Audiobook Review: Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein

brooklynbonesTitle: Brooklyn Bones
Author: Triss Stein
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from Audiobook Jukebox‘s reviewer program
Audiobook reader: Xe Sands
Audiobook length: 8 hours and 56 minutes
First line: It began with a sobbing phone call from my daughter, the kind of call every parent dreads.

Goodreads blurb:
A crime of the past comes too close to home when Erica Donato’s teenage daughter finds a skeleton behind a wall in their crumbling Park Slope home. Erica, a young widow, overage history PhD candidate, and product of blue-collar Brooklyn is drawn into a mystery when she learns that the skeleton is of an unknown teenage girl and that it was hidden there within living memory. Erica’s inquiries lead her right back to her own neighborhood in its edgy, pregentrification days, when the age of Aquarius was turning dark and where there are people who know the whole story but will stop at nothing to make sure it stays buried forever.

After finishing this audio, I really wish that I had set a precedent for giving two separate ratings to audiobooks: one for the narration, one for the book itself. Because if I had, I would give this book a 5 for narration, but probably only a 2 for the story. Since I’ve never done that before, I went with a three-star rating.

I requested this title for review because I thought the mystery sounded intriguing, but also because I had never listened to any narration work by Xe Sands, even though I had the honor of interviewing her for Audiobook Week last year. It is a testament to her narration that I kept listening; if I had been reading it in print, I probably wouldn’t have finished this book. The writing – especially the dialogue – is very awkward in places, and the mystery isn’t very interesting. I figured out the big reveal long before the end of the book, and that doesn’t make for a great mystery experience.

But, Xe’s voice is wonderful. She has a buttery, smooth, sexy voice, with almost a lazy quality. Because she has a husky timbre to her voice, her male characters are completely believable. She does the Brooklyn accents well – they are never over-the-top – and also varies the ages of her characters with ease. While I won’t continue reading the Erica Donato mysteries, I look forward to listening to more of Xe’s work.

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9 Responses to Audiobook Review: Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard her narration, but I know she has a huge fan base! Like Cassandra Campbell. More than once I’ve made this very same comment, in fact I think one of them was Anansi Boys. Not a bad story, a little strange, but the narration takes it to a whole new level. I’d love some recommendations of some great books that Sands has narrated.

    • Xe Sands
      Twitter: xesands
      says:

      Sandy – if I can be a bit bold, I’d be glad to recommend something else I’ve done if you give me a bit more info on your favorite reading genres 🙂

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I loved Anansi Boys, too – the narration was amazing!

      • Xe Sands
        Twitter: xesands
        says:

        Oh I LOVED Anansi Boys in print and have heard excellent things about the audio. At some point, might revisit in audio, just to have that experience 🙂

  2. Xe Sands
    Twitter: xesands
    says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words, Carrie! I did have a great time voicing Erica and all the Brooklyn characters – they were so fun to do. So glad you enjoyed the “local flavor” 🙂 And glad you hung in there with me until the end. That has happened to me as well with audiobooks…sometimes it’s only the narrator that gets me through. Robin Sachs could carry me through just about any story.

  3. That’s too bad the book wasn’t better, but I am glad the narration was at least enjoyable! I haven’t had too much experience with audiobooks (still consider myself a novice), so haven’t experienced this yet, but I’m sure I will.

    I got about half way through an audiobook recently and ended up setting it aside. I love the author’s books as they tend toward being very entertaining, but my audio experience left something to be desired. I don’t know if it was me, the narrator, or the wrong type of genre for me to listen to. I’m onto something else now and enjoying it much more.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Wendy – sometimes it’s hard to know what makes an audiobook either click – or not.