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Category: Audio

Ballistic: A Gray Man Novel by Mark Greaney

Ballistic is easily my favorite Gray Man novel. The flashback story about how he met Eddie and formed a deep friendship with him is amazing writing. The pictures Mark Greaney paints of the large gun fights in this story blow me away, I really felt like I was watching it all inside my head and could picture everything like I was watching it in a movie theater or in a really great video game.

In fact I was playing the PC video game Far Cry 3 at the same time I was playing this game. I think the Gray Man really affected how approached playing the video game and made it an even better experience. There are a couple of places in the game that loosely fit in with some of the locales in the book, that combination took both the book and video game to another level for me.

For the third time in a row Jay Snider hits a home run and brings all of the characters to life. I was amazed to learn that Jay Snider has recorded 112 programs on Audible, that is an amazing body of work and I look forwarded to listening to more of them.

I bought this audiobook from Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

From the publisher:

Ex-CIA assassin Court Gentry thought he could find refuge living in the Amazon rain forest. But his bloody past finds him when a vengeful Russian crime lord forces him to go on the run once again. Court makes his way to one of the only men in the world he can trust – and arrives too late. His friend is dead and buried.
Years before, Eddie Gamboa had saved Court’s life. Now, Eddie has been murdered by the notorious Mexican drug cartel he fought to take down. And Court soon finds himself drawn into a war he never wanted. But in this war, there are no sides – only survivors….

©2011 Mark Strode Greaney (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book a 9 out of 10 and highly recommend it to any fans of spy and action stories.


Swords of Exodus by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari

This is the second book in Larry Correia and Mike Kupari’s "Dead Six" series and it packs all of the punch and kick as the first Dead Six book.

Holy Cow! I am loving these books.

Lorenzo and Valentine are such great characters and the team of Correia and Kupari keep adding more and more depth to them. I really love these characters.

In this story the ancillary characters step-up in a big way. We get to learn more about them as they take on larger roles in the story. It is characters like these that make stories raise above being just good to being GREAT!

From the publisher:

The hard-hitting sequel to groundbreaking military adventure Dead Six.

On the far side of the world, deep in former Soviet Central Asia, lies a stronghold called the Crossroads. It is run with an iron fist by a brutal warlord calling himself Sala Jihan. He is far more than a petty dictator, for Jihan holds the fate of nations in his grasp. To save a world slipping into chaos, Jihan must either fall or be controlled.
One secret military organization called Exodus plans to see that this happens. For this mission, they need the best of the best. Unfortunately the man they need is rotting in an almost unassailable foreign prison.

Enter Lorenzo, thief extraordinaire. Lorenzo is now retired, happily married, and living in paradise. His Achilles heel: an FBI-agent brother who has gone missing – disappeared into the stronghold of warlord Jihan. Exodus promises to give Lorenzo his chance to rescue his brother if and only if Lorenzo will perform one service for them: break Michael Valentine out of a captivity from which no one has ever emerged alive.

And if Lorenzo can accomplish that – well then, the Crossroads awaits the sword of Exodus.

©2013 Larry Correia, Mike Kupari (P)2014 Audible Inc.

I rate Swords of Exodus a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone who love a good action story.


Dead Six by Larry Correia and Mike Kupari

I am a spy/thriller rampage!

Dead Six is another excellent book from Larry Correia along with Mike Kupari. As with all Larry Correia stories the characters in this one are absolutely amazing.

With two lead characters, Valentine and Lorenzo, the story bounces back and forth between the two with amazing timing leaving me on the edge of my seat time and time again. An amazing juggling act that could have easily fallen apart at any time but Larry and Mike keep all of the balls in the air throughout the entire story. Such great writing.

Bronson Pinchot turns-in yet another amazing performance bringing all of the characters to life. I did have a few flashbacks to other books I have listened to recently that were also narrated by Bronson, but it wasn’t all that distracting, more like hearing from a long lost friend.

I bought this book from Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

From the publisher:

Michael Valentine, veteran and former member of an elite private military company, has been recruited by the government to conduct a secret counter-terror operation in the Persian Gulf nation of Zubara. The unit is called Dead Six. Their mission is to take the fight to the enemy and not get caught. Lorenzo, assassin and thief extraordinaire, is being blackmailed by the world’s most vicious crime lord. His team has to infiltrate the Zubaran terrorist network and pull off an impossible heist or his family will die. When Dead Six compromises his objective, Lorenzo has a new job: Find and kill Valentine. As allegiances are betrayed and the nation descends into a bloody civil war, Lorenzo and Valentine must face off. Two men. Two missions. Only one will win.

