Book Review – May 2015 – Sallie Eden

A Murder in Auschwitz by J C Stephenson – Published via Creative Space in 2013. Also available on Kindle and as an Audiobook

auschwitzA friend recommended this book, saying “it’s less hard going than the title suggests”. So far so good, however, the friend also has links to the author. Always tricky…how to say “I’m sorry, I just didn’t like it/it was dreadful/boring/badly written”?

No such problem here, thank goodness! Original, enthralling and well plotted. There were times when I thought I knew what was coming and that, if correct, the outcome would be disappointingly contrived, then I turned the page and realised I was wrong.

Yes, the setting is bleak, there’s no getting away from that, but clever construction and flashbacks mean that there are periods of calm and even happiness, when you can recover from the horrors of war, before returning to the darker elements of the story.

To use a rather over-used cliché, this is a real page turner; I was gripped from beginning to end. This is [amazingly] a debut novel and I can’t wait for news of Craig’s next one.

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A Murder in Auschwitz by J C Stephenson – Audiobook narrated by David Monteath – Released 2014 

This month, my book reviews take the form of a “two for the price of one”. First I read the book, and then I listened to the audio version. With over 11 hours of listening this is a real bargain!

Depending on the order in which you read the reviews you may or may not already know I really enjoyed reading the book. But reading and listening are very different. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve listened to a book on the radio, then read it later…what a disappointment; often bland and frequently tedious. Equally, I’ve sometimes listened to a book, after having read it, and been irritated by the narrator’s voice or the editing or both.

I’m happy to report this particular audiobook is unabridged. David Monteath’s voice is delightfully clear and wonderfully soothing and doesn’t intrude into the story, instead carrying you along with it. He has that indefinable quality that makes you want to continue listening long after the time you’d set aside.

David’s calm and unobtrusiveness narration also adds an extra layer to an already multifaceted story. Of course, the subject matter is bleak, how could it not be? This carefully interpreted production gets across Meyer’s quiet, modest and painstaking approach to life in a way that makes his story even more chilling than the words on the page.

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