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  • gilwilson 10:35 PM on June 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: pilots, torture, , wwii   

    “Code Name Verity” By Elizabeth Wein 

    23955143Code Name Verity
    By: Elizabeth Wein
    Narrated by: Morven Christie, Lucy Gaskell
    Series: Code Name Verity, Book 1
    Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
    Release date: 06-06-12
    Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

    Dive into the world of WWII female pilots in this fictionalized tale brought together by many stories from the spies and pilots. Verity is captured and tortured by the SS and forced to tell the secrets of the allies. Verity, however reveals no secrets yet tells the truth the whole time. Dive into the world of WWII female pilots in this fictionalized tale brought together by many stories from the spies and pilots. Verity is captured and tortured by the SS and forced to tell the secrets of the allies. Verity, however reveals no secrets yet tells the truth the whole time.

    Great audiobook listening with great vocal delivery makes this an historical novel that will put you in the action.

    Publisher’s Summary
    Code Name Verity is a compelling, emotionally rich story with universal themes of friendship and loyalty, heroism and bravery. Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in Verity’s own words, as she writes her account for her captors.

    ©2012 Elizabeth Gatland (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

  • gilwilson 3:12 PM on March 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: audible, , , breakfast at tiffany's, , michael c. hall, truman capote, wwii   

    Audiobook Review: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” 


    Audiobook Review: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
    Written by: Truman Capote
    Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
    Published by: Audible, Inc

    We are all pretty much familiar with the book, or maybe just movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or maybe just the song by the band Deep Blue Something. No matter which one you are familiar with you need to make yourself familiar with this perfect audiobook version of the Truman Capote Classic, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

    The short novel by Capote should be added to everyone’s list, the flowing of the words make this story captivating and keep the reader enthralled. The characters in the story are so full of depth even though not much is really known about them. Yet the readers of this novel find themselves captivated in their story. Capote was able to create this world in which Holly Golightly can flit about from situation to situation and not worry about the effects on others. Now the story comes to full audio life with Audible’s production featuring Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) as the narrator.

    Michael C. Hall’s voice is deliciously captivating and as an actor he is able to completely represent the narrator of the story, who is referred to as “Fred” but the listener/reader knows that is not his real name. Hall expresses all of the emotions and non-emotions expressed by everyone in the book but more accurately with his vocal qualities he makes it feel as if he were discussing the events with you while sitting at the local bar.

    The story behind this short novel is that of a man who is captured by the gravitational pull of Holly Golightly and her anything goes attitude. We are never given the name of the man, but Holly says he reminds her of her brother, Fred, who is off fighting in the war (WWII), and so that’s what she calls him. The man first runs into Holly when the upstairs neighbor complains that she needs to stop forgetting her key and to stop ringing him at all hours of the night to let her in to the apartment building. After this Holly begins calling the narrator to let her in.

    One night while trying to avoid one of the many male suitors she brings home, Holly sneaks down the fire escape to the man’s apartment. She then tells him he reminds her of her brother and will call him by her brother’s name, Fred. “Fred” is a writer who hasn’t had anything published yet, and Holly sets out to get him published through her many contacts she’s made. Holly is able to make any man do everything for her. As the first encounter in “Fred’s” apartment progresses it is learned that Holly visits a mob boss in prison while pretending to be his niece. This in turn leads to the feds bringing Holly in for questioning which leads to her fleeing the country. Between we learn that Holly was once married and left her husband and step-children for potential fame in Hollywood, and that Holly’s brother is killed in the war. Her brother’s death nearly sends her over the edge, and the return of her husband all lead to a breakdown that for Holly leads to her escape to trying to find her meaning.

    While the book leaves you wondering what did Holly do after she left, at the same time it leaves you fulfilled in the knowledge of having known Holly. The convergence of hopes for the future, the haunting past, making friends and living in isolation are what make the depth of this book fulfilling to the reader. With this Audible production narrated by Michael C. Hall it is all presented to the listener in a fashion which gives even more depth to the story.

