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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

DON'T GO (audiobook) by Lisa Scottoline



Read by Jeremy Davidson
Published by MacMillan Audio in 2013
Duration: 11 hours, 25 minutes

Lisa Scottoline breaks new ground in this audiobook. For years, she has written courtroom dramas and legal thrillers. This time Scottoline tries to tie together two distinct stories featuring Dr. Mike Scanlon, a podiatrist from Philadelphia. Scanlon is a member of the National Guard and when the story starts he has been called up and is serving in Afghanistan. Podiatric surgeons are in high demand because of the common use of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that explode under military vehicles and damage the feet of the passengers.


Mike has left a wife and an infant child back in Philadelphia. His wife dies from a household accident and his wife's sister and her husband care for the child as he rushes back home to make funeral arrangements. They agree to care for her for the duration of his tour in Afghanistan and when he decides to serve another year because they are in such desperate need of doctors with his special skills.


Lisa Scottoline
The problem with Don't Go is that these two stories do not mesh particularly well. The smaller, but much stronger story is the one in Afghanistan. Scottoline has done some research here and she tells it in a compelling and moving way. The characters have real zing.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia characters are very two dimensional and Scanlon's sister-in-law has an obsessive need to keep the baby on its nap schedule (and the never-ending conversations about the nap schedule) that borders on mental illness. When a father returns home from more than a year in Afghanistan with a horrible injury you immediately let him see the baby and throw the nap schedule out of the window!

Scottoline throws in a murder mystery that just does not fit, but it does little to liven up the home front part of the story but the investigation by Scanlon is so haphazard and so full of gut feelings that it felt contrived. Major family confrontations flare up and are solved so quickly that it seemed clear that Scottoline was trying to pad the story or really had no sense of how she wanted to end it. For what it's worth, I would have been very happy to have had the entire book just about the adventures of  Dr. Scanlon in Afghanistan.

Jeremy Davidson read the book and he did a solid, if not exciting job. He did a good job with the French accents of Scanlon's wife and his sister-in-law. Oddly, it is never really explained how Scanlon meets and marries this French lady (or, if it is mentioned, it was glossed over quickly and I missed it). One of the characters is mentioned as having a North Philly accent. I am admittedly no expert on Philadelphia, but to me it sounded like a combination of California surfer dude and Australian.

Note: I received a download copy of this audiobook from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox's Solid Gold Reviewer program in exchange for an honest review.

I rate this audiobook 3 out of 5 stars.
Reviewed on August 14, 2103.

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