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  • gilwilson 5:32 PM on April 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: black bears, , murder, redneck revenge, rednecks   

    “Hammurabi Road A Tale of Northern Ontario Vengeance” By Steve Vernon 

    Hammurabi Road39714597
    A Tale of Northern Ontario Vengeance
    By: Steve Vernon
    Narrated by: Robert Thaler
    Length: 2 hrs
    Release date: 10-13-17
    Publisher: Stark Raven Press

    Every so often I’m asked to review a book out of the blue.  Sometimes it’s good but a lot of times the book becomes something utterly horrible.  This book came out of the blue and I had no idea what to expect.  However, it was NOT horrible.  In fact it was actully pretty intriguing.

    When I receive these requests, for better or for worse, I don’t read the reviews, summaries or anything else, I just jump right into them.  I had no idea what I was getting into but I was jumping in.

    The first thing that intrigued me was the delivery of the narrator, Robert Thaler.  He presented the book as if he and you (as the listener) were just passing around a flask and a joint and telling stories.  He portrays the part with accents and pauses that immediately sucks you into the story.

    The story consists of 3 Canadian redneck friends seeking revenge for a hotel fire in which they lost friends and family.  The man, Tyree, who is the subject of their revenge claims he didn’t do it. But someone has to be blamed, so the 3 take Tyree to the middle of nowhere to execute him Canadian redneck style.  Along the way a black bear decides to tangle with the group, which leads to an extremely bizarre bear fight and hallucinations (maybe?).

    Very intriguing, dark story about redneck revenge.  Funny but in a dark way, so right up my alley.  If you are a fan of Stephen King you will like this story.


    Publisher’s Summary
    Hammurabi Road is a dark redneck-noir novella of retribution, backwoods justice, and getting closer to a black bear than was ever dreamed possible. We start off with the eternal triangle – four men ride out in a pick-up truck; three in front and one duct-taped and bound in the back. It is a clear-cut case of Northern Ontario railroad vengeance, served up as cold as a frozen hunting knife. Fans of the movie and television series Fargo are going to love Hammurabi Road.

    ©2007 Steve Vernon (P)2017 Steve Vernon



  • gilwilson 5:41 PM on March 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: backstrom, homicide, murder, murdery mystery, sweden   

    “Bäckström: He Who Kills the Dragon” By: Leif GW Persson 

    Bäckström: He Who Kills the Dragon51HXKF64imL._SL500_
    By: Leif GW Persson
    Narrated by: Erik Davies
    Series: Evert Bäckström, Book 2
    Length: 14 hrs and 4 mins
    Release date: 01-20-15
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Sometime back Rainn Wilson had a role as Detective Bäckström on the series “Bäckström.” It was interesting, not enough to make me upset when it wasn’t renewed, but okay enough for me to come back each week to catch the next episode. Bäckström is this, well, sort of a bigot and alcoholic, and he hates everyone. It did provide some entertaining episodes but sometimes a bit too cliché.

    So now wondering what got this series started I found out about this series of books based in Sweden, Bäckström is even more non-pc than the TV series. Always grumpy and being told to take care of his health, Bäckström is the guy you love to hate. Not quite as loveable as Archie Bunker, but close.

    I have to say that the narrator, Erik Davies, could have stepped it up a bit. There were times when I nearly fell asleep because of his droning. But the story kept me interested enough to not stop listening. Normally when something is bad about a book, I’ll stop and move on to the next, life is to short to waste on bad books. By the way, that is why it is rare to find a bad review from me. If the book is bad, I put it away.

    It seems that homicide Detectives are the same around the world and that was the saving grace, many of the same formulas to catch a killer worked here. Many of the words, people, and locations were confusing or hard to understand but if you want a good homicide story it is there hidden under the bad narrating.

    Publisher’s Summary

    From a master of Scandinavian crime fiction – the first in a brilliant series of novels centered around the investigations of one irascible, obdurate, and very thirsty Swedish police officer: Detective Superintendent Evert Bäckström of the National Murder Squad.

