The Curse of Capastrano by Johnston McCulley
The book: Never heard of this book? Perhaps that’s because it’s the secret identity of its more famous alter-ego. Following the successful Douglas Fairbanks movie based on The Curse of Capastrano, McCulley reissued his novel under the same name as the silent film: The Mark of Zorro.
It’s easy to see why this book became a blockbuster film; it’s full of action, humor, romance, and plot twists. McCulley has a great sense of pacing, building up suspense and taking Zorro from scene to scene with great efficiency. Each short chapter ends with a mini-cliffhanger. Many of the supporting characters are one-dimensional, but I was happily surprised to find the main female character, Lolita, to be a self-reliant woman with a brain, rather than a damsel in distress.The Curse of Capastrano is a great short action-adventure book, perfect for putting a little pep in your morning commute or gym routine.
The reader: Barry Eads does a terrific job with this narration. There are a number of speaking characters in this book, and Eads does a distinct voice for each one, making it easy to figure out who is talking. Even his female voices are believable. He varies the pacing and tone of his narration to keep up with the changes in action, making it easier to follow Zorro’s spectacular feats. The only fault I could find is that Eads tends to mispronounce some of the many Spanish words, but if you’re not a Spanish speaker, you will have no problem with this.
Posted by Seth