I found this book a little bit challenging to review, struggling to separate the story from the narration because I actually listened to the audio book (narrated by Charlie Belmont) rather than reading the story.
The reason I found it challenging was because I found the story a little slow moving and it was hard to determine if this was mainly driven by the story itself or from the speed of the narration. I have a feeling that if I had been reading this myself and at my own fairly rapid pace, it may not have felt quite so drawn out. I would like to give it the benefit of the doubt and say the slowness was mainly due to the narration speed (from past experience I usually find the pace of audio books a little bit slow for my liking).
The story follows Mark, incredibly shy with a diagnosed condition that has prevented him forming relationships, who moves in with his sister-in-law to support her through the last months of her pregnancy while his brother is deployed overseas. Mark meets Seth and they are attracted but his condition means Mark needs to overcome some hurdles if they are to be together.
I liked that Mark had finally found a man worth trying to break through his own barriers for. I liked that Seth took things slowly and was prepared to handle a unique relationship that didn't consist of a lot of face-to-face time. It was quite interesting to see Seth relate to his rescue greyhound and encourage the dog to trust and venture into the world and see the same occur with Mark.
I wanted to love Mark but for some reason, although understanding the difficulties he faced in life, I found him slightly annoying. There was a repetitiveness to his thoughts and actions that irritated me slightly (plus all the references to 'he blinked', 'Mark blinked at him'...)
The other characters were engaging - Seth, sister-in-law Lisa, friend Claire and brother Pete. Plus the dogs were cute!
So all in all, quite a nice and sweet story with some lovely lines...
"Besides you're not a greyhound Mark. You're a bulldog. Tough and wary, loyal as all get-out, not easy to get close to and you know, that intrigued me but once inside what do I find but this huge heart. I'd be the crazy one to walk away from you." He grinned. "And by the way, you should hope it's an extension of my dog thing. I make long term commitments to my greyhounds." Sorry if the punctuation is wrong but I am listening to it being said, not reading it!
I read this book and loved it but then bought the audio version because I heard rave things about Charlie David's narration and I wanted to check it out!
I still love the story - two tough and gorgeous firefighters and Griff's secret love for his best friend Dante. It has it all - heroics, heartache, hot porn, passion, Griff in a kilt and sexy Dante!
And Charlie David's narration definitely does complement the telling of the story beautifully. At first I was worried that the story would be somehow diminished if the narration did not live up the expectations set by my own reading, but I was not disappointed at all. I loved the sexiness of Charlie's voice, his accents, tone and pace, all of which captured the character and spirit of the book perfectly.
If you are looking for a good book to read, particularly if you are after an audiobook, then Hot Head is highly recommended!
I 'read' this book in its audio format so my enjoyment was impacted by a number of factors: the plot, quality of the story, style of the telling, characterisation and finally the narration. Ideally I would like to be able to assess the two components (the story and the narration) separately but actually find the narration has too much direct impact on my views of the story to do this effectively.
This is a mystery/thriller and is a beautifully crafted tale that takes the listener deep into a darker side of the world of internet hook-ups. It plunges straight into a series of brutal murders. It is blunt and graphic and violent and horrific. The murders are descriptive, grossly so, with descriptions of sights, sounds, smells and feelings giving a sense of realism to the scenes. It was almost like being plunged into an episode of Criminal Minds.
During the early part of the story, we are introduced to the various murder victims before they face their final moments. Even though each of these characters only play a short role, the author does a wonderful job of bringing a real personal element to each one. He describes their homes, personal traits and provides an insight into each man's emotional state. We learn how feel about their online hookups and the men they meet and what they are really looking for in life - and all are looking for love.
Ed Comparetto is the main focus of the story (apart from the killer). He is a cop who gets caught up in the murder investigation but ultimately gets suspended. I am not sure why the killer singled Ed out but contact from the killer and a desire to get his job back gives him no choice but to solve the mystery himself. While going through this really difficult period in his life, Ed meets Peter, which adds a romance element to the story. But mostly this story is focused on Ed's efforts to catch the killer.
It is difficult to talk about the killer and other characters without giving away the plot so I will keep it short. I thought the character of the killer was brilliant. He was perfectly creepy and his true evil nature was evident. There were some devices used in the story (such as diary entries) which provided a fabulous view into the past and the pyschy of the killer. A word of warning that the story does have some scenes, apart from graphic murder, that could be upsetting to some readers (pedophilia and rape references).
Now to the narration which was brilliant! I am not an expert (I've only listened to 3 other audio books) but truly believe this guy (Taavi Mark) got it right. The accents were perfectly suited to each character and he switched effortlessly between them.
He mastered the voice of the killer, truly adding a real sense of creepiness. The voice is breathy but chilling. It was quite clever how the killer's breathy voice deepened when he was switching into character for his IM hook ups which even included when he was reading them.
This story had large sections of dialogue and switched between different characters points of view so it was even more important to get the voices right - it wasn't just small sentences here and there but large tracts of narration while in character. One of the significant characters was female and I found her voice (the pitch, tone, accent and inflections) perfect!
It is really hard to make this claim because I hadn't read the book first but I'm going to put it out there anyway - I think listening to this book actually added to my enjoyment. I felt the use of the voices, particularly the killer and his family member, actually helped immerse me into the story, added to the atmosphere and gave a great sense of the emotion.
In summary, I highly recommend this story for lovers of a good graphic, murder thriller (it's focus is not romance) and the audio book is excellent.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.