Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004
I pre-ordered this on Audible because I generally enjoy Tanya Huff's books and have been delighted with the narrator chosen for the last audio books of hers I listened to. I probably should have downloaded a sample before committing myself.
To get my biggest complaint out of the way, the narrator was not good at choosing voices for some of the characters. Poor Tomas Hagen sounded like a 12 year old and I winced every time he had direct dialogue. Some of the voices she used for the enemy soldiers were more ridiculous than menacing. She's not an incompetent narrator, but I think some more direction was needed. I can't imagine listening to her read this book more than once.
Tanya Huff writes good fantasy. This particular book has a darker tone than usual. There's a fair amount of graphic violence as you would expect in a book about conquest. The psychological journey that the characters are on is as interesting as the physical one. The final confrontation with the Big Bad seemed a bit anticlimactic though, which is my only real complaint with the writing.
So, I recommend the book but this is one case where I would suggest that the reader would be better off with the paper or electronic version than the audio one.
Pascha, the ghost of a deceased car thief who did not quite make it to the age of 25 before he was murdered, finds himself involved in another case. A young teacher has been kidnapped, the four children in her charge left in comas and Pascha seems to be the only one who cares. Martin, the coroner, is involved with his personal life leaving Pascha in a bit of a bind because he is the only living person that Pascha can communicate with directly.
Not quite the best but still good enough to be quite entertaining. Actually I picked up a copy of the paperback through Vine, then I bought the Kindle download and ended up listening to the Audio version, which I recommend as the best version. Read by MacLeod Andrews who as far as I am concerned is the voice of Pascha, it has good production values and and a nice snarky edge.
The beginning of this book is the 20 year old cold case of the first girlfriend of DC Maeve Kerrigan's obnoxious superior,DI Josh Derwent. Maeve is a character I know well from the previous three books, but Josh is given an interesting background. These characters are all wonderfully tough and interesting. I wouldn't want to work with them but I certainly enjoy reading about them.
Two women have been murdered in their apartments. There were similarities between the murders which suggested that one man was involved, a man that they voluntarily allowed into their homes. Maeve becomes involved into the investigation into the murders, trapped between her charismatic, brilliant boss, the surprisingly sympathetic (at times) Dewent and the abrasive female DI, who is Dewent's senior.
I was almost becoming afraid that Audible was not picking up this type of police procedural, so it was with relief that I found myself so wrapped up in listening to this one. It did not keep me up all night, but I did become annoyed when I had to shut my audio off and attend to someone else.
High marks for the narrator as well. All in all an enjoyable package for those who enjoy a bit of grit with their suspense.
Scott McGarth, a journalist on the downside of his career, becomes obsessed with the death of the daughter of a cult film maker, Stanislas Cordova - a man who hasn't been seen in public for more than thirty years.
This is a book with wheels within wheels. Information frequently is proven to be unreliable. Characters are not what they seem. McGarth's own life spins out of control. I really had a hard time putting the book down.
It probably could have been tightened up, it's a bit long and saggy in the final quarter, but I think it is still worth the read. I think the narrator added to the experience.
Thomas De Quincey, the author of essays Confessions of an English Opium Eater and On Murder Considered As One of the Fine Arts (among others), is one of the main characters in this historical mystery. His youngest daughter, Emily, is another. Late in his career De Quincey and his daughter are living in Edinburgh. He is impecunious and trying to recoup his fortunes by coming to London and doing what is essentially a book tour in which he would go to bookstores and sign copies of his latest book.
Meanwhile a murder has occurred-- in fact several murders. And they appear to be copycats of the famous1811 Ratcliff Highway Murders. These particularly bloody murders inspired De Quincey's essay on Murder. And it seems that De Quincey is being framed for these latter murders.
The author has done quite a good job in recreating the feel of the mid Victorian era. The plot was a bit sloppy in places, but I still thoroughly enjoyed listening to the book. The narrator was quite good as well. I particularly enjoyed the character of Emily De Quincey.
If you know anything about the life of Lisbet Borden after the conclusion of her famous trial, forget it. The chronology of events in this book (set in 1894) is about 10 years off and, yes, that really bugged me. However the events as reimagined by Cherie Priest including Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos in part, fit well into the overall facts..
Maplecroft is the name of the house that Lisbet and Emma Borden moved to after the younger sister was acquitted of the murder of their father and step-mother. It is a fact that they both were very concerned about their personal safety. There's nothing really startling in this novel although Priest does provide some descriptive details. There is very good use made of Lizzy Borden's axe.
I do regret having listened to this on audio though instead of reading it. I don't think that Johanna Parker's voice (which worked very well in my opinion in her reading of the Sookie Stackhouse books) was particularly affective in this book. Her accent sounded "off" for the time and place. Roger Wayne's voice also seemed a little too light and young for the characters he was reading. Some more character in his voice would have been improved things a great deal, especially in reading the parts attributed to the 60ish year old Dr Seabury.
If you are inclined that way and know a bit about the Weird Tales background, the book does provide some fun hunt-the-reference moments.
The narrator, Justine Eyre, uses an odd sort of breathy voice style that did very little for me in terms of overcoming the faults of the book, but I did not find it prevented me from listening to the book.
A man is stabbed in the chest when he enters a women's shelter where his wife is staying. One of the two detectives who arrive shortly after on an unrelated case is able to save the man's life and he is taken to the hospital for further treatment. His wife, who stabbed him, is also transported to the same hospital for treatment.
