I thought the story itself was interesting, if a little choppy. Following the evolution of forensics was fun, but at times a little gruesome. The narration wasn't smooth - sometimes it almost sounded like a computer reading. At times there was some background noise. That being said I did enjoy it and might even listen again.
I read other reviews that warned me about the narration, and I'm glad I did: I was able to look past a pretty poor performance and see through to a very enjoyable book about the development of modern forensics in the Jazz Age by following the careers of two New York City pathologists. Had I not been warned, the reading would have driven me nuts.
Seems to me that if these narrators are getting paid to read these books, it might be in their best interest to read the books once through before the recording session and check the pronounciations of particular words. Some of her slips were embarrassing. And I agree with others' observations about the silly caricature voices that she uses for particular characters.
If I were Deborah Blum, I would be none too pleased with Ms. Marlo's rendition of my work.
An interesting and detailed history of forensic science written for the lay reader is ruined by the worst narrator I've heard in over twenty years of listening to books. I can tolerate mispronunciations or emphasis in the wrong place but I can't tolerate a voice that makes intelligent characters sound like California slacker idiots in a cartoon. When trying to deepen her voice, Marlo sounds like someone with a plugged nose and mental damage. Her attempts at French and German accented English are simply excruciating.
Give the author the respect her work deserves and read the hard copy!
I have 200 titles in my audible library, and have never really cared enough about the narration to write a review until this title. I really enjoyed the subject matter, its quite compelling to learn that so many toxins were in everyday products with no regulations. However, the narrator was horrid, she mis-pronounces quite a few words, everyday English words that shouldn't pose a problem. She also has bad phrasing, hearing her pause in the wrong places was quite grating.
I'm glad I listened to this book on my iphone because I would not have been able to tolerate the the cover in even a mass-market-sized art. I believe that life is too short to read bad books---and I finished this one so that is certainly worth three stars. The narration is awkward, but it certainly doesn't ruin the text. Do not be fooled though; this is not about the birth of forensic medicine or murder by poison. At least one half of the book is about the dangers of Prohibition-age alcohol or alcohol-substitutes (self-poisoning). It is interesting and informative but not an expository revelation. If you are a Forensic Files fan, this is not your book. If you are more of a Dirty Jobs kind of person, this will certainly give you the details you crave.
I greatly enjoyed the content of this book. Deborah Blum weaves a fascinating tale of American History through the frame of poison studies. The stories are engaging and will change the way you look at the products you use every day, and the relationship we have with modern chemicals. The only regrettable aspect of this product is the narration. Marlo's voices are hokey and distract from the subject matter. Her delivery feels forced and there are some odd edits that leave unnatural pauses. I found myself having to listen to several portions a second time in order to absorb the text. If you are interested in US History, New York, or are simply intrigued by poison, you will enjoy listening. Just be prepared for some silly voices.
Anyone could have narrated this better! She sounded like a robot - robotic voice, no inflection, odd pacing. I could hear the story past the sound of her droning.
started off well, but i did find the 'time line' could have been clearer in the stories. still overall interesting to listen to.
also, i had to redownload at one point early on and i could have sworn the first version had a male reader. but that could be the wood alcohol talking.
I like scientific history, but this was difficult to get through. The story progresses in an odd manner. It is divided up into chapters on each poison, but it is also partly chronological and ultimately ends up being very confusing. The books main protagonists are poorly developed, so that you never really get a feeling of who they are. Much of the book quotes directly from the newspapers of the day- sometimes interesting, but it starts to feel like you're reading your neighbor's great-grandfather's scrapbook
The theme of lifelessness extends to the narrator. She sounds like she should be narrating the commands to my voicemail, Her use of different accents is comical and distracting at best. My favorite parts of the narration are when she makes mistakes (two second pauses, garbled pronunciations, etc). At least I know I'm not the only one who lost interest in the reading.