The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson, Narrator Simon Vance

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo         
Author: Stieg Larsson
Narrator: Simon Vance
16 hrs. 20 mins.
Books on Tape

Author Stieg Larsson 

Simon Vance Narrator

Simon Vance has a wonderful reading voice, like smooth silk caressing you all over. There is no book that Vance narrates that doesn't sound great. Vance has good pacing, knows when to pause and when to emphasize a word or phrase. You never have to consider if a book will be good or not, if judging by the title or author, if Simon Vance is the narrator, it will be good because his voice is outstanding and will always make any book enjoyable. Mellow and soothing, with just a hint of an accent.

Book Review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

The prologue could easily have been left off and never been missed. It just seems to sit there, unrelated to what comes in the chapters to follow, until much further into the story when the scenario is repeated and by this time I'd completely forgotten about the prologue. I think it would have been much better if it had started with chapter two, when we meet twenty four year old Lisabeth Salander. Petite, slender, Lisabeth with her tats and piercings, seems vulnerable and defenseless. She appears unfriendly to mainstream society. Lisabeth keeps herself to herself and doesn't make friends with anyone.

She is shunted off onto Dragan Armansky to work in his security company, as a Jill of all trades, she is quickly relegated to mundane, boring, tasks, people see her as not very bright and incompetent, before long she is not coming in on a regular work schedule and not getting along with his other employees. After about a month, Armansky calls her into his office with the intention of firing her, she takes his litany of her failings calmly and informs him that he's wasting her talents having her make copies and sorting mail. She proceeds to inform him about his private investigator's failings. At first Armansky is taken back by her boldness, then intrigued with what she says. He tells her to prove it, he gives her three days, in three days she turns in a report that has him agape. It's one of the finest most thorough reports he's ever had. She has more than proven herself and they come to an understanding and he hires her on as a freelance investigator.

Mikael Blomkvist, a well known journalist specializing in corporate crime and money mismanagement has been accused of libel and faces financial ruin and a short jail time. While Blomkvist a complicated man, tries to sort out how his careful analysis of a financiers crimes has been shot down and now he is made to look like the villain. Henrik Vanger sends his attorney to Amarnsky's to get a background report on Blomkvist with the intention of luring him to spend a year at his home. Vanger, tormented for forty years over the disappearance of Harriet, a relatives child that Vanger had taken in and was raising. Just a teenager when she vanished with no trace, no body and not a single clue as to what happened to her. Vanger's feels he has to give it one last try to unravel the mystery before he dies. In his eighties and with frail health, he implores Blomkvist to take on the project. Blomkvist thinks it's futile after forty years, and all that could be done has been done. Vanger offers him a huge sum of money and persuades Blomkvist to take it on anyway.

Blomkvist makes a half- hearted effort at it under the guise of writing a biography of the Vanger dynasty. Blomkvist finds a list of names and numbers written by Harriet, and he can't unravel their meaning. He needs a research assistant and through Vanger's attorney he learns that Vanger had a background check done on him, and he reads it and see's it very good and that the researcher had to have hacked his computer to get some of the information. He tracks down Salander and hires her, between them they unravel the mystery of what happened to Harriet and uncover an even more sadist and cruel stream of unimaginable crimes. This book was very long, I had some trouble keeping track of the characters because of the way the story introduces them and the foreign names. The names would have been less of a problem if I had been reading the book, but listening to it made it a little difficult to comprehend.

There was too much sex and perverted sex for my taste, much of it seemed thrown in for good measure to tempt readers who enjoy that sort of thing. I was glad it was not to detailed or explicit in some parts of the book or I might not have been able to finish it. Simon Vance has such a soothing and sweet flowing voice that it ameliorated it to a degree. This book could have been edited down by half and still been an interesting and compelling read.


