Cloudland is a stunning literary thriller set in rural Vermont from the much-praised author of Nightswimmer and Clara's Heart.
Once a major reporter for a national newspaper, Catherine Winslow has retreated to the Upper Valley of Vermont to write a household hints column. While out walking during an early spring thaw, Catherine discovers the body of a woman leaning against an apple tree near her house. From the corpse’s pink parka, Winslow recognizes her as the latest victim of a serial killer, a woman reported missing weeks before during a blizzard.
When her neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist, is pulled into the investigation, Catherine begins to discover some unexpected connections to the serial murders. One is that the murders might be based on a rare unfinished Wilkie Collins novel that is missing from her personal library. The other is that her much younger lover from a failed affair has unexpectedly resurfaced and is trying to maneuver his way back into her affections.
Elegant, haunting, and profoundly gripping, Cloudland is an ingenious psychological trap baited with murder, deception, and the intricacies of desire.
©2012 Joseph Olshan (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I enjoyed the combination of the classic "whodunit" with slices of contemporary rural Vermont life. Though the setting is "rural", the characters are really city transplants who bring all their complexities and affectations with them to the small town, which has all the typical gentrified conveniences. Not commenting on said gentrification, because without all the detailed urbanities and allusions to academia serving as an underlayer to a police thriller, the text might be a lot less interesting. The book is a true "page-turner", that's enhanced by a nice rendering of detail, both about the outer and inner landscape.
For me, the only bothersome characteristic seemed to be the lack of backstories for the secondary characters. We know a lot about Catherine, but it seems some of the other people have missing parts to their stories, and a bit more in the way of information as to when and how these people came into Catherine's story would have filled out the narrative a bit. Or, perhaps, as I tend to listen while exercising, I may have missed a sentence or two.
The narration was flawless, even and consistent, and without unnecessary drama. I will check out other work by this author and by this narrator.
The way the mystery unfolded - who dunnit
Puzzling which of the FEW seemingly "respectable characters " could be the perpertrator"
Draws you into the scenes, creating them with her clever intonations,and draws you into every character . For me Its as good as watching a video.
The person who found the body. she stayed around when most would have run.
The story was very cleverly crafted with, for me, a surprize ending. Unnecessary incidental "padding" was nearly always tolerable and did not detract from the story too much.
Have re-discovered "quality time." Evenings listening to good books have replaced mindless tv watching. What a difference!
This was a pretty good book. It got off to kind of a slow start, but then picked up. The way
It was presented, it was easy to consider first one, then another person as the murderer. Interesting ending. However, I didn't feel as though the narration did good justice to the book.
There are several side stories involving the characters, some of which seem to add to the value of the book, others do not. The one that did, in my opinion, was a theme of dealing with domestic abuse, and what would keep a woman connected to someone who has injured her (as, in fact, often does occur). This fits in well with the whole theme of violence that is there in a book of this sort.
One small concern was that toward the end, as the movement toward the climax was taking place, a couple of characters who had played a more prominent role in much of the book just seemed ignored. One wonders what happened with them. But that does not detract from its having had a good ending (in the sense that I,at least, did not figure it out too quickly :-).
It is not the best mystery I have ever read, but overall it's a good read.
I listen to audiobooks mainly while commuting 90 minutes a day and when walking. Sometimes when knitting.
Liked the Vermont setting and the characters. I didn't figure out who the murderer was until fairly far along in the story.
The narrator was using a Northeastern accent (I guess) which was too slow for me (and I live in Texas where people drawl) so I speeded up the narration which helped. Did not like the detailed descriptions of the romance with the student.
I've never read or listened to this author before and I would try another of his books. Would also recommend it to a friend as a better than average mystery novel.
I usually shy away from books, that have consistant 3 star ratings, but after reading a few reader reveiws that I trust, I went with it. And I am so glad I did. I only rated it 4 stars because 5 stars for me is what I consider blockbuster. The character, Katherine, and the story reminded me of Jacqueline Winspear and Louise Penny books. Cloudland is a good mystery that keeps you guessing, has a great narrater, and has characters you would might like to know in real life. I could see a serios here, so I hope the Author gives us more of Katherine and Vermont.
I eventually became motivated to listen until the end. Slow to start. The mystery held my interest.
Avid reader turned listener.
If you like crime novels, then stay far away from this book. It honestly was probably one of the worst in my current audible library, let alone in the vast range of books that I've read throughout my lifetime. The narration is not good, the characters are indistinguishable at times, and the woman's voice was just desperate and awful throughout. The story itself started off somewhat engaging but eventually I found myself thinking, "What is the author's point of including this?" a few different times. Not to mention the anti-climatic ending.
Some of the reviews here were very misleading, but I can only blame myself. Oh well, on to the next.
"Cloudland" rolls along, wispy and slight, well-named. As narrator Eliza Foss's soothing yet crisp voice adds shine to the text, listening is a pleasure, except for a few reservations.
First, a low-ranking assistant professor of English is unlikely to possess a rare 19th-century first edition from a famous writer, but if she did, she would never, ever loan it out to students. It belongs in a climate-controlled cabinet, not in someone's backpack. The don't-believe-it factor is high, and as this rare book is a crucial plot device, its inclusion comes close to ruining the story.
Second, the heroine is homophobic. She's hesitant about her bigotry, but that doesn't cut a lot of ice. Since this is a contemporary story, her reservations about her daughter's partner are tiresome and unlikable.
Third, Joseph Olshan's plot outline is too visible. It's like a hanger for a suit of clothes, instead of bones of a flesh-and-blood story.
All that aside, not bad, and the end is gripping. (P.S. Really liked the pig.)
Catherine Winslow lives in rural Vermont and writes a household hints column. She takes her dogs out for a walk one morning and finds the body of a woman leaning against a tree with Seventh Day Adventist literature in her coat. It has been a cold snowy winter, and the woman, who went missing a few weeks earlier, is very well preserved. Catherine’s neighbor, a forensic psychiatrist, becomes involved. Also, a former lover, a student of hers who is 15 years younger than her, reappears in her life. Her friends argue that she should have nothing to do with him, as when she tried to break off the affair, he had tried to strangle her. And now, the murdered woman is being linked to some other murdered women as well. A federal agent is convinced that Catherine’s former lover, Matthew, is the murderer. She does not want to believe that. In the meantime, she hears that the agent is withholding detailed information from the police, which makes him seem suspicious. And the setup for the murder might have been copied from a rare unfinished Wilkie Collins mystery of which she owned one of the only copies. Lots of suspense and interesting characters, including Catherine’s two dogs and her pot-bellied pig.
over flowery descriptions, mispronounced words in descriptions, not meaty enough for a crime novel. Wrong narrator for the story.
Too many mispronounced words in descriptions
Too many mispronounced words in descriptions, annoying bland performance - mechanical
disappointment in choice of this book. Especially after living in the "Upper Valley" not the "River Valley" as the author annoyingly refers it. overall a waste of listening time.
"Passes the time"
This is probably my least favourite audible book so far. I did not care for the narrators style, there were time when the timing was off and jarring. The story lacked freshness and I found myself profoundly out of sympathy with the main character who seemed lacking in adult emotions and more childlike than her daughter. The 'villian' is so heavily signposted that even I had worked out who it was before the denoument.
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