Monday, November 5, 2012

Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare, narrated by Kaleo Griffith

Why I listened to it: Are you kidding?  I've been haranguing Tantor for ages to try and get them to pick this series up on audio.  I'm sure it wasn't just me but I'm proud to say that I had a small part to play in getting this series onto our MP3 players.

What it's about: (from Goodreads) It's been years since her child's father dumped her, and since then investigative reporter Kara McMillan has kept men at bay—although every day she aches more for a lover's touch. But to get that, the hard-boiled journalist must become vulnerable—a feeling she vowed never to have again.

With his dangerous good looks, charm, and power, Senator Reece Sheridan could have just about any woman he sets his piercing eyes on. But he’s intrigued by only one. This Kara, this gutsy investigative reporter, has a sensuality that arouses him to no end. If she’s a firebrand in print, he guesses, she must be just as fiery in bed…

But this is no fling. A sudden political scandal—and attempts on Kara's life—could very well drive them apart. Or maybe, just maybe, adversity could draw them into a bond even more intense than their steamy sexual embraces…

What worked for me (and what didn't):
I've read the book twice so I know the story well.  Kara McMillan is a reporter for the Denver Independent's "I-Team", covering the environmental beat.  When a whistleblower gives her information about a mining company dumping toxic materials into the water supply, her investigation leads her into danger.  While all this is happening, she meets sexy Senator Reece Sheridan, an idealistic ex-social studies teacher who ran for office on a dare from his students.   Their first meeting is hilarious - Kate has had too many margaritas and she asks Reece some very interesting questions - including whether a woman really does taste like tuna!

Reece is captivated by Kara but she is gunshy after being dumped unceremoniously by the jerk who got her pregnant and then bailed.  She has a 4 year old son and a busy job and trying to fit in a relationship as well is a challenge even if she didn't have trust issues.

There was a wonderful balance between the romance and the suspense and there is no silly stuff like anyone having sex while bullets are flying.  Because the story takes place over a number of weeks, the romance has a believable build and when they do scorch up the sheets, there is plenty of time. 

What else? I have wanted this series to be available on audio for so long.  When it was first announced, there was rampant speculation on who the "dream narrator" would be.  When Tantor Audio announced their choice of Kaleo Griffith, I admit, I was a little nervous.  Would he do it justice?  Would he be able to deliver the love scenes?  Would his female character voices make the grade?

Photo by John Riedy Photography*. 
 *used with permission

When I started to listen, I almost did the audio equivalent of reading with one eye open.  What a relief to find that the rhythm of the story was maintained and enhanced by this new-to-me narrator. He has only been narrating audiobooks for about a year and has about 30 under his belt now but romance listeners may not have come across him before.  I'm betting we'll be hearing a lot more from him though.

To be honest, there are very very few men who can deliver an authentic female voice.  Some female narrators can do male voices well, but the reverse is so rare as to be unicorn-like.  The horror of romance listeners is the "female impersonator" voice.  Mr. Griffith softens his tone to indicate a female voice rather than trying to drag it up.   His voices for older women were very very well done. The younger women's voices didn't sound exactly "female" to me but they weren't drag-y and I could tell by his voice that a female character was speaking.  His other accents and male voices were stellar.  Mostly, he "got it".  I'm so glad he is the kind of narrator that takes the time to contact the author (I hear she was a little nervous that he would be uncomfortable with "Mr. Jigglestick") and understand the characters and their motivations; to give credit to the text.  His natural voice is deep, and pleasing to the ear and his pacing was spot on for the story.  And, boy oh boy, he can deliver a sex scene.  Not overdone and purple, not bored and disinterested.  Basically, I'm a happy camper.

I can't wait to see what Mr. Griffith does with Julian Darcangelo and Mark Hunter! 

Phil Gigante might have to watch out. There's a new deep sexy voice on the scene.

Grade:  B+ (perilously close to an A- in fact)


Brenda said...

Loved your review K - this is so true I'm proud to say that I had a small part to play in getting this series onto our MP3 players. You were one of the first at Goodreads to ask for this series when Tantor came asking for rec's.

You made me LOL there is no silly stuff like anyone having sex while bullets are flying. and so rare as to be unicorn-like :D

Things have switched around at AG - my review of EE going up tomorrow I believe. Per usual not nearly as entertaining as yours always are. :)

Kaetrin said...

@Brenda Thank you :D

As for the bullets flying while having sex, there is actually something in the book about that which made me chuckle - here I found it in my e-copy -

"...Where the truck turns left, I’m supposed to turn right. If I keep following that road, he says I’ll come to a little wooden shed. Off in the trees past the shed is where they’re dumping the drums. I’ll shoot some photos, get proof
of my own, and then we’ll head back out the way we came.”

Holly clapped her hands together. “Good lord, it’s just like in the movies!”

“If this were like the movies, I’d be Julia, you’d be Brad, they would be shooting at us, and somehow we’d manage to look gorgeous and have sex while the bullets were flying.”

I'll be sure and check our your review at AudioGals when it's up. :)

Vicky Hensley said...

Kaetrin - Love this statement "Phil Gigante might have to watch out. There's a new deep sexy voice on the scene."

I have to agree! Kaleo's narration was an A for me. But I prefer male narrators so it's an extra bit of heaven. :)

Kaetrin said...

@Vicky - isn't it funny that we were all so nervous about it? And then, so very relieved. :)

I think that Kaleo will have a long and happy career narrating romance audiobooks.