Listen to more of Hannah Swensen's tasty mysteries.
©2003 Joanne Fluke; (P)2003 Recorded Books
"A vivid picture of the small lake town and a well-crafted mystery provide the ingredients for yet another tempting feast." (Publishers Weekly)
"A delightful confection." (Library Journal)
I mix up my audio books - serious- funny-easy catagories. I lisened to the HELP before this and wanted something not too heavy... This is in the easy & cute catagory. Reminds me of the old Murder She Wrote series on TV when I was a teenager. Narrator was good too..
This book may well have started out as a high school creative writing assignment and not made it much beyond. That a publisher was found for it is amazing. Though the plot is not objectionable,none of the characters is has been developed beyond the level of a 30-minute sit-com. The dialog is dreadful. It is corny, stilted and uninspired, with a child who sounds no different from any of the adults. The reader does nothing to help the situation. She has a rather annoying style, and there are unpleasant mouth noises as she speaks. Not worth even the $4.95.....
Likes: Cozy mysteries, esp w/cats, books on workings of the brain/autism, not-too-dark fantasy. Dislikes: Animal cruelty, torture scenes.
This is book 3 in Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen series and I have not listened to any others. Hannah runs a bakery, The Cookie Jar, which should come as no surprise given the titles in this series.
I rather like the way the author makes light of the obvious issue with how unlikely it is that this bakery owner would keep getting involved in murder investigations. Her overbearing mother, upon learning that Hannah has discovered her fifth corpse scolds, "Hannah! You have to stop this! It is going to ruin your reputation and people will start avoiding you!" These books tend to feature multiple murders it seems which just makes things even more unlikely and harder to blend into small town life.
It was likable enough, but not great. I probably liked the recipes and the ups and downs of Hannah's love life more than the mystery component. I enjoyed the atmosphere of a winter carnival. But the end was too dramatic - with a killer who is oddly and suddenly a lunatic like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. If I had written the book myself (if I could write books that is) I think I would have crumpled up that attempt at revealing the killer and tried again. If I read another Hannah Swensen it would probably be to see which of her current love interests wins out. But I am not in any rush to do that. Actually I wish I would have liked it better because there are lots of these and that would have promised much reading enjoyment to come. Oh well.
I agree with another reviewer that the dialog is simplistic and amateur. It bored me. The novel lagged with the abundance of unimportant facts, uninspired descriptions, and tired chatter of the main characters. Because there were too many peripheral characters, the book felt clumsy and lacked that engaging quality that comes with tight writing and deep characters. I know this is a casual book and not too serious, but the quality could be much higher.
The narration left something to be desired as well. The rhythm of the reader and the emotion (or lack thereof) in her voice made the characters feel plastic, even stupid. I think she could work on giving personalities to her characters by varying how they speak.
I waited for the ending, hoping for a satisfying climax to the mystery, but it just left me groaning. No tension at all--just a villain we didn't care about and dialog and intonation that makes one's eyes roll.
I love a good mystery, but this was not worth the credit. You could probably find a better story (and certainly better writing and narration) elsewhere.
I frankly didn't enjoy this... so much so that I haven't been able to finish it. At least, not listening to it (perhaps I'll try reading it.)
The first thing that I noticed was the narrator's rather nasal voice. I'm not sure I can describe this adequately, but I find that the nasal quality, combined with the narrowness of her character range (she doesn't create much variety in the character's voices)seems to cause her to over modulate some of them. It was quite distracting.
My dislike isn't all her fault, however. I was well into the nearly excruciating and excessive detail about the Winter Festival and the associated goings-on when I realized I didn't care enough about any of it to want to even stick it out until the actual murder takes place. The author hadn't given me any reason to care.
The book has a reasonably interesting plot. Unfortunately the writing is best described as pedestrian. All too often it becomes mawkish, cutesy, and distinctly nauseating. The reading is appropriate for the material, making me all too happy once it was over.
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