Inferno by Dan Brown – Audiobook Review

Inferno by Dan Brown, narrated by Paul Michael
Published in audio by Random House Audio, published in print by Doubleday Books, both imprints of Random House

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

Thoughts on the story:

A classic Dan Brown, and, I believe, vastly superior to The Lost Symbol. Inferno has a pretty good pace, although it somehow manages to feel less high-stakes that DaVinci Code and a truly improbably number of things happen over the course of the day. And, of course, because the protagonist is Robert Langdon we hear about his damn tweed coat and Mickey Mouse watch a ridiculous number of times, the watch even though Langdon LOSES IT before the first scene. Despite its obvious problems, I enjoyed Inferno more than Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol. I think it was largely the literary and Italian Renaissance art themes that really made it for me. Although, I will note, that at least twice I figured out very obvious clues before our celebrated symbologist and art historian did, based on nothing more than what I remember from AP European history about 15 years ago. That was sort of ridiculous. And frustrating. No way these things should have puzzled Langdon, so I would be distracted by my frustration with him until he’d finally get it.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Audio is SO the way to go, here. Paul Michael is a new-to-me narrator and in another book I might not be blown away by his narration, but he totally worked for me to get inside Robert Langdon’s head. He seemed so much more like how I would have imagined Robert Langdon than Tom Hanks ever did. He was also surprisingly good at giving characters different voices, a skill I didn’t expect based on something in his voice. I think the main reason why this worked really well, though, is that Brown is more of a storyteller than a wordsmith. In audio I could mostly ignore the short chapters and the occasionally awkward or repetitive phrasing; I could just sit back and be washed into the story. And you know what? I ended up listening to the whole 17 hours of it in about 2 days, which for me is unprecedented, so yeah, the audio really worked here.

Overall:

Inferno would be a really great road trip audiobook this summer. Also recommended for yard work or the gym.

Learn more about this book at the publisher’s website.
Source: Review copy.

Sound Bytes is a meme that occurs every Friday! I encourage you to review your audiobooks on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

 

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The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz – Book Review

The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz
Published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan

Between the PTSD that caused him to lose his family the Lou Gehrig’s disease that promises to make him lose himself, Nate Overbay no longer has much to live for and he doesn’t intend to look for anything else. Nate has every intention of killing himself by jumping from the upper window of a bank and is on the verge of doing so when the bank is overrun by vicious masked robbers. Nate’s military training serves him well and he ably thwarts the crew, but not before the ringleader gets a good look at him and delivers a threat. Before long, Nate discovers that the threat is by no means an empty one; he has been recruited by a Russian mobster to obtain what the crew was at the bank to steal or lose his beloved but estranged daughter in an extremely painful way.

Gregg Hurwitz is a master of exciting and suspenseful books, and The Survivor is no exception. As an indicator of just how absorbing it is I began reading it while in the hospital being induced with the girls and read fully half of it while undergoing increasingly intense contractions. Although you might expect that giving birth – plus the nurse coming in and out and the fact it was the middle of the night – might be distracting, but The Survivor did a fabulous job keeping my attention. Nate is a very realistic and sympathetic character put in an impossible situation who reacts with loyalty, bravery, and humanity, all of which causes the reader to invest in him and his family.

The Survivor is a wonderfully engaging and human thriller, able to keep a reader’s attention even in the most distracting circumstances.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan – Audiobook Review

Very Bad Men by Harry Dolan, narrated by Erik Davies
Published in audio by Penguin Audio, published in print by Amy Einhorn Books, both imprints of Penguin

This is the second book in the David Loogan series. I previously reviewed the first book, Bad Things Happen.

Synopsis:

Things have mostly settled down for David Loogan; Grey Streets is chugging along fairly well, and his relationship with Elizabeth Waishkey is quite good, with David all but living with Elizabeth and her daughter. Until one day David finds a manuscript outside his door detailing the murder of multiple individuals who have recently died and the threat of another man who is next. All of the victims have one thing in common, they were the perpetrators of the Great Lakes Bank Robbery years earlier. Now Loogan must discover who is killing them, and why.

