Audiobook Review

Touching Strangers

By
Stacey Madden
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Performance
Overall
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Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects

STAR RATINGS GUIDE

A Satisfying Rummage Through Tangled Minds and Stories

THE BIRDICT

💛 This is all about delightfully dysfunctional lives and those who lead them. There’s drama, there’s action, but behind it all is a thread of comedy.

💚 So, what are we dealing with? One building, one bird flu pandemic, a smorgasbord of fascinating characters. And, let me tell you, Madden created quite the cast. They are so vivid, complex and raw, it felt voyeuristic to intrude on their thoughts. In a good way. I particularly liked the relationship between main characters Aaron and Samantha. You could see how it had built over time and why.

💜 As the pandemic unfolds, the plot weaves from one narrative to the next, tying them closer and closer together.

❤️️ I’m not opposed to, but am not generally a fan of erotica. But I thought the use of it here was clever. It was both weapon and exposition. And, at times, just funny.

💙 2021 seems to have been the year of the off-beat and darkly comic. This falls nicely in line with TV shows like Physical, Mr Corman and Glow.

Big thanks to NetGalley and Now or Never Publishing for providing me with an ALC in return for an honest review.

SQUAWKING THE TALK

🎧 The production of this book was excellent and just as unique as the story itself. It’s a mix between recorded performance and audiobook. Told from several perspectives, there is one male and one female narrator to take on respective roles according to gender. What I found so interesting was that dialogue was always split. So, when a male narrator was speaking to a female, the voices would accord. I thought it worked really well, especially as other sound effects were minimal.

🎧 Narrators Nate Drury and Cherlanda Estrada were great to listen to. They brought characters to life with nuance and versatility.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER: SIMILAR AUDIOBOOKS

No spoilers for this one. Maybe next time!
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Touching Strangers

THE BLURB

Aaron Cordic and Samantha Riske are a couple of twenty-something hypochondriacs living in east-end Toronto. While Aaron works part-time at a bathroom supply store, donning surgical masks, plastic gloves, and a backpack full of sanitary products, Samantha hides herself away in their apartment, tip-toeing around naked and spying on the neighbours. Between paranoid trips to the doctor and extremely intimate examinations of each other's bodies, they’ve managed to eke out an isolated and highly sterilized existence.

Then, one day, birds begin falling from the sky as numerous tenants in their building become mysteriously ill. Before long, a pandemic known as Buzzard Flu has swept across the city, and Aaron and Samantha must come to terms with the all-too-real possibility that disease, or even death, could finally be at hand. But is Buzzard Flu the biggest problem the couple must face? Or does a more dangerous killer lurk closer to home.

By turns disturbing, uplifting, funny, and weirdly erotic, Touching Strangers examines what it means to be young and afraid in a world more hazardous than we want to believe.