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  • gilwilson 11:40 PM on April 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 80s, , , david morrissey, , morrissey, , penguin audio, punk rock, the smiths   

    Audiobook Review: “Autobiography” by Morrissey 


    Audiobook Review: “Autobiography”
    by Morrissey
    read by David Morrissey
    published by Penguin Audio
    12 hrs and 44 mins

    I can’t exactly say why I picked up this audiobook, but in the end, I’m glad I did. I would never consider myself with a Morrissey fan or even a Smiths fan, only by the reason that I was never really exposed to Morrissey. The weird thing is that I work in radio, but never have been exposed to his music. After listening to this audiobook, actually right about the middle of the book when I found out who some of his musical influences were some of my favorites, such as the New York Dolls and David Bowie, I dug out some of his music and gave him a listen. After hours of watching YouTube videos and listening to various sources of Morrissey’s work with the Smiths and his solo work, I became a fan.

    Before actually listening to this audiobook I had only heard of Morrissey as the subject of humor, even once in a skit in the cult television show, “Mystery Science Theatre 3000.” I had always heard he was a mopey, depression inducing singer/songwriter. I have since learned my lesson and with my new found appreciation of his life I can see how his songwriting would lean toward a mopey, depression inducing realm of music, but most of what I heard was just plain good music.

    In fact not knowing the artist, I even made my own joke (half-hearted) when I saw that David Morrissey had been cast as The Governor in the television series “The Walking Dead.” Using the the idea that they shared the last name I had posted via social media that The Walking Dead was going to get a mopey Governor who will depress everyone with his singing. (I didn’t say it was a good joke.) Then I saw on the list of upcoming books from Penguin I saw that David Morrissey was going to be reading the Morrissey autobiography, in my mind I saw it as synchronicity so I just had to give this book a listen. David Morrissey delivers this audiobook as if it were a performance, not just any performance, but he delivers it as though it is not a mere audiobook, but a classical play. Listening to this performance the listener can hear that Morrissey has a way with words that turns even the prose describing his life becomes musical. David Morrissey’s excellent vocal performance blended in with Morrissey’s words creates one of the most artistic pieces of non-fiction ever written. If this audiobook isn’t up for every award available it will be a pure shame.

    So what is the listener in store for? To start out not a lot of happiness, but when the happy times arrive even Morrissey can find a way to make them melancholy. Morrissey suffered the same school system as, if not worse than, that depicted in the movie and album “The Wall” by Pink Floyd. From the sound of the description of the teachers, these guys should never have been allowed to be in charge of shaping and molding children’s minds and futures. I’m guessing that Great Britain didn’t have much of a screening process in the way of hiring teachers between WWII and through the 70s.

    Speaking of the 70s, that’s when this audiobook gets to be fun, so get past Morrissey’s early school days and be prepared to have a fun romp through 70s music. It all starts with Morrissey discovering the pre-punk days of music with the New York Dolls and David Bowie. This is the decade that seems to have best musically shaped Morrissey and led to the creation of The Smiths.

    This then leads to all sorts of legal problems between the band members and the record labels that begins to shape Morrissey’s solo career. Finally getting the recognition he deserves Morrissey is still constantly haunted by his former bandmates and the relationships between them and record labels not adequately promoting his music, but he carries on and his attitude is clear throughout the book. Even his hatred for Margaret Thatcher is fully represented, as well as his animal activism. The man knows what he stands for and is not afraid to express it. This book could very well be included on any Smiths or Morrissey fans audio shelf right next to their Morrissey music collection.


