You don't know what you're missing in a typical audiobook until you listen to this one. The author/narrator's performance is magnificent, as deft and full of derring-do as the story's light-of-foot heroes, and the illuminated dialogue is truly delicious. Unlike many 'full cast' productions, you can feel a real focus on 'performance' in this cast - instead of blocky, awkward switches to different narrators, the many voices chime in cleanly and convincingly. I consider good sound design as design so good we do not notice it, and this was very much the case with me.
Full disclosure: I am an full cast audio drama producer so am a bit biased towards this production style. That being said I also listen to plenty of single-voice narrators. This title does a great job of combining both a strong narrator with a really nice ensemble cast. To be honest I think the additional dialogue voices and music do more to liven up the book than sound effects (which can sound awkward at times) but it sure is a pleasure to hear the clatter of sword-on-swords! I hope this title leads the way towards more inspired full-cast dramatizations.
What can I say - this is one of the most fantastic collections of short stories I've heard in a few years. Kudos to Mort Castle and Sam Weller for being able to round up this incredible caliber of talent.
While I bought this title mainly because of names I know (Neil Gaiman, Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison) - what was most pleasantly surprising were the new writers I discovered who I sure hope have their own books out.
There are a couple of duds, but the gems in this collection make up for them. There are stories of unrequited love - because the lover is beyond the grave, time-travelling interstellar ghost stories, Hungarian ghost stories (detect a theme?) oh and stories that just revel in the essential being of youth and passion and humanity and the joy of storytelling.
The narration is also strong throughout, with an eclectic mix of narrators I all found spot-on. Can't recommend this enough, this will spawn many more hours of pleasant listening and discovery of new friends. Bradbury would be proud.
Simon Jones as ever is terrifically entertaining, with perfectly timed dry English comic wit and delivery; supported by a cast equally (or exceedingly) zany and the mad genius Dirk Maggs who paints a lush sonic madhouse tied together with a few inexplicable mysteries and ne'er do wells. I don't know much of the history of the Sexton Blake character, but this revival will have you hooked and eager for more audio adventures!
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