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Panic Room

Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
4 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Panic Room by Robert Goddard, read by Hollie Taylor and John Sackville.

Sometimes the danger is on the inside....

High on a Cornish cliff sits a vast uninhabited mansion. Uninhabited except for Blake, a young woman of dubious background, secretive and alone, currently acting as housesitter. 

The house has a panic room. Cunningly concealed, steel lined, impregnable - and apparently closed from within. Even Blake doesn’t know it’s there. She’s too busy being on the run from life, from a story she thinks she’s escaped. 

But her remote existence is going to be invaded when people come looking for the house’s owner, missing rogue pharma entrepreneur Jack Harkness. Suddenly the whole world wants to know where his money has gone. Soon people are going to come knocking on the door, people with motives and secrets of their own, who will be asking Blake the sort of questions she can’t - or won’t - want to answer. 

And will the panic room ever give up its secrets? 

Panic Room is Robert Goddard at his nerve-shredding best. A sliver of a mystery kicks off a juggernaut of a thriller. Layers of secrets, half truths and lies must be peeled back to reveal what really lies within. 

©2018 Robert Goddard (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"The world's greatest storyteller." (The Guardian)

"Is this his best yet?... Full of sinister menace and propulsive pace with twisty plotting." (Lee Child)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Bit too long for my liking but maybe in book form would feel less so than audiobook

A few things along the way just seemed a little far fetched for me. Have read Robert Goddard before and seemed very enthralling but really don’t feel this was anything special.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

MISMATCHED NARRATION MARS BUDGET BOND MASH UP

This is the first time I have tried a Robert Goddard book, although he seems like a prolific writer none before have appealed enough to take the plunge - and to be honest the authors I have picked lately seem to be 99% female through coincidence rather than choice so I was wondering would this be a more action based thrilled than I normally choose.
I loved the opening with John Sackville's dulcet tones which made for a luxurious listen though 4WD pronounced "four- double-you-dee" did jar and break the flow for me.
Loved all the scene setting - the character establishment, getting to know Don and his MG and his ex-wife. the opulent cliff top Des Res and then came Blake .......
I am still not sure what age Blake was supposed to be but her chapters, read by Hollie Taylor never ceased to startle and infuriate as she launched into each new piece with helium gas style girlie gusto, sporting a range so high I was reminded of dialogue from the Sooty and Sweep show. In fairness this was not so much the fault of the talented Hollie Taylor who did seem to settle down a bit later in the book, or perhaps my ears became accustomed to the overenthusiastic shrill of it - but down to poor casting, as the contrast between the two voices was just torture.
Without giving away the plot, when we first meet Blake she has no clothes on, dripping after skinny dipping in the swimming pool and stands there unashamed staring the 50+ year old Don down in what I imagine was an homage to Bond girls ....... but the fact she is voiced in the breathless high pitched babble of an Enid Blyton character leaves a rather bewildering Lolita-esque uneasy feeling about it all.
Perhaps Blake's age was revealed and I missed it - perhaps Hollie was chosen to make sure the listener realises she is YOUNG .... so young she thinks of Don an an old duffer to set up their interaction .... so why the nudity - just seems so unnecessary and "off" to imagine an au natural Bonnie Langton style precocious child star (as that how the character was voiced) wanting some "old" random guy to see her in her birthday suit and have to plead with her to towel up. AWKWARD and ODD and still makes me feel a bit queasy and seemed to have been completely gratuitous to the story - another case of the lack of an good editor to step in and snip out what sounds more like something the author fantasises about rather anything the reader needs to be dragged into.
I only mention this as, for me, this book was a bit of a mash-up - smooth Don, the likeable slightly rumpled hero and Blake his childlike Famous Fiver side kick. One minute I was relaxing with the world weary charm of the Real Estate Agent turned sleuth - next I was shocked into a frenzy by the ditsy, driftwood carving dropout - it was a dreadful mismatch of epic proportions ................... and the accents......................... which sadly were hammed up to cringe-worthy cartoon proportions by both narrators, though I have to say Hollie's were at least in place with her entire vivacious and enthusiastic performance while John Sackville's narration lost all its previous integrity and joined the romp plunging headlong into pantomime with the vocal equivalent of moustache-twirling caped villains.
It was at this point that any hint of credibility vanished off the cliff top for me - which given the way the plot had also surrendered all sense of reason was not much of a loss.
Was this a great book spoiled by poor casting and hammy foreign accents?
No, not really as although it could have been greatly improved by better narration and indeed two voices which sounded like they at least belonged in the same book, the characters themselves did not really seem like they should have been thrown together either ............. and that plot!
I suppose in ways, the Bond-esque unclad young woman emerging from a swimming pool was echoed in the scale and drama of the reveal, as were the thuggish villains, billionaire businessman and global scale of it all .... but the beautiful Cornish setting ... and the witchcraft ....... and the mystery of Blake's being forced to live off the grid all seemed as if they might have been refugees from another book completely.
I am still struggling with the last chapter as after hearing the improbable explanation of what it was all about, being plunged into a sort of budget Jack Reacher action sequence and high tech, high jinx in the simultaneous storyline I just felt I had been dragged along as far as I was willing to go with this dynamic duo and looked for my next book, disappointed that what had been an intriguing premise had not delivered.
Much as the two narrators were at odds, due to a tragic vocal style mismatch and the unlikely characters who had only slightly better odds of convincingly meshing either, even on paper - so the themes of a romantic mystery cliff top luxury house, international espionage, Cornish witchcraft, billionaire businessmen, drunken ladies of the night, vintage sportscars, stereotypical Russian henchmen and three legged stool making housekeepers with a secret past, rather than making a rip roaring adventure, instead refused to blend together resulting in a shambolic, unpalatable and faintly ridiculous dish best served with a huge helping of suspended disbelief.
In fact the whole theme of this audio book could be summed up as storylines, subplots, settings, events, characters and narrators who just do not go well together and make a sum far less than all their parts.
I give the premise start and build up 4 stars, the action and plot reveal 2 stars and I cannot really envisage dragging myself to the end. I don't think I will be risking another Robert Goddard offering based on this.
What a shame.



