Audiobook Review: Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

17 08 2011

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

Read by Kevin T. Collins

Hachette Audio

Genre: Thriller

Quick Thoughts: The start of a new thriller series, Abbott has a winning character in Sam Capra. Adrenaline has the feel of Summer blockbuster with its cinematic action scenes and complex conspiracy laced plot.

Grade: B+

I’m really not much of a CIA spy thriller fan. I have listened to and read a few, but I tend to tire of the super spy with his ability to handle everything, take on any persona, and do it with style. I always prefer heroes who get it done, despite the fact that they are human, quite fallible, and their style tends to be more akin to a kick in the crotch. Yet, the plot summary of Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott appealed to me. I like stories about people who are falsely accused, and possibly betrayed. I think the offer a glimpse into the humanity more so then just some man or women doing a job. In Adrenaline, Sam Capra barely escapes a bombing in his CIA London office, when he is warned at the last minute by his pregnant wife. Upon escaping, he is held in a CIA prison, questioned and tortured, and informed that his wife is a traitor, and by proximity, he must be as well. Finally released, to serve as bait for the mysterious bad guys, Capra must find a way to get out from the constant CIA surveillance in order to find his wife and child and prove his wife’s innocence. While he’s at it, he may as well try and take down the badies who kidnapped and framed his wife.

Adrenaline reads like a highly enjoyable summer blockbuster. Jeff Abbot writes with a crisp direct style that has an almost cinematic quality. Sam Capra isn’t your typical super spy, in fact, he is more of a power point intelligence analyst. Yet, he does have some skills, like his fondness for Parkour running, that give the action scenes in Adrenaline an interesting twist. As a character, I quickly grew to like Sam Capra. He was resourceful and quick witted, but not perfect. He made mistakes, yet, quickly acknowledged them, and took steps to fix them. Also, despite his attempts to stay focused, you could feel his emotional intensity as he struggled to keep it together. Now, with all that, this was still a spy thriller, with a complex plot bordering on over the top. Conspiracies and ultra secret groups abound, all happy to use or lose Sam for there own purposes.  Oh, and of course the main bad guy is this charismatic yet shadowy type whose plot within plot has our hero stymied for much of the book. These types of plots can get tiresome, but Abbott manages to pull it off without too many eye rolling moments. I have to say, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Adrenaline. From the opening scenes I was sucked into the world Abbott created. Abbott has a winning character in Sam Capra, who should be able to carry a series for a while with his wit, style and ability to run on walls.

This is the second book this month that I have listened to this month that was narrated by Kevin T. Collins and I am really growing to like his reading style. Collins brings a youthful style to his reading that you don’t get with a lot of veteran narrators, yet adds an edge that many younger, silken voiced narrators lack. Collins is definitely a performer, building up each character with his voice, giving every character, no matter how big or small, there own little twist. Collins also handled the action well, giving a precise, well balanced reading to Abbott’s highly visual scenes. This allows the listener to get a better picture of what is going on. As this was billed as Book 1 in the Sam Capra series, I hope this team of Jeff Abbott and Kevin T. Collins are kept together for the many editions to come.