V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton Narrator Judy Kaye

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton

  1. V is for Vengeance
  1. A Kinsey Millhone Mystery
  1. Sue Grafton
  1. Narrator: Judy Kaye
  1. Publisher: Books on Tape
  1. Fiction, Mystery
  1. 15 hours 11 minutes

Narrator Review: Judy Kaye

Photo Judy Kaye Narrator for Sue Grafton's V is for Vengeance

Narrator Judy Kaye

I've listened to all the Alphabet series and loved the narrations by Mary Peiffer, her voice is more youthful and softer than Judy Kayes'. So, when they changed narrators to Judy Kaye it was a very different Kinsey Millhone than the one I know.

Regrettably, her voice sounds much more mature than Kinsey'sage of 38, it does interfere with the visualization of the characters, and lacks the soft edges that are indicated and already established in the series.

Judy Kayehas a good voice, albeit a bit crisper voice, nonetheless a good voice and she reads very well. But, she is not Kinsey Millhone. The narrator lacks a good range of male voices which causes all the male characters to sound disturbingly similar. I found that Ms. Kaye's voice can sound a bit draggy, so all the character's tend to sound bored and world weary.

Sue Grafton Author of the Alphabet Series, V is for Vengeance
Author Sue Grafton

Audiobook Review: V is for Vengeance, by Sue Grafton

V is for Vengeance was an excellent book. There are different plots intermingling with one another. Some could be a book on there own merit. I skipped over some of the beginning with Phillip Lanahan, and his gambling. It became repetitious listening to it, and generated no sympathy or kind feelings in me, for him
Phillip Lanahan, will later link into the plot. I just felt like the gambling fever, went on for too many pages. After much about Phillip and Dante the loan shark he gets himself deep in debt with.

Another story starts with Kinsey in Nordstrom's, splurging at a lingerie sale, looking for a birthday gift to herself, when she notices a woman shoplifting, and brings it to the attention of a sales clerk. I would have liked it much better if the book had started from this point instead of the long story line about Phillip and Dante the loan shark.

After the store detective comes down to arrest the shoplifter, Kinsey, notices the woman's accomplice, going into the ladies room. Of course, Kinsey being a P.I. follows her in. When the woman leaves, Kinsey goes into the same stall, and looks (ugh) into the napkin disposer and sees there are cut off sales tickets in it.

She rushes out to follow the woman and nearly gets run down by her in the parking garage. Later she curses herself for not getting the license plate number. This leads into how Kinsey uncovers a crime ring, and murders that are made to look like suicides. Kinsey, is unrelenting once she gets her teeth into a crime. She stops at nothing to gather evidence until she solves the mystery.

Unfortunately, Henry Pitts, her landlord has to fly to Michigan, to help his sister, who had fallen down and broken her hip. All the Sib's rally around to give her support and encouragement. So, Henry is not in V is for Vengeance, very much. I really missed Henry puttering around his garden, baking some treat, or working on a crossword puzzle.

There also, wasn't much about Rosie and her awful Hungarian food and terrible wines. I missed, Mary Peiffer's, narration of Rosie, as she does the accent so well and really brings out Rosie's personality. Judy Kaye fails to achieve the same excellent rendition as done by Mary Peiffer.

In past books we were introduced to some of Kinsey's recently discovered relatives and learned more about her past, there was no mention of any of them. The newspaper reporter Diana Alvarez, from  U is for Undertow, does not satisfy or make up for the missing Rosie, Henry or other substantiating people.

Sue Grafton, has crafted an excellent book, full of romance, action, mystery, but miles away from Kinsey Millhone's original character. Kinsey has to grow and have more involved cases as time goes by, except in the last few books it's getting harder to find the personality of the original and funnier Kinsey. Ms. Kaye's rendition takes us even further away from the essence of the characters.

I still recommend this as an excellent book, and a thrilling read,  just not as a Kinsey Millhone, feisty, chip on the shoulder gumshoe. I could enjoy Ms. Kaye's narrating, if it was another kind of detective story.

