I am an avid listener of audio books, both fiction and non-fiction. Good narrators provide more than readings - they are truly performances that can significantly enhance one's enjoyment of a good book.
I relish being introduced to good authors and narrators. I recently had such an experience, picking up a CD of The Lost Get Back Boogie narrated by Will Patton.
I must say that the richly textured word paintings of the Bayou and then the Montana High Country were at first enchanting, then became a bit tedious. But the story picked up just before I got too antsy, and I could not wait to get back in the car so I could listen some more. I felt as though I were back in the Montana I know only from a week's vacation. If you don't mind comparisons with other authors - your descriptions of Montana remind me of Cormac McCarthy's depictions of the southwest in his Border Trilogy. If I want to go back to either place, I need only close my eyes and listen.
More importantly, the characterizations were incredibly compelling. Will Patton made them come to life with a voice aptly tailored to each. His brilliance added immeasurably to my enjoyment of your book.
Were I teaching a high school or general health or college level sociology class, I would consider collaborating with the English Department and have the students of both classes read this book. For the latter as a study of great American Literature. For the former as a study of the post-war drug culture and the effects of alcoholism on the individual and family. The insidious manner in which drug and alcohol abuse can invade the life, impair the judgment and impact the behavior of intelligent, talented and otherwise decent human beings is incredibly well told in this book, providing a more compelling and immediate reality than the image of a skid row bum.
I was so taken by this book that I decided to try one of the Robicheaux series from the library. I picked up Sunset Limited, narrated by Mark Hammer. I am sorry to say I did not make it past the first CD. Both books I believe are early works, and from what I've read on this page, Mr. Hammer's narration is liked by you and the readers who have commented.
While I appreciated his subtle accent and the languid, unhurried style of his narration (which I assume is designed to match the pace of life of the Bayou), it was just too slow for me. No matter how hard I tried to slow myself down and adjust to his pace, I lost track of the characters and train of thought. What little change in vocal inflection he used to distinguish between the characters was often impossible to detect due to the painfully long pauses. Again, I appreciate the 'art' of what he was doing. But, for me it was too much. Like a worthy, but failed experiment.
If the languid style of his narration was unique to this book, or at least not found in others, I would appreciate knowing that. I would love to listen to as much of your work as I can, but not the way Sunset Limited was narrated.
Having said that, one very good thing came out of listening to that one CD. I noted the unusual first name of 'Alafair' assigned to one of the characters. When I returned to the library book shelf containing audiobooks written by 'Burke', I noticed not just works by James Lee, but also one by Alafair Burke entitled Dead Connection. I doubted that was a coincidence, and with no biographical detail on the cover, thought it might be your pseudonym. I decided to give the pseudonym a try, and while listening to the book on my way home realized that the writing style was much different, though very good in its own way. I was delighted to discover that the author is you daughter. I am enjoying her book very much and will add her to my list of favorite authors as well. I'm now looking forward to many more months of good listening courtesy of the Burke family.
Being an attorney myself, I am encouraged to encounter one with a delightful sense of humor. That is far too rare in our profession.