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Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No. This is the first time I have ever written a review before finishing the book.
If -- and it's a big if -- I get through the rest of it, I will edit this review.
Narrator's voice is super low bass. I find it h hard to listen to his voice. That can be fixed somewhat through an equalizer. This book uses voice imitations for direct quotes which mimic the actual speakers.
My gripe -- and what is so annoying -- is the background music which plays all the time. In comparison to the volume of the narrator it is like a fly buzzing around -- not enough to really hear it but loud enough to get on my nerves. I keep thinking someone is in my house, or the answering machine is recording or that I left the radio or TV on.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
Have not finished book yet.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Voice so low it is hard on my ears -- the way a car with loud bass hurts when it is next to you at a stoplight.
Was Truman's Spy worth the listening time?
Not yet. It might be okay to read.
Any additional comments?
Music behind the narration? Whose dumb idea was that?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
"Truman's Spy" could be a good thriller -- it starts out with an interesting Cold War backdrop and a diverse storyline involving an ex-FBI agent now serving as a small-town sheriff in Oregon, another FBI agent assigned to investigate his ex-fiancee's father, and J. Edgar Hoover himself hovering in the background as an FBI director not held in high esteem by his subordinates.
Unfortunately, this audio recording was utterly ruined by unnecessary, hokey gimmicks, such as musical cues that started each chapter (and even played in the background as the narrator read), having each line of dialogue modified by some kind of acoustic effect to make the voices sound slightly different, especially when someone was supposed to be speaking over the telephone -- and even dubbing in sound effects!
The manipulation of each character's dialogue was particularly annoying. I'm assuming it was Mr. Alan reading each line because no one else is listed as a narrator, but the gimmicky acoustic effects made it sound like he was delivering them from the other end of a piece of sewer pipe or a deep hole in the ground. The effect of having these line readings alternate with "he said," or "he commented," or "Mark said" etc. etc. was like trying to watch a play while someone read the stage directions out loud.
The audio manipulation also rendered a lot of the spoken dialogue almost unintelligible, with the words getting lost in the hollowed out soup can (or whatever echo chamber they used to record the dialogue) -- and then reverting back to the narrator's normal, booming voice for the "he said" cues. And when one character gets shot, we actually have to hear the sound of the bullets being fired! I don't know what clown of an editor thought that this would "enhance" the listening experience, but it certainly had the opposite effect for me.
After a few chapters of this I could no longer take it, and deleted the story from my device. If I had wanted to listen to an old-time radio show complete with sound effects and different people playing each part, I would have chosen to listen to that instead.
Ironically, Mr. Alan seems like a capable narrator -- if he weren't dragging a safe behind him in the form of these goofy audio gimmicks. All of the best narrators -- such as Michael Page, John Lee, Simon Vance, or Edward Herrmann -- can modify their voices when reading dialogue so that this kind of nonsense is unnecessary. And as noted at the outset, the story itself could have been an enjoyable thriller if it had been read by any of those or a host of other narrators -- or even Mr. Alan -- without the hair-pulling-inducing audio manipulation. My advice is to skip this version and choose a book with a narrator giving a straight reading without any "enhancements."
5 of 7 people found this review helpful