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Andrea Thompson

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  • Evil Has a Name

  • The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation
  • By: Paul Holes, Jim Clemente, Peter McDonnell
  • Narrated by: Paul Holes, Jim Clemente
  • Length: 6 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 241
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 209
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 210

For his victims, for their families and for the investigators tasked with finding him, the senselessness and brutality of the Golden State Killer's acts were matched only by the powerlessness they felt at failing to uncover his identity. Then, on April 24, 2018, authorities arrested 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo at his home in Citrus Heights, Calif., based on DNA evidence linked to the crimes. Amazingly, it seemed, evil finally had a name. Please note: This work contains descriptions of violent crime and sexual assault and may not be suitable for all listeners.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic

  • By Anonymous User on 26-11-2018

An audio documentary well worth your time

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

Reviewed: 05-12-2018

It is difficult to imagine a reign of terror quite like that of the length and level of ferocity delivered by the Golden State Killer. Those who have jumped onto the true crime podcast bandwagon in the last few years will have already heard a tonne of discussion about the collection of frightening cases that were all eventually attributed to the one serial perpetrator. Spread over a large geographic area, these sadistic crimes spurned enormous manhunts and were able to make entire Californian towns alter their behaviour out of fear. No one was safe.

This was a career criminal who seemed often to be inviting capture, whilst being equally clever – or charmed - at avoiding it. At first there was a peeping tom, next a home invader, then a rapist, and then a committed murderer of women and couples. What the GSK/EAR/ONS (East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker) was most of all was horrifying prolific and his crimes put him in the uneasy category of those who have entered the public psyche by being a truly indescribable monster.

Because of the blizzard of online discourse out there about the Golden State Killer (as he was coined by the late true crime author Michelle McNamara, and was perhaps how the killer most referred to as of late), a new generation has recently been made aware of what Californian detectives were dealing with in the mid 1970’s to mid-1980’s period. The sheer scope of the investigations, both separate and combined at different levels of cross county cooperation, was mind boggling. For those wishing to know how such a spider’s web became untangled just this year, an audiobook that sifts through and collates the reams and reams of information is now here to detail exactly how it was done.

EVIL HAS A NAME - The Untold Story of the Golden State Killer Investigation is an excellent summarized audio documentary of what led to an arrest after over forty years of investigators chasing what appeared to be a ghost. From whoa to now, this true crime audiobook/long form podcast does an excellent job in selecting the pertinent details that show the processes and advances in technology which gave such a herculean task the focus required to bring about a result. The host intrusion into the narrative is minimal (appreciated greatly by someone who listens to and reads a lot of true crime) and the audio snippets from the reporters and investigators over the years are slotted alongside the narration of Detective Paul Holes and the wrenching accounts of the survivors.

There’s plenty of moments during this audio book where things start to make sense; as in the pieces that you thought you knew finally are slotted into the timeline of such a convoluted case. Snippets are explained, and repetitive information is filtered out to create a piece that wastes no time in over dramatics or salacious detailing. The horror is not ignored; it is more that its inclusion is not delivered in such a way that it becomes a tool of entertainment. The focus is always on the those that worked tirelessly and never gave up, and the survivors who put themselves through further anguish by continuing to talk about their experiences, bravely relating what they observed about the GSK during their own attacks.

Host Jim Clemente is a familiar voice to those who listen to the Wondery podcast REAL CRIME PROFILE and his audio appearances IN EVIL HAS A NAME serve to direct the flow of events, pulling the thoughts of the listener back into line where required. The insights of the man who was there, retired Detective Paul Holes, are invaluable in giving weight and insight into what he was experiencing as the case became so enormous that all possible contacts, resources and police hunches needed to be utilized.

ABOUT THE HOSTS:
Paul Holes is the forensic criminologist and retired Costa County Detective who spent 20 years trying to crack the Golden State Killer case, and finally did.
Jim Clemente is a retired FBI profiler and former New York City prosecutor who has investigated some of the highest profile criminal cases in US history, including the Unabomber.

  • Believe Me

  • By: JP Delaney
  • Narrated by: Eric Meyers, Lorelei King, John Chancer, and others
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 58
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 54

Claire Wright likes to play other people. A struggling British actress, in New York without a green card, Claire needs work. She takes the only part she's offered: as a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers, hired to entrap straying husbands, catching them on tape with their seductive propositions. The rules? Never hit on them directly. Make it clear you're available, but they have to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not entrapment.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Variation on a theme with literary twist

  • By Philip on 18-08-2018

Fantastic voice acting lifts the book up a notch

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

Reviewed: 17-09-2018

Yikes. Be prepared for the push and pull as your suspicions settle on one person and then are shunted briskly away to lay uneasily on the head of another. Rinse and repeat.

Listened to as an Audible title, the superb acting talents of the primary voice actor in BELIEVE ME lift the work up another notch. There are other actors featured too, but the lead is so convincing it’s hard to ever hit the pause button on her classy narration. You’ll want to immediately search up all her other voice work after listening to BELIEVE ME.

There’s a lot to like in this novel and there’s also a lot that simply doesn’t work. It’s clever or very clumsy in parts and there’s no continuity with either intent. Claire’s character is suitably complex and we’re all for seeing female characters showing their dark sides, just as male characters have been able to display for the last billion years in fiction. As you progress through BELIEVE ME you are never quite sure if you are dealing with an unreliable narrator – and this can brand a thriller as a one trick pony with there being so many novels about now of this type – or whether this is someone who makes a practice of making monumentally unwise decisions.

