This was a good Sue Grafton book. I've read all but 1 of them over the years, and found this one to be particularly satisfying. It's what you'd expect from a good Grafton novel, with a little extra thrown in, in my view. I thought the characters were particularly well formed in this book, and enjoyed the relationships that Kinsey formed with the women involved in this small-town mystery.
This was my first listen to books in this series, and it has turned out to be my favorite. The story is downright fascinating when compared with the others, although it's pretty tame and gives a grotesquely quaint view (at times) of a very sickening crime that occurred far too often. I don't think I even want to feel burlap again, never mind smell it. I've been listening to "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, and for those of you who've read them and this book, you'll appreciate my desire to see Lisbeth Salander come to Stovey Woods (excuse all typos -- typing from memory only).
I've listened to 3 stories by this author, and this was in the middle in terms of my pleasure in it. The story itself is fairly tame, with a mystery that's interesting without being compelling. I enjoyed getting to know some of the characters. I have problems with this narrator -- find the voice hard to follow, and a bit too distracting, and I didn't care for her accent when reading the villain's parts.
I really disliked the narrator's voice in this recording, and it seriously affected my view of the book. Despite the fact that I found the voice grating, I listened to the end, because the story was engrossing and gave a glimpse of life at a time that I remembered from my youth. While the main character wasn't someone I could relate to, I enjoyed following her progression through life, and found myself wanting to know more about her later life. She wasn't as interesting early on and was often trite and lacked depth. On a final, and maybe trivial, note: I strongly disliked the moody musical accompaniment to the concluding sentences of the story -- way too intrusive for me, made me feel manipulated, like I'd watched a Hallmark movie. I'd prefer just the writer's words, and nothing but the words.
I reviewed the last of these books first, which was a tactical error on my part since I spent much of my enthusiasm in that review. Suffice it say here that I really liked the 3 "Girl" books by this author. I gave the last 5 stars, and will do the same for the first in a few minutes, but gave this book 4 only because it was a bit less excellent in relation to the other 2. That's largely because its ending wasn't as satisfying as the others' -- almost as though someone decided, "Let's cut this here, and begin part 3 now" -- which may be what happened given this book's somewhat unique author history. In conclusion, listen to this book -- if only because you need to in order to get from Part 1 to Part 3, but also because it's a good read.
In fairness to this book, let me say that I'm writing this awhile after listening to it. I recall that I didn't care for the story much, that it was too difficult to follow and nearly always not very interesting. I disliked the sections of the book that were told in the cat/dog voice -- it really seemed silly, but I found myself wondering if I was becoming too jaded in my middle age. The narrator, who I believe is the same as in another recording of a book by this same author, is hard to follow at times and somehow irritating. All this being said, I listened to the book till the end -- in fact, I seem to recall that the story picked up in terms of interest and focus as it reached its conclusion. I also hope to never read another book about designer shoes -- a topic in which I have absolutely no interest.
I've listened to all 3 of the books in this series and have enjoyed each one, with this last being my favorite -- a very satisfying end to the story. From the narration perspective, the reading is in the same vein as the previous 2 books. With book 1 I sometimes found myself groaning a bit at the narrator's voices, but any objections faded over time, and by the end they were old friends. The story is very compelling on many levels -- a little gruesome at times, but unfortunately, no more so than the nightly news.
I'll preface this review by saying that I'm relatively new to audiobooks, and prefer reading to listening, especially since I usually listen when I'm commuting to work. I enjoyed this book, although I don't care for "staged" readings, but prefer instead to imagine characters' voices. The narrators in this book were very good, though, and I didn't find them at all distracting or out of agreement with my own sense of the voices. The book itself is terrific, with wonderful writing and a story that keeps you moving toward the end. I'd like to read the hard copy some day, though -- I found myself wanting to go back and pick up threads and view the events and characters in light of one another.
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