Reviews

The Flight of the Phoenix

A cargo plane with 12 men aboard crashes in a Sahara sandstorm. With no rescue in sight and fighting heat, hunger, thirst, and each other, they struggle to cobble together a substitute flying craft before death claims them. Grover Gardner individualizes the guilt-ridden pilot; two British military men; Stringer, the plane designer on whom survival depends but who is not what he seems; the dying German boy; and others. He almost humanizes the forces of nature seeking to destroy these men as he expresses their hope, frustration, pain, determination, and longing for loved ones...This classic 1964 adventure tale has twice been made into film but is equally riveting—and more informative—in this superbly read audio.

--AudioFile 


Meet Me at the Morgue

 ...And, if [author Ross MacDonald] isn’t good enough on his own, the modern listener has the advantage of hearing Grover Gardner as their narrator this time around. Gardner has won over a dozen Earphone Awards and an Audie Award, as well as having been named one of Audiofile magazine’s "Best Voices of the Century." Gardner’s work here is amazing. His characterizations are subtle and complete. He even has three female characters with a lot of air time, and he manages to make all of them believable and different. One is hard-pressed to imagine that MacDonald wouldn’t have been pleased with this production.

--Audiobookstoday.com


The Adventures of Augie March

Gardner’s reading...is masterful...a model of balance and control;  he brings a dimension of performance to the novel you simply cannot get by reading the novel yourself.  His clear voice and exact tempo capture the spirit and rhythms of the text.  Gardner’s performance allows you to visualize the images of the novel with amazing vividness.  Listening to this superb reading of the novel makes clear that this is one of Bellow’s most entertaining and profound books.

--Saul Bellow Journal


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In this impeccably quiet release, Tom Parker (aka Grover Gardner) contributes a resonant announcer's baritone, superb technique, musical expressiveness, and a fond, intelligent understanding. He is less a narrator here than a storyteller, one of the best this reviewer has heard, sounding as if he were speaking extemporaneously. Of the half-dozen recorded renditions I've auditioned, this is the one that best expresses the brilliance of Twain's rendering of dialect and a rural boy's sensibility. 

--AudioFile


Cold Sassy Tree

Cold Sassy Tree is told with care and verve by a narrator who assumes all the roles in a realistic but restrained manner.  Sympathy, appreciation and understanding make Gardner’s presentation completely faithful to the spirit of the book and as much a pleasure to hear as it is to read.

--Kliatt


Action

Movie producer Robert Cort, the ultimate insider with 52 films to his credit, is the author of this engrossing Hollywood story that spans three generations, from World War II to the present...Gardner's marvelous rendering makes a good novel even better. An impressive narrator with many accents and dramatic variations at his command, Gardner clearly relishes this tale of Hollywood back lots, boardrooms, and bedrooms.

--Booklist


The Wisdom of Crowds

This fascinating treatise asserts that, under the right circumstances, the stupidest crowd can make wiser choices than the smartest individual. The author's fresh perspective on group judgment yields surprising conclusions, which he puts forward clearly and convincingly, backing up his assertions with statistical studies and examples from disparate fields of endeavor. Yet, despite his eloquence, logic, and wit, he is not always easy to follow. He needs a narrator with the brains to grasp sophisticated concepts and the skill to bring them home to listeners—a narrator like the exemplary Grover Gardner. He employs a documentary-style detachment that never bores, never errs, but always, as it were, connects the dots, and makes them interesting.

--AudioFile


The Cider House Rules

In this funny, sad, touching bestseller, set in rural Maine during the first half of the last century, parentless Homer Wells comes to maturity in an orphanage run by a saintly, cantankerous obstetrician. Grover Gardner serves up the beautiful prose and fascinating characters with considerable aplomb. Without actually adopting a full-fledged accent, he manages to give us the feel of New England vocal cadences in the narrative. Picture yourself sitting on a front porch on a lazy autumn evening with a longtime area resident as he leisurely spins some fascinating local history. That's the effect Gardner produces. Actually, he only seems unhurried, for he keeps the action moving with sensitivity to its rhythms and trajectories.

--AudioFile


No Way to Treat a First Lady

Gardner's performance is splendid. He has a fine, patrician American voice, one that has become inextricably associated with national politics, in my mind at least, by his earlier work. Gardner, who lives around Washington, has dispatched Gore Vidal's "The American Chronicles" series of novels, Theodore White's The Making of the President, biographies of FDR and the Kennedys, as well as Robert Caro's ever-continuing life of LBJ, including the latest, Master of the Senate.  His delivery, veteran as he is of so much American history, has a certain startled civic purpose and federalist tang that make the political and legal grotesqueries he describes here all the funnier.

--Washington Post


Lincoln

In perfect harmony with Vidal's text, Grover Gardner gives Lincoln a high-pitched tone and folksy manner below which lurk shrewd intelligence, profound sadness over the tragedy of war, and a wonderful sense of humor. Gardner reads as though he's visualizing the people and events of his story, bringing profound immediacy to his narration. In particular his ability to portray such complexity and to delineate a large cast of characters make him one of the best narrators in the business. This program, while expensive, shows just how great an audiobook can be: entertaining, thoughtful, good literature, good storytelling, good history. 