Does the reader become invested in the outcome of BELIEVE ME? Not really. We know where we are headed. Second novels following blockbuster debuts can have a terrific weight of expectation placed on them well before release and BELIEVE ME was no exception. The sub culture of sexual fetishes is in interesting inclusion, as is the plot device of selecting certain works of French poet Charles Baudelaire to illustrate the motivations of a killer. BELIEVE ME fires well straight out of the gates but credibility is stretched to breaking point as soon as Claire is asked to contribute her acting talents to the investigation.

BELIEVE ME waxes and wanes between holding your interest and pushing you off to do other things when it gets a bit tedious. You do need to fully invest in Claire and her nebulous reasonings in order to finish this book. Modern relationships are hideously complicated and hats off to BELIEVE ME, as this thriller takes that certainty to a whole new level of dangerous complexity.

  • The Blood Road

  • Logan McRae, Book 11
  • By: Stuart MacBride
  • Narrated by: Steve Worsley
  • Length: 16 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 62
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 57
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 57

What drives someone to murder? Logan McRae's personal history is hardly squeaky clean, but now that he works for Professional Standards he's policing his fellow officers. When Detective Inspector Bell turns up dead in the drivers seat of a crashed car, it's a shock to everyone. Because Bell died two years ago. They buried him. Or they thought they did. As an investigation is launched into Bell's stabbing, Logan digs into his past. Where has he been all this time? Why did he disappear? And what's so important that he felt the need to come back from the dead?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent

  • By Janette Gorman on 06-11-2018

Brilliant narration of a brilliant novel

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

Reviewed: 17-09-2018

MacBride is an instant buy for me and THE BLOOD ROAD is another excellent entry in a series that seems unstoppable.

Clever and crackingly funny, THE BLOOD ROAD is wonderful audio entertainment. The narrator is perfect for the read and knows exactly how to lean in on the sarcasm and humour when it is needed.

P.S. I have picked up quite a few good new insults to hurl at my teenagers. Bonus!

  • Greenlight

  • Audible's Thriller of 2018
  • By: Benjamin Stevenson
  • Narrated by: Rupert Degas, David Tredinnick, Jennifer Vuletic, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 419
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 399
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 397

Four years ago Eliza Dacey was brutally murdered. Within hours, her killer was caught. Wasn’t he? So reads the opening titles of Jack Quick’s new true-crime documentary. A skilled producer, Jack knows that the bigger the conspiracy, the higher the ratings. Curtis Wade, convicted of Eliza’s murder on circumstantial evidence and victim of a biased police force, is the perfect subject. Millions of viewers agree. Just before the finale, Jack uncovers a minor detail that may prove Curtis guilty after all. Convinced it will ruin his show, Jack disposes of the evidence and delivers the finale unedited: proposing that Curtis is innocent. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Aussie Thriller

  • By Thomas on 07-09-2018

A polished debut delivered brilliantly

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

Reviewed: 03-09-2018

GREENLIGHT works extremely well as an audio title as the conspiratorial way it has been written lends itself beautifully to that platform of intimacy. In our ears it’s all quietly confessed secrets and the discovery of lies as we move around with producer Jack Quick in the shadows of a country town. This is not necessarily a sleepy town. This is wine country.

The success of Jack Quick’s initial podcast investigation into the death of Eliza Dacey surprised no one more than Jack himself. Curtis Wade was never the most popular person in the community, being newly cashed up (just tacky) and difficult to deal with, but the speed of his arrest and conviction for the murder of a young vineyard worker screamed ‘fit up’. The degree to which Jack is willing to suggest a conspiracy to his listeners may involve some… finesse. Ratings are everything. How far Jack is willing to go involves some deep diving into a soul that was already troubled before the investigation into the death of Eliza.

Curtis Wade made a convincing villain for one murder and upon his release, is once again regarded as a suspect when there is a second killing. Jack’s reporting on Eliza’s murder, stylistically slanted and edited of course for maximum dramatic effect, had suggested the existence of simmering town prejudices and that the most of inept of country cops had been tasked with investigating Eliza’s murder. Jack now has cause to question his own ethics, and whether his presence had been a catalyst for more violence. Wrongs must now be addressed.

If you’ve ever stayed in an Australian wine region, you might feel that you recognize the (fictional) setting and some of the townsfolk who feature in GREENLIGHT. Wine towns ride on the back of tourism, but the locals aren’t always friendly to anyone who rides in to dabble in the business of winemaking, or to involve themselves in transactions of buying and selling wine. In Jack Quick we have someone trying to do right whilst acknowledging the wrongs that had been tactically employed along the way. He’s a curious character, and not the alpha male we normally see leading the charge in crime fiction. We’ve had enough of those. People who are able to mess up, be beaten up, and then get up again when required are way more interesting to read of.

GREENLIGHT combines the appeal of the two fastest growing forms of digital entertainment that we have right now - podcasts and audio books. Today’s time poor readers have leaped on to both of these mediums with increasing gusto in the last two years or so and it’s all to the good. GREENLIGHT is an absorbing work of fiction that gives us the required time with each character, somehow managing to gallop us past what we should have been paying our most keen attention to. Multiple voice actors are used here in the podcast excerpts that are inserted judiciously into Jack’s narrative. The lead voice actor here is brilliant at differentiating the characters he plays in Jack’s scenes, so there’s never any confusion as to whose voice it is that we are hearing.

The mental health issues raised in this novel are not often addressed in fiction in relation to the males of our species. This is quite enlightening to read of, as negotiating your everyday working life around a full blown eating disorder is just another difficulty to your day. Jack’s character and life outside of his career are fully fleshed, and the read is all the better for it.

GREENLIGHT is a polished debut work of crime fiction that offers up the trifecta of entertainment; it is engaging, topical, and satisfying. The excellent voice work in this Audible production adds much to the experience of being immersed in the struggles of Jack as he questions his own motivations and the cost of success in our entertainment obsessed world.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful