Except that Tony doesn't want to do this anymore.
But the case is about to come uncomfortably close to home. The next victim is a friend of his. And his former partner, DCI Carol Jordan, is herself in Germany, working undercover in a world where human life is cheaper than a drug deal. She needs his help as much as the beleaguered European police forces do.
Confronting the worst of contemporary crime and struggling to unravel roots that lie deep in the tormented past of Nazi atrocities and Statsi abuses, Tony and Carol are forced to battle for their survival against overwhelming odds.
Deftly merging the dark world of forensic psychology and the crime-streaked word of post-Cold War Europe, McDermid has created a truly original crime thriller for our time.
©2002 Val McDermid; (P)2002 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
"With consummate skill and pacing, [McDermid] braids together the complex story lines through surprising revelations, heartstopping suspense, and cruel double-crosses." (Publishers Weekly)
"Guerin Barry narrates changes in location and high-action sequences without a hitch." (AudioFile)
"The Last Temptation is a masterful examination of evil and relics of the Nazi and Stasi years in Germany." (The Guardian)
I chose this book because I have enjoyed the BBC productions of the Tony Hill mysteries. This selection was a disappointment on 2 levels.
1) The author does a good job of constructing and pacing the criminal and forensic aspects of the story, but unfortunately does not have a good ear for realistic dialogue between characters. They always sound as if they are on stage, feeding us needed information for plot purposes.
2) With characters that are exclusively British or European, this book cries out for a reader that is British and also able to manage credible European accents. This reader is American and his attempts at accents reminds me of Saturday Nite Live style characatures, especially the heavy-handed German voices. The over-all emotional tone is of the "stiff upper lip" Brit style, and his rendition of the main female character verges on the falsetto. The intrinsic dialogue flaws from the author are just magnified by this poor choice of reader.
Those who don't already have a "mind's eye view" of Hill and Jordan from the BBC productions may not feel as critical of this presentation as I am. The story itself is good. I recommend listening to the sample to make a choice about selecting this book or not.
If you are considering trying your first Val McDermid audiobook, choose The Distant Echo--the narration is far better. Indeed The Distant Echo is one of the very best audiobooks I've ever heard.
Not that this book is poorly ready, just that the style is a bit flat, compared to the lively Scottish brogue used to read McDermid's other novel.
I also found the characters in this novel a bit flat compared to what I know McDermid can do based on her other novels. Perhaps the problem is the abridgment--I was periodically left with the impression that I was getting the facts, the plot line but not really gaining enough insight into the motivations of the characters. I suspect an unabridged version would have "read" better.
It's possible I didn't care for this book because it was abridged and skipped too many passages that might have connected the story more smoothly. However, this is about the 4th book I've read - ***Spoiler Here*** where a "look alike" or twin has been inserted into an investigation. It's a plot device that's really wearing thin, never believable and I expect better from Val McDermid. I realize she wants to take her characters outside their comfort zone, but this wasn't very well executed in my opinion. AND, on top of that, the narrator is American and can't figure out what he wants to do with his accents. He's not consistent and it's almost comical. Lastly, it really annoys me when fairly common terms like: "Die Welt" (German newspaper) are mispronounced. In German "Die" is pronounced like "Dee" not "Die". And, "W' is pronounced like a "V".
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