Not time well spent, but not poorly spent either.
I don't care for true crime to begin with but this fictionalization of what I suppose was a real case was fine. The author tried to develop several characters adequately rather than writing a simple procedural or reconstruction.
Her reading is straight forward and she does not resort to cheap theatrics or silly performance gimmicks such as creating different arbitrary voices and accents for each character. She seems to emote the reading with a reasonable understanding of character and scene as opposed to keying it tritely to individual words outside of context.
I had to force myself stick to it... but it was not bad.
This restrained style of reading is far superior to the amateur theatrics and one-person full-cast recordings that seem to be coming in vogue.
The reading had problems. It is hard to believe the reader could speak so slowly. I almost believe the recording was slowed down in post-production. Even at x2 speed it was slower than normal conversational speech. I ended up listening at x3.
I was hopeful at first because at the start the female character dialog was not read in falsetto but then about an hour in the reader starting using a lisping falsetto for all the female dialog.
Furthermore the story is set in Western New York with some characters coming from Buffalo but the reader drifts between American Standard and sloppy Brooklyn, Lower East Side and Yonkers accents for each character while returning again and again to a heavy Upper Class Boston accent and occasionally dropping down below the Mason-Dixon Line.
If the reader can't sustain a given accent or replicate an appropriate regional accent why not just stick to American standard or even the thespian over-enunciation stage English he is prone to falling into in the midst of his dialog accents.
I don't require an authentic accent, I recently enjoyed a story set in Long Island New York read by an Australian in her own national accent, but some consistency is nice. I got the impression the reader thought these strange erratic accents were an indicator of class somehow.
As for the writing, I had expected this book to be a Pulp Noir for some reason but it was a melodrama that moved at a glacial pace but didn't feature any character development, not even of the principal characters. The experience was sort of like a marathon viewing of the British soap opera Coronation Street. I hope this was a pot boiler and not a reflection of the authors actual writing skills.
Anyone capable of a consistent accent of any sort who did not do female dialog in falsetto. Kate Rudd sounds good in samples but I have not heard her do a full book.
Longest five hours of my life... might be perfect for a long car ride or plane flight.
If the reader had not used the text as an excuse to do funny voices and accents. A proper reader and producer might have trusted the words of the author to convey mood and character.
I have read a lot of speculative fiction from the fifties and sixties and this book stands out as being unimaginative and bound by tired tropes and lazy thinking. It is what one would expect from a Pulp writer rather than a serious Science Fiction author. The future represented in this book is based on a facile spelling-out of the popular issues of the day and does not make any serious attempt at world building or imagining plausible shifts in cultural norms or new technologies. It seems as though the research for the book consisted mainly of reading Time magazine. It was very disappointing after just having finished Return from the Stars by Stanislaw Lem.
The reader could have moderated his performance. Maybe he could have attempted to portray a man reading a book aloud, say a Librivox volunteer, instead of doing silly voices that made all the dialog of female characters sound like variations on a frat boy in drag trying to speak like a twelve year-old girl from California and reading young people's dialog like a thirty-five year-old actor portraying a delinquent teen in a 50s B-movie. I was particularly struck by the use of ludicrous Foo Man Shu accents for characters in China speaking Chinese among themselves.
It was very irritating to listen to the "performance" and the text was repetitive and boring. I tried to suppress the reader's "vocal stylings" by listening at x3 speed but gave up before completing a third of the book.
I have been listening to Books-on-Tape as well as Libirvox recordings and computer generated Text-to-Speech for years... maybe Audible just isn't for me. I have had several unpleasant experiences and abandoned several Audiable audiobooks as unlistenable although the Vin Packer book I am listening to now doesn't seem too bad. The female dialog is not "performed" in falsetto. I guess I will try this and one more book before bailing on my subscription.
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