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Monday, July 23, 2012

Capitol Murder (audiobook) by Phillip Margolin



Lots of plot threads eventually tie together

Published by HarperAudio in 2012.
Performed by Jonathan Davis.
Duration: 9 hours, 38 minutes.

I have been a Phillip Margolin fan since I read his book The Burning Man nearly 15 years ago. I worked at a used book store at the time and I remember turning a couple of people on to Margolin's stuff. I must admit that I have not read some of his more recent books, not out of lack of interest, but mostly due to the pressure of a massive To-Be-Read pile (do you REALLY need to add yet another book to the pile?).

Phillip Margolin
So, when I came across a Margolin audiobook, I knew that this was a good chance to catch up while not adding to the To-Be-Read pile, since I usually listen while doing things like driving.

So, what did I think of Capitol Murder?

First, this book is at least the third book in a series following the adventures of Brad Miller and Dana Cutler. This is not really a problem because Margolin sets up things early on with a dinner party scene that clues in the newbies to the series.

Second, Margolin has many, many plot threads going on at the same time. There is a terrorist plot from Pakistan, the ongoing saga of a serial killer named Clarence Little from an earlier book, an unfaithful Senator who opens himself to blackmail and the interactions of all of these threads in the lives of Dana Cutler and Brad Miller and Brad's wife. About halfway through this book I was pretty sure that Margolin had completely lost his touch and had thrown  bits and pieces of three or four book to fulfill a book contract. I just was not seeing how they all related.

Suddenly, they all come together and things get very, very busy very, very quickly. All of the threads tie together a little too neatly, although I did have a laugh out loud moment at the audacity of Dana Cutler in one of her last scenes. The Epilogue also has a nice twist that makes up for the quick ending of the main storyline.

So, does Margolin still have it? Yeah, he still delivers a very readable thriller. I won't wait so long to read my next one.

The audiobook was read by Jonathan Davis. The performance was often told in an emotionally flat tone of voice, like when reading a non-fiction text. This worked very effectively when describing the preparations of the terrorists or when the story is focusing on the actions of a serial killer. The methodical descriptions seem all  the more menacing when told in a flat matter-of-fact tone. But, when friends are sitting around having drinks and discussing what's been going on in their lives, there should be some punch to the conversation.

I rate this audiobook 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Capitol Murder.

Reviewed on July 23, 2012.

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