Mile 81 & The Dune, Stephen King, Narrated by, Thomas Sadoski-Edward Herrmann

Mile 81 and The DuneBy Stephen King
Narrated by,Thomas Sadoski, and Edward HerrmannLength: 2 hrs and 32 mins
Simon and Schuster

Release Date:01-10-12

 Mile 81 Stephen King photo image narratorreviews.org
Stephen King Mile 81

Edward Hermann Audiobook Narrator photo image narratorreviews@blogspot.com
Narrator Edward Herrmann

I really like the way Edward Herrmann paces his reading with excellent pauses at commas and end of sentences. He gives a nice upbeat tone when starting a new sentence. Herrmann has an interesting style of narrating that gives a pleasing rhythm to a book and his voice is well, wonderful, deep, crystal clear, and easy to listen to. He's a safe bet if you're looking for an audio book and not familiar with any narrators yet. You can put him on your list of great narrators.

Thomas Sadoski narrator photo image  narratorreviews@blogspot.com
Narrator Thomas Sadoski 

Thomas Sadoski has a powerful, deep, masculine voice. Sadoski distinguishes nicely between characters via his expressive intonations more than attempting to create a child's voice or a woman's. Some narrators excel at doing more exact voices, yet, Sadoski excels at carrying the story along with great emphasis on feelings and character. He captures and defines, then takes control of the book keeping your attention riveted to the unfolding story.

Audiobook Review: Mile 81 & The Dune, Stephen King

Pete Simmons, a typical ten year old boy feels put out by his older brothers ditching him. They tell him he's too young for the daredevil bike stunts they want to engage in. So he takes himself off to find his own adventure. He remembers his friend Craig's words about the abandoned rest area, where kids his own age would hang out.

With his trusty magnifying glass in his saddlebag, he pedals through the winding way along the closed and fenced off areas near the abandoned Mile 81 rest stop, with the rundown and gutted Burger King. It isn't as interesting or exciting as he anticipated, until he finds a discarded half bottle of vodka. He knows his parents drink and remembers the day after hang overs they've groaned about.

He's hesitant to try the booze. Finally persuading himself to try, maybe a small sip just to see what it's like, he goes for it. Not bad, he feels the heat of it travel towards his stomach. Gaining courage, he tries a few more sips and soon feels tired and sleepy.The dirty mattress looks like a good spot to take a nap, if he doesn't look to close at the stains and dirt.

While he's out cold, interesting events are occurring outside, when a mud covered, of undetermined year and make station wagon pulls up outside the Burger King. One by one, people pull off the interstate to help the apparently stranded station wagon. Soon each one is gone and only their vehicles remain.

Pete Simmons wakes up to the screeching screams of six year old Rachel screaming at a 911 operator, this gets his immediate attention. He looks through the mesh covered windows and sees two little kids backing away from vehicles. He starts to feel genuine fear, grabs his saddlebag and runs. Stopping in his tracks, he thinks how young and small the two kids are and maybe he should help them.

They are heading towards interstate 95 and Pete knows that can end in a disaster. Rachel, only wants to get far away from the 'bad car' as she can, taking her little brother with her. Trooper Jimmy, parked at exit 85 answers the dispatch about multiple calls of two little kids on the entrance ramp. Yay, trooper Jimmy to the rescue. The kids try and tell him the “bad car, ate mommy and daddy”..., he tries to make sense of what they are saying, but he can't.

As he nears the station wagon, their shouting becomes even more frantic, begging Trooper Jimmy, don't go near the bad car. Trooper Jimmy is creeped out, he decides to put the kids in his Crown Vic, before attempting a closer vehicle inspection. Pete, is watching from the shadows of the Burger King as Jimmy cautiously moves closer until he gets too close. Horrified at what he sees, his mind frantically tries to make sense of it. Then the sun comes out and Pete has a brilliant idea.

Stephen King is a master at setting a scene, creating a mood, or causing bone chilling terror down to your toes, with tight, expressive words and phrases. He uses everyday products and places which gives the reader the ability to identify with the character. Spiders, snakes, rodents and dark places all highly feared by most people are his indomitable way of making his stories stay in your minds eye for a very long time.

Doctor Thorne, Anthony Trollope, Narrator: Simon Vance

Doctor Thorne
Chronicles of Barsetshire, Book 3
Anthony Trollope
Narrator: Simon Vance
Blackstone Audio Inc.
20 hrs. 39 min.

