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Ross McDougall

Perth, Australia
  • 16
  • reviews
  • 21
  • helpful votes
  • 18
  • ratings
  • Forensics

  • The Anatomy of Crime
  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Sarah Barron
  • Length: 11 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 20

The dead talk. To the right listener, they tell us all about themselves: how they lived, how they died--and who killed them. Val McDermid uncovers the secrets of forensic medicine with groundbreaking research and her own experience. Along the way you’ll wonder at how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine time of death and how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Love the content, narration okay...

  • By smiranda on 01-11-2018

a timeline of forensic advancement

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-2017

this book is a perfect cross-section of forensics and all the ways it has worked over the years to support (or undermine) the pursuit of those who commit crimes by justice.

McDermid works her way through forensics from its earliest application to today's more advanced techniques, presenting the concepts in easy-to-understand bite-size pieces. The way that she builds on those concepts to discuss some pretty advanced processes and decisions is a masterstroke - I never felt left behind or like I was missing out on the information I needed to understand the content.

I particularly enjoyed the cross-section of early forensics and the swinging pendulum in public opinion and in the courtroom between acceptance of the some questionable concepts as irrefutable evidence and complete disregard for solid scientific foundation.

The book was a delight to listen to while travelling or going about my day; the concepts are explained so well and in detail. One word of warning however: I did have one or two occasions where I decided it may be best to stop eating for a few minutes while some of the more distasteful topics were discussed, but it never descended into full-blown gross-out mode.

The Happiness Hypothesis cover art
  • The Happiness Hypothesis

  • Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
  • By: Jonathan Haidt
  • Narrated by: George K. Wilson
  • Length: 11 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 64
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65

This is a book about 10 "Great Ideas". Each chapter is an attempt to savor one idea that has been discovered by several of the world's civilizations - to question it in light of what we now know from scientific research, and to extract from it the lessons that still apply to our modern lives.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • AWFUL NARRATION!

  • By Despina on 27-06-2016

thinking about thinking

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-2017

this was a really cool look into the psychology of happiness, worth and the concept of meaning.

It was cool to look at such concepts from a scientific perspective; understanding the various neuro-transmitters and messages that fly around in our brains all the time without us being aware it's happening.

When you start to think about how you think it opens up a whole new perspective on emotion, life, joy, sadness and everything else on the spectrum. I really enjoyed going on the journey with Haidt as he took me through the various responses to events and actions that we deal with every day.

I particularly liked the linking of old spiritual concepts to scientific evidence. Not all of them stood up but it was nice to see that spirituality as a whole can have a legitimate place in the human experience to help us as we navigate our time above ground.

It was also pleasant to see Haidt never being dismissive of a particular experience or process - He merely provides the practical application within the psyche and allows the reader to determine where that sits on their personal compass.

Very cool! Highly recommended!

  • The Reaper

  • Autobiography of One of the Deadliest Special Ops Snipers
  • By: Gary Brozek, Nicholas Irving
  • Narrated by: Jeff Gurner
  • Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

In the best-selling tradition of American Sniper and Shooter, Irving shares the true story of his extraordinary career, including his deployment to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, when he set another record, this time for enemy kills on a single deployment. His teammates and chain of command labeled him "The Reaper," and his actions on the battlefield became the stuff of legend, culminating in an extraordinary face-off against an enemy sniper known simply as The Chechnian.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Anonymous User on 11-09-2018

down to earth and terrifying

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 31-10-2017

really great firsthand account of war. I liked how Irving didn't let himself get carried away with the hyperbole that the rest of the army and the enemy were thrusting upon him.

Irving's writing makes you feel like he didn't heavily censor his stories, lending them an air of authenticity and realism. The mistakes made be him and his crew are left in, as is the tendency for people to revert back to self-preservation when their life is at stake.

Even some of the weird random details work toward this end - I was questioning a few times 'why did that get in?' and often thought to myself 'I guess Irving wanted to put as much as he could to provide an accurate account, not just reinforce the Hollywood stereotype...'

At the end of the audiobook there is a small interview with Irving himself which I really liked, as well as him reading the foreword.

I completely understand that an author may not want to read their own book, but I really appreciate it when they do. It increases all parts of tension in the story and further draws you in. With that in mind I have to say that Jeff Gurner who read the audiobook does a stellar job of lending his voice to Irving as a character through sensitive and intelligent interpretation of the tone and point Irving is trying to make. I'd go as far as to say that Gurner's reading of Irving's story is better than some authors reading their own work that I've listened to; He was thoroughly entertaining!

  • Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level (Third Edition: Updated & Revised)

  • By: Mark Divine
  • Narrated by: Brock Armstrong
  • Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 88
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 80

In this revised and updated third edition of Unbeatable Mind, Mark Divine offers his philosophy and methods for developing maximum potential through integrated warrior development. This work was created through trial and error, proving to thousands of clients that they are capable of 20 times more than what they believe.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Very disappointing

  • By Anonymous User on 05-12-2018

complete your mission

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-08-2017

This is a cool book!

Divine has seen and done a lot of things, and it's really helpful to piggy-back on his experiences to find practices one can look to implement in their own life. There's heaps of practical exercises that you can try out straight away, and Divine discusses the thoughts and feelings he was having through them so you have an idea of what to expect.

It's obviously working to get the reader into the 'Divine Ecosystem' of training materials and schools, but there's plenty in the book in isolation to achieve great things for a motivated reader.

I really enjoyed the stories peppered through the book of experiences Divine has been through that are contextualised into the content of the chapter, as well as more external stories that a more relevant to those who aren't up at 3am running live-fire drills or whatever these dudes get up to.

Definitely worth a read and investigation of which concepts could be applied to ones' life; Unbeatable Mind is an inspiring and practical road map to achievement and surpassing your goals.

  • The Leaving of Things

  • By: Jay Antani
  • Narrated by: Sanjiv Jhaveri
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2

Vikram is not your model Indian-American teenager. Growing up in late 1980s Wisconsin, he is rebellious, adrift, and resentful of his Indian roots. But a disastrously drunken weekend becomes a one-way ticket back to the homeland for Vikram after his outraged parents decide to pack up the family and return to India.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • a twist on the culture shock

  • By Ross McDougall on 18-08-2017

a twist on the culture shock

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-08-2017

Vikram is not your model Indian-American teenager. Rebellious and adrift in late 1980s Wisconsin, he is resentful of his Indian roots and has no clue what he wants from his future—other than to escape his family’s life of endless moving and financial woes. But after a drunken weekend turns disastrous, Vikram’s outraged parents decide to pack up the family and return to India—permanently.

So begins a profound journey of self-discovery as Vikram, struggling with loneliness, culture shock, and the chaos of daily Indian life, finds his creativity awakened by a new romance and an old camera. His artistic gifts bring him closer to a place and family he barely knew. But a devastating family crisis challenges Vikram’s sense of his destiny, hurtling him toward a crossroads where he must make the fateful choice between India, the land of his soul, and America, the land of his heart.

  • Wrongful Death

  • By: Robert Dugoni
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 10 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Beverly Ford lost more than just her husband when he died in Iraq from a fatal wound and faulty body armor - she also lost her faith in the government and its military. After no response to her unlawful death claim, she's taking them both to court. Successful attorney David Sloane, a former Marine, knows Beverly's case is a no-win situation, but his conscience won't let him abandon her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing

  • By Amazon Customer on 05-07-2019

a really gripping mystery

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-08-2017

I really enjoyed this book!

I listened to the audio edition, performed by Dan John Miller. Miller did an excellent job in translating Dugoni's written word into the realm of the spoken.

An attorney is asked by a woman to investigate the death of her husband while on deployment in Iraq and is drawn into a ever-deepening web of lies and deceit... Sounds pretty run-of-the-mill, right? This was good though! Dugoni takes the characters on some interesting adventures, none of which turn out to be red herrings thankfully.

Miller expertly performed a myriad of complex characters interacting in every scene, and I particularly liked the 'telephone-effect' used when a character was talking to another on the phone - it really helped to keep me in touch with who was where.

Dugoni's plot was well-crafted with suspense, flashbacks and multiple characters slowly moving toward an inevitable collision. The way Dugoni explained all the contexts of the characters' actions (and left some mysteriously unsaid) all helped to create a clear picture in the mind of what was going on and built tension in nearly every scene.

Talking about that tension, I know that it's standard procedure to keep readers guessing and end scenes before resolving them... BUT it felt like this was being written as a TV series. In the middle of the book, there was so much darting around with mysterious people walking into houses or phones ringing that I started to get a little annoyed. I'm already reading the book - just advance the plot already! As the storylines converged toward the end it trailed off thankfully and we got down to resolving the story.

I liked that Dugoni kept it all pretty straight (no trips to Paris and murders under the sea) and doesn't mess around. Short of the quick-fire scene changes in the middle this book gets a glowing recommendation.

  • A Brief History of Time

  • From Big Bang to Black Holes
  • By: Stephen Hawking
  • Narrated by: John Sackville
  • Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 249
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 246

Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite, or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in an internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world's greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos, from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time, from the big bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and strong theory.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hard to listen, but overall great book!

