Audiobook Review: The Last Minute by Jeff Abbott

26 02 2013

The Last Minute by Jeff Abbott (Sam Capra, Bk. 2)

Read by Kevin T. Collins

Hachette Audio

Length: 16 Hrs 52 Min

Genre: Thriller

Quick Thoughts: If you were like me and a bit hesitant about The Last Minute, do not walk to your bookstore or digital download site, but run across walls and along roofs to get your hands on this thriller. The Last Minute was a heck of a lot of fun, with some great characters, true emotional resonance and a whole lot of breathtaking action making it one of the best action thrillers I have experienced in a while.

Grade: A-

As some of you may be surprised to know, I live a pretty simple life. I have yet to get involved in some globe spanning bit of international intrigue. I have never been framed for treason, or set up as a fall guy for some international global cabal set on world domination. It may not be the most exciting life, but at least the woman I love hasn’t betrayed me, and those I hold most dear are not in the hands of my greatest enemies. I’d call that a positive development. Yet, I have always been fascinated by just how far characters will go to protect those they love. You see, I don’t have kids of my own, but I have nieces and nephews, and other people who I hold quite dear. Now, I really doubt I could hold out against torture techniques like small pinches and pillow flogging, but if I managed to, I’m sure I’d roll over in a second if some guy with a strange accent threaten to decapitate my nephew’s Rex from Toy Story doll. Yet, I am the first person to scoff at book characters when they risk little things like assassinations and an apocalypse to rescue their children. I mean, I may be willing to reveal nuclear launch codes due to some slight discomfort but should a character on TV reveal where he hid the cable remote because some sociopathic bad guy is holding his children hostage, I’m quick to label the character a wuss. Yet, I am not ashamed. I revel in my hypocrisy, and after all the emotion of the moments are over, I am willing to forgive the characters their moments of weakness, as long as it all turns out peachy for the world in the end. I’m big like that.

After the events of Adrenaline, disgraced spy Sam Capra is now running a group of bars as front companies for a shadowy international organization. Only one thing matters to Sam, finding out were the organization known as Novem Solas has hidden his infant son. Yet, Novem Solas has other plans, and offers Sam the opportunity to get his son back, if he performs one favor, kill an innocent witness with damning information about the organization. I was a bit hesitant to take on The Last Minute, in fact, if it wasn’t for a bit of a technical snafu, it probably would still be lingering unlistened to on my MP3 Player. I liked Adrenaline, but the length of the audiobook (nearly 17 hrs) and the number of other audiobook commitments had placed it on the back shelf. Well, sometimes technical problems are there for a reason. The Last Minute is a grand adventure novel full of fast paced action, lots of intrigue, tons of twists and some unexpected emotional wallops. With thrillers, I tend to enjoy tighter, simpler tales, and was worried that the length would lead to an unfocused narrative full of unnecessary side trips. This worry wasn’t completely unfounded. Abbott doesn’t take the easy road to get to his destination, and there were some strange, somewhat distracting tangents along the way. Yet, there were also a few diversions that pushed The Last Minute beyond just another typical thriller, into something better. Abbott sets up a massive interlocking conspiracy that often pushed the edges of credulity, but in fun, exciting way. He deftly uses the emotional turmoil that Sam Capra is facing to push the story in interesting directions. There is one brutal and brilliant chase scene that ended in one of the most shocking decisions made by a protagonist in a thriller I have read. It was reasonable and utterly irrational at the same time. Yet, what truly stood out for me was one of the novel’s side trips, a tale of human trafficking and revenge that could work as it’s own short story or even novella, but ends up adding so much depth to one of the more elusive characters in the series.  So, if you were like me, and a bit hesitant about The Last Minute, do not walk to your bookstore or digital download site, but run across walls and along roofs to get your hands on this thriller. The Last Minute was a heck of a lot of fun, with some great characters, true emotional resonance and a whole lot of breathtaking action making it one of the best action thrillers I have experienced in a while.

I was all set to tell everyone what a good job Kevin T. Collins did in his narration of The Last Minute. I really enjoy Collin’s voice, it’s youthful, yet full of grit. There is a huge international cast in The Last Minute, and Collins handles this well. He even manages to tough trick of switching from a first person perspective to a third person perspective with ease. So yeah, I was ready to praise Collin’s reading, until I got to the section where Collin’s reads Mila’s origin story. Mila is Sam Capra’s mysterious boss, a Moldovan woman with a shadowy pass. Listening to this left me stunned and speechless. It’s very strange to say, but Kevin T. Collin’s reading from the perspective of a Moldovan woman was one of the best segments I have listened to in an audiobook that’s not narrated by Bronson Pinchot. It was brilliant and gave me chills. I think there was a few times listening to this part of the audiobook that I may have forgotten to breath. Collins had me so enthralled, and Abbott’s story so impactful that it pushed this good novel into the great category. The Last Minute was a real surprise for me, although it probably shouldn’t have been. The 17 hours just flew along thanks to an engaging character, some wonderful scenes and a gifted narrator.

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: