Codename Mermaid

Michael James Emberger
Narrator: Kristina Rothe

HISTORICAL SUSPENSE/THRILLER: Ben Blanchard is a former FBI Agent, who resigns after his wife, Emily, dies tragically while he is on assignment. He is called back into service for a vital role in early 1941, to work with a new partner--Victoria Sisley. He is told she is a German spy, but he must work with her anyway. Unfortunately, she looks like his late wife, which causes Ben grief, as they must portray a married couple. They end up in Sugar Falls, Ontario, trying to stop a dangerous plot designed to kill many innocent Americans. Karl and Kirsten are two other significant characters in this audiobook, and their roles become clearer as the story progresses.

This audiobook is creative and inspired by Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, Ode to Joy. Insights about this music are woven throughout. With significant irony, the plot involves unimaginable evil, propagated by cold and uncaring villains who leave havoc, not joy, in their wake. There are inconsistencies:  for instance, in a scene on a U-Boat, Kirsten sheds her coat on the deck, but moments later, she is yanked up by the coat that has suddenly reappeared on her body. There are numerous religious references peppered throughout the story as well, which can add or detract from listeners’ enjoyment, depending on their beliefs. Nevertheless, this story pulls listeners in through the unfolding plot.

Kristina Rothe does an adequate job with the narration; however, at times, it is inconsistent. Sometimes, Karl sounds extremely German, and at other times, he sounds like he has no accent—even when he is surrounded by Germans and should by speaking freely in his native tongue. Most of the time, Kirsten and Vicky also sound eerily similar. The recording quality is consistent in that there are no unexpected noises or unwarranted volume increases.

Carey Sullivan