Monday, September 06, 2010

Review: The Sounds of Crime Anthology (audio book)

The Sounds of Crime Edited by Maxim Jakubowski with stories by Lawrence Block, Mark Billingham, Christopher Fowler, Peter James and Val McDermid, read by multiple narrators (Whole Story Audio Books, September 2010, CD ISBN: 978 1 40743 572 5)

The Sounds of Crime is a collection of especially commissioned short stories on the theme of "audio". The stories are not available in print. Each story is about 30 minutes long and there is a short introduction from editor Maxim Jakubowski at the beginning of the collection.

Dolly's Trash and Treasures
by Laurence Block narrated by Buffy Davis
This is probably my favourite of the set. Set in America, Dolly a compulsive hoarder is visited by a series of officials with the story conveyed almost completely through dialogue between Dolly and her visitors. An atmospheric and very creepy story in which my sympathy switched as the tale progresses.

Meet Me at the Crematorium by Peter James narrated by Eve Karpf
Fed up with her bullying husband Trevor, Janet travels to Germany to start a new life with a man she's recently met over the internet. But the story doesn't go the way you'd expect from such a description...

Happy Holidays by Val McDermid narrated by Mike Grady
This is a mini Tony Hill-Carol Jordan outing as they are faced with a case of murders being committed on festive days such as Bonfire Night. Tony fears a Santa will die at Christmas. This is a good sampler of this series which is well known, at least in the tv version Wire in the Blood, for its unpleasant methods of murder and this one includes a couple of memorable descriptions.

The Walls by Mark Billingham narrated by Eric Meyers
Best known for the London Tom Thorne series (soon to be on SkyOne), Mark Billingham writes this unsettling tale in America. A man and woman arrive at the same hotel. The man says he's a contractor, the woman's there for a family reunion of sorts, but one them is lying. Attraction and necessity takes its course - giving a new meaning to the phrase "you'll hate yourself in the morning".

The Deceivers by Christopher Fowler narrated by John Hasler
This has a Tales of the Unexpected feel to it. Presented as a monologue, the young narrator tells of how he and a friend relieved the boredom of living in a small town on the Devon-Cornwall border and the unforeseen consequences.

I enjoyed The Sounds of Crime. The stories are well written, as you'd expect from these top crime authors. Each story held my interest throughout. Stories of this length are very suitable for commuters or those who struggle a bit to fit in a full length audio book or for someone to just sample the audio book experience. The narrators are very good with special credit to Buffy Davis who made Dolly very memorable.

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