©2011 Larry Correia, Mike Kupari (P)2014 Audible Inc.

I rate Dead Six a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to fans of spy/thriller and action novels.


Into the Storm by Larry Correia

Larry Correia knocks it out of the park yet again with his tale of war in a fantasy setting full of technology mingled with magic. For the first time I really enjoyed a story full of steampunk motifs and hard sci-fi based war.

It appears that this story is set in a WarMachine, WarHammer, Iron Kingdoms miniature gaming setting. Normally this would not work for me, I took a look at some of the WarHammer books awhile back and they are not the type of book I would read. But Larry Correia has brought this type of story to a new level.

Into the Storm is character driven with lots of insight into the drives and desires of the characters who are all doing their best to fight for what they believe in. Great stuff.

The narration by Ray Porter is very good, his voice easily transitions from a gravely old man to a young soldier bringing all of the characters to life.

I bought this audiobook on Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

From the publisher:

A knight of Cygnar follows a strict moral code. His integrity is beyond reproach. He holds himself to the highest standards whether dealing with friend or foe. And he values honor above all.

The year is 606 AR, and Cygnar has been sorely pressed by its enemies both at home and abroad. In Caspia, the conflict with the Protectorate is about to erupt into full war with the looming invasion of Sul. The Cygnaran military is desperate for soldiers with the skill, strength, and bravery to take up the devastating galvanic weaponry of the new Storm Division. In this climate, every soldier is valuable, even those fallen from the honor expected of a Storm Knight. A group of such men – thieves, drunkards, and worse – comprise the Sixth Platoon. All they need is someone to lead them.

Lieutenant Hugh Madigan, a peerless warrior knighted during the reign of deposed King Vinter IV, has spent years in obscurity, punished for his loyalty to the former king. Now he has been ordered back to the front and given command of the Sixth, his task to turn a platoon of miscreants into elite soldiers fit to be called Storm Knights. Time is short, and war is coming. One way or another, Lieutenant Madigan must lead his men into the storm….

©2013 Privateer Press (P)2014 Audible Inc.

I rate Into the Storm an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to fans of books based on miniature gaming universes and anyone who needs a little more Larry Correia in their life.


American Assassin by Vince Flynn

After reading the Gray Man series of books I still had a desire for more spy action. In one of the review of Dead Eye Vince Flynn was mentioned so I looked him up and found the Mitch Rapp series. The first book in the series is American Assassin so I picked it up from Audible and gave it a listen.

American Assassin is the first novel in the Mitch Rapp series written by Vince Flynn. This is a traditional superagent spy novel with more action than intrigue. I think it would make for a fantastic movie, especially if shot like the spy action-thriller movies of the 70’s. Mitch Rapp is a likable character with flaws that make him human.

The narrator George Guidall is such an amazing talent. His style with this book is different from many of the other books I have listened to recently, instead of acting out the story it feels more like having someone reading a bedtime story. It has taken some adjusting, but I like it well enough.

I look forward to listening to more Mitch Rapp novels.

From the publisher:

Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world… and then tragedy struck.

Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics has left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protégé, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of commandmen who do not exist.

What type of man is willing to kill for his country without putting on a uniform? Kennedy finds him in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Two-hundred and seventy souls perished that cold December night, and thousands of family and friends were left searching for comfort. Mitch Rapp was one of them, but he was not interested in comfort. He wanted retribution.

Six months of intense training has prepared him to bring the war to the enemy’s doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am attack. Rapp then moves onto Hamburg with his team and across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesnt know is that the enemy is aware of his existence and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.

©2010 Vince Flynn (P)2010 Simon and Schuster Audio

I rate American Assassin a 7 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone looking for a spy adventure.


The Art of Conflict Management by The Great Courses

These academic things always have such ridiculously long titles <sigh>, the full title is " The Art of Conflict Management: Achieving Solutions for Life, Work, and Beyond ".

I was looking for a non-fiction book to give a listen-to and I always give The Great Courses on Audible a look when searching for such a thing. I have listened to some of the Great Course lectures that I did not enjoy but a couple of them have been surprisingly good, so I am always willing to give them a try.

At 12 hours and 20 minutes this is one of the shorter lectures in the Great Courses, and that is a good thing. This course get right to the point and does a good job of keeping on track. The amount of self referential babble is minimal compared to most other lectures. I do not understand the need to constantly tell the listener about what will be talked about in later lectures, it is distracting and counter productive.

