Finding myself in sunny Hollywood this week before the holidays brings to mind the opening verse of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas:
The sun is shining, the grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There’s never been such a day
In Beverly Hills, L.A.
But it’s December the twenty-fourth
And I am longing to be up North
You know the rest.
Being here in Hollywood also puts me in mind of the many ways we now have to enjoy and engage with mysteries and thrillers, from books to audiobooks to movies and series on the big and small screen. With books, you are required to imagine it all. Audiobooks provide a voice, an accent, a personality through tone and tempo, but leave room for you to fill in the rest. Once a character and a story are brought to the screen, the work is done for you. I always find it intriguing to match the voice of the audiobook with the full-blown person that comes to life onscreen. Sometimes there is a match, and sometimes there’s a disconnect.
As a big fan of Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series, I was excited when it was made into a streaming series. While others narrated the earlier audiobooks, Titus Welliver, who plays Bosch in the series, narrates the latest audiobooks, including the most recent, THE NIGHT FIRE (which he reads together with Christine Lakin). So for the Bosch series, the audiobook narrator transforms into a real, live-action figure.
Jack Reacher, Lee Child’s protagonist, was brought to the big screen by none other than Tom Cruise. Many Reacher creatures strongly objected to the rather short Tom Cruise filling the very big shoes of the giant of a man that we have conjured in our minds. The 24th audiobook in the series, BLUE MOON, narrated by Golden Voice Scott Brick, gives us audiophiles a way to keep Reacher as tall as our imaginations desire. Lee Child has announced that Jack Reacher will be coming to a streaming series on Amazon Prime—with someone other than Cruise in the lead role. Something for fans to look forward to.
For fans of Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, the good news is that there is a TV adaptation in the works. The latest audiobook in the series, THE NEW GIRL, narrated by Golden Voice George Guidall, will keep listeners totally engaged and wanting more. Silva has said that he was waiting for the right opportunity to bring Gabriel Allon to the screen. Let’s hope that he also finds the right person to fill out George Guidall’s voice interpretation of Allon.
Now for the women: We have the TV series Killing Eve, based on Luke Jennings’s CODENAME VILLANELLE, read by Laura Kirman. The TV series, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, has racked up Emmy and Golden Globe awards. I watched an episode of the series on my recent flight out to LA. Just a warning—the violence is intense and graphic. I find that while I can listen to descriptions of violence in audiobooks, I have trouble watching it played out on the screen.
On a much lighter note, a recent discovery for me (a little late to the game) is M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to BEATING ABOUT THE BUSH (Book 30), narrated by Penelope Keith. I successfully searched out the British TV series at my local library and have been happily binging on the two seasons of episodes. Though Penelope Keith has a more mature voice than the actress who brings Agatha to life onscreen, she captures Agatha’s demanding, funny, and egotistical personality.
What are some of your favorite audiobooks that you’ve seen come to life on the big (or small) screen? Share in the comments!
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