The thing that really set this book apart was the fantastic audio narration. Each part was played by an equally worthy actor and we even saw a performance from Andy Serkis, known for his portrayal of Gollum in Lord of the Rings. The actors who play the other roles are all pretty high-ranking UK actors, so yeah, I was impressed before I even began. The sound-effects that accompanied the narration were also excellent, making this an audiobook that sat apart from most.
The story centres on a ten-year-old boy called Simon, a patient at a Berlin hospital, due to a brain tumour. Simon feels that he needs a lawyer because he…wait for it…committed multipe murders fifteen-years-ago, in a previous life! As you can probably tell, a little bit of suspension of belief is needed right from the off!
What is important is that Simon wants to go to the police and confess his crimes, even though he committed them in a past life that he can only sketchily remember. He feels that he’ll need the help of a lawyer and luckily one of his doctors, Carina, used to date a lawyer. Handy, huh!? Anyway, she decides to bring Simon along to see her ex-boyfriend lawyer, Robert Stern.
Stern thinks that Simon is hallucinating when he confesses his crimes. But then, Simon leads Stern to the body of a man, killed by an axe, just like Simon had said. Stern is from then on part of a very strange investigation.
The audio-presentation of this book is different in the fact that it’s part narration and part dramatization and completely unabridged. Its running time is just under seven hours, so it’s not particularly long, but the quality elevates it. Usually audiobooks tend to be one or the other, either narrated by one or perhaps two voices, or abridged for dramatization. All the sections where there’s dialogue have been dramatized and the bits in-between are extremely well narrated by Robert Glenister.
Really creepy and atmospheric, this was an excellent choice for Halloween. The characters weren’t very diverse, but I could put up with this because I found it so suspenseful and tense. There was a really great supernatural vibe going on, which I loved. The only problem was the last quarter where we see all tension lost and a long-winded explanation, from one character to the other, about what part they’ve had to play in proceedings and basically what’s been going on.
So all-in-all a listening experience that wasn’t too taxing on the grey-matter and had plenty of tension and suspense for the most part and was brilliantly dramatized. The only thing that let it down was the last portion of the book where things became too bogged down in explanation.