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Narrated by: Alan Smith
After witnessing a mob hit, surgeon Jack Francisco is put into protective custody to keep him safe until he can testify. A hitman known only as D is blackmailed into killing Jack, but when he tracks him down, his weary conscience won’t allow him to murder an innocent man. Finding in each other an unlikely ally, Jack and D are soon on the run from shadowy enemies. Forced to work together to survive, the two men forge a bond that ripens into unexpected passion. Jack sees the wounded soul beneath D’s cold, detached exterior, and D finds in Jack the person who can help him reclaim the man he once was. As the day of Jack’s testimony approaches, he and D find themselves not only fighting for their lives… but also fighting for their future. A future together.
I remember when Zero at the Bone was all the rage among my reading pals. I was new to the m/m genre at the time, but I grabbed up a sample and got to work. Then I got to the part where D started talking with that awful southern accent and all hope was lost. I remember thinking: “surely this won’t go on for the entire book.” Yeah, I was wrong, so I dropped that sample like it was hot and Zero at the Bone went straight to my DNF pile.
See, I don’t do accents when it comes to reading. Ever. Wait, that’s a lie—I was dazzled by Jamie Fraser in Outlander. But the other 99 percent of the time, forget it. I don’t care if a book has all the stars. I. Hate. Written. Accents.
SO…when the blog came up with the idea for audio book week, I knew this was my one and only chance to try this book. It turns out everybody else who read and loved this story knew what they were talking about! ;)
This was my very first audio book, and I give the overall listening/audio book experience 4 stars. I have a pretty hefty commute to and from work, so even though Zero was more than 13 hours long, I was able to knock out nearly two hours of listening each day. I liked the narrator, Alan Smith. His voice was even and soothing, and he drew me in from the start. I thought he nailed it with his interpretation of D, the rough and tough hitman, and I *mostly* liked how he played Jack, the witness D forced himself to save and protect.
The story itself was interesting and twisty and angsty and tense—I never knew for sure which way things were headed, even right up to then end. Surprisingly (to me), D and his accent ended up being my favorite, and listening to the narrator tell me all D’s innermost feelings and fears and battles, well, I wanted this bad guy to win at something for once. I worried that listening to the narrator read the sexy time would be awkward, but, um, NO. It was actually the opposite, so there’s that. ;)
I thought Alan Smith’s Jack came off as a bit whiny and ungrateful, but maybe that’s how the author intended him to be? The remaining characters were well done and it was always super easy for me to know who was talking and what was going on at any given point (probably because of D’s accent, HA!).
I do think I’d most definitely try another audio book, though I’m not sure I’d want to listen outside of my commute hours. I will say that you definitely have to concentrate on what the narrator is saying—it’s not as easy to turn back the page and re-read something! The best and most surprising thing about the experience, though, is that I’m now seriously considering going back and actually reading Zero at the Bone, accent and all. ;)
Title: Zero at the Bone (Zero at the Bone #1)
Author: Jane Seville
Narrator: Alan Smith
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 13 hours, 21 mins.
Release Date: April 2009
Purchase Links: iTunes, Audible, Amazon