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Michelle E. Bencsko

  • 2
  • reviews
  • 20
  • helpful votes
  • 31
  • ratings
  • The Witch Elm

  • A Novel
  • By: Tana French
  • Narrated by: Paul Nugent
  • Length: 22 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 4,864
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,536
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 4,521

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who's dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life - he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family's ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden - and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Anti climactic

  • By tally shopper on 10-21-18

Atmospheric

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

Reviewed: 10-21-18

What I love most about Tana French's style is the immersion into the mind of the person telling the story. No matter how flawed their thinking, how irrational their fears, the interpretations of their observations, whether you like them or not, agree with them or not - you are along for their ride. This book is no exception. In addition, the layering of intrigue and the expertly woven tendrils of the story created a very lush, moody and original story.

I will add, as much as the immersion into French's written character, I felt that Paul Nugent did an exceptional job. He has a mesmerizing and clear tone. He simply sounded the part of a young, privileged, slightly arrogant yet affable, "guy" - with a tremendous amount on his mind (and that seems rather unfamiliar and uncomfortable for him). Rather than acting the other characters, it felt as though his character, Toby, was doing his personal interpretation of them. It always felt skewed to how his own character perceived the others. I appreciated his pace - which was often slow and lilting - but so was the stream of consciousness, so it really accentuated that for me. It helped to stretch the real time of events and breathed life into the scenes.

It is not your standard whodunit and those looking for a tidy ending may be wanting. I enjoyed the departure from French's professional detective to one who seldom questioned anything and is now seeking ultimate answers.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Their Lost Daughters

  • A Jackman and Evans Thriller
  • By: Joy Ellis
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,985
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,857
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,849

Deep in the muddy fields of the Lincolnshire Fens, a teenage girl is found wandering, delirious, claiming to have been drugged at a party. Metres away, the drowned body of another girl is found on an isolated beach. And all this on a small stretch of land where, nearly 10 years ago, the shocking disappearance of a young girl remains an open case.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Really Good

  • By Lia on 02-14-19

Not what I hoped

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

Reviewed: 08-26-18

I found myself hooked on the Fens series which was narrated by Henrietta Meir - whose voice I very much liked.. But they all have a rather rat-a-tat-tat police-business-like delivery which eventually started to grate on me. In the last book, I felt she was rushing through it and half wondered if she just wanted to get the project over with. So I was hoping for a more animated and natural delivery from Richard Armitage, who does have a very beautiful tone to his voice. Only it was still delivered in that sort of flat manner and I felt like I just didn't need any more of that. Perhaps this is intentional, but it doesn't really make characters come alive and so I feel disconnected to them and simply "informed". So it was a disappointing to listen to. Perhaps I should try reading the books and inject my own voices into it, because I do like the stories well enough.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful