Hounded (Audiobook) by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

Hounded AudiobookHounded (Audiobook)

by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels (Narrator)
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1

Unabridged Audiobook, 8 hours and 11 minutes
Brilliance Audio, 2011

Read: April 26, 2016


Keeping this brief so I can catch up on other things, I posted a few quick thoughts about the book previously — and that still covers most of my thoughts:

It took no time at all for this book to grab me, and another 15 pages for me to fall in love with this. Right off the bat we get a solid action sequence, get the basics of our hero’s magic system, and meet a goddess. Not a bad start–it helps a lot that Atticus’ personality and charm comes through right away and draws you in.

Then we get a talking dog. Technically a dog (Oberon the Irish Wolfhound) that can communicate telepathically with Atticus, but why get picky? Oberon’s snarky, smart and pop culturally savvy–he runs a close second behind Harry Dresden’s Mouse for coolest pooch in Urban Fantasy. I’d be willing to read a book that’s nothing but Atticus and Oberon hanging out.

Throw in a helpful werewolf pack, a friendly vampire, a troublesome local coven, and a fight with an ancient Celtic deity and you get yourself a dynamic intro to what seems to be one of the best Urban Fantasy series around.

From the point of view of someone who’s read book 8, going back to the beginning like this was a lot of fun. I could see the development in Atticus, Laksha and others (even Oberon — who is now cooler than Mouse), got to see dearly departed friends (like spoiler and other spoiler), and could see a lot of seeds being planted that are still bearing fruit. It was also nice to be reminded why I used to like Granuaile.

So, I guess I should focus on Luke Daniels’ narration. It was great — I’m not crazy about his interpretation of Oberon, but it has an undeniable charm (that goes beyond the incredible amount of charm that Hearne gave him). His characterizations of each everyone are strong — even the accents. In particular, his Widow MacDonagh made me laugh, even after repeated exposure to her (read the book at least two times, and now listened to the audiobook twice).

It’s a fun listen with some great characters — and the beginning of one of my favorite ongoing series. If you’ve still happened to miss The Iron Druid Chronicles, this is a great way to dive in.

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4 Stars

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Hounded by David Rosenfelt

HoundedHounded

by David Rosenfelt
Series: Andy Carpenter, #12

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 22nd 2014 by Minotaur Books
Read: August 22 – 23, 2014

First things first: is this not the cutest cover image ever?

Secondly, I’m not a Today watcher, but my wife is when she’s home sick from work. This mini-rant from Andy was exactly what I’ve been thinking.

I am a creature of habit, and by this time I am always in the den, watching the CBS Morning News. I used to watch the Today Show, until they came up with something called “The Orange Room.” Basically, they go there to tell us what people are tweeting to the Today Show Orange Room. People who would take the time to tweet to the Today Show Orange Room are among the people in the world whose opinions interest me least, so I stopped watching it.*

On to the book itself, which is what I’m supposed to be talking about —

By this time it’s pretty much assumed that Andy will be taking in a dog for the duration of whatever case he takes up (after being forced/tricked into it by this point), and he does so this time — a six year-old Basset Hound named Sebastian. However, this one comes with an accessory Andy’s not used to — an eight year old boy named Ricky.

You see, Andy’s friend Pete Collins was pretty good friends with Ricky’s dad, Danny Diza, and an Uncle-figure to Ricky. And Ricky’s was just murdered, so until the system is able to place Ricky in a permanent home, Pete asks Laurie and Andy to take him in. Why doesn’t Pete do that? Well, he’s going to be arrested for Danny’s murder. Never mind that Pete Collins is about the best that the local Police Department has. Thankfully, he does have super-defense attorney as his best friend.

The number of people in Andy’s social circle who haven’t charged with murder is getting pretty slim at this point. He’s either going to have to make other friends, or do some marketing. Hate to have to see Andy defend Marcus.

Ricky’s presence brings out a side in Laurie we had heretofore not seen, but should’ve known were there. Similar sides in Edna (of all people) and Marcus (!) are brought out as well. Very fun to see the latter two, and heartwarming to see the former. The Ricky-factor alone elevates this particular Carpenter novel.

This case involves a conspiracy, as is almost always the case lately. But this time, it’s on a smaller scale — no worldwide terrorist networks or anything. Just one murder leading to a few others that are trying to be kept quiet by some mysterious and nefarious people. It’s definitely in Andy Carpenter’s wheelhouse, and just the thing his readers are looking for.

Here’s the thing that bugs me, and is a minor spoiler — very minor since I’m describing something that didn’t happen: At no point in time did Andy or Laurie — or some psychologist/counselor they hire — talk to Ricky about the events of the night his father was killed. He was upstairs when it happened. I’m not saying it wouldn’t have been tough, it likely wouldn’t have given Andy much to work with in the defense (I know that because I read Rosenfelt’s narration, Andy didn’t), but still, you’ve got to do it to save Pete’s neck, right?

Other than that, the only beef I have is that I talked myself out of the solution at one point. I was pretty annoyed with myself when Andy figured it out.

Despite the ongoing drought of song-talking between Andy and Sam, this is one of the better entries in the series, and was a lot of fun to read. It featured the typical courtroom antics, banter between Andy and the gang, adoration of Tara, and so on. Not to mention the laugh-out-loudest Marcus joke ever, some welcome character arcs developments, and the most “awww”-inducing closing paragraph that I’ve read in ages.

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* To be fair, my wife thinks about as much of The Orange Room as Andy and I do, she just likes the rest of the show’s format.

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4 Stars