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

    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 9:50 PM on February 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bill Bailey, , children's stories, Kate Winslet, magic finger, minpins, penguin audio, Richard Ayoade, , twits   

    Audiobook Review: “The Twits, The Minpins, The Magic Finger” by Roald Dahl 


    Audiobook Review: “The Twits, The Minpins, The Magic Finger”

    by Roald Dahl

    read by: Richard Ayoade, Bill Bailey and Kate Winslet

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx 2 Hours


    If you’ve ever read the books “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “James and the Giant Peach” then you pretty well know the magical worlds Roald Dahl has created. I loved the books the movies and everything associated with the two books mentioned and when my son was learning to read I made sure to read him the books and watch the movies as he got older. I was aware of other titles by Dahl but just never took the time, that is until recently. The recent excursion into the writings of Roald Dahl is all thanks to Penguin Audio. Penguin has recently released all of Dahl’s stories in excellent audiobook form. Each book is rather short and perfect company for my commutes to work and any other trip I need to make.


    This book is a collection of three short stories, each named in the title. Each story is read by a different person and each of the readers is able to deliver the story in the perfect mix that is fun for kids to hear and yet still able to be absorbed by any adult. As an adult I could I could fully appreciate the language used in the story-telling and the energy used by the readers made for a fun enthusiastic group of tales that could entertain all ages.


    The first story, “The Twits,” tells the story of Mr. and Mrs Twit, who are the “smelliest, nastiest and ugliest people in the world.” They hate everything, including each other. They are constantly playing tricks on each other, most of them are pretty mean. One of the best pranks is when Mrs. Twit puts her glass eye in Mr. Twits glass of beer. On top of being mean to each other they are mean to animals. They catch birds in ruthless ways to make their bird pies and they make their caged monkeys, the Muggle Wumps, stand on their Heads all day. One day the birds and the Muggle-Wumps have had it and seek revenge.


    The next story is that of “The Minpins.” The Minpins are tiny people that live in the forest and are forced to travel from one community to another by leaping from branch to branch, or flying on the backs of birds for long distances, because on the ground lives the fire-breathing Gruncher. The Gruncher eats Minpins so ground travel is impossible for Minpins. One day Little Billy finds himself lost in the forest and soon is terrorized by the Gruncher. Billy’s only means of escape is to climb the tree. Once in the tree Billy learns of the Minpins and their dilemma. Soon Billy develops a plan to rid the forest of the Gruncher and becomes a friend for life to the Minpins


    This last story is one of the strangest but entertaining nonetheless. “The Magic Finger” is about the Gregg family and the girl next door gets them to see the error in their ways by using her magic finger. The Greggs are passionate about hunting and find it fun to kill birds, the girl is horrified by this and pleads with them to stop killing the birds. When all they do is laugh she has no choice but to teach them a lesson. So the next morning they find themselves changed into birds and are forced to live in a nest while the birds that once inhabited the nest now live in their home and break out the firearms to rid their house of the annoying Gregg-birds.


    Three great stories that are fun for all ages.

  • gilwilson 3:44 PM on February 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , donald fagen, eminent hipsters, hipsters, , penguin audio, steely dan   

    Audiobook Review: “Eminent Hipsters” written and read by Donald Fagen 


    Audiobook Review: “Eminent Hipsters”

    written and read by Donald Fagen

    Published by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 4.5 hours

    I’ve always been curious about musicians and have built a bit of a library of musician biographies and autobiographies. This time around I was offered this book, “Eminent Hipsters,” thinking it was an autiobiography of one of my favorite musicians, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan. What this turned out to be was not really an autobiography, but rather a brief glimpse at Fagen’s influences and then the spewings of a cranky old man on tour.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was still an entertaining book, but Fagen only offered a glimpse of his musical background. Maybe that’s all we need to understand this private man’s life and raison d’etre. The “hipsters” he talks about are pretty specific. These range from his first musical influence, the Boswell Sisters (introduced to Donald as a child through his mother’s 78rpm records) to Henry Mancini to radio personalities: Jean Shepherd, best known for narrating A Christmas Story, and late-night jazz DJ Mort Fega. It is pretty certain that jazz music was a big influence on Fagen’s music.

