, and as I was looking for information on the series I saw a blogger had posted a contest for this book, “Plugged.” The tag-line on the book says, “If you loved Artemis Fowl…It’s time to grow up.” Now that intrigued me, so I entered the contest (I never win, but entered anyway).

    Also looking for more information on this author, I found he was commissioned to write the sixth novel in the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “And Another Thing…” Well that pretty much sealed the deal. Douglas Adams and his “Hitchhiker’s Guide..” series is my all time favorite fiction. Now I had to read this Eoin Colfer’s stuff, I was going to get “And Another Thing…” but to my surprise and amazement I won the blogger’s contest and got a free copy of “Plugged.” Well it took a while for said blogger to finally mail out my prize, but eventually she came through, yeah I could have gone to the library or bookstore and had it read by the time she mailed it, but hey, I won it…I would wait. Once I received the book I put it up on the shelf of audiobooks where I put all the new books publishers send me and I forgot about it.

    I was cleaning shelves and moving things around recently and found this book and was shocked that it was still unopened. So I put it on my list to be listened to next, and once I started listening I was kicking myself for not putting this super fun book on my list sooner. The book is a fun romp in the crime world of a small town in New Jersey that all happens because of events that seem to be tied together are not but create a domino effect of problems for Dan McEvoy.

    Dan McEvoy is a form Irish soldier who served in “The Lebanon,” and is now a bouncer at a small time casino in Cloisters, New Jersey. The trouble all starts when an attorney licks the backside of one of the hostesses of the casino and Dan shakes the man down and bars him from the casino. Dan then heads to his friend and the doctor that has done the hair plug transplant for him, Zeb’s place of business. When Dan enters the door of the office in a strip mall, he notices that it is extremely quiet but dust is settling (soldier training coming through for Dan). As he steps in he sees Zeb is missing but a well-known knife man who is a hired thug for the local mob boss is sitting in a chair in the room. When the thug makes a move for Dan, the thug finds himself dead and Dan finds himself sliding down a path that leads to the death of a bad cop, a “romantic” night with a good cop, the murder of a casino hostess, being misidentified as the husband of a schizophrenic Cyndi Lauper fan, taking part in a poker game where the stakes are his life or the ownership of the casino, numerous deaths and itching hair plugs, all while being haunted by the ghost of Zeb which is probably just in his head.

    Dan McEvoy battles Rottweilers and mob bosses and yet each time it is not for the reason or result he’s expecting. Talk about mistaken identities, Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” didn’t have this many twists and turns. To top it all off Colfer throws in the humor in nearly every scene, making this fun and puzzling.

    The book is read by Irish actor John Keating. Keating does a superb job of reading and performing this book. His voice alone is enough to keep you listening but the emotion he puts in really makes this audiobook a definite must listen.

     
  • gilwilson 10:39 PM on December 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , columbia university, , , diabetes, george guidall, investments, medical thriller, mob, , , , robin cook, stem cell research,   

    “Death Benefit” by Robin Cook 

    “Death Benefit”
    by Robin Cook
    Read by George Guidall
    Produced by Penguin Audio
    Approx 11.5 hours.

    Back in the ’70s Robin Cook had a huge best seller with his book, “Coma.”  I remember everyone just had to read this book (I was still into just monster books at the time).  Then the movie came out and again folks were excited.  Dr. Cook then went on to write many best sellers but “Coma” was the first one that came to mind.  I got the opportunity to listen to this book, “Death Benefit,” his latest creation, and had to ask myself, “Why haven’t I read anything by this guy before?”

    So here I plunge into a medical thriller, written by the man who pretty much perfected the genre, and I’ll tell you first hand, Dr. Robin Cook can keep you in suspense, while spinning a tale that involves science that could be happening now, and a story that could almost come out of today’s headlines.  I think I may have been intimidated before, knowing that he is an actual physician, I had assumed his writing would get real technical.  Well, I was right it does get pretty technical, but Dr. Cook has a way of telling the story and the science behind the story that becomes educational as well as entertaining.  The science behind this book involves  stem cells and the growing of human organs, and, well, let’s just say, I followed along pretty well.  I don’t consider myself a biology know-it-all, but I’m also not uneducated.  When it comes to biology I sit right about in the middle of that knowledge scale.  But, and here’s the good part, listening to the story told by Dr. Cook the science came easy and he wrote in such a way that anyone could grasp the ideas.

    Before I go into the story, I would like to talk about the reader, George Guidall.  Mr. Guidall did a nice enough job reading the book and even did some nice vocal changes to match the characteristics of each character.  However, I think if I were the one casting a reader for this book I would have gone with someone with a 20 something female voice.  He did a nice enough job to keep the book interesting, but i just think it might have been better with a younger and female voice since the book centered around Pia Grazdani a fourth year medical student.  And many of the characters were younger.  Guidall matched perfectly with some of the older professors and the mobsters, but some voices just would have worked better otherwise.

    The story comes at you from two fronts to start out with.  First with the story of two financial investors that have come up with the latest scam since the bubble burst on sub-prime mortgages.  That scam being the buying up of life insurance policies of folks who may have a short time to live.  The person gets 15 percent of the policy value and the investors collect on the policy when the person dies.  These two investors go out an purchase policies of those with fatal illnesses, especially those with diabetes.  Knowing they won’t live long the investors make money off the dying.

    The second aspect of the story is that of Pia Grazdani, who through a troubled past has worked her way through college and is now on her 4th year of Med School at Columbia University.  Pia is taken under the wing of Dr. Tobias Rothman who sees Pia as he was and convinces her, that she is cut out exactly for research.  He gives her the chance to work with him and Dr. Yamamota on something that will revolutionize the medical industry, using stem sells to grow human organs that because the come from the tissue of the person needing the organ will not be rejected.  Thus creating a pancreas, for example, from a diabetic’s own cells and transplanting it and extending the life of the patient.

    When the investors get word of this research, they realize that 75% of their policies are on diabetics and that this could financially ruin them.  Soon Dr.s Rothman and Yamamota contract a rare strain of salmonella and die.  While it is written off as carelessness, since they were both working on research involving the salmonella strain.  Pia, however does not buy into this and she begins investigating on her own.  Her investigation leads to death threats on her self and a path that leads to a part of her past she has tried to put behind her.

    This non-stop thrillride will take you from the campus of a prestige medical school, to the offices of shady investment bankers to a new crime syndicate without taking a breath until the very end.

     
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