Thirty years ago, before his last prison stretch, Tom had pulled a big job up near Albany - a very big job - that left a cool $700,000 in cash buried under a water reservoir in an upstate New York valley. Being the nasty sort of fellow he is, Tom's plan is to blow up the dam, flood the surrounding countryside, and grab the cash. With the fate of 900 small town nobodies hanging in the balance, Dortmunder races against Tom's itchy dynamite finger to formulate an alternative plan for retrieving the loot. Thus begins a convoluted caper, in the Westlake tradition, of misadventure and hilarity.
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
A different reader, along with a guarantee that Johnson would never record another book.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
He made it impossible to listen to: Arte Johnson is so far beyond awful I don't even know words to convey the depths of his hideousness. Grating voice, few (and random) changes of tone for character and scene, volume ranges from 2-10 without warning, pacing speeds & drags like an old tape machine with stretched tape & stripped gears...I could go on endlessly. I realize the production is probably old but still, it sounds as if it was recorded inside a 55 gallon steel drum.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Everything but the reader.
Any additional comments?
I've been a Westlake fan for decades & wouldn't have thought it possible that I'd be completely unable to listen to a Dortmunder book. What were they thinking when they produced this travesty?! I have visions of Johnson holding them at gunpoint, or with pictures of the producers in compromising situations with livestock.
To paraphrase Monty Python, this is not a book for listening. This is a book for avoiding.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Donald E. Westlake and/or Arte Johnson?
I really liked the book but this reading was so bad that I can't even listen to it. It was too hard to understand the mumbling delivery.
What didn’t you like about Arte Johnson’s performance?
Any additional comments?
I wouldn't buy another audio book read by Arte Johnson
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Classic Westlake, great plot, but sound alternates between inaudible whispers and blaring. Had to constantly adjust volume to follow.
I read this book a few years ago and loved it. Arte Johnson did an excellent job with the reading. He did a very well changing voices during the rapid fire conversations as well as adding occasional sound effects. Only complaint is that it was too short!
Where does Drowned Hopes rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
In all my years of listening to books on recorded media, this will always be among my very favorites. I bought it on CASETTE tape and I have revisited it many times since.
The plot is great -
An old ( and elderly ) cell mate of Dortmunders has finally been released on parole and wants help recovering money which he buried behind a library in a small town 'upstate'. The trouble is that now, there is a manmade resevoir where the town used to be. "Now my money is buried under 6 ft of dirt, and 40 ft of water." All of the different wacky plans that the gang comes up with for salvaging the money and the fact that the old convict continues to be a homicidal maniac who constantly needs to be stopped from just blowing up the damn to let the water drain out, make this just a hilarious story that still makes me laugh everytime I listen to it. And it is Arte Johnson that makes it come to life.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
Very entertaining storyline.
What about Arte Johnson’s performance did you like?
Arte Johnson is spot-on with the characters voices. Dortmunder, the downtrodden thief. Kelp, the optimistic sidekick and all manner of other colorful and quirky characters which he verbally illustrates beautifully.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
A wonderful piece of fun escapism. I still listen to it once every few years. In fact I drove my kids crazy for a bit because I was always quoting lines from it.