Fist things first. I received a promotional copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Matt Serafini’s Ocean Grave has been on my to-buy list for a while, but it wasn’t until after listening to it that I realised that I was wanting it under false pretences. Let me explain, I have a big fan of another book – actually a series of books – from a well known author which was adapted into the best shark vs Jason Statham movie ever made (the absolute best no other Shark vs Statham movie comes close). So I wanted this book on the strength of its cover, and – to be honest – its cover alone.
So when I was informed by the website of Sean Duregger that he was doing an audiobook version I all but accosted him with emails to let me review it.
Remember this was purely on the strength of the cover.
Well, being the very nice man that he is he relented (perhaps it was cheaper than a restraining order) to send me a promo code and I immediately dug into the book, Quickly I realised I had been duped, bamboozled and horn-swaggled as the book didn’t seem to have a great deal to do with the marvellous cover itself.
Instead of monster fish eating swimmers I was treated (yes treated) to an adventure that would test the resilience of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones if they suddenly decided to elope to the Mediterranean (imagine the children they’d produce!).
While there is more than a little monster-fish-eating-swimmers moments Ocean Grave’s strength is in its rollercoaster ride of action and adventure. There are also moments that earn the book an adult rating – at least in my eyes – and some ideas that gradually grow into truly horrific ones as they settle in the minds eye, but the book never jumps-the-shark (heh, see what I did there? See it?) into either true horror or absurdist adventure.
Theres a strange realism at play in spite of all the adventure and monster fist, and mush of this is due to some good writing from Serafini, but we have to give a great deal of credit to the assured and diverse performance from the Sean Duregger.
Switching from character to character, from Hollywood starlets to gay French treasure seekers with a few African pirates and mid-western Americans in for good measure. His ability to shift from character to character is truly astonishing and while in the past I have stated “less is more” in the accents department Sean has manages to make me reconsider those words.
Perhaps more is more when you actually do the job well enough and it seems to me that with Ocean Grave everyone is truly on top-form.