Category Archives: What’s on my player

What’s on my MP3 Player – 2/7/08

Nelson DeMille is a good author whom I have a love/hate relationship with. I really like the characters of John Corey and Kate Mayfield. They appear in several of his books, and always have very witty banter. But with Night Fall, he ends the book as a cop-out relying on the events of 9/11 to completely disregard the plot of the book. And with Wildfire, he gives away the ending in the beginning. You learn in the first hour what Wildfire is, who the bad guy is and exactly why he’s doing what he’s doing. Then you follow our heroes as they slowly figure out what you already know. I hate stories like this. It takes me from being a participant in the story to being a distant observer. Had DeMille revealed the plot elements to us as they were being revealed to the hero, this would be a great book, full of tension, surprise, and twists. But alas, I knew the twists and was left diappointed.

Wildfire is narrated by my favorite narrator, Scott Brick, who does a great job. One of the interesting things about Brick’s narration is that he doesn’t do a lot of distinct voices. He has a sublte New York accent, but doesn’t exaggerate the differences between the characters. Someone like Jim Dale who narrates Harry Potter, gets fully into each character and each character is clearly distinct. Scott Brick merely alters his voice slightly, but you always know when a different character is speaking. He is really one of the great storytellers of our time.

As a bonus, we get an interview of Nelson DeMille by Scott Brick via phone patch in the studio. Interesting to hear Scott Brick in his natural voice, not performing.

Recommended, as always for Scott Brick’s performance, but not the novel itself.

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What’s on my MP3 player 1/18

If you’ve ever read a book by Erik Larson, you know that he writes like a Ken Burns movie – incredibly detailed and character oriented. I fell in love with his writing after listening to Devil in the White City narrated by Scott Brick. So when Thunderstruck came out, I knew I had to listen to it.

Like Devil in the White City, this book tells the parallel stories of 2 historical events. This time, it’s the invention of the wireless radio by Italian inventor Marconi. This is told alongside the story of the famous Crippenden murder at the turn of the century. The stories are fascinating and rich with detailed histories of the two stories. It isn’t until the very end that the 2 plotlines are tied together resulting in a “oh now I see!” from the reader.

The book is narrated by Bob Balaban who does an admirable job. This kind of book does not lend itself to crazy characters a la Jim Dale. Instead the narrators job is to simply tell a story as if we’re all sitting by a campfire. While Balaban does a fine job, I did notice a few performance flaws such as him running out of breathe at the ends of a few sentences.

All in all, a great book and excellent narration that kept my interest for all 11 hours. Recommended.


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