TALK by Michael Smerconish

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Narrated by James Edward Thomas

I must admit to having a bit of a crush on Smerconish, so when I heard he wrote a novel I wanted it. I might have been happier had he read it, or not – usually authors are terrible readers, but despite the narrator (who did an excellent job,) I still had Smerconish’s voice in my head.

I thought the name was pronounced “Smer CONE ish,” like my name should be pronounced “A LEE see” (but rarely is) but turns out it’s “Smer KAHN ish.” I like learning stuff, and this was only the beginning.

If you are not familiar with Smerconish, he is a long time talk radio host based out of Philadelphia airing on Syrius XM’S Potus channel and more recently, host of his own TV show on CNN. I found him during his four years of guest hosting for Chris Matthews on MSNBC, but he’s not a left leaning liberal. He’s much more middle of the road, so CNN seems like a good fit.

Talk centers around a right wing talk radio host, Stan Powers, based out of Tampa but with an eye on the national stage. While Stan doesn’t necessarily espouse all the drivel he spiels, he likes his paycheck and is willing to do what it takes to get on top of the ultra competitive media pile.

Set slightly in the future, the liberal president (after Obama) has decided not to run for re-election, causing both parties to move into high gear for the primaries. The frontrunning Democrat is the governor of Florida, so Stan is in a good place for national attention.

The machinations of talk radio, political TV, and the politicians themselves was just fascinating. Stan is a great character, flawed but very likeable, and he’s surrounded by a cast of interesting people from his agent to his mentor to the first lady of Florida, with whom he had a brief college fling. The characters all ring true, which may be unfortunate, but nonetheless help make the story all the more compelling.

This is the first “adult” audiobook that I’ve listened to that held my attention throughout. Smerconish is a smart cookie, writing about what he knows, and anyone who listens to talk radio or watches FOX or MSNBC will be hooked on Talk – I was.

6/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

TALK by Michael Smerconish. Audible Audio Edition. Audible Studios (May 6, 2014). ASIN B00JRABMY2. Listening Length: 8 hours and 31 minutes.

Hardcover: Cider Mill Press (May 6, 2014). ISBN 978-1604334906. 272p.

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