• The Beauty of Bucharest

  • A Clean Up Crew Thriller, Book 1
  • By: S.J. Varengo
  • Narrated by: Austenne Grey
  • Length: 6 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What would you do if you found a body in the trunk of your wife’s car?

This is the question facing Dan Porter as he stood in the parking lot and looked down at a man wrapped in clear plastic sheeting...a man with a tidy .38 bullet hole in his forehead. But finding the body is a mere curiosity compared with the twists and turns Dan’s life will take over the next few days.

International intrigue and edge-of-your-seat action abound as Dan and his lovely wife Nicole - who clearly has more than her share of dark secrets - risk their lives to rescue a stunning model and bring down one of the most evil men either of them have had the misfortune to meet.

©2018 S.J. Varengo (P)2021 S.J. Varengo

What listeners say about The Beauty of Bucharest

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Increadible narrator, story needs work...

I could listen to Austenne Grey read pretty much anything. She is really that amazing. I made it to chapter 8 with this story where we find a Smith & Wesson revolver being described as having a "safety lever" and that speed bump was a bit much. The 338 Accuracy International sniper rifle fitting into a gym bag (yes, it has a folding stock but it's still way too long to fit into a gym bag) I did let slide earlier in the story... but the safety on the Smith & Wesson snub revolver put me out of the story. None of this was Austenne's fault but next time I want to hear her work I'll look up another author.

To the author: It's perfectly fine to simply say "snub nosed revolver" and leave it at that if you're not really sure of what you're trying to describe. :)

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting listen

I enjoyed this audio read it’s starts out when Dan finds a body in his wife Nicole’s car. After his shock Dan learns what his wife Nicole really does for her work without giving away to much of the story I will just say Dans comes to terms with Nicole’s line of work and wants to join in to help. I would recommend this audio read

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

midlife changes with a twist or two

I very much enjoyed this one. It was intrigue with a husband and wife duo. But it was more Nicole. She was boss lady status. She handled her business and kept it moving forward. Her husband was business minded and a bit unexpected for me. I was wanting a stronger male counterpart for Nicole. He did somethings that I found might/should have been outside his wheelhouse. Unless we were not seeing all that really was Dan. Only venturing in to more stories will allow for me to formulate a better opinion.

Narrator Austeene Grey was introduced to me with this story and I must say that I enjoyed the introduction. The story a bit predictable, but it was an afternoon of entertainment. I enjoyed see more of the mature adults letting go.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Action-packed thriller with a wonderful narrator

If you're looking for an action-packed thriller with plenty of humor and romance thrown in, The Beauty of Bucharest by S.J. Varengo may be right up your alley. The plot centered around a cute couple with an endearing dynamic. It was interesting to see how both partners coped with the changes in their lives. Their development was as entertaining as their banter. My favorite part of The Beauty of Bucharest was the intense, emotional climax. It delivered a balancing weight that contrasted well with the buoyant humor and romance, which did, at times, get just a little corny.


S.J. Varengo's writing style was, for the most part, wonderfully crisp. I loved the setting and appreciated the amount of research the author put into The Beauty of Bucharest. The technical information on weapons and anatomy he provided here and there was interesting. There were a couple of times when it slowed the story some, but I felt that such information combined with the brief, intriguing descriptions to create a fitting ambiance. The plot was well-crafted, but the characters particularly stood out to me. The protagonists were easy to like, and the antagonists were downright chilling.


Narrator Austenne Grey delivered an immersive performance. I loved her portrayal of each character. Her expertise with various accents especially shined, providing an exceptionally absorbing experience that I wouldn't have had by just reading the book. Though there were a few areas outside of the dialogue that sounded a bit awkward, Austenne Grey was easy to understand, she kept a great pace throughout the reading, and the audio quality was perfect. I would definitely be open to checking out the next book in the Cleanup Crew Thriller series, especially if Austenne Grey returns as narrator.