In this book the detectives are asked to examine their assumptions about abusers and their victims. It's interesting at the start and at the end, but in the middle there is an episode of torture that was essentially tedious. It could have been powerful, but just went on too long. Sometimes less is more.
I gave up about 8 chapters into this book. By that time I was bored with all of her characters. They were all stereotypes from the villainous property owner/ crime boss, to his vapid clotheshorse of an adulterous wife, to the spoiled, foul mouthed daughter. Then there was DS Allie Shenton who started out pretty interesting until I realized that her initial stumble because she was wearing high heels meant that I was going to have to listen to descriptions of her trying on clothes rather than doing much policing. Oh, and she is having lustful thoughts about the villainous property owner/crime boss.
By the time I gave up, about an hour and a half into the book, there had also been six or seven sexual encounters of a rather dull and distasteful nature between various characters. I could have accepted that maybe this was some sort of an erotic mystery if the sex scenes had been more artfully done (and if there had been more than a hint that there was going to be an actual mystery). Oh, yes, and if they had been erotic.
I couldn't ding the narrator too, hard given that she didn't have much to work with. I am so thankful that this was part of the Kindle Unlimited program because I didn't have to feel bad about giving up on this book and going on to something more entertaining.
This book is set in 1997, which could have been made clearer at the beginning. I kept wandering why no one, not even the police, had a cell phone and why there was smoke in enclosed work areas such a pubs and police stations, not to mention a reference to an IRA bombing in the recent past. Come to think of it, I had a Motorola flip phone in 1997 so I still don't know why at least the police didn't have them.
Anyway a Constable of the RMCP, Danutia Dranchuk is seconded to the Peak district in the United Kingdom to learn about community policing. She attends the funeral of the mother of a friend she met in Canada when investigating another murder and learns that her friend has some concerns about whether his mother's death had been caused by some action or inaction of someone in the village. He wants her to take a look at some scrapbooks his mother had kept to try to help him figure out what was going on. There's a Well Dressing going on and a dispute between the rather conservative Vicar and some members of a alternative healing/WICCA group.
There's quite a bit of confusion as Danutia and her friend Arthur keep missing opportunities to look at the scrap books together until about 40% in on the Kindle book when Danutia and Arthur are involved in a car wreck. Arthur had also been a jerk about wearing a seatbelt and ends up with injuries. Danutia has the car examined and learns that the brake line was cut causing the accident.
Meanwhile there is some ritual sheep mutilations and a few break-ins with stolen spoons and Toby Jugs.
There's a bit of excitement toward the end, but the conclusion is a bit weak. I didn't particularly care for the characters either.
The narrator wasn't horrible but I think I have run into her before. She does not do children well, giving the younger boy some sort of pinched, lispy annoying voice.
AND POSSIBLE SPOILER---
DON'T READ BELOW THIS LINE IF YOU CARE
The is also one of my least favorite tropes in this book-- A character gets a bit tipsy and has unprotected sex and then thinks she has the flu because she is throwing up so often and even the thought of food makes her feel ill. Then after she figures it out every time she does anything active she worries about losing the baby.
And the take away from the book? Don't force your child to do necropsies, it can turn him or her into a psychopath.
The author has apparently created a new genre of Scandinavian crime fiction called Elegant Crime. It supposedly is a combination of chic lit and mystery called Elegant Crime. Half of the characters are upper income types, half are not. But they are all brought together by one obsession-- food. At first I thought it was just local color, a chance to read about snacking life in Stockholm, then it began to intrude into the story-- big plates of food. And it became clear that the good guys in the social sense (not in the criminal sense) give and share food, the disagreeable character reject the offer of food. Many cups of coffee and cinnamon buns are consumed.
Mystery? Oh, there was a mystery in there? Yes, there was. A young girl is found dead under and upturned boat and a man is run over in the street. There seems to be some connection to a lifestyle cult but that's not important. Instead let me tell you about some delectable white chocolates that the heroine consumed before having sex with an old friend.
No, I don't think I would read another book by this author. I'm not sure why the obsession with food but it sure wasn't interesting.
Detective Stephen Moran has been brought a card relating to the death of a teenaged boy at a posh school for girls. Moran is on the Cold Case Squad, but he really wants to be on the Murder Squad and he thinks that this high profile, unsolved case may be his ticket. The former lead on the case is a woman whose partner has retired and who has some problems with the other men on the Squad so she needs a big solve. All of the current action in the case takes place within one day as Moran and Detective Conway question the girls at St. Kilda's about the death of Chris Harper. However this investigation is interleaved with the back story of the months leading up to Harper's death.
This is one of my favorite types of genre novels. It can be read as a straight mystery with pleasure-- French also provides a satisfying conclusion (which she hasn't always done in the past) although all of the events that happen to the girls at St. Kilda's are not given a rational explanation. However, the book is enriched with references to both classical and christian mythology. Further there is a Appollonian versus Dionysian tension that has made me ruminate about the plot and characters even after I reached the end.
Th e performance was pitch perfect with two excellent readers.
I bounced between a 4 and a 5 on this book but finally settled on a five. It problems should be 4 1/2 but we don't get to give half stars. There was one section near the end that I though could have been shortened but the narrators pulled it through.
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