Audiobook Review - Shady Cross by James Hankins @James_Hankins_

Shady Cross by James Hankins
Narrated by Bon Shaw
Publisher: Brillance Audio
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Date Read: July , 2017
Length:  9 hours 10 minutes
Source: Kindle Prime
In one hand, small-time crook Stokes holds a backpack stuffed with someone else's money -- three hundred and fifty thousand dollars of it.

In the other hand, Stokes has a cell phone, which he found with the cash. On the line, a little girl he doesn't know asks, "Daddy? Are you coming to get me? They say if you give them the money they'll let you take me home."

From bestselling author James Hankins comes a wrenching story of an unscrupulous man torn between his survival instincts and the plight of a true innocent. Faced with the choice, Stokes discovers his conscience might not be as corroded as he thought.

My Review

I liked this book even though I didn't love it.  I recently discovered that Amazon Prime members can borrow books with narration as part of their Prime Reading program.  There are not a ton of options but this one sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try.  I did find it to be an entertaining story and I really liked the premise.

Stokes is a small time criminal.  He is not above taking something that isn't his and tends to keep his eye out for any opportunity to to make a little money.  When he is involved in an accident that takes another man's life and finds a bag full of money, he thinks that he has finally found his big payday.  Then the phone in the bag rings and everything changes.  When he realizes that the money in that bag was meant to save a little girl's life, he feels compelled to do the right thing and save the girl.

This book had a lot of things going for it.  I love that the story features an antihero.  It was kind of fun to see a character with questionable morals work so hard to save someone he has never met.  The story was exciting with one roadblock blocking his path after another.  There were a few surprises along the way as well.

I didn't love all aspects of the book.  I started to tire of all of the problems that Stokes kept running into.  It seemed that no matter what he tried thing would go wrong.  It became a bit predictable and the excitement of the story suffered as a result.  I also never really connected with the characters.  I didn't dislike him but I didn't like him either.  I never fully believed that he would really risk so much to save the girl.

This is the first time that I have listened to Bon Shaw narrated a story and I really enjoyed his performance.  He handled all of the voice really well and the dialogue in the story was flawless.  The cast of character in this story really cover a wide range including men, woman, older adults, and children and he did a great job with all of them.  I would not hesitate to listen to his work again in the future.

I would recommend this book to fast paces mystery fans.  This was an enjoyable listen that was a little different than the norm.  This was the first time that I have read James Hankins work but I do plan to read more in the future.
About the Author

James Hankins has written stories his entire life, even during various career detours. His newest novel of suspense, THE INSIDE DARK, was published on July 11, 2017. Each of his previous thrillers (THE PRETTIEST ONE, SHADY CROSS, BROTHERS AND BONES, JACK OF SPADES, and DRAWN) spent time in the Kindle Top 100 and became Amazon #1 bestsellers, while THE PRETTIEST ONE reached #1 across all categories in the Kindle Store. SHADY CROSS received a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews gave BROTHERS a starred review and named it to their list of Best Books of 2013. Hankins lives with his wife and twin sons just north of Boston.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


  1. I have yet to try a thriller on audio

  2. I like thrillers on audio but I'm not sure this is one that really calls to me. It sounds interesting but all the constant problems might get a little old after awhile! I do need to check out the ebook/audio feature since I have Prime. I'm curious to see what audios they have!

    1. It was a little too much after a while but still kept me wanting to see how everything would work out in the end.

  3. I'll have to look up the narrator. The Prime borrowing is very nice :)

    1. I wish there were more books available but it is a nice feature.


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