(This is my honest and unbiased review based on a free audiobook I received as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Northern Lake Audio. I posted this review voluntarily and all opinions within it are my own. I also posted this review on my review site: Kayla C. Reviews.)


Trigger Warning: This is an adult work that contains profanity and themes of human trafficking, homicide, and violence.

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Provided a good experience than a physical book.



Dan, one day find a dead body of a man with a bullet hole in his head, the body covered in plastic in his wife, Niocole’s car trunk.


Dan met his wife when he was once on a business dinner. But never did he knew his wife’s secret. She bore him kids and lived with them for years yet kept this secret hidden.


Finding the body, He goes perplexed and shocked not knowing any of this and hurries to his wife asking so many questions.


Nicol’s is sure now that her secret is out and now is the high time and she should let Dan know of her being a member of clean up crew and everything about it.


It is a mystery, thriller and suspense genre. It is quite suspenseful since the very beginning and the mysteries followed after that. With all the revelation of Nicole’s profession. The plot seemed very interesting to the [point and was undeniably gripping.


The Audiobook was narrated by Austenne Grey.

She is sole narrator of the story.

This is the first time I have heard an audiobook from this narrator and I absolutely loved it. The narrator did properly distinguish between the characters and with a good fluency.


 It felt as though witnessing the plot around me. It narration was very much realistic and was in sync with the plot.


I didn’t find any of the awkward pauses or stumbling during the narration. Hence. I would definitely go for  more of books narrated by Austenne Grey.


The sound quality was a priority as it had good quality voice with absolutely no disturbances.


I had a great experience with such all the sound effects as they enhanced my hearing experience and kept me hooked up to the plot.


It provided a good experience than a physical book because when the narrator spoke of the plot my imagination was all around finding the substances and characters of the plot living around and happening.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Second Honeymoon + Training Day

Nichole and Dan Porter are such a cute couple. He’s a game software designer and she works for a trauma clean up company…. but Dan doesn’t know that Nichole and her coworkers aren’t really cleaning up after suicides and crime scenes. Rather, they are actually responsible for creating some of those crime scenes. Nichole has been a spy and assassin since she was 18. Dan is dumbfounded but he believes his wife is a good person. Indeed, it does appear that Nichole and company are morally-conscientious assassins, only taking out the bad people. We hope. Dan hopes.

So now these two are off to Bucharest where Dan will get to see some of Nichole’s work first hand. Honestly, it was a lot o fun for me as a reader. It was part second honeymoon, part training day. Dan and Nichole get some wholesome kissy face time but there’s also bad guys to dispatch. I loved the combination because there’s plenty of action to keep the pace up but also these little moments of loveydovey connection between are two main characters.

My only little quibble is this nebulous psychic connection between Dan and Nichole. I usually don’t like this type of thing as it allows an easy out if the story writes itself into a corner, and, indeed, that does happen here too. Even with that, I really enjoyed this story. Dan and Nichole get to save the day and while there’s a good amount of justice meted out, there’s still more villains for them to hunt down in future books. 4.5/5 stars.

The Narration: Austenne Grey was a good fit for this story. I really liked her voice for Nichole – definitely feminine but also authoritative and firm when needed. Grey does a great job of putting humor into the character voices in moments of joking. Grey’s masculine voices were believable and I liked her Romanian accent (I’m not familiar with the accent but all the words were pronounced smoothly). The pacing was good and there were no tech issues. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Northern Lake Audio. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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A wonderfully unique story!💜

This was well written with plenty of humor, sarcasm & intrigue. At first I’m thinking this was going to be a romantic comedy but then it quickly escalated into a suspense thriller. A loved going on this journey with a happily married couple as their life is turned upside down, or at least for her husband. This story was an emotional roller coaster with moments of joy, despair and angst. The narration was absolutely brilliant. She did nailed all the characters and did fantastic on the accents.
Very interesting and I highly recommend this book.

Sisters Spotlight 💜