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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

THE SECOND KOREAN WAR (audiobook) by Ted Halstead

Published in 2018 by Ted Halstead.
Read by Cody Banning.
Duration: 15 hours, 4 minutes.

Ted Halstead's The Second Korean War is a multi-country thriller in which North Korea tries a desperate gamble to force South Korea to submit to North Korean rule.

The book starts out on an military base on the far eastern part of Russia. North Korea has found out that Russia has a small nuclear "backpack" weapon (a battlefield nuke) dating from the early days of nuclear weapons that has been lost from the inventory over the years. North Korea acquires the weapon so that they can start a two-pronged effort to force South Korea to surrender and force the United States to withdraw from South Korea without fighting.

But, things don't go as smoothly as they hoped, people die and a Russian police detective starts putting things together. The question is, will he put things together fast enough?

The last thing I want to do is write out a bunch of spoilers, so I won't tell how everything breaks down. Some of the twists and turns were nicely done. I especially liked how the Russians were the good guys and honest brokers throughout. There's a lot of technology (radar-eluding planes, submarines) and geo-political intrigue in the vein of Tom Clancy. It's not as good as the best Tom Clancy, but that is a high bar. I found the North Korean plan for South Korea to be exceedingly implausible simply because of their hardheaded insistence on using a specific vehicle. I get it, the stereotype of military dictatorships is that they are ultra-orthodox and inflexible.

I listened to The Second Korean War as an audiobook. It was not a particularly good production. The reader, Cody Banning, has a clear voice. But, his rhythm is just not there. At times, it sounds like he is trying to imitate William Shatner, with odd long pauses at commas. According to my research, this is just his second audiobook, so that explains a few things. There's a lot of potential there.

The audiobook was poorly edited, though. Multiple times you can hear the reader clear his throat, shake papers and sometimes start over as he botched a line. Botched lines happen - but this is  Also, the editor/producer should have caught the fact that Banning mis-read the word "emphatically" as "empathically" throughout the book. This is my 467th audiobook review and this one stood out for its rather poor editing. Too bad.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5, despite the production/editing work. It was a unique take on a potential Korean conflict.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: The Second North Korean War by Ted Halstead.

Note: I was asked to give an honest review of this audibook by the publisher in exchange for a free download of the audiobook.

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