Clare Fergusson, St. Alban's new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Miller's Kill, New York. She is not just a "lady"; she's a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody's fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town's police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who's also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby's mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Miller's Kill like the ever-present Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other--and murder....
©2002 Julia Spencer-Fleming (P)2010 BBC Audio
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
I really enjoyed this icy, wintery first book in a mystery series set in rural small town upstate New York. The characters and interactions and connections are great. The story is a good one, multi-layered and complicated with twists and turns. The contrast between the tough ex-military southern female Episcopal priest and ex-soldier small town chief of police is engaging. I have high hopes for this series. I really hope Audible offers all the books soon.
I do agree with other reviewers about the narration. Some of the voices are not the best--the men are often over the top growling and the girls sound too squeaky and babyish. I will say all of this improves as time progresses. Worth sticking with it.
This may be one of my new favorite mystery series. We will see how book two goes. A great start!
What impresses me about this series is the adult narrative. The protagonists handle problems as adults. Which leads to the story being compelling without childish expectations. Relationships, competing needs, even disagreements are dealt with a mature manner. Perfection does not rest in either protagonist, so compromise forms the backbone of the characters stories. With top notch character development, descriptive passages that will make you wish for a warm blanket, ethical and moral quandries that create just as much tension as the mysteries, this book provides hours of enjoyment. I look forward to purchasing the rest of the published series when Audible adds it to the available selection.
After reading the entire series, I am now listening to them. Suzanne Toren is spot-on with the voices and I am enjoying them even more with her excellent narration. In the Bleak Midwinter introduces Russ and Clare and by the end of the book (which is so complete with strong characters, a solid mystery and heartwarming humor) you can't wait to start the next one. Clare's military background enables her to hold her own when confronted with danger,changing Russ' initial annoyance with her, to admiration. You'll be rooting for them all the way.
Hopefully, audible.com with offer all of them.
Narrative makes the world go round.
I like British "cozies" and dislike American "edge of seat" violent action mysteries. This was somewhere in between, falling closer to the "cozy." The ex-military, Epicopalian priest character combined with her relationship with a married, eccentric small town police chief makes this a unique listen. I think there is enough action (especailly in the subsequent installments in the series) to satisfy action listeners.
I listened to all three installments of the series carried by Audible - This was my favoirte (closest to a "cozy," least "edge of seat" action) - but all were most enjoyable. I hope others are added to the Audible catalogue soon.
I guess the story is okay but the narrator's interpretation of the character was annoying. Claire is an ex Army chopper pilot and now a priest but based on her voice Claire was whiny and way to southern belle. It would be interesting to know how the author hears Claire's voice. Also, the author dropped such blatant clues that the characters missed that I began to question their intelligence. I doubt I will listen to another one.
Suzanne Toren is one of my favorite narrators. She does another great job with In The Bleak Midwinter.
Well developed characters and storyline. Kept me interested. Also kept me guessing!
I love these unusual characters--the impetuous army helicopter pilot turned episcopal minister and the gruff conservative chief of police. There is a nice sense of place with the descriptions of the Adirondack mountains. Complex mystery with exciting well-paced scenes of people in danger. Not a cozy, but not especially dark, either--a nice balance, I think.
I really enjoy this series. The characters quickly become real people and the narrator is so good you easily get lost in the story forgetting you're listening to an audiobook. Very entertaining and the mystery keeps you wanting to know who the bad guy is.
Great book, but the narrator didn't work for me. Clare sounded like she was pulled out of Gone With the Wind and Russ sounded like John Wayne. Just didn't jive with the characters and was distracting. The characters and story and mystery are superb though!
It was slow in the beginning, but the hardest thing to get use to were their voices. I was ready to delete the book from my Audible account but got into the story cause it finally picked up.
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