Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Watchers by Jon Steele

An unusual fantasy set in Lausanne, Switzerland, THE WATCHERS by Jon Steele features three people brought together to unravel an ancient mystery. A hooker, a P.I., and a bell tower boy with the task of waiting to save an angel figure into the plot of an engrossing and layered epic which builds its foundation slowly with atmospheric prose and an eye for detail. If you're used to serial killer slashers, you need to realize that this is not the same kind of book. Steele is more like an evocative and historically literate version of Dean Koontz, (who once wrote a horror book called Watchers.) Narrator here is one of our favorites, Jonathan Davis, who again brings to bear his considerable talents in animating these characters right off the page. You owe it to yourself, even if you've already read this book, to hear it on audio, because you won't be disappointed. JD's acting chops are formidable, as he's able to inhabit each character believably, switching between them seamlessly.  Few--famous screen actors included--could do this better, because if all you have is your voice to act with, such skills are honed over time, as when a blind person's hearing becomes more acute than someone with 20/20. Accents, timing, and subtle variations in tone and timbre all combine to make for an audio movie that is never melodramatic or showy, and so becomes utterly convincing and effective. (My interview with Davis is at this site.)  Davis also reads NEED YOU NOW by James Grippando, a Madoff type banking thriller about a mysterious Ponzi scheme.

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