If you are a fan of the “Damian Stockwell” series of books, things could not get better than to have all three of his initial adventures in a single audiobook box set. Here you can enjoy “Horror in Honduras”, Terrors of Tesla” and “The Mechanical Menace” in this single edition called “The Bulletproof Adventures of Damian Stockwell: Triple-Barreled Edition”. I never knew I wanted a triple-barreled weapon until listening to this series. If you have not yet listened to any of his adventures, you are in for a treat and surprise. This was my initial dive into his adventures which are well-crafted and authored by Benjamin Wallace. The audiobook edition was skillfully and professionally narrated by Eric Bryan Moore. If you are like me and you need some escape from the same genre of audiobooks after a while, having something new and less weighty to listen too is important. In this case, for me, humor and satire can be like a breath of fresh air. Each of the three stories are light-hearted, humorous, and full of wit. But the book is also complex, well-defined, and even touching at times. One cannot really enjoy the depth and complexity of stories like these until you come to the realization you are already hooked and have to listen to more to find out what is going to happen. Even the author’s use of alliteration in the titles and throughout the books is something that cannot be passed over.
In places the books can feel a bit overly slapstickish, but the author does a very good job of balancing this out via situations, action, mystery and wit. At times things ooze with a level of cheesy 1970 Batman TV show antics minus the POW!, BANG! and other bubble art. There are bits of the movie “Airplane!” rolled in as well. Yet, you begin to see that the stories are written in a way that is cohesive even when at first, they seem a bit chaotic. The stories characters all have a purpose and personality as the books progress. The actions they take, even when over-the-top, feel right and grounded. The characters interactions feel true to who they are. I also enjoyed that some characters bridged across books in the series.
Characters are only the tip of the iceberg when compared to the wonderful painted scenes the author created along with the numerous levels of technology at the hand of our main character. Damian, like Bruce Wayne of “Batman”, seems to have unlimited toys at his disposal allowing him to escape nearly any situation. Here again, we have a man who appears to be strong and stalwart still vulnerable and caring. Even though he knows he is the best hero anyone could ever imagine, he is still kind and sensitive to those who hold to his high standards of justice. But you would not want to be on the other side of his beliefs as those who come against him often regret their decisions in the end.
As I said earlier, the books writing appears to be high-level and humor focused, yet the humor is memorable and at times can take a few seconds to get. There are plenty of one-liners that could easily be extracted from this series and used to make others laugh. I did not often find myself laughing out loud, which is not a bad thing, but I did find that a smile would often creep in as I was listening and began to understand the situation or how it was going to be resolved. It is hard to write smart and witty humor, and I think the author was successful at that with this series.
I do not often point out an audiobook’s artwork in my reviews, but I did want to say that I was rather impressed with the cover art. It seemed to represent the character and his ever-present assistant to a tee. I do have to wonder why the author of the books looks very similar to Damien on the cover…
The narration of all three book was clean of any audio artifacts (background noise, swallows, or page turns) and the volume of each was consistent. The narrator was able to impress me with his ability to voice and remember the vast number of characters along with their accents. Each character felt unique and alive giving each more dimension as well as zany behavior. I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by the level of professional narration in each of the three books based on the total number of books narrated to date. I can say that I will be looking forward to hearing more from this narrator in the future.
For parents and younger readers, there are quite a few innuendos and a few bits of crude humor. Also a few areas discussing alcohol and drug use. However, I do need to give the author credit for his limited use of vulgarity throughout all three books. I can only recall one or two words (in the second book) that may not be appropriate for younger audiences. Other than that, the book is rather clean of mature material. Many of the jokes or satire may be above younger listeners, so I would think the target audience would be teenager and above.
In summary, I was not sure what to expect when I began listening to this series. Once I got in and really saw how smart and complex each of the stories, characters and situations were, I found I enjoyed it very much. The audiobook’s narration was on par with many of the more well-known and reviewed narrators, and I have to give him credit for bringing this overbearing hero and all the other characters to life. If you are looking for a new series to start and you want a bit of wit and satire, give this set a try.