Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Length: 10 hours, 28 minutes
This second book in the Hitman’s Guide series picks up with Leland and Jackson in business with Mason, their partner, as private investigators—although Mason seems to do little more than play video games. Leland has left his life of crime and is bringing down the baddies the legal way, mostly. Jackson is at his side trying his best not to wince every time Leland opens his mouth about their private life, which is never private with Leland around. Those of you familiar with this character know exactly what I’m talking about. Thankfully, Leland has not changed one iota and still remains the funniest character to ever grace the page of a mystery novel. Jackson loves him so very much and that love is reciprocated and about to be tested in a very real way.
When the two of them respond to Henry’s request to come to a fresh crime scene, neither expects to see a note pinned to the deceased signed by the “Sandman.” Since Leland is the former and very much retired Sandman, there is definitely a copycat and Leland is determined to hunt them down. With Henry in tow, even Mason will get involved in this case as Jackson and Leland fight against multiple hitmen who all want one thing—Leland.
I love this series by Alice Winters. It is not only drop dead funny, but in between Leland’s craziness and the taut, fast-paced action, there is a love story that is just utterly romantic and sexy. You do have to be a fan of this kind of humor to really appreciate Winters’ hilarious stream of consciousness played out through Leland’s dialogue and inner thoughts. I love these guys and I must admit her writing hits all my buttons. From Leland calling Henry “Daddy,” to the ongoing stocking of he and Jackson’s “sex dungeon,” this novel rolls along, sweeping the reader with it as the story alternates between fits of giggles and heart in throat dangerous action. I simply cannot wait to read the next book in this series.
Narrator Michael Ferraiuolo handles the multiple characters in this novel with a master’s touch. Alternating chapters as told by Jackson and Leland feature their distinct voices in both the prose and dialogue passages. With Jackson’s voice being just a bit more gruff and lower in tone than Leland’s, I had no problem telling these two men apart. The higher voices assigned to the women, notably Ava, Jackson’s mom, have an edge to them—just right for Ava as she is not really sure she likes Leland and that hesitancy can be heard in her tone.
There is a lot going on in this story and Ferraiuolo handles it well. I think the only thing that occasionally goes off is when Jackson and Leland are taking together in a scene and there is a bit of a bleed through from one voice to the other. Jackson is not quite low enough or Leland sounds a bit too gruff just at the beginning of a sentence. However, since the dialogue in Winters’ novels tends to be swift and cocksure when it comes to Leland responding to Jackson or others, it is easily understandable that sometime Leland’s narration blends in a bit with the previous character’s line.
Honestly, I can find very little fault with this narrator. I enjoy his pacing and love how his dry delivery for both Henry and Jackson makes the humor in this book stand out. Ferraiuolo gives Leland full reign to be the crazy man Winters crafts him to be—all in all, a solid win in the audio category.