Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Coelho Medallion by Kevin Tumlinson

In an off-the-beaten-trail location in Colorado, near the borders of Texas and New Mexico, a team of archeologists has uncovered an ancient medallion covered in symbols from various native languages as well as what appear to be Viking runes.  Is this evidence that pre-Columbian European explorers interacted with Native Americans this far into the North American continent? Somebody seems to believe so, and when evidence of a previously uncharted underground river possibly connecting the site to locations further north is uncovered, the speculation and the intrigue kicks into high gear.

The book, The Coelho Medallion, is named for this artifact; the artifact is named for its discoverer, an Hispanic archeologist named Coelho (pronounced Quay-o.) The story is reminiscent of Dan Brown’s Langdon series, the Indiana Jones franchise, and a little bit of the National Treasure movies as well. There are bad guys, heists, chases, an unrealized romantic backstory, a rich playboy/adventurer hero, a damsel in distress, an FBI sidekick, and loads of twists and turns – and I’m not just talking about the underground river.
Kevin Tumlinson

All of the tropes are present, but they are handled deftly and in a way that makes the story feel believable. Everything is told in a third-person omniscient POV, so we never leave our role as observer to become part of the action, and I personally like that. It’s more theatrical – which is just the mood a story like this requires. If the book has a weakness, it’s a dearth of strong female characters. There’s the damsel in distress, Dr, Evelyn Horelica, and the owner of a shady bar who is only in one scene and could just as easily have been a male character, but other than that the main cast of 
players is a sausage party rivaling Twelve Angry Men.

Richard Rieman
The audiobook version is ably narrated by Richard Rieman. He has a rich baritone perfectly suited to the gravitas of the story without distracting from the mood. He sounds familiar and pleasant without sounding generic and chipper. He does, however, have a verbal tell in the way he pronounces the word “room” in what feels to me like a West Virginia accent. And the word seems to appear in the story an inordinate number of times. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice it. Well, you will, now, because I brought it to your attention, but otherwise…

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience, and if it was ever made into a film starring – oh I don’t know – Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Ryan Reynolds, I might watch it – eventually, on cable. Also, I understand that the character, Dan Kotler, is a recurring character with other adventures to his fictional name in the works as well as a prequel novella. Would I read or listen to those? Given the opportunity; absolutely. Would I seek them out though, that’s the real question.  They’re already in my Google Alerts cue.

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