The D.I.R.T. on Audio Books

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Welcome to my first review using the D.I.R.T. method…

My son Josh gave me an audio book this past Christmas. He got into them pretty heavy and thought I might like it too. Like most father and sons we tend to like similar things. In this case, I wasn’t sold immediately. I like the feel of a book in my hands and lately my iPad mini for reading.

My ‘gift’ came in the form of an emailed gift certificate via Audible. First thing I had to do was download the app for my iPhone then download the book. Audible is a fine company and their app was OK too but I’m not in a position to review those having only used them once. I’ll leave that to my son… see review here.

What follows is my review on the ‘audio book’ experience…

I have my Audible app and an audio book by one of my favourite writing teams; Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child. The book is called White Fire and features Special Agent Pendergast of the FBI.

I’ve read many, but not all, of the books featuring Special Agent Pendergast and have come to really like the guy. The character is quirky, exceedingly smart, strong, has a really strange family and is rich. In short, I feel I know this character and have a picture in my mind of what he’s like.

My son likes to listen to audio books at home, in bed. Doesn’t work for me… the minute I lay down, I’m gone. I decided to listen while driving into work each morning or on business trips.

The book is narrated by Rene Auberjonois, best known for his acting roles in M.A.S.H. and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Odo. He has also narrated several other books in the Pendergast series.

So I’m in my car, listening to a novel by a writing duo that I’ve grown to love, narrated by a very accomplished actor, when Special Agent Pendergast’s voice comes out over my eight speakers.

I almost ran off the road…

This was not how I pictured the Special Agent’s voice, not at all. I can’t actually put my finger on what I thought his voice would sound like but definitely not that. The Police Chief in the novel sounded a bit lame while the other main character; Corrie Swanson sounded a little juvenile at times. I’d like to know if the authors get involved with the decision to choose a narrator. If they do, is this how they picture their characters?

In the end the story was pure Pendergast but the narration threw me off. In fact, I won’t be able to get that voice out of my head when I read the next novel. However, I really enjoyed the audio book. It certainly made my time in the car more enjoyable. I’m just not sure I should have started with one of my favourite series.

Are audio books a medium you should consider? As an avid reader, I’d say it depends on your reading environment. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t hold a book in your hands for extended periods of time, absolutely. BUT, for those series that you’re really passionate about, be wary as the complex image you’ve developed in your mind might be at risk.

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