by John Kennedy Toole
read by Barrett Whitener

I discovered this book I believe in middle school. I remember picking it up at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. I remember the revelation of reading those pages. I had read Poe, and Baldwin, and Crane, and Assimov, and Melville, and Shakespeare, and Bradbury… but I had never read anything like John Kennedy Toole’s posthumous and humorous novel … A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. It was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences of my young life. And time has only increased my respect for the novel.

That said I urge you not to get the audio book, especially as your introduction to this work. It just is poorly performed and does not capture the humor, the vibrancy, or the eloquence of Toole’s words. So read the book, but the audio book gets a NOT RECOMMENDED.

HIT PARADE by Lawrence Block 7CD UNABRIDGED Set, read by the author. Lawrence Block while a great writer, is not a great reader. His dry delivery fails to keep your attention. So this audio book gets a NOT RECOMMENDED.

BRIMSTONE by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, UNABRIDGED and read by Scott Brick. This tale of the strange demonic tinged death, of a rich deranged sodomitic hedonist (say that 3 times fast 🙂 ) is the 5th Penderghast novel. The audio performance by Scott Brick is good, however the story itself is just not engaging or interesting. NOT RECOMMENDED.

STILL LIFE WITH CROWS by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, and UNABRIDGED and read by Scott Brick.

It’s generally agreed the first three Penderghast books are the best STILL LIFE WITH CROWS is the fourth, and starts brilliantly enough, well performed by Scott Brick(there is also an abridged version performed by Rene Auberjonois of DEEP SPACE NINE Fame), however the ending does not live up to the fascinating buildup. Still I recommend it for that build-up. So worth a listen if not a buy. MARGINAL RECOMMENDATION.

DEAD I WELL MAY BE by Adrian McKinty. UNABRIDGED read by Gerard Doyle. There are three types of audio books, those that are:

a. worse than reading the book
b. are as good as reading the book, and
c. the rare few that actually improve on the reading experience… are better than the book. Because the reader is superior even to the voice in your head.

There aren’t many books that fall into category C. Virtually any story read by Harlan Ellison. Stephen King’s amazing reading of BAG OF BONES, Michael Boatman’s sublime work on LITTLE SCARLETT, and Gerard Doyle’s reading of this book… DEAD I WELL MAY BE.

A phenomenally written and performed tale, of a young expatriate from Belfast, and his experiences in the mythic Harlem of the 1990s. Lyric, amazing writing in support of a tale part gangster chic, and part coming of age tale. The ending perhaps isn’t as strong as the beginning, but still a satisfying enough conclusion. This is a definite buy, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A-.

THE DEAD YARD by Adrian McKinty. Performed by Gerard Doyle. A follow-up to the phenomenal DEAD I WELL MAY BE, is an engrossing tale of young expat Belfast hero Michael Forsythe, and his sublime walks through earthy heavens, and earthy hells. masterfully performed by Gerard Doyle. Much like the audio book pairings of Walter Mosley and Michael Boatman, the audio book marriage of Adrian McKinty and Gerard Doyle is one made in heaven. Adrian McKinty’s writing style is like poetry, elegant and beautiful and haunting and uniquely disjointed. One of the most effective, integrated, and intriguing uses of foreshadowing/foretelling you’ll find.

And as effective as the words are, it’s the nuances and wonderful romantic brogue of Gerard Doyle, that makes the audio book captivating. However it’s not quite as good as DEAD I MAY BE, the ending seeming to stumble a bit. Seems a bit forced and abrupt. But still and all, STRONGLY RECOMMENDED! A-

DEAN KOONTZ’S FRANKENSTEIN by, well Dean Koontz of course. UNABRIDGED Read by Kevin J. Anderson. This modern day revisiting of the Frankenstein myth, while at times interesting overall seems like its spinning its wheels.So okay reading by Anderson, but not that interesting. NOT RECOMMENDED

BLACK ECHO, THE (1st Harry Bosch book) by Michael Connelly. [UNABRIDGED] Read by Dick Hill (Narrator). I found the story just too slow to get into, and not especially wowed by the reading. NOT RECOMMENDED.

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