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The Starling Project Performance

The Starling Project: An Audible Drama

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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Original Work, 2016
Audie Award Finalist, Audio Drama, 2016

New York Times best-selling author Jeffery Deaver will make your ears tingle and your pulse race in this Audible Studios original full-cast audiodrama starring Alfred Molina.

An aborted raid targeting a major arms dealer. A hostage standoff at a bank that may not be what it seems. A plot to spring a former African dictator from prison. What is the threat that connects them all? And just who is the mysterious mastermind, The Starling? From Mexico to Washington - from London to Marseille to Prague - war crimes investigator Harold Middleton and his team of Volunteers risk their lives to follow the trail of clues. But how can they stop The Starling - when he always seems one step ahead?

With more than 80 speaking roles and state-of-the-art sound and music design, The Starling Project is an immersive listening experience written by a master of the thriller

About the Cast

Alfred Molina ("Harold Middleton") has won acclaim for his memorable roles in the movies, on TV, and on the stage, receiving both Emmy and Tony Award nominations. Molina made his film debut in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Since then, he's played such diverse characters as the mayor in Chocolat, and the evil Doc Ock in Spider-Man 2.

The cast of The Starling Project also includes:

  • Lisa Stathoplos as "Sonya Tadic"
  • David J. Curtis as "Devon Carter"
  • Aaron Abano as "Mustafa Haddad"
  • Ian Carlsen as "Kyle Nelson"

Previous Harold Middleton thrillers include The Chopin Manuscript, winner of the Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook of the Year Award, and The Copper Bracelet.

©2014 Gunner Publications, LLC (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the Critics Say

"With his smooth vocal presence, Alfred Molina embodies Middleton's confidence and continental charm as he leads an outstanding ensemble of 30 actors playing 80 speaking roles in this high-velocity thriller.... Slip on a pair of headphones to fully appreciate every detail in this carnival ride for the ears."(AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (1312 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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3.5 (1189 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (1196 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Writrix 11-25-14
    Writrix 11-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    83
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
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    2
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "This is a DRAMA, not a book!"
    Would you listen to The Starling Project again? Why?

    I will definitely listen to this audio drama again. The experience was not like listening to an audiobook, but more like listening to a movie soundtrack, with sound effects, music and overlapping dialogue, all which made the experience richer. I listened in the car, but would love to listen lying down on my sofa, through headphones. I feel like I could listen this way and pick up even more details of the story. The sound effects almost become their own character, helping you to feel immersed in the environments the characters find themselves in, whether the lobby of a hotel, or a Mexican jungle.


    What did you like best about this story?

    My favorite thing about this drama is that I felt like I was carried along with Harry and his team, almost becoming one of them, as they worked to complete their mission.


    Which character – as performed by Alfred Molina and full cast – was your favorite?

    Alfred Molina is always great, but I particularly enjoyed relationship between the characters of Carter and Mustafa. They were the "buddy film" within the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As a lover of mystery and stories of international intrigue, this selection was right up my alley. If you're looking for an Oprah Book Club selection--a tearjerker, or a romance--go elsewhere. I want a story that challenges me, takes me to places I've never been. This one did.


    Any additional comments?

    FYI - Other reviewers for this audio drama seemed to be disappointed that this wasn't more like a book. One mentioned a lack of description. But this story is more like listening to a movie or play, told for the most part in dialogue. You should know this going in. If you do, and this is the kind of entertainment you like, you won't be disappointed!

    63 of 66 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea HARRISONBURG, VA, United States 11-29-14
    Andrea HARRISONBURG, VA, United States 11-29-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    "Immerse yourself in a rich audio experience"
    What did you love best about The Starling Project?

    I loved how much it reminded me of listening to radio dramas with my dad when I was growing up. He used to put on The Shadow or Mystery Theatre and we'd just lie on the living room floor, imagining the whole story as it unfolded. He really taught me to listen, and it's great to be able to pass on new stories to my teens so they can enjoy the same experience. They love graphic novels--it's kind of the audio version of that.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I gave the story 4 out of 5 stars because I'm not usually drawn to this kind of plot, but as an example of its genre it's told very well, with clearly delineated characters and exciting situations. A great escape into another world.


    Have you listened to any of Alfred Molina and full cast ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but the best thing was how I always knew who was talking. I think it might've been easy to have the characters blend together too much, but they were all so individual, I got a great mental image of each one and kind of anticipated how they might react in the different situations. Alfred Molina is so smooth--what a pleasure to listen to him! A master.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I just really liked the adventure of it. Looking forward to listening to this one on a road trip, with all of the sound effects and music.


    Any additional comments?

    I listen to a lot of memoirs and nonfiction which tend to be more straightforward but this was just really fun, like a "popcorn listen". I think it's so fantastic that Audible also offers this "audio movie" more fully produced option, since audiobook listeners are looking for all kinds of different experiences, for a varied listening menu. I'd like to see more titles like this one, could definitely see myself using a credit for this genre again.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Nelson 11-26-14
    S. Nelson 11-26-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    1
    1
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    "Wonderful audio drama! MORE, MORE!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Most definitely. And I would point out to that friend that this is not a single narrator audiobook but an audio DRAMA. Very different medium. Why? I liked it, don't need a better reason than that.


    What did you like best about this story?

    In all seriousness, the entire cast was good, not just Alfred Molina. Pulling together that many voices was quite an achievement in itself. And honestly, the Starling's identity? There were "twists and turns" that I saw coming from a mile away, but that last twist I DIDN'T see coming.

    Also 4 hours is a good amount of time for a production of this nature; I was able to hear it all in one sitting rather than break it up into chunks to hear here and there.


    Have you listened to any of Alfred Molina and full cast ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Well if you mean full-cast audio dramas, I've heard quite a few, especially from the BBC (Hitchhiker's Guide, Down the Line, the BBC Radio versions of The Good Life, and the like), and this production is just as good.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The scenes between Molina and Ms. Stathoplos. Not to mention they were a good break in the action.


    Any additional comments?

    Quite a few: let's start with the fact that this is not old time radio, or a radio drama. Works of this magnitude don't get played on American radio, not with a handful of corporations controlling the airwaves. This exemplifies what's best about MODERN AUDIO DRAMA. I don't listen to single narrator audio books, I prefer reading physical books while I can! So if I am going to listen to something I would rather it be an audio drama; multiple voices expand the world of the piece far more than a single narrator audio book can.

    What this has shown me is that rather than being the odd man out in the world of American audio, there needs to be MORE of this kind of work coming not only from Audible but from every major audio book publisher out there. Yes, I'm looking at YOU Random House; and you, Hachette, and Blackstone, Brilliance, and Tantor.

    Moreover, with the end of audio drama on the CBC, here's a perfect opportunity to bring the medium back for Canadian audiences via Audible's Canadian division. And why not provide BBC 4 Radio with a little competition, Audible United Kingdom? Other authors I can think of to get the audio drama treatment: Stephen King, Michael Chabon, Diana Gabaldon, classic authors from the last century (Fitzgerald, Thorne Smith, Dos Passos). How about JK Rowling's new adult detective series ("The Cuckoo's Calling")?

    Finally, speaking of authors, a message for Mr. Deaver: I hope we don't have to wait too long between "The Starling Project" and the next or concluding chapter ("Starling's Endgame" maybe?); I want to hear Middleton and the Starling come face to face...

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Seattle 11-25-14
    Rick Seattle 11-25-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    100
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    46
    16
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    "WOW!"
    Would you listen to The Starling Project again? Why?

    Absolutely. The production values are incredible. I listened with headphones and was immediately transported to a mind-movie. There are also so many twists and turns, it definitely warrants a second, if not third, listen.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mustapha and Devon. They were the quintessential buddy pair, with a lot of light humor and tension.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The storyline is fairly decent, with a dynamite opening and a number of false trails that keep you guessing and scratching your head. It maddeningly ends without the villain being caught (not a spoiler), inviting the hope of a sequel.


    Any additional comments?

    I listen to a lot of audio drama, mainly British (Perfectly Normal, Crazy Dog, BBC) because Americans seem to have lost the ability to create in this medium. But this production has canceled those doubts, and I look forward to more Audible Dramas!

    38 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Hoover, AL, United States 11-25-14
    Thomas Hoover, AL, United States 11-25-14 Member Since 2016

    Accountant addicted to Audiobooks. I was never a reader until I started my Audible Subscription.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    85
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    35
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    7
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    "Fast Paced W/ Great Sound Effects & Production"
    Would you listen to The Starling Project again? Why?

