Fifteen years ago, a murder/suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it. Now hundreds of high school musicians, including quiet bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker and his brassy diva twin, Alice, have gathered in its cavernous, crumbling halls for the annual Statewide festival; the grown-up bridesmaid has returned to face her demons; and a snowstorm is forecast that will trap everyone on the grounds. Then one of the orchestra’s stars disappears—from room 712. Is it a prank, or has murder struck the Bellweather once again?
The search for answers entwines a hilariously eccentric cast of characters—conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. For everyone has come to the Bellweather with a secret, and everyone is haunted.
Full of knowing nods to the shivery pleasures of suspense and the transporting power of music, this is a wholly winning new novel from a writer lauded as “charming” (Los Angeles Times), “witty” (O, The Oprah Magazine), and “whimsical” (People).
©2014 Kate Racculia (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel." (Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore)
As a professional musician, I enjoyed reading a story, and a mystery, that was centered in my universe. The writing is energetic, character-driven, and well-constructed, with believable dialogue and internal subtexts. My high school age musician nephew will especially love it! Kate Racculia captures the spirit of a subject that is obviously hard to write about but that fires us up and even drives our actions. Jessica Almasy's performance delineates the various characters very well (she modulates her voice to sound like a high schooler one moment and an older man the next) and was brightly paced. I highly recommend this entertaining book.
There were good moments and some plot twists that really were surprising, but there were also long passages of character rumination that diluted any suspense. It seemed like the author wasn't sure if this were a thriller/suspense novel or a character drama. It felt like an uneasy mix of both.
A little bit anti climatic.
She was a little bit strident with the character of Alice, but she absolutely NAILED the wicked Viola.
It could be a good movie if the suspense aspect of the story was the focus.
OH MY GOD! I just finished listening to this audiobook. It is amazing. So intricate, funny and enjoyable. I couldn't believe the ending- never saw it coming.
If you love this book I think you would also like author Joshilyn Jackson, especially Gods in Alabama. As for me. I am just about to start Kate's book This Must Be The Place. I can't wait.
I also want to mention that Jessica Almasy is my favorite narrator and her performance is stellar.
On the surface it's a madcap romp with all the elements of a Wes Andersen farce: a haunted hotel, mystery, silliness. But I loved the characters so much and the way the author wrote them really made me care. There were laugh out loud moments and made-me-weepy moments and sometimes moments that made me do both simultaneously. The narrator was great - she captured the energy of the novel perfectly.
I found the story somewhat engaging but I felt this story could have been a Young Adult selection. I found the characters lacked depth they were one dimensional and I found their reaction in the narrative predictable with one or two exceptions. I kept listening to the novel because I wanted to find out how it came out. I had difficulty accepting a family and the 15 year old boy himself maintaining the nick name 'Rabbit' and Bunny. This seemed a stretch and somewhat annoying.
The mystery plot was well crafted even though the end was tied up a bit too handily. There were interesting characters sprinkled here and there that I did find interesting.
No. I have to say when I first started listening I checked the reading speed thinking it must have been set at 1.5 speed because her voice sounded as though she had inhaled helium. I do not want to come down on a person's voice; it seems a personal attack and I do not mean that at all but I couldn't listen to another book read by her. She did a good job with accents and I do realize she was reading in the characters of adolescents.
I probably would not read/listen to another by this author. I think the question of whether it was worth the listening time a difficult question to answer. Given that I would avoid another narration by Almasy and also not choose another book by Racculia I guess I would have to say no it was not worth the time.
The author gave interesting insights into the arena of youthful musical accomplishments and I found this interesting but truthfully the reader's voice put me off.
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