Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Audiobook Review: Little Elvises

Little Elvises 
Series: Junior Bender Mysteries book 2
Author: Timothy Hallinan
Narrator: Peter Berkrot 
Length: 10 hours
Published: 2013 by Blackstone Audio

 Publishers Summary:
Junior Bender is back to untangle one of the weirdest mysteries in Tinseltown.
LA burglar Junior Bender has, unfortunately, developed a reputation as a competent private investigator for crooks. The unfortunate part about this is that, regardless of whether he solves the crime or not, someone dangerous is going to be unhappy with him—either his suspect or his employer.
Now Junior is being bullied into proving aging music-industry mogul Vinnie DiGaudio is innocent of the murder of a nasty tabloid journalist he’d threatened to kill a couple times. It doesn’t help that the dead journalist’s widow is one pretty lady, and she’s trying to get Junior to mix business with pleasure. Just as the investigation is spiraling out of control, Junior’s hard-drinking landlady begs him to solve the disappearance of her daughter, who has gotten involved with a very questionable character. And, worst news of all, both Junior’s ex-wife and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Rina, seem to have new boyfriends. What a mess.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Black Stiletto

The Black Stiletto
Author: Raymond Benson
Narrators: Arielle DeLisle, 
Chris Patton, Michael Ray Davis 
Length 8 hours 24 minutes

Publisher's Summary
     Could Martin Talbot's elderly, Alzheimer-stricken mother, Judy, really have been the Black Stiletto? When Martin discovers several volumes of her diaries hidden by his mother, he is stunned beyond all imagination. His mother, the underground heroine of yesteryear? The famed, still unidentified woman who battled Communist spies, took on the Mafia, and preyed on common crooks? The woman who exacted punishment on evildoers without mercy?
     But it is all described, in great detail, in the diaries. What caused her to begin her quest for justice. Her decision to act outside the law. Her feats as the famed and feared vigilante. How her reputation exploded. In short, how it all played out.
     Could it be true? Talbot is filled with doubt and disbelief. But the reappearance of one of the Stiletto's old enemies with a thirst for merciless revenge makes the story more than real, and could imperil the life of not only the Stiletto, but her son and granddaughter as well. 

This is a Crossroad Press Production
©2011 Raymond Benson (P)2012 David N. Wilson

My Thoughts:
I must confess that I was never a fan of comic book super hero/heroines but I wish I had been a fan of the Black Stiletto.  It was such a treat to follow Judy Cooper as she became the Black Stiletto.  She is a strong, independent and likeable character.  I decided to listen to this story because I was intrigued by Martin Talbot's discovery of his mother's secret life.  It would be mind-blowing to find that your mother had a secret life to begin with, but to discover she was the Black Stiletto would have to be overwhelming.  His mother is in a nursing home, stricken with Alzheimer's and can shed no light on the details of the life she once lived.  But she has left her diary for her son to discover her secret identity. 

This story was truly enhanced by being narrated by three different readers.  I don't think my experience would have been so enjoyable on the printed page.  Arielle DeLisle gave Judy Cooper's voice energy and authenticity.  I would like to hear more of her and I'm looking to forward to the next in the series.  Chris Patton did a good job with the voice of Martin Talbot but for some reason his part wasn't edited as well as the rest.  There was a couple of instances of a repeated line - sort of like a stutter.  Michael Ray Davis was my favorite of all the voices.  His performance of Roberto Renelli, a gangster who has been in prison for over 50 years, was flawless and totally believable.  He truly sounded like a 72-year-old, broken down gangster.  I'm adding him to my list of favorite narrators.

This was a great listen and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Review copy provided by Crossroads Press.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Audiobook Review: Snow White Must Die

Snow White Must Die
Author: Nele Neuhaus
Narrator: Robert Fass
Unabridged Audiobook
Length: 15 hours 47 minutes
Release Date: 1/15/13
Publisher AudioGo Ltd.

Plot Summary:
 Tobias Sartorious is released from prison after serving a ten-year sentence for the murder of two young girls whose bodies were never found.  The evidence against him was purely circumstantial.  Nadia, his best friend, corresponded with him the whole time he was in prison and she is there to pick him and give him a ride home.  No one else in town is glad that Tobias is now free except for his father.  Then things start to happen.  The skeleton of a young girl is found in empty jet fuel tank at a former military airfield.  Someone attempted to murder Tobias' mother by pushing her from a bridge.  Tobias is beaten up by masked men.  Amalie, a young girl who recently move to town, disappears and everyone suspects Tobias. 

My Thoughts:
I was hooked by the title right away and I was not disappointed.  It's a thrilling mystery with plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing.  I thought I knew who did it but I was wrong.  Then I thought it was someone else, wrong again.  It all comes together in a surprise ending with the investigative skill of two detectives, Pia Kirschoff and Oliver Von Bodenstein.  These two have their own side story.  Bodenstein is having marital problems and Kirschoff is having housing issues. By the end of the story their problems have been resolved as neatly as the whodunit.  I was a bit confused at first because sometimes the detectives are referred to by their first names and other times by their surname. This could have been to denote when they were working and when they were in a personal situation. 

The story is set in a small town in Germany but could have been anywhere.  Robert Fass was perfect for the narration.  I don't know any German but his pronunciation of the German names and places sounded authentic to me.

If you like a fast paced mystery as full of plot twists as a can of worms, you will love Snow White Must Die.

Review copy provided by AudioGo.