Title: Safe House
Author: Chris Ewan
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program
Audiobook reader: Simon Vance
Audiobook length: 10 hours and 53 minutes
First line: The doctor was young.
Goodreads blurb: When Rob Hale wakes up in a hospital after a motorcycle crash, his first thought is for the gorgeous blonde, Lena, who was on the back of his bike. The doctors and police, however, insist that he was alone at the scene. The shock of the accident must have made him imagine Lena, especially since his description of her resembles his late sister, Laura.
Convinced that Lena is as real as he is, Rob teams up with Rebecca Lewis, a London-based PI who has a mysterious connection to Laura—and learns that even a close-knit community like the Isle of Man can hide dangerous secrets that will not stay safe forever.
I will openly admit that the first reason I was drawn to listen to Safe House was the fact that it is read by Simon Vance. Ever since I listened to him read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, I have listened to books I might not normally read simply based on his narration. This was one instance when it worked out in my favor; not only was the narration excellent, but I enjoyed the book.
The Isle of Man is the setting for Safe House, and the isolation of the island added to the sense of impending danger as the thriller moved along. Hale is an interesting character, because he is not a detective or a police officer – he’s a plumber, and yet he is thrust into the middle of this mystery, and isn’t willing to let go until he finds the answers. I liked the fact that the author didn’t make him into some sort of kick-butt prodigy; he maintained his everyman appeal throughout.
With some truly sinister bad guys, a bit of chemistry between Rob and Rebecca, and some great family dynamics among Rob and his parents, this was a thoroughly enjoyable thriller. It would stand on its own in print, I’m sure, but the expert reading by Simon Vance – who does a range of accents extremely well – made it even better.