New York Times best-selling novelist Nora Roberts captivates millions of fans with her provocative blend of scorching passion and chilling suspense. With Carnal Innocence, she creates a gripping tale of murder, infatuation, and true love in a small southern town. After beautiful concert violinist Caroline Waverly breaks up with her conductor and lover Luis, she escapes to her late grandmother’s home in Innocence, Mississippi. Instead of peace and tranquility, however, she finds the town torn with suspicion over two brutal murders. When she discovers a third victim in the murky waters behind her house, she turns to her dangerously handsome neighbor, Tucker Longstreet, for protection. But Tucker has a reputation for breaking hearts - even worse, the police count him their number one suspect.
You’ll want to lean back in your easy chair and let Nora Robert’s steamy prose and Tom Stechschulte’s stirring interpretation transport you to Innocence where the nights are filled with promise and secrets are hard to keep.
©1991 Nora Roberts (P)1999 Recorded Books, LLC
I REALLY did NOT want or expect to like this book. First, there was the salacious title; and that and the summary sounded like so many "romance" novels masquerading as mysteries or thrillers with the romance and hot steamy scenes far outweighing the thin and predictable "mystery".
When I first heard the drawling stereotypical Delta characters, I just knew I had made a big mistake getting this book. Boy, was I in for a surprise. This is one of those books that could not possibly be enjoyed in book form as much as in the hands of such a talented narrator. This narrator absolutely nailed the southern dialect! And he perfectly distinguished the women from the men--there was never any question. No one was made a ridiculous stereotype by the author or narrator. Of course, the author wrote the words, but unless they were drawled just right--it wouldn't have hit its mark. I have friends who have such an unusual (to me) accent and way of expressing themselves, and find it is almost like a different language--quite lovely when you stop to really listen. That and the manners and mannerisms that are peculiar to that region were flawlessly characterized.
It seemed like a generic boiler-plate plot at first--cultured city girl moves to the boonies where she is culture-shocked and infuriated by the locals, particularly the outspoken handsome landowner. Naturally, you know they will get together; but that is only a minor part of this long 3-part story. The culture clash is significant, and the love scenes steamy, but not dominant. The mystery just keeps evolving. Then, when you think it is formulaically a foregone conclusion, it isn't. It just keeps disorienting the listener so that you are never really sure who is "good" and who is "bad". Or, more to the point, it is not predictable.
Having grown up on Agatha Christie, I got pretty good at predicting the culprit early on in modern mysteries, and always felt cheated when I did. They were just rehashing old and overused plot lines rather than thinking outside the box.
I have not read much that I can remember by this author before, as many female mystery writers never seem to live up to Dame Agatha. But Nora Roberts did an extraordinary job of fleshing out full characterizations for all her characters, injected humor and clever repartee into the dialogues, and didn't "cheat" by pulling the villain out of a hat with no foundation, as would a magician with a rabbit. The clues really are there, but I missed them!
This is an excellent listen, and is essentially irresistible. I look forward to finding more masterpieces from Ms. Roberts.
Better things to do but this is more fun.
More mystery than romance. This is an older Nora Roberts book and it shows its age. Although it's not bad, it's not in the same class as her newer releases. Tucker and Caroline are a southern boy (well, man) and a Yankee raised woman with southern roots. The backdrop to their romance is a serial killer loose in Mississippi. Plus, there's some family drama for both Tucker and Caro (his nickname for her). Not unusual, since what's a romance without tension?
My impression is heavily affected by the narration, which was not a winning performance IMO. Plus, I am a stickler for knowing the age of a book because it sets an expectation (e.g., if you think the book is a fresh release and about a current time, then it feels weird if the details are in the 80s). I looked around on Amazon to find when Carnal Innocence was first released but couldn't find anything older than a few years. Listening to the book, it became clear the book was written in the late 80s or early 90s. While it's true to the time (e.g., no cell phones, only one mention of a desktop computer), it still didn't work well for me. I think it was the performance. God bless the narrator, Tom Stechshulte, but he can't do a female voice without conjuring images of every man-in-drag (think Tootsie and Mrs. Doubtfire). On the other hand, he did a great job with the southern men, and in such a way that you knew exactly who was talking without needing their name. I love a good southern man's accent - there's something about their cadence, their timbre and their speech that just makes me want to cozy up to him. However, Mr S's vocalization of Caro just didn't work and it distracted me every time 'she' opened her mouth.
If you're a diehard NR fan, you'll probably want to read this. If you're a mystery/romance fan, this one will also work. However, I don't recommend the audible.com version - I was driving through west Texas (5 hrs each way) or I would never have finished it. Getting 10 hours into it after that drive, I couldn't not finish it. I definitely won't be listening to it again or reading it in print. I'll also have to hear a sample before listening to another of Mr Stechshulte's work.
After listening to a couple of Roberts' recent efforts, I swore "never again!", but a friend reminded me that we had enjoyed a couple of her books way back in the 90's and I decided to give this a shot.
I think Ms Roberts was a much better storyteller before her name became a commodity. While not a great book,Carnal Innocence is a rollicking story with a cast of eccentric Mississippi characters brought to life by Tom Stechschulte's perfect narration. Yeah, there are plot holes and medical science has changed enough to make certain passages and plot mechanisms ludicrous, but Roberts early easy, breezy storytelling style makes Carnal Innocence wonderful allay to those midwinter blues.
A story with a twist. In other words, I was truly surprised by the ending, I did not see it coming.
My favorite character would have to by Tucker Longstreet. As a Southerner, from a small town, he had a very lay back way of looking at world. He took time to smell the roses. He did not feel that he had to over work himself to get his job or responsibilities done. And, he sure did like the ladies.
All of them. Mr. Stechschulte did a very good job between the male and female characters.
Yes it was. I wanted to know "who done it".
I highly recommend this book. It is a great combination of romance, comedy and murder mystery.
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This voice was not for me. Just could not get into the story.
I am forever a fan of Nora, but this peformance did not grab me into the story.
great story, awesome catacters and the mystery was complete
Narrator was perfect, makes me miss Mississippi
Happiness is a good book!
Out of my paranormal realm and I don't regret it one bit!! I absolutely love this book!! The narrator, the characters and all just dripping in southern charm. Twists & turns I didn't see coming and I'm a tough one to surprise!! Loved it!!!
I enjoyed the book very much. It kept my interest all the way thru. I was surprised at who the killer ended Up being. Magnificent narrator, love his voice!
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