Review of audiobook Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh narrated by Adam Sims

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

Narrated by Adam Sims

Highly recommended! Five big stars out of five from me.

A bit about the story:

Thirteen has a clever premise as clearly outlined in the tag line. The killer is on the jury. This isn’t a spoiler in any way it is the hook that prevents you from putting down the book or switching off your bluetooth headphones. The blurb says it all.

‘Hollywood actor Robert Soloman stands accused of the brutal stabbings of his wife and her lover, but he is desperately pleading that he had nothing to do with it. This is the trial of the century, and the defence want Eddie Flynn on their team.

The biggest case Eddie has ever tried before, he decides to take it on despite the overwhelming evidence that Robert is guilty. As the trial starts, Eddie becomes sure of Robert’s innocence, but there’s something else he is even more sure of – that there is something sinister going on in the jury box.

Because of this, he is forced to ask: what if the killer isn’t on the stand? What if he’s on the jury?’

What’s it like to listen to?:

Being as English as  afternoon  tea, I usually stick to British narration. Usually, but not always by any means. This book had been calling to me for some time but as I now write crime thrillers to supplement my pension, – I was going to say that I write ‘for a living’ but that would be lying – I often listen to an audio book while doing the gardening and other household tasks. The garden furniture needed attention and so, as I put brush into jar of teak oil, I plugged in to Thirteen and, my goodness, what a treat.

The story makes use of first person to give the perspective of Eddie Flynn, defence lawyer with a great backstory. I think this draws the reader/listener in to the suspense more than if third person had been used throughout. Cleverly, Steve Cavanagh serves up the rest of the deliciously descriptive dastardly tale in the third person. His research into the workings of the law and of the jury selection process allows those of us unfamiliar with US judicial systems, a chance to understand the ins and outs of the plot. Intelligent stuff.

The characters drive the plot. Eddie Flynn is a delight. Flawed, human, bright and sharp witted. I liked him a lot. Happy to invest. The twisted antagonist, Kane, is a work of  art with depth of psychological damage as well as intelligence and motives that make sense.

What leads me to conclude that this thriller works so well as an audiobook is the narration. Adam Sims understood the story, the characters and he brings them to life. His accents don’t grate and I for one prefer a male narrator when it comes to female voices rather as opposed to a female attempting male voices.  This audio book is a credit to all involved. If you like courtroom dramas, crime thrillers with a psychopath at the heart of the story, suspense and twists a plenty, then you’ll love this. I did.

Alison Morgan  


Can fiction really help raise awareness of mental health issues?

A true story:

I met a young man out with a group of his friends on Saturday. He was leading from the front as they walked on a public footpath enjoying the sunshine. Like many herds of young teenagers, who had ventured recently into adolescence, they were chatty and loud. I heard them before I saw them. Swear words rang out. “F***’, ‘F***ing ni****s*. It was a bit shocking to hear such appalling racism but as I turned in anticipation of giving the culprit a slice of condemnation,  I witnessed the anguish on the face of the youngster who had uttered those words. His head shot back, his whole body stiffened and more expletives burst from his lips as he tensed.’F***, give us a blow job!’ he bellowed at me and crumpled in exhaustion.

He immediately apologised as did his friends.

What excellent friends they were. What a tortured lad, bravely trying to be as normal as he could.

I looked him in the eye and reassured him. ‘No problem young man. I completely understand.’ He thanked me, relief evident in his eyes and his friends all smiled. As they walked away I heard one say, ‘I wish everyone understood like that.’

I haven’t stopped thinking about him since. What will his future hold? Who is helping him?

It’s #Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. How many of us understand Tourettes? How many of us recognise it when we see it? How many times has that young person been misunderstood?

Maybe we have become desensitised to the facts and figures? Or simply do not really comprehend what the fuss is all about?

Where does fiction fit in?:

Having worked at the front line of mental health services in this country for several decades, I now write crime thrillers. Within the pages of those books are observations, evidence and thought provoking storylines relating to a variety of aspects of mental health. I don’t evangelise. I try to provoke consideration and understanding.

#Stench, as an integral part of the story, takes the reader on a journey of relapse into psychosis. If you like a psychological thriller to read …

‘It is a side to the Mental Health Service that we are aware of, the under-funding, the out of hours service and general inadequacies. Now I do mention this as it plays a part in the story, but the author has got the balance spot on for me, incorporating a problem into a story without going over the top and coming across as preaching.’ Me and My Books – book review.


Amazon link.

‘Stench is a brilliant read. It left me feeling shaken and unnerved. Within the thriller genre it fits into a niche of its own, not just because of the authority behind the writing but the brutal honesty in which mental health is dealt with. Actions have consequences and those consequences can have a lasting effect. AB Morgan weaves this into her story with great skill. The twist and turns are balanced perfectly and I never saw them coming!’ Books Are My Cwtches – book review