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Darling Jim
Christian Moerk
Narrated by Stephen Hoye and Justine Eyre
Tantor Audio, 11 hours

Darling Jim
Christian Moerk
Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Christian Moerk moved to Vermont in his early twenties. After getting his MS in journalism at Columbia University, he was a movie executive for Warner Bros. Pictures and later wrote about film for The New York Times. Darling Jim is his first novel published in America. He lives in Brooklyn.

Christian Moerk Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jennifer McCann

In Christian Moerk's modern gothic tale of love, lust, betrayal and murder, a wannabe graphic artist working as a mail clerk discovers the diary of a murdered woman in the dead letter bin. After a much publicized triple murder, Niall Casey, a rather ne'er-do-well mail clerk, comes across the diary of Fiona Walsh, one of three sisters from Castletownbere, Ireland. Fiona was found dead with one of her sisters, Roisin, and their Aunt Moira Hagarty in a house in Dublin.

The diary describes the last days of Fiona's life and the twisted tale of how Jim Quick, a traveling seanachai (storyteller) came to Castletownbere and changed the lives of four women. Riding into town on his Vincent Comet motorcycle trailing sex, danger and a possible body count, Jim begins his story of twin princes.

As the story goes, when one brother arranges the murder of the other brother to get the kingdom, he then ravages the countryside and the women thereof, creating havoc along the way. While on a hunt, the prince runs upon a wolf, a creature much hated and hunted in the mediaeval forest of his kingdom. He is cursed by the wolf for his vile and evil acts and, after living as a wolf for an unknown time, the prince is trapped by his beautiful cousin. She has the secret to turning him back into a man, but the question for the prince is, will he "love her or kill her."

Fiona finds herself drawn to this mysterious storyteller but becomes suspicious when other women Jim has been involved with turn up dead. Tracking back through his past travels, Fiona discovers a series of questionable deaths of women who have crossed Jim's path.

Unknown to Fiona, her shy, lovelorn aunt Moira has set her sights on Jim as well. Jim takes advantage of the situation and becomes a tenant in the rooming house of which Moira is the proprietress, quickly sweeping Moira off her feet. Fiona is hurt at how forcefully Jim drops her, but is very disturbed by his interest in Moira and in her twin sisters, Roisin and Epha.

This story is a tapestry of many strands. First, there's the story of Jim's insinuation into the lives of Fiona and her family -- all of which leads up to their brutal deaths and the disappearance of Epha. Interwoven with that mystery is Jim's tale of the prince and his curse and the choice he has to make. And there's also the adventure of Niall's quest to discover exactly what happened to the Walsh girls and their aunt.

Moerk has spun a twisted, murky tale that captures the gray, rain-soaked coast of Ireland of the past and present. He blends the strands together artfully on his loom of storytelling. The whole cast of characters are real living and breathing people with whom you become deeply involved. The listener is there on the quest with Niall as he follows the clues in Fiona's diary to one twist after another. Being rather dark and gothic, this story still retains the humor and "cheekiness" for which the modern inhabitants of Ireland are so famous. One grows to care about what happened to Fiona and her sisters and wants to discover the madness that caused their deaths.

Stephen Hoye and Justine Eyre do an incredible job of giving voice to Niall, Fiona and all the rest. Their lilting Irish accents give full body to the characters and the dialogue that Moerk has written, truly breathing life into Darling Jim. Hoye and Eyre, both well-deserved winners of the AudioFile Earphones Award, capture the irony and humor of the inhabitants of Castletownbere. Now the only question is -- will you "love her or kill her?"

Copyright © 2010 Jennifer McCann

A belly dancing, dyslexic wife and mother who in her spare time works as a library clerk. A full and rich life is lead through the books she listens to and/or reads. Dyslexics Untie!

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