AudioBook Addict reviews: The Child by Sebastian Fitzek – an abridged dramatisation

Today, AudioBook Addict takes over the controls at CTG HQ to give his verdict on new audible drama The Child by Sebastian Fitzek. Here’s what he has to say …

The Child cover image

The Child cover image

Title: The Child

Author: Sebastian Fitzek

Narrated By: Rupert Penry-Jones, Jack Boulter, Emilia Fox, Stephen Marcus, Robert Glenister, Andy Serkis

Run Time: 6 hrs and 56 minutes

Abridged Dramatisation: released on 07/08/2014

What the blurb says:My name is Simon. I’m 10 years old. I’m a serial killer.

Robert Stern (Rupert Penry-Jones), a successful defense attorney, doesn’t know what lies in store for him when he agrees to meet a new client in a derelict estate on the outskirts of Berlin. Stern is more than surprised, when his old love interest and professional nurse Carina (Emilia Fox) presents him a ten year old boy as his new client. Simon (Jack Boulter), a terminally ill child, who is convinced he has murdered many men in a previous life.”

The review:

So, just to be clear, this is good, very good! But I want to go back a bit and tell you how I got to that conclusion.

I think it was Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing’ that said words to the effect of ‘abridged audio is the pits’ (Stephen, I wholeheartedly agree and if you didn’t say it, I am now). I’d add to that by saying I’d always thought that dramatised, abridged audio would be even worse. I based this only on experiences of listening to recordings with my children, like Blyton’s Malory Towers or The Famous Five – this is not them!

The story itself is excellent – dark, edgy, challenging – everything I like in my crime thrillers. From the time we first meet Simon, you’re compelled to like him and (NO SPOILERS) the relationships that build, grow and break down during that story are crafted masterfully. The action and intrigue are non-stop and at just short of 7 hours – I wanted more.

The recording and scripting are simply excellent with first class narration and, whilst the sound effects in previous recordings have seemed to distract me from the story, here, the sombre music and effects only served to add genuine atmosphere to this excellently creepy book. The young boy, Simon, narrated by Jack Boulter deserves a special mention for his excellent role; I really rooted for him throughout the book. Also, Robert Glenister put in another superb performance equal to that of his work on The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm.

Recommended

 

[With thanks to Audible UK for a review copy of The Child.]

AudioBook Addict reviews: The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter by Malcolm Mackay

audio book cover

audio book cover

The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter

Author: Malcolm Mackay

Narrated by: Angus King

Run time: 8 Hrs and 12 mins

Unabridged – released on audiobook 06/06/2013

What the blurb says: “An arresting, gripping novel of dark relationships and even darker moralities: introducing a remarkable new voice in crime fiction.

A 29-year-old man lives alone in his Glasgow flat. The telephone rings; a casual conversation, but behind this a job offer. The clues are there if you know to look for them. He is an expert. A loner. Freelance. Another job is another job, but what if this organisation wants more? A meeting at a club. An offer. A brief. A target: Lewis Winter. It’s hard to kill a man well. People who do it well know this. People who do it badly find out the hard way. The hard way has consequences.”

Ok – full disclosure – when I started this audiobook, I just didn’t like it at all! The style felt like head-hopping and when other reviewers said it was ‘different’ they weren’t kidding. BUT, boy am I glad I stuck with it. This debut novel by Malcolm Mackay follows a young freelance gunman as he is drawn deeper into working for a gangland organisation. The novel is written in a way that zooms out from the actions and dialogue and takes you into the mind and thought processes of the characters – I think, dredging up memories of my MA, that it actually verges on meta-fiction in parts.

Callum is a freelance gunman and is asked by Peter Jameson, the head of an ambitious criminal gang, to kill Lewis Winter; the man’s death is necessary. We follow Callum on the job, see him prepare and watch him interact with the characters that will assist him to complete the job, and those that will hunt him afterwards.

This novel is really well written. Any misgivings that I had in the beginning were only due to the fact that this is a genuinely different type of novel to those I normally read (or listen to). Mackay openly discusses the thought processes of the characters and this draws you into them even more as the story goes on. At a little over 8 hours, the length was good, although, as is often the case, I would have happily listened for longer. Angus King is a solid narrator.

I have already bought the next audiobook in the series, ‘How a Gunman says Goodbye,’ and that alone is testament to just how good this book is.

Highly recommended.

[AudioBook Addict bought his own copy of The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter]