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  • The Black Mile

  • Soho Noir Thrillers, Book 1
  • By: Mark Dawson
  • Narrated by: Brian J. Gill
  • Length: 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 48
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 45
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 45

London, 1940: The Luftwaffe blitzes London every night for 57 nights. Houses, shops, and entire streets are wiped from the map. The underworld is in flux: The Italian criminals who dominated the West End have been interned, and now their rivals are fighting to replace them. Meanwhile, hidden in the shadows, the Black-Out Ripper sharpens his knife and sets to his grisly work.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Better than the rest!

  • By Benjibutton on 29-11-14

Does the job of audio editor not exist?

1 out of 5 stars
1 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-17

I’ve become a real Mark Dawson fan and have thoroughly enjoyed the John Milton series, so I approached this title very positively.

I have now tried three times to listen to this book but now, again, an hour or so in, have finally given up as I cannot cope with the narration which is little short of awful and does a real disservice to what I managed to discern of the merit of the underlying story.

The narration is too fast for my take on the sense of the pace, style and period of the story, is often unnaturally inflected and is littered with sheer clunkers of mispronunciation, including people and places.

Much as a misprint in written text is unforgivable in that it destroys your concentration on the flow of the story, so a spoken clunker in an Audible book kicks a hole in the fabric of the fictional world in your mind and deflates your investment of time and emotion in listening.

My headline of this review is not un-serious; is there really no-one sitting next to any given narrator checking the pronunciation of any words or phrases that may have obvious optional renderings?

If not, there needs to be. Example at random: it cannot be that difficult for someone to determine that Berwick Street (one of the best-known streets in Soho on account of its market), is not ‘Ber-wick’ Street, as rendered in this production, but is actually ‘Berrick’ Street. Sounds trivial as written but when you want to be smoothly immersed in a fictional story it simply kills the moment when it’s pronounced wrongly.

It’s not a question of US versus UK pronunciation, which can be tricky, but simply what is right for the time and place of the narration concerned.

This problem of the pronunciation clunker is not unique to this title by any means, but coupled with the other shortcomings of the narration it jars particularly here.

This really does matter these days as an increasing number of us listen to audio books - (I get through three or four a month). I’ve never felt motivated to write an Audible review before but was sufficiently frustrated by this narration to put finger to keyboard.

Sorry Mark; this book deserves better - and David Thorpe sets a very high narration standard on your John Milton series which I will continue to enjoy...

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