Chesapeake, OH, United States | Member Since 2004
Theo Waitley, the child of two scholars on the matriarchal world of Safe Delgado, finds her life falling apart as her mother decides to leave the genetic scholar Jen Sar's house and move into an apartment in the Wall. Theo does not want to leave Jen Sar's comfortable house and garden. She also does not want to leave her father with who she has an attachment unusual on Delgardo.
However Theo has problems of her own including a notation in her file that she was physically challenged. As a result of this she is frequently in danger of losing status and companionship. It is when her mother's duties as a scholar result in the two of them having to leave Delgardo to allow her mother to investigate a serious breach of scholarship, that Theo starts to understand that there are dangers beyond a bit of clumsiness on a moving sidewalk.
Meanwhile Jen Sar is also pursuing his own path.
And Theo's all important fifteenth birthday is approaching.
I ended up thinking that this first volume in Theo's story is one that reminded me of the best of Robert Heinlein or Andre Norton's juveniles.
The narration is truly excellent. I think I enjoyed listening to Eileen Stevens read the book more than I enjoyed reading it myself. One of my tests for excellence of narration is to try to read a chapter without hearing the voice of the narrator in my head. If I cannot put aside the voice of the narrator then I know I have had a great listening experience.
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.
A student is knifed in the library of a University in Ottawa. Did it happen because of his love life, his role in the investigation of a possible research scandal or due to his family's circumstances.
I thought the mystery and the investigation were fairly strong and entertaining. The bits that I found maddening involved the characterization and the backstory of Inspector Green and the other detectives. I don't have to have likeable and moral characters in the mysteries I read, in fact the ones I enjoy the most involve shades of gray. Inspector Green however almost seems to have been done by the numbers: Obsessed investigator-- check. Marriage in trouble-- check. Father dying-- check. New baby-- check. He was a total jerk to his wife and she wasn't a strong enough character to stand up to him in any meaningful way. I was rooting for her to dump him by the time the book ended.
The author has written more in this series so I will maybe dip into a later book to see if I'm still as annoyed by Inspector Green's family life as I was in this one. There's potential if the author could just find the right balance.
The narrator didn't really add anything to the book. Competent but uninspiring.
Dr Siri Paiboun became Coroner more or less by default. He is 72 years old and had spent most of his earlier years as a doctor treating soldiers injured in the struggle for Communism to take over the government. Now it has succeeded and the worker's utopia has been deserted for the most part by the wealthy and educated class. He has an antique microscope, a few chemicals, and a camera that has a very strictly limited amount of film that his investigations must share with the social events of the nurses. There's a government spy installed behind his mortuary who complains about the smell of the corpses and mystical experiences that interrupts his nights.
The reader was very good and I quite enjoyed listening to this book with it's convoluted plot and interesting background.
Lacey has given up her career as a high flyer in CID and joined the Thames River Police. She's living an a boat moored to a Marina. But she does not stay away from high risk behavior, and this also causes her to find the body of a young woman wrapped in a linen shroud and tangled in some pilings. But this isn't the only body that has been discovered and Lacey is drawn into the investigation on a semi-official basis.
After this exciting start, though, things get a bit slow and I'm not the secondary plot about Mark Joesbury doesn't really seem to contribute to the main story. The situation picks up again with some harrowing story telling near the end, but there is definitely a mid book slump.
I fell in love with Sharon (S. J.) Bolton's audio books 3 or 4 years ago. The major problem was that they were only available in audio in the UK. So every so often I would drop an email to Audible suggesting that they look into bringing her to the US site. I was delighted to see this book when I was browsing the new releases and immediately bought it.
Only unfortunately it is not her best work and it's the fourth book into the Lacy Flint series which means some readers are going to be a bit confused. And frankly the way that the first few chapters bounce around in time made it a bit confusing to me at times.
Lacey has a very complicated and interesting back story. If the reader hasn't read at least the first two books then the visit to the prison and the relationship with Mark Joesbury are kind of floating out there, along with several cryptic comments about Lacey by other characters in the book. In her prior books in this series Bolton managed to control her story to the point that each would novel work as a stand alone. In this case I don't think she handles it as well.
So now Audible, can you please try to get audio rights to retail Bolton's other books? I would buy copies from you, I promise.
I had known that this was originally sold on Amazon as part of their serial program. I wasn't interested because I don't like getting stories in dibs and dabs. I want it all at once. So when I saw the Audible version at a good price I bought it. (Hope no one in marketing decides that the world wants serial Audible books.)
The serial structure though as made this into an episodic story as the author tried to make each segment a satisfying story while encouraging readers to keep going. I'm not sure she was successful with this although I did enjoy listening to the entire book. It just felt a bit choppy and she ended up introducing a potentially important character near the conclusion.
Not my favorite McGuire but worth listening to. Mary Robinette Kowal as usual does an outstanding job with the narration.
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