I may have to create a new grading system for audio books; one in which I give one rating to the story and, when necessary, another one to the narrator.
Mind you, the narrator in this book was mostly fine. I liked the way she made Eve sound, and had no issues with the way Peabody and almost every other character was portrayed. But the Irish accent she put on for Roarke was diabolical. As my husband (who is Irish and was “forced” to listen with me since we were on a road trip together) pointed out, this was the “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” variety of Irish. Both of us were waiting for the “begorraghs” and “top of the mornings” to start. Not that J.D. Robb would ever write those clichés but Roarke on these disks sounded like they were constantly on the tip of his tongue.
I don’t want to be too harsh. I get that the accents are used to distinguish between characters, and I know that the Irish accent may not be the easiest to mimic for non Irish people but that still didn’t stop this exaggerated accent from taking me out of the story. I found myself wanting to laugh through the tender and hot moments and actually grinning through the tension. Not to mention that it actually managed to irritate the husband. Finally I have to point out that this version of Roarke sounded like he had just stepped of the plane from Dublin and not like the man who had lived in America for years and had retained only some of his Irish lilt. (My husband would like to add that nobody in Dublin has ever sounded like Roarke does in this book. In fact, I don’t think the accent as used in this book resembles any accent actually used on this Island.)
Time to get of my hobbyhorse and get to the actual story, which was exactly what I expected it to be. In fact I’m absolutely delighted I managed to get my hands on this “In Death” novella. These shorter, in between titles are next to impossible to get in Irish shops so I tend to miss out on them, much to my regret. Discovering that my library actually had one came as a very welcome surprise.
As far as “In Death” stories go, this one was great fun. All the aspects you’d expect in an Eve Dallas mystery are here; the rather gruesome but highly imaginative murder, the snarky but affectionate banter between Eve and Peabody, the steamy interactions between Roarke and Eve, the action filled finale all showed up giving me exactly what I want and expect from these books.
And I love the comical twist the vampire story-line brought. I enjoyed that everybody around Eve was willing to buy into the possibility that they were actually dealing with a vampire to some extend. Eve seems to be the only one completely unimpressed by the man who acts the vampire; the only one convinced that it will be normal procedure and normal weapons that will bring him down. And so Eve, much to her exasperation, finds herself surrounded by people taking precautions in the form of garlic, silver crosses and wooden stakes. And the fact that at least one of those artifacts actually turns out to come in quite handy only made the story better. But nothing in this book was better than the moment Eve used her stock reply “bite me” only for it to turn around and actually, well, bite her.
I admire the way the author managed to bring us a novella without it ever feeling that she had to take shortcuts in order to tell her story. This is a complete story which happens to be shorter than the main novels while giving the reader everything they would expect to find. I’m going to have to start hunting for all the other novellas I managed to miss – although maybe not on audio.