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As is the case with many of our favorite narrators, Brick didn’t set out to read audiobooks for a living. Narrating was always an interest, but after training as an actor and writer at UCLA, he was working in theater in 2000 when his friend Dan Musselman, then at Dove Audio, encouraged the studio to give Brick an audition. And that was that. Since then, he has kept up a busy recording schedule, winning numerous honors, including 13 starred reviews in Booklist and two Audie Awards. Interestingly, he’s now back at UCLA teaching narrative techniques in the very same classroom where he caught the narrating bug as a student!
It’s no surprise that when Brick talks about how he prepares to record a book, he talks about setting the stage with tone. He’s been known to record horror novels late at night, alone in an empty house after watching some really terrifying films. “I figure if I feel scared, then I’ll likely sound scared.” Reviewers agree. In John Lutz’s Pulse, the creepy tone is vital, and, as reviewer Pam Spencer Holley writes, “The murderer’s intense pleasure is evident through Brick’s whispery tones when he utters, ‘You’ll like this.’. . . Brick’s chilling and scary voice imbues this grisly story with a perfect jolt of terror.” In her review of Greg Hurwitz’s Orphan X, Renee Young avers that “Brick’s gravelly voice infuses tension into even the most seemingly mundane scenes” while his “wry tone highlights the occasional humorous detail.”
Characters, too, benefit from Brick’s deft vocal skills. In The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth, Brick quotes the “hyperbolic sportswriters of the day” and reads their prose “in perfect vernacular, capturing the feel as well as the words of Grantland Rice and other legends,” according to reviewer Mike Tribby. In the gentle and touching novel The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, Brick’s character portrayals—the acerbic A. J., precocious and prickly teen Maya, and intelligent and gentle Amelia—draw listeners into this charming tale, which is a notable departure from the fast-paced and often dark thrillers Brick typically reads.
Reviewers also praise Brick’s narrative style, especially the understated approach that allows him to disappear into characters and stories, putting the author’s words first. In her starred review of The Devil in the White City, Sue-Ellen Beauregard admires the “‘less-is-more’ style in Brick’s seductive reading.” In his rave review of the Audie-nominated Jurassic Park, David Pitt comments that “the smartest choice Brick made was not to accelerate the action scenes. . . . There’s something truly frightening about listening to a man tell us, slowly and with vivid imagery, that a character is being stalked by a predatory animal.” It’s his matter-of-fact, this-is-really-happening delivery that makes the story so terrifying. Brick’s philosophy of narrating is simple: “It isn’t about me; it’s about the book.”
Brick understands the significance of hearing stories. Radio was important to him growing up, and he believes that “the golden age of radio was the golden age of storytelling—it’s just the author’s words and the listener’s ear with nothing else in between.” When he’s asked about the current popularity of audiobooks, he doesn’t credit the technology that has made listening so much easier on a wide range of devices. He speculates, instead, that “we were read to as children, and we miss it. Listening to radio as a kid and now listening to and narrating audiobooks as an adult reminds me of the times we were all read to as children.”
Narrator Scott Brick ranks among the master storytellers. Whether he’s reading one of his favorite authors—Nelson DeMille, Justin Cronin, or Gregg Hurwitz—or lending his mesmerizing voice to any of the hundreds of titles he has narrated, he continues to share his talent and skill with listeners and those he teaches. Storytelling is his passion, and he writes that “literature is a legacy, as is the spoken word. Knowing that I’m one of the privileged few who get to combine the two, knowing that I get to tell stories for a living, never ceases to make me smile.” Listeners everywhere enjoy the fruits of this hardworking narrator’s labors. Rest assured that he’s busy even now recording another book that will satisfy listeners who appreciate his skill with tone, characterization, and delivery. What else would we expect from our Voice of Choice“?
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