November 11, 2015

If Lovin' This Book Is Wrong: a review of Matthew Louis' "The Wrong Man" (narrated by Robert Neil DeVoe)

The Wrong Man
written by Matthew Louis
narrated by Robert Neil DeVoe
Gutter Books (2014)
audiobook (4 hours)
ebook (184 pages)

The story is a thriller drawn out through a week in Sam's life. And while it seems at first there are key moments when he could have gone down one path to avoid problems or set things right, he makes one bad decision after the next. And the kicker is that you find yourself thinking you'd likely make the same dumb moves, too. I suppose that is how some of the best noir works, isn't it?

The most memorable scenes for me happen late in the book, and I'm not about to spoil what is a great piece about reluctant revenge. Early on, however, there is a scene where Sam is driving an old friend home from a party only to find out the little sleazeball stole a big bag of weed from the host. If that's not bad enough, the cops roll up on 'em and set off a series of events that send Sam's life plummeting right into the abyss. It's a great scene and sets the stakes in expert fashion.

Whether playing the exasperated and desperate Sam, his gruff and grizzled cousin Tommy, his stoner friend that dragged him into the mess, or the gang of thugs that terrorize Sam in the run of a week, Robert Neil DeVote did one heckuva job keeping the pace moving along and offering unique and believable voices for each character. There were a couple moments where I had to remind myself that this was one guy and not an ensemble cast. He's that good and a narrator I'll have to watch out for in the future. An exemplary talent, much like Matthew Louis in the writing department.

There was never a dull moment and I could have been quite happy spending four hours or so of doing nothing but getting swept up in the story. The book feels violent, but there's actually very little of the violence depicted on the page. When it does happen though, watch out.

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