Saturday, October 30, 2010

"The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" edited by John Joseph Adams

"The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"
edited by John Joseph Adams
Performed by Simon Vance and Anne Flosnik
produced by Brilliance Audio
Approx 21.5 hours

If you are a constant reader of my postings, you may be wondering what I'm doing listening to a Sherlock Holmes audio book. I know, it sounds weird and most of my readings are in the Sci-fi, Horror and Fantasy realms, but once in a while I dive into the classics, but this time I'm not straying away from my favorite genres. This collection of short stories takes the world's most famous "Consulting Detective" into some very interesting adventures.

The defining quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote for Holmes, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth," is what guides this collection. This collection explores the improbable and bends the limits on improbability. There are 28 stories in this collection written by authors whose specialties range throughout the sci-fi, horror and fantasy realms. Just a few of the authors are; Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Laurie R. King, Anthony Burgess, Stephen Baxter.

Some of the stories in this collection are rewrites of original Holmes adventures, such as "A Study in Emerald" by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman takes the introductory story to Holmes' adventures , "A Study in Scarlet," and places Holmes and Watson in an alternate universe in which Lovecraftian creatures have invaded the Earth and rule the contintents. In the original story Scarlet referred to the color of the blood of the murder victim, in this story Emerald refers to the alien's greenish blood color. I found this story to be the most fun, in that having known the original story, how the aliens created a strange turn to the clues Holmes had to decipher.

In the other stories you have Holmes traveling through time, meeting with the authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, explaining his 3 years of missing time when Watson believed him to be dead at the hands of Professor Moriarty.

Whether you are a Sherlock Holmes fan or a fan of the strange genres of fiction you will have fun when listening to this collection. There is a bit of something for everyone here. Even some normal Holmes Adventures that just don't seem to be solvable by Holmes.

The readers, Simon Vance and Anne Flosnik swap the reading depending on whether the story is told from a woman's point of view or a man's. Anne Flosnik reads the stories using various accents and emotions perfectly. The gem in this audio book, in my opinion, is Simon Vance, throughout the book Vance captures the characters of Holmes and Watson flawlessly. No matter where the adventure takes them he is consistent with their vocal qualities and that keeps the listener tuned in to the adventure. I know there were several times I couldn't stop listening until Holmes solved the crime.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"Bloody Jack" by L.A. Meyer

"Bloody Jack"
by L.A. Meyer
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Produced by Listen & Live Audio, 2007
Approx 7.5 hours

So do you like pirates, street urchins and love stories? I think I may have found the perfect audiobook for you. This time around I listened to another young adult novel, and had a grand adventure from the streets of London to fighting pirates on the high seas. This adventure novel is also a nice historical novel. The story takes place during the 18th century when his majesty's navy was battling pirates and preparing for war against France.

The story is told through the voice of Mary "Bloody Jack" Faber as she lives out these adventures. It all begins with her as a young orphan on the streets of London trying to survive. Mary takes up with "Rooster" Charlie, the leader of a gang of orphans who beg on the streets to survive. Charlie takes care of his gang and Mary looks up to him as a brother. When Mary discovers Charlie dead on the dark backstreets of London, she no longer has someone to take care of her so she decides to be her on person. She takes Charlies clothes and the persona of Jack, she soon learns that as a boy things are a bit easier in the street life.

Now living as Jack, she finds her way to the docks, where Navy ships are looking for ship boys, these are the boys that do the grunt work on board the ship, Jack gets on board the H.M.S. Dolphin as a ship boy and maintains her secret of being a girl. She soon boards with 3 other boys taken on at the same time and leads a life as a Navy ship boy. After a year or so on-board she finds it harder and harder to maintain the secret because her body is betraying her. Not sure what all the changes of puberty will bring, since she never had any parents to tell her, she strikes out on the next port call to a bordello to ask one of the women there what she needs to know. Upon leaving the bordello the other boys see "Jack" and add to to the myth of her being a boy, after some teasing. During this same port call the 4 ship-boys have created a pact among each other to always be true. To prove this they get tattoos and whenever a secret must be kept they swear upon their tattoos.

