now finished: The Ghosts of Ragged-Ass Gulch by Bill Pronzini
Every once in a while you just have to listen to something silly...or maybe that's what I'm telling myself because I succumbed to the pressure of the "Free for Members" section of Audible and downloaded this along with a half dozen or more other interviews, shows, and samples last month. This novella (or is it a novelette? That's a problem with downloading free audio samples; you don't actually know how many words/pages you've got. I am still resistant to audio fiction for many reasons, and now I have thought of another one) is about a detective in Northern (waaay northern) California investigating a fire, death, suspected arson and the like in a former gold mining town.
It was enjoyable enough, although I wasn't too fond of the way the male narrator did women's voices. They were like something out of a cheesy variety show sketch. Is that really necessary? We understand that his girlfriend Carrie is a woman, and your weirdly affected not-falsetto does nothing to further this impression in our minds, Mr. Narrator Dude.
This, you see, is part of why I am not an audio book person. I am greatly enjoying my Audible membership for the non-fiction, particularly my idea to listen to a lot of Pulitzer-winning non-fiction books on my MP3 player as I walk and ride buses around Korea, but as for novels (and novellas/long short stories), I still hate being read to. Hate hate hate.
Putting all that aside, this is a simple story that would be a great way to pass the time in a doctor's waiting room, for example. Mostly it just made me hanker for another trip to Northern California some time in the very near future. And, I kept thinking someone might actually secretly have gold in them 'thar hills... alas, no.