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  • Hush

  • Written by: Tal Bauer
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 19 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for 25 long years, he's climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, US Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can't erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

A devastating terrorist attack in the heart of Washington, DC, and the capture and arrest of the terrorist lead to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America's national security. The Russian president is gravely injured and fixated on revenge, while a gay Russian dissident is arrested and put on trial in Judge Tom Brewer's courtroom. As Russia beats the drums of war and the United States struggles to contain the trial before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in his courtroom, before his bench.

With the world's attention fixed on Tom and this case, secrets from his past explode during the course of the trial, which place him at the very center of the case and make him the only man who can try to stop the world's slide into war.

Contains mature themes.

©2017 Tal Bauer (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about Hush

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  • M.M.Rowley
  • 03-05-18

More Please!

This author is new to me but I am now a BIG fan. For a lot of m/m romances the plot is purely focused on the relationship struggle or/and the fight to come out but this story takes that and does it on an epic stage. It also keeps you guessing about the big W's (who, what, ect) until almost the end. I'm in love with this author and their story weaving skills. Joel Leslie again knocks it out of the park. Taking a great book and bringing it to life. Just one more example of why if he performs it I have to at least try it.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Annika
  • 17-05-18

Hmm, not the best combination

3,5 stars rounded up.

To kick things off, let me start with saying that, Hush does not have the same feel to it as The Executive Office had. This book is something entirely different. It's gentler in a way and not as fast paced or explosive. Stakes are still high and the world is watching, but overall, the main focus of the first part of the book remains on the budding relationship between Tom and Mike.

This book can be divided into two parts, the before and the after. The first half or so of the book reads like a contemporary romance. We get to know both Tom and Mike, who they are. We are there when a tentative friendship starts to form, when they realise they want something more. We get to know them, their wants and their fears, and play with Etta Mae.

Tom is a newly appointed judge, actually nicknamed the baby judge. After spending 25 years alone, he's starting to realise he wants more, deserves more. He wants someone to come home to, to share his life with. But lessons learnt in the past tell him this is impossible.

🔊 He was at a crossroads, stuck trying to figure out where to go. His professionalism demanded one choice, and his heart and soul another.

You can feel the struggle Tom is going through. He's hidden his true self for most of his life, and changing that is never easy. He doesn't want to be alone anymore, but on the other hand, will he lose everything he's worked so hard to achieve, if he does open that closet? It's not an easy situation.

Mike is the guy who want's and dreams of his Prince Charming but is too afraid to look for him. And even more afraid to lose him once found, so he's not really putting an effort into finding his happily ever after. But when he arrives, Mike does everything he can think of to keep from getting hurt again.

Then the unthinkable happens and the aftermath threatens Tom and Mike's new and a bit tenuous relationship.

🔊 How did he break apart the puzzle of his soul when he'd finally put all the pieces together?

The second part of the book deals with the aftermath and the ensuing trial. This had more of Executive Office feel to it than the first part of the book. It was political, intricate and filled with intrigue. While it was interesting it was not my favourite part of the book. It felt too detailed at times and I kept wishing the story to move along just a little bit quicker. I wanted to know all of the juicy stuff; the who, what, where and when. You just knew that something fishy was going on and wanted to get to the bottom of it.

Tal Bauer writes incredibly well developed books. The plots, the characters, the details and knowledge and insight are amazing. Everything about them, the details are all so credible, you believe the story he tells you. They are also very political. So my one major issue with this book is that I don't buy that Tom was appointed as the judge for the trial against Kryukov. First of all, he was on location and witnessed Kryukov on the scene. Secondly I do not believe for one second that cases like these, with that kind of scrutiny and importance - internationally so, will be handed to a new judge - a judge nicknamed the baby judge.
- sorry, but I don't buy it.
Tom is also supposed to advocate for justice, and following the law to the letter, so him not disclosing he was a witness and recusing himself doesn't fit with his personality.

I was very curious to see how Joel Leslie would tackle this book. I've never listened to him narrating this kind of book, the more serious and mystery/thriller trope. I’m more used to him narrating light hearted and humours, contemporary romance stories – which he excels at I might add. I love listening to Joel Leslie, he is a wonderful narrator, but I'm not sure this is his genre. I didn’t really feel quite natural or effortless and to me his voices for the characters didn’t quite match the personalities or feel to the book. However, that might be just me, and you’ll like it just fine. So while I do love listening to Joel Leslie, I don't think he was the best choice for this book.

