©2004 Catherine Sampson; (P)2004 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Sampson...makes a grand entrance into the mystery genre with this stellar debut novel....Compelling." (Booklist)
I have been a consistent, possibly obsessed audiobook listener since 2003. My listening ranges from suspenseful mysteries to science and technology, but I return again and again to the unexpected depth and breadth of books which fall into the "Mysteries and Thrillers" category.
That's it. It is the best "mystery" I've listened to in ages. I heartily recommend it to anyone who is becoming bored with their choices in this category.
Narrative makes the world go round.
Sampson doesn't waste words in weaving her mystery and she weaves the words well. Not only is the writing and characterization better than average, so is the mystery itself. Like many Brit authors of mysteries with contemporary settings, she combines the best of the classic and "cozy" mystery traditions with the best of the "thriller" -- She can create suspense and interest without needing to revert to graphic sex or violence. I am not a parent and usually avoid novels incorporating the dilemmas of motherhood, but even this element becomes an interesting part of the tale.
I picked this up during a half price sale and now look forward to downloading her other Audible title and any others that may be added. Best if all, I don't think there's a cliche anywhere between the covers.
I chose this book specifically because of the reader. I think Kate Reading does a wonderful job. I enjoyed the story very much, and will be looking forward to more titles by this author.
I really liked this book, so much so that I will listen/read another one by Cathering Sampson. The characters were interesting, good storyline and good narration. Kept me very interested and listening longer than I should.
Sampson's stellar debut of single mother of twins, Londoner Robin Ballantyne, is instantly compelling. Told in first person narrative, Reading's performance is spot-on; all of the characters were fully developed and believable. My next listen is Sampson's Out of Mind; and I can hardly wait for book three to be released, The Slaughter Pavilion. Very well done indeed.
So the mystery is not a great mystery, who cares? The heroine is totally believable and I got totally caught up in her life. Kate Reading is absolutely perfect in her narration. I could not stop listening, waiting to see what would happen -- then sorry when it was over. Immediately read the second one in the series. Not quite as good as this one, but close.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I've rounded up to 4 stars, but really want to give about 3 1/2. The central story is good and unravels in a logical way. But there were 2-3 side stories that could have been minimized or eliminated altogether as they added little value to the story and did not even serve as decent red herrings for the mystery at hand. The pace improved significantly towards the end, although the climax seemed to be a bit thrown away. I also had to shake my head in disbelief at the poor judgment shown by Robin at critical moments of the investigation. For a supposedly bright woman having to protect herself from false accusations and character assassination, she stumbled around pretty oblivious to those who clearly did not have her best interest in mind.
The reading by Kate Reading was competent, but I was annoyed at times by her interpretations of some of the characters, especially the police personnel. A little over-dramatic. Overall, not a bad book, but missed some of its potential.
I was at first a little put off by the narrator and the slow pace; it's so different from the series that I've been listening to lately. Like one of the other reviewers, I was soon pulled into the story. I'm now looking forward to reading the second in the series to see how Robin progresses as a working mother, daughter, friend, and lover.
The author does a good job of 'pulling you in' to the story and liking the main character - flaws and all.
Most stories where single moms are the main characters show women as being rather helpless and without options. The main character in the book struggles with her priorities but is NOT helpless. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and look forward to her next one.
"A good listen"
A good listen, well written, well read, and an unusual perspective. Not Shakespeare, but much better than average!
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