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Haunted Ground | [Erin Hart]

Haunted Ground

When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery, the perfectly intact body of a young woman with long red hair, archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the body has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia.
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Publisher's Summary

When farmers cutting turf in an Irish peat bog make a grisly discovery, the perfectly intact body of a young woman with long red hair, archaeologist Cormac O'Callaghan and pathologist Nora Gavin are thrown together by their shared scientific interest in human remains. Because of the preservative effect of the bog, it is difficult to tell whether the body has lain there for two decades, two centuries, or two millennia. As they dig into the mystery of the red-haired girl, they are drawn into the two-year-old disappearance of a landowner's wife and young son. The story delves through the many layers of Ireland's turbulent past, tracing the still-visible footprints of fortified tower houses and ancient burial mounds, ever mindful of the eternal, subliminal connections between past and present.

©2003 Erin M. Hart (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc. Published by Arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"In every way, this is a debut to remember." (Booklist)
"In addition to a complex, multilayered plot that involves both contemporary and historical crimes, Hart's novel is rich in local color." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (475 )
5 star
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Overall
3.8 (187 )
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Story
4.0 (189 )
5 star
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4 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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  •  
    Sara USA 08-04-14
    Sara USA 08-04-14

    No plot spoilers

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    "Archeology, Folklore and Mystery in Ireland"

    Overall a beautifully written story about Ireland and Irish history. This is a book that entwines mysteries from both past and present which in the end fit together fairly well. It uses archeology, forensics, history and local lore together nicely.

    However, I can understand the negative reviews that others have written. To me this was related to the lack of a clear voice telling the story. Instead the book was written from a variety of perspectives and this slowed the flow of the story and made the book seem scattered. The disjointed threads at times did not fit together making it difficult to follow a clear path. This wasn't because there was too much information, but instead because there were a few spots where things became implausible. To me, these unbelievable parts distracted from what was an engaging interweaving of past and present in the story.

    Recommended if you don't mind a slower story and are able to overlook a few far fetched bits.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 11-25-03
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 11-25-03
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    "Mysteries old and mysteries new"

    A beautiful weaving of past and present, Erin Hart leads you through several murders, one in present day Ireland and one in 1650's Ireland, and one unresolved one in Dr. Gavin's family. Examining all she shows how the past is so much a part of the present. The story is enhanced by the beautiful Irish lilt of narrator Jennifer McMahon, who is also up to the task of an American accent when needed. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the printed version half as much as as this version read by Ms. McMahon. I have recommended this audio book to my friends.

    55 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lawrence Greensboro, NC, United States 03-11-04
    Lawrence Greensboro, NC, United States 03-11-04 Member Since 2003
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    "Wow! What a lot of fun!"

    Well-researched hybrid of historical fiction and murder mystery with a dash of Indiana Jones-style archeology thrown in. Characters are well-developed and interesting. A particular plus is the wonderful narration. This book is better experienced on audio than in text.

    20 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vivian 06-30-04
    Vivian 06-30-04
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    "Now here is a mystery writer"

    I never fell asleep,I never skipped ahead,I never guess the ending. Need I say more.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy New Mexico 04-08-07
    Kathy New Mexico 04-08-07 Member Since 2007

    Kathy

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    "Great book!"

    I liked this book especially well because of Jennifer McMahon, who reads superbly with an Irish accent. She clearly shifts for each character which makes it easy to follow. This book would not be nearly as good without her reading. The intertwining of the two mysteries of the bog body and the disappearance of the current landowner's wife and child make for an interesting plot. The book contains enough Irish history and country life to give a good sense of realism to the story.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Holloway the Pacific Northwest 01-23-09
    L. Holloway the Pacific Northwest 01-23-09 Member Since 2006
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    "Outstanding Read!!"

    I guess I understand why there are some less than enthusiastic reviews of this book. If one is looking for the simplicity of a formula romance novel, this is the wrong book. I can imagine the rich historical narrative and the exceptional literary development would be "tedious", in that case. The same goes for pulp mystery seekers. However, if a person is looking for a beautifully written, engaging, historically informative literary story, complete with sufficient mystery to keep one on the edge of one's seat throughout, and a healthy, adult sprinkling of romance, then there isn't much out there that is better than "Haunted Ground". Add to that the pleasant, lyrical narration, and it's a perfect listen!

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MissSusie66 05-10-12
    MissSusie66 05-10-12 Member Since 2010

    MissSusie

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    "Interesting Mystery"

    This was an interesting mystery with the archeological/historical mystery thrown in. It was kind of a cozy( well not exactly a cozy more like M.C. Beaton or Louise Penny) except for the F-bombs that were so superfluous to the story they took me right out and actually took me awhile to get back in. Also this does move a bit slow, so if you are expecting a fast moving mystery this isn’t the book for that.

