🎁 Finders Keepers by J.J. DiBenedetto

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The Jane Barnaby Adventures #1

Description⎮Reviewed Jul. 2016

Narrator: Cait Frizzell
Length: 6h 27m
Publisher: James J. DiBenedetto⎮2016

5★ Audiobook⎮ I chose Finders Keepers to round out my July listening schedule because it was intriguing and under six hours long. I thought, “I’ll speed through this!” and, to begin with, I did. But towards the end, I noticed myself prolonging the listening process; 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but because I didn’t want it to end!

This story is hard to categorize. It is pitched as a suspense/thriller tale. Although there are suspenseful and thrilling elements to it, I may not have immediately recognized the story as suspense/thriller if I hadn’t been introduced to it that way. I could see it more as a “light” suspense/thriller story. It wasn’t heart stopping-ly thrilling or suspenseful, but it was still more than enough to keep my interest.

I fell for the main character, Jane Barnaby, almost immediately. The thing I liked most about her was her maturity. Finders Keepers is not a YA novel, but the main character is still a young, college-aged woman. For the most part, I much prefer reading about college-aged protagonists than their teenaged counterparts. Writers tend to portray teenaged and college-aged characters very differently, even if there is only a couple of years difference in age.

The way DiBenedetto wrote Jane and his general writing style suited my tastes very well. The story takes place in 1990 and the multitude of pop culture references scattered throughout provided constant amusement. At one point, I stopped listening just to call my dad and tell him about all of the references to one of his favorite childhood movies, Smokey and the Bandit.

All the ingredients for a love triangle were present in this novel, but (thankfully) there was barely any hint of a serious romance. I absolutely loathe rushed or unnecessary romances. Repeat after me: Every protagonist does not need a love interest!

With that said, I’ll be totally fine if Jane has a love interest in forthcoming installments. Why? Because DiBenedetto has already proven that he can weave a wonderful story without using romance as a crutch. I would trust him to create an organically developing romance for Jane.

Knowing that this is only the first installment in The Jane Barnaby Adventures series, I’m really glad DiBenedetto played things out the way he did. It was obvious in this installment that he has a clear plan for where he wants the story to go and he’s pacing the series accordingly. This fast-paced adventure novel had plenty of action. Yet, I feel like there is so much more to come. The ending was absolutely tantalizing and left me primed for the next installment!

Narration review: Cait Frizzell’s voice was quite appropriate for Finders Keepers. It had a quality of indiscernible age, which allowed me to buy into Jane as a young, but also mature character. Frizzell’s accent ability initially bothered me a little. I’m not sure if it got better as the story went along, or if I just got used to it. Either way, it wasn’t a huge deal to me and it provided very effective characterization.

What was a huge deal, however, were the sound effects. There were sound effects! They were few and far between, but they were in there. Even if it was something as simple as adding an echo to the other end of a phone conversation, it still enhanced my listening experience. Aside from an good narrator, sound effects are the surest way for an audiobook to win my approval! ♣︎

➜ This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author, James J. DiBenedetto, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, James!

$ Available at The Book Depository (paperback) and Audible

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