The book ends with a solid HEA, but there are doors open for a series, and I guess only time will tell if this is all we see of these men and their friends and colleagues.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the narrator in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Casi A Chandler
  • 02-05-18

Yes to this!!

I absolutely loved the book Hush and have read it multiple times. Recommend it to family and friends so I was super excited when I heard it was going to be made into an audiobook. Joel Leslie has done another amazing job with Mike and Tom. 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 Simply amazing.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Cassi
  • 29-03-20

Amazing story

This book is basically 2 parts. Part 1 and 2 while not officially separated are very different and equally so phenomenal. The first half www adorable and tender and heart warming and really gave such a fantastic connection with the 2 MC and I adored every moment of it. The second half was intense and stressful AF and SO good. The balance and diversity of this book is amazing and it is so beautifully written I was in awe. Book hang over is a guaranteed but in the best way. This book will fly by and you won’t be able to put it down. The narration is so fantastic and allows you tonget completely lost in their world. Bravo.

4 people found this helpful

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  • pjsvoice
  • 22-10-18

Amazing performance by Joel Leslie.

Joel Leslie does such a fantastic job with character voices that I sometimes forgot it wasn't an ensemble!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jerry B.
  • 01-03-20

Gay romance written by a gay male author

Wonderful love story.

The first book I read by Tal was "Enemies of the State" and his two sequels are engrossing books that are a little far fetched to me. I loved them, but didn't want a repeat so I avoided Hush for a while. Then when I started reading "Hush", I had the tapes of the previously read series going thru my mind and I was 20% distracted thinking "when will it take a divergent twist"?

This was a "normal" suspense novel with some new technology that I previously knew about. It is a great love story. Tal writes such realistic characters and the dialog is done so well. Tal's personal life experiences allow him to bring realism to the details which makes the story for me. I know people like Tom who are so afraid to come out. Mike's story is a little less so to me only because I have not met someone like him. He seems too good to be true, but I've fallen in love with him anyway.

Joel Leslie gave a great performance and totally enhanced the actual book. There is a lot of location descriptions in this book and I like to look all this up on Google Maps. A lot of the descriptions go by fast, so I reverted to the book many times which made it easy to compare them. Joel created very believable vocal pitches and characteristics for both Tom and Mike plus he gave nuanced and OTT enhancements to several minor characters as well. Plus he conveys dread, urgency, love, fear and all human emotions. It's almost like watching a movie with Meryl Streep quality actors.

Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mickie B. Ashling, Author
  • 02-08-18

Five Stars!

I'm a huge fan of Tal Bauer and have read Hush several times. When I saw it was available on audible I couldn't resist. Joel Leslie's narration enhanced this great book. His ability to embody different characters is above par. I can't wait for the next collaboration between Bauer and Leslie.

3 people found this helpful

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  • 1Tigerlily
  • 12-02-20

Love this book, this author, and this narrator

This book is great! Tal Bauer so obviously researches his stories extremely well, and there is always a lot of action, angst, plots that unfold in unexpected ways, and hot love scenes. And Joel Leslie does a great job bringing it to life! Kris, one of the two MC’s best friends also has a breathtaking story which is told in the book Whisper. Can’t wait for that audiobook!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Donald
  • 02-06-19

Rather enjoyable

It took me a while to get into this story but once it got going, it turned out to be a great story. Tom’s coming to terms with the internal demons and Mike’s personal growth, along with mystery and intrigue...rather enjoyable!

2 people found this helpful

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  • curtis haase
  • 18-12-18

Great listening

Overall great story. Started a little slow but picked up and as easy listening. Loved the twist on the average spy story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mary
  • 07-08-18

Overplayed narration

I'd heard good things about this book and the narrator, but I've learned the lesson that 'its all about taste', here.
One of my biggest bugbears with books, no matter the genre, is the internal monologue. Nothing can turn me off a book as quickly as ten pages of drivel about a character's backstory and them wondering about the if's, but's, and why's of where his life went wrong. To make things worse, a lot of the content is then cut and pasted later in the book as the character charts their growth from 'bad place at the start of the book' to 'happy place'.

Long, repetitive internal monologues ruin stories for me. I eye-roll so hard I get a look at my own brain. Authors who do this are just going for word count, and not the fluidity of the storytelling. It's a cheap trick and I don't like it. Therefore HOURS of this book were a struggle for me as I waded through all of the monologues to get to the core of the story.

