This is a case of one of the finest stories ever written being ruined by a poor actor. While I realize that Mr. Bradbury is an Icon and easily one of the ten best writers of the 20th century he should never be allowed to perform his own works. It may be charming to hear the original writer but much of the drama inherent in the work is lost. The performance is monotonic and at times spoken as if he forgot what punctuation was used for. A shame too, because the story itself is without a doubt one of the best, and should be in every ones canon. Hold out for a better reader.
I won't bother summarizing the plot, the publisher does an adequate job. What you need to know is this audio book worth listening to and the answer is a resounding: Yes. I gave this four stars because it is an abridged version and ten hours of fine story were clipped, otherwise it's exceptional. One warning, it is a guy story, written for men, if you want emoting look elsewhere. Hunters' technical descriptions of both guns and Marines are spot on(Semper Fi). It is, without a doubt one of of his most enthralling novel's. Additionally, the voice actor captures accents and tones so thoroughly that one can visualize each different character as if in a movie or maybe more accurately a radio play, creating a completely immersive world where you are waiting for each fast breaking development. If you find anything in Hot Springs predictable it is only because action novels have a certain foregone conclusions (good over bad) and an author writes for his audience. American authors in this genre can not let the bad guys win, that reeks too much of real life. Besides who would want to read (or in this case hear) a novel where the hero takes a .22 to the back of the head while walking down Main St(this is how Earl would have really met his fate)? No, in a guy novel, the good guy has to go against a legion of bad guys and leave a blood spattered heap of corpses behind as he rides off into the sunset. The hero is always just a little bit better and Earl is the best of his kind.
My one great complaint is that it is this abridged version is the only one available; a travesty. The cuts are made so that you will not notice them, the story flows well, you will be gripping the edge of your seat. Now, would you release the unabridged version, please!!!
This novel lets you see how Mr Moore's style developed in his early novels. The characteristics which have become his signatures traits can be seen as he develops, they are just not as polished as they would later be. That said, this is still a very good comic novel if one can stop comparing it with Fluke, Bloodsucking Fiends, You Suck, Lamb, Etc... With a body of work like that, an otherwise acceptable early effort doesn't fare as well as it should.
The reason I gave this version three stars is the narrator. He lacked the voice acting skills required to do this tale justice. Susan Bennett from the Blood Sucking Fiends series was able to bring an entire cast of characters to life as was Fisher Stevens in Lamb and A Dirty Job. I was often doubled over with laughter as I heard those tales acted out, often with the same skill level one might encounter in an old radio drama. To fully appreciate a Christopher Moore audio book voice acting skills are paramount and unfortunately Mr. Jenner doesn't have the range. He is quite competent but much of the humor is lost by his limited vocal abilities.
This is the audio book to buy when you must absolutely have one more Christopher Moore Novel and have emptied the library or all his other efforts (been there). The concept is good and as usual he did a bit of research before writing on the subject. Keep in mind however, he was a relatively young author.
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