  • gilwilson 10:03 PM on December 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , audiocomics, battle for los angeles, black bat, , domino lady, g8, , moonstone entertainment, phantom detective, , , secret agent x, , ufo, wwii   

    Audiobook Review: “Battle for LA; Return of the Originals” by C. J. Henderson 

    Battle for LA_art

    Audiobook Review:  “Battle for LA; Return of the Originals”

    By C. J. Henderson

    Multi-cast performance

    Produced and Published by  AudioComics & Moonstone Entertainment

    Total Length: 41:56

    I think I have just found the perfect combination of some of my favorite things; UFO conspiracies, pulp magazines, comic books and audiobooks.    This audio production combines all these into one great production that keeps you hanging on to every sound and leaves you wanting more.

    This audiobook is actually more of an audio drama, in that each character is voiced by a different actor.  Each actor is able to portray the characters that are in the super-hero realm and make them sound life-like.  The actors even add in that extra little bit of “oomph” that makes them seem larger than life like a real comic book or pulp fiction character should be.  The sound effects surround the listener with realistic 3d effects that feel as though they are in the middle of the action.  You may even find yourself dodging bullets.

    Born out of pulp-fiction magazines from the early part of the 20th century, this story unites pulp heroes that influenced the creation of certain comic book heroes.  Historically speaking the pulp magazines were the forerunners of comic books.  The pulps were published weekly or monthly and featured stories that could be told in one issue or in some cases as serials that span several issues.   This story features the following pulp heroes:

    • The Black Bat came out about the same time as DC comics’ Batman, and each publisher said the other was a copy, eventually they were allowed to co-exist, but in the long run Batman became the more popular.   The Black Bat is former District Attorney Anthony Quinn.  He became the Black Bat after being blinded and having his face disfigured by having acid thrown in it.   That origin story reminds me of Two-face from the Batman comics, but Two-face is a villain and not hero.
    • The Phantom Detective was published from 1933 to 1953 and is in real life the wealthy Richard Curtis Van Loan.  He uses his amazing skills of deduction to solve crimes that have the police puzzled.
    • Domino Lady comes from the racier side of pulp comics.  Educated socialite Ellen Patrick puts on a domino mask and a backless white dress to avenge the death of her father, District Attorney Owen Patrick.   Armed with a .45 pistol and a syringe full of knockout serum she takes on the toughest of foes, but her beauty is her greatest asset.   Using her feminine charms usually put these pulp magazines into the soft-core porn side of the genre.

    Those are the main characters of this production but two other classic pulp heroes make a small cameo appearance in the final battle:

    • Secret Agent X is a master of disguise, known as “the man of a thousand faces”, who adopts several different identities in each story.  He is a dedicated crime-fighter working undercover for the U.S. government; this is unknown to the police who consider him an outlaw.
    •  Airboy, Davy Nelson II, the son of an expert pilot and, despite his youth, a crack flyer. His friend, inventor and Franciscan monk Brother Francis Martier, had created a highly maneuverable prototype aircraft that flew by flapping its wings, like a bird.

    So now we know the heroes let’s get where this story really gets to be interesting.  This audio drama brings to full 3d audio movie life the graphic novel by C. J. Henderson.    Just three months after the U.S. became involved in World War II by the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, the U.S. was on alert for further invasions from Japan.  Especially vigilant was the West Coast.  From late 24 February to early 25 February 1942 over Los Angeles, California an incident occurred that has had UFO conspiracists asking lots of questions.   The Air Force has claimed the incident was caused by a “false alarm” in which a weather balloon became the focus of several hours of shooting and air raid warnings.  Thousands of rounds were fired at an object that was tracked over Los Angeles.  UFOlogists think this was an alien craft and when viewing the photos find further proof it was not weather balloon.

