AUDIO FORENSICS EDITION
Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl
Written by: John Nicholl
Narrated by: Jake Urry
Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
Release Date: 10-18-16
Publisher: John Nicholl
Emma didn’t know how long he hid, silent and unmoving, in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered, salivating and drooling, between the two heavy dark oak doors, and watched, mesmerised, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the drab grey darkness of the night.
Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself floundering when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.
The greater the evil, the more deadly the game… How far would you go to save your life?
Hear Me Out….
This is one of my top audiobooks of the year so far. No one captures the twisted mind of serial killers quite like John Nicholl does. He puts you into the demented point of view of the killer throughout the story, which I think has certain benefits. You feel like you are literally there within the story seeing through the eyes of the killer. If you consider it, this is truly a remarkable skill to pull off effectively.
Another POV character was the victim, Emma, a young college student with a bright future ahead of her. In the midst of all of the dark things she endures by a sliver of hope. These kind of stories are always about hope, survival and justice.
It also brings you into the POV of the two primary detectives working the case. Clive Rankin and DI Gravel. We also get to see their quirks and personalities which I found very entertaining.
The only thing I didn’t like was the ending, but I can’t say more otherwise there’d be a huge spoiler.
Narrator Performance: 10/10
Of course you should know that I’m a Jake Urry fan by now. He does an phenomenal job of drawing you into the story. He does it so well you don’t even notice he’s narrating at all. I just felt ‘in the moment’. What else can you ask for?
Story Connection: 10/10
Like I’ve said before, Urry connects very well to the characters and story as a whole. You can tell when someone is just reading text without much emotional attachment. This is important to me as a listener. This is difference between experienced narrators and other ones. If your connection to the story is impeded by the voice or skill of the narrator that’s never good. Since they have to act as the medium this is pretty critical. The book could be a classic, but if the narration is not gelling I can’t finish the book.
Voice Switch over: 10/10
This is another ninja-like quality that narrators possess. I’m still not sure how they manage to do it the entire story! It’s utterly amazing. I also relate this to the narrators ability to connect with story/characters. Jake Urry does it so well his voices totally sound like different people. Their idiosyncrasies, intonation, dialect, and gender are excellent. The switching back and forth in the midst of dialogue between characters was flawless. This made it more believable and drew me more into the story.
Sound quality: 10/10
Definitely professional. It would show if the sound quality was poor. Not the case here.
Emotional Resonance: 10/10
I was really drawn into the story at every turn. Emotionally invested to everything that was happening. Whether it was being repulsed by the killer, sorrow for the victim, or hope for the detectives. I was bummed when one of the characters died! Was surprised and a bit disappointed honestly. Not sure if Nicholl is penning another in the series, but I definitely want more!
Listen to it! Author John Nicholl is a very skilled writer. You won’t be disappointed!