Just Add Trouble by Jinx Schwartz Narrator: Beth Richmond

Just Add Trouble by Jinx Schwartz
Beth Richmond Narrator

Just Add Trouble
Jinx Schwartz
Narrator: Beth Richmond
From: Books in Motion
8 hrs. 25mins

Beth Richmond, has a perky, buoyant voice, she enriches the fun and quirky nature of Hetta and her best friend Jan. Her rendition of the Hetta Coffey series is youthful, energetic and playful, and yet, she sounds sensitive and softer when reading the text parts. Ms. Richmond manages to bring so much energy and charm to Just Add Trouble. I don't have to know who is speaking, I know just by the distinctive changes Ms. Richmond makes.

Believe me, you will be captivated and enthralled and completely drawn into the book when you listen to a professional narrate and Beth Richmond is that narrator. Whether she is doing Hetta's mother, with the Texas drawl or Trouble, the bird singing,  How Much is that Birdie in the Window. You will be enchanted and drawn into the wacky world of Hetta Coffey, where what seems simple turns life threatening very quickly.

Even if you never had any special interest in sailing, yachting or lounging around beautiful coves in the Baja, that didn't include a 4 or 5 star hotel, you might find, that you'll develop not only some knowledge but a genuine interest in boating. Hetta and her boyfriend Janx are enjoying the sun, lounging around and taking timely dips in the waters of the Sea of Cortez, when a panga interrupts their idyllic day. Right away they can tell these guys are not fishermen, so they pretend they don't understand their Spanish, letting them think they are Europeans. When they try to board their boat to steal their gas, Hetta and Janx, show their weapons, Hetta's is a flare gun. I guess, a flare gun could do some serious damage. Janx's weapon wasn't much better, yet, it did the trick and the bad guys took off. Hetta is destined to meet up with them again later in the book and outwits them a second time.

Hetta is "loosely following the path of John Steinbeck's book The Log from the Sea of Cortez."... This may not sound exciting or interesting, but when Hetta does anything it is bound to be both. She mocks Steinbeck's lines about unexpected storms, only to learn she should have paid more attention. Later she ponders the name of an island, and translating from Spanish to English, it means covered in a shroud. After dropping anchor there, they are swarmed with thousands of no see'ums leaving her a red spotted, itching mess. Her medicine of choice, Preparation H. Her logic is, it says for swelling and itching.

Her friend Jan in Just Add Salt, hooked up with Chino and stayed in Mexico with him. In Just Add Trouble, Jan phones, Hetta, to let her know she is planning on marrying Chino, and gets Hetta involved in locating Chino's grandmother. According to Jan, she wants her blessings on their wedding. A storm has taken down communications in the town, so, Hetta and Jan decide they will try to get to the town and make sure she's safe. They neglect to tell Chino of their plans. Fit into all this, Hetta's aunt Lil, who is the aunt from hell, according to Hetta, Aunt Lil, "is a retired nurse of Ratched ilk"....  the unlovely nurse in, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Aunt Lil, asked Hetta's parents, to feed her bird, while she went away for a few days. They didn't want to, but ended up doing it anyway. The bird is cramping their style, when  auntie dearest, doesn't come back for the bird, and they want to hit the road for some RV time, sans the bird. They ask, Hetta, to bird sit, so they can take their vacation. Hetta, was glad she could say no, since she's in Mexico and has a job to do there and then has to go to California on another job. This type of bird is illegal in California. Who ends up with said, bird, Hetta, of course, her mother freights it off to her via nefarious means.

Hetta, just unexpectedly receives a package listed as jerky and she signs for it. It is jerky, but comes along with Trouble, the bird. It's his favorite treat. The bird is very talented, can sing, talks a lot and has a bad habit of attacking Mexican men. The birds name is Trouble, and boy does he ever cause a lot of it for Hetta. Everything about this book will keep you laughing, either with the birds antics, or Hetta's aunt Lil. There are of course some very hazardous events, nonetheless, Hetta manages to pull out of them in the end. I look forward to more adventures with Hetta and Jan in the future and trust that Beth Richmond, will once again be the narrator.

Jinx Schwartz has a wonderful sense of humor, it's not to be missed, and, Beth Richmond, does an amazing job of making it all come to life. I do suggest starting with the first book in the series, Just Add Water, and the second, Just Add Salt, after Just Add Trouble, look for the latest in the series, Just Deserts, available as a kindle download.