9 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

long

it was rather a long way of telling a simple story. I'm not sure I enjoyed it that much. it was an interesting concept

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jay
  • Aylesbury, United Kingdom
  • 11-04-19

Another great book

I honestly don't know what problem people have with this book. I love Robert Goddard, but I'm certainly not averse to returning a book from any author that is substandard. With all the poor reviews I was a little concerned that this might be a disappointment, but so far it's great. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and I love it. The very first part of the narration had me wondering, but as the book has gone through it's absolutely fine. It's a little unusual having two narrators, but it works very well. The book reminds me a little of the Harry Barnett books, which are my favourite. So, 5 stars from me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

My first Robert Goddard

Not a bad storyline, a bit silly due to such an unlikely plot but well, it is a novel, it doesn’t have to be factually accurate and is quite entertaining if maybe a bit long.
Sadly the entertainment value is greatly reduced by the performance and this is very much an audiobook of two halves. A great interpretation of the male character by John Sackville, easy, credible and very engaging to listen to but this leaves us with Blake!!! I assume she is meant to be an appealing independent, stubborn and free spirited character but ends up interpreted as a shrill, demanding and belligerent fishwife with a totally intolerable sense of entitlement to having all her questions answered. Her male voices and foreign accents were even worse. Not a chance for the listener to even try to see their points of view when they were presented in that manner. Personally I couldn’t wait for her chapters to be over and return to Jack’s narrative. I only listened to the end as I was keen to find out ‘the big secret’ and I will listen to one more Robert Goddard to give him a fair try but will make sure to pick one with the right narrator!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

two narrator s who gave very differing readings of

....same characters. The dual narration, sometimes a good thing, was in this case a little distracting. The male narrator was my preference, and his accent for the female lead was more in keeping with. her background as we discovered it. the female narrator, while good was posh and strident, and it didn't quite come off for me. Great story as usual. And not awfully narrated. But couldn't they have had a meeting to discuss beforehand?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • AJ
  • Bradford on avon, United Kingdom
  • 02-01-19

Disappointing

Too many missing endings, not one of his better books. Normally love this author. Kept waiting for all scenarios to be tied up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Annie
  • Montignac sur Charente, France
  • 03-11-18

Such a disappointment

I have thoroughly enjoyed Robert Goddard's books, until this one, and wish I had been able to read the reviews before buying. An unbelievable plot, one-dimensional characters, and really badly narrated: the actress reading the 'Blake' character struggled with the male voices and really didn't need to read Blake as a silly, overexcited teenager. Lots of things didn't ring true - at one minute Blake admits she has never had a mobile phone, and then she's able to access files and emails from a stolen phone - no password? I don't think so! In previous Goddard novels, he has never used the number of 'f' words that appear in this book - lazy writing in my opinion, and the story told by two characters, one (Blake) in the present tense and first person, really did not work. I advise any Goddard fans to steer clear of this one - a dreadful book from start to finish

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Completed ruined by unbelievably bad narration

Robert Goddard- my favourite author by far- how on earth did this abismal excuse of narration and performance get past him?
I am sure this story is good - however, despite hanging on by my grim teeth I finally gave in approaching 50% of the way through and requested a refund for this cringeworthy performance- in particular the trying way too hard female narrator Hollie Taylor who sounds like a child entertainer. This is so far off piste from the previous Goddard audio masterpieces I can only assume something has gone horribly wrong.
If you are a Goddard fan -step away.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I liked the narration!

Not the best Goddard story with many loose ends and twists that didn't quite seem believable. Contrary to earlier reviews, I thought Hollie Taylor did a really good job in developing a character that changes her mindset and ideology as the story unfolds.