Thoughts on the story:

I just love Harry Dolan’s David Loogan series – even if I do have a tendency to mix up the author and character name for some bizarre reason. These mysteries are super smart with a literary bent to both the writing and the plot. Loogan’s job as the editor of a small literary magazine devoted to mysteries is a fantastic hook that Dolan, who is an editor himself, plays perfectly. Very Bad Men succeeds because it manages to provide both a feeling of continuity with Bad Things Happen and a plot that is fresh and not merely a rehashing of the first book.

The plot of Very Bad Men kept me guessing to figure out what exactly was going on and who was behind it, while at the same time coming together in a very plausible way.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Erik Davies is so exactly David Loogan that it is almost eerie. He doesn’t excel at narrating women, though, and they took a more prominent role in Very Bad Men than they did in Bad Things Happen, so that detracted a bit from the audio experience. For a more details on the audio, please see my review in Audiofile Magazine.

Overall:

Another smart, engaging thriller from Harry Dolan, complemented by more great narration from Erik Davies. Recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: .
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Plugged by Eoin Colfer – Audiobook Review

Plugged by Eoin Colfer, narrated by John Keating
Published in audio by AudioGo, published in print by Overlook Press

Synopsis:

All bouncer Daniel McEvoy wants to do is go to his appointment with his under-the-table doctor friend Zeb and get a check up for his hair transplant. That’s it. Simple. Except when he arrives, Zeb is nowhere to be found, and in his place is a member of the local mob who has a reputation for being quick with a knife. If it wasn’t enough to barely escape that encounter, when Daniel returns to work, he finds his sweetheart – a hostess at the seedy casino at which they both work – dead in the parking lot, an event which of course puts Daniel in the line of sight of the local police. Now Daniel has to figure out why people keep dying and disappearing around him, while keeping his own name clean and himself alive.

Thoughts on the story:

Plugged, is a fun and funny thriller. Daniel is really a very witty, smart-assed character (or smart-arsed, as he would say with his Irish brogue). The pacing and plotting are both quite good, and Colfer has created a colorful and interesting cast of characters. Most of the characters lean towards caricature, but only far enough to give the story a slightly silly edge in the midst of what could be a very tense situation. At the same time, Colfer never lets the silliness get away from him, keeping a good balance between intrigue and fun.

Thoughts on the audio production:

John Keating gives a strong performance in Daniel McEvoy’s first person narrative. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for a good accent, but he was absolutely a pleasure to listen to. Every once in awhile his American accents – at least those without the strong influence of New York and New Jersey – would fall flat, particularly when giving voice to a female character, but he generally handled the hodgepodge of accents and voices well, with great consistency for each individual character.

Overall:

A fun listen, one I can recommend.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: .
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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The White Devil by Justin Evans – Book Review

The White Devil by Justin Evans
Published by Harper Books, an imprint of HarperCollins

Andrew Taylor is on his last chance. After getting in trouble time and time again back at home, Andrew has been shipped overseas to Harrow School in London, with the promise that if he steps out of line again, he will be disowned. It becomes obvious very quickly that Andrew can’t escape trouble, when students begin dying and getting desperately ill. Somehow this is all linked to Andrew, and the fact that he is a spitting image of the school’s most famous student – Lord Byron. Suddenly Andrew must court the very trouble he was hoping to avoid to solve the mystery of Lord Byron’s past and figure out how to save his own life in the present.

Evans has written a spooky and engaging story. The way he melds Byron’s story with Andrew’s is smooth and effortless, bringing the past into the present in a truly horrifying way.  I love the idea that it is only by solving the mysteries of history that Andrew can save himself, it brings to life the ways in which the past influences our lives today – even if the past is not typically so visceral, in more ways than one. Byron is not a literary figure I know much about, but The White Devil inspired me to learn more about him and even try his work (although I only made it about a page into Childe Harold when I did try).

Any book that can alternately terrify me and interest me in literary history is a winner no matter how you slice it. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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