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Publisher's Summary

The first book in the Kate Martinelli Mystery series

In Laurie R. King's Grave Talent, the unthinkable has happened in a small community outside of San Francisco. A series of shocking murders has occurred, the victims far too innocent and defenseless. For Detective Kate Martinelli, just promoted to Homicide and paired with a seasoned cop who’s less than thrilled to be handed a green partner, it’s a difficult case that just keeps getting harder.

Then the detectives receive what appears to be a case-breaking lead: it seems that one of the residents of this odd colony is Vaun Adams, arguably the century’s greatest woman painter and a notorious felon once convicted of a heinous crime.

But what really happened 18 years ago? To bring a murderer to justice, Kate must delve into the artist’s dark past - even if it means losing everything she holds dear.

©1993 Laurie R. King (P)1996 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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

Another Fantastic Series by Laurie R. King

I have listened to almost all of the Mary Russel (Sherlock Holmes) books and was looking for other books by Laurie R King to "read" and found these. I am loving the new set of characters and the narration as well! The books are engaging and interesting and have great subjects. I also love that the main characters aren't stupid. The mysteries are deep and interesting and engage the "reader" as an intelligent person. I truly dislike it when the main character of the book has to be stupid in order for the mystery to go unsolved or when the women in the story act like idiots. I like her smart women and men who may just not know a lot about a subject so they bring in other characters who DO to find out what is going on. I, as an intelligent women, love to be treated as such. Laurie R. Kings mysteries are REAL mysteries and truly well written. Thank you, Ms. King!!!

21 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good story. good partners.

I like the interaction between Kate and her work partner. the mystery was good, but not gripping. great narration.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Am excited for the next one!

I've been consuming the Mary Russell books by Laurie King and decided to give this series a try and I"m hooked! Excellent.

SO much talent in one person. Thankful she's a writer.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great second read

Having read all but one Mary Russel novels I need a new mystery. This fit the bill nicely. Great characters and strong plot. Thank you Ms King.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Glacial narration, overlong never-ending descriptions

This is one of those books that was painful to listen to, but would be fine to read. The narrator’s voice was present with good delivery, but so slow I couldn’t keep track of who was talking or what was happening. The mystery was weak but interesting. I may try the next one if I have nothing else to listen to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sample Before Buying

Another story wrecked by terrible narration. FFR & FWIW, when you place melodramatic emphasis on every single word you might as well be reading in monotone because it all sounds the same & any real drama is lost in the swamp.
Unfortunate. I was looking forward to reading more LRK, but won’t listen to this narrator again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Slow Burn Firework of a Beginning.

If you could sum up A Grave Talent in three words, what would they be?

Art, Love, Danger.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved so many things about this book: the vivid landscapes and visuals, the complex and delicately written characters, the way King shows you without telling you - allowing you to engage with her characters one on one without her interpretations, the mystery was emotional and complex but believable. The climax was earned. I loved it.

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

The timbre of her voice gives Kate a depth; building tension by implying that she is edging away from secrets until they are revealed in a way that builds tension and gives the story life. Her voice is ever so slightly rough, but beautifully pitched and modulated; it is a voice that suggests past hardship and careful control, but also a tenderness for others. It is a guardian's voice: appropriate for Kate Martinelli.

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

Oh, my god, yes. I listen to my audio books while walking or driving; and I had many "drive way moments" and extra laps thanks to this book.

Any additional comments?

It's modern take on the detective procedural. If you liked the Mary Russell novels you should not miss Martinelli.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Good book, dreadful narrator

I’ve read this book a couple of times, together with all the others in this series. They are all good, in fact, I like them better than Laurie Kings “Sherlock” books. So I was looking forward to the very pleasant experience of having someone read them to me, which often reveals aspects of the story you didn’t get from reading it yourself.

That didn’t happen. In fact, it was only with gritted teeth that I got through the book at all. For whatever reason, the powers that be selected a “story lady” narrator, a woman who, in the traditional sing-song cant of the professional storyteller, worked to imbue each word, each syllable, with ominous portent, so all the good little boys and girls sitting on the floor in front of her, couldn’t possibly miss any aspect of the scary content.

For me, it ruined the book. I’d get so caught up in her overly poetic emphasis that I lost track of what was actually happening. Admittedly at times, during back and forth conversations among characters, she dropped the most extreme aspect of her narrative, but the moment the book,went back to text or description, there it was again. It drove me nuts.

I wish publishers would understand that there is a difference between narrating an audiobook - a police procedural, of all things - and professionally interpreting a classic folk tale. The people who undertake these two very different art forms have very different talents and training. They should not be intermingled, any more than you’d pick the Tijuana Brass to interpret a classic opera. While both forms of music are enjoyable, to expect the same musicians to perform both of them isn’t likely to prove,satisfactory to anyone.

In the future, I will be sure to listen to a sample of any audiobook with a narrator whose name I don’t recognize. Wish I’d done that this time.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Narration not good!

Would you try another book from Laurie R. King and/or Alyssa Bresnahan?

I would try another book from Laurie King if there was a different narrator.

Has A Grave Talent turned you off from other books in this genre?

I don't know! I couldn't get past chapter 2!

What didn’t you like about Alyssa Bresnahan’s performance?

Alyssa Bresnahan has a nice voice and would maybe be great at narrating some other story, but she made every character in this book sound the same, and it was hard to distinguish who was talking. And after a while of listening, I would tune her out, it was all sort of the same monotone, and I couldn't picture any of the characters or scenes based on her read descriptions of anything!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Grave Talent?

I dont know. I didnt get that far.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story,Good partners, Great start!

I like the interaction between Kate and her work partner, and her life. Tthe mystery was good, but not gripping. great narration.
Having read all but one Mary Russel novels I need a new mystery. This fit the bill nicely. Great characters and strong plot. It's modern take on the detective procedural. If you liked the Mary Russell novels you should not miss the Kate Martinelli series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful