Author: Joyce Faulkner
Publisher: Red Engine Press (2011)
Binding: Paperback, 334 pages
Identity theft, scams, and a serial killer. Username is a must-read for every person who has a credit card or uses the Internet. Who’s using your name? Your username? You may not know until it’s too late. See yourself as a mark through the eyes of Maureen and Jennifer, master identity thieves. Their scams will shock you as you realize how vulnerable you are. Then there is the nice gentleman you could meet in a chat room, or perhaps he sends you a persuasive e-mail. He couldn’t possibly be a serial killer … could he?
USERNAME, the title an indicator of the time frame of the novel, we live in a world of technology with all its benefits and pitfalls. What follows is a chilling tale, exciting and so inventive it will become one of the great set pieces of the genre.
Faulkner demonstrates fluidity in her story telling that few match. From page one on she draws the reader in thoroughly. You will become immersed in the story and absorbed into her twisting tale as it unfolds.
Reaching into the wellspring of her imagination Faulkner displays a superb ability with words and as the drama unfolds the reader will be left engulfed in what will become one of the great thrillers.
Do you feel safe as you go about your daily life? Are you comfortable enough and do you feel secure enough? Read USERNAME and your perceptions and comfort zone will be rattled.
Reviewed by: Greenwald, Jim (2012)
Available as an Audio Book - Performed by Michael D. Mullins
A little more than a year ago, Joyce Faulkner published Username, a taut, well-written and very recommendable thriller about two people who live by adopting fake identities and scamming others. Now the story has been issued in audiobook format. A good audiobook, the Library of Congress notes, is an "art form related to acting and oral interpretation, but is neither. Rather, it is a niche in the performing arts that blends some elements of both." In other words, it's a challenge to create an audiobook.
A great many decisions need to be made. Should the "book" be available only as a sound file, for use in a laptop or ipod or other device; should it be on CDs; or both? Should the author decide to read the book herself or employ another voice? Or even a multitude of voices, for some audiobooks are in essence rendered into a dramatic broadcast, using multiple voices to perform the book's characters. This option is a technical challenge and usually so expensive that it drives the price of the audiobook up beyond what many readers wish to pay. Then there are questions of sound effects, background music (with attending copyright issues) and/or narrative asides. Every choice has consequences -- it's a notorious fact that more than a few avid readers tend to "hear" a specific voice for each character while reading; in this media age, some readers even imagine a specific actor playing the part of a book's "cast." In such cases, the reader of the traditional text often can be disappointed with a much different voice in the audiobook.
Given the complexity of these choices and consequences, Faulkner has wisely chosen to release the audio version of Username as a straightforward narrative read by Mike Mullins, with no distracting music or special effects. The heart of Username is the manner in which the two main characters – a serial killer, and a scam artist who lives by stealing the identities and financial information of other persons -- slowly come into a confrontation with one another. Mullins relates this story in a well-modulated, strong voice. The volume and timber of the narrative is good, the pacing is excellent. Mullins narration conveys the sense of the text to the listener, using an appropriate emotional level for each scene in the story. He does not overplay the narration, avoiding dialects or accents that might confuse the listener or detract from the story. This book is a thriller, so Mullins is careful to adhere to Faulkner’s narrative pace and tell the story in a way that builds the suspense. The audiobook succeeds in the same way a good book succeeds: it tells a good story.
Some readers, who like to merge their own imaginative elements to the text of a book, will never be entirely satisfied with the audiobook as a narrative mechanism. But for all others, most especially those who enjoy thrillers, this audiobook is strongly recommended.
Reviewd by: Terry Shoptaugh (2013)