If you are a fan of TV shows in the like “24” or if you are a person who enjoys suspense thrillers, I suggest you give “Living Proof” by Peter J. Thompson a listen. The book is energetic, well-paced, and fast-moving. It is what one might expect from a thriller story. The audiobook’s narration is performed by Gary Tiedemann; who I have enjoyed listening too through many other audiobooks over the years. His voice seems to fit whatever the book he is voicing like a glove. One of the things I enjoyed about this audiobook is that it is a stand-alone story, not a serial like many others available today. I am not saying that the book does not leaves a few open ends making way for a future sequel. What could go wrong when you have corrupted penal personal, clandestine military bases, covert experiments and conspiracies around every corner? This sums up what you will find in this book. The United States military begins an experiment with deadly viruses to control more than just an enemy. If this sounds like something that you would enjoy, I recommend you pick up the book and give it a listen. For the author’s premiere work, I think he accomplishes his task quite well. Are there a few bumps and bruises along the way? Yes, but many can be forgiven if you are looking for an enjoyable story.
As the book’s summary says, there is a secret government agency and a few rogue agents who are developing a custom virus that will infect and kill large numbers of people once they are infected. Not only a virus is required, but an antidote as well. This secret agency needs human subjects to perform their testing on, and where better than to get them from people on death row who are going to die anyways. To supplement their needs, they also take to the streets offering food and shelter to the homeless. Prisoners are brought nearly to death from the normal concoction of drugs during the process of terminating the life of a sentenced criminal. Once these people are pronounced dead by the prison doctor, who is in on the game, they are whisked away to this facility to be used as test subjects; or rabbits as some call them. Things begin to unravel when one of the test subjects escapes and the hunt to return him to the facility or kill him to keep their activity a secret begins. There are a few well-known stereotypes one finds in books of this genre such as the nosey reporter, hardline military, and scared scientists just doing their jobs. However, the book adds life, purpose, and direction to its characters making the story quite enjoyable overall.
The author weaves a believable tale that could be taking place right now without our knowledge. There are a few places where one needs to suspend belief, but much of the book felt like I was watching a TV show or movie. I can recall the process where someone breaks a strong government encryption cypher in a matter of hours where in reality it would have taken hundreds or thousands of years to truly accomplish the task. I understand this is a piece of fiction and like with TV and movies much of the slow boring stuff has to either be removed or sped up for the general population. For me, I would have liked to have had a bit more action and things being smashed during the story line than what the author included. But, as thriller are not my strongest genre, I can say there was a good amount of suspense and mystery keeping me engaged the whole way though. In some ways, the story felt more like Psycho where it was less about the action and visual stimulus as it was engaging one’s brain working out all the various elements as they come together.
The book’s narration by Mr. Tiedemann was what I have come to expect. It was professionally produced, had no audio artifacts (only a few compression noises during times of silence), and his ability to voice different characters was spot on. Volumes were consistent and I do not recall any other background noises such as page turns or swallows. The narrator did a good job of voicing both male and female characters along with giving them distinct personalities. With over one-hundred and twenty-five book already narrated by Mr. Tiedemann, this is one more that I can say was done with high standards.
For parents and younger readers, the book contains a fair amount of vulgar language, references to mature subject matter such as rape, sex, and other material I would think inappropriate for younger readers. The book also contains some quite graphic violence. There is one scene where two people engage in sexual activity which is quite descriptive. If you find this type of content offensive, I would recommend you find a different book to enjoy.
In summary, for the authors first work, I found it compelling and likeable. The main characters felt real and that they each had a purpose. There was a fair amount of tension not only around the hunt but also if there would be some romantic attraction between two of the characters. The narration enhanced the story and was on par with other works by Mr. Tiedemann. If you enjoy mental thrillers where you are always trying to figure out how our main character is going to escape, I recommend you give “Living Proof” a listen.