Top positive review
5.0 out of 5 starsGood Listening!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 3, 2023
Anyone looking for an edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense can’t go wrong with this audiobook. You Only Die Twice is only available in audio format and its delivery is exceptional and engaging because of the narrators and how they bring the story to life. In the beginning, there were even sound effects, so I felt like I was listening to a movie. I laughed at the screeching tires because of what they actually meant. Thank goodness I’m not that bad a driver.
What I found fascinating about the narrators is that Alan Carlson and Stacia Newcomb take turns at the mike. Instead of one taking only the male characters and the other, the female characters, their readings included doing both voices. Mr. Carlson had a distinctive female voice, and Ms. Newcomb had a distinct and growly tone for the hero, Carter Beck. It actually worked.
The format is interesting. When the narrator for Carter Beck was on scene, the story is told from 18 months prior, leading up to when Alice’s narrator takes over and continues the story in the present day. It’s interesting how the timelines gradually merge into the present ending up at the time both are on the run. The only drawback of an audio-only format is the inability to see how names are spelled. Nikka(?) is the female Russian spy who I only get to meet via Carter’s historical narration. In the present, when Alice is talking about Nikka, she has already died so the focus is on solving the mystery by finding the clues the Russian spy left behind. Their location ends up being surprising. What the secrets were was incredibly shocking.
The suspense level is driven by the main characters having no idea who they can trust. It turns out that some of the ones they should be able to trust, can’t be, and some that they shouldn’t trust turn out to be unexpected allies. Because lies are flying all over the place, there’s no sure way to tell which is which, so for the most part, Carter and Alice are on their own. For being ‘just a teacher’, Alice ended up being a better partner and asset to Carter than he ever could have expected. Heck, Alice shocked herself in what she could accomplish when death was on the line.
The weird and unexpected sub-theme of the story is death. Not by gunshots or bad guys, but by cancer. Alice’s whole family is attacked by cancer. Her sister is amazing and her last zing to Alice ended up bringing tears to my eyes. What a truly special relationship they had. Readers/listeners get to know her, so the ending has a special poignancy. In fact, both Alice and Carter bond over some of what some might call morbid similarities, but in truth, it’s what thousands of people face and fight each and every day. It really made the hero and heroine believable, relatable, and I was 100% invested in their story.
I stumbled upon this book and the blurb seemed really interesting. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with the book in the beginning because I was going in blind. I didn’t know the author’s caliber, and as listeners of audiobooks know, narrators can make or break a book. I can assure you that every single component of this story, from plot to dialogue, pace and narrative talent, all worked together in perfect harmony and engaged my senses to the point I stayed up until 1 A.M. because I simply didn’t want to stop until I reached its conclusion. It was a great experience!
I heartily recommend this audiobook to readers of contemporary romantic suspense. You Only Die Twice delivers a fantastic mystery experience filled with drama, suspense, intrigue, action, romance and a happy-for-now with solid tones of a true HEA.
originally posted at long and short reviews