Desert Isle Keeper
Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
When Breaking Point was released in print, I waited excitedly for my copy to arrive in the mail and read it as soon as I opened the package. I liked it very much but didn’t love it quite as much as I was hoping to. Perhaps it was just what happens sometimes when a book is so highly anticipated. But, that doesn’t explain why, when I knew what was going to happen, I enjoyed the audiobook version even better than the print and possibly more than all of the previous books in the series. However, that’s exactly what happened.
Natalie Benoit, I-Team member, is part of a group of journalists touring areas of Mexico. Their bus is attacked by members of Los Zetas (a drug cartel) and Natalie is taken hostage. She ends up in a cell next door to Zach McBride, an undercover Deputy Chief US Marshal, who is being tortured by the Zetas because they believe he stole a shipment of their cocaine. Natalie helps Zach escape and Zach helps her make her way home across the Sonoran desert – with all the force of the Zetas following them to try and recapture the escapees. Because Zach is undercover, Natalie doesn’t know he’s on the side of the angels – in fact she thinks he’s a drug runner – but she decides to trust him with her safety. Despite her concerns, their sizzling attraction is something she cannot ignore and pretty soon she and Zach are getting hot and bothered by a lot more than the desert, if you take my meaning.
Many of the previous cast members appear in this book too – there was a scene in Chapter 6 where the I-Team staff past and present, along with Reece, Julian, Marc and Gabe are all talking. Let me say that Kaleo Griffiths’ narration of this scene was superb. I knew who was talking without having to listen for dialogue tags and there were, like, 10+ people in the room.
There were some technical issues, which stopped this from being a perfect listen. Some of the words were mispronounced (grasp instead of gasp, dock instead of rock) and there were a couple of occasions where the wrong voice was used (e.g., Natalie’s instead of Zach’s). There were also three or four repeated sentences/phrases and at least one missing part (I believe it was only about a sentence). At first I thought it might have been only my copy until I saw another review noting a similar problem.
However, Griffith brings it, absolutely, with Zach, to whom he gives what sounded to my ear like a very faint New York accent. It was even easy to tell when Zach was thinking to himself! Natalie’s New Orleans drawl made her very easy to identify and the Mexican characters were very well voiced too.
I have loved all of the I-Team books in audio format but I will say that they were favored not so much because of the suspense aspects – after all I had read them previously. Imagine for example seeing The Sixth Sense for the second time. The “bang” is not the same even though one may love it. The I-Team books aren’t at all like The Sixth Sense of course. But in Breaking Point, even knowing, I was still captivated by the suspense, still worried for the characters – almost as if things could have turned out differently in the audio version (they don’t). I can only credit Kaleo Griffith with that. And I think it helped that I had had a break from listening to the I-Team books – it made my ears fresher.
Pamela Clare doesn’t pull her punches in this book – there’s plenty of suspense and drama and angst, even if the epilogue was still on the sappy side for my preference. There is also more bromance between Marc and Julian and Gabe and that can never be a bad thing.
An excellent addition, highly recommended.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: A and Book Content: B+