A BJ Audiobook Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool #1) by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock, Narrated by Nick J. Russo


Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Mischief, thou art afoot.

Two Gentlemen of Altona AudiobookSpecial Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness is having a rough week. Not only is he on a new diet, but he’s also been tasked with keeping Henry Page-the world’s most irritating witness-alive. Which is tough when Mac’s a breath away from killing the Shakespeare-quoting, ethically challenged, egg-obsessed Henry himself. Unless killing isn’t really what Mac wants to do to him.

Con man Henry Page prefers to keep his distance from the law . . . though he wouldn’t mind getting a little closer to uptight, handsome Agent McGuinness. As the sole witness to a mob hit, Henry’s a valuable asset to the FBI. But he’s got his own agenda, and it doesn’t involve testifying.

When evidence surfaces of a mole in the FBI office, Mac and Henry are forced to go into hiding. Holed up in a fishing cabin, they’re surprised to discover that their feelings run more than skin deep. But as the mob closes in, Henry has to make his escape. And Mac has to decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Henry by his side.

A well-written, humorous romantic suspense that seemed more focused on the banter than the suspense. Humor, banter and snark are not something I normally look for in a story, and the fact that this book is heavy weighted with it told me pretty early on that might be a case of a story not being a good fit for me.

The opening was a bit confusing and slow–it took me a while for me to engage with the plot. However, I enjoyed that the two characters were very much opposites. Mac wasn’t a typical super-hot perfect agent, but was bald, bit overweight and struggling with his diet as well as his grumpiness. I loved him. Henry, on the other hand, annoyed me much of time with his banter and lies. Came across as a taker who only did the right thing at one key point because someone else talked him in to it. It was only seeing the hints of a dark, sad past that kept me from totally disliking him, well, that and the scene with the storm. Overall, I found myself wanting less banter and more depth. Again, just a personal preference, I’m sure.

This book has massive cock blocking–phone calls at exactly the worst possible time more than once! I would have actually have preferred no sex to the continual interrupted starts and stops as I think that the internal thoughts and little hints at attraction would have been enough for nice sexual tension without all the coitus interruptus thrown in.

There were a lot of Shakespeare references that I didn’t connect with, and so I’m sure I probably didn’t get some of the layers of the story for that reason. Also, the scene in the hospital near the end didn’t click with me for several reasons (which I won’t mention due to spoiler aspects). Finally came the massive cliffhanger ending that left this feeling like more of an intro or serial than a full story.

Nick J. Russo’s narration was excellent, nice delivery of the humorous bits. The character voices (even the women) were well done and the rough, gritty voice he used for Mac contrasted nicely with the suave one for Henry. I think the narration added to the depth of the story and was my favorite part of the experience. The story itself didn’t engage me enough to make me eager to return to it, but once I began listening, the narration was always easy to listen to.

Engaging cover by L.C. Chase both because of the bright contrasting simple red/black/white color scheme and the simple design. Did a good job of getting the lighthearted humor with suspense idea across.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing Audible | Amazon | iTunes

 Audiobook Book Details:  

Audible Audio, 6 pages, 5 hrs 11 mins
Published February 12th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published December 27th 2014)
Original TitleThe Two Gentlemen of Altona
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPlaying the Fool #1 settingIndiana (United States)