    Will listen to again! This book is awesome what a phenomenal story, and the cast made the book come to life. Audible did a masterful job producing this book. The action is fast paced and the sound effects made the book even better. If there is any criticism is that sometimes you would get lost on who was speaking.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Professor Harold Middleton. He is so brilliant and when you think he is going to be outsmarted by the bad guy he is able to flip it on them. The book has lots of great twists!


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The Scene where the bad guys had taken the hostages in the bank, and the team had to save the hostages and the head of the World Bank.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The whole book moved me. It was this great James Bond Style book. I highly recommend this book. Killed the book in 1 day!!!


    Any additional comments?

    The whole cast made this book so great and this my first Alfred Molina narrated book, but it surely will not be my last. I highly suggest this book as a must listen to.

    40 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew 12-01-14
    Drew 12-01-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Bravo! Like a night at the movies!"
    Where does The Starling Project rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Liked this very much, the full cast concept is great. I haven't heard real contemporary radio drama like this before.


    Have you listened to any of Alfred Molina and full cast ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't heard a real radio play like this since I was a kid. This was excellent, I'd enjoy more like this.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It didn't start out that way. but once I began to get into the story I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.


    Any additional comments?

    I love the full cast concept. Would love to listen to more like this.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maria 11-25-14
    Maria 11-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
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    "I want more Molina!"
    What did you love best about The Starling Project?

    Alfred Molina's voice and character. He can do no wrong. No one else could have done it justice.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Yes! Especially the bank scene and the bomb disposal. I kept jumping, it was so realistic. It was like listening to a movie with the picture off.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked the Harold Middleton and Sonja scenes. They sounded very natural, and it was very romantic.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wanted to, but couldn't. I finished during 3 commutes. I actually sat in the driveway for the last few minutes so I could hear the end.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved it. I just joined as a member and this was a free book for joining. I had to get it because it was Alfred Molina.

    29 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jackson 11-30-14
    Jackson 11-30-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    "A Great Holiday Present"
    What made the experience of listening to The Starling Project the most enjoyable?

    This was one of the first times I'd listened to an audio book and I was blown away by the production; it was like a movie for your ears!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I really liked the Mustafa character because he sounded like a real person. Also, I liked the Molina character as well; it's like he was the master of the unknown.


    What does Alfred Molina and full cast bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I think the whole cast brings another dimension of realism to the whole story that you would not have experienced had you just read the book.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wish I could have listened to this book in one setting but due to my job, I had to split it up in several weekend sessions.


    Any additional comments?

    I think I will start purchasing more audio books if they are this well in their presentations.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gail 11-27-14
    Gail 11-27-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    1
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    "I love this new discovery!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I liked the action scenes in the jungle and in the bank but I also really loved the characters in total. The relationship between Devon and Mustafa and Middleton and Tadic were so honest and natural but each character really came to life believably!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Starling Project?

    This is a new discovery for me-audio drama- and I just think it's great! Unlike an audiobook where someone is simply reading you a story, this medium creates a tangible experience- like listening to a wonderful movie. It's fabulous that it is my imagination completing the picture!


    Have you listened to any of Alfred Molina and full cast ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I am new to Jeffery Deaver but it's a great ride to hear this story in this new and exciting way and I'll certainly be looking for more audio dramas in the future. Can you get Molina again? AND this terrific cast?


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    It wasn't narrated; it was acted and superbly!


    Any additional comments?

    Please, more books done as audio drama, please, please? Such a rich experience.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cal Meti WA, USA 11-24-14
    Cal Meti WA, USA 11-24-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    9
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    Overall
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    "Impressive"

    There's a lot going on here! Many characters and lots of little things to keep track of that a second listen would definitely enhance. But overall a very intense and impressive amount of work and theatrics.

    Obviously Alfred Molina brings Alfred Molina! Such an outstanding actor and it was such a treat to hear him do an audiobook of this magnitude. Excellent casting choice. I don't think it would've been better had they brought in any other A-lister. Molina brings such credibility to his performances and this one was no different. The cast was excellent. Yes, there are a ton of accents that might be slightly overdone here and there but it doesn't distract from the performances/story unless you let it.

    Very intense and so incredibly produced. The technology used to make this must be new to the audiobook world, because I've never experienced an audiobook in surround sound. You can actually hear when a character runs in from the distance or is calling out from behind you. So... again... impressive.

