As a kid growing up on the outskirts of Los Angeles, I can’t say I ever watched wrestling, but I also didn’t *not* watch wrestling. It was often part of the background of my life, along with golf and roller derby.
I’d chosen to listen to the audio version of The Opening Bell, the first book in J.B. Garner’s “Three Seconds To Legend” series. I thought it would be a good companion for my 20 minutes of commuting twice a day to and from work. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure how well I’d resonate with a story set in the world of wrestling, but it didn’t take me very long to immerse. When I realized I was actually looking forward to my drives, I knew just why.
There’s plenty of action, of course, but it doesn’t take the place of a solid storyline with compelling, engaging characters. Leilani, our protagonist, must cope with being a rookie in the sport she loves, while dealing with co-worker rivalries, workplace politics, and multi-generational family situations. Is it all too much for the ‘Girl Hercules’ to handle?
James Garner weaves the elements of the story together, taking these disparate elements of Leilani’s world in hand, first as loose strands, but deftly, over the course of the story, weaving them together into a tightly told tale.
Mindy Grall was ideal as the story’s narrator, as she smoothly moved between character’s accents, as well as doing a fine job with male characters. She brought us venerable old men and teenage boys with apparent ease. A slight tough edge to her voice during fight scene exposition felt right.
And, by the end of the book, I realized Garner wasn’t going to let *me* off the hook without a fight. Those last few pages sealed the deal. I can’t help thinking that reading just one book in a J. B. Garner series is like eating *just one* potato chip!