Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Dead West by Matt Goldman
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Series: Nils Shapiro #4
Published by Blackstone Audiobooks on August 4, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 8 hours, 5 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Nils Shapiro accepts what appears to be an easy, lucrative job: find out if Beverly Mayer’s grandson is foolishly throwing away his trust fund in Hollywood, especially now, in the wake of his fiancée’s tragic death. However, that easy job becomes much more complicated once Nils arrives in Los Angeles, a disorienting place where the sunshine hides dark secrets.
Nils quickly suspects that Ebben Mayer’s fiancée was murdered, and that Ebben himself may have been the target. As Nils moves into Ebben’s inner circle, he discovers that everyone in Ebben’s professional life—his agent, manager, a screenwriter, a producer—seem to have dubious motives at best.
With Nil's friend Jameson White, who has come to Los Angeles to deal with demons of his own, acting as Ebben’s bodyguard, Nils sets out to find a killer before it’s too late.
I listened to Gone to Dust after seeing it as an Audible daily deal and have continued with the Nils Shapiro series . I really enjoyed the Minnesota setting since so much is familiar, having lived there for many years. Dead West, the fourth book in the series, is a whole different feel as it takes place mostly in Los Angeles, California. I’m uncertain what change made this a less favored read.
Nils has many changes in his personal life. He is engaged to Gabriela and has a new baby daughter, Evelyn. He has great friends and a job he enjoys. He is happy. He’s not sure if he wants to take risks in solving cases, which is an outlook change.
He is sent on an “easy” job to find out for grandparents if their grandson is “wasting” his wealth on Hollywood movie productions. The cover is attending the life celebration of his girlfriend who died. The crazy world of actors, writers and film production is well, crazy. Everyone has their own aspirations and is trying to be more. Nils feels some things are not right. The original case morphs into something else entirely.
Jameson is along as a bodyguard and help navigating since he lived here and once drove a taxi in LA. He is having personal issues and ends up helping only sporadically. He spends more time visiting old friends and colleagues from when he lived here.
I’m not sure if it is the change in narrator, the lack of Minnesota setting, the slightly increased focus on Nils’ personal life, or the convoluted investigation in the case but I didn’t enjoy it as much. These clients have money and yet the case is not handled in a very professional manner with proper protection for the vulnerable. I prefer smart and thrilling to quirky.
McLeod Andrews has narrated all the previous books and honestly, I really enjoyed him. The new narrator is Bronson Pinchot He has a strange way of handling female voices. There parts are spoken very quickly with no breaths but not really higher in pitch. The rest of the narration was more normally paced and it was fine. I listened at my usual 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Wow! That’s a lot of change to an ongoing series. It had to feel very, very different. I’m also a McLeod Andrews fan so that narrator change wouldn’t sit well for me. Great review, Anne?
Yes the narrator change, the setting change and the change in focus. By focus I mean instead of a smart, professional investigation it seems tinged with emotion and distracted by the romantic elements. So more a cozy mystery than a police procedural, or PI procedural. The characters more quirky than realistic.
Jumping from Minnesota to California does seem jarring! Hopefully the next book will work better for you?
Yes, I’ve really enjoyed all the others I liked this just not as much.
i am a sucker for a great cover and this is one i fall for every time
I hope you enjoy it too!
It’s a bit too bad if it’s not as good as the others. But it still looks good so I should try!!
I liked it. But I would start at the beginning, this is the 4th book. Have you ever visited Minnesota? I lived there many years. I have visited LA where this one is set many times also.
McLeod Andrews is fantastic, so I can see where the new narration was a letdown. I will keep the first three books in mind.
yes I never like it when they change the narrator. I preferred the Minnesota setting too.
I’d miss the Minnesota setting, too. I live about 40 miles north of Hollywood and I’m not a fan. Don’t like the Hollywood vibe or lifestyle. It’s also a jolt to have one narrator for several books and then to have it change to another. You get used to a certain voice for a series. Sorry to hear this wasn’t as good as the previous books.