Audiobook review: Dark Heart by James Phelan

Sunday, March 5, 2017 Permalink

Audiobooks are a fairly new thing for me and I’m still trying to adapt to them as an alternative to ‘reading’. I’m not quite there yet, I must admit, but the more I try¬†the more I understand the allure for audiobook devotees.

Audiobook review: Dark Heart by James PhelanDark Heart (Unabridged)
by James Phelan
Series: Jed Walker #4
Published by Hachette Australia
on December 22nd 2016
Source: Hachette Australia
Narrator: Adrian Mulraney
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 9780733636134
Pages: 384
Length: 9hrs 34mins

Jed Walker is ex-CIA - he thought he was out of the game. An ominous global threat brought him back into play. But just when Walker thinks he is winning, the bad guys change it up a gear and the odds get stacked higher against him. In the global theatre of war, winning is the only option if you want to stay alive.

Discovering a terror outfit is running people smuggling out of the Middle East, Walker thinks they are driven purely by profit and greed. But it is much worse than that. He must work against time and powerful adversaries to uncover the truth behind the operation and prevent a global catastrophe being unleashed. If he lives, Jed Walker will learn the true cost of life . . . and the knowledge will change him forever.

I’ve not read any of this series by James Phelan before so was a little in the dark (no pun intended ūüôā ) about Walker and his backstory. It didn’t matter a lot because the plot itself is more about Rachel Muertos¬†and an op-gone-wrong in Syria which has possible links to Walker’s father.

Last year I listened to a number of audiobooks, including Past the Shallows, The Hypnotist’s Love Story, The Age of Innocence and Wuthering Heights. After a conversation with others it was suggested I try more ‘action’ oriented books via audiobook: books that are less about the writing¬†and more about the story.

And this was certainly ‘easy’ listening. But not in the way of classical music or similar. It didn’t require a lot of focus. At 9 hours however it was pretty long, particularly when I know ‘reading’ the book would have taken a third of that time or less.

Narrator Adrian Mulraney was eloquent though he read the narrative with an Australian accent and popped in and out of characters in¬†(their) American accents. Which felt a bit weird. Though probably makes sense. I did wonder though, if it’s a ‘done’ thing to read American characters’ dialogue in non-American accents. Or that of British characters in an American / Australian accent for example.

The other slightly weird thing for me was the Mulraney’s well-spoken Australian (almost English) accent felt quite confronting while¬†reading gory and graphic scenes about blood and guts and stuff.

I realise I’d skim that stuff in a book, along with fight scenes, but when listening to an audiobook that’s not an option so I’m forced to listen to every fight move. And Phelan has a habit of breaking the actions¬†down second by second. I’m assuming all of his books are similar and like Gregg Hurwitz is v.knowledgable about all sorts of fight moves and weaponry and goes into detail… but when that’s narrated / read aloud (and very properly), it seems to slow it down a little. So a movement¬†that supposedly takes a second takes a minute to explain.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Just weird. For me.

So… I’m not entirely sure that ‘action’ via audiobook has completely done it for me¬†and¬†the theme itself – human trafficking, illegal immigration, Syrian / Middle Eastern conflict and Homeland Security / State Department corruption¬†– just don’t leap out at me… and I’ve mentioned that in a number of previous reviews, despite my 1990s fascination with spy and espionage fiction.

Having said all of that lovers of this series will – I’m sure – enjoy this latest offering and it certainly helped me pass many many hours of solo driving enjoyably.

Dark Heart by James Phelan was published in Australia by Hachette and now available.

I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher for review purposes. 


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