Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
Ladies and gentleman, meet Julian Darcangelo. He of the raspy voice, long dark hair, and 6 foot plus of muscles and testosterone. Sigh. Julian has been trying to bring down a sex trafficking ring run by Mafioso Alexi Burien for years. Skirting just inside the line of the law and sometimes stepping over it, he’s been working for the FBI and the Denver PD spending much of his time undercover, pretending to be friends with child rapists and violent thugs. So when Julian meets I-Team reporter Tessa Novak, he is unprepared for his reaction. Where his life is dark, she is light. She is feminine to the point of girly, (virtually) innocent, blond and pretty, and unaware of the horrors of the sex trade – at least until she witnesses a murder and starts digging. Pretty soon the sparks are flying between Julian and Tessa and, as she pursues her investigation, it puts her in danger and also jeopardizes Julian’s case. Julian doesn’t believe marriage, kids, and a white picket fence are in his future but Tessa’s appearance in his life gives him new hope – she sees in him what no-one else ever has. Can he catch the bad guys, keep Tessa alive, and have a happily ever after?
Well, this is a romance audiobook, so of course, we know the answer is a resounding yes. But, as always, the journey is what it’s all about.
Julian is dark and sexy and tortured. He is tormented by the girls he has to leave in the hands of monsters in order to catch the kingpin. The dirt from the scum he hangs with while undercover sticks to him and makes him feel unclean too. Kaleo Griffith voices Julian’s tension and darkness and gives his voice the rasp readers of the book expect to hear. In the scene at the end where Reece and Julian are talking, there is a noticeable difference between the two voices. When a narrator reads an entire series and one listens to those books close together, the main voices can tend to sound all the same. But Mr. Griffith has established a distinct voice for each of the I-Team members and it was gratifying to hear clearly distinguishable heroes as well. Fingers crossed he has more hero voices in his repertoire for Marc (Unlawful Contact), Gabe (Naked Edge) and Zach (Breaking Point) as they are all alpha protector types with similar (but not identical) personalities.
Because I don’t want to be a gushing fangirl, I’m going to point out that there are a few small errors in the narration – one on the pronunciation of a KaBar knife and the others had to do with the narrative voice drifting into Julian’s lines. However, those are just niggles. Hard Evidence is another excellent performance by Mr. Griffith. I-Team fans will not be disappointed and those new to the series will be crushing on Julian Darcangelo just like the rest of us.
Breakdown of Grade – Narration: B+ and Book Content: B+