Jack gains her nickname "Bloody Jack" after the crew of the HMS Dolphin boards a ship and she, still only about thirteen years old, shoots a plundered pistol to kill a pirate who is about to stab one of her fellow shipmates, Jaimy, who is paralyzed with fright. She comes back to the Dolphin covered in blood, and her proud shipmates nickname the little "boy" Bloody Jack.

During a battle with a pirate ship in the Caribbean the HMS Dolphin is damaged and takes on water. The ship is forced to seek shelter in the cove of a small island until repairs can be made. On this island there is no wood of use to repair the ship so one of the crew members, who has been experimenting with kites, puts Jack on the kite and flies her high to scout for land. During the "flight" the kite breaks free flying Jack 30 miles or so from the Island to be marooned on another Island by herself.

Growing up alone and trying to maintain a major secret create a great adventure in "Bloody Jack." Basically start out with a little "Oliver Twist' throw in some "Treasure Island" with a dash of "Robinson Crusoe" and you have this fun adventure.

Katherin Kellgren does a wonderful job voicing this book. From the cockney accent of the street kids to the distinguished officers on-board the HMS Dolphin, she delivers the book with realism.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Walking Dead on AMC

I just Spread the Dead. Click below to do the same and you could win $5,000! Don’t forget to check out the premiere of The Walking Dead Sunday Oct. 31 at 10/9c on AMC.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Your Chance to win: "The Art of Zombie Warfare - How to Kick Ass Like the Walking Dead" by Scott Kenemore

Your Chance to win:
"The Art of Zombie Warfare - How to Kick Ass Like the Walking Dead"
by Scott Kenemore
Skyhorse Publishing
266 pgs.

I've got a Halloween treat for you. This time I'm teaming up with Skyhorse Publishing to give you a chance to win a copy of the book, "The Art of Zombie Warfare - How to Kick Ass Like the Walking Dead" by Scott Kenemore. All you have to do is comment below and on Halloween I'll draw the winner's name and you'll receive your own copy. Comment and make sure you leave a way for me to contact you. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your email address then email me gil (at) gilwilson (dot) com and let me know you commented. Drawing to be held Sunday, October 31, 2010.

Do you dream of becoming a soldier who fights with the efficacy and skill of a zombie? Are you a general commander seeking to imbue your troops with the ruthless, soulless killing efficiency of an animated corpse? Are you a voodoo priest or wizard desiring to raise an actual army of zombies to help you conquer the land and install yourself as ruler? Then this is the book for you! With "The Art of Zombie Warfare" you will learn how to fight without weapons, communicate wordlessly, and enjoy the multifarious battlefield strategy benefits that come with always just walking straight at the enemy.

5 tips for adopting the zombie combat style in this book:
Withstand massive amounts of damage.
Dish it out like a zombie.
Don't follow treaties or rules of any kind
Fight like you're already dead.
Be quiet.

Written by the author of "Zen of Zombie" and "Z.E.O," "The Art of Zombie Warfare" is the most authoritative tome available today on the subject of zombie combat.

Available @ Amazon and

comment below to win. Drawing to be held Sunday October 31, 2010.

What happens to your internet presence after you pass on?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"Buffalo Unbound, A Celebration" by Laura Pedersen a book review and how to win a copy of the book

"Buffalo Unbound, A Celebration"
by Laura Pedersen
Published by Fulcrum Books
216 pages

At the end of this review I'll tell you how you can win a copy of this book and and Laura Pedersen's memoirs of growing up in Buffalo, "Buffalo Gal."

Laura Pedersen columnist, trader, humorist and author loves her native city of Buffalo, New York. In her memoirs of growing up in Buffalo, "Buffalo Gal" she told humorous stories of growing up during a time in Buffalo when times were tough. In 2009 "Forbes" magazine ranked Buffalo as one of the top ten most miserable cities in which to live and then had the gall to repeat the insult in 2010. Pedersen didn't stand for this and has written a humorous and at times heartfelt book to retaliate and portray Buffalo, NY as a top-tier city and "The City of Good Neighbors."

