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About Face

Narrated by: David Colacci
Series: Guido Brunetti, Book 18
Length: 9 hrs and 41 mins
4 out of 5 stars (219 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The polluted waters of the canals in Venice are an ever-present issue; but environmental concerns become significant in Commissario Guido Brunetti's work when an investigator from the Carabiniere - looking into the illegal hauling of garbage - asks for a favor. But the investigator is not the only one with a special request. Brunetti's father-in-law needs help and a mysterious woman comes into the picture. And the Commissario soon finds himself in the middle of an investigation into murder and corruption more dangerous than anything he's seen before.
©2009 Donna Leon and Diogenes Verlag AG Zurich (P)2009 BBC Audio

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good but take note

I liked this book, but take note that it doesn't move quickly and it's not just a detective mystery. Leon's detective Guido __ solves the case but along the way one is treated to a view of Italian life, specifically Venice. A good deal of time is spent on Guido's family with sharp dialogue with his wife, who is a gem, kids and in-laws. The narrator is top notch and his performance makes it a delight to listen to.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Dolce Far Niente

The pace of this book requires adjustment from readers who are used to the hectic rhythms of, say, Michael Connelly and other writers whose procedurals take place in L.A. or New York. So much time is given to the nuances of interaction between characters of differing social class, regional backgrounds and levels of intimacy that it begins to feel a little sleep-inducing. But the plot is gripping and the action, when it comes, is shocking and touching. And although the atmosphere abounds with leisure, books, and camomile tea, the view of life presented is as bleak and hard on the human spirit as anything in Harry Bosch's world.
I am happy to learn that this is part of a long series and I plan to listen at leisure.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A cultural experience

What made the experience of listening to About Face the most enjoyable?

Listening to Donna Leon's books transports me from midwest Kansas to the Italy I have visited and vacationed in. The narration and narrative are both excellent. This is the fifth book I have listened to that David Colacci has read. I think he is a perfect match for the text.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 10-20-11

Another strong one from Donna Leon

Great story, and as usual, narrated very well by David Colacci. Lots of great visuals in this one: the woman with the strange face, the interior of a waste-holding metal structure, and the steps of the Venice casino. Very affecting ending, for me, totally unexpected.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Like Half Baked Bread

This could have been a good story, but the author doesn't develop it, and the ending seems disjointed from the beginning. There are segues into tailoring, fashion sense, art, wine, food. It's only mildly interesting that Brunetti notices the cut of a jacket, or the stitching of a cuff. These segues interrupt the plot development to the point that parts of the plot just seem to drop and a new line picks up. The plot fails to hold together in a coherent narrative; it left me dissatisfied. I was just glad to finish the book.

Characters pop in and out of the storyline without development, and often without explanation of who they are. I was too often confused who was doing what to whom, and why.There are rather a lot of them too.

David Colacci is one of the worst narrators I've ever listened to. I don't know if he's really Italian and the accent he uses is natural to him, or if it's affected. Either way, it's distracting, and often confusing because of the way he pronounces the names of the rather large cast of characters. His tone of voice frequently makes a character's dialogue sound brutish, in a stereotyped manner. It was extremely off-putting, and I doubt I'll listen to another book he narrates.

I gather this is a series. I won't be reading any more of it, and probably won't buy anything from this author again.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Brava, Donna!

It is rewarding to see this mature novelist at the top of her form! I think she should be considered now in the same category as P
D. James and R. Rendell!

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  • Pamela
  • Bigfork, Montana
  • 07-25-19

One of the best in the series

A other reviewers have noted, this is not a fast-paced action/mystery. Venice has been around for centuries and things do not move quickly here. If immersion in the life of a moral police commissioner faced with corruption and pettiness in the city he loves does not appeal to you, this may not be the best series for your library.

But if, like me, you are satisfied with a messy story where one can only hope the balance tips towards justice, you may enjoy a few hours with the literate, thoughtful Guido Brunetti. We see more about his in-laws and less about his offspring in this edition than others. Brunetti struggles with accepting that his father-in-law may skirt the edges of the law and ethics to amass the fortune that helps support the Brunetti family's comfortable way of life.

The story threads don't tie together neatly in a bow and we leave not sure that just desserts are served, but that is part of the appeal. Brunetti continues in his role as commissario knowing there is only so much he can do, but understanding that Venice is a better place because he, and others like him, continue to work in the police force despite the corruption and inaction they face every day.

I am on my second trip through the series and I continue to enjoy both the stories and the narration by David Colacci

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About Face

This book is / was an interesting listen. I enjoyed it. I love BBC and usually anything they make so I was super excited that this was a BBC audio. The story line was interesting and I wasn't bored listening to it. I enjoyed listening to this book while I was traveling to / from work.

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I so enjoyed this book...

Guido Brunetti was a delight...some nice twists and turns...sympathetic (yet ironic) characters...And Collaci is wonderful.

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Another Strong Entry in This Classic Series

I love this series and feel like I know these people. You don't have to tear the books in order once you know the characters.

This wasn't the best of the stories but still enjoyable. It delved into the relationship between Guido and his in-laws which I especially enjoyed and Guido actually did some hands-on investigating.

The city of Venice had only a very minor role. Sometimes Venice almost seems like a another character.

I enjoy this narrator and think he fits in well with my mental picture of the atmosphere around the story.