While I’m jetting my way toward St. Louis, MO, and my first Bouchercon, I thought I’d offer the following review since the book made an impression.
It’s amazing what kids make their parents do. What with carpools, the school variety that is, my wife and I get to experience quite a bit at this stage of life. The arguments, the fights, the shoe-throwing and the name calling — then there’s our children not getting along with each other in the bloody car. It’s enough to drive you to the Jameson. Anyway, it was these kinds of experiences that drove my bride of more than two decades to enact a policy of audiobooks in the vehicle to keep the peace when whisking our progeny to institutions of learning. And it’s because of that, I reckon, that moi became hooked on one, Artemis Fowl.
There I was, minding me own business… driving home one day, when this voice (that almost sounds like he’s what… 30?) floats up from the backseat:
“Dad, put this disc in.”
Me, being the ever so calm and beguiling parent, naturally replied:
“Why the hell should I?!? And while you’re answering that, put your damn shoes back on!”
Then, my oldest proceeds to tell me they (he and his smart-alecky sister) have been listening to some fantasy novels (written by one Eoin Colfer) while riding in mum’s car. “Really?“, I say. Well, since it’s been the only thing holding down the mayhem of the morning executions… er, excursions, I answered: “Well, if it’ll shut you two up, then give it here!” And I snatch it up and throw the disc into the car’s CD player as if my sanity depended upon it. As might have been expected, it got worst.
I tried, really tried, not to become involved in some story of the Irish teenage criminal mastermind named Artemis Fowl II. It was the second book in the young adult series, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, at that. Right off the bat, I was already playing catch-up with the mishmash of fairy magic and high-technology, anti-hero humans, elves and gnomes from the start. Life ain’t bloody fair, if you ask me! No wonder the author’s called it “Die Hard with fairies.” What the feck!!! So, I had to go back to the beginning once done, and the rest is history. I’d turned into a Fowl-head… in my late 50s, for Chrissakes!
Besides that, I’d somehow managed to become involved with another Irish author (Adrian McKinty, Stuart Neville, and Ken Bruen being the Gaelic co-conspirators, to that point). It’s now my firm opinion, except for a few of the most skilled, that the language we Americans
mangle use compares not bit with what those from the Emerald Isle actually command on a page. It’s like we’re playing with Duplos while they’re constructing the Taj Mahal with quantum Legos! The writing from this group is that great. It just ain’t fair. Then, I heard that writer Colfer had another book released this month. This time a book for adults. And, it’s in audiobook.
What possessed me?!? I know… it’s a work of bloody crime fiction. That’s what did it. Yeah, I’m the innocent one in all of this. Perhaps, because the novel Plugged centered on a follicly-challenged protagonist, I was oddly charmed by the guy. I mean you couldn’t miss the large ex-pat casino bouncer named Daniel McEvoy. And, he was dealing with a newly dead almost-girlfriend, plus people trying to kill him for God knows what. Y’know, standard fare, yes? Okay, maybe it’s because the author included one Chrrrist-Almighty obnoxious lawyer and a Jersey Irish-American mobster to liven it up. Let’s not forget the female detective this ex-Irish Army sergeant just had an unexpected tryst with (the same one who shot a person she’s not supposed to, btw). What a week this guy is having!
Through all the unexpected plotting, priceless humor, and flashbacks to “the Lebanon” in the tale, the narrator for the AudioGo production, John Keating, did an abso-bloody-lutely splendid job in bringing Colfer’s distinct wordsmithing, characters, and dialects to the top. Sometimes, listening to such novels in audio form is tantamount to being the open milk carton in the refrigerator. You start to taste like what you’re sitting next to. And I know McEvoy’s Irish brogue is going to take a while to get out of my speech pattern. Bejesus! At least I learned to never call the Irish, ‘Laddie’. So, this adult had a fab time listening to it all. Maybe I’ll get a chance to express this to the author himself. Supposedly, he’ll be at some mystery writers convention this weekend. You never know ;-).