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Martin Cruz Smith has been one of my favorite authors since I discovered his work in the early 90's. His novels are filled with memorable characters, sharp dialogue, and particularly good narrative--Cruz Smith has a real gift for "describing the moment".
I rushed to buy December 6 in hardback the first week it hit stores, and I enjoyed the book thoroughly. I decided to purchase the audiobook because I wanted to revisit the story, and also because I was curious as to how well the novel would translate. Unfortunately, the audiobook has several flaws.
It dispenses with chapter indicators, opting instead for long pauses. This is unnecessarily confusing, given the frequent changes in location / flashbacks that are integral to the plot.
The narrator, John Slattery, does a good job with the "foreign" characters--Harry Niles, Willie Staub, Al DeGeorge--but he inexplicably gives the Japanese characters pseudo-Japanese accents. As just one example, Cruz Smith's "Long Beach Oil" becomes "Rong Beach Oil". Often what was rapier wit on the page becomes caricature to the ear.
This abridged version also makes some puzzling edits. Great chunks of text are cut, only to be referred to later. Towards the end of the audiobook, a character asks: "Remember that song 'Amazing Grace?'" Well, you wouldn't--that part was cut from the audio. Too bad, since a song would seem a perfect opportunity for an audiobook to _improve_ on the original.
I would strongly recommend that people new to Cruz Smith start by reading one of his books, but in the end, enough of the original text shines through. I liked this production, despite its faults, and I suspect other Cruz Smith fans will like it as well.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This book was not at all what I expected. I thought it might be more of a history lesson and peek inside the Japanese mindset that led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. That was only hinted at in the very end.
Harry Niles, the main character, is not very believable. The story jumps all over and leaves you wondering where it's going. Even in the end, you do not learn what becomes of the primary characters. Maybe it loses something in the abridgement, or it's just not my cup of tea.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful