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Cloudland: A Crime Novel | [Joseph Olshan]

Cloudland: A Crime Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (59 )
5 star
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3.0 (51 )
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3.3 (49 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 05-28-12
    glamazon The Coast of Rhode Island 05-28-12 Member Since 2003

    glam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4375
    ratings
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    "Page-turner Upgraded!"

    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.

    28 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kenneth Bowral, Australia 10-30-12
    kenneth Bowral, Australia 10-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "An good mystery- keeps you guessing to the end"
    What made the experience of listening to Cloudland the most enjoyable?

    The way the mystery unfolded - who dunnit


    What did you like best about this story?

    Puzzling which of the FEW seemingly "respectable characters " could be the perpertrator"


    What does Eliza Foss bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If you could take any character from Cloudland out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The person who found the body. she stayed around when most would have run.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 03-19-13
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2010

    Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    247
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    Story
    "Mystery with several twists"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    suzanne Waltham, MA, United States 09-25-12
    suzanne Waltham, MA, United States 09-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    7
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    Story
    "Slow to start"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I eventually became motivated to listen until the end. Slow to start. The mystery held my interest.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Malia LONG BRANCH, NJ, United States 03-21-13
    Malia LONG BRANCH, NJ, United States 03-21-13 Member Since 2011

    Avid reader turned listener.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Please, Please, avoid this book."

    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.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Boerne, TX, United States 03-24-13
    Amazon Customer Boerne, TX, United States 03-24-13 Member Since 2005

    I listen to audiobooks mainly while commuting 90 minutes a day and when walking. Sometimes when knitting.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    3
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    "Pretty good mystery"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carvaleen Gardnerville, NV, United States 03-23-13
    Carvaleen Gardnerville, NV, United States 03-23-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Solidly Good Book"

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Barre, VT, United States 05-22-12
    Kenneth Barre, VT, United States 05-22-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    Story
    "Cloudburst not Cloudland"
    What disappointed you about Cloudland?

    over flowery descriptions, mispronounced words in descriptions, not meaty enough for a crime novel. Wrong narrator for the story.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Too many mispronounced words in descriptions


    What didn’t you like about Eliza Foss’s performance?

    Too many mispronounced words in descriptions, annoying bland performance - mechanical


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    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.


    3 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    antonio genthod, Switzerland 08-04-13
    antonio genthod, Switzerland 08-04-13 Member Since 2011

    A reviewer's got to do what a reviewer's got to do

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written, but is this really a thriller ?"

    Very little happens in this minimalist story. The main characters are not engaging, the plot bland, the end easy to figure out. Too bad, because Olshan knows how to write...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin United States 03-05-13
    Erin United States 03-05-13
    ratings
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    4
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    Overall
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    "Eat-It-Up Mystery, Ham-It-Up Narrator"



    I’d Recommend to: The fella’s sister (a current Vermont resident), my freshman year American lit professors

    My Review:
    In 2012, I discovered I love mysteries/thrillers – anything that’s designed to build suspense. As part of that love, sometimes I find a few bad apples in the mix. Cloudland was, unfortunately, one of those bad apples.

    I guess that’s not completely fair – it’s not bad in the sense that it’s terrible. In fact, it was an okay book. I doubt I will reread it or go for another Olshan anytime soon, but it wasn’t a total dud. The suspense factor was decent, and “twist” was not one I initially predicted. I enjoy when novels (even ones written to do so) surprise me, especially when that surprise absolutely makes sense in the context of the chapters leading to it.

    I enjoyed most of the characters. Catherine’s daughter had a tendency to annoy, but she was still relatable and made rare (but necessary) appearances. Catherine seemed a little out of her element at times, despite being a former “major reporter.” In fact, Catherine came across as loopy and childlike; her phrasing and tone were not helped by the narrator, who really played it up. I found this distracting and irritating, and I almost added this to my DNF list .

    The Bottom Line:
    There’s a nice twist, but you might not want to go down the road leading to it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 13 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • Valerie
    Canterbury, United Kingdom
    7/19/12
    Overall
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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