Title: Brooklyn Bones
Author: Triss Stein
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.
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.