Monday, February 11, 2013

Audiobook Review: The Black Stiletto

The Black Stiletto
Author: Raymond Benson
Narrators: Arielle DeLisle, 
Chris Patton, Michael Ray Davis 
Length 8 hours 24 minutes

Publisher's Summary
     Could Martin Talbot's elderly, Alzheimer-stricken mother, Judy, really have been the Black Stiletto? When Martin discovers several volumes of her diaries hidden by his mother, he is stunned beyond all imagination. His mother, the underground heroine of yesteryear? The famed, still unidentified woman who battled Communist spies, took on the Mafia, and preyed on common crooks? The woman who exacted punishment on evildoers without mercy?
     But it is all described, in great detail, in the diaries. What caused her to begin her quest for justice. Her decision to act outside the law. Her feats as the famed and feared vigilante. How her reputation exploded. In short, how it all played out.
     Could it be true? Talbot is filled with doubt and disbelief. But the reappearance of one of the Stiletto's old enemies with a thirst for merciless revenge makes the story more than real, and could imperil the life of not only the Stiletto, but her son and granddaughter as well. 

This is a Crossroad Press Production
©2011 Raymond Benson (P)2012 David N. Wilson

My Thoughts:
I must confess that I was never a fan of comic book super hero/heroines but I wish I had been a fan of the Black Stiletto.  It was such a treat to follow Judy Cooper as she became the Black Stiletto.  She is a strong, independent and likeable character.  I decided to listen to this story because I was intrigued by Martin Talbot's discovery of his mother's secret life.  It would be mind-blowing to find that your mother had a secret life to begin with, but to discover she was the Black Stiletto would have to be overwhelming.  His mother is in a nursing home, stricken with Alzheimer's and can shed no light on the details of the life she once lived.  But she has left her diary for her son to discover her secret identity. 

This story was truly enhanced by being narrated by three different readers.  I don't think my experience would have been so enjoyable on the printed page.  Arielle DeLisle gave Judy Cooper's voice energy and authenticity.  I would like to hear more of her and I'm looking to forward to the next in the series.  Chris Patton did a good job with the voice of Martin Talbot but for some reason his part wasn't edited as well as the rest.  There was a couple of instances of a repeated line - sort of like a stutter.  Michael Ray Davis was my favorite of all the voices.  His performance of Roberto Renelli, a gangster who has been in prison for over 50 years, was flawless and totally believable.  He truly sounded like a 72-year-old, broken down gangster.  I'm adding him to my list of favorite narrators.

This was a great listen and I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Review copy provided by Crossroads Press.  

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