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Breathless: A Novel Audiobook | Audiobooks in Review


Voiced by Jeffrey Cummings

I’ve always enjoyed Dean Koontz. I haven’t read a whole lot of his books…but probably a good half-dozen of them over the years, and none have ever been disappointments. However, he’s managed to leave me disappointed this time. Not because this book didn’t have all the elements of a really great book. It did. But simply because it never fully realizes its potential.

Koontz gives a great setup. Lots of characters with rich histories…many of them rooted in deep pain. **The delicate furniture producer who used to be a tactical professional killer, the devoted veterinarian (animal specialist) who was the casualty of mental and actual maltreatment for a 10 years as a child, the serial killer who’s only once come close to being caught and is on the hunt again**…as a work for hire, and the twin who is on a horrifying mission to “become” his brother. All strong stuff. And then we’ve got the overriding mystery…two nearly-inexpressible creatures who appear out of thin air and display nobler-than-human behavior. Why are they here? Where did they come from? And will they become guinea pigs in the labs of big, bad Homeland Security?

This really is a compelling set of questions…and it takes about 7 hours and 45 minutes of the 8-hour audio book to get to this place. But then…Koontz seems to weary of the story, or run out of ideas, or something. Whatever the cause, he neatly wraps up many (but not all) of the questions he’s raised so quickly that it belies the (at times plodding) pace of the earlier parts of the book. Personally, I was left wanting. **There’s a sufficiently delicate reasonable about the book…I’d try and depict it as lovely at points…that I can’t really accept that this was a doubtful endeavor on the writer’s part to give an arrangement and afterward not finish the job…but it miss the mark on his typical work that I actually needed to think about how conceivable it is.**

As to the narration, that was a disappointment as well…although I suppose if you’re going to have a book with little payoff, it’s probably best to deliver it via a narrator who provides the same. Jeffrey Cummings’s performance here is, at best, serviceable. His enunciation is overly-labored, some of his pronunciations of words are odd, his characterizations are weak-to-mediocre, and the straight read simply lacks heft. Let’s face it: Not everyone can excel at this kind of work, and he simply doesn’t. I don’t know if he’s new and will get better…or if this is as good as he gets…but I found myself having to go back and listen to passages again and again , because he simply didn’t deliver them in an engaging manner, and my attention was constantly drifting.

So…I’m afraid I’m going to have this one about a 2-star rating out of 5. Intriguing, but a disappointment in the end.

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2 : Responses to “Breathless: A Novel”

1. Steve from Lift Chairs
Nice Review. I think the first Dean Koontz book I read was From the Corner of His Eye, which I really enjoyed. I haven’t ever listened to one of his books on tape though, but I think his style of writing could really work with the right narration. Too bad this one was a little disappointing…

2. Ben from HIPAA Compliance
Perhaps the book fell short, because Dean was running out of time? Maybe the publisher was pushing him to finish and that left him rushing to conclude a mediocre ending?
It’s too bad you didn’t like the book. I usually like Dean Kootz, but I’m left thinking I’ll read something else he’s written.
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