Q & A With Kaleo Griffith, Narrator of The Never Game

Bestselling author Jeffery Deaver’s new suspense series kicks off with The Never Game, a nail-biter of an audiobook with a hero as complex as the mysteries he investigates. We caught up with Audie and Earphone Award-winning narrator Kaleo Griffith—now the voice of Colter Shaw—to get behind the mic and find out more (and also get the scoop on narrator life and inspiration!).

Tell us a little about The Never Game.
Absolutely! The Never Game is the first audiobook in a thrilling and twisty new suspense series written by international bestselling author Jeffery Deaver. Deaver introduces us to a terrific new character, Colter Shaw. Shaw is an itinerant “reward seeker,” someone who helps police and private citizens solve crimes in return for reward money. Shaw takes a job to find a college student that has gone missing in Silicon Valley. When a second victim is kidnapped, he follows the trail into the ruthless billion-dollar video-gaming industry. Shaw knows he’s close to a killer and needs to use all of his skills as a survivalist and tracker to stop a madman from striking again. Along the way we meet a vast array of wonderful, colorful characters that really give the story so much texture and gravitas.

Our theme for the Penguin Random House Audio blog this month is growth. Growing up, did you have a favorite audiobook or book?
I’m not sure when I read Man And Superman by George Bernard Shaw (sometime in high school) but I always loved it, even if it does drone on. John Tanner’s hilarious rage and opposition to all things convention and tradition really stuck with me. This is one of my favorite takeaways: “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” I was lucky enough to eventually step into the role of John Tanner at Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Is there a character or situation that you’ve narrated that you feel contributed to your growth personally or professionally?
I feel that with every book I narrate, I grow. There’s always something that I learn about myself, the topic I’m covering, a better way to work, etc. However, if I had to choose a book that particularly gripped me and maybe even changed me it would be James Hatch’s Touching The Dragon: And Other Techniques For Surviving Life’s Wars. I’ll never know what it’s like to be on a battlefield in war. Inhabiting the persona of James Hatch, a SEAL, and telling his heart-wrenching story in first-person will probably be the closest thing I come to it. Though I’ve always been grateful for our servicemen and servicewomen I came away from this experience—first of all, with a deep respect for Mr. Hatch—but also feeling a deeper connection with military personnel in general.

Related to that, what’s the most challenging character or situation you’ve voiced and why was it a challenge?
I’ll piggy back on the previous answer: James Hatch’s Touching The Dragon: And Other Techniques For Surviving Life’s Wars. It was trying not to be emotional and that could sometimes be a challenge. With such heavy material there were many places on the page where it looked like it could be a place to let go. But that was everywhere. So many terrible things happening all the time, and nobody wants to hear a slobbering idiot talk for 8 hours! So finding the places that were particularly meaningful were the key. And in those few key moments throughout (after finding them) it was important to embrace them.

Did the experience of narrating The Never Game reveal something about you or your work that you didn’t expect? If so, what?
Well, I knew it was going to be fun, but it was really fun! It was true joy bringing all the wonderful characters—unique, quirky, sometimes diabolical, all fascinating—to life. Deaver is such a gifted writer and I’m so lucky to have been able to narrate this.

Kaleo Griffith’s film and television work includes Oliver Stone’s Talk Radio, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Diagnosis X, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and All My Children, among others. Griffith has recorded dozens of audiobooks and numerous commercials and voice-overs.

Listen to a clip of Kaleo Griffith narrating The Never Game:

The Never Game

The first novel in a thrilling new series introducing Colter Shaw. A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker, traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America’s tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry.

“[A] superb series launch from Thriller Award winner Deaver…Fans of twisty suspense that pushes the envelope of plausibility without inviting disbelief will be enthralled.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Want more backstory on Colter Shaw? Listen to a clip of Captivated, the short companion audiobook to The Never Game.

Click here to browse more Jeffery Deaver titles on audio.