Anthony Trollope Author, Doctor Thorne
Anthony Trollope

Simon Vance Narrator of Doctor Thorne
Narrator Simon Vance

An amazing narration by Simon Vance for Doctor Thorne, with his smooth and mellow tones Vance captures every personality and voice, making them all believable and demensional, I loved his narration and his ability to make not only the characters pop to life, but, also, Vance, has the tones, rich, with just the right amount of humility, snootiness or passion for the time period of the mid 1800's. It is a delightful and lovely listen by one of the worlds well known and popular narrators. Vance's, voice is tony without being excessive or phony. His female voices were more than well done and I dearly loved the way he captured Lady Arabella's snooty, shrill and superior voice and the full force of her personality came through his voice. Gentle and pliant Mary sounded young and naive and her lover Frank sounded youthful and full of passion. One has to listen to this long and wonderful book to appreciate fully the multifaceted talents of Simon Vance.

One of the first books by Anthony Trollope that I listened to was The Way We Live Now. Being very interested in history, I like listening to books written by authors from different time periods. The Way We Live Now, was sure to give an insight into how people perhaps really were during the 1800's as opposed to something written currently and what a modern author thinks people were like in that era. It was such a wonderful book that I've since, listened to many of Anthony Trollope's writings. Doctor Thorne was as expected, a fabulous book about Mary Thorne and Frank Gresham and their childhood affection for one another which grew into a passionate love in their maturity. Mary, the niece of Doctor Thorne was raised by him. Though not wealthy, Dr.Throne provided Mary with a comfortable life. Frank, the only son of Frank Gresham, lord of the manor, was raised with what was befitting an heir to an estate of generous proportions.

The elder Frank had mismanaged the estate and was deeply in debt and on the verge of losing everything. Frank and his pushy, overbearing wife, Arabella De Courcy, had their minds firmly set, that Frank had to marry money. It was the only thing that could save them from losing everything. Frank, dearly loves Mary Thorne, and was just as set on marrying her. Lady Arabella, was determined to prevent this marriage, forcing Frank to find a rich wife. Her attempts, contrivances and constant nagging were a burden to Frank and hard to tolerate. Mary's, origins were known to only a couple people, was of sketchy heritage, had no money but was of good character and a sweet, charming girl.

Had I not listened to the estimable Bill Bryson's At Home, and History of the World, it would have been a bit of a gulp, to understand how Frank could agree to going abroad for a year and a day, or how Mary could have been so patient and forbearing. It was typical during that time period that even adult children bowed in deference to the wishes of their parents. According to Bryson, Charles Darwin, as an adult, nearly did not go on his now famous voyage and write The Origin of the Species, as his father denied him permission to go and it was an uncle who interceded for him and persuaded him to allow Darwin to take the trip.

Parents could disinherit, or cut children out of the lives if they disobeyed them. In Doctor Thorne, Frank had a slight edge, since his father had Frank's inheritance so far in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy, he could not use it as a threat to disinherit him. Frank was unwavering that he loved Mary, more than he cared about the estate and his father loved him dearly and would not have shunned him out of the family. The power parents had over their children was tremendous at the time and the pressure that was constantly put on Frank would have been understood in the mid 1800's, just as today we understand certain things that are part of popular culture. Novels and serial stories written well into the twentieth century were maudlin, and full of pathos, way to sticky sweet for today's taste, yet, Anthony Trollope, manages to avoid the mawkish and still maintain a good story that keeps his books in popularity today.


The Stone Gallows By Colin David Ingram Narrated by Mark F. Smith

Stone Gallows by Colin Ingram Narrated by Mark Smith Iambik Audiobooks

The Stone Gallows
By Colin David Ingram
Narrated by Mark F. Smith
Length:11 hrs and 41 mins
Iambik Audiobooks
Release Date:12-01-11

Narrator Mark F. Smith

Mark F. Smith narrates so well that you really get drawn into the story. His secondary characters are excellent. Smith, puts a lot of drama into his rendition and his female characters are well done. I loved his reading of  tough guy, scum bag, Gary, the live in boyfriend and father of Marie's new baby. To my ears I didn't feel that Smith had a gruff or deep enough voice to be the bully or strong arm man. He just doesn't sound like a tough guy. Cameron was a bit wimpy and Smith does convey that personality trait. Having Cameron take on and threaten tough guys didn't mesh with his insubstantial character. About half way through the book Smith for some unknown reason starts over enunciating some of the words. It was flowing smoothly, he was narrating extremely well and then out of nowhere he slows down and seems fixated on each syllable of a word. Other narrators also fall into the over enunciation problem. I've wondered if it's something they are told to do in acting class. It just sounds unnatural. Luckily, Smith does such an outstanding job with the characters, regional accents and nuances of the material that it is still a pleasure to listen to him. I really busted out laughing when he did the prostitutes voice. Smith is not afraid to use a wide range of pitches and variety in his renditions. A wee bit more of a Scottish accent would have gone far to keeping the listener in Glasgow.

I found The Stone Gallows to be a very funny and well written book. It had many lines that made me laugh. I always love a mystery that has humor in it. Cameron Stone, a fairly new member of the police force, is doing surveillance on Grearson, a man suspected of trafficking girls from Poland. A boring job at best. His partner Coombs, a more experienced detective turns out to be a maverick, more interested in having a beer than sitting in a car watching a suspect. Coombs leaves Cameron to watch alone while he goes for a pint. When Grearson finally does leaves his house Cameron calls Coombs on his cell. He races to the pub and Coombs jumps in the car. Cameron in his excitement of not loosing sight of Grearson, is careening out of control at high speed, when suddenly in front of him, is Marie and her baby. Unable to stop, he slams into them, killing them instantly. Now he is the most hated man in Glasgow. Depressed, and miserable, his wife leaves him, neighbors shun him and people call him baby killer. Cameron hits bottom and ends up living in one of the worst neighborhoods in Glasgow. He finds work as a private detective and takes on jobs that police want settled fast and dirty. Cameron, proves to be a competent P.I. and in time starts putting his life back in order. His attractive upstairs neighbor Liz, does much to restore his battered self esteem, even as people still torment him with name calling and personal attacks. It seems Cameron Stone is the butt of an endless series of vicious attacks even in the slums of Glasgow. The worst attack is when gas is poured through his mail slot and his second story apartment goes up in flames. When Cameron's four year old son is kidnapped he finally figures out who is behind the attacks and kidnapping. I look forward to listening to further books about Cameron Stone. I appreciate very much that Iambik Audiobooks sent a downloadable copy of The Stone Gallows for a review.


Fanfare, By, Renee Ahdieh, Narrator, Beth Richmond

By Renee Ahdieh
Narrated by Beth Richmond
Length:10 hrs and 21 mins
Revolution Publishing Inc.

Renee Ahdieh Author of Fanfare Narrated by Beth Richmond
Author Renee Ahdieh

Beth Richmond narrating Fanfare by Renee Ahdieh
Beth Richmond Narrator

Another, outstanding narration by Beth Richmond, and she proves my point that an excellent and skilled reader can make a book much more interesting. Her ethnic accents were so expertly done, and Ms.Richmond, puts so much expression into the plot of the story. I appreciated, that she is so capable of doing a very different vocal rendition, from the characters, she so excellently did in Jinx Schwartz's, Hedda Coffey Series. Ms. Richmond, is an accomplished and distinctive narrator, capable of expanding the characters into lifelike images. Each person is easily identified and given expression, and their own unique identity. Richmond's voice is lovely to listen to, and easily draws you totally into the story. Beth Richmond is one very talented narrator and you're guaranteed that a book she reads is going to be enjoyable.

Fanfare, is a light romance story about outspoken and feisty, Cris Pereira, who is nursing a broken heart. Cris thought she was headed for wedded bliss, forever after, with, Ryan. Then he cheats on her and they break up. The blow, is when he tells her, she'll get over it and she is a likable person and will find someone else. Ryan, really would have been hard on any girls ego. This on the heels of her father's death, makes Cris, an emotionally fragile woman.

Then, a chance, kismet, meeting with teen idol, British movie star, Tom Abramson, takes place when she escorts her teen cousins to an autograph signing promotion, being held at the local mall. Aggravated beyond endurance from waiting in line for hours and hours, and bored to tears, by the time they finally get face to face with Tom Abramson, Cris, is not in a good humor. The girls beg, Cris, to ask him to give them a hug like he did with some girls that had been ahead of them. Reluctantly, she does ask him and sets down her cell phone to free her hands to take a picture.

Much later, she realizes she's lost her phone, she heads back to the mall and finds out that no one turned it in but left a phone number to call, to get the phone back. Puzzled that the person didn't just leave her phone at the lost and found. When, she calls, it's Tom Abramson, that found her phone, this puzzles her even more as to why he kept it. They start texting each other, and chatting on the phone and she finds he isn't a self involved movie star but a lonely guy that is idolized, but with few real friends. Their friendship slowly develops into a full blown romance and a very romantic proposal.