Pedersen takes the reader on a wonderful journey through the history of Buffalo from the times when the Iroquois Indians ruled the land to now where the city is thriving with locally made candies, food festivals, multicultural events, theatre and stunning architecture drive away the reminders of great blizzards past.

Each chapter/essay in this book covers something about Buffalo that I found fascinating, whether it was the history or descriptions of the beautiful and even some strange sights. Buffalo is always changing with the times. Laura Pedersen could always throw in some comment that leaves you smiling. Her humor really makes this book one that cannot be put down.

The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce had better have a thank you basket handy for Laura, because every section had me wanting to move to Buffalo and set down roots. My only reservation, was the snow and cold. Pedersen even covers the "Blizzard of '77" and a few other tragedies such as the "Cleveland Hill Fire," when an elementary school burned down killing many children, but the bright side, if there can be one in such a tragedy, is that this New York tragedy created the need for schools nation wide to organize fire drills.

If you like architecture then you already know of Frank Lloyd Wright, but did you know of the many Buffalo area buildings he designed? Architecture is covered as well as sculpture, and other arts, so it seems Buffalo has a bit of something for everyone.

This book is a fun read that not only teaches a little history, but entertains with the not quite dry wit of Laura Pedersen and creates the urge to shuffle off to Buffalo. But there's still that snow thing...maybe if a radio station in the Buffalo area needs an employee and will pay to move me there, for that I would love to see the sights written about in this book, maybe I'll have to plan a vacation to Buffalo, after all Niagara Falls is close by.

Now let's talk about how you can win a copy of this book. All you have to do is comment on this posting and you'll be entered in a random drawing to win not only this book, "Buffalo Unbound," but also Pedersen's memoirs, "Buffalo Gal." Comment and make sure you leave a way for me to contact you. If you don't feel comfortable leaving your email address then email me gil (at) gilwilson (dot) com and let me know you commented. Drawing to be held Friday, October 22, 2010.

Also check out Laura Pedersen's website for more information about her and her other books.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Devil's Manhunt" By L. Ron Hubbard

"Devil's Manhunt"
By L. Ron Hubbard
Multicast Performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours

It's time once again to go back to those thrilling times of yesteryear...okay so that was the opening for "The Lone Ranger" TV series, but listening to this audiobook reminded me of the series I used to watch as a kid. I also realized that hey, I actually do like reading/listening to westerns, but only good westerns. It seems L. Ron Hubbard wrote some pretty cool westerns. With Galaxy Press and Galaxy Audio re-releasing the old pulp fiction stories from the mid-20th century that Hubbard penned, or rather typed ( I read somewhere he could carry on a conversation and type out a short story at the same time), I can now go back and enjoy those stories I've missed or denied myself due to not thinking I like westerns.

Maybe it's just that these productions from Galaxy Audio keep me glued to the audiobook. Galaxy Audio provides the complete theater of the mind experience in every one of these releases. This audio book is no exception. When the horses ride off they actually ride off not just some one slapping coconuts together. These guys have no need of the Wilhelm Scream in their vocal sound effects, because each of the voice actors are top notch and every grunt and scream occur in the moment and fit the story perfectly. The original music also pulls you into the story and with these stories, the music had that authentic western feel.

This release features three stories not only all falling into the western genre but all having the same theme of being hunted down. The fun part in all of Hubbard's stories is that they end with a bit of a twist that is nearly hard to see coming. After hearing several of these stories I've discovered I can almost predict the twist to come....almost.

"Devil's Manhunt," originally published February, 1950 tells the story of Young Tim Beckdolt who had been working in Arizona for eight long, treacherous months before striking a rich seam of gold. Now, after three months of hard, grueling labor, he's stockpiled that gold ore. Just as he's about to set out and sell all the gold a Swedish giant named Sven and the foppish Virginian killer named Bonnet, arrive to jump his claim. Forced by gunpoint to mine the remainder of the gold for this villainous pair. Sven and Bonnet hunt game each night to keep them all nourished, but one night Bonnet chances across a bear and finds that game to be a challenge. Bonnet then realizes he loves the hunt and wonders what the best game to hunt would be. Bonnet and Sven then decide to hunt Tim, after all they were going to kill him anyway, might as well make a sport of it.

