I'm three hours in and still finding this a hard slog. The pacing is uneven and, though I've previously liked Scott Brick as a narrator, on this project he's dragging it out a little too much.
I'm beginning to regret buying this one.
I really wanted to like this book. It had all the elements of a great story and maybe I would have liked it if I had read it in the printed form. For me, however, the narration by Scott Brick essentially ruined this book. I've liked Brick's narration in other books, but he seems to have ramped up the annoyance level with this book. His sing-songy, overly dramatic pauses and near whispers in some places make it hard to understand. This is especially true as he nears the climax of important sentences, when he drops his voice until the final words are barely audible. He's never been great at rendering female voices and the same is true here, times 10, because he does a female voice with a phony French accent. At times I felt like shouting, "JUST SPIT IT OUT ALREADY!" as he paused and lingered over some of the words.
Audio book producers need to adhere to some simple rules:
1) Drop the jangly, overloud music before, during and after the story. I don't want to listen to it and sometimes it's so loud I can't even hear the story.
2) There's a lot of talent out there. Try to find a narrator who can convincingly do both male and female voices. Dick Hill comes to mind. His female voices are convincing without being silly.
3) Enough Scott Brick already. He narrates a ton of books, but I've become so averse to his narration I will no longer buy a book if he's the one doing the reading.
I'm having a hard time separating all the things I hate about this book and how intensely I dislike the narration by Scott Brick.
The book -- I have read several Preston/Childs novels before and always found them compelling and fast-moving reads. Not only did they put on the brakes with this one, they seem to have slammed the plot train into reverse. It took hours to get the action moving and even then it was at a snail's pace. I kept telilng myself the payoff was coming, but when the "climax" finally arrived, I was torn between laughing out loud and screaming in frustration. The ending of this book, such as it is, ranks right up there in my top 10 bad endings list.
The narration -- I've listened to several Brick-narrated novels and have been been generally pleased with his efforts. Not so for this one. His sing-songy phrasing and strange enunciation made it nearly unbearable at times. He seems to have difficulty with female voices. It's complicated this time by his attempts at a Spanish/Portugese accent, lending a note of grating comedy where he didn't intend.
Very, very disappointing. I won't be coming back for more of either and that will be difficult because Scott Brick seems to narrate so many popular novels these days.
Why, oh why, do audiobook producers pay so little attention to casting narration? I could have stood it if she hadn't attempted to do the male voices. Those were just flat-out awful. The rest isn't bad enough to force me to not finish the book, but it certainly is cringe-inducing.
If I want a soundtrack, I'd watch a movie. Some audiobook producers seem convinced that we're hungering for music to liven the pace. Nothing could be further than the truth and this is a case in point of why it DOESN'T work. I actually couldn't hear parts of the story because of the loud music.
I wish I'd listened to the other reviewers who commented about the narration. I thought it couldn't possibly be that bad because I've heard Frank Muller before and he's always been bearable. This is just flat-out awful. Worse than awful, even, in that it ruins not only this book, but also the "sequel" of "Black House." Truly disheartening. It's like cutting into a delicious-looking cake to discover it's made of sawdust.
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