First line: "She stood at the window of the Manhattan apartment, peering through a slit in the drapes."
Jeffery Deaver opens this novel with a quote from Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forewards." Then it proceeds to Chapter 36. Listening to this on audio, the chapter caught me off guard. Have you ever had an audiobook on your iPod and for some mystical reason it starts in the middle somewhere? I thought that had happened, but then I put the opening quote together with the chapter number and realized this was going to be a different experience.
Gabriela's daughter has been kidnapped and in order to get her back, Gabriela must find something called the "October List" and half a million dollars. Over the course of two days, she and her new boyfriend Daniel race to beat the 30-hour deadline...backwards.
The story is told in reverse order, much the way the film Memento occurs. As Deaver deals out the story, chapter by chapter, the curiosity of the story builds and the book's narrator, January LaVoy, plays into this format beautifully. She understands the characters and portrays them with confidence while giving away NOTHING. The suspense builds as the plot seems to be more and more illogical. Something is obviously missing and it's this quest for the final clarity that keeps you riveted to the chase. Which is a very good thing because I almost wanted to stop listening due to a dislike of a major character. Had I stopped, I would never have experienced the first chapter and realized the ingenuity in this plot. I wouldn't have realized that Deaver and LaVoy wanted me to cringe at this character, lose respect. It ultimately made the conclusion (or beginning) that much greater.
I wanted to listen to this audio because I experienced January LaVoy for the first time this year with Marcia Clark's Killer Ambition and I very much enjoyed her work there. But then I worried that I would hear only Rachael Knight through this new audio. LaVoy proved herself the utmost actress and immediately carried me away into Gabriela's world.
The October List was recorded by Hachette audio and as with all my previous Hachette audio experiences, the production is stellar. Extraneous and distracting sounds such us loud breaths are non-existent. Shifts in volume or noticeable edits are nowhere to be found. Listeners focus on the story and LaVoy narrates so that they can forget they're listening to an audiobook, they're simply immersed in the plot.
The October List is a top-notch book narrated by a superb performer. Kudos to Deaver for stepping outside the norm on this one and putting a new twist on the suspense novel. It completely caught me off guard and what I started out thinking I wouldn't like is going to be on my favorite audiobooks of 2013 list.
A small side note: there are photos throughout the novel and the audiobook comes with a pdf file of those photos, so listeners don't miss out on the visual element of the book.
The October List is available on unabridged audio (ISBN: 978-1478953975) from Hachette Audio, narrated by January LaVoy. It is also available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-1455576647) from Grand Central Publishing. .