    There is a short section on how and where Fagen met the co-founder of Steely Dan, Walter Becker, and how the two were arrested by G. Gordon Liddy on trumped up drug charges and later how those charges would come back to haunt him while touring in Canada.

    The book is read by Donald Fagen and while as a whole it allows the listener to understand the true feelings of the musicians mind and words, at times his speech whether his natural pattern or something else was a bit slurred (for lack of a better term) and hard to understand. But once his rhythm of speech is heard for a while, he becomes easier to follow and for the most part slipping into the mind of Donald Fagen.

    One of the best reasons for the book being read by the author, is prevalent in the last half of the book. The last half of the book Is what seems to be readings from a journal he kept while on tour with “The Dukes of Septembe”. “The Dukes” primarily are; Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald. Fagan delivers the journal readings in the manner of what could easily be considered the ramblings of a cranky old man. This cranky old man, however, happens to be an aging rock, jazz and soul musician who needs a little more than just performing a show, he needs the crowd response to be perfect, the equipment to be perfect, the room’s acoustics to be perfect and the musicians must always be on it. Fagen rants on about autograph hounds, physical ailments, and humanity’s downfall through pop culture. The younger generation is referred to as TV children and his bitterness is aimed strongly at them.

    While his sarcasm and wit is very bitter and harsh, it is funny if you give him a big ol’ southern “bless his heart” which is a southern way of saying, “hey, he ain’t right, but maybe he’ll get better.”

    If you can stand the harsh criticism of humanity and the whining for better conditions on tour, this book will reward you with some interesting anecdotes from the essays and journal entries that make up this book and expose a bit of Donald Fagen’s psyche.

  • gilwilson 3:45 PM on January 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: air force, , , , nuclear accidents, nuclear weapons, penguin audio,   

    Audiobook Review: “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety” by Eric Schlosser 


    Audiobook Review: “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety”
    by Eric Schlosser
    read by Scott Brick
    published by Penguin Audio
    Approx 20.5 hours

    Investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser is at it again. This time around he tackles the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. I had previously read Schlosser’s taking on of the fast food industry in his book “Fast Food Nation.” After reading that book, I was totally disgusted by not only the fast food industry, but also America’s handling of the meat industry. For a long time I had a hard time eating fast food and when I went shopping I would steer away from the meat department. I admit, I found it hard to stay away completely and so now and then I’ll eat something Eric Schlosser discussed in that book and will either get a little nauseous or shiver a bit, but at least he did open my eyes on a very lucrative industry that preys on its employees and customers. So what was I in for thist time?

    Seeing as how the subject is nuclear weapons, I thought well this will probably give me some good information and I’ll want to go out and start protesting nuclear war, like a hippie. Well, yes and no. Yes this book goes into depths unimaginable about how the world and America have mishandled nuclear weapons since the the bombs were dropped on Japan. So now I’m thinking of building a bunker, but wondering how deep to go.

    Before I go into too much detail on this book I want to talk about the reader of the audiobook, Scott Brick. I have been a fan of Scott Brick ever since I heard him read the Truman Capote book “In Cold Blood,” and through the audiobook productions of all of the Dune books by Frank Herbert, and the prequels and sequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. In fact it was those mentioned books that got me addicted to audiobooks. Brick has a way with his delivery in any audiobook he reads that sucks the listener in and once absorbed can barely tell whether it is a single voice or multiple voice performance. Brick can deliver emotions and ideals that are implied through the overall book within just a few sentences. Being read by Scott Brick sealed the deal in this audiobook. Eric Schlosser’s in depth investigative journalism attracted me to the book , but Brick made sure I listened now.

    Schlosser has used his gift for writing to create a fact-filled documentary which reads like a thriller novel. The sad thing is that this is a true story. The main story is about the “Damascus Accident,” an accident that occurred in Damascus, Arkansas at a Titan II missile silo. The story begins with the Air Force personnel preparing for routine checks and maintenance on a Titan II missile (carrying a nuclear warhead). One of the crew drops a wrench which strikes the side of the missile causing a severe fuel leak. As the story is being told the reader/listener learns that through a series of mishaps and ignored safety procedures that leads to a major disaster.