"Johnny, the Town Tamer," originally published August, 1949 is a fun story in which Texas Johnny frustrates an attempt to kill him, and runs off the man who tried to do it. Johnny comes into a town that is crooked all the way up to the town manager. They all see Johnny has some gold dust and a herd of cattle that will soon be coming through town and see the opportunity to get rich. Johny and a mysterious partner outwit the entire town, but the how they do it.

"Stranger in Town," originally published December,1949 introduces the reader/listener to Zeke Tomlin, who may be a little paranoid, but he has good reason. New in Dry Creek himself, Zeke knows someone will ride in one day, looking for him. Because in his past he was blamed for murder by a corrupt marshal, and has been hiding out ever since. When the corrupt marshal arrives in pursuit, Zeke must deal with him and the town.

Strap on your spurs and get a shot of some red-eye and enjoy these stories from the Golden Age.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Immortalis - Part 1 of 3" Book 7 of "The Demon Wars Saga" by R.A. Salvatore

"Immortalis - Part 1 of 3"
Book 7 of "The Demon Wars Saga"
by R.A. Salvatore
Multi-cast performance
produced by GraphicAudio
Approx 7 hours

I knew it was coming, the beginning of the end, and here it is. This is the first of three parts of the final book in "The Demon Wars Saga" by R.A. Salvatore. This saga has been a great adventure in fantasy taking place in the land of Corona. The heroes have included wizards (of a sort), elves, dwarves, goblins, giants, a centaur that plays bagpipes, humans and a dragon. Everything one could ever want in a fantasy series. Salvatore not only created this fictional Land of Corona and populated with some great heroes and villains, but he also created several forms of government and religious doctrine.

One of the things that forms a great work of fiction is how in depth the characters and their adventures are explained. By creating brand new forms of politics and religion these characters have strict rules to go by and how or when they cross those lines create the great stories. Salvatore has done just that by at first in the saga creating a demon that threatens the land and how these governments and religions react. Even more to the point the excitement occurs when heroes are the ones acting and the government and religion stand by idly.

Throughout the adventures I have grown quite fond of he central characters. Jilseponie (Pony) who as a child was left alone to die after goblins raided her town. She grew up to become a soldier in the king's army, a weilder of magic and then Queen of Honce-the-Bear. Now she is no longer queen because her son, who was thought to have died at birth, has usurped the crown and has left her in her own exile. But she will not go quietly, she is now out to find why Lady Dasselrond, the leader of the elves took her baby and released his evil on the land.

Bellimar Juraviel, the elf that trained rangers so they may protect the humans of the Land of Corona, is now in love with one of his lost kinsfolk. Juraviel is of the Touel'alfar elves and centuries ago the Touel'alfar had split in ideals from the Doc'alfar. The Doc'alfar left the lands and were never heard from again. Juravial was escorting the most recently trained ranger Brynn Dharielle to the lands of To-gai to free her people from slavery when they discovered the Doc'alfar. Juraviel fell in love with one of the Doc'alfar and now will be having a child with her. Juravial brings the King of the Doc'alfar back to Lady Dasselrond in hopes of reuniting the elven folk, but learns that King Adryan may be a threat to the elves.

King Adryan killed King Ursal to gain the crown and a few others and as he decides to conquer the Behren and To-gai lands of the south his murderous past starts to haunt him. He awakes from dreams where those slain have come back. His reign not only includes conquering the lands to the south but with the aid of his mentor, the evil, Marcalo De'unnero, Adryan also plans on reforming the Abellican church.

All this is where part one leaves off. Now on to part 2 so I can get more of this excitement. The nice thing about listening to these audio book productions from GraphicAudio is that they split them up in six or seven hour installments. For me this provides convenience of enjoying the events in the saga and enjoying the breaks between the excitement and turmoil created by R. A. Salvatore. This same excitement and turmoil is made more exciting through the superb production from GraphicAudio. They use excellent voice actors that not only express the emotion and action of the characters at the moment but also seem to be able to express the character's history that led to this moment in time. The music and sound effects also move you along through the saga leaving you on the edge of your seat for the entire run.

So strap in and enjoy this beginning of the end of the saga.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Beastly" by Alex Flinn

by Alex Flinn
read by Chris Patton
Produced by Brilliance Audio, 2010

So I'm out looking for something different to hear as an audiobook, and I look through the young adult section of listings and run across this book, "Beastly." With young adult fiction it can be hit or miss, you can count big hits in the Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket series of books but when I tried the "Twilight" series I was let down. This book looked like a promising telling of a classic story. The premise of the book is based on the traditional fairytale "The Beauty and the Beast." The author researched various versions of the fairytale, and even makes some reference to them throughout the book.

This is by no means the Disneyfied version, so if you are looking for that type of fun, musical story with a happy ending, it's not this one. This version of the story, while encapsulating the full meaning and feel of the classic, brings the story to modern times with some nice teen angst, cliques and materialistic views of life.

In this book Kyle Kingsbury, the rich, handsome son of Rob Kingsbury, a famous news anchor, has lived all his life thinking that looks and money are all you need in life. He seems to be living proof of that, he dates the hottest girls and is the most popular guy in school. But when Kyle asks a not so good looking new student, Kendra, to the prom as a practical joke, Kendra, transforms Kyle into an ugly man who then turns into a beast. It turns out Kendra is really a beautiful witch.

Kyle's father is ashamed of his son's appearance and locks him in a large apartment in downtown New York so no one will see him. Kyle's only company is his housekeeper, and, later, a blind tutor named Will and his dog. Kyle changes his name to "Adrian", which means "dark one". His only happiness comes from the rose garden he plants and maintains in his small backyard, encouraged by Will. Adrian has two years to break the witch's spell by falling in love and being loved sincerely despite physical appearances.

The Beauty in this story comes in the form of Lindy. Lindy is a poor girl who attends Kyle's school by scholarships. Her only hope to get away from her poverty stricken life, taking care of her drug abusing father is to maintain her grades. In being the bookworm sort she has gone through the school unnoticed. She does have a crush on Kyle, and at the same prom where Kyle is turned into the beaste, Kyle gives her a white rose, only because his girlfriend wanted an orchid and wouldn't wear a "cheap rose." This event is big to Lindy, but Kyle sees it as insignificant.

A man breaks into Kyle's/Adrian's rose garden and when the Beast confronts him the man pleads for his life and offers his daughter to the beast to avoid the police. Kyle learns this is Lindy's father and finds this could be his last chance to find true love and break the curse. Kyle takes Lindy in and he must discover the secrets to true love and find his way to her heart.

I will warn you once again this is not a Disney version and the Happy Ending is relative. The reader, Chris Patton delivers the story with perfect intonation of all emotions and character quirks that at times I almost thought I was listening to a multi-cast performance.

The interesting thing I discovered is that this book has been turned into a movie, that will be released in 2011.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"Transcendence Part 3 of 3" Book 6 of "The Demon Wars Saga" by R.A. Salvatore

"Transcendence Part 3 of 3"
Book 6 of "The Demon Wars Saga"
by R.A. Salvatore
Multicast performance
Produced by GraphicAudio
Approx 6 hours

Sad to say, but my adventures in the Land of Corona are coming to a close. With the finishing of this final part of book 6, I realize there's only one more book left and the story seems to be ready for a huge finale. This last trilogy builds up the new leaders in the land of Behren and Honce-the-Bear. This book in particular covers the land of Behren and how the Behrenese have conquered the To-Gai and the ranger that is out to set the To-Gai people free, Brynn Dharielle.

In the previous five books the land of Behren has been mention, but only in passing. This time around R.A. Salvatore explores the government and religions of the southernmost lands. The main outline of the land seems to derive from an equivalent of our Middle East and Asian countries. The Behrenese are closely related in many senses to the Muslims where the To-Gai seem to be loosely based on Mongolians of Asia, then you have the Jhesta Tu Mystics that could resemble the Shao lin Monks of China.

This final installment of "Transcendence" builds to two great battles, one for the leadership of Behren and one for the final stand of the To Gai.

The Behrenese are ruled by holy clerics known as Yatols, and the leader of the Yatols is the Chezru Chieftain. The latest Chezru Chieftain is Yakim Douan, and it is time for his transcendence, a period where his body dies but the next chieftan is born into the body of an infant, much like the idea behind the Dali Lama. But in this case Yakim Douan has been cheating the system by using the soulstone, one of the magical gems of the Abellican monks from the northlands. The Behrenese religion forbids the use of magic gemstones, but Yakim Douan has been using the soulstone to possess the bodies of unborn infants to be reborn for many centuries. He is now getting old and is ready to invade his next body, but with the problems in Honce-the-bear and the rebellious To-Gai, he has to put this off.

Brynn Dharielle was taken by the Touel'alfar, the elves, and trained as a Ranger so she can return to free the To-Gai. Her campaign has been successful in that she has been constantly making dents in the Behrenese armies, not enough to conquer but enough to ruin the day of the Chezru Chieftan. She has been called the Dragon of To-Gai, because at her side she has a dangerous ally, Agradelus the dragon. Agradelus has been underground for many years and the taste of battle keeps him hard to control.

Brynn is assisted also by a Jhesta Tu Mystic Pagonel. Pagonel discovers the secret to Transcendence and returns to the Behren capital city of Jacintha to uncover the truth and ridicule the Chezru Chieftain. This could turn the land into a land of turmoil knowing their ruling party and religion has been deceiving them all these years.

Once again through the magic of GraphicAudio's superb production this saga continues with some of the most exciting audio books ever produced. GraphicAudio uses great voice talent, sound effects and incidental music that leaves you feeling as though you need to wash the sands off from the desert battles and checking yourself for arrow wounds. Their production is magical.

Monday, October 04, 2010

"On Blazing Wings" By L. Ron Hubbard

"On Blazing Wings"
By L. Ron Hubbard
Multi-cast performance
Produced by Galaxy Audio
Approx 2 hours.

Galaxy Audio and Galaxy Press continue to release L. Ron Hubbard's short stories written during the Golden age of Stories, back in the pulp fiction days of the mid-20th century. This January starts another round for the year and the first one out of the archives is this gem of a story,listed under the Air Adventure category, but mixes in a little science-fiction and fantasy. Originally published in May of 1940, this story combines destiny and war heroes at a time when war heroes were the popular read.

David Duane, artist, adventurer and air ace learns his destiny in the mystery-shrouded city of golden minarets, Puhjola. Duane, is an American fighting for the Democratic People's Government of Finland, only because he found himself in the country when the war started and knew he could make some money in their air force. After all he's been an air ace for several wars.

When David Duane goes after a group of Russian Bombers he sees a city in the clouds. This city turns out to be the mythical land of heroes, Puhjola. There he is reuinited with his other air team that have been shot down in this recent raid. Not only that but he meets up with buddies from previous wars who died in action, he also meets up with the Russians he shot down. When he apologizes for shooting them down, one of the Russians says "No big deal, it is war." The strange being that runs the city of Puhjola, tells Duane that was his last chance that no matter how many times he returns he cannot change his destiny. Duane is told that he will meet up with a Russian Woman and fall in love and then lose his life while trying to protect her, instead of saving the thousands of others he should be protecting.

Duane says he can change it this time, just give him one more chance. The leader says no and tells him he can no longer return to Puhjola. Duane is determined to change his destiny, but when he wakes up his plane is buried in the snow and burning and Russian soldiers are beating him. He cannot recall his time in Puhjola, but something about his destiny is buzzing in his brain. He is then rescued by a female Russian intelligence officer and falls in love. But he knows he needs to change something.

Can David Duane become a hero again and change his destiny or is his destiny unchangeable? As with all of L. Ron Hubbard pulp fiction stories not only is a dame involved, but you can expect twists and turns until the very end.

One of the best ways to enjoy these stories is in the audiobook form produced by Galaxy Audio. Galaxy Audio, a division of Galaxy Press, combines superb voice actors, stunning sound effects and mood enhancing incidental music that keeps you locked in to this story from The Golden Age.

