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  • Nearly Departed in Deadwood

  • Deadwood Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Ann Charles
  • Narrated by: Caroline Shaffer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 380
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 345
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 344

Little girls are vanishing from Deadwood, South Dakota. Fearing her daughter might be next, single mom Violet Parker is desperate to find the monster behind the abductions. With her savings dwindling and just three weeks left to sell her first house or lose her realtor job, Violet is ecstatic when a handsome jeweler hires her to sell his century-old Victorian masterpiece - until she sees the dilapidated dwelling. Now if she could just convince her only buyer to stop rejecting vintage homes as if they're haunted.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Steamy Cozy Mystery

  • By K. April Holgate on 02-20-14

Great series! Humor, mystery and a bit of romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-15

Would you listen to Nearly Departed in Deadwood again? Why?

I wouldn't listen to this book again, because I don't usually listen to a mystery more than once. But I am already listening to the next book in the series.

What did you like best about this story?

Most of the characters are likable (the ones who aren't are not supposed to be). The protagonist is intelligent, but funny and awkward -- totally relatable. The blend of humor mystery and romance was perfect.

What does Caroline Shaffer bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She's a great narrator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, if I didn't have a job!

Any additional comments?

There are a lot of mediocre and horrible books in the cozy mystery genre, so I'm delighted to have found this series. I've already purchased the next two books in the series based on how much I enjoyed this first one. Very well written and entertaining.

  • All Things Slip Away

  • Spookie Town Mysteries
  • By: Kathryn Meyer Griffith
  • Narrated by: Abby Elvidge
  • Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 24

Ten years ago Frank Lester, a Chicago homicide detective, thought he had rid himself forever of the Mud People Killer who'd kidnapped and murdered six people. Frank had shot him as he'd fled through a snowy night; had killed him, he believed, though a body was never found. But the killer wasn't dead. He'd only been waiting to take his revenge on Frank and those he cares about now...10 years later. Frank retired early and is living back in his hometown of Spookie when the killer resurfaces to take up where he left off.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Another great small town mystery

  • By Rabid Reader on 04-24-16

Norman Rockwell meets Norman Bates

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-15

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who enjoy Hallmark movies -- wholesome stories with no sex or swearing, fairy tale endings, with the odd serial killer thrown in for good measure. This book didn't seem to know whether it wanted to be a wholesome cozy mystery or a John Sandford thriller, and it did neither well.

What do you think your next listen will be?

I'm not sure.

What does Abby Elvidge bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She was much better than the book's first narrator, who seemed either bored or depressed. Elvidge was good at varying the characters' voices so I could tell who was speaking. Sometimes she sounded as if she were reading a children's book, but for the most part I thought she did a good job.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. I find it hard to believe nobody owned a cell phone or bothered to install an alarm system in this crime-ridden little town. Apparently, nobody has sex, either. And the premise of a serial killer disappearing for 10 years and tracking down the cop who injured him is quite implausible. Also, it was really strange that this quaint, Hallmark-like cozy mystery centered on a serial killer. This book wasn't sure what genre it wanted to be.

Any additional comments?

Overall, the chapters in which the serial killer was the narrator were pretty much like every other thriller you've read with a serial killer. I don't like smut, gore, or really graphic sex scenes, but this series is much too wholesome to be credible. And the writing is cliched. I won't be buying any more books in this series.

  • Scraps of Paper, Revised Author's Edition

  • Spookie Town Murder Mysteries
  • By: Kathryn Meyer Griffith
  • Narrated by: Wendy Tremont King
  • Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 129
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 105
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 106

Abigail Sutton's beloved husband walks out one night, doesn't return, and two years later is found dead, a victim of a long ago crime. It's made her sympathetic to the missing and their families. Starting her new life, Abigail moves to small town and buys a fixer-upper house left empty when old Edna Summers died. Once it was also home to Edna's younger sister, Emily, and her two children, Jenny and Christopher, who, people believe, drove away one night, thirty years ago, and just never came back.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Enjoyable small town mystery

  • By Rabid Reader on 04-23-16

Lifeless narrator, and a decent story

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-07-15

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No. I couldn't figure out why the character seemed oblivious to the danger she was in. Her house was broken into a couple of times, and there were other incidents I won't spoil for you here, and she STILL stayed alone in her home and wandered about town alone. How could a middle-aged woman be so stupid? Also, why doesn't anyone in town have cell phones or burger alarms?