    Henderson uses this event to bring together the original heroes and creates a villain with an occult background set to destroy the U.S.   The event in question was just the launching platform for a group of “Orientals” to send cylinders with a strange power over the human mind to Los Angeles.   Armed with knowledge of the mysterious cylinders, the Originals risk all to do what is right, no matter what the cost.

    This audio drama takes just over 40 minutes to devour, but if you are on a trip or doing housework or some other chore that consumes time, this will make it seem as though only a couple of seconds pass because of the intense action taking place.

  • gilwilson 8:39 PM on April 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fascism, , , ken follett, , , pearl harbor, , the century trilogy, winter of the world, , wwii   

    Audiobook Review: “Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy” by Ken Follett 


    “Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy”
    by Ken Follett
    read by John Lee
    Published by Penguin Audio
    total playing time 31.5 hours

    Lately, I have found myself venturing into the unknown. That’s really not as ominous as it sounds, the unknown is what I am using to describe genres of books and audiobooks that I haven’t normally found interesting, therefore have skipped over. This time I decided it was time to dive into some historical fiction. Dive in I did, I took on a 31.5 hour Ken Follett novel about the events leading up to, during and immediately after World War II. I’m not sure what got into me to tackle such a large audiobook in a genre I would not normally give much attention, but here I am, grateful that I did.

    To make matters worse, I jumped into this audiobook knowing it was part two of a trilogy. “The Century Trilogy,” by Follett, follows five interrelated families throughout the 20th Century. I figured that since this was historical fiction and many of the events are well known, I wouldn’t have a problem jumping in. I was right, but at the same time I now want to go back and listen to or read the first book, “Fall of Giants.” So if you are wondering if you can just jump on in the middle, the answer is yes, but it will leave you wanting more. So until the third book is released the first one can be at the ready.

    One of the aspects of this audiobook that kept me listening was the narrator, John Lee. Lee’s voice is a unique voice that when needed was able to bend and stretch around the voices of the many characters and accents which brought this book to life. Being a bit of a nerd, I immediately recognized Lee’s voice as that of Cogliostro from the “Spawn” animated series, and being a huge fan of the “Spawn” comic books I just couldn’t not listen to Cogliostro talk about World War II. The nerd in me made me listen at first, but the excellent vocal control of the many characters kept me involved in the book.

    This story follows five interrelated families located around the world; Buffalo, NY, Washington, D.C, Germany, England and the U.S.S.R. as Adolph Hitler and his fascist regime rises to power and leads the war in Europe. The book also takes us to the Pacific Theatre of the war with first the bombing of Pearl Harbor to some great sea battles in the Pacific and eventually to the development and deployment of the Atomic bombs in Japan.

    Through the lives of the families involved, the listener/reader learns of the many atrocities of the Nazis, including Aktion T-4 where the mentally handicapped were executed because they were a burden on the state. Also thrown in are some stories involving espionage, helping prisoners of war escape and even a few love stories thrown in. Basically, it’s a real life look at what happens to individuals during war time.

    Ken Follett’s prose created a story that kept me glued to this audiobook for the full 31.5 hours. I have to admit, there were my weak moments within the first few hours where I was tempted to stop listening but the events and relationships between the characters just sucked me end and before I knew it the war was nearly over and the world was beginning to recover. The nice thing about the ending is that the development of the characters and relationships led to what will be, I’m sure, a big part of the next book in the trilogy, race relations, civil rights and more.

