Book Reviews

Passenger 23 – Audible Book Review


Passenger 23 – Audible Review by Patrick V.

Passenger 23 by Sebastian Fitzek
Narrated by Max Beesley, Rebecca Hall, Anthony Head, Robert Glenister, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Sian Phillips

Warning: If you’re planning on taking that cruise of a lifetime this is probably NOT the audiobook you should bring along with you!

Audible has released a dramatised reading of Sebastian Fitzec’s latest novel, Passenger 23, set on board the luxury cruise ship, Sultan of the Seas. It is a dark tale of kidnapping, incest and paedophilia by one of Germany’s leading writers of psychological thrillers. Fitzec has already sold 11 million copies of his novels worldwide, five of his novels are available in English (two of which are already available as dramatised Audible books) and one of them, The Child, was filmed in 2012 by Hungarian director, Zoltan Bacs.


Sebastian Fitzek, says of Passenger 23 “Every year cruise ship passengers disappear without a trace.  Shipping companies claim, almost reflexively, that these are suicide cases, but many people have legitimate doubts about the validity of this – to the point where there are now law firms in the United States that specialize in this area. During my research I realized that cruise ships actually provide the backdrop for a perfect crime – a place with no police; surrounded by ocean – where evidence can disappear forever; but it’s also a world populated by ambitious people, keen to preserve the glossy image associated with luxury liners”.

At the centre of Fitzac’s novel is Martin Schwartz, a police psychologist, whose wife and son disappeared five years before during a vacation on the Sultan of the Seas. Since then, Martin has  tried to sublimate his pain by undertaking the most dangerous operations as an undercover agent. During one of his more sordid assignments, a mysterious phone call tells him that if he comes aboard the Sultan he might well find evidence of what happened to his family.

What follows is a fast paced action thriller with more twists and turns than a corkscrew. Nothing is as it first seems and after much physical and mental trauma Martin comes comes to a realisation of what he is dealing with. An epilogue, which comes after the credits, ties up some loose ends but leaves us still wondering what happened next.

The reader, Robert Glenister, sounds perhaps a little too refined for the gritty and often nasty story he has to tell. In the dramatised parts, Martin is very well played by Max Beesley (Homeland, Mad Dogs) and the cast includes Rebecca Hall, Sian Phillips and  Tracy-Ann Oberman (who was nominated for the Bitch of the Year award in 2006 for her role in Eastenders!). The sound quality is excellent though the actual sounds effects used are perhaps superfluous and add little to the story.

This is not a book for the faint hearted with some gruesome passages and shocking revelations but if you are looking for an unusual and action packed book to listen to, this certainly fits the bill. However, not at bedtime! And if you DO go on that cruise make sure you avoid Deck 8 and a half!

The audiobook lasts 8h 8 mins and is available from



Categories: Book Reviews, Books, Header

2 replies »

  1. As someone who’s terrified of the open sea I think I’ll give it a pass. But it does sound really tempting!!!!

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