Ocean Grave by Matt Serafini narrated by Sean Duregger

Matt Serafini’s Ocean Grave is a much larger story than I could have anticipated. When I say it’s larger, I don’t mean in page-count or anything, but rather all of the elements involved in the narrative. There is a lot more to this story than it seems like there could be, and somehow it still works. It manages to add some social commentary into the mix as well, as the best fiction usually does…involving international relations, the Western world’s obsession with a sanitized tourism-focused exploration of untamed locales, and the widespread impact of poverty in third-world nations.
This book has something for anyone who enjoys adventure…a honeymoon retreat plagued by secrets, treasure hunting, pirates, soldiers of fortune, a centuries-old mystery, inhuman creatures, and a seemingly unstoppable sea monster. Even with all of these elements, Ocean Grave never feels particularly disjointed or difficult to follow.
One thing I will say is that, if you get to know a character within this narrative, you can expect them to have a 70/30 chance of dying before the tale is complete…and it won’t be some noble, glorious death. This story is real-to-life, in that the characters aren’t unnaturally lucky or imbued with the almost superhuman ability to survive the impossible conditions they face. Like those of us in the real world, most people don’t survive extreme situations involving modern-day pirates and warlords…and when you add in a monster lurking in the ocean depths, no one walks away unscathed.
The narration from Sean Duregger is clear and professional. He does an excellent job of providing characters with distinct voices and accents (where appropriate).
One bit of warning, if you, like me, get tired of hearing the term “CIA spook” over and over again during one of the earliest chapters of the book, don’t worry…that repetitive nature doesn’t persist through the rest of the story. It took me a lot longer to finish listening to this audiobook because I stopped it near the end of that particular chapter precisely because that repetitive terminology was driving me mad. I wish I’d just powered through it because the story is excellent after that.

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