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was okay, except for the ridiculous way in which the protagonist put herself in danger.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Narrator sounded either bored or depressed.She didn't vary the different characters' voices much, making it often difficult for me to discern who was speaking.

Was Scraps of Paper, Revised Author's Edition worth the listening time?

Hmm. Not a waste of time and money, but it didn't wow me. I decided to give the series a chance and listen to the second book, but I won't purchase any more books in this series.

  • The Sayers Swindle

  • A Book Collector Mystery, Book 2
  • By: Victoria Abbott
  • Narrated by: Carla Mercer-Meyer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 181
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 162
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 158

When Jordan manages to locate her boss' missing books, they are in the possession of Randolph Adams, an elderly man in a nearby town. Offering a valuable Hemingway first edition as an incentive, Jordan thinks she's about to seal the deal - but some of Randolph's relatives think he should hold out for more.Then the entire family disappears - and a dead body shows up. It's up to Jordan to collect the clues - and make sure a killer gets booked.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Turning into a really fun series!

  • By Kathi on 05-13-14

Enough glowering! Author needs to get a thesaurus

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-15

Would you consider the audio edition of The Sayers Swindle to be better than the print version?

I've not read the print version, so I can't say.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I wouldn't say it kept me on the edge of my seat. But it did intrigue me. It takes a good book to capture my attention. I've ditched on (not finished) books that didn't do that.

Have you listened to any of Carla Mercer-Meyer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Just listened to her reading the first book in this series. She's was good on that one, and she is getting better.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No extreme reaction, except my annoyance with the author's overuse of the word "glowering." She should search for this word in her manuscript and see how often she uses it -- often multiple times within a chapter. Sooner or later, every character in the book glowers. What's up with that? Buy a thesaurus and find another word. It becomes especially painful when you are listening to the audiobook; maybe it's not as noticeable in the print version.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Broke

  • An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery
  • By: Kaye George
  • Narrated by: Veronica Newton
  • Length: 7 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 11
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10

Imogene Duckworthy, eager PI assistant, wants to be on her own. She finds a rental house where her four-year-old daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, and Drew's pet pig, Marshmallow, are allowed. The rumors are that the house is haunted. It's no rumor there's a dead man in the bathtub when she inspects the house, though. A long-lost relative is the logical suspect, but can Immy let her Uncle Dewey be railroaded for a crime he, possibly, didn't commit?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Fun Story

  • By Lelia T on 01-16-17

Horrible narrator, average story

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-27-15

What would have made Broke better?
A different narrator. A brighter, less flaky protagonist.

What do you think your next listen will be?
A selection from the Book Collector mystery series. The protagonist is intelligent, the subject matter is interesting, and the narrator is good.

How did the narrator detract from the book?
She overacted, as if she were reading a children's book. She often had this weird inflection as if she were in physical pain; other times, she sounded as if she were trying to suppress a fit of laughter. It was just weird. In fact, it was torture. Particularly annoying was her interpretation of the protagonist's 4-year-old daughter, Drew. Instead of sounding like a child, she sounded like she was doing a caricature of a child with a speech impediment.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
There was the potential for an interesting character--a single mom taking an online private detective course could lead to some good story lines and humor. But the execution was very amateurish, and the narration made the whole experience painful.

  • Dark Places

  • A Novel
  • By: Gillian Flynn
  • Narrated by: Rebecca Lowman, Cassandra Campbell, Mark Deakins, and others
  • Length: 13 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,159
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,529
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,552

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in "The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas". As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived, and famously testified that her 15-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who've long forgotten her.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Dark indeed

  • By DQmaine on 08-12-16

Disappointing, and very gory

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-27-14

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No. The author is very good writer who never fails to impress me with her deft choice of words and her characters' keen observations. Still, the ending of this one requires the reader to suspend disbelief and accept that two independent crimes occur in one place at the same time. I didn't think any of the characters was likable, making it hard to plow through to the end (but I did it).

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Add at least one sympathetic character and eliminate some of the plot points that defy credibility.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The female narrator is excellent. The male narrator tended to be wooden in his delivery.

Could you see Dark Places being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Who cares?

Any additional comments?

I had high hopes for this one after reading Gone Girl, but Ms. Flynn really didn't plumb the depths of her characters' psyches in this book as she did in Gone Girl.