Passenger 23

  • by Sebastian Fitzek
  • Narrated by Max Beesley, Rebecca Hall, Anthony Head, Robert Glenister, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Sian Phillips
  • 8 hrs and 8 mins
  • Performance

Publisher's Summary

A gripping psychological thriller set on high seas. A transatlantic crossing that becomes a nightmare. With no police to investigate and no escape, could it be the perfect setting for a crime? Martin Schwartz (Beesley) is an undercover detective who is recovering from his wife and sons' bizarre disappearance from a cruise ship 5 years ago. He is a desperate man willing to take big risks. Martin never wanted to step onto a cruise ship again until he receives a call which can't be ignored. On average, 23 people per year disappear without a trace from cruise ships. Never before has someone come back... until now.
Please note: This title contains explicit language.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

a solid thriller if you don't think too hard

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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- AudioBook Reviewer


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.'

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-17-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios