Dream Man by Linda Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
SOA Listening Challenge 2011: Fulfills "new-to-you" narrator category.
Have you ever seen a familiar object or movie, or song, or, in this case, book, in a different light? It's like suddenly seeing your house through someone else's eyes and thinking, "Wow! I need to paint." That was the experience I had listening to Dream Man on audio. As I listened I realized that, in print, I must skim over Howard's over-written scenes, getting lost in the moment and not letting myself get bogged down in the hand-wringing quality of the drama. But while I listened to Gigante's excellent narration, I was forced to focus on each over-wrought emotion and each overly dramatic scene. The high quality of Gigante's narration emphasized the drama. A more deadpan reader might actually have carried off the wordy scenes by detracting from the emotions.
Maybe because I wasn't as caught up in the story this time around, I was also more conscious of Dane's cold-blooded use of Marlie to catch the killer. I don't think he groveled enough and I don't think he was sorry for the right thing. He was sorry to have put her in danger, danger he arrogantly thought he could protect her from. But he never admitted his fault in not trusting her to agree to the scheme from the start. A major betrayal in my opinion. I wish Marlie and faced him down at the end and made him understand.
With all these criticisms it might look like I didn't enjoy the book, but I did. The plot is compelling and the bad guy creepy. Gigante's delivery of the killer's point-of-view was spine-tingling at times, and I questioned my sanity when listening to one scary scene at night alone in my kitchen. I had to stop loading the dishwasher so I could turn around and see the entire room until the scenes was over. Definitely an "edge of your seat" moment even though I'd already read the book and knew what was going to happen.
I recommend the book and I recommend the narrator. And while I've loved her books, but admit I'm leery of trying another Linda Howard book on audio. I might enjoy her style of writing more in print. ;-)
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