When I selected BELLMAN & BLACK for a listen from Simon Audio read by Jack Davenport, I was definitely not anticipating the story I got. It was impossible for me not to compare Diane Setterfield to Edgar Allen Poe the entire time I was listening which I mean in a very complimentary way. He was a suspense builder but without the blood and guts of other suspense writers. Although, secretly I was glad the blood and guts were missing as I would have had to opt out as that is one genre that is not for me.
An unfortunate childhood action that might have seemed minor at the time resulted in a lifetime of revenge on William Bellman throughout his adult life. The incident occurs right away and then many chapters go by before anything transpires and that was where Poe came in for me. For a while I felt the story droned on a bit but once the string of revenge for that childhood act started it never stopped.
I felt there were many messages in this story and I think Setterfield is an intelligent writer but this was not my favorite listen. And I would not recommend listening during the holidays as I did nor if you are blue as this is not an uplifting tale. I thought Davenport was an excellent voice for this audiobook. Davenport lent a narrator type quality à la “The Haunted Mansion” at Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” sprinkled with creepy. Kudos to the casting and production directors Jack Davenport was a winner. And I cannot forget to mention the brilliant cover art that I love!