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Really a 3.5 for the story itself, but rounded up for the excellent narration. Tough to review this one without spoilers, and I hate rehashing plots), so I'll try to give a plot structure in terms of what to expect . . .
Our un-named hero is slogging along from paycheck to paycheck (not enough money to heat his flat) selling rare records when he's made an offer to track down one the 1950's. So, off he goes on his quest, along with a "minder" from his new employer, Nevada. Unfortunately, there are others, a very nasty pair, on the same trail. Midway through the book, there's a "crisis point" (shall we call it), where the focus shifts from working with Nevada on that album, to locating the entire limited output of its producer on behalf of an American gal called Ree (audio, so never saw the spelling), with the location shifting from London to Los Angeles. This is signaled by having the "record" flipped from Side A to Side B, which I thought clever.
That's about as much as I can say about the plot without straying into spoiler territory. What really worked for me was that the guy is incredibly likeable, rooting for him is as natural as breathing. There's a sort of "assistant" called Tinkler in both parts, who came across as a bit dim, but loyal (could have been the narrator's voice); he accompanies the two on some of the British adventures, while serving as a sounding board by phone and email in the second part. The book seemed longer than it actually was, but I didn't feel bogged down by jazz/technical stuff as much as other reviewers seem to have been. Even the minor (tertiary) characters were interesting enough to help carry things along.
So why not five stars? Well, I found I had to suspend disbelief to accept some of the events. For example, our hero lives in a bungalow(?) with no central heating in London. I would assume the pipes would freeze, although he seems to have a functioning hot water heater. Also, he has no car in London so isn't used to driving there, but effortlessly (it's implied) tools around right-driving Los Angeles traffic? And then there's the resolution itself, which I obviously can't reveal, which was too neat (clever) for me, although I was pleased for him regarding its effect on his personal life. Another slight minus concerned the taxi driver kept on a retainer for their London excursions, Agatha. The woman has a shaved head, so they take to referring to her as Clean Head for a nickname, which I found mildly creepy.
Audio narration was absolutely brilliant. I'm assuming the guy is English, so does a range of British accents well; what impressed me was that he did many American voices well, too, without resorting to stereotypical American accents. Moreover, he lucks out regarding female voices that Nevada's speech is what is known as (relatively) "posh", Clean Head is Cockney(?), and Rhee speaks Standard American English, so one doesn't feel it's the same re-used voice.
Definitely recommend - looking forward to the upcoming sequel!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Great listen. Well written. Great characters. I laughed out loud at the dialogue. Well read. Well plotted. You can never seen the next twist.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. it's a mad adventure with more twists than a vodka martini.
I really can't wait for his second offering, coming out in 2017, I'm told.
The writing is tight, funny and rip-roaring.
I also loved the narration.
This was a great experience.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
A slightly geeky hero who loves Hi-Fi, cats and coffee and a fast moving plot. what could go wrong?
Narrated excellently in terms of speed and clarity. I do not remember any jarring notes.
I had read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it and despite remembering the plot well ,enjoyed the audio book more.
Somehow the character interactions came more alive.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
really enjoyed it. unusual story line; loved the jazz content.; I learned a lot about vinyl & got to regretting all the records that I had discarded years ago! the one thing that really jarred with me was an explicit sex scene that could have been omitted without any impact on storyline. I grabbed the remote & fast_forwarded through it & fortunately no children around but would have preferred not to have stumbled across it. why don't books have ratings as movies do??