    Interspersed between the events that follow the dropped wrench and lead to a major explosion at the missile silo, Schlosser gives a history of the world’s, focusing mainly on the United State’s involvement in creating nuclear weapons. From the first atomic bomb building and testing all the way through nuclear disarmament and leading to this disaster, Eric Schlosser deals out facts that will scare you. The facts are all there, the danger exists, where do we go now?

  • gilwilson 3:34 PM on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: andrew scott, , , , penguin audio, , , , ,   

    Audiobook Review: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More” 

    henry sugar

    Audiobook Review: “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More”
    by Roald Dahl
    read by Andrew Scott
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 7 hours

    Penguin Audio has recently released the works of Roald Dahl, the man who brought us “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and I have the pleasure of getting all these audiobooks for review. I immediately jumped in with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” and really didn’t know which book to listen to next. It was great reliving my childhood and being entertained as an adult with these fantastically funny and whimsical stories.

    I decided to just randomly choose my next Roald Dahl audio choice and this is the one I came up with. This audiobook came as a complete surprise. The stories in this collection are much different from the Roald Dahl stories I was used to. This collection is a combination of fiction and non-fiction stories each one was unique and while most were poignant they each revealed a little bit of humanity as the story progressed and unfolded. Not knowing any of the stories beforehand made for a very pleasant surprise as the end of each story was reached. Sometimes there was that bit of tear in my eye and sometimes there was a hopefulness for all of humanity.

    This is definitely a collection to grab for the older fans of Roald Dahl. A couple of the stories are autobiographical in nature and as the listener you will discover a little more about the man that told such great children’s stories. The narrator in this collection did a superb job in presenting each story and giving each story their own unique ambiance through his vocal presentation.


    Next, I will briefly summarize each story to give you a hint as to what you can expect.


    “The Boy Who Talked with Animals”

    This story is told from the point of view of someone on vacation in Jamaica. One night a huge sea turtle is being brought on the shore by some fishermen. All the people on the beach are enthralled by the massive beast and many talk about the ways the turtle could bring in money, some of the enterprising vacationers offer money for the turtle. All offers are turned down because the hotel owner has already paid for the turtle to make turtle soup. The vacationers are then talking about how great dinner will be. A young boy steps in and calls everyone horrible and cruel. The boy loves animals and even talks with them according to his parents. The boy’s father pays off the fishermen and the hotel manager and the turtle is set free. But that is not the end of the story. The next day the boy is missing and only when the fishermen return from sea can the story find a very heartwarming ending.


    “The Hitch-hiker”

    I found this story very intriguing. The beginning is not clear where the story will go but by the end it is quite humorous. The story is told from the point of view of a man who has a brand new BMW 3.3 LI. He is enjoying a drive down the highway and stops to pick up a “rat-like” hitch-hiker with long fingers. They begin talking and eventually talk about the car and the hitch-hiker talks the man into pushing the car to it’s limits. They get the speed up faster and faster until a police officer on a motorcycle comes up from behind. The driver is given a ticket and even threatens the driver with prison time. After receiving the ticket the driver becomes quiet. The hitch-hiker then tries to cheer him up by making him guess his profession. Once the driver starts to guess the story becomes funny and even with a little twist to the end of the tale.


