Audio Book Review: Holding by Graham Norton

holdingWhat’s it about?

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother of­ two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former­ love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

My thoughts

Disclaimer: I’m a Graham Norton fan, love his TV and radio show so it was unlikely that I would dislike this book and fortunately I didn’t, I loved it.  This was also my first audio book experience so is kind of a two-for-one review!

A small town drama that’s full of intrigue, mystery and regular and relatable characters; mostly three actually.  Sergeant Collins; a severely overweight police officer, Brid Riordan; a borderline alcoholic mother and Evelyn Ross; heartbroken at a young age, never recovered and feels as though she has nothing to show for her life.

This isn’t really your typical murder mystery type of novel, so don’t go into it thinking it’ll be fast paced page turner.  It is a slow burner with the mystery of the bones being an aside thread for us to unearth Duneen’s secrets in more detail and getting to know the characters and one in particular Sergeant Collins’ housekeeper Mrs Meeny’s heartbreaking story.

I really enjoyed this book as an audio book as I felt the story was enhanced by being narrated by Graham too.  I don’t know if it’s usual practice for authors to narrate their own audio books but it makes so much sense.  Graham was obviously the best choice for bringing his own characters to life.  The small issues I had was understanding the names, not being able to see how they were spelt, and at one point, unusually, I was sure I’d cracked the mystery but couldn’t recall the info supplied earlier in the book about the DNA, so I couldn’t go back and check what I’d heard as I would have done with a paperback.

The book is also quite darkly humourous, especially with Graham’s narration; the characters swear quite a lot and it just made me laugh in the context it was used (picture me walking to and from work listening to this chuckling away like a mad fool).  I think it would make an excellent drama and I thoroughly recommend.

What’s your experience of audio books? Any to recommend?

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon

Author links: Twitter

Small print for info
Source: Via Audible free trial
No of pages: 320
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Talk of the Town


  1. 7th March 2017 / 11:47 am

    Sounds interesting! Thanks for the idea. Added it to my list. I like that you said it’s not a typical mystery murder novel. Good to see there’s something new out there.

  2. 7th March 2017 / 2:55 pm

    I don’t often listen to audiobooks as I find myself getting distracted / thinking of other things and missing big portions of the story… but when I do make sure I listen properly it’s great as I can listen whilst I’m driving/ walking/ exercising – you can’t read a book doing those things! Great review – my mum recommended this to me too and said she was surprised how great it was 🙂 for my next audiobook I might go for this one!

    • 7th March 2017 / 6:33 pm

      I’d definitely recommend it, especially if you’re a fan!
      I do find myself getting distracted as well, especially when I’m out and about and having to concentrate on crossing the road etc 😉

  3. 7th March 2017 / 6:52 pm

    Audio alone doesn’t work for me Lindsay. I’m such a strong visual learner that I can’t focus or concentrate. I’ve only listened to one and ordered one (but I don’t know if/when I will ever listen). I do feel envious of people being able to listen and get on with other things!

    • 11th March 2017 / 9:38 pm

      I know what you mean and I wouldn’t say I’m finding it an easy way to enjoy a book. I do struggle to recall what I’ve listened to and think I may missing out as a result of that.

      • 11th March 2017 / 10:23 pm

        Interesting Lindsay. More of us than I thought! The positive side is that I find it so easy to block sound out to concentrate 🙂

  4. suzanna
    11th March 2017 / 12:26 pm

    I like the sound of this book but it would have to be a paperback; me and audio don’t get on very well – I forget to listen.
    Also I don’t like the cover. Maybe it would work as a hard copy but I couldn’t figure out what the picture was until I made it bigger.
    Good review that got me interested in the story

    • 11th March 2017 / 9:39 pm

      You make a very good point about the cover and I’m still not 100% sure about the title either!

      • suzanna
        12th March 2017 / 10:24 am

        You’re right. This might be a lesson in ‘when-tradition-publishers-get-it-wrong’ lol. I guess they thought his name would sell the book. Looks like he designed the cover himself ha ha.

  5. RaisieBay
    11th March 2017 / 4:28 pm

    Sounds like an interesting story, I’m a fan of audio books as I tend to fall asleep while reading because of my medication, whereas audio books keep me listening. (ok, I do still fall asleep sometimes.)

  6. 11th March 2017 / 9:45 pm

    I’m glad that you still have a way to enjoy a book! I’ve noticed on the Audible app that it has a sleep function, I’ve not used it but I assume you can set it to switch off a certain time period so you don’t forget where you were 🙂

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