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I was thrilled when I discovered that the 4th novel in Anne Cleeland’s “Acton and Doyle” series had been released by Audible, and immediately purchased it as I own all novels in this series and have read them over and over. This is a superb series, compelling and well crafted, about a modern-day husband and wife who work at London’s Scotland Yard. The husband, Michael Sinclair, Lord Acton, is of the British peerage and is a powerful Detective Chief Inspector. He is wealthy and a more than a bit aloof, and is known throughout the Yard as “Holmes” for his intelligence and almost mystical talent in solving crimes. Kathleen Doyle, his wife, is Irish and was a lowly first year Constable at Scotland Yard when she met DCI Acton, but the chemistry between them was immediate, and to make things even more interesting she is a bit fey and can tell when someone is lying. Together they’re an excellent, if sometimes unconventional, team. All of the characters – both the two major ones and all of the supporting ones – are complex, fascinating and enjoyable studies and at times even overshadow the main crime/mystery.
The audio narrator for the first three books in this series is fabulous. So I had High Hopes for this latest release and could hardly wait to listen to it. Ugh! Was I ever disappointed! A new narrator was chosen and, to put it bluntly, she does an incredible disservice to the great writing. Although Ms. Young attempts to speak with an Irish accent, she fails miserably. She slurs words, swallows parts of many words (for instance often saying “at” instead of “that”, “could” instead of “couldn’t”, “inact” instead of “in fact”, “medially” instead of “immediately” etcetcetc), mispronounces words (took me a while to guess a “reporcher” was really a “reporter”, and that “slint” really meant “silent”) and often leaves words out entirely. Her style of narrating is uneven; she pauses in the middle of some sentences, then rushes and reads other sentences altogether in a jumble. She makes little or no attempt to distinguish between characters’ voices, so during many conversations it’s difficult to determine who is saying what, as they’re all read in the same peculiar faux accent, whether they’re Irish characters or not. After five chapters I was so frustrated with trying to make sense of what the narrator was saying – or attempting to say – that I had a roaring headache. I stopped, unable to endure any more.
Not only is this book poorly narrated, but the audio editing is terrible as well. Just in the five chapters I struggled through there were dozens of pops, skips, repeats and sound fading in and out. So very disheartening! I hope Audible will refund my money. And I will definitely avoid this narrator in the future, especially if she attempts to trot out an Irish accent!
Still, if you want to read a great series, I highly recommend the print or kindle versions of the six Acton and Doyle novels written so far, as well as the Audible release of first three books in the series. Although a series, each book can be read as a stand-alone (though they are SO much better read in order as you can follow character and circumstance developments), and all are absolutely excellent.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
The unfortunate thing about audio books is that the narrator or performer can really make or break the book. Not having Marcella Reardon narrate this book after she already did such a wonderful job with the same characters previously is like a punch in the stomach. It is like catching pneumonia and having to still go to work where the light is painfully bright and every noise is like nails on a chalk board. It is like the last Indiana Jones movie compared to the first and third one, actually worse because at least that movie had Harrison Ford. It is like all the characters were killed off and now being being replaced by duller less bright characters.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful