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About 23 people disappear from the world’s cruise ships every year. Ship owners have a considerable interest in keeping these disappearances under wraps and tend to describe those that come to light as suicides, whether there is evidence of a suicide or not. That's the basis for Fitzek's latest thriller.
Five years ago, undercover detective Martin Schwartz lost his wife and son to such a disappearance on board a cruise ship. Now a shell of a man with nothing to loose, he agrees to meet a wacky elderly woman on board that same ship. She maintains there is something far more sinister going on as children and their mothers have gone missing regularly over the years. As Schwartz starts to look into this mystery, one of the missing children reappears on board the ship.
I've been an avid reader of Sebastian Fitzek's books for years, but this was my first experience of listening to the translated version of one of his books. While it kept my attention throughout, I don't feel that Passenger 23 was one of his best. It was suspenseful and did have the typical Fitzek twists and turns that are totally unpredictable, but it didn't mess with my head as much as some of his other psychological thrillers did.
The book (like most of his) should come with a warning. Fitzek likes to shock, and the gruesome details and disturbing themes will not appeal to everyone. Passenger 23 deals with the sexual abuse of children and is rather hard hitting in its description of physical acts of violence and sexual abuse.
There are intermittent sound effects throughout and music in between chapters. The sound effects were ok though I didn't really feel they added much to the story. The music IMHO was trashy. It reminded me of very old films where the music is supposed to create suspense.
Narration was very good. The voice artist narrating the story was a little too rigid and formal, but the narrators portraying the main characters brought life to the story.
Beware there is an epilogue that, oddly, is after the production credits, so don't miss it as it explains one part of the story from right at the beginning of the book.
Overall, a solid thriller if you don't think too hard about how realistic this plot is and are willing to believe the unbelievable for a few hours of dramatic listening.
Audiobook was provided for review the publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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76 of 82 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Sebastian Fitzek and/or the narrators?
I'm not sure. This was very unusual, to say the least.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
No. There were too many sub-plots and people to keep track of
Any additional comments?
Remember years ago when we rented VHS movies from a store? And you got home, started watching the movie and realized someone put the wrong movie into the VHS jacket? That's what this reminded me of. For the first 45 minutes, I thought I had bought the wrong book because there wasn't anything about cruise ships in that part. I never fully warmed up to the story but kept listening out of morbid curiosity. And there was a lot of morbid stuff going on in this book. I didn't hate it, didn't love it, but there are a whole lot other books out there that I wish I'd spent my time and credits on. In a word, it was 'weird.'
28 of 30 people found this review helpful
This is not going to be for everybody by any means. Its not a run of the mill thriller and it is quite uncomfortable at some points but this is just that kind of story and if you do enjoy cruise ships then this may give you pause for thought!!
I listened to this all the way through in one session and am glad I did. I would say it was more along the lines of a horror/ mystery type of drama and on the whole I loved it. If you relish something a little different and you like something to keep you guessing then give it a go. The production, narration and acting is very sound . Out of the three productions that Sebastian Fitzek has written this has been the one I have enjoyed the most. For me it left a few things unanswered but I definitely believe its worth a credit although it may have put me off cruises for life.................but I would guess that is a plus for Sebastian Fitzek.
35 of 39 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
If I had had some warning of the graphic descriptions of child sex abuse I would not have purchased this book. Stopped half way through there should be a warning that should not be listened to within earshot of children.
80 of 93 people found this review helpful
got lost too often. bit too crazy and story was a liite nuts for me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Really nasty stuff - I can't listen to this sort of brutal story.. can't understand how people even imagine it.