Title: Five Minutes Longer
Series: Enhanced: Book One
Author: Victoria Sue
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 7 hours and 36 minutes
Category: Paranormal, Sci-Fi
At a Glance: I honestly cannot imagine this novel narrated by anyone other than Nick J. Russo. With just the right easygoing cadence and marvelous variety of voices, Mr. Russo brought this novel to life in a way that no other narrator could.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Talon Valdez knew when he transformed into an enhanced human, his life and his dreams were finished. Reviled, mistrusted, and often locked away, the enhanced were viewed as monsters, despised by the public, and never trusted to serve in the military or any law enforcement agency.
Years later he gets a chance to set up a task force of enhanced to serve in the FBI, but with one proviso: each enhanced must partner with a regular human.
Finn Mayer dreamed of joining the FBI from the time he was fourteen and made every possible sacrifice to make it happen, including living with his selfish mother and bullying, homophobic brother and never having a boyfriend. But his undiagnosed dyslexia stopped his aspirations dead in their tracks. His last chance is to partner with Talon, an enhanced with deadly abilities who doesn’t trust regular humans with their secrets and wants Finn to fail.
Four weeks to prove himself to the team. Four weeks for the team to prove itself to the public. And when another group threatens their success—and their lives are at stake—four weeks for them to survive.
Review: The Story: The Enhanced world is a strange and unknown one—yet one in four children simply wake up one day bearing a mark on their face that belies a supernatural ability, from impressive strength to deadly physical control over others. The world that Finn Mayer lives in fears the enhanced and shuns them, with many young children who suddenly present as such being sent away from previously loving homes. Finn is your average guy—beleaguered with “normal” problems such as crippling dyslexia that made learning a difficult task, yet one he pushed and hammered away at in order to apply for the FBI. His father, who took his own life after returning from a war that left him permanently disabled, was his hero and advocate. Unfortunately, his viciously mean-spirited brother and selfish mother couldn’t care less what Finn did as long as it meant his still contributing financially to the family. After initially receiving a letter saying thanks but no thanks for entry into the academy, Finn gets a call asking him to try for a new, elite unit that will comprise both human and enhanced agents—something never heard of before, as the enhanced are not allowed to hold any position in law enforcement.
When Finn meets his new partner, Talon, it’s not exactly a match made in heaven. First off, Talon gives Finn a taste of his power, hoping to intimidate the rookie and dissuade him from going forward with the testing period that could land Finn in the unit. While Finn is a bit shocked and a trifle fearful, his dream has always been the FBI, and he is determined to stay the course until he fails out. As time progresses, the lusty attraction Talon feels for Finn clouds his better judgment, and it doesn’t help that other enhanced members of the team begin to like and accept Finn. Despite Talon’s resolve, Finn manages to worm his way onto the team, but before long finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and in real danger. Now Finn finds himself being used as a bargaining chip between two very powerful enhanced men, and as a result, Talon will be forced to do something that may just end up killing the man he has grown to love, and destroy any progress his unit has had in convincing the world that the enhanced are nothing to fear.
While I felt that the idea of an enhanced race was not fully explored, leaving me with more questions than answers, I still think Five Minutes Longer was an exciting and fascinating story. Author Victoria Sue creates a master race, of sorts, and makes them accessible—giving them super human qualities but allowing them vulnerable emotions and human weaknesses as well. Talon was a study in contradictions. Able to kill easily with mere mind control, he was still incredibly gentle when it came to his affections for Finn. Finn was delightfully naïve and yet feisty, determined to succeed despite his lack of enhancement.
Each member of the team has a backstory and while some were alluded to, others were left as a mysterious after note, making it interesting to see if their pasts will be explored in subsequent novels. All in all, this was a worthy addition to the paranormal genre, and a great beginning to a series I will be watching for in the future.
The Audio: I honestly cannot imagine this novel narrated by anyone other than Nick J. Russo. With just the right easygoing cadence and marvelous variety of voices, Mr. Russo brought this novel to life in a way that no other narrator could. Seriously, some of these voices—particularly Talon’s—were just incredibly sexy and spot on. The deeper tone quality to Talon juxtaposed with Finn’s much younger sounding voice made me shiver in all the right ways when the intimate scenes were being narrated.
But more than that, it was the pacing at which Mr. Russo delivered the prose passages of the story that really allowed for the listener to involve themselves fully in the book. In my opinion, the dialogue between characters can be spot on, but the parts where description or story development are featured are the most important when it comes to voice narration. If I am bored by the speed, tone variation and vocal emphasis on key phrases, then large portions of the novel will be lost and have no impact. It was these sections where Mr. Russo really stood out; he had just the perfect rate of delivery, and his strategically placed pauses or changes in voicing for emphasis made the story sing.
This narrator is a five-star voice artist, in my opinion. I find myself looking for more work by him, and thoroughly enjoy the way he delivers a story with great care and impeccable style.
You can buy Five Minutes Longer here:
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