  • gilwilson 9:43 PM on June 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Andrew Hawkes, , , , Ben Diskin, , concentration camps, , , incident at vichy, , , Jon Matthews, , , , , , , Robert Lesser, Shahar Sorek, socialism, , wwii   

    “Incident at Vichy” by Arthur Miller from “The Arthur Miller Collection” Published by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “Incident at Vichy”
    by Arthur Miller
    from “The Arthur Miller Collection” Published by L.A. Theatre Works
    starring: Ben Diskin, Arye Gross, Jamie Hanes, Andrew Hawkes, Gregory Itzin, Robert Lesser, Jon Matthews, Lawrence Pressman, Raphael Sbarge, Armin Shimerman and Shahar Sorek.
    70 minutes

    “Incident at Vichy” has got to be one of the most intense one-act plays ever. In just over one hour Arthur Miller manages to tell a story that begins with hope but ends with hopelessness. Knowing world history this is one of those plays that while the world knows the general outcome, of the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis, but this play explores the how. Looking back from our 21st century viewpoint it is really hard to see how Germany got by with what was done to the Jews and how they managed to gather all those listed as inferior and put them in Death Camps. This play demonstrates how human nature, guilt, fear, and enabled the Nazis to perpetrate the Holocaust with so little resistance.

    This one-act play takes place in a police station where a group of detainees are waiting for inspection by German officers. The detainees are all trying to deny the actual reason they were brought in (because the are suspected of being Jews) and try to tell themselves that it is a routine document check. But when some bring up that their noses were measured, and they all realize that most of them are Jews, then the fear of the real reason begins. Each one has story to tell and most of the stories are about escaping German occupied France to Vichy where they think they would be safe.

    At one point one of the detainees tells of rumors of the Death Camps and the furnaces. Some of the more able-bodied remaining detainees attempt an escape but it is thwarted by the French major who is an injured veteran of the German / French part of the war, and is now forced to assist the Germans. Each one is pulled into the interrogation room some leave to go back to work some are not seen again.

    The final scene in this play is when the last detainee is trying to convince the major to let him go and the discussion over whose life is more valuable begins.

    The play is an enlightening glimpse into the darker side of human nature and is by no means one that will lift your spirits, however,the cast in this performance are perfect in their character representations. Another great production from L.A. Theater Works.

  • gilwilson 10:20 PM on May 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , wwii,   

    “Zombies vs. Nazis; A Lost History of the Walking Dead” by Scott Kenemore 

    “Zombies vs. Nazis; A Lost History of the Walking Dead”
    by Scott Kenemore
    published by Skyhorse Publishing
    259 pages

    Sometimes you just have to read a zombie book for fun. I know, that’s kind of hard to do with zombies being the flesh-eating creatures wanting to eat brains, but if you ever pick up a zombie book by Scott Kenemore you’ll see what I mean by a fun zombie book. Scott is the same author that brought to the zombie literary world; “The Zen of Zombie,” “Z.E.O,” “The Art of Zombie Warfare,” and his novel “Zombie, Ohio.” He always takes the fun approach to zombies and sometimes applies them to possible practical uses.

    Scott Kenemore is a fan of all things zombie and throws in as much of his knowledge as can fit into each book. This time around he breaks out some lost communications between the leaders of the Third Reich and some scientists sent to Haiti to find the secret to making zombies so that the Fatherland could send armies of zombies to trample the allied forces and lead to the Rise of the Third Reich as THE world power.

    The book is written as if they are communications from three scientists sent to Haiti to find the secrets of zombie making. The communications are reports from each member 2 of which are under the guise of lepidopterists, in search of the Haitian Monarch Butterfly and a third disguised as a member of the clergy. One of the scientists begins his excursion falling from the heat and complaining non-stop even threatening the “Obergruppenfuhrer” with punishment from his influential family to get him back to the Fatherland. This scientist is Franz Baedecker, and his communiques are some of the funniest in the book.

    Baedecker soon changes his tune and goes native. Baedecker even sends messages to not tell the other two where he is and that he is seeking further information by entrenching himself with the voodoo practitioners to learn more.

    Gunter Knecht, under the guise of a clergy, places himself among the other clergy sent to convert the heathens to Christianity, Judaism or Muslim by the other clergy on the island. Knecht is taken in by Father Gill (a drunken Irish priest) and shown a zombie making ceremony, but before the ceremony begins, is abducted and tied in a cave in a compromising position as a warning.