    Detective Bäckström is Persson’s persistently repulsive yet undeniably brilliant comic creation – an unforgettable cop winding his way through the black comedy of a crime scene, and managing to upset nearly everyone in the process. When a newspaper delivery boy finds a 68-year-old alcoholic lying dead in his apartment – beaten with a saucepan lid and hammer, and then strangled – everyone expects an open-and-shut murder case, everyone that is but Hawaiian-shirt clad Detective Bäckström who’s been assigned to lead the investigation team. Under strict orders from his doctor to improve his health as quickly as possible, Bäckström has begun stumbling to work on foot, and even eating vegetables. The police force isn’t what it used to be though, and now that it’s crowded with women and foreigners resisting a drink is harder than ever before. But when the newspaper boy goes missing, Bäckström’s suspicions are proven correct, giving his irrepressible mix of luck and laziness a chance to save the day, while managing to upset nearly everyone in the process.

    ©2015 Leif GW Persson (P)2014 Random House Audio

  • gilwilson 3:46 PM on March 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , crime story, eric conger, , , mad river, , murder, , ,   

    Audiobook Review: “ Mad River” Book 6 in the Virgil Flowers series by John Sandford 


    Audiobook Review: “ Mad River” Book 6 in the Virgil Flowers series
    by John Sandford
    Read by Eric Conger
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 10 hours.

    John Sandford (a.k.a. John Camp) has made a name for himself in the crime series featuring Lucas Davenport of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Since 2007 he has spun off a series featuring Virgil Flowers, who made his appearance an a few of the “…Prey” series of crime novels. This is the sixth book of the Virgil Flowers series and proves once again that Sandford can keep the audience captivated when it comes to hunting down violent criminals.

    The reader, Eric Conger, delivers this dark crime story in a way that not only captures each and every character in the book but also in a way that sucks you into this disturbing joy-ride of murder and mayhem. His voice work for Virgil Flowers, the main character, is spot on and gives the listener the feel that Virgil is telling you this story himself.

    Yes, this is a very dark and disturbing crime novel in which three teenagers who are going nowhere decide to turn that around and go on a murderous crime spree. Their first murder is what at first, appears to be a botched burglary, but the twist in this story turns that around to bring this investigation to a complete circle.

    Virgil Flowers is called in on this murder as a representative of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension once the teens really start moving on. The kids kill to get money, kill to get a car and kill a police officer in botched bank robbery. The methods of killing seem to get darker and more vicious as the teens think they are getting away with it. One of the trio wants out and makes contact with Flowers through his number posted on the news cast. Flowers soon learns that everything in this case is definitely not black and white and that the criminals are not all they seem. Explored in this story are also some truths about the justice system.

    Teamed up with a local sheriff, Sheriff Duke, who once put together a concentration camp for juvenile offenders and was ridiculed because of his extreme tactics, Flowers finds himself in a race to bring these kids to justice before the sheriff can exact his own brand of justice.

    Many of the surprising twists and turns in the plot and story will keep you enthralled until the very end and even then there are some unanswered questions which Sandford has written that can easily be understood as questions that just will never have answers.

    This book does not fall into a mystery category by any means and deals primarily with police procedures, but Sandford does keep you guessing.

  • gilwilson 3:16 PM on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alex grecian murder squad, , , murder, , , scotland yard, toby leonard moore   

    Audiobook Review: “The Black Country” By Alex Grecian 


    Audiobook Review: “The Black Country”

    By Alex Grecian

    Read by  Toby Leonard Moore

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx 10 hours


    Once in a while you just have to dive into a book regardless of whether you know the author or the subject matter.  That Is precisely what I did with this book.  I was not aware of the author and the subject matter is somewhat up my alley, but not in this format.  The story revolves around a missing family and possibly a murder.  The thing that makes this story different from what I would have normally listened to or read is that it is set in nineteenth-century rural England.


    Take a little Dickens, mix well with some Dean Koontz and sprinkle in some John Sandford and you have this tale of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad investigating the disappearance and most likely death of a coal-mining town family.   The town’s constable calls for help from Scotland Yard and receive that assistance in the form of Inspector Walter Day and Sargeant Nevil Hammersmith.  Day and Hammersmith soon find out that the town is full of secrets and superstitions and the townspeople may not want their secrets uncovered.


    Upon arrival in the town Day and Hammersmith learn that the town’s constable has been the only person in town concerned with finding the father, stepmother and son missing.  He has searched some of the mines and the outlying woods on his own but to no avail.  Hammersmith and Day wish to search the woods after they get settled into their rooms at the inn.  They are poisoned or rather drugged to keep them from going back out and from that moment they find the mystery goes deep.


    Due to the mining under the town many houses, in fact nearly the entire town is sinking into the Earth.  The citizens are all falling ill to a mysterious disease and Hammersmith and Day bring in Dr. Bernard Kingsly to at first perform his forensics expertise on a mysterious eyball, but soon the doctor is treating the town’s dying people.  Finally a mysterious man in the woods with the skin stripped away from his jaw is seen by one of the inspectors.  Mystery upon mystery adds up to a book that will keep you enthralled until the exciting and action-packed end.


    The book’s reader, Toby Leonard Moore, does an excellent job at keeping up the mystery by creating an aura of horror and excitement with his delivery.  He is able to bring the characters to life with subtle voice changes.  Most of the accents are nineteenth century British rural folk but throw in an escaped American Prisoner of war from the Southern U.S. and Moore has to manage another accent to throw in, which he does well.


    This book just oozes horror and mystery from beginning to end.



  • gilwilson 8:03 PM on October 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: allen orloff, audiobook. audiobook review, bob dunsworth, first time killer, independent, murder, , radio broadcasting, zak allen   

    Audiobook Review: “First Time Killer” By Allen Orloff writing as Zak Allen 

    I use Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker because I need to make sure all my genius is original.




    Audiobook Review: “First Time Killer”

    By Allen Orloff writing as Zak Allen

    Read by Bob Dunsworth

    Published by Allen Orloff

    Approx. 10 hours.



    This audiobook was a bittersweet experience for me.  From beginning to the very last word, every aspect of this book was bittersweet.  Throughout this review I will point out the bitter and the sweet aspects.  I can’t say which side won out, but I will say that the writing and narration kept me going but some of the details and facts made me want to put the book down.  I just couldn’t put it down though, the author kept me guessing and wanting to know how it all would end, so maybe the sweet won out.


    Before I go too much further I have to give a little bit of a background on myself due to the subject matter of this book and some explanations of the bitter aspects of the book.  I have been working in radio broadcasting for 25+ years.  The subject of this book is of a serial killer that uses a radio station (more specifically, an afternoon programming block) to boast on his kills and to taunt the police.  When I first became aware of the book, I so badly wanted it to be an awesome book.  It would be so awesome to have a book about my profession to be a bestseller.  Combine that expectation and some of the details that are technically incorrect and I just couldn’t recommend the book to any of my radio colleagues.


    So, my background puts up some barriers on the book, but the writing and the narration were strong enough for me to recommend to anyone not in radio.  All in all it is a great mystery novel that will keep you guessing until the very end.  In fact, the twist at the end still has me saying, “Wow, I didn’t see that coming.”


    The book’s reader, Bob Dunsworth, does an excellent job in the delivery of this audiobook.  He is able to not only deliver the book in a style that keeps the mystery flowing but is also able to make his voice twist around and capture the vocal characteristics of the characters.  The one thing I loved was that he was able to capture the veteran radio man’s voice so perfectly that I could place a face, in my mind, to the character.  Actually he reminded me of several radio news guys I’ve worked with.  Definitely high accolades go out to Bob Dunsworth on his work in this book.


    “First Time Killer” in a nutshell, is the story of an afternoon block of shock-jocks trying to recover from the death of a former host and seeking out the all-important ratings in order to transfer their programming block to satellite broadcasting.   This could mean a huge payday for “Ringmaster” Rick Jennings and the rest of the “Afternoon Circus.”  The problem is that the former host “The Rhino” overdosed and was found dead just as the ratings were rising.  The loss of the host could mean falling ratings, the stations Program Director, Sylvia, will do just about anything to keep the ratings rising and make the deal with satellite go through.


    One afternoon Rick gets a call from a “long time listener,” who tells Rick and his audience on live radio where to find a body part of his first victim.  This caller is soon dubbed “First Time Killer.”  Rick sends out an intern to the location revealed and finds a human arm in a trash can.  Thus the mystery begins and “First Time” calls in with further information on other victims.  When the victims are discovered to be employees and former employees of the radio station, Rick fears for his friends and family, and must battle his PD who wants to give “First Time” the airtime to boost ratings, where Rick just wants the madman caught.


    The twists and turns in the story will keep you curious and wanting to know who the killer really is.  Just when you think you’ve figured it out, keep listening because it only gets better.  The biggest part that made for the bitter aspect of the story lived mainly within the premise of the program director getting daily ratings.  Radio ratings are measured quarterly.  With the program director coming in every day telling the jocks that the ratings are jumping due to “First Time” calling in.  I could understand once or twice but the book’s premise seemed to rely on the daily ratings coming in.  This really threw me off the track a few times, but once again I was lured by the sweetness of the mystery of who is doing the killing.


    Another aspect that pretty much irked me was the idea that a radio person would seek to jump from terrestrial unlimited audience broadcast market to a satellite limited audience broadcast market.  I know the “King of all Media” Howard Stern made this move, but that was due to the limitations of decency on public airwaves and not for a larger audience.


    So aside from the author not understanding some aspects of the radio-broadcasting world, the story was good and the mystery better.  The characters were believable to some extent, but I believe this was mainly due to the excellent delivery of this audiobook’s reader.

  • gilwilson 3:46 PM on October 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dirty politics, , , , murder, , , , richard ferrone, silken prey   

    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey” By John Sandford 


    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey”

    By John Sandford

    Ready by Richard Ferrone

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 12.5 hours


    Once again John Sandford intrigued me through a 12.5 hour mystery.  I was eager to hear what happened next all the way to the very last word.  This book is another Lucas Davenport mystery filled with murders, lies, politics and shady characters.


    One thing I have noticed when listening to the Lucas Davenport novels is that every character has such depth and realism written into the character that no matter how extreme the circumstances their reactions make the situation real and surrounds the listener/reader in the story.  This realism makes the listener/reader unable to stop the story until the very end.


    The reader, Richard Ferrone, has a vocal delivery that is able to interpret the words of Sandford and make the story come alive.  While he doesn’t perform major vocal gymnastics to give each character a different voice, the listener has no problem differentiating each character’s voice and actions.  Ferrone’s voice perfectly matches what would be expected to be the voice of Lucas Davenport.  Mark Harmon should take heed.


    The book opens with a Minnesota political fixer answering his doorbell. The next thing he knows, he’s waking up on the floor of a moving car, lying on a plastic sheet, his body wet with blood. When the car stops, a voice says, “Hey, I think he’s breathing,” and another voice says, “Yeah? Give me the bat.” And that’s the last thing he knows.


    The main story then opens with the Minnesota Governor (a Democrat) calling Lucas Davenport and requesting he investigate what is an obvious smear campaign of  Republican Senator, Porter Smalls.  The Governor fears that this smear could completely rock the Minnesota political scene.  Smalls computer was discovered to have kiddie porn by one of his aides, but the means of discovery seems just too easy.


    During the investigation a missing political fixer’s name keeps coming up and the finger seems to not only point at him but also at the Democratic Senatorial candidate Taryn Grant.  Grant, is a super wealthy heiress who seems to let nothing stand in between her and the Senate seat.


    As Davenport uncovers others involved they end up dead and Davenport has to solve this politically tied murder and setup before any more people die.


    A thriller to the very end and with action that will put the listener/reader on the edge of their seat, this John Sandford novel is perfect for any mystery lover.

  • gilwilson 9:11 PM on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , hurricanes, , Michal Friedman, murder, , north carolina, , , Sheila Turnage, southern hospitality, Three Times Lucky,   

    “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage 

    “Three Times Lucky”
    by Sheila Turnage
    read by Michal Friedman
    Published by Penguin Audio
    7 hours 57 minute

    Every once in a while I get a book that I have no idea what I’m getting into but I feel I must read or listen to it. On rare occasions I strike out and end up not listening to the rest of the book or reading it. This time, however, I hit a home run, actually a full clear-the-bases-grand-slam home run. I had originally planned on listening to this audiobook while on my vacation, which was pretty much one week of full driving, but the family had other plans, so my audio book time was limited. I should have vetoed them on this one because I know my 12 year-old son and my wife would have loved this, I know I did.

    This book was filled with humor, sadness, adventure, mystery and even some great lump in the throat while laughing at the same time moments. The main character of Mo’ was a great outlet for some superb metaphors that kept this story a constant adventure in the English language. The reader, Michal Friedman, performed this book more than read it. Her voice as 11 year-olds Mo’ and Dale was spot on. The various other characters were represented to their full extent as well from the excellent performance of Michal Friedman’s voice. The combination of the wonderfully written story and the enthralling vocal performance will keep you glued to this audiobook until the surprising end.

    This story would be appreciated by anyone who has loved the experience of stories like “Because of Winn-Dixie,” “Second Hand Lions,” or even “Holes.” The life through the eyes of an 11 year-old, who never knew her real family, but runs the risk of losing the ones she calls family is full of happy, sad and anxiety-ridden moments is full of ups and downs and Sheila Turnage has created one of the best stories telling this one right. With characters you’ll want to visit over and over again, “Three Times Lucky” should be on the reading list of anyone from 12 to 120. While the story is fitting for a young adult reader in middle school, the story is written so that even as an adult reading it everyone will come out having read a great story and seem like it is a young adult novel.