Cris, being a very family oriented gal, living a normal life is hard pressed in dealing with a movie star's life style with all the media attention including the Internet, the lack of privacy and crowds of teens, swarming Tom, when they went go out in public. Just when things are looking rosy, Ryan, starts emailing and begging her to go back with him. He is so persistent and starts showing up at her place of work. Ryan, soon becomes a thorn in Cris's side with his pestering and begging.

You will have to listen to the book to see how the triangle turns out. The only thing I didn't like in the book, was the reading of the emails. It isn't clever or cute and has been done in other books, but way over done in Fanfare. There are many people who are not Internet savvy or even less, email savvy to understand what is being said. lol, may mean nothing to some readers, as with many of the other text acronyms. It is boring to listen to large chunks of, every detail of an email from the, From, and Subject, Time, and so forth. Beth Richmond, did make this less than robust book a lot more interesting to listen too. If you like romance stories then you will enjoy Fanfare, with it's humor and sweetly evolving romance.
Fanfare By Renee Ahdieh Narrated by Beth Richmond
Fanfare, Renee Ahdieh
Narrator, Beth Richmond


Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen Narrators: David LaDoux & John Randolph Jones

Water for Elephants by Sara GruenNarrators: David LaDoux & John Randolph Jones
Sara Gruen

Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
Narrator: David LeDoux
Narrator: John Randolph Jones
HighBridge Company
Duration: 11 hrs, 32 mins.

I can't imagine just reading this book and missing out on the astonishing, narration by David LeDoux. His reading is sensitive, emotional without being maudlin, a perfect balance between the two is maintained throughout the story. The naivety of Jacob, his innocence, and his growing in experience about the harsher side of life, and the gentler, kinder aspects as Jacob matures, are depicted with the mellow voice of LeDoux's amazing narration. He has the unique ability to make you see through his voice, Jacob's frustrations, sorrows, and the first blooming of love. Not listening to the audio version will deprive you of the fantastic, narration of the circus sounds, that now are a distant memory for but a very few lucky enough to have lived during the times before pre-bagged cotton candy, or popcorn.  LeDoux does justice to bringing the sounds and smells of the Benzini circus to your ears.

It is a stunning performance, when too wonderful narrators, pair up to do one book. John Randolph Jones does an excellent and moving narration of Jacob from his nonagenarian years. It is a powerful rendition giving full potency to the frustrations of aging. John Randolph's Jone's narration of Jacob is convincing, compelling, and much of the time heart wrenching.

Reviews of books, often give a short run down of the basic story. Often you read tons of book  reviews whereby the book subject sounds like a typical, run of the mill story. You yawn, and move on to another title looking for something to tickle your interest. What is going to make you actually pickup that book and read it? To be honest, many, many, reviews are not very inspiring. Indeed, many make a book sound like a hundred similar books. Water for Elephants, was one of those books. I saw a fair amount of reviews that I scanned through, and wasn't especially intrigued with the topic. Old man, reminisces about his youth and time spent in working for a circus. Truly, it did not sound terribly interesting to me. Yet, I was totally hooked by chapter 2, the merger of narrators and text was astounding, the inner workings and people of the circus life were fascinating. The protagonist, a young college student, close to taking final exams, with plans to join his father's veterinarian practice, has his world turned upside down when his parents are killed in an auto accident. He learns his parents had mortgaged the business and his father was not making any cash money to pay the mortgage. The bank is repossessing everything.  Devastated, suddenly homeless, broke, and heart broken, his wanderings lead him into an unexpected life path when he jumps a box car and meets up with the circus workers. One of the older men in the boxcar takes a liking to him, and gets him a job with circus. He starts out cleaning the box cars after the animals are taken off. A smelly, nasty job, Jason, being depressed, is content to do whatever he's offered, as does need to eat, and make money to live on. Working for a circus doesn't allow a lot of time for him to dwell on his parents death or think about much of anything. Because, he looks young and clean, he's put on duty to guide crowds to concessions around the circus grounds, one is the hootchy- kootchy tent, where he is nearly undone by his first real life nude woman. Her strip tease act makes him forget that he's there to make sure the men don't get out of hand. His comical reactions to her provocative act are were extremely well done by LaDoux.  Later, Jacob's skills as a veterinarian are discovered when a favored horse is lame, although he has no cure for it, he is deemed to be the circus's official veterinarian. This raises him up the rung of of the circus hierarchy, bringing some small benefits in eating and sleeping accommodations. The story segues between Jacob's time in the circus and Jacob's later life in an assisted living home. I loved the ending and really laughed and was very pleased with it.