Audiobook Review: Dead I May Well Be by Adrian McKinty

27 06 2012

Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty

Read by Gerard Doyle

Blackstone Audio

Length: 12 Hrs 25 Min

Genre: Crime Thriller

Quick Thoughts: Dead I May Well Be is a winning combination of plotting and stylistic writing, and its dark feel and frustrating main character make for one of the better crime fiction novels I have experienced in a while.

Grade: A-

Today for Audiobook Week, I am reviewing Dead I May Well Be by Adrian McKinty. I choose this title for two reasons. First off, the very first commenter on my blog was Michael Alatorre, aka @le0pard13, who runs the awesome and diverse blog It Rains… You Get Wet. Michael has always been a voice of support when I needed it, and also, has some of the most interesting posts on films around. A while back he recommend Adrian McKinty to me, and it was a recommendation I hadn’t taken up on until now. Also, when I decided to focus this week on books inspired by people in the Audiobook Community, I knew this meant I would need to take on one of Tanya aka @dogearedcopy picks for  Dog Eared Copy’s Pantheon of All-Time Great Audiobooks. When it comes to all issues audiobooks, there is no ones opinion I respect more than Tanya’s. We may not agree on everything, but her opinions are always backed up by logic and fact, and it’s obvious she knows what she’s talking about. She has been one of the most supportive voices for the audiobook blogging community and for me personally. I can’t list the number of times she has gone out of her way with support, or just a kind word. Although we live 3000 miles apart, I totally owe her, and her rock star narrating husband Grover Gardner a few beers, and someday I will make good on that. As a blogger, these types of relationship are key to keeping your sanity and proves sometimes a small word of encouragement, can do more good that the most effusive praise.

Dead I May Well Be is the first novel in McKinty’s Crime Fiction trilogy featuring Michael Forsythe, an Irish Ex-pat who comes to New York getting work with an Irish Crime family. I can totally see why the ladies would love Michael, he’s an Irish bad boy with heart. He definitely makes the ladies swoon as is evident in the early parts of the novel which seems to highlight his ability to pick up and bed women. Honestly, if it wasn’t for McKinty’s mesmerizing style that combines straight up prose, with almost dream like stream of consciousness segment, I may have given up a bit early on this one. It wasn’t until the novel takes a brilliant turn, and heads to Mexico, that I became fully engaged with the story. When McKinty finally hooked me in, I was hooked good. Michael Forsythe is one of those rare characters who is both highly competent, yet incredibly stupid. There are some incredibly frustrating moments where you just want to reach out and smack the guy. Yet, he is also like the greatest of professional athletes, when all is on the line, he finds a way to come through. His frustrating decisions get him in to many precarious situations, and the fun of the novel is watching him figure his way out. His solutions are often brutal, and take a huge personal toll, but for us readers, they are fascinating to observe. McKinty peppers his story with a slew of peripheral characters that bring life and color to his tale. Many of these characters are so interesting in their brief appearances in this tale that you almost hope for a series of their own. Dead I May Well Be is a winning combination of plotting and stylistic writing, and its dark feel and frustrating main character make for one of the better crime fiction novels I have experienced in a while.

Another reason I was excited to take this audiobook on was that it was narrated by Gerard Doyle. My one previous time experiencing a Gerard Doyle narration was marred by the fact that I hated the main character and was disappointed overall with the book. Yet the reason I kept listening was because of Doyle’s narration. In Dead I May Well Be Gerard Doyle affirmed my belief that he is a splendid narrator. He captured the nature of Michael Forsythe just right, with surprising moments of introspection and dark humor. I particularly enjoyed the pacing and the way he modulated his tone when reading some of the dreamlike moments in Forsythe’s inner dialogue. I haven’t had too many experiences with Irish narrators, but I found his ability to take on handle American, Mexican and Caribbean accents, filtered through the perspective of the main character to be a highlight of his performance. This is my first time listening to Adrian McKinty, and I’m pleased to see that Gerard Doyle handles the narrating duties on most of his titles. This is a team I definitely plan on revisiting.