Publication Date: July 12, 2011 | Audio Release Date: September 29, 2015
After years of physical abuse, Babylon escapes her father’s home and sets out to find the people she’s heard on the radio. In Relative Sanity by Martin Reaves, Purdy Fallon is a child trapped in a man’s body waiting for his mama to come home when Babylon knocks at his door. Detective Nick Grimmer is investigating a case but his heart is at home with his wife from whom he’s becoming increasingly distant.
The author, Martin Reaves, gave me a copy of this audiobook in exchange for my review.
Though I volunteered to review the audio version of Relative Sanity, I dreaded the actual experience. Everyone has those topics that are simply hard to read and for this reader, that topic is child abuse. Reaves does not delve into any graphic depictions of abuse which, frankly, was a great relief. What he does is far cleverer. Reaves gives us the unpleasant aftermath of the child and writes that narrative from that child’s perspective in a wholly believable way.
That isn’t to say Babylon’s journey isn’t unpleasant. She is a child uneasy to trust and living in a foggy state of innocence as a self-protection measure. As I shifted from narrative to narrative, I was most interested in what was happening to Babylon and the growing hope that the story ends well for her. Babylon believes in moon people and has a deep wish to try chocolate, sinful as it may be.
When Babylon finds Purdy alone in his trailer waiting for his mama to return, he’s a dream come true; he’s a moon person. He’s kind, gentle and has chocolate. Babylon trusts him, though another side of her harbors deep suspicions about his intentions. Purdy’s self-narrative is well written and distinctly voice acted by narrator Brandon McKenzie. Purdy’s reintroduction to society is an interesting plot twist that no one connects but until the threads of the story come together.
Balancing Babylon and Purdy’s stories is Nick Grimmer and his partner Alex Tinkham. Nick and Alex are investigating a murder but Nick is having a hard time personally and readers spend time with Nick and his wife before getting into the true meat of his storyline. Nick’s wife runs extremely hot and cold in sudden unpredictable turns. He isn’t sure what’s going on with her and they can’t seem to manage anything but an impressive emotional distance when in each other’s company. I listened to this audiobook mostly at work and would advise against that strategy unless you have a few hours to spend in a sexual harassment seminar. There are moments between Nick and his wife that are somewhat graphic but not inelegantly written. Reaves has a narrative talent and builds his flawed and damaged characters with a delicate hand. They are glass-ready to shatter.
Brandon McKenzie is a wonderful voice actor. Each character is distinct and his delivery of Reaves’s story is flawless. I tend to listen to audiobooks at a higher speed but slowed Relative Sanity to its natural speed in order to savor the natural pacing of the narrative.
Relative Sanity is a compelling psychological thriller. Pick up the audiobook. Not a novel that will give you a heavy case of “the feels” but it will keep you locked in and at the end appreciative of the great narration and wonderful writing style. Brandon McKenzie’s reading of the novel is a great workout companion.
Check out Relative Sanity by Martin Reaves on Audible.
|9 hours and 41 minutes
|September 29, 2015
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