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Customer Review

on 26 January 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've always been a bit sniffy about audiobooks: unless the listener suffers from poor/no eyesight, then what's the point in them? To the average buyer I would pose the question: `Why don't you just read the book, it's GOT to be more enjoyable!' To which they usually say: `Oh, I can listen to it while in the car, or while I'm jogging', or other variations on these themes. This has always baffled me because, if they're driving and feel like throttling a fellow road user every two minutes, how can they possibly concentrate on a complex plot, or fully appreciate a finely nuanced character? My assertion is simple: they can't.

Anyway, rant over for now. Let me begin my actual review by saying that I'm a big fan of good crime fiction and I've read and enjoyed quite a few of Mr. Dibdin's books previously - including this one. The series as a whole is tautly written, with Mr. Dibdin not feeling the need to produce 500+ page books just because the market demands it. Each novel effortlessly serves-up its fair share of surprises and is exactly the length it needs to be. As a (top-class) writer he brings various Italian cities, islands and general locations vividly to life, revealing their seamier undersides; this is a main strength of his.

`Blood Rain' is a middling (in terms of quality) and a mid-period Zen novel which is perhaps lighter in tone than the darker, earlier books in the series. Zen is sent to Sicily on a liaison job, and a woman who may be his daughter is also there. Naturally Dibdin develops both of these plot strands - and others - thoroughly to produce a satisfying tale.

This audiobook provides a thankfully unabridged rendering of the novel, which means no adapter has over-simplified the text, or at worst, completely butchered it. And I have to admit, that at just over a tenner for 8 CDs, the package provides superb value for money.

That fine actor Michael Kitchen gives an excellent, characterful reading; he's always worth listening to and he brings the prose to life. But would it not have been better to have had a reader with a natural Italian accent to bring more flavour?

I'm afraid my marking for this product must reflect my prejudices: I preferred the print version as I like to imagine the narrator's voice in my own head. However, if you like audiobooks (and fair play to you if you do), then I can seriously recommend this to you, and you can add an extra star to my mark.
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