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  • gilwilson 6:02 PM on July 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mystery, ,   

    “A Study in Charlotte: Charlotte Holmes, Book 1” By Brittany Cavallaro 

    35518931A Study in Charlotte
    By: Brittany Cavallaro
    Narrated by: Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
    Series: Charlotte Holmes, Book 1
    Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins
    Release date: 03-01-16
    Publisher: HarperAudio

    Before I start this I have to say that everyone, no matter what age needs to read the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Those cases are fun reads, will trigger not only your imagination but also the analytical side of your brain as you try to solve the cases with Holmes and Watson.  Now, with that being said, I also encourage any further stories that advance the Sherlock Holmes mythos, yeah there are some bad ones but there are plenty of really good ones.  This is definitely one of the good ones.  Not only focusing on the Young Adult reader audience, this story also triggers interest in the past stories.  I’ve even gone to read some of those stories again (especially the ones mentioned in this book) because I just had to visit the origins of Holmes & Watson.

    This story introduces the reader/listener to the latest crime-solving duo who are descendants of the originals.  Having to live in their elders shadow doesn’t seem to be an issue, as they immediately jump in to the crime solving mode and work together as the originals.

    I have to admit that at first I thought of turning Sherlock into a teenage girl as a gimmick that is done only for the gimmick’s sake.  As it turns out I was pleasantly surprised at how not only did it not matter but in this story made the idea a little better than a mere gimmick.  Yeah, the story did at first seem like the beginnings of one of those horrid teen romance novels (no shiny vampires here), instead the friendship and trust between a teen girl Holmes and a teen boy Watson was developed realistically.

    In this story Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are attending a Connecticut boarding school together when a fellow student dies under mysterious circumstances, and once again the game is afoot.  Charlotte’s analytical mind and Jamie’s support bring about a fun crime solving romp through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s world.  Charlotte even has inherited some of Sherlock’s vices and Jamie has to be there for support.

    I may have to continue this series soon, but before I make that promise I have other Holmes retellings to get through.

     

    Publisher’s Summary
    The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant new crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever detective yarn will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.

    Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers were one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices – and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.

    But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting, and nowhere is safe – and the only people they can trust are each other.

    This production includes a bonus excerpt from The Last of August, the second audiobook in Brittany Cavallaro’s Charlotte Holmes Series.

    ©2016 Brittany Cavallaro (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • gilwilson 2:42 PM on June 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dan brown, davinci code, mystery, robert langdon   

    “Origin” By Dan Brown 

    36348699Origin
    By Dan Brown
    Narrated by Paul Michael
    Series: Robert Langdon, Book 5
    Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
    Release date: 10-03-17
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    Once again Robert Langdon is out seeking clues in art and trying to solve one of life’s mysteries.  This time around the clues are not from some ancient master, but rather from one of his former students.

    Edmond Kirsch a billionaire futurist, pretty much Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Richard Branson rolled into one, has found the great answers to the 2 questions that have stymied the philosophers and clerics through the centuries; “Where do we come from?” and “Where are we going?”  Kirsch has made this discovery and knows it will blow apart religion as we know it.  To give the world’s religious leaders a heads up he presents his findings to a 3 of the most powerful of religious leaders.  That may have sealed his doom.  Without religion the major religions lose their control over humanity.  Kirsch presents his findings to the public but before he can reveal the final results he is assassinated by a religious zealot.

    Robert Langdon is in the audience for the live event and finds himself following Kirsch’s clues to release the presentation to the world which will reveal why religion is dead.  To do so Langdon follows clues left behind by his former student.  The action takes place through many famous landmarks in Spain.  The reality of Dan Brown’s writing lies in his use and detailed descriptions of these landmarks and their use in pushing the story line forward.

    While this book is not as thrilling as some of Brown’s previous Robert Langdon’s books, it does have a lot of fun in the solving of the clues.  The letdown in the story for me was the answers, as revealed by Kirsch, to those 2 big questions.  It was like a catch and release fishing trip; the thrill is in the hunt but the find was a let down in that you couldn’t enjoy the final product.

    Paul Michael does an excellent job of narrating and presenting the action as well as the thought processes of Robert Langdon.  I nearly Tom Hanks as Langdon (in the movies), and fully accepted Paul Michael as the puzzle solving professor.

    All in all a fun book, but the end was a bit of a let down.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Where do we come from?

    Where are we going?

    The stunningly inventive new novel from the world’s most popular thriller writer.

    Bilbao, Spain

    Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement – the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a 40-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough…one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

    As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

    Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself…and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face to face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery…and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

    Origin is Dan Brown’s most brilliant and entertaining novel to date.

    Dan Brown is the author of numerous number one international best sellers, including The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, The Lost Symbol, Angels & Demons, Deception Point, and Digital Fortress.

    ©2017 Dan Brown (P)2017 Random House Audio

     
  • gilwilson 9:14 AM on June 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mystery, scooby doo,   

    “Meddling Kids” By Edgar Cantero 

    32905343Meddling Kids
    A Novel
    By: Edgar Cantero
    Narrated by: Kyla Garcia
    Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
    Release date: 07-11-17
    Publisher: Random House Audio

    What a fun book. If you love Scooby Doo, H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King’s “It,” then you are gonna have fun with this book.

    4 Teenagers and a dog investigate a haunted mansion mystery and uncover a man’s plot to steal a legendary stash of gold. His plan is to wear a suit and rubber mask to scare folks off an island, but he doesn’t get away with it, thanks to the meddling kids. Case solved…or is it?

    13 years later the kids having gone their separate ways and now adults are being haunted by something from their past. So haunted that one committed suicide, another is committed into Arkham insane asylum. To find what is wrong they have to revisit their past and find the real culprit.

    The constant Scooby Doo references throw in a lot of fun into this haunting mystery.  Zoinx river and more provide enought comic relief to keep you from being too frightened.

    Kyla Garcia delivers the narration of this book so perfectly that as the listener you are riding in that van with the kids.

    Publisher’s Summary
    With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.

    Summer 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery and unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster – another low-life fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.

    In 1990, the former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house. There are too many strange, half-remembered encounters and events that cannot be dismissed or explained away by a guy in a mask. And Andy, the once intrepid tomboy now wanted in two states, is tired of running from her demons. She needs answers. To find them she will need Kerri, the onetime kid genius and budding biologist, now drinking her ghosts away in New York with Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the club. They will also have to get Nate, the horror nerd currently residing in an asylum in Arkham, Massachusetts. Luckily Nate has not lost contact with Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star who was once their team leader…which is remarkable, considering Peter has been dead for years.

    The time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake. It’s their only chance to end the nightmares and, perhaps, save the world.

    A nostalgic and subversive trip rife with sly nods to H. P. Lovecraft and pop culture, Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids is a strikingly original and dazzling reminder of the fun and adventure we can discover at the heart of our favorite stories, no matter how old we get.

    ©2017 Edgar Cantero (P)2017 Random House Audio

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

    Audiobook Review: “The Black Country” By Alex Grecian 

    blackcountry

    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, , mystery, 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.

     

     

    First-time-killer

    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, , , , , mystery, , , richard ferrone, silken prey   

    Audiobook Review: “Silken Prey” By John Sandford 

    silken

    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 1:20 AM on November 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , galaxyaudio, , , mystery, ,   

    “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.

     

     
  • gilwilson 9:11 PM on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , hurricanes, , Michal Friedman, , mystery, 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 10:14 PM on June 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 60s pop culture, April Singley, , , , , , Brent Askari, Carrington Macduffie, Christopher Price, , , Dennis St. Pierre, , Elizabeth Knowelden, Gary Guzzo, Harlan Baker, honey west, Kristina Balbo, Lance Roger Axt, Michael Howard, mystery, Phil Wells, Tom Pakuski,   

    “Honey West: Murder on Mars” Adapted for audio by Elaine Lee from the Moonstone Comics mini-series by Elaine Lee and Ronn Sutton 

    “Honey West: Murder on Mars”
    Adapted for audio by Elaine Lee from the Moonstone Comics mini-series by Elaine Lee and Ronn Sutton
    Featuring the vocal talents of: Carrington Macduffie, William Dufris, Tom Pakuski, Gary Guzzo, Kristina Balbo, Dennis St. Pierre, Brent Askari, Harlan Baker, Lance Roger Axt, April Singley, Michael Howard, Elizabeth Knowelden, Phil Wells and Christopher Price
    Published by The AudioComics Company
    Total Length: 1:18:56

    Everyday I’m amazed at how synchronicity is at work choosing the audiobooks I’ll be listening to. This time around it was another odd series of events that led me to hearing this really fun audiobook. I was checking out the extra channels my cable provider had added that I never bother with, I rarely watch television and when I do it’s very limited, basically if it’s not sci-fi or horror I’m not interested, I’ll stick to my books. This time though, I found a station called MeTV, they broadcast old programs from the 60s and 70s and I was watching “The Twilight Zone” and the next show up was “Honey West.” I was curious and it turned out to be a fun mystery program featuring one of the first female private detectives in books and television. I was mildly entertained for the half hour.

    Jump ahead a couple of weeks and I’m visiting my local comic books store and see that Moonstone comics are publishing Honey West comics. I’m a huge fan of comics and after being entertained by the TV show I had to check out a couple of issues. These all add up to some really nice comics. Not long after reading the comics, I get the chance to hear and review this audiobook which is based on a storyline in the comics, and with the title “Murder on Mars,” I’m totally intrigued and jumped into it. Besides, synchronicity is pointing me this way.

    The AudioComics Company have released this full-cast audio drama based on the comics and based on this short story, I hope they do more. The case was excellent, giving the story that complete Honey West of the 60s feel. The characters are all perfectly performed and it almost sounds as if you are listening to an old radio show. Great acting, realistic sound effects and the music! The music segues really added an extra oomph! to this performance. They were old jazzy lounge music bits that fit in with the portrayed time and setting of this performance. All of this together makes for a very entertaining production that you should really get for your collection now.

    The story is perfect for the time period as well, as it takes place on the set of a science-fiction “B” movie set where everyone is a suspect, and the only way Honey can solve this crime is by putting herself undercover and in the middle of the performance.

    Honey West is called in by a mysterious source to solve the murder of a famous actress on the set of a sci-fi film called “Amazons on Mars.” The actress died of what appears to be an allergic reaction to insect bites, but the mystery person hiring Honey thinks otherwise and once she arrives on set, so does Honey. An aging teen idol, an understudy who wants to be the star a jealous agent and a down on his luck director all fit perfectly into the suspects list, it’s up to Honey to found out the true killer.

    In what would be the perfect “B” movie itself, with robots, aliens and murder on a Hollywood set, “Honey West; Murder on Mars” is a fun audio drama.

     

     
  • gilwilson 9:24 PM on January 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , mouthpiece, mystery, , ,   

    “Mouthpiece” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Mouthpiece”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multicast performance
    Produced by Galaxy Audio (2012)
    Approx 2 hours

    Being a comic book fan I’ve always been drawn (pardon the pun) to the pulp magazines from the early to mid 20th century.  Actually, the pulp magazines were printed between 1896 and into the 1950s.  Pulp magazines with their thrilling over the top stories and characters and sensational cover art could easily be said to be the founding fathers of comic books.  With authors such as Isaac Asimov, H.P. Lovecraft and L. Ron Hubbard the stories were often more valuable than the mere 10 cent cover price of the pulps.  Many well known authors wrote for the pulps and provided a plethora of short stories that have been nearly forgotten.  The pulps are making a comeback, thanks in small part to the old Quentin Tarantino movie, but the biggest reason for the comeback is the efforts of Galaxy Press and Galaxy Audio.

    Since 2008 Galaxy Press/Galaxy Audio have been publishing the stories L. Ron Hubbard wrote for the pulps.  This not only preserves the stories for the future, after all the original pulps were printed on cheap paper (thus the name) and not meant to last, but this re-releasing exposes the readers of today to some fun stories in nearly every genre; mystery, sci-fi, adventure, westerns and more.  The added bonus is that Galaxy Audio is releasing each of these books, which contain one to four stories each in a pulp magazine feeling edition, into audiobooks.

    The audiobooks from Galaxy Audio capture the feel of the original pulp magazines of the pulp era by dramatizing each book in the manner of radio shows from the same era. They use great vocal talent that are able to bring these over the top characters to life, sound effects that keep the story going and incidental music that fits perfectly with each genre and story.  Each time I listen to one of these audiobooks, I’m always amazed at the escapism provided.  By the end of each book I’m left wanting more yet still feeling satisfied by the great stories provided.  Then I have to wait another book for the next issue to be released.  (Actually you could buy the “ePulp” through their website, which is an iPod classic preloaded with all 80 audiobooks with lots of extras including photos, glossaries, videos and more, and not have to wait.)

    This time around I gave the February, 2012 release of “Mouthpiece” a listen.  This audio pulp release from Galaxy audio features for stories from the Mystery genre of L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp writings. These stories were perfect Hubbard stories in that they not only were fun to hear but they included the inevitable Hubbard story twists and turns that keep you guessing until the very end.

    The first story in this collection is, “Mouthpiece” originally published in the September, 1934 issue of “Thrilling Detective, and tells the story of Mat Lawrence who returns from building a power dam in the desert to track down the murderer of his gangster father. It had been a long time since Mat Lawrence went to the city. Only something urgent could take him from his job something as urgent and shocking as the grisly murder of his father. His father was a big-time gangster so it was no big surprise, Mat was an honest man but shared his father’s temper which gets him to seek revenge on his father’s murderer.  Seeking the help of his father’s attorney, Mat goes after the murderers and the million dollars that has gone missing.

    Story number two is “Flame City,” originally published in the February, 1935 issue of “Thrilling Detective” and tells the story of Fire Chief Blaze Delaney whose job is in jeopardy because of a rash of fires hitting the city.  Blaze gets help from his son to stop an epidemic of fires and bring the arsonists to justice.

    The third story is “Calling Squad Cars!” originally published in the April, 1934 issue of “Phantom Detective” and tells of a police dispatcher suspected of helping a gang of bank robbers.  When he is fired as dispatcher he fights back by tracking down the gang.  When he is taken hostage by the gang he soon learns how they were able to put out false reports on the police band to cover up their actual heists.  Now the dispatcher must use his skills as an expert radio man to foil the gangs criminal antics.

    The final story is “The Grease Spot,” originally published in the July, 1936 issue of “Thrilling Detective” and tells the story of former race car driver now owner of a wrecking company who has been warned against using the police band as a means to get his tow jobs.  He soon finds himself a captive, at gunpoint, and needing help from the men in blue, or can he turn it around and help them out?

    All four stories in superb audio drama form are the perfect companion for anyone who loves a good mystery.

     
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