Sunday, March 12, 2017

Audio Book Review ~ Finders Keepers (Jane Barnaby Adventures #1) by J.J. DiBenedetto, Narrated by Cait Frizzell

Finders Keepers
(Jane Barnaby Adventures #1)
Written by: J.J. DiBenedetto
Narrated by: Cait Frizzell
Length: 6 hrs and 27 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:04-15-16
Publisher: James J DiBenedetto

It should have been a simple job. All archaeology student Jane Barnaby had to do was pick up a box her professor needed and deliver it to him at his dig site, along with his new car. Yes, his office was in Oxfordshire, and his dig site was in Spain, a trip of 1,400 miles across three countries and two bodies of water. Still, it should have been simple.

And it was, until Jane discovered she picked up the wrong box by mistake. Not the one with boring pottery samples, but instead the one with priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts. The one that a team of international art thieves is after.

Now she’s chasing – and being chased by – the thieves. And she’s picked up a pair of passengers who claim they can help her outwit them, get her professor’s pottery back and return the artifacts to their rightful owner. If only she could figure out which one of them is working with the thieves and which one she can trust in this high-stakes game of finders keepers.

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Let me begin with my thoughts on the actual story starting with our main character, Jane Barnaby.  I liked this girl – a lot.  She is smart, witty and doesn’t back down from a challenge – willing to get the job done, no matter what.  Jane is a university student studying archeology.  When her professor asks her for a favor involving delivering a box of pottery shards, she jumped for the chance, willing to prove herself in her chosen field.  It seemed like an easy job – all she had to do is drive across three countries to a dig site in Spain.  Easy Peasy, right?  Well, not everything goes according to plan,  when to start with, she has no idea how to drive a stick shift so she has to have a crash course (no pun intended)  in order not to totally destroy her professor’s brand NEW Ranger Rover. She then quickly discovers that instead of the professors prized pottery shards, she has picked up a box of priceless Ancient Egyptian artifacts that some very determined thieves need to get back.  This is where the action really picks up as Jane tries her best to get the correct package back to the professor and the Egyptian artifacts back to their rightful owner.  In a game of cat and mouse, Jane must trust her instincts to determine which of her two new ‘assistants’ she can trust.

J.J. DiBenedetto has created the perfect combination of mystery, action and intrigue with the start of this series and I can’t wait to see where Jane’s adventures take the reader next.  If book one is any indication, it’s going to be one crazy and delightful time!  I really loved the fact that the author did not drown the story in romance, which would have worked, but was so much better without it as the reader gets to concentrate on the actual details.  There is a hint of a love interest, but it never evolved in this installment.  I look forward to see if anything comes of it but in all seriousness, it really is not necessary in this series. 

The narration….
In my opinion, what really makes this story pop is the narration.  Cait Frizzell did an AMAZING job narrating this book.  Her different accents for each character brought this story to life and made an already great book, simply fantastic!  Her voices are crisp and concise and the pacing was perfect.  Ms. Frizzell’s performance drew me into the story and I did not want to stop listening for a second – in fact, this was the fastest 6 hours and 27 seconds I have ever encountered!

In conclusion....
There is always some level of apprehension on my part whenever I start a book that is written by a new to me author AND narrator, but my worries were for not with Finders Keepers.  I was pleasantly surprised by just how amazing this combination was – not only was this a fantastic story, the narration was perfect!  Overall, Finders Keepers was a true delight and I look forward to reading more from DiBenedetto and will be definitely be searching out more audio performances from Frizzell.

Story – 5 stars
Performance – 5 stars
Overall – 5 stars

Click HERE to listen to an excerpt

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve university, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

The "Dreams" series is James' first published work.

Cait Frizzell
American soprano, voice-over actor, and recording artist.

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