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Publisher's Summary

Mapping the minds of murderers is what Dr. Tony Hill does better than anyone. So when a twisted killer starts targeting psychologists across Northern Europe, he's the obvious choice to track the executioner's mental and physical journey.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    23
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    33
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    21
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    17
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    15

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    25
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    27
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    13
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jannice
  • Sugar Land, TX, USA
  • 04-08-04

The Last Temptation - Wrong voice

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Not as good as The Distant Echo

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

A bit disappointed

Would you try another book from Val McDermid and/or Guerin Barry?

I have enjoyed both paper books and audible books by Val McDermid in the past, but I wasn't happy with this reading. Barry has a pleasant voice when narrating the story but did not do well on the character's accents or the women's voices. At times the emphasis points of sentences was off, like you'd find in an amateur theater production. I didn't finish the book, it annoyed me so much.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Temptation?

I liked the German setting.

How could the performance have been better?

The previous book in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series was read by Michael Tudor Barnes and the characters rang true. That was not the case in this reading.

Did The Last Temptation inspire you to do anything?

It inspired me to cut my losses and not finish it, which is always irritating because I feel like I wasted a credit. In the future I will listen to samples before I buy

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator totally wrong for Val McDermid books!

The narrator was so wrong it was a struggle to finish the book and I LOVE the series. A true shame

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Too short

Wish I had paid more attention when I purchased this book. The story is good, but the abridged version is very unsatisfying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • PERSONAL
  • IRVINE, CA, United States
  • 05-13-14

disappointed

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone listening to the story for the first time or who hasn't listened to the other stories as an Audible book.

What didn’t you like about Guerin Barry’s performance?

It wasn't for me. I didn't care for the addition of music, I think it cheapens the story and the performance. My issue isn't so much with Barry's performance, but with my expectations and previous experience listening to Gerard Doyle's readings. It is Doyle's voice that I want and expect to add his flavor to the characters. It was very disconcerting to deal with a different representation of my beloved Tony & Carol.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Temptation?

All the music interludes should be removed!!

Any additional comments?

The story didn't flow. I felt like I missed something. It didn't feel as detailed as other novels, but I'm willing to consider that I felt this way because the performance so threw me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Overly dramatic reader.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The story is pretty typical Val McDermid, although some of the writing is not up to his usual ability. However the reader makes it worse. EVERY line is read as if it is the most important line in the book - way overly dramatic. Skip this one if you value your mind and ears.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Typical

What didn’t you like about Guerin Barry’s performance?

See above

Do you think The Last Temptation needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I am no longer going to follow this series. The writing gets worse with each book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Val deserves better

Val McDermid is a tremendous author. Her books are insightful and witty and smart -- enough so that I can cringe through the gore scenes willingly to get to the "good stuff." That being the case, she deserves much better narration and production than this book offers. There has been enough said about the narrator by other reviewers; I will only add that I was so distracted by visions of Natasha and Boris from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons that I had trouble following the story line. The narrator's accents were so overdrawn that they were difficult to take seriously, and when he attempted female voices I pictured Monty Python players dressed in drag and flouncing ridiculously. And of all people, Val McDermid doesn't DO flouncy ridiculous women -- part of the pleasure of her writing is that the women are strong and interesting. It is quite a jarring element distracting from a very good, very complex book. The two books before were narrated beautifully, perfectly, and added to the story in a way that just reading the print book could not match, but without coloring or adding an interpretation the author didn't seem to intend. But other than the unacceptably bad narration, this recording includes two other elements that should be forever banned from audio books: 1) Abridgements should be illegal. 'Nuff said about that. 2) Extraneous sound effects including music are highly off-putting to every audio book listener I know. The music on this particular book caused teeth-grinding jaw clenching from the very beginning of the book, and each time thereafter. Presumably it is played each time they cut chunks out of the book to signal the abridgment, so if the publishers will follow my first rule, this issue would be eliminated. I would love it if Audible would fix up a survey of their listeners and ask what we actually like and dislike about audiobooks, so that they could pass these values on to their publishers. I would like to point out to publishers that many readers will be listening to their books through ear pods or similar devices, thereby having a nice comfortable level set for the volume of narration actually IN their ears. Therefore, noises other than the voice of the narrator such as obnoxious, overly loud music or sound effects disturb not only the cadence and enjoyment of the book but also the auditory nerve. Isn't the idea to create an ambiance with the narrator and his/her presumed talent so that the listener becomes focused and involved in the story, our senses wrapped up in it, our imaginations stirred to form a certain union with the author and narrator? Then it stands to reason that introducing jarring noises is going to snap the reader right out of that happy state and instantly break the flow, replacing enjoyment with annoyance. With some more popular novelists, some books' sound effects include automobile and traffic sounds as well as gunfire and other B-movie contrivances. The music in this book is not that, thankfully, but it is loud and of a particularly high pitch that I find especially annoying. Please, audio book publishers, don't do that any more. As far as recommending the book, I absolutely do. Recommending this recording, however, comes with a caveat. If you don't mind having to rewind a few times to regain your focus, and if you can go into it telling yourself, "It's not about the voice, it's about the story," then it is an interesting, complex, and compelling story. It would be better if it were not abbreviated -- but then we'd have to listen to this voice even longer.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story, but not compelling

The audio performance distracted me from the story. I had a difficult time listening to the performance.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Very disappointed

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Only as a way to follow the series. The story itself was not very interesting and the performance was not good at all.

How could the performance have been better?

Different narrator