Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
A friend recommended these books (by way of bringing all but book 1 and putting them on my table) and I tried to read them but I found I just couldn't get into the writing. I felt I should give it a go, though and, seeing James Marsters' name on the audio version, I was curious to see if he could narrate - and he can. For the story itself I'd have given it 2 stars - it was okay, not exactly original but it does what a noir urban fantasy should do - but listening to it on audio made a huge difference. First person narratives become basically all dialogue and so are very much like a radio play and that suited the noir genre well.
Marsters brought all the characters to life (there is a distinct Jeremy Irons tone to Bob's voice) and, except for a bad case of 'tag lag' (in which the tone of the dialogue is continued into the dialogue tag - a particular sin in first person) the performance hits all the right notes. The production, though, is pretty sloppy. I'm afraid there are many, many bad cuts (mismatched sound, badly timed) and for much of the first half, the microphone was placed so that every breath masters took through his nose was a hurricane. It does clean up toward the, though, and it's only a slight annoyance.
Overall, I enjoyed it more than I expected to and have discovered that, though I don't much like reading noir (or any first person narrative, these days) I quite enjoy listening to it.