--AudioFile


Speaking in Tongues

A master narrator can sometimes transform a good-but-not-great book into an outstanding audiobook. Such is the case with Speaking in Tongues...Gardner's uniquely riveting voice and intelligent reading perfectly convey the seductive verbal skills of the two male adversaries.

--AudioFile


The Crossing

 Billy Parham is just a boy of 16 when he crosses into Mexico to return a wounded wolf to her mountain home. But there he crosses more than a national boundary. He rides a journey from life through death to the dark places where only the gods lie in wait. Gently but with comforting regularity, Alexander Adams (aka Grover Gardner) narrates the passage across that border. The deliberate opaqueness in McCarthy's text calls for a reader of Adams's craft and stature. His voice has the authority and confidence of an adult telling a story, the meaning and wisdom of which he knows well. This confidence is important to the reader--as an anchor is to a boat adrift on rough seas. For The Crossing, indeed for all of Cormac McCarthy's work, is a rough sea, and Adams gives us this minimal but necessary assurance that the voyage will be worth it.

--AudioFile


He Done Her Wrong

Hollywood 1942. WWII is raging, and P.I. Toby Peters agrees to do some investigating for his brother, a cop, into the disappearance of the manuscript of Mae West's autobiography. Murder and mayhem ensue, with Peters spending a short time as a patient in a mental institution. Gardner's differentiated voices are perfect for the cast of zany characters, including Cecil B. deMille and the inimitable Mae West, and his portrayal of Peters as a wisecracking detective is right on. He excels at conveying the wonderful humor in the book, the hilarious views Peters has of himself, friends, relatives, and life in general, as well as great one-liners. Apt phrasing and timing round out this entertaining audio.

--AudioFile


Bury the Lead

Reporter Daniel Cummings is receiving messages from a serial killer who is murdering Patterson, New Jersey, women and cutting off their hands. When Cummings himself is accused of the crimes, Andy Carpenter becomes his defense attorney and investigates the crimes along with his girlfriend, Laurie, an ex-cop turned P.I., and his dog, Tara. Grover Gardner captures the spirit of the wisecracking Carpenter, whose bravado is only skin deep. Laurie, on the other hand, is the strong, silent type, who dishes out justice as needed in a no-nonsense manner. Gardner’s reading is flawless, rendering a soft New Jersey accent that is never confused with its near-twin of New York.

--AudioFile


Rothstein

No other thug represents early-twentieth-century underground gambling and rum-running rings better than Arnold Rothstein, whose greatest claim to fame was being the mastermind behind baseball's 1919 Black Sox scandal. And no other narrator could lend as much substance to this gripping account as Gardner; his gruff, straightforward baritone voice has an in-your-face quality, perfect for the subject matter. Gardner's recitation elicits Rothstein's penchant for the seedier side of life without resorting to buffoonery--a real talent given the cartoonlike world Rothstein inhabited. Besides his infamous role in the World Series scandal, Rothstein had his hand in just about every other New York City vice. Sounding appropriately disgusted when Rothstein's behavior warrants it, Gardner lends immediacy to this unknown slice of dubious history.

--Booklist


Dazzling! Rothstein is nonstop fiery journalism, finely researched and colorfully written, read with truly impressive panache by the inimitable Grover Gardner. Gardner tears into the material with vigor and intelligence, a knowing insider's edge, and a smirk in each syllable. His style here is reminiscent of period radio announcers, conjuring vivid images of the streets and denizens of old New York in every breath...A must listen, must own audiobook.

--AudioFile


The Magician

Gardner's expert narration is a great match for this novel: it is straightforward and, fitting this novel, a bit acerbic. He handles voices with minor tonal changes, and does a good job with the accents of Urich's parents. He captures the youth and outlook of Ed and Lila and the other teens. His pacing is excellent, and emotional colorings fit the prose perfectly. This deserves to be widely heard.

--Kliatt


The Magician is one of those rare books that, once you read it, you will never  forget. Yet, despite having sold more than one million copies, it remains relatively unknown. Thankfully, Blackstone Audio has recorded the book, making it available for the first time on audio. The tale of a teenaged magician, high school violence and extortion, and a criminal trial, The Magician focuses on teenagers, but resonates with all readers. Grover Gardner connects as well. Gardner's voice and style fit the teenaged naïveté and bravado that inhabit the book's main characters, and he paces the story beautifully, particularly the climactic courtroom scenes. Fans of the novel will not be disappointed, nor will the new generations just discovering this classic.

--AudioFile


Who’s Your Caddy?

Grover Gardner's reading couldn't be better. He brings Reilly's written words to life brilliantly, changing pace, changing tone, but never forgetting that Reilly's ability to turn a phrase is the key to transforming this presumably mundane topic into a book with appeal for everyone, including those with no interest in golf.

--AudioFile


Jordan County

 In 1954 noted Civil War scholar Shelby Foote wrote Jordan County, seven short stories set in a fictitious part of Mississippi. Locale aside, these stories are unrelated except in their backward time sequence, from just after WWII for the first story to 1797 for the last. All are worth listeners' attention, if not always for their plots, then for Foote's carefully crafted language and Grover Gardner’s exquisite narration. He varies pitch; handles with fine discrimination a multitude of dialects and differences in education, wealth, and social class; and avoids overdramatization, doing all of it with seemingly effortless skill. He becomes the voices of the South and provides a strong accompaniment to Foote's fine prose.

--AudioFile



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