Glen Gardner, NJ, United States | Member Since 2014
I only give low performance marks if something about the performance makes it hard for me to enjoy the book. I actually like Charleson's voice, a dramatic whisper, and it is great for dramatic and serious moments. But she talks like that all the time even when describing at length how dogs receive a treat. But the real reason for the low mark is that the whispering made it hard to hear when listening in the car on my GPS.That aside I did like the book, and I am a cat person rather than a dog person, but the stories of the dogs in this book were very moving. Also liked the educational aspects of the rules for service dogs and the different tasks they do and how they are trained. I was hoping we might get some details about how a service dog is used for a child with autism but we didn't, but that is just because I am an autism mom so I would have found that interesting. Mostly, we see a lot of OCD. The book did drag a little at points though. I was pleased we didn't go into detail on any animal cruelty. I liked how Charleson brought us up to date on various characters at the end. Good wrap up.
While perhaps not earth shattering in its content, I did find this book interesting. One thing I particularly liked was as I listened a question would occur to me and it seemed every time I wondered something I found that whatever I was wondering about (theory of causation, or brain differences, or relation to attachment disorder) was the next thing to be addressed. The book starts with a discussion of the prevalence of sociopaths in society, and the 1 in 25 people statistic explained a lot of what happens in the world. As the author first discusses and portrays sociopaths, I was a little concerned that given the nature of the behavior of stereotypical sociopaths that I was in for an upsetting read. However with the exception of one episode which was unfortunate for bullfrogs, the book is safe even for the tenderhearted. I think the author did a great job showing different types of sociopaths outside the stereotype, and i like that while starting on a scarier note that the book ended in a more positive way. Really enjoyed the narrator - she really brought the characters to life. Her Doreen Littlefield in particular was perfect.
A lot of reviewers were very annoyed by this book and the sheer number of stupid things Mattie manages to do in it. I agree it is frustrating behavior for someone we have been regarding as a smart woman. Also, I agree with others who say the amount of disasters in the book is really over the top. It reads more like an action movie that a mystery. But I certainly did enjoy parts very much. The Mattie and Hurley build up is a lot of fun, and there is a scene with a drunken Mattie that was priceless, despite the fact that the narrator is really bad at drunk voices. And if the book hasn't driven you mad by the end there is the up and down of the cliffhanger ending that had me starting the next book within five minutes of this one. But since this is a mystery I should say something about the mystery part. There are two deaths being investigated in the book, and I have to say I am not sure what the author was thinking with the secondary death. It was a downer and didn't showcase anything good about Mattie and Hurley (who I notice both seem to like to play bad cop and feel ok bullying anyone involved in any capacity with a suspicious death). The main mystery was better. Book definitely kept my interest throughout.
I have become attached to Mattie and the characters in this series, so my standards aren't super high with the mysteries. However, this was definitely not a favorite for a couple of reasons. The mystery was set in a nursing home and I don't really care for the portrayal of old folks in this book. They are mostly played crudely and for laughs. I have never found the character of the sex starved old lady who is supposed to be funny/repulsive to be amusing. I gather plenty of people do find that funny since this author certainly isn't the only one to put in such characters for humor. It seems especially off when they are also trying to make statements about the value of life. That wasn't a big deal though. What I found weak about the mystery was that no one ever solves it. They investigate but really nothing gets accomplished until the killer basically comes forward. I prefer my detectives to actually solve the mystery not just work on it until it blows up in their face. Still, I enjoyed Mattie and Hurley. I was surprised by how quickly they fell back in together after the cliffhanger ending of the last book. Although there are some things left up in the end at the end of this one, Mattie seems in a better place in her life than usual. I wish the next one was available on Audible!
In the last book the narrator suddenly changed the voices of two characters which was really annoying. In this book, one of them, Skye's mother May, sounds normal again. Thank goodness for that since she has a prominent role in this book. In fact I would say there is way too much May in this book. Bunny still doesn't sound right. The book centers around a cooking contest, which gives us that good small town atmosphere. As usual the victim is a snooty, insulting woman. There is a secondary mystery of a missing teen. I enjoyed the mysteries well enough but I have to say that some of the characters were not strongly drawn enough that I necessarily could tell them apart. That was inconvenient when some of them were suspects. I was very happy to see more maturity from Skye in this book, she was less reckless and at one point I was sure she was going to do something very stupid, and she didn't do it! So I was all around satisfied with this installment and ready for the next.
I have been enjoying this series because I enjoy the characters particularly Mattie and Hurley, and Mattie makes me chuckle. In the first two books, the mysteries were perhaps not that well developed. In this book we move on to a much more complicated mystery which plays a bigger role in the book. I considered that a plus and I even listened up to 5 hours in one day to have it resolved. Also, I did not solve this one. That said though, I found the lack of romantic progress disappointing. In fact the developing romance has gone backwards instead of forward in this book. But I will definitely go on to the next one to see if it gets back on track! It's the same narrator as previous books and I really like her as Mattie but she does sometimes mispronounce words.
I am really enjoying this series. Unlike some other listeners I have no problem with the narrator. I find her voice fits the characters, even if she does occasionally use a pronunciation that seems off to me. Unlike the first book, I did not guess the ending in this one. I think this is going to be one of those series though that I enjoy the characters so much that I feel no need to over analyze the mystery. Mattie makes me chuckle. If you liked book one you will like this one. All the things you could dislike about it (like Mattie's klutziness, or the crude sexual innuendo) were part of book one as well. They did not bother me. There was one character who got a little tiresome in this one for me, an elderly man with dawning dementia and a catheter problem, but I can over look that since I enjoy Mattie and Hurley and Izzy and the pets enough.
I actually had this audiobook for ages before I listened to it. I was one of the many people totally fascinated by Jaycee's story in the news. I just wasn't sure I could actually handle listening to the abuse that she had suffered. My main area of interest was in what happened when she returned to her family though and this seemed to be the only source for that info. I finally listened to it and I have to say that it wasn't as hard to hear as I thought. I hate rape scenes, even in fiction, and dreaded that in this book. Jaycee manages to communicate the facts of her abuse without dwelling on the suffering and she explains the pattern of abuse in detail basically just once. The reader understands what happened without having to keep reliving it. I thought it was very well done. Some reviewers are critical of Jaycee's narration. I rather liked it. She sounds very young which works well when discussing her early days. There is also a flat, reading quality to what she is saying that makes it less emotionally charged and easier to listen too. I really think this was preferable to some narrator dramatizing the material. What happened was drama enough. As with anything that makes headlines, you tend to think that you already know a lot of the story. I confess to being surprised at how Jaycee came to tell the officers who she was. I had the impression from the news that once she was alone with officers she seized the day to reclaim her identity. Actually, they really had to pull it out of her. She does go into a lot of detail on her therapy after the reunion wit her mom. I would have really liked to hear what her mom was thinking at certain points but I guess that is a different book. I found the book a quick and compelling read that is hard to assign a starred value to.
I am not sure why I see complaints about the narrator. I liked her quite a bit. I felt like she was Mattie and that Mattie was a very likable character. For a good chunk of the mystery I did not know who did it though I did guess before the end. I also found myself laughing at times at Mattie's antics. Basically I found this to be a fun, light mystery. I did think the sexual references were a bit much. They weren't offensive or anything just Mattie spends a lot more time thinking about the hunky detectives private parts than you might think the state of her life calls for. And of course when she is in the middle of doing her laundry and has to run out without a bra on, it doesn't take a genius to know what's going to happen. Still, it was a light fun mystery, and there's even a cat (always a plus to me). I will definitely get the next in the series.
I normally wouldn't stop reading a book and then review it but I am making an exception here. I want to review it so other people know what I know but I didn't want to spend any more of my life listening to it when there are so many other books. I should listen to samples before buying books too so at least I would have known about the really strong theatrical English accent the narrator uses. I am not a big fan of narrators with accents but sometimes they are OK. This one I found made it hard to understand what was being said. Between the accent and the slang I got lost a lot, and add on to that the content which involves a lot of stream of consciousness and cutesy word play, I have never listened to a book so poorly suited to be an audiobook. If you like these sorts of very British books with clever wording and stories of lives of quiet desperation, maybe this is your book. BUT I suggest you read it rather than listen to it. I am not sure why I picked this out in the first place - something in the description caught my interest but I think I will avoid books like this in the future. The last straw for me was a scene where a man was walking through a park (that much I got) and I thought he was talking to his mother, then he seemed to be talking to his dead father but I wasn't really sure, and I could never tell which comments were said aloud and which just thought. If you can't tell whether someone is talking to themselves, or a live person, or a dead person, I think it is time to move on to a different book. So I will.
Basically I like all the Scumble River mysteries. I very much enjoyed finally seeing some progress in Skye's love life too. The mystery was ok but I confess to enjoying the characters as the primary attraction. So that may be why it bothered me that although most of the voices have not changed, May and Bunny sounded totally different. Was so weird after getting used to everyone to hear Skye sound like she always did than her mother suddenly sound completely unlike herself. I think the previous voices were much better. I hope this resolves by the next book. The story line being set in a spa gives lots of opportunities for various comments to be made about Skye's weight, appearance etc. I confess to be a bit bored having to dwell on her chubbiness all the time. I also remember Skye commenting at some point (might not have been this book) about eating healthy despite no longer dieting. Skye does a lot of eating (even when it is forbidden at the spa) and she is always chowing down McDonald's, or piles of meat potatoes and gravy, or bags of candy and chips. I think she's a little deluded. But in the beginning of the book especially I was getting tired of people being so rude to her. Some unresolved threads from previous books do get wrapped up in the one, which is nice. As usual I plan to go on to the next in the series.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.