If I had never experienced The Red Tent, I might have liked this book better. It was an okay book with okay characters and okay narration, but I really wanted something as beautiful and engaging as the first book I read (listened to)by this author. The Red Tent was one in a million, but The Last Days of Dog Town was just. . .okay.
First, if you listened to the first book in this series and couldn't stand the narrator, rest assured that this one is better, although she seems to think that every person south of the Mason-Dixon Line speaks with a grating, backwoodsy twang.
Second, if you're looking for Emily Deschanel's Tempe Brennan, you are not going to find her here. However, if you can let go of what you know from the TV show and just accept that this Tempe is different, you might end up liking her in a different way.
Now, what I think of the story:
It had an interesting and compelling premise (religious movement/cult stuff), and it had mostly interesting forensics, anthropology, and sociology background stuff and information, although sometimes this information was dry, and it was often inserted in awkward, unnatural sounding conversations between characters. The biggest problem I had with the story was the over-the-top, unlikely, wholly improbable coincidences and chance timings of certain events and connections that took place throughout the entire story. I certainly don't want to give anything away, but really, the way events and people from Texas to Montreal to SC to NC crossed paths and linked up was SO far-fetched, the entire work lost credibility. I often have to suspend my disbelief in crime/mystery/suspense books, but this pushed the limit. Also, I read (listened to) Book 1 and Book 2 in quick succession--both had a flighty woman whom Tempe cared about who went missing, and in both books, the climactic scenes took place during a weather event--seems trite and cliche in one book, let alone two ("It was a dark and stormy night...").
I do like Tempe's character, and I feel like her occupation lends some real potential to future story lines, but I'm not going to continue with this series for awhile.
This book has outstanding narration and is well-written in terms of vocabulary, descriptions, sentence structure, etc. However, the far-fetched premise of the story and the unlikely characters made it difficult to take the book seriously. I liked the character of Cassie enough from the first book to see this one through to the end, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it.
Slow moving and not a very interesting story for a murder mystery. Some characters had potential to be likable and interesting, but their development never really got going. The narration was odd--slow and meticulous--reminded me of someone reading a story on an educational children's show on PBS.
I had to stop listening and will need to get this book in print in order to finish it. The narrator's "upspeak", as another reviewer aptly described the way she ends EVERY sentence with a melodramatic upward lilt, is beyond irritating, as is her voice for Maggie (main character) and her voices for German speaking characters. I really enjoyed the first book in this series (different narrator) and feel as though I'd enjoy the story of the second one, but I can not listen to another minute of it. I'm very disappointed.
Don't want to spoil anything, but I found the "through the woods" part long and tedious. Still recommend the book, as it fits with the previous books and lays groundwork for the fourth, I just didn't enjoy it as much as the first two in the series.
Very predictable--knew the culprit and her/his unlikely and uncompelling motive VERY early on. Weird, underdeveloped characters--"weird" as in "awkward and unlikable", not as in "quirky and interesting". Flat narration. I don't recommend this book at all.
This series was recommended to me because I liked the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. Aside from the fact that the time and setting of the two series are the same (post WWI, England), they are very different in terms of characters and story lines; I enjoyed this series in a much different way. The stories are formulaic and predictable, but fun and enjoyable in that "cozy mystery" sort of way. I loved the quirky cast of characters that showed up in all the books (I even have a crush on Darcy O'Mara). Katherine Kellgren is a joy to listen to--her delivery, different character voices, and different accents were superb.
This book is labeled as "Young Adult Fiction", but other than the fact that the main characters are "young adults", I can't understand why someone would put such a limiting label on such a wonderfully written, amazing story. I highly recommend it to both young adults and not-so-young adults. Beware, though, that this is an INTENSE listen (and read, I assume)!
Ugh. "Bodice-Ripper" is an apt description. There are parts of the story I'm interested in, like does she ever make it back to her time, and, is there an explanation of the time travel, but I won't ever find out unless someone else fills me in. After 12 hours of Harlequin-style "romance", I am DONE.
Good narrator, though.
One of the most poorly written books I've ever read/listened to. Full of holes, short on important details, completely unbelievable characters and situations, a cop-out ending -- an utter waste of time and a credit. An interesting premise, but very poorly executed.
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