Narrator: Adam Verner
Series: Ian Ludlow Thrillers #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 1, 2018
Length: 6 hrs 51 mins
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When a passenger jet crashes onto the beaches of Waikiki, bestselling thriller writer Ian Ludlow knows the horrific tragedy wasn't an accident.
Years before, the CIA enlisted Ian to dream up terrorism scenarios to prepare the government for nightmares they couldn't imagine. Now one of those schemes has come true, and Ian is the only person alive who knows how it was done...and who is behind the plot. That makes him too dangerous to live.
Ian goes on the run, sweeping up an innocent bystander in his plight--Margo French, a dog walker and aspiring singer. They are pursued by assassins and an all-seeing global-intelligence network that won't stop until Ian and Margo are dead. Ian has written thrillers like this before, but this time he doesn't know how it's going to end--or if he will be alive to find out.
I originally picked up True Fiction as a Kindle First for free, but decided I’d rather listen to it, so ended up picking up the Audible version for $1.99. I’ve enjoyed the Fox and O’Hare series Goldberg writes with Janet Evanovich, but had never read anything else by him. I’m glad I took a (cheap) chance. True Fiction was a fun read, a bit over the top, in a good way.
Ian Ludlow writes a thriller series featuring an assassin named Clint Straker. True Fiction includes snippets of the Clint Straker novels and they are perfect- cheesy clichés. I love that Goldberg is poking fun at the thriller genre while writing one. Years ago, Ludlow and several other authors participated in a weekend where the CIA asked them to come up with disasters, in theory so that the government can be prepared for the worst. But now, the scenario Ludlow came up with has happened, and a bunch of people are dead. Turns out it wasn’t the CIA he was helping, but a private security company that wants to be contracted to basically do the CIA’s job. Now Ludlow’s in trouble, he’s the last of the authors still alive and clearly the bad guys are trying to kill him too.
Goldberg keeps the action moving. Yes, it’s unbelievable at times, but the characters are so fun and the situations so outrageous that it doesn’t matter. Ludlow’s nowhere near a Clint Straker, but he knows what makes a good thriller and if he’s going to live one, he’s going to do it right. His sidekicks are Margot, the woman hired to escort him to a few local book signings, who it turns out likes to make things explode, and Ronnie, a former actor turned off-gridder who is sure the “New World Order” is going to be the ruin of us all. I like that there are no hints at a romance developing between Ludlow and Margot, or Ronnie and anyone except for his sex dolls, it’s nice for a change. Together the three of them have to take down a company that has all the resources it could want, technology-wise and weaponry, a company full of professional killer, before they’re the ones that end up dead.
Verner was a great narrator. He just fit the story well, read with the straight face even the parts that were absolutely hilarious. It takes a special narrator to talk about people wearing aluminum foil hats in a town that both makes the person sound reasonable and allows the reader to be amused.
True Fiction is laugh-out loud funny at times, full of explosion, a car chase, and a bad dog-sitter review on Yelp. And it’s an underdog wins the day story.