This is a really good story. Despite having been written 30 years ago, the plot is as relevant today as it was in 1983. Well written, and laced with humor.
Clear, easy to follow narration with exceptional voices. It is so easy to keep track of the characters, since each has their own, unique inflection. Fantastic performance.
This is a review of the Audio Book version of Mecca by William Deverell|. The book was originally published in 1983 and is sadly out of print … except for the audio book version, which has just been released.
The story is somewhat dated, in that it may take listeners a few minutes, and perhaps an internet connection, to figure out who the FLQ were, for example, but the story holds up to the test of time. It’s easy to relate to terrorism, corrupt government officials, crooked politicians … hummm, maybe we really haven’t come that far in 30 years. Slack Sawchuck is a former member of a terrorist group who agrees to infiltrate the Rotkommando in exchange for a full pardon, with pension. The story blends action with humor, and pulls it off in a spectacular fashion. More than anything, it is the characters in the novel, their motivations and their evolution that make the story so enjoyable. Highly recommended.
What makes it exceptional is the performance that Steve Scherf and Beverley Elliott provide. I love listening to books narrated by this duo. Even with a large cast of characters, Scherf provides unique accents, inflections and mannerisms to each, and does this in a way that never detracts from the novel itself. For a novel that is really focused on characters this becomes a fine line to navigate, and they really nail this. It’s always a pleasure to hear these two bring novels to life, and in this case, it’s another 5 star performance.
I’d highly recommend this audio book.
This is a review of the audio version of Kill All The Lawyers by William Deverell Narrated by Steve Scherf and Beverley Elliott.
I picked up this audiobook on the strength of Needles, which I listened to a few weeks back. That was an interesting book, good enough for me to go and get the other two available on audio.
A lawyer is killed after successfully defending a client in Vancouver. Shortly after, there are a few near misses and then a second lawyer is killed. What started as a tragedy quickly escalates into panic among the Vancouver legal community; someone is taking Shakespeare all too seriously: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
The story follows a series of characters through this period, dealing with all their secrets, including one of the main characters escape to the Caribbean to avoid a divorce suit after his wife discovers his extramarital affair. All of this is done in an entertaining, fun way. I think that Deverell really wanted to write a book in the mystery style of, say, an Agatha Christie. The result is a thoroughly Canadian take, complete with wit and humor, and lawyerly sex escapades thrown in for good measure. The ending had some great twists, an excellent homage to the genre of Christie or Rex Stout.
This book could have been difficult to listen to. It jumps from character to character, locale to locale, and while it may have been easy to follow in print form, listening to it while dodging traffic in a car could have been challenging. The reason that it wasn't is entirely due to the tremendous narration of Steve Scherf. He doesn't just read the narrative, he brings the characters to life, each with a distinctive voice. It is a genuine pleasure to hear him narrate the book.
Good book, excellent narration - 5 stars
This is a review of the audio version of High Crimes by William Deverell Narrated by Steve Scherf, Maggie Scherf.
I picked up this audiobook on the strength of Needles (Deverell's first book, also narrated by Steve Scherf), which I listened to a few weeks back. That was an interesting book, good enough for me to go and get the other two available on audio.
High Crimes is a great story, particularly when read by Steve and Maggie Scherf. I listen to a lot of audio books and I didn't realize how bland some of them are, most being read with only light inflections (if any at all) to distinguish between the characters. If you enjoy audio books, then pick this one up, simply as a demonstration of how books should be read. It's easy to distinguish the characters, the accents are incredibly well done, and the reading clear and a pleasure to follow.
High crimes is the story of Pete Kerrivan, an old school Newfoundland smuggler. The story starts with he and his crew being acquitted (on a technicality) of smuggling marijuana into Canada, thereby earning the distinction of being targeted by RCMP Inspector Harold Mitchell, who will stop at nothing to put Kerrivan behind bars. Kerrivan's problem is that, while he was freed, the boatload of marijuana was destroyed, and Kerrivan had bought it on consignment ... so now he owes a Colombian drug lord a boatload of money. So he hatches a scheme to smuggle in the biggest load of marijuana ever brought into Canada. Mitchell believes something is going to happen and plots his revenge, bringing the US Drug Enforcement Agency in to the plan. From Newfoundland to Colombia to Miami to Newfoundland, it's a question of who is leading whom, and on what merry chase.
The ending is completely unexpected and after you get your breath back, you realize how fitting it is.
Great book. Fantastic reading. 5 stars.
I'd recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a good legal thriller. It was a great experience.
I’ve been meaning to try a Deverell book for a couple of years. I’m always on the lookout for new Canadian authors to try, and Deverell was highly recommended by a good friend. I decided to give “Needles” a try, and I am extremely happy that I did. I will be picking up more of his books.
“Needles” is a legal thriller that takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Foster Cobb is a former prosecutor, trying to start up his own law firm. In his youth he overcame heroin addiction, put himself through law school, passed the bar, became a successful prosecutor and married the ski-instructor daughter of a high profile lawyer. Now, with his marriage failing, and without enough clients to sustain his practice, he again finds himself turning to, and once again becoming addicted to heroin.
His best friend, currently chief prosecutor, throws a case his way: prosecuting Dr. Au, well known as the head of the Chinese drug trade in Vancouver, but someone that the government has never been able to convict. Witnesses tend to recant their stories, or disappear, whenever Au is brought to trial. Cobb needs the money, and takes the job.
“Needles” is a story that takes place in the courtrooms and back alleys of Vancouver. It is well written (I was very surprised to find it was Deverell’s first novel), fast paced and action filled. It’s full of plot twists and has its share of gritty back-room violence, corruption and action. The characters feel real; Cobb knows that he shouldn’t be on heroin, but you can feel his helplessness to the addiction, and his guilt/relief when he takes a hit.
Overall this was a great book. I’d highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys legal-thrillers.
The audiobook was read by Steve and Maggie Scherf, and they did an amazing job. I listen to audiobooks in the car, and the narrators made it so easy to keep track of what characters were speaking. It was quite amazing to listen to the different characters in their distinctive voices. In many audiobooks it is quite obvious that there is one person reading, with very slight differences in tone to indicate different characters. In this book it was difficult to believe that all the characters were coming from these two narrators; the voice was very different, and very believable in terms of the character being portrayed.
Five stars for the book.
Five stars for the narration.
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