    Mo’ LoBeau came to the town of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina on the waves of a hurricane 11 years ago. Actually the town of Tupelo Landing received 3 new citizens on that fateful day. The Colonel, who was found holding Mo’ in his arms after having a car crash in the hurricane and floating in the creek saw a baby secured to a floating billboard, Mo’ whose “upstream mother,” in order to save her baby, secured her to the floating debris, and Miss Lana. Miss Lana and The Colonel have since opened the only cafe in the town of Tupelo Landing and with the help of Mo’, who the Colonel calls, soldier, run a nice service that seems to be the center of the town. Everyone stops in and when an out-of-town Detective stops in to investigate a murder that occurred in Winston-Salem, the whole town is there to know about it.

    Before the Detective, Joe Starr, leaves town one of Tupelo Landing’s own is found murdered and the mayor asks Starr to investigate. In a series of twists and turns and sometimes humorous events, the town is put on edge and appears to be the target of a bank robber out for revenge after not getting his loot from a heist he and others did 11 years in the past.

    All this time Mo’ and her friend Dale are investigating the murder while Mo’ is trying to track down her “upstream mother,” thus forming the Desperado Detective agency. Mo’ and Joe Starr are out to find a murderer that may be after more of the towns folk and may even be one of their own.

    To put it simply, great fun and mystery in a book that everyone should read and read now, or as in my case listen in audiobook form. In fact, I would recommend highly to grab the audiobook and get started because of the superb performance.


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

    “Plugged” by Eoin Colfer 

    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 1:42 PM on December 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , forensics, kate burton, kay scarpetta, murder, , patricia cornwell, red mist, ,   

    “Red Mist” by Patricia Cornwell 

    “Red Mist”
    by Patricia Cornwell
    Read by Kate Burton
    Produced by Penguin Audio

    Dr. Kay Scarpetta has been a staple in Patricia Cornwell’s novels since 1990 and this latest novel brings Kay to Georgia.  Dr. Scarpetta is a Forensic Examiner/Expert and in this 19th novel featuring her as the protagonist, she has agreed to meet with an inmate at the Georgia Prison for women.  The inmate is a convicted sex offender and mother of a vicious killer.  The woman is convicted of molesting then 12 year old Jack Fielding Scarpetta’s former deputy chief.  The daughter is the result of that relationship and is also the murderer of Jack Fielding.  Scarpetta’s quest is personal, but soon she finds herself roped into an investigation that could clear a woman, now on death row at the same prison, of murder.

    The author, Patricia Cornwell is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, a founding member of the National Forensic Academy, a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Science Training Program at the office of Chief Medical Examiner, New York City, and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council where she is an advocate for psychiatric research.   With these credentials you know you are getting an author that knows what she is writing about.  The science and techniques used in this book not only have that real feel, but Patricia Cornwell has not forgotten the general public and writes so that any person will understand even what could be the most technical jargon.  She keeps the science real but easily understood.  Not only that but Cornwell’s writing involves some unique techniques that capture the surroundings so all clues can be observed in this mystery.

    And example of this is when the people investigating the facts of a case over a dinner all are talking about the case throughout, but at times the listener/reader only hears thoughts in Kay Scarpetta’s head, while at the same time, we hear parts of the conversation and at other times we hear off-hand comments from her friend and detective Marino.  Marino comments on how he hates artificial sweeteners, which have nothing to do with the case but puts you in a very realistic scene. Very well done to make the story real.

    The reader of this audiobook, Kate Burton, does a superb job of vocalizing all the different voices and attitudes of each character, from Boston accents, Southern, New York and even an Australian, all performed clearly and effectively.

    “Red Mist” will engross you in a full investigation that may clear the woman on death row, but the possibilities of what may have actually happened may solve a spree of murders across the country, alert Homeland Security to possible terrorist activities and solve some burning questions from tragedies in Kay Scarpetta’s past.  I don’t usually start a series late but this time around I was curious and jumped right in.  Patricia Cornwell did an excellent job explaining the past histories of all the personnel involved and this novel serves well as a stand-alone piece in the Kay Scarpetta series.

  • gilwilson 10:39 PM on December 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , columbia university, , , diabetes, george guidall, investments, medical thriller, , murder, , , 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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