©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.
"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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Favorites are histories and mysteries. Once avid reader trying to pick up the pace again later in life.
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.
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.
The opening was good and descriptions of the countryside were good.
No. Maybe be more careful in what I select to listen to.
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.
I've finally finished this book. Thank goodness. I never felt engaged at all or as though I knew any of the characters -- I can't even remember their names at this moment -- or what was happening plot-wise, and I honestly don't care. Even though the premise sounded interesting (albeit disturbing), the three or so sub-plots wound into one was too many, and the end was lackluster after the long road getting there.
I saw other customer recommendations for getting the abridged version and I wished that I had taken their advice. I listened to this on a road trip and it made the trip seem slower rather than faster. I think I wouldn't have minded the length if I was reading it but listening was at times tedious.
The other problem I had with the book is that I wanted more mystery and less romance. The quality of the writing and historic detail made it better than a Harlequin-type novel but it wasn't really what I wanted. I did enjoy the information about Ireland.
First of all, the narration is EXCELLENT! The plot is interesting, as are the characters, but the pace is very slow. There is a lot of detail that doesn't advance the story. The story is told from too many points of view, and sometimes the transition is confusing. I wish I had chosen the abridged version.
I was really drawn to the plot of this story, not because it was such a great mystery, but because the author obviously has a love of all things Irish and gives us a nice look at Irish life today. The characters of Nora Gavin, Cormac Maguire, and Garret Devaney are exceptionally well-written, but all of the characters are interesting and deserving of our attention. The two main mystery plots were less interesting and tied up too neatly at the end. I mean, who didn't know who the real killers were the moment the author introduced them? But, as I say, it was not necessarily the mystery aspect that drew me. Hats off to Erin Hart for creating such real, non-sterotypical Irish people for her first novel. I look forward to reading the further stories of Nora and Cormac. The narrator, Jennifer McMahon, was perfect.
Just finished listening to Haunted Ground. The two mysteries in the story are really fascinating. I learned about bog bodies, and the book inspired me to do some research on the subject on the Web. These are truly fascinating. The characters in the book are very well drawn. I found myself really caring for them, and really involved in their emotions as the answers were revealed. The ending has a surprise twist in it which is totally unexpected. I highly recommend this book, and look forward to more by the same author. And I should mention the narrator's voice and accent are wonderfully suited to the Irish setting and voices of the characters.
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