“The Thief” (An Isaac Bell Adventure)
by Clive Cussler & Justin Scott
read by Scott Brick
published by Penguin Audio
Approx. 10 hours
I have only recently discovered the adventure novels from Clive Cussler and am sampling each of the different lead characters. Cussler writes a few different adventure types revolving around different lead characters. While most of these take place in the present, the stories with Isaac Bell take place in the early 20th century.
This story, “The Thief,” takes place in 1910, as the world is moving toward war. Several Van Dorn detectives, lead by Isaac Bell, are on the ocean liner Mauretania escorting a prisoner from Europe to New York. By accident Bell interrupts the attempted kidnapping of two scientists, who, it turns out, has invented a completely functional talking picture machine. A group of Germans desperately want this machine for use in their propaganda efforts, and their leader will stop at nothing to seize it, including killing one of the scientists while aboard the Mauretania.
The only working machine is destroyed in a fire aboard the Mauretania. Bell’s new wife (they marry onboard the Mauritania) sees the potential for this invention and with Isaac’s help manages to convince the Van Dorn detective to invest in the invention and the surviving scientist. The rest of the book covers the Bell and the scientist trying to break the Edison trust and create a talking pictures machine as an independent. The problem is the Germans follow and the murder and mayhem ensue. Bell spends his time uncovering the plot to steal the machine.
Through the many twists and turns in the plot and discovering who the real spies this book will keep you involved in this book. At times I would think I wasn’t interested too much in the story and was going to stop listening, but then something would happen and I just had to keep listening to find out what happens. While at first the subject matter didn’t interest me the writing would be enough to keep me hooked.
What also helped was the outstanding performance by Scott Brick. Brick’s ability to narrate an audiobook goes beyond description. His vocal gymnastics are enough to give each character a voice that would reflect all the goings on in the story and their psyche. Brick is an award winning audiobook reader and every time I hear his voice I can hear why. His voice alone was a reason to listen to this audiobook, but teamed up the Cussler’s skills at writing a story that keeps you hooked makes the audiobook of “The Thief” worth putting on your to-read list and soon.