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What did you love best about Dinner with the Don?
The bumbling "Wise Guys" who manage to screw everything up. It was like the Mafia answer to Abbott & Costello
What was one of the most memorable moments of Dinner with the Don?
When he discovers "Walt", the street clown, is the long-lost brother of the Don
Have you listened to any of Al Benelli’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I've heard nearly all of Al's narrations. I'm a fan of his stuff. This is somewhere in the middle. Not his best but not as bad as some caustic reviewers would have you believe. Remember, a narrators work needs to be approved by the author, so if something sounds misplaced to you... apparently the author didn't think so.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I'm not sure... but I did anyway... On a flight back from Rome... That's what audiobooks do best!
Any additional comments?
Moving to The Starlight Club next!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The book starts out with maybe the most boring mob-hit scene I have every experienced in any media. Thankfully, this is followed up by our trendsetter protagonist, Dexter, getting hilariously denied entry into a restaurant he made famous and the story quickly brings the opening together as he plots his revenge using an obvious (to the reader) "mob restaurant." Naturally, this sets up a fair amount of excitement, as anyone can see that this is going to backfire, but how and how spectacularly is the question that makes you want to read more.
What follows is a Comedy of Errors style story, complete with slapstick and a lot of mistaken identities (which often gets the person killed). The story is at its best when it wanders into the realm of farce.
Dexter is your stereotypical egotistical character. There is the typical, for fiction, fawning woman who loves this man and will do anything for him, but he isn't into her at the start (although that plot point is resolved far too quickly). The mob guys are typical tropes for that genre. They are all trope characters, but nearly everyone of note in the story has enough individual characteristics to make them distinct from the base template they were pulled from.
It's not bad. There are some memorable moments. The characters are unique enough to hold interest. The plot is enjoyable, even if the story drags a little at times. It maybe trying too hard to be a "Made for TV" movie script, but that tone isn't enough to override the fun moments.
Now for narration and production: Al Benelli's gives a very mixed performance. He's ok for the main character, great at the "mob guys," and awful with anyone else. Especially female voices. I even at one point had trouble telling who was talking, as the voice used for Dexter got dropped for a couple lines. Also, I have never encountered so many post-production edits and filters as get used in this audiobook. Almost every time a filter kicks in it is jarring and badly done. The places it works is when recording are being played back in the story, but sound editing is often used to try and make Benelli's female voices different and less masculine, but it just makes them unnatural. Also, why would someone add a distance sounding filter for a guy in the front seat of a car? He's a couple feet away, not down a corridor. From a production standpoint, this should be an example of how not to record an audiobook. It made this tale very hard to get through.
Final verdict: If Mob Comedy sounds like your kind of thing, get this book, but not as an audiobook.