The narration did not help. I get that Joel Leslie does really good accents, and I enjoyed his accents, but the main narration took on an overblown, overdramatic tone as if he's reading a soap opera script. It became very grating, especially during those blasted monologues.

So, even though I really wanted to like this book, it did not work for me.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Pixiebell
  • 04-05-18

An Outstanding Political Romantic Thriller

At last Tal Bauer is on Audio and OMG with who better but Joel Leslie to narrate this complex, intelligent and beautifully written story of political intrigue. Set in Washington D.C within the U.S judicial system and the trial of an international terrorist.
It’s also a love story between two totally different men who find each other at the right time in their lives.
Tal’s attention to detail and research, particularly into the LBGTQ history totally floored me. I remember reading this book first about 8 months ago and being brought to tears in parts. Listening to Joel bring Tal’s world to life had me sobbing and I actually ached for what these men when through in the late 80’s early 90’s.
I can’t recommend this audiobook enough and I just hope that his other books are going to become available on audio to.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Claire
  • 10-08-18

Outstanding

I loved this!
I loved this!
I loved this!
I loved this!
I loved this!
Joel Leslie is fantastic

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 03-06-22

Excellent

I really enjoyed this book, the storyline was great as was the characters, and the narrator brought the whole thing to life.

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  • Lynne77
  • 12-11-21

Another great story

Another great and engaging story from Tal Bauer, full of mystery and with another engaging love story thrown into the mix.

I'm used to John Solo narrating Tal's books but Joel Leslie did an excellent narration. Joel is so versatile and I know Kris Caldera was a secondary character in this novel but I just loved Joel's voice for him.

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  • Mrs. E. J. Curtis
  • 26-06-21

Enjoyable Story

A well written story with and interesting  concept.  The characters are likeable and the narration is very good.

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  • S. Brown
  • 28-03-21

Love Tal Bauer!

Listening to Hush again recently, and forgot just how well written this author’s books are, with this being one of my all time favourites.

The plot is full of twists and turns, and didn’t see that coming surprises, including a very detailed knowledge of LGBT history, the US judicial and Marshall service. I love all the alternate future world leaders in Mr Bauer’s books, and the international political, and in this case court room drama, he weaves so well. Characters are depicted perfectly, even the bad guys, and loved seeing Kris relaxed and away from his all consuming job.

Now if Whisper could just be released on audio and narrated by the super marvellous and linguistically versatile Joel Leslie, I’d consider Christmas come early, and lockdowns banned for all time!

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  • Book addict
  • 30-05-20

4.5 stars good book

This was a good book, and got better as it went on. It’s more of a legal drama, with a lot extra, and was a different type of story in lots of ways to Tal Bauer’s “Enemies of the State: Executive Office Series” (that book is awesome by the way - get that even if you weren’t sure of this one). This story didn’t grip me by the heart as much, but despite that I got more into it as time went by and there was so much good stuff I couldn’t rate it a 4 as originally planned, so gave it 4.5. If you’re into legal dramas with lots of story outside the courtroom this book is awesome, but the action only came later on.

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  • C M Silver
  • 20-03-20

Courted by the Marshall

Epic tale, well drafted and crafted. Intelligent, well researched drama reaching from rainbows to raining gunshots.

My first time with this author, but for sure not my last. Nothing trite, or trashy here, just tasteful passionate lives entwined in a poignant political saga encompassing 30 years, with lots of humour thrown in to ice the cake. Great MM MCs you can respect and enjoy.

Couldn't stop listening.

Well done Audible, another gem (found by accident).

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  • R
  • 01-02-19

Terrible reader

Hard to stay with this book unless you want to use it to go asleep.would just write this off as a try to write a pono book but it fails in that respect also.

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  • Pat Johnson
  • 10-07-19

The Judge and the Sherrif ♥️♥️♥️♥️

This It’s such an awesome audiobook with the perfect words such an awesome audiobook with the perfect words of Tal Bauer With the wonderful narration hi Joel Leslie I have been in heaven listening to this audiobook. The love between Mike and Tom is beautiful and will be there for ever. The amount of research Tal does is amazing it always makes her such a perfect book this audiobook was just magnificent thank you to everybody involved.

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  • Ed
  • 17-06-18

Hush

I liked this story once it got over the introduction. The narration was a bit over the top at time, breathless and gushy. A little hard to believe, almost made me not want to listen further. Overall a reasonable listening experience.