The Devil’s Elixir by Raymond Khoury

Title: The Devil’s Elixir
Author: Raymond Khoury
Narrator: Richard Ferrone
Series: Templar #3
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Release Date: 12/22/2011
Length: 11 hours, 38 minutes
Format: Unabridged Audio CD
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Challenges: 2012 Audiobook Challenge
Source: Publisher. Thank you!
Purchase: Audio CD | Digital Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★★

What if there was an herb, previously lost to history in the jungles of Central America, capable of inducing an experience so momentous it might shake the very foundations of Western civilization? What if powerful forces on both sides of the law got wind of that herb, and launched a violent, uncompromising pursuit to be the first to exploit it?

And what if FBI agent Sean Reilly and his girlfriend, Tess Chaykin, were, unknowingly, the only two people who could keep the lid on this existential Pandora’s box, one that’s capable of destabilizing the world?

What a book to break me into a new genre. Okay, I admit I’ve read a few crime thrillers, but it was always because they were getting amazing buzz and sometimes I can’t walk away from that. It was also before I got launched headfirst into the YA genre and the blogging world. This is the first time a crime thriller has made me say, “I might really love this genre.”

I barely know where to start. I guess there’s nothing too remarkable about this book, aside from the fact that it’s my first real foray into crime thrillers. For that reason, I’m floored and this book will always remain a favorite. Also, I MUST read the rest of his books. Actually, I think I’ll listen to them because I found I enjoyed the narrator once I got into the book. More on that later. For now, let me give you the top three reasons this audio book was awesome: thrilling plot, likable characters, and a great narrator.

Maybe I’m just a rookie in the whole suspense thriller genre, but I totally did not see some of that coming. I mean, I figured out some of it, but not the big revelations at the end. It’s kind of funny actually, because I don’t think it was that difficult to work out. I just wasn’t getting it. Either way, I loved the plot twists and the way the story progressed kept me hooked. I was already telling other people about it before I finished.

Admitedly, I was not into this when it began. There’s a little epilogue about this old monk or something who discovers this drug and I was beyond confused. I just needed to get into the groove. I was also wary of the narrator because his voice didn’t seem like a good fit. Enter Sean Riley. Now, this guy is why they chose this narrator. He was the perfect voice for Sean. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. He has a scratchy, low voice that works perfectly for cop or FBI characters. He even did some nice voices for some of the other characters. There was a very good distinction between the male voices and the female and child voices. That is a must for a narrator in my book. So bravo to Richard Ferrone!

Seriously though, Sean Riley was awesome. I loved him immediately and I’m eager to read the previous books he’s in. I liked Tess too, but Sean was the one I was really interested in. I guess that’s good since he’s the main character. Some of the other characters are a little more complex. I thought I knew them: that they’re pitiful or a little crazy, or totally evil. As the story progressed and I saw how they fit into the puzzle of the plot, it became harder to throw them into love or hate categories. Well, not all of them. There are defintiely some hatable characters.

Bottom line: if you’re into crime thrillers, this is great one. If you’re not into them, maybe you should pick this one up and try it out. It’s certainly got me interested in the genre.


Previous books in this series:
The Last Templar
The Templar Salvation

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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