    I'll agree that this is not one of Deaver's best, and that things are a bit fast-paced with not enough breaths between dialogue - sometimes seems rushed which caused me to say "huh" several times and rewind a few times, but as I said, a second listen would probably remedy all that. Not to mention it's less than 4 hours long. For many nowadays, that's a week's commute in the car. Not a bad way to spend the trip if you ask me. Final verdict - definitely recommended, bravo cast and a big bravo AudioComics for your impressive presentation.

    32 of 35 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • JamesW
    Nr Stroud, Gloucester
    2/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Utter drivel"

    It's been a while since an audiobook has been so bad it's actually made me angry! I forced myself to finish this to be able to write a review.
    Alfred Molina who is an incredible actor normally is as flat as a pancake in this drama. His voice is so monosyllabic and without emotion that you actually suspect he wasn't in the same room as the other actors when recording their lines as he recites his with absolutely no feeling at all.
    The British accents are borderline racist! It's something from the 1960's in fact the two actors who did the best British accents weren't actually supposed to be British at all.
    Because of Molina's deadpan acting the rest of the actors come across as overacting to compensate which is a shame as they tend to carry the story along much better.
    At times the exposition is so staged it feels like you are listening to a video game moving onto the next scene.
    Plot wise, it redeems itself slightly in the last half hour but twist and turns become laughable because of the acting and aforementioned plot and scene setting.
    If this was supposed to encourage me to read anything else by Jeffrey Deaver than it has failed miserably

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  • the-leveller
    1/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ridiculous accents"

    British accents were farcical, stilted performances by all, applied the story which may have been ok - it's hard to tell.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Simon
    Waterlooville, UK
    11/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Down to Earth with a CRASH!"

    I've been on a good run recently: authors new to me; first-time authors and most recently the wonderful Mr Fry doing Harry Potter. So for a change of pace I dug this out of my library and . . . well I'm not sure where to start.

    I'm sure Audible didn't set out to produce something this bad. The production values seem high with varied music, sound effects and a full cast. Sadly most of them were more caricature than character and the story just seemed a bit daft.

    Maybe others will find value in this but for me it was a rude awakening; not everything listed on Audible is worth listening to. Sorry, this one definitely didn't work for me.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Lucy Howes
    2/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "awful"

    I afound this eally cheesy with a really weak story line, I was very disappointed.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    1/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Audible Original"

    Keeps you listening, much like a page turner in the physical book world. The dramatisation really conveys a great picture in your mind of what is going on and the voice actors are excellent. The story itself is really good and is well worth the listen. If you are into modern covert operations you will enjoy it.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Rita
    HORSHAM, United Kingdom
    8/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dont bother with this"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Nothing should have read reviews: bad accents, trite story, poor research (Where is Windsor Palace??)


    What was most disappointing about Jeffery Deaver’s story?

    Shoddy research and stereotypes


    Would you be willing to try another one of Alfred Molina and full cast ’s performances?

    Possibly


    What character would you cut from The Starling Project?

    Difficult to say


    Any additional comments?

    At least it was short!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • barbara
    KINGSTON UPON THAMES, United Kingdom
    8/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The worst audible production I have ever bought"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you like cliches, this is the book for you. In fact the book is just one long cliche. Lots of macho posturing, macho female posturing, rapid, overexcited speech, sultry Eastern European agent, utterly predictable. Sounds as if it was put together by people who have overdosed on spooks, jack Higgins, etc etc and has ended up as a parody of the spy/action genre. In fact it is so bad it's actually quite funny.


    What could Jeffery Deaver have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Might be a better read??


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, I only paid 1.99 for this title........hmmm........think I overpaid by 1.99


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • CrisH
    United Kingdom
    3/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Riveting"

    A really good story, full of drama and suspense. There were many twists and turns and it kept a good pace right up to the end.
    The audio cast were very impressive, Alfred Molina was particularly good in the lead role.
    It kept me guessing and I didn't see many of the twists and red herrings.
    I would listen to a production like this again and I would read books by the same author. I like his style of writing.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • CHARLIE CLARKE
    2/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story but bad accents!"

    Enjoyed the fast moving story, but I found the accents almost comical - really hard to stomach (apart from Alfred Molina who I thought was good).

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Winston Bunn
    Italy
    5/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not a bad story. Terrible English accents"

    Most of the performers were okay but the British accents were terrible. They sounded like Basil Brush. Story okay though.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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