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  • Delirium

  • London Psychic, Book 2
  • By: J.F. Penn
  • Narrated by: Rosalind Ashford
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

When a prominent psychiatrist is found murdered in the old hospital of Bedlam, Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke finds herself investigating the history of madness to fathom the motive. Blake Daniel, a reluctant psychic, helps her to research the case, only to discover that his own family are entwined with the shadowy forces that seek to control the minds of the mad.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Insane or normal?

  • By Ann Keeran on 12-31-14

Not for the faint of heart!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-21-15

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this book -- it's well-paced and suspenseful, cutting back and forth between plot and sub-plot. Joanna Penn promises a dark story, and she delivers this nicely.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Delirium?

Penn is particularly good a description -- both for small, memorable details and for large, vivid, ranging scenes. One such scene takes place during communion. Shifting back and forth between one parishioner's POV and the mayhem breaking around her, Penn very effectively creates an atmosphere of terror and chaos.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Rosalind Ashford?

The narration in Delirium is fine -- but the narrator needn't change voices and affect accents, as she does frequently. It's clumsy in some spots and almost humorous in others, and draws the listener out of the story.

Any additional comments?

Once again I'm impressed by Joanna Penn's subtle but effective use of imagery. Images of water, drowning, swimming, etc. are vivid and suggestive. And her description of people is similarly sharp (and also sometimes humorous): "Petra Bennett's face had the curious look of a deep-water fish, all lips and heavy cheeks."

It's obvious that a lot of research went into writing Delirium, and Penn manages to incorporate it seamlessly into the story. Well done -- an entertaining listen, right down to the last, thrilling scene.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • One Day in Budapest

  • By: J. F. Penn
  • Narrated by: Veronica Giguere
  • Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 33

Budapest, Hungary. When a priest is murdered at the Basilica of St Stephen and the Holy Right relic is stolen, the ultra-nationalist Eröszak party calls for retribution and anti-Semitic violence erupts in the city. Dr Morgan Sierra, psychologist and ARKANE agent, finds herself trapped inside the synagogue with Zoltan Fischer, a Hungarian Jewish security advisor. As the terrorism escalates, Morgan and Zoltan must race against time to find the Holy Right and expose the conspiracy, before blood is spilled again on the streets of Budapest.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • No character depth, just speed-read Nazi warnings

  • By Janels on 06-17-14

You'll want to down this story in one sitting!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-14

Any additional comments?

“We are fiercely proud of our Hungary, but sometimes she bares her teeth.”

And indeed she does.

From the “gunmetal grey” that Budapest is painted in as the prologue opens to the bizarre and profane rituals taking place beneath the city as the story unfolds, One Day in Budapest is darkly mesmerizing.

Dr. Morgan Sierra, self-possessed, brainy and feisty heroine of the Arkane thrillers, has arrived in Budapest on an uncomplicated errand that should see her on her way back to London in a few hours. As she arrives, she marvels that a short flight or train trip can transport you to another time and place – almost like having an adventure.

Careful what you wish for!

In this two-and-a-half hour novella, Joanna Penn achieves many of the effects of a full-length novel. Her characters are fully fleshed – there’s enough backstory to give them depth and enough detail that you find you’ve come to care for them, and you gasp in disbelief when they’re killed off. She uses shifting point of view in an interesting way, too – especially in those scenes in which a character meets a grisly end.

The imagery is atmospheric and sometimes jarring – the grey architecture is mirrored both in the landscape and in the subject matter that harkens back to the horrors of Nazi Europe. And the recurring visual of blood-spattered glass reminds us that this story and its subject aren’t for the timid.

Finally, this story moves along quickly – the pacing is good and isn’t impeded by too much description. The narrator does a good job with this, too. She has an expressive voice, and she manages to distinguish between the various characters impressively.

This is a thoroughly satisfying listening experience – highly recommended!