    “The Mildenhall Treasure”

    This story is the first non-fiction in the collection and tells of a plowman who is plowing a field in England during WWII for a local farmer. The plowman, Gordon Butcher, hits a hard spot in the field and the plow becomes disconnected from the tractor. Wanting to get the field plowed before the snow hits he rushes back to try and clear the plow. What he discovers is a large metal plate. The area is well known for it’s buried Roman Treasures. When he tells the farmer, the farmer proceeds to uncover the treasure which is a collection of silver dinnerware, later discovered to be worth millions. The farmer moves all of the treasure to his home where he cleans the silver and keeps it for himself. The catch is that the United Kingdom has a law that buried treasures must be reported and become property of the country, (compensating the discoverer, of course). The farmer hides the treasure and keeps it to himself until a visiting historian sees one of the silver spoons accidentally left out. This may be a bit of a spoiler but the treasure now sits in the national museum, but the events that lead to getting the treasure in the proper hands make this story intriguing.


    “The Swan”

    Break out the tissue for this one. Peter Watson loves nature and birds, when bullies Ernie and Raymond set off to kill some rabbits with the new gun Ernie received for his birthday, they run into Peter. Peter has always been the target of the two bullies and this day just became his worse day ever. Holding Peter at gunpoint the bullies tie him to the middle of a railroad track. They tie him down between the rails so that he narrowly escapes death as the train rolls by and Peter barely fits under the passing train. They then march Peter to a nature sanctuary and shoot a swan. This brings Peter to tears to see such a beautiful creature shut down. The bullies send him over to retrieve the swan. This is when Peter discovers the unhatched eggs. To further Peter’s humiliation, Ernie says he can bring the swan to life and cuts off the wings and straps them to Peter. The events that follow present a little hope to anyone being bullied.


    “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar”

    Henry Sugar is an extremely wealthy man who loves gambling. While visiting with a doctor friend he discovers a medical report about a man who could see without using his eyes. This man studied with a Yogi until he developed the ability. Henry Sugar sees this as a way to guarantee winning at numerous casinos. The catch is the process of learning this ability requires strict mind and body training. The training, while successful, changes Henry in many ways and soon he looks at life from a different viewpoint.


    “Lucky Break”

    This is a non-fictional account which discusses the events in his life that led to Roald Dahl becoming a writer, including a meeting with a famous writer, who helped to launch his career. The story is about Dahl’s school and all the teachers, up until after the publication of his first story.


    “A Piece of Cake”

    This final story is another non-fiction story which is autobiographical in nature. This one covers Dahl’s time as a fighter pilot in World War II, and details how Dahl was injured and eventually forced to leave the Mediterranean arena. The original version of the story was written for C. S. Forester so that he could get the gist of Dahl’s story and rewrite it in his own words. However, Forester was so impressed by the story (Dahl at the time did not believe himself to be anything approaching an accomplished writer) that he sent it straight off to his agent who had it published (as “Shot Down Over Libya”) in the Saturday Evening Post, thereby kick-starting Dahl’s writing career.


    A great collection of some of Roald Dahl’s lesser known works, that will give you a little more insight of the famous children’s author.


  • gilwilson 10:14 PM on January 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , doglas hodge, glass elevator, penguin audio, , ,   

    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” by Roald Dahl 


    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”
    by  Roald Dahl
    read by Douglas Hodge
    Published by Penguin Audio
    Approx. 3.5 hours


    When I wrote the review of the newly released audiobook version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” I felt I had to mention the two movies based on this book. The first movie, from the 1970s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, seems to be the cult favorite. The latest version was actually titled “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Many folks refer to the first as the original and some even say best, but the latter version was the one that actually stayed true to the book. The first movie seemed to add in some features that are borrowed from this sequel by Roald Dahl, “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.”

    That is all that needs to be said about the movies this time around. It is time to focus on the book, more specifically the latest audiobook release. Being the audiobook I first have to talk about the reader or more accurately, the performer, in this release. The genius in casting the voice for this audiobook is that Douglas Hodge performed the role of Willy Wonka in the 2012 musical stage production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The catch is that Wonka is not the only character in the book, and Hodge has to perform all of the voices. Hodge does this to perfection. Sure, he presents Wonka perfectly, but that perfection is carried on in all the voices represented in the book, from Charlie Bucket to the President of the United States of America. The characters in this book are over the top children’s book characters and Hodge brings the to full-color audio life. I was totally consumed by this book due to the overwhelming performance by Hodge that brought this childhood classic to life.