    The three eventually find zombies, battle zombies and even make zombies, but problems and in-fighting prevents the three from bringing the secrets back to Hitler, thus allowing the Allies to win the war.

    “Zombies vs. Nazis” is a hilarious book that will keep you giggling at the exploits of what seems to be the Nazi equivalent of the Three Stooges.

  • gilwilson 12:51 PM on April 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , james farantino, julie harris, , , performance, , , , wwii   

    “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller from the “Arthur Miller Collection” by L.A. Theatre Works 

    “All My Sons”
    by Arthur Miller
    included in the “Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre Works
    Performed by: James Farentino, Arye Gross, Julie Harris, Mitchell Hebert, Naomi Jacobson, Barbara Klein, Paul Morella, Michaeleen O’Neil, Nathan Taylor and Jerry Whiddon.
    Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
    Approx. 2 Hours.

    I’m continuing my run through this collection of 10 plays by Arthur Miller that is “The Arthur Miller Collection” from L.A. Theatre works and this next play is “All My Sons.”  I’m going to include this in one of the depressing plays from Arthur Miller, the entire premise is sad, and in fact this one really reminded me of a classic Greek Tragedy, in that a character committed an act that haunts him until his tragic end.  This time around the act is to allow faulty aircraft parts to go out during war and end up killing pilots.

    Before we talk about the story I have to talk about the production itself.  L.A. Theatre Works produces plays in audio format and every one I have heard, so far, has been a joy to hear.  Not necessarily due to the subject matter, as this play proves, but in the production itself.   Each performance is recorded with a live cast and with all the elements combined the listener feels as though they are placed smack-dab in the middle of the audience.  Being a student of theatre I was leery at the idea of theatrical performances in audio format.  The reason being, theatre is a visual art.  But the excellent production in all of LATW’s releases have taken the visual part out of the equation and mad these fully enjoyable in audio only format.  In all my previous listenings, LATW has pulled this off perfectly.

    With that said there was one minor scene in this story that just didn’t work right for me.  I’m not sure if it was because I was missing something visually or what but it just didn’t feel right.  It’s the scene where Kate’s brother, George comes back to confront Joe about the criminal act that put George & Kate’s father in prison while Joe went free.  When he arrives he was very angry, then suddenly in the scene he was congenial and ready to go out to dinner, only to immediately go back to being angry and storming off.  The mood changes in this scene seemed forced and just didn’t make sense at the moment.  However the scene is needed and later on in the performance all goes back to being perfectly performed and produced that that scene is forgiven.   By no means let that keep you from listening to this otherwise stellar performance of “All My Sons.”

    Another aspect of all the productions of LATW is the casting.  Each time I hear one of these performances I love knowing the actors names.  In this performance Arye Gross portrays Chris the son who is the center of the play, and he owns the part.  His portrayal is spot on and superb.  Sure, he’s got the support of James Farantino and Julie Harris, but Gross just makes the character come to life in his performance.

    In August 1946 Joe Keller, a self-made businesmann,  who once manufactured parts for the war effort, is contemplating a tree that has been taken down by a recent storm.  The tree was planted in memory of his son, Larry, who died in the war.   His son, Chris, is visiting and has invited Larry’s girlfriend to the homestead to ask her to marry him.   The problem with all of this is that Kate, Joe’s wife and Chris’s mother, believes Larry is still alive and will coming back.

    Ann’s father is in prison for selling faulty engine blocks for p-40 aircraft that ended up killing the pilots that flew with them.  He claims that he alerted Joe to the problem but Joe had the parts sent out anyway so he wouldn’t lose the government contract.  Joe says he was sick the day that Steve, Ann’s father, called and did not know.  A neighbor reveals that everyone on the block thinks Joe is guilty.

