Audiobook Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
Corruption by Parker Samuels was already a thrilling, engaging crime drama as a paperback, but the creator takes it to a whole other level by bringing this story and its characters to life in audiobook format!
Corruption follows a clever, witty, swift-talking police detective named Griffin Hunter as he is caught between taking down a dangerous Russian gang led by a crime family knows as the Poliokovs and a possible inside job by a ruthless and intelligent internal enemy.
This follows the mysterious death of an informant named Reuben in the hospital and the near-death of Griffin himself in the same hospital. This leads to the discovery of an rifle round being discovered, leading to the thought that someone on the SWAT team may have been involved in these murder attempts. This person may have been tied to the sexual assaults of two women over a long length of time. We get the perspectives of these women throughout the story as more and more information is uncovered.
This book is perfect for those who love crime/detective dramas and thrillers.
Now, this audiobook is something special. First of all, it features the brilliant narration of the author himself. Samuels's voice perfectly captures the subdued and mysterious tone of a book in this genre. If you're familiar with the old detective stories that used to play on the radio, usually accompanied by jazz music (cause why not?), Samuel is able to deliver his narration with this same kind of tone and coyness. It isn't overly forceful or loud. Rather, it's mellow, matter-of-fact, and deliberating. You can almost feel the gears turning in the narrator's head, which is perfect for a detective novel.
However, this isn't the most special or unique thing about this audiobook. No, that would go to the impressive AI voice-acting! That's right, the author was bold and ambitious enough to take the risk of using AI and AI-trained voices to voice the dialogue. This is especially impressive since this book features quite a bit of dialogue. In fact, the dialogue and narration is perfectly balanced, which helps the narrative to flow and, ultimately, work.
Now, AI has one key weakness at the moment: it struggles to understand and deliver the nuances of tone and inflection. Perhaps the best example of this is when Benny exclaims, “NOOOOO!” but it sounds rather flat and stilted. This is more the fault of the limitations of AI than it is the author.
Usually, the AI voices are fantastic. Chief McCormick sounds both like a person of authority and likes someone who could use the advice and assistance of someone like Griffin. His voice is older, commanding, yet—strangely—not domineering. It's a good balance.
The best voice in the entire cast is that of the love interest, Junior Detective Crunch (whom Griffin imagines can be called “Captain Crunch” someday). Crunch is Griffin's beautiful, sexy, appealing love interest throughout the book. Her voice is perfect for her. It's feminine, smooth, and appealing just like she is. We're not sure if this was an AI voice or that of Laura Toro, but it's great none the less.
There were other voices that we loved. For example, the Indian doctor's accent is almost spotless and Benny's voice is sniveling while also being nervous and unsteady. The accents of the two women including the exotic dancer are also very good.
The main villain, as we described in our review of the paperback, is an excellent opponent for Detective Griffin and someone we were dying to see get a comeuppance.
We also loved how sly and comedic Detective Griffin can be. He often assigns embarrassing nicknames for people such as calling Crunch “Captain Crunch” and pointing out the hilarity of the name “Detective Cox.”
It's also interesting how the narration is also able to give us a feel of Houston, Texas such as describing the different roads and the different storms that the location has experienced.
This audiobook provides hope for those authors who dream of creating a polyphonic audiobook with varied voices without the insurmountable costs that often come with that.
Check this out on Kobo!