    I was very interested to find out about the Bog body or should I say head of a red haired woman the mystery of how long the body has been in the bog is resolved pretty quickly but then the mystery of who she was starts, there is also a present day mystery of a woman and her child that have been missing for a few years. The crux of the book is these two mysteries and how they will interconnect because it’s a mystery with a present day & historical mystery so you know somehow they will come back around to each other. How they connected wasn’t done as well as I hoped they would be. Also I had pretty much figured out what happened to the missing woman.

    This is the first in a series and first book for this author and I did like Nora so if she is the lead character in this series I would probably read the next book, but it won’t be one I will immediately run out and get.

    Audio production: Jennifer McMahon was a new to me narrator who went back and forth from an Irish accent to an American seamlessly I was very impressed. However her male voices need a little work.

    3 stars

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen S. Wilds Silver Spring, MD USA 05-24-14
    Ellen S. Wilds Silver Spring, MD USA 05-24-14 Member Since 2010

    webmouse

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    "Best Book I Have Read All Year"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Haunted Ground to be better than the print version?

    While I have not read the print version, I feel certain that the audio presentation must be far better because the narrator moves seamlessly between Irish, English and American accents. Since in some ways Ireland itself is a character, hearing the native speech is crucial for the reader to feel the atmosphere of the country.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Erin Hart has wonderfully woven archeology and modern forensics to solve not one, but two mysteries, one centuries old and the other a recent cold case. As an historian with an interest in archeology, I have always found the "bog bodies" of Europe to be fascinating if unintentional time capsules. This novel clearly presents the character of Irish society from the 17th century to the present, all in the guise of a modern murder mystery.


    What about Jennifer McMahon’s performance did you like?

    Ms. McMahon's reading is beautiful, her accents for the various characters clear and compelling. She gracefully shifts from Irish to English to the US, from male to female, from young to old


    Who was the most memorable character of Haunted Ground and why?

    For me, the most memorable character is the murdered woman whose head is found in a peat bog at the opening of the book, a beautiful girl with masses of red hair. The investigation into her brutal death in the 17th century leads the local Gardai (Gaelic for "police") to reopen a more recent cold case. While this latter case forms the major plot of the novel, the story always returns to the Cailin Rua (Gaelic for "red haired girl") and does not leave the reader wanting for answers.


    Any additional comments?

    My only criticism of the format is the confusing lineup of books and chapters; these "books" each having 10-12 chapters in Audible.com's production. While I understand and accept the needs of audio production, it would have been better to inform the reader the exact location within the book (or books as the case might be) for the chapter list. I suggest readers use the installed bookmark system rather than rely solely on the cutoff place. This book is far too brilliant to leave complicated by audio formatting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MARINA 08-28-12
    MARINA 08-28-12
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    "not the best"
    What would have made Haunted Ground better?

    A more driving plot line, and less meandering about. Really had a sense the author wasn't sure what to do with things and just mucked about. Disappointing


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MillenniumMike Aurora, IL United States 05-15-12
    MillenniumMike Aurora, IL United States 05-15-12 Member Since 2009

    Favorites are histories and mysteries. Once avid reader trying to pick up the pace again later in life.

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    "Good reading improves mediocre storyline"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book was too long and the story not as interesting as I had hoped. The storyline took too many detours into the backgrounds of character's lives, to the detriment of advancing the plot. This was done to either make it as much a character study as a mystery, or, more likely, to set the stage for some of these characters to re-appear in sequels as a series. The audio book took up 10 CDs. My wife gave up after the 3rd CD. For me, this is one of those books that 2/3 of the way through when you realize it's not getting any more interesting, that you decide whether to give up reading more or you stick it out to the end just to feel that you've completed something. I stuck it out. Easily at least 25% could have been edited out without affecting the story lines, of which there were three: 1) an ancient and interesting mystery, 2) a current and uninteresting mystery, and 3) a background mystery to one of the characters that was irrelevant to the storyline.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Erin Hart again?

    No. But, I might consider buying a book because with a book you can skim over the boring parts, which you can't do when listening.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The opening was good and descriptions of the countryside were good.


    Did Haunted Ground inspire you to do anything?

    No. Maybe be more careful in what I select to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Jennifer McMahon did a very nice job reading it; without her skills I would not have made it through the book. With some editing out of extraneous character detail and a better solution to the modern mystery this could have been a pretty good book. It started out well, but ultimately disappointed.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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