Author: Eoin Colfer
Narrator: John Keating
Audiobook Length: 8 hours, 26 minutes
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“Daniel McEvoy has a problem. Well, really, he has several, but for this Irish ex-pat bouncer at a seedy, small-time casino the fact that his girlfriend was just murdered in the parking lot is uppermost in his mind.
That is until lots of people around him start dying, and not of natural causes. Suddenly Daniel’s got half the New Jersey mob, dirty cops and his man-crazy upstairs neighbor after him and he still doesn’t know what’s going on. Bullets are flying, everybody’s on the take and it all may be more than Daniel’s new hair plugs can handle.
And Daniel’s got to find the guy who put in those hair plugs–or at least his body–and fast, or else he’ll never get that voice out of his head.”
Thoughts: Eoin Colfer’s Plugged is a hilarious action-adventure novel about a man who is just trying to achieve justice on his friends’ behalf. At times a case of mistaken identity, at times an interesting glance into the shadier sides of the suburbs, Plugged seems to have enough of everything to appeal to a very wide audience. With a cynicism and sensibility that only a true Irishman can possess, Daniel McEvoy is a character that will charm any audience. Ghost Zeb alone is worth more than a few laughs.
So much of one’s enjoyment of Plugged revolves around one’s appreciation for Daniel McEvoy and everything he is trying to accomplish. The ambiguity surrounding his good guy/bad guy status adds a layer of complexity to a situation that is already a maze of subplots and offshoots of the main story. Daniel has the skills and background to be considered dangerous, but his somewhat debilitating insistence on chivalry does portray him more as the knight in shining armor, albeit on a gray horse instead of a white one. There is a vulnerable side to Daniel, of which the reader only catches an occasional glimpse, which does much to lessen his dangerous skills and increase his humanity. Colfer balances the two dichotomies perfectly.
As Daniel McEvoy is an Irish lad, it is essential that the narrator for the audio performance has to have an Irish brogue. Thankfully, John Keating rises to the challenge. Mr. Keating even goes so far as to distinguish between a Dublin Irish accent and a more southerly Irish accent. With pitch-perfect sarcasm and an honest confusion and incredulity over all situations, a listener quickly forgets that someone is reading a story, as Mr. Keating becomes Daniel McEvoy. While his female voices leave a lot to be desired – they sound like a man using a painfully obvious falsetto, which he is – this only provides the most minuscule amounts of distractions compared to his characterizations of Ghost Zeb, Irish Mike, Faber, and Daniel. In fact, his performance only adds to the humor. This is definitely a novel that was meant to be read aloud by a fellow Irishman.
Plugged is one of those books which the reader just knows the author had fun writing. One can picture Eoin Colfer chuckling to himself while typing at his computer. Every line is full of Irish cynicism and a deadpan wit that is as wicked as it is subtly hilarious. The action is non-stop but retains a sense of reality through Daniel’s own sufferings and credulity at the timeline of events. The best news is that Mr. Colfer definitely leaves room for more adventures of Daniel McEvoy. This is a very good thing.
Acknowledgements: I purchased this from Audible.