Jul 16

Audio Book: Total Recall by Sara Paretsky

Total Recall

by Sara Paretsky


Fiction / Thriller / Crime
First Published in:2002
Publisher: Dell Publishing Company

Click here to view Sara Paretsky’s book collection

[Click here to buy the Audio Book of Total Recall by Sara Paretsky]
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Audio Book Synopsis:

Lotty Herschel is caught up in a whirlwind of the past when a man who claims to be a Nazi death camp survivor, approaches her and her friends seeking his long lost family. Lotty is forced to confront a memory, a secret, from the war that she has long buried.  Our heroine, V I Warshawski, sees the pain her friend and mentor is in, and is pulled into the saga though her investigation of the so-called survivor’s past.

V I is simultaneously investigating an insurance fraud case which has an unexpected link to an international conspiracy dating back to Nazi occupied Europe, as well as a means for VI to save her friend.

My Audio Book Review:

I’d heard about Sara Paretsky’s work whilst listening to a ‘meet the author’ audio podcast. She seems to have a plethora of work and a good fan following of her female detective protagonist, V I Warshawski. I’d thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Millennium Trilogy thriller series by Stieg Larsson, and thought that listening to another thriller would be a good idea.

However, I was disappointed at the story of Total Recall. I was not absorbed in the chase, and the story kind of ended for me with a bit of a fizzle and plop. Having said that, I listened to it all the way through, so it was listenable enough.

I thought the narrator, Sandra Burr, did an okay job, but compared to narrators like Saul Reichlin, she seemed to by skirting on the surface rather than pulling me into the depths of the story. But more likely, it’s more that the story was not one that grabbed me.

V I is constantly running around and trying to solve this mystery of who, what and why, driving badly, with little sleep. Maybe I joined in the middle of the series of books and have not warmed to the character yet. But i did think the unraveling of the plot ended up being a bit boring, and my attraction to the characters left much to be desired. I didn’t really care who the killer was.

On a side note: [Listening vs Reading] What I have found interesting after having started to listening to audio books, is that the facts and story don’t stay in my mind as clearly as the story in a book would. I don’t retain the information as well as I would for a book, which is why I find it difficult to write audiobook reviews. I find that I am only able to give a ‘sense’ or ‘feeling’ review – how I felt about the book after I finished, if I liked it or not, as opposed to a detailed and analytical review.

I think it has something to do with the fact that the act of reading a book is an active process, and that listening to an audiobook is quite passive. (A friend of mine actually laughed at me when I said I had started listening to audiobooks, calling it the ‘epitomy of laziness’.) I still have to create the pictures in my mind, unlike TV, but the audio book is still fed to me whether I am paying attention or not. With a book, you have to pay attention, and if you drift, it is much easier to scan back and re-read a paragraph or two. Whereas with audiobooks, rewinding takes more effort, so I am less likely to go back on something I’ve half-missed.

So I think that my experience of reading Sara Paretsky’s book may have been different to my experience of listening to it.

Even so, Total Recall left me unsatisfied.

x Julie

P.S. You should check out my favorite audiobooks [The Help] and [The Millennium Trilogy]

Click here to go to my review of The Help
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