Professor Michael Dues does a great job presenting the material. I found his voice easy to listen to, easy to understand, and he kept my attention throughout the lectures.

I enjoyed the way that multiple styles of conflict management were presented instead of trying to propose a one-size fits-all approach.

I bought this audiobook from Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

From the publisher:

In 24 lectures brimming with practical tips, tools, and techniques everyone can use to better manage conflict in his or her professional and personal lives, gain the essential skills of conflict management. As presented by Professor Dues, these lectures will show you how to effectively deal with conflicts of all kinds, using the “win-win” model that has dominated the field for the past six decades.

You’ll gain effective techniques for handling conflicts in your workplace, other organizational settings, or your personal life, whether you’re dealing with supervisors, coworkers, acquaintances, close friends, or family members. You’ll learn the best ways to analyze conflicts and work through the steps toward resolving them, including clarifying goals, handling difficult emotions, and negotiating agreements. And you’ll grasp the fundamental tricks of the trade that experienced negotiators have long used to deal with even the most seemingly intractable moral and cultural conflicts.

While drawing on the latest groundbreaking research, Professor Dues has designed these lectures to be as practical as possible. Requiring no background in conflict management, negotiation, or psychology, they offer you not just knowledge, but strategies and tactics you can put to work in your own life right now. Best of all, you’ll be able to see those strategies and tactics in action through 70 professionally acted dramatizations that illustrate different conflict situations at home and in the workplace.

You don’t have a choice about becoming involved in conflict. You do, however, have a choice about learning to manage it successfully by using the invaluable tools these lectures can give you.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

I rate The Art of Conflict Management a 7 out of 10 and recommend it to anyone looking to improve their conflict management skills.


On Target: A Gray Man Novel by Mark Greaney

On Target is the second book in the Gray Man Series.

This book has many more thoughtful moments than the first book of the series but is still chock-full of action and a bit of suspense. Jay Snider returns as narrator and does a great job once again, I can’t imagine anyone else being the voice of Court Gentry.

I don’t have a lot more to say about On Target, it is a very good spy/assassin story and it left me wanting more, much more.

I bought this audiobook from Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

From the publisher:

Court Gentry, aka the Gray Man, is back – and once again on the run from old friends and foes.

Four years ago, Gentry was betrayed by his handlers in the CIA. Now, an old comrade, Russian arms merchant Sidorenko, returns to force him on a mission against his will: kill Sudan’s President Abboud, the supposed trigger for the Darfur genocide. But the CIA has its own plans for Abboud. With his ruthless employers on one side, his blackmailing former friends on the other, and a doomed mission ahead, Gentry would kill just to get out of this one alive.

Every bit as thrilling, informed, and addictive as The Gray Man, and once again skillfully narrated by Jay Snyder, On Target is sure to hit the mark for thriller fans.

©2010 Mark Strode Greaney (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to any fans of Spy and Action novels.


The Gray Man by Mark Greaney

The Gray Man novels begin with Court Gentry on the outs with the CIA and working as a killer for hire with a conscious. If that sounds familiar and derivative it is because it is. But the Gray Man is his own character with is own emotions and beliefs.

This is Mark Greaney’s first novel and it is a winner, full of action, intrigue, and twists Gray man does not disappoint.

Jay Snyder’s narration is wonderful; he brings both Gentry and the other characters to life. I very quickly cannot imagine any other voice as being Court Gentry.

This book is not about thinking, it is not literature, it is fast-paced action that doesn’t require much work on the reader’s imagination, but it was just what I was looking for.

There are now 4 books in the Gray Man series and I can’t wait to listen to them all.

I bought this audiobook on Audible and listened to it with the Audible app on my iPhone.

From the publisher:

Get ready for white-knuckled listening. Greaney’s debut novel – and future feature film – introduces the enigmatic and elusive Court Gentry, a former CIA operative and a legendary hired gun. With a terrifying ability to vaporize targets and a strict moral code, he stalks the gray margins of the world, moving silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible, then fading away. When his government and former employers turn on him, there is no safehouse to run to, no way to lie low. In a constant state of escape and pursuit, Gentry tears through the Middle East and Europe in a riveting life-or-death race against time.

©2009 Mark Greaney (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

I rate this book an 8 out of 10 and recommend it to fans of fast-paced spy and assassin action.