    Kate says Joe cannot be guilty because that would mean he killed their son and all those other boys.   In a play where family secrets are kept tight and the final outcome could destroy everyone, Arthur Miller has written a depressing yet eye-opening play.  The idea of business matters over safety is a lesson that is apropos even today.

    • Tanya/ dog eared copy 1:37 PM on April 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I just posted my own review of this same production on my own blog a couple of days ago and I find interesting that we both mentioned the scene with George as being problematic and; that we both referred to Greek Tragedy! However, whereas you saw that scene as an anomaly in an otherwise excellent production, I was less impressed with the overall performance. I found the unrelenting fervor a bit wearing.


      • gilwilson 2:40 PM on April 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Just went over to your blog and read…yeah you weren’t too happy overall.
        I thought the play was very strong otherwise, Arye Gross seemed to carry this performance for me. And yes that scene….ugh…It just didn’t quite make sense as it happened, but later in the play I understood what happened, but (and this is coming from an audio professional) i think the problem with this may have been an editing problem. I think there should have been longer silences or bigger gaps between the emotional changes. I would love to see this performed live and try to figure out what is missing in that scene.

        While I don’t full agree, i do like your “ham-fisted” description of the scene…just the term ham-fisted, i guess.

        When I read this play in college my comparison back then was to a Greek Tragedy as are most of Arthur Miller’s plays. He definitely wrote some tragic plays…death of a salesman was also a good Greek Tragedy type play. (btw, since you have the same collection I have, you’ll be listening to that one soon, I’m guessing, Stacy Keach rules that performance.)

        I also see you are listening to “We’re Alive” I loved that series…how’s that one going for you?


  • gilwilson 9:10 PM on April 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , sabotage in the sky, , test pilots, wwii   

    “Sabotage in the Sky” by L. Ron Hubbard 

    “Sabotage in the Sky”
    by L. Ron Hubbard
    Multi-cast performance
    produced by Galaxy Audio
    Approx 2 hours

    It’s time once again to go on an air adventure with the master of story-telling, L. Ron Hubbard.  As always make sure you’re strapped in because this one will keep you on th edge of your seat.  (Or as the the old monster truck rally commercials used to say, “You’ll pay for the whole seat but you’ll only need the edge, edge, edge.”)

    Hubbard wrote many stories for the pulps in the mid 20th century and every one was meant to captivate the reader in only a few pages.  His writing achieved this but Galaxy Audio’s production of these stories into audiobooks pushes this audience captivation further.  Each of these books released by Galaxy Press and Galaxy Audio are produced with excellent character acting, realistic sound effects and original music to fit the genre to transition between chapters.

    This time around I listened to “Sabotage in the Sky.”  This story was originally published in “Five Novels Monthly”  August, 1940 and tells the story of test pilot Bill Trevillian.  None of the fighter planes test pilot Bill Trevillian flies are hotter than the BCA 41 pursuit ship, so he takes it up. But someone has deliberately rigged it for failure and destruction—and for Trevillian’s death.

    France and Great Britain are looking for the best fighters to use in the war against the Nazis and they must choose between different American plane designs to outfly the newest and deadliest Nazi fighters, the competing companies send their two best test pilots . . . Kip and Bill.   Kip turns out to be an old friend of Bill’s but not one he remembers at first.  Kip is a dame, and according to Bill, “Dames can’t fly.”  But Kip is out to set him straight.

    Kip and Bill grew up together, Bill was always the best pilot, and Kip looked up to him.   But when Bill ridicules her on her crash landing she sets out to get back at him.   But what is worse is that the Nazis have sent a saboteur to Bill’s crew in order to keep the Europeans from gaining the air advantage.

    Soon Kip and Bill suspect the other of sabotage, problem that not only threatens their already electric relationship but their very lives.  The contract is to be decided in a mock air battle, but soon turns deadly when the Nazis sneak a saboteur onto each plane and plan to highjack the planes for their own use.  What soon turns out to be a sea and air battle the two pilots’ skills are put to the test.

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