The Dragon Factory is the second of the Joe Ledger novels. Like the first book, it is a non-stop adrenalin rush from start to finish. The plot is more complex and better developed than in the first book (which is quite a feat since the first book was itself well conceived and tightly woven). There is a little less character development in this book, mostly because of the large number of returning characters. That isn't to say that the characters don't evolve -- they do -- but just that there is less focus on building them up since we are already familiar with them. Some of the uber-macho qualities of the first book have been dialed back just a bit, which, for me at least, makes the characters that much more compelling. The heroes are all still hardcore alpha dogs, but they feel a little more real. As with the first book, the action is frequent, gritty, and very well done. The climax is intense and satisfying. All in all it is an excellent sequel that manages to match or exceed the first book.
The audio version takes the source material and opens it up in a wonderful way. Ray Porter's narration is nothing short of brilliant. All the major characters are uniquely and believably voiced. When accents are used they are clear and seamless, never cartoonish or overdone. Mr. Church's accent in particular is very effective at bringing an additional layer of character without distorting the written material. Porter's sense of timing in his delivery is exceptional, pulling layers of meaning from the text that other narrators would likely have missed. His voice is exactly perfect for Joe Ledger; he brings the character to life so naturally and compellingly that it is easy to believe that Joe himself is really telling his own story. I cannot recommend the narration strongly enough. Listening to Porter's reading is a delight in and of itself.
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