Using all of his investigative skills, Oren sets out to solve the mystery of his brother's murder, but Coventry is a town full of secrets and secret-keepers; the housekeeper with the fugitive past, the deputy with an old grudge, the reclusive ex-cop from LA, the woman with the title of town monster and, not least of all, Oren himself.
But the greatest secret of all belonged to his brother, and it is only by unraveling it that Oren can begin to discover the truth that has haunted them all for 20 years.
©2009 Carol O'Connell; (P)2009 Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
I'm a fan of Carol O'Connell - she has a way with language that causes you to linger over certain lines and descriptions (obviously easier to do when reading than when listening). I've enjoyed most of her books and would put this one somewhere in the middle.
As one reviewer mentioned, there are a number of characters to keep up with, but over the course of the story, you get to know each one and it's not quite as difficult to remember who's who. She does a masterful job of leaving you in suspense - teasing you with the mystery of Josh's disappearance and Oren's possible connection to it. She answers each question in dribbles here and there so you want to keep listening. Some aspects of the story were hard to swallow - Oren's strange relationship with Isabel, for one, though I was willing to overlook that since the novel, as a whole, was solid. One reviewer mentioned how the townspeople were completely fine with breaking the law - I actually found that somewhat believable since this attitude seemed in keeping with the crazy people of Coventry.
I wasn't a fan of the narrator - there were a number of times when the point of view switched and a new scene was obviously in play (though not necessarily a new chapter), but the narrator didn't pause to let you know that. It made for some confusing moments.
Overall, this is a good listen, though you do have to suspend your belief at times. You also have to pay close attention - it's easy to miss some of the details.
I have to say that the reviews here all have valid points but I still very much enjoyed the book. I think the suspension of belief is a key element to enjoying it because there are definitely some scenes that are a little hard to swallow. The pace of the book is slow, but not in a bad way. There are many metaphors in the book that support the slowness; the fact that no one drives over 15 miles per hour in Coventry, how the bones appeared one by one over a period of months, how the judge kept the house exactly the same as the day Josh disappeared. Coventry has no cell towers and gets no cell reception. It's like Coventry is suspended in a time when life did not move as quickly as it does now and I did not think it was a bad thing.
I think O'Connell did a masterful job of weaving this complex story together and wrapped it up well at the end. Oren and Isabel's relationship is implausible, but it was a powerful story line even though they only exchanged about ten words. It takes some talent to write a story where the two main characters never speak but still have such a complex relationship.
I agree that the narrator had some issues. I especially disagreed with his portrayal of the CBI agent Sally. She sounded creepy and mildly insane but we are supposed to like her in the end! It did not happen for me.
I think it was definitely worth the money and I recommend it. Happy "reading"!
Don't know if it's the book or the narrator, or both, but what a bore. I have long been a mystery fan and have read hundreds over the years. This one just doesn't get it. The reader is a drone. The writing is hackneyed. The suspense is non-existant. Don't bother.
Age 61. Father of 3 Grandfather of 5 Enjoy Mystery and historical fiction
I could not wait for this to end. I story seemed to drag on and on and on. I listen to a lot of books. This one just didn't click for me.
I found this to be an unexpected enjoyment. I found the writer both refreshing and captivating with description of characters and events.
I'm glad I didn't listen to the bad reviews. Yes this is a mystery, but its also a story about different people and relationships, and it is very interesting.
This is a delightful book with the best combination of mystery, humor, pathos, great characters and well written prose. I've actually listened to it twice, and enjoyed it even more the second time around. Carol O'Connell is now on my favorite authors list.
This story stayed on one note - never changed. I was waiting for the suspense or anything that changed the slow pace of this story. There were so many characters that in the early parts of the book I was confused by who was who. I liked the narrator, he was good at making different types of voices that were interesting. I figured out the ending really early on. All in all I found this story boring, but gave me something to listen to on my commute.
Oren returns to his hometown of Coventry after a long hiatus. He returns at the request of Hannah Rice, the woman who raised him and his brother Joshua. The reader learns that Oren left at the insistance of his father 20 years before after the murder of his brother. The set up occurs within the first few chapters, which is a nice feature of the plot. We learn about most of the characters early on, but beware. There are a lot of them. The author uses some detective work to solve the mystery, but relies more upon Hannah's intuition and use of an occult device called a "witch board" which we discover has become a popular tourist activity since the murder of Josh. Threaded throughout the book is a long-standing love/hate affair between Oren and a "summer girl" named Isabel, whose parents live in Coventry. This relationship is odd and is unrealistic. Several times Isabel tries to kill Oren and no one in the town seems to think this is any big deal. The relationship is used as a vehicle to connect groups of characters who may or may not be involved in the murder. The spying on one another and the gossip stereotypic of small towns is threaded throughout the story, as is Oren's unlikely relationships with the women in the town. The ending is as unlikely as other elements of the story, although the mystery itself was good enough. What makes elements of the story unrealistic is the absolute disregard anyone in the town has for breaking the law. Even Oren, an affable young man, acts strangely in the end and no one seems to find this odd. The book is read well and the writing is good. But in the end, the story doesn't stick with you and I found myself wondering if I liked the book or not. Such a lack of opinion one way or another is a curious reaction so read it and see what you think.
Really enjoyed this one. I recommend it and will look for more from this author.
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