Calculated in Death
Narrated by Susan Ericksen
I haven’t listened to all of the In Death books. I’ve discovered that the more gruesome, serial killer books with sections told from the killer’s POV just don’t work for me in audio. Fortunately this is more a police procedural, and I enjoyed the audio version a great deal. I’m in agreement with Maggie’s AAR review of this 36th entry in the series and with the grade of B. It’s not my favorite in the series, but I enjoyed visiting with Eve, Roarke, and the rest of the crew again. As Maggie noted, what makes the series a joy is, “the subtle continued character growth, excellent pacing, and revisiting of a world both familiar and loved.” I can make much the same comment about Ms. Ericksen’s narration. She has the characters down pat. We know that Eve, Roarke, Peabody, Mavis, and all the rest will sound the same from book to book. And thanks to Ms. Ericksen, how they sound is perfectly appropriate for their characters and emotions.
It’s been said before but bears repeating: this is not the place to start the series. If you haven’t read the series, start with the first, Naked in Death. The storyline of this book has direct links to several in the past, as everyone prepares for the premier of the movie (Celebrity in Death) that tells the story of the Icove case (Origin in Death). More important than the plot connections is the character development that occurs over the 36 books. I particularly enjoyed the numerous conversations between Peabody and Eve in this book; their relationship has changed so much over time. Peabody is now free to be cranky and sarcastic with Eve, things she never would have been when her character was first introduced. And Ms. Ericksen brings these conversations to life, giving just the right tones of playfulness and sarcasm to Peabody’s voice.
In addition to getting reacquainted with the primary characters, I had a new experience this time. I’ve primarily read the series in print, and only recently began listening in audio. While I understand that Eve doesn’t like dressing up, and really doesn’t like having people fuss with her hair and makeup, I’ve never fully understood her fear of Trina, the makeup/hair specialist Eve’s friends frequently shanghai her into seeing. The minute Ms. Ericksen spoke as Trina, I understood. She gave Trina a low, gravely, somewhat scary voice; I would be afraid of Trina too.
Will I listen to the next installment in audio? That will depend on the story itself, and not the narrator. Ms. Ericksen is the voice of the In Death series for me. When I read the more gruesome entries in print, I instantly imagine Ms. Ericksen’s voice. She’s just that good.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: B+ and Book Content: B