    As for the book, well, it all starts off exactly where “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” left off. Charlie has just found out that Willy Wonka has decided to leave the factory to him. In order for Charlie to take over he has to move his family, which includes; his mother and father and two sets of grandparents. This will not be an easy feat since the grandparents are bedridden and have been for years, the reason they are bedridden is quite comical in that they just won’t get out of bed, Grandpa Joe is the exception because he got out of bed to accompany Charlie on the tour of the chocolate factory. To move them into the factory Wonka decides to transport the entire family in the glass elevator. The problems begin when Wonka uses too much speed to take off from the home causing the entire family and Wonka to blast into space.


    Once in space they decide to board the world’s first space hotel only to find out that it is overrun by Verniciou Knids. The staff of the hotel are just about to arrive when they see the glass elevator and mistake it for an invading ship unaware that the invaders (the Vernicious Knids) are already on the station. It is then up to the elevator occupants to save the world through the only way Wonka knows how, through extreme silliness and creativity.


    This audiobook adventure is pure fun and a great entertainment. It is also a nice way to introduce a new generation to Roald Dahl or simply re-visit a childhood classic.

  • gilwilson 3:16 PM on October 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: alex grecian murder squad, , , , , penguin audio, 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 3:45 PM on October 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: augustus gloop, , charlie bucket, , , douglas hodge, gene wilder, , mike teavee, penguin audio, , veruca salt, violet beauregarde, ,   

    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” By Roald Dahl 


    Audiobook Review: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

    By Roald Dahl

    Read by Douglas Hodge

    Published 2013 by Penguin Audio

    Approx. 3.5 hours


    I think it is pretty safe to say that we have all seen the movie based on this book.  Whether it was the 70s movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, or the recent “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, this book launched two movies that have become hits.  The Gene Wilder version was a box office flop but has become a cult favorite and pictures of the Wilder Wonka as a recent internet meme.  The Johnny Depp version was a box office hit.   As a side note, the Johnny Depp version is the one that stayed closest to the book’s plot and actions.


    No matter which version you prefer, you should make sure and read the book for yourself and to your kids.  This book is just plain fun and with just as much non-sensical moments as Lewis Carroll’s adventures with Alice through Wonderland books.  Roald Dahl had such a great way of playing with words and sounds and they come out even more so in this audiobook production.


    The narrator, Douglas Hodge, recently portrayed Willy Wonka in the stage musical at the West End’s Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in England.  His narration of this book is pure magic.  The words, story and characters all gently roll into the ears and through the brainspace creating a magical audiobook adventure.  His vocal characterizations of all the fun people in the story are spot on and his portrayal of Willy Wonka will have you laughing out loud and even cheering out loud.


    The gist of this story is that Willy Wonka has not allowed anyone in or out of his chocolate factory in years.  When it is time to find someone to replace him he devises a contest to find the most imaginative child to take over running the factory.  The contest first involves five golden tickets distributed with his candy and the five lucky winners get a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.


    The five winners consist of: Augustus Gloop, a fat boy whose hobby is eating, Veruca Salt, a spoiled rotten brat, Violet Beauregard, a dim-witted gum-chewer who talks more than she listens, Mike Teavee, a boy obsessed with television and Charlie Bucket, the hero of the story and who seems to be the world’s only honest, kind and brave child.


    The children are each swept away due to their own short-comings and the adventures along the way are narrated with musical numbers from the Oompah Loompahs, the true labor force in the chocolate factory.


    Sit back and enjoy this great audiobook with great narration and even a few fun sound effects to keep the fun rolling.



  • gilwilson 3:46 PM on October 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dirty politics, , , , , , penguin audio, , 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.

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