Rocklin, CA, United States | Member Since 2004
Very odd -- for a series as popular as J A Jance's Joanna Brady books, for as many segments as there are in the series, it's odd that there have been so many different narrators. By contrast, Gene Eugene was a decades-long standard for narrating the J P Beaumont series. Why the vast variety in the Joanna Brady books?
Hillary Huber is my least favorite of them all. I'll never fail to buy the Brady books, but I really do wish they'd stop using Huber -- the books read by Stephanie Brush are by far the best. Brush sounds exactly like I'd expect Joanna to sound. C.J. Critt is my second favorite.
Hillary Huber is the worst. She has a very strange narration voice. Sometimes it's so smooth, flat and nasal it borders on robotic. Then she lapses into a sort of bored-sounding nasally valley girl accent for Jenny, which, while grating and not reflective of the character of Jenny, might possibly work for a teenager, but then Huber seems to forget what she's doing, and suddenly we have a sheriff talking like a bored teen. And all the men sound like bright, chipper, perky young men, whereas we know most of them are older than Joanna and not all of them are eager-beavers, contrary to the way Huber has them talking.
It can't be easy to narrate audiobooks. To come up with different but credible voices for each character must be a challenge. But surely the narrator could manage to stay awake. Time and time again she missed changing her voice for the character -- it was terribly annoying.
That said, Judgement Calls is a worthy installment in the Joanna Brady series. We finally find out what happened to Joanna's father, and best of all, we get plenty of action from Joanna's mother, who makes me laugh and cry at the same time, because she reminds me so much of my mother. There's one classic interchange, I had to play it three times to enjoy it completely: Joanna has news about her long-dead father's murder, and wants to tell her mother about it, so she calls and says merely that she'd like to stop by for a cup of coffee. Sensing something amiss -- that isn't Joanna's usual habit -- Eleanor asks what's wrong. Joanna demurs, saying they'll talk about it later. Eleanor spouts, "Oh, I know! Andy's left you, hasn't he?" Made me just howl! That is such a typical reaction from a whole legion of mothers, especially those of Eleanor's vintage. Great stuff -- as was Eleanor's occasional graciousness to Joanna when they're in public. The troubled and somewhat caustic mother-daughter relationship in these books is something that a lot of mothers -- and daughters -- will recognize.
These books are filled with that -- real life stories, real people, real everyday problems and situations. Every installment is a treat.
That said, I sure would appreciate it if the publishers would find -- and then stick to -- a better narrator, though. Please, more Stephanie Brush!
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