In this first novel, serial killer expert, star of Investigation Discovery's hit series Dark Minds and author of 20 books, M. William Phelps takes listeners into the twisted world of "The Optimist", a sadistic serial killer - based on Phelps's ten years of research and writing about serial killers. The murderer is bent on not only terrorizing his young female victims, leaving their naked bodies along Boston's Freedom Trail, but also driving Detective Jake "Sundance" Cooper to the edge of insanity as the cop fights to redeem his imploding career.
Through an investigation revealing the true madness and evil of this killer, Jake's mentor, Detective Mo Blackhall, is on the verge of being indicted for his role in a Big Dig corruption scandal, putting Jake at the center of choosing blue blood loyalty over the truth. Strap yourself in and prepare for a thrill ride of suspense, mystery and police procedural drama, with a captivating and honest look at the underbelly of Boston's mean streets, driven by a cast of characters reminiscent of Dennis Lehane's greatest fiction.
©2014 M. William Phelps (P)2014 Gregg Olsen
The Dead Soul is a novel about a serial killer, and it had what I would consider to be a very interesting premise, and was written by an author who is at least somewhat well known. However...
This audiobook suffers from two crippling problems.
The first problem is the speed of narration. At first, I felt that the narrator was trying to sound very serious and intense, and at first that fit what was happening. As the story progressed into the second half of the first hour, and onwards, I realized that this tone and more importantly, pace, does not and will not ever change. The place is absolutely "plodding", and the spacing between sentences in mind numbing. I often found myself needing to rewind the recording and re-listen to passages because I realized that I had simply tuned out.
The second problem is the lack of believable character voicing. In a scene where a woman is being murdered somewhat slowly and she is supposed to be screaming at the top of her lungs in terrible pain and fear, what we hear is a half hearted, throaty "Oh, please help me. Oh no somebody help." stated as if the narrator were reading the list of ingredients off of a box of cereal. I certainly don't expect a middle aged male to sound exactly like a screaming woman, but I did expect more than this.
I wasn't able to get past the second hour, and have since decided to move on. I am giving the story a full five stars because reviewers of the print version seemed to love the story, so I am choosing to believe them and not penalize this version.
As a true crime enthusiast I was a bit skeptical to try a novel, but this book was fantastic. It was gritty and real the way that real life is, not always pretty, not everyone gets a happy ending. It was also a page turner. I had to know what happened next. Chocked full of clues, I didn't want to kiss a single word. Great book.
As for the narration, it's Kevin Pierce, he is suburb and probably half the reason I gave this book a shot. So glad I did!
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