  • By Anonymous User on 27-11-2017

a brief history of amazing concepts and thinkers!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-08-2017

This was a great, albeit overwhelming book. John Sackville read this book, and while I thought i'd find a dissonance in hearing anyone else read Hawking, I have to say his performance was excellent. The rhythm of the reading was pleasant and left me feeling confident the context was being communicated.

More than really engaging with the book, I mostly was listening as it was being read. The level of the content started out relatively simply then rocketed off away from my puny brain. I did find myself in awe of some of the concepts Hawking explains and ties together so well.

Less of a history of time and moreso an analysis of the concepts and theories that determine the way we consider time and all that it entails. I was very impressed by the work that Hawking and the physics community have put into the thinking around our universe and place within.

The book encouraged me to find another entry point and pursue such thoughts to better understand all the forces that hold our world(s) together. Fantastic book!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

  • By: Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Narrated by: Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Length: 3 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 863
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 775
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 768

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There's no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson. But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This book is just brilliant.

  • By completeaerogeek on 01-06-2017

an excellent intro into our big universe

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-07-2017

I listened to the audio edition of this read by deGrasse Tyson himself - his style immediately makes it more interesting, even if it doesn't make the content more understandable.

This book is an excellent taster into molecules, space, gravitational waves, forces and all sorts of other mind-bending physics concepts. deGrasse Tyson keeps the reader engaged with interesting tidbits of information that are more digestible in each part so one never feels like they are being left too far behind.

After a while the facts and figures started to blur and I found myself confused, listening to deGrasse Tyson and catching pieces of the story intermittently. This is more of a reflection of my lack of concentration and general stupidness than any mis-pitching from deGrasse Tyson.

This is an excellent way to dip your toe into the zoomed-out universe that's all around us, and helps to give context and some answers to the royal 'why'. I loved it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl with All the Gifts

  • By: M. R. Carey
  • Narrated by: Finty Williams
  • Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 358
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 331

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her 'our little genius'. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Vividly written, sensitively performed

  • By Barry Earsman on 11-08-2014

an engaging romp through the end of the world

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-07-2017

I really enjoyed this! I listened to the audio edition, read by Finty Williams. Williams really brought an excellent performance to the story and added a lot of nuance that I appreciated.

The book is a twist on the usual 'zombie-apocalypse' narrative, with one of the zombies being the main protagonist. I'm not a real horror fan, but this was accessible through its framing of the goings-on through the eyes and mind of a small child who is different but doesn't understand how or why. It wasn't particularly scary, just filled with sad details of a society crumbling apart.

The perspective of the narrative was especially interesting and engaging to me. It was mostly third-person but there were tinges of insight and information about characters' inner dialogues that had a almost medium-like element to them. Every time Carey gives a window into the mind of a character, it's framed in the context of their language and context. This gives each character a unique inner voice as well as their physical voice, the dissonance between which serves up some humour in the midst of truly terrifying circumstances.

I saw that there was a movie for this (which actually alerted me to it) and look forward to seeing it now. Carey's world is beautifully filled with interesting characters and details that draw you in and make it easy to build a picture of what's going on. It's this world building that kept me heavily engaged over the 13-hour listen. I definitely recommend listening to the audio edition to make the most of Williams' performance.

Top shelf! Looking forward to more of Carey's world, bring on The Boy on the Bridge!

  • NOD

  • By: Adrian Barnes
  • Narrated by: Tim Beckman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 6

Shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. Dawn breaks over Vancouver and no-one has slept the night before, or almost no one. A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand can still sleep, and they've all shared the same strange, golden dream. A handful of children still sleep as well, but what they're dreaming remains a mystery. After six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis will set in.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • I waited for a zig, it zagged. I wish it hadn't

  • By Ross McDougall on 23-06-2017

I waited for a zig, it zagged. I wish it hadn't

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-06-2017

This was a bit of an underwhelming book; I'm not sure if my expectations were misguided, the synopsis was exaggerated or it was just pitched at a younger reader. At any rate, I didn't find it very appealing or engaging beyond the premise.

A few times in the book, Barnes has the protagonist Paul reference that what we're reading is his memoir that he's writing in his final days. Given that it's kind of a diary written by a character, some of the stuff included in describing elements of the world and their experience that a reader would normally let go through to the keeper stands out as gratuitous at worst, and illogical to include at best.

The premise of nearly the whole planet not being able to sleep is a really cool one, and it was a determining factor for me to get the book. I feel like Barnes has missed the mark a little on this, but the premise carries a lot of the other issues. The book turns into a post-apocalyptic societal re-build which doesn't land completely because I just couldn't believe that the planet would completely collapse so quickly.

Tim Beckman read the audio edition for me, and it was a great performance. Nod is a good way to escape reality for a few hours, because it felt very far from reality in my mind.