Title: Bahamas West End is Murder
Author: Dirk Wyle
Narrator: Michael Yurchak
Format: Paperback, eBook, AudioCD, AudioBook
Publisher: Rainbow Books
Audio Producer: Spoken Word, Inc.
Length: 11 Hours: 20 minutes
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Series: A Ben Candid Mystery # 5
Best Read in Order: Not Required
Stars: Overall: 3 Narration: 3 Story: 3
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About the Book:
As vacationing Ben Candidi and Rebecca Levis sail through International Waters toward Grand Bahama Island, they receive a strange welcome?a sinking cabin cruiser with a dead man at the helm. Ben knows how to patch bullet holes below the waterline and Rebecca knows how to estimate time of death. And they agree that the West End marina is the right place to bring the body.
To avoid trouble, they play it dumb and treat the cocaine-smuggling marina tenants as the divers and sport fishermen they are pretending to be. Unfortunately, the mailbox corporation in Miami that owns the yacht ignores Ben’s $100,000 salvage claim?and the Bahamian police won?t let him move the yacht to Florida. The harder Ben and Rebecca press their claim, the more sinister West End becomes. Should they cut their losses and run? Or is it too late already?
I was excited to listen to a mystery, and this looked like a good one. A unique location and premise, and frankly having scientists as primary detectives and protagonists just thrilled my inner science geek. While I found the story was intriguing, and the mystery was well-plotted, the pacing was irregular: after some thought I am wondering if the pacing is meant to emulate being on board a drifting yacht, and taking the time to explore the minutiae for lack of other options. If that was the intention, the accomplishment was more miss than hit, and several moments were overloaded with detail that felt unconnected to the plot. A very clever historical fiction writer that I know spoke to the difficulties of balance between research for your story and proving that research to your readers: readers are choosing a novel for the entertainment, and all information that is factual and gleaned in the process is a bonus. Sadly, there were more factual details and less description of the unusual and unique aspects of the Bahamas, and much of the setting felt less integral to the plot and final mystery than it should have because of this detail overload.
I also had some difficulty connecting with Ben, and couldn’t always see his allure for Rebecca. A small point in a mystery between the ‘couple’ but Ben’s apparent inability to find any humility or warmth in his affect and approach made him difficult. I was hoping and waiting for someone to kick out his arrogance a bit, and never quite found that moment of satisfaction. Strangely enough, his scientific remove was actually far more attractive in his problem solving bag of tricks, and his logical approach to the solution came clear at the end: well played Mr. Wyle.
Narration in this story was provided by Michael Yurchak, and also was not as I would have expected.
I was not enamored of the tone and pitch of his voice, and the delivery was clipped and almost too precise: no emotional intonations were evident, and the delivery teetered on the edge of boring. Additionally, there were some odd choices in the introduction content: I have never encountered an introduction that is clearly a straight read of the back cover of the book and consists only of review snippets, and still can’t see the point.
Overall, there were some really good things about this story that kept me listening until the end: the mystery is really clever and has enough twists, turns and potential suspects to keep even the most clever mystery fan intrigued. Sadly, I would really recommend that mystery fans opt for the book, as it is simpler to jump past the multiple passages that provide details that are merely info dumps with no bearing on the plot.
I received an MP3 download of the audiobook via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review for The Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.