Tim Green,
The First 48
(Time Warner, 2004)

As a fan of author Tim Green, I felt I had been waiting far too long to listen to the audiobook The First 48. While the book was an enjoyable thriller, overall, I wonder if my anticipation colored the experience a bit. I just didn't find it up to par with Tim's previous work, nitpicking at places where the editor missed some small detail when I should have simply been caught up in the story.

The First 48 starts out interestingly enough. A Ukrainian scientist aboard a cruise ship watches as the ship's passengers get extremely ill. The story seems to set up some sort of bio-terrorist plot, but then this character disappears from the storyline for several hours. His link to the plot and the reason for the test will most likely be forgotten by the time that thread winds its way back in.

The main character in this story is Tom Redmon, a washed-up, middle-aged attorney. Since his wife's death, the only bright light in his life is his daughter Jane. As a Washington Post reporter, Jane has recently been investigating the unsavory habits of a Senator Gleason -- a hard man known for crushing those who cause him grief. (Tom was actually one of his victims.) When Jane mysteriously disappears shortly before her story on the senator goes to print, Tom's policeman past kicks in. He knows that, statistically speaking, if a missing person isn't found within 48 hours, they more than likely will not be found alive.

The meat of the story is the 48-hour countdown with Tom and his sidekick, best friend Mike, as they follow Jane's trail. Mike is the comic relief in the story. He is an obese former motorcycle gang member with amazing computer prowess and tons of money. While any computer savvy person will roll his eyes at some of the things Mike is capable of, you will have to admit that he is at least funny at times. I did not find all that happens while these two track down Jane to be very believable, but it is entertaining. Check reality at the door as Tom and Mike kidnap a senator, fly through a severe storm virtually unscathed three times and foil a dastardly plot to kill thousands while going to Jane's rescue (a second time).

The audiobook version of The First 48 is read by Stephen Lang. You might know him from Broadway and the movies Gods & Generals or Tombstone. He has a deep voice and uses it well when voicing the male characters. Everyone sounds distinct, even the one-line characters. Unfortunately, the females all sound masculine, but at least they have an individual voices, too. There are a few instances where he uses the wrong voice for a character, but otherwise, Stephen does a commendable job on this reading.

Tim Green is the author of many books. I've reviewed two previous audiobooks of his, including The Fourth Perimeter and The Fifth Angel, both of which were better than The First 48, although all three thrillers are, at a minimum, a decent way to pass the time. However, for this latest one, perhaps the story isn't quite good enough (for me) to focus totally on the entertainment instead of the mistakes.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 10 September 2005

Buy it from Amazon.com.