Shell Game – Benny Lawrence & Em Grosland (narrator) & Blair Baker (narrator)

On a backdrop of book pages, an iPhone with the cover of Shell Game by Benny Lawrence, narrated by Em Grosland and Blair Baker. At the bottom of the image, a strip of torn paper with a quote: "A book like no other." and a url:

Darren, a soft-hearted pirate who saves people from bad guys, finds herself stuck with Lynn, a young woman whose village has been raided so many times only children remain. Darren and her crew bring the small group to a new life but Lynn won’t leave Darren, insisting she keeps her as her slave. Slave in name only as very soon it becomes obvious that Lynn is the real leader on the ship.

This book is a tour de force in that it tells a gruesome and heart-wrenching story yet got more than a few laughs out of me. Benny Lawrence’s books have been on my TBR for years but I get so many ARCs (not complaining, it’s awesome and I feel very lucky) that I can’t often find time to catch up on books I missed when they were released. Audiobooks give me that opportunity and when I saw the author was giving away review codes for this one, I jumped at the chance.

Lynn is maddening and infuriating and her sarcasm and wit are irresistible. Darren never stands a chance and has no choice but to work on being the pirate queen Lynn sees in her. Behind the one-liners and sword fights and twists, both women’s backstories come out, neither easy but one more tragic than the other. I had a hard time listening to the last part but I also had so much faith in Lynn, in Darren, in their faithful crew, that it held me through the toughest parts.

I’m not sure why two narrators were necessary but since they’re both new to me (and I think both are queer, which is kinda wonderful), I now look forward to listening to them in other books. They both mystify me though, the narration was at times brilliant and at times choppy. Both however were excellent in dialogue and both contributed to my love for the two main characters.

As others have written before me, this is a book like no other, a rollercoaster of adventures and emotions, which at times doesn’t seem to make sense at all but actually really does. Lynn is a fantastic character and Darren is much sweeter than any pirate has a right to be. Like her characters, the author follows no rules or, rather, makes her own, and, amazingly, it works.

It’s safe to say that my first experience with a Benny Lawrence book was a success. Now to make time for the others… 4.5⭐️


Shell Game @ amazon

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