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Narrated by: Shannon Gunn
Holden Worthington’s globetrotting days are over. Once the host of a popular adventure show, he hasn’t ventured past his own front door in more than a year. Then the arrival of a sexy new gardener sparks something Holden hasn’t felt in a long time — an interest in the world outside his window.
Holden tries to resist the attraction. But painfully shy yet definitely interested Adam Morgan has Holden longing to conquer his debilitating anxiety and live again. After a grisly discovery on the grounds of the estate, the town of Smithfield turns a suspicious eye on the reclusive Holden — and the two men must trust in each other to bring the truth out in the open.
For audiobook week, I pondered what to pick. This would be my first foray into listening to m/m romance by a narrator. (“How awkward are sex scenes to listen to? If the writer included written-out sex noises like “Unngh!” or “Ahhhhh!”, does the narrator then do the sex noises? Am I going to be listening to sex scenes on my crowded bus commute?”) These are the things I pondered. Finally when we were all picking books, I opted to try to adhere to my reading challenge—read what you already own—and picked an audio version of a book that’s been on my TBR pile for a while—the fourth book in LB Gregg’s Men of Smithfield Series, Adam and Holden.
I’ve really enjoyed Gregg’s Romano and Albright series (and good news for fans, she’s working on the third book now). I’ve felt more lukewarm to Men of Smithfield—a series of novellas and short novels that revolve around various gay men living in the same picturesque small New England town, except this one had a small pile of small town mysteries to sort through. Book 1 and 2 (Mark & Tony, and Max & Finn) were okay reads for me, and I enjoyed book #5, Sam and Aaron.
How was book 4? This is my favorite of the group so far. The contrast between wealthy, experienced, and agoraphobic Holden and young, guileless, and achingly sincere Adam was a nice mix. For Holden, Adam tapped into newly developed needs to both protect and teach (since Adam is a virgin and also doesn’t understand many social cues) and also to be protected and cared for (as Adam is also very caring and strong.) It is hard to not love Adam, who is so honest and sweet, especially when he’s confused about a joke or sarcasm. I appreciated Holden more as he came to understand Adam and how best to communicate with him.
The mystery itself was fun and like other Gregg works, a little kooky, and since Holden has a hard time leaving the house, the story is close to being a closed-room mystery, where most things happen around Holden’s lavish home or yard.
How was the narrator? Overall, I thought he was great. His version of Holden was an interesting direction—at times I felt like I was listening to a gay man’s version of Katherine Hepburn (with that upper-class Yankee New England drawl.) Sometimes it made it difficult to picture Holden as also the burley strong adventurer that he was, but then I thought I should check myself, and that burly adventurers could talk like a male Katherine Hepburn, just coming off a yachting trip on the lake if he wants to. Why not? The narrator also did voices for the other characters, and changed into them seamlessly, whether it was Adam’s earnest young tone, or Officer Tony’s brusque deep voice. I could picture all the characters speaking and it was nicely distinct. I thought the narrator was pretty splendid here.
How was listening to M/M in audio? It was fun. I don’t know if I’ll do audio a lot, but I definitely found the niche. At one point after work, I was so tired and a bit stressed, and I couldn’t “land” on reading, so I turned on the audio book instead, and was able to settle on listening. I was tempted to multi-task and listening while cleaning worked well, but listening while web surfing was too distracting, so I have to really pick my activities or else I’ll miss whole sections of the story.
Do I recommend this one? Very much so. Not only is the price great ($2.99!), but the story was also a lot of fun.
Can you dive into this one cold? Maybe? It’s hard to say since I’ve read three of the other books, but the mysteries are all stand-alone and only linked by the setting of Smithfield and some of the same characters (like Tony) pop up. I started reading at book 2, Max & Finn, so you probably could enjoy this one as a start although you may want to go back and check out some of the other stories as well.
I’m grateful that audiobook week helped show me that m/m romance in audio is a fun and relaxing way to get some reading down. Now what to listen to next…?
Title: Men of Smithfield: Adam and Holden (Men of Smithfield #4)
Author: LB Gregg
Narrator: Shannon Gunn
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 6 hours, 19 mins.
Release Date: November 16, 2012
Purchase Links: iTunes, Audible, Amazon