Friday, October 01, 2010

"Countdown" by Greg Cox

by Greg Cox
Multi-cast Performance
Produced by GraphicAudio, 2010
Approx 6 hours

DC comics had/has a great configuration of crossover comics with their multi-verse "Crisis" series.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Countdown to Infinite Crisis
Infinite Crisis
Countdown to Final Crisis (novel form titled "Countdown," this book)
Final Crisis
The series told a tale of 52 alternate realities otherwise known as multiverses. The problem consisting of multiple realities coming together could destroy all realities. In this book, "Countdown," The aftermath of "Infinite Crisis" led to the series "52" which consisted of the Primary Earth dealing with the aftermath. This book, as the title suggests, is a countdown to events that lead to yet another multiverse crisis which will be the "Final Crisis." The original "Countdown to Final Crisis" comics were published in 51 issues, Greg Cox has created the novelization of the series into this book.

So once again the comic books are converted to a novel. What happened to the awesome graphics that make a comic so much of an experience? Well, Greg Cox uses words to convey the images and any fan of good fiction would appreciate this. But what happens if the comic fan wants those images? I suggest picking up the audio book created by GraphicAudio. GraphicAudio has a slogan, "A Movie in your Mind," and let me tell you, they deliver. From the moment I heard my first GraphicAudio audiobook, I've been hooked. They use a cast of very talented voice actors that can creat every subtlety of a superhero through voice only. For Example, when you hear someone acting the role of Batman in a GraphicAudio audiobook, you hear Bruce Wayne's loss of his parents, his calculating the next 30 moves in defeating a foe, and more, just through superb voice acting.

The acting is not the only thing that keeps these audiobooks interesting there is also incidental music that rises and falls with and enhances all the emotions and action in the story. And even more fun are the sound effects. So how do you give sound to the Green Lantern's ring creating a boxing glove and punching his foe? You can't just simply punch something and record it, because the power behind the ring is what is creating the glove. GraphicAudio create some superb effects that you can see in the mind's eye all aspects of just such an action. These guys really know what they are doing.

So with all that said let's talk about this audiobook. The excitement abounds, the story twists and turns and ultimate good is pitted up against ultimate evil. Exactly what you'd expect from a comic book, but in this series all this takes place without the big name superheroes. The Justice League members do make their appearance near the end to help wrap up the final battle and outcome, but for the most part what were normally minor characters now take the lead.

First off we've got Superman's pal, Jimmy Olsen, suddenly endowed with superpowers. Not sure where they come from, Jimmy's not one to ask, being the epitomical good guy, Jimmy immediately takes on the guise of Action Man and tries to right wrongs. The problem with these newfound powers is that they only occur when his life is threatened. But when his life is threatened the powers are doozies. Powers such as, porcupine like quills suddenly erupting from his skin and shooting at foes, his body turning to ooze and more weirdness. Even not being able to control his powers Jimmy tries to fight crime.

Next we have Mary Marvel. After the events in 52, Mary is now just simply Mary Batson, sister to Billy Batson (Captain Marvel/Shazam). Her powers were mysteriously taken away and she awakens in a hospital scared and powerless. To find her brother and eventually her powers Mary seeks out Madame Xanadu, warns Mary not to go to Gotham City. Ignoring her, Mary is chased by thugs through the Gotham subway, and finds the former Kahndaqi Embassy, where Black Adam has been hiding. Adam appears, saves Mary, and transfers his powers to Mary. Mary acquires the powers of Black Adam, Isis, and Osiris as a result. These dark powers change Mary's psyche and she seems to be one of the bad guys.

Holly Robinson, former Catwoman (the good Catwoman not the criminal one) meets up with Harley Quinn (Joker's former girlfriend) at a women's shelter in Metropolis where a woman claiming to be Athena is recruiting Amazons to go to Paradise Island, which was vacated by the real Amazons (Wonder Woman's family).

Jason Todd (former Robin that should have died), and Donna Troy (former Wonder Girl, who also should have died) meet up with a Monitor who recruits them to find The Atom. It seems The Atom, Ray Palmer, is the key to fighting the New Gods who are waging war against each other and could destroy the Universe.