Monday, 2 May 2011


I have been listening to audio books for years and never thought to review them. Strange really, because listening to a book is just as valuable as reading one. I think it's because I associate listening to an audio book with total relaxation whilst I'm having a coffee break plus a ciggie, doing some embroidery or sewing. However, I have heard so many good ones recently that it has spurred me into action.

So, here is my very first audio book review.

I still have no idea who Wanda Fuca because it's not mentioned once in the book but that just shows how zany the book is. Set in Seattle, and written I guess by an American, it's a very light, funny, entertaining detective story.

The detective in question is P.I. Leo Waterman, who doesn't take himself too seriously, which I really appreciate. Leo has been asked by an ageing gangster friend of his father, to locate his granddaughter, Caroline Noble. She has loads of money and loads of attitude and loads of 'no one has the foggiest where she is'.

Leo, of course, with the help of a most unlikely crew of homeless, dithering, booze-loving friends, finds her pretty quickly. She is hiding out with a dodgy section of the green movement and Leo becomes involved with the illegal dumping of toxic waste and the various plans to sabotage it. Needless to say, this is putting Caroline at great risk.

And that's all I'm telling you because, as I always say, if you want to know more then buy or listen to the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Characterisation is excellent, particularly of Leo and Caroline, who are both a lot of fun although in different ways, and the plot moves along in a most satisfactory manner. I particularly liked the dialogue, which seemed very naturalistic, and the writing style generally suits the 'this is a detective story but not as you know it' mood of the book.

According to the blurb on the back of the box, this is the first in a series of Leo Waterman stories and I look forward to listening to or reading further adventures.

There has been enormous trend during the last few years for detective novels to become as gory and scary as possible and I for one have had a stomach full of this trend. I want to be entertained, not sickened. And the novel that I am now writing, Winchester Blues, is, hopefully, part of the movement that Ford belongs to (if there is such a movement), which aims to buck that trend.

The version I listened to was a BBC audio book production, read by Jeff Harding. And I should add here that the reader is crucial to the enjoyment of an audio book. If I don't like the voice, I stop listening and pop down to my local library to choose another one. Luckily, Jeff Harding has a voice I could listen to all day. Pretty yummy in a cool American kind of way.

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