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Black Moon  By  cover art

Black Moon

By: Jo A. Hiestand
Narrated by: Callum Hale
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Publisher's Summary

Each April, the members of a mystery writing group gather on Stanton Moon for camaraderie and to fuel their plots. The moody area seems the perfect setting for hatching a whodunit. Unfortunately, an unscripted mystery materializes like an unsolicited manuscript on a publisher’s slush pile—the leader of their group is found on the moor, her head bashed in and very dead. 

Lesley Keeton’s murder takes on the aspects of a novel’s first draft, the suspects shadowy and the killer unnamed. Now, a year later, ex-police detective Michael McLaren is asked to tidy up the plot and expose the killer.

McLaren investigates and discovers anger and jealousy cropping up as often as editor’s red marks on a manuscript page. The group members crafted more than stories—they planned a mass exodus, fleeing Lesley’s tutelage, dictatorship, and tongue lashings. Add a tinge of blackmail, an illegal business, and an affair to this framework, and the deadly combination has the earmarks of a best seller. 

In the midst of this, McLaren’s lady friend arrives unannounced and disrupts the case…and unbalances his emotions. Both are tested one dark night in a churchyard when she stumbles into the arms of the killer…and McLaren must rescue her without letting evil go free.

©2019 Jo A. Hiestand (P)2022 Jo A. HIestand

What listeners say about Black Moon

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5++ stars for this audiobook and narrator!

Summary –

A writer’s group retreat turns deadly when their leader is brutally killed, and the suspects all have motive. A group of mystery writers meets every year for a retreat. No one appears to like the leader so when she winds up dead, everyone scurries like rats on a drowning ship. A year later, McLaren investigates what happened. As he digs deeper, he discovers plenty of motives including jealousy, blackmail, infidelity, and more. He needs to narrow the list of suspects and fast or else the killer will slip through his grasp. When a female friend shows up unexpectedly, it throws McLaren off, and he’s distracted. She walks into the killer’s trap and McLaren must rescue her and capture the killer before it’s too late.


Narrator’s overall voice –

Callum Hale is one of the best narrators I’ve heard. His voice creates the descriptions needed to follow the story. His soothing British accent works impeccably for this story.


Does the narrator fit the characters?

Callum uses different dialects for each character which is beneficial while listening. There were numerous times I closed my eyes and imagined what was going on. Callum also invokes emotion while reading. I found myself getting transported into the story.


Narrator’s reading style –

Callum’s reading style is the perfect tempo, allowing the listener to be fully immersed in the mystery.


Narrator’s impact on reading experience –

Callum makes this one of the best books I’ve listened to. Everything from his pacing to the intonation in his voice to the recreation of the characters to the emotive effect on the listener all combine to make this a remarkable performance.


Narrator’s pacing –

Callum’s pacing is lingering in parts, quick in others, on pace with the natural ebbs and flows of the story. It’s an immersive performance.


Audiobook flow –

The flow of the audiobook is right in line with the pace of the story. I plunged myself in the mystery and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.


What makes this audiobook unique –

What a dazzling performance by Callum. He becomes McLaren and Jamie plus all the other characters, at least from my viewpoint.


Would I recommend this audiobook –

YES! It’s such a brilliant, award-winning listen, especially for fans of British mysteries and mysteries.


My Rating: 5++ stars

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great story, great narrator...

Sometimes in an audiobook we tend to focus on the narrator. I don’t want to take one bit of praise away from the author here. This is a good mystery. Michael McLaren is a great character in this series and the author and narrator make all of the characters come alive. In an audiobook, it should be difficult to determine whether the author or the narrator is what makes the book good. This is one of those books that the two seem to mesh together. It's a very well-written story told by a talented narrator.

As far as the audiobook is concerned, there are several good points in favor of the narrator who tells this story. I've used the word "tell" because that's what happens here. It isn't as if someone is just reading to us, but rather more like someone telling a story. His British accent is easy for me to understand which is not always true in my case. His voice somehow makes the characters change from one person to the next. I'm not even sure how this happens. How does a narrator make it sound as if a woman, a policeman, and a detective are all having a conversation? Oddly enough, it isn't the pitch of his voice, it's inflection. Worth a listen.

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Exciting Ride!

You're in for an exciting ride! I love it when a book grabs my attention right from the first page and holds it right to the end. Black Moon certainly did that and more. From edge of your seat suspense, an amazing cast of characters and wonderfully descriptive scenes, this story grabs your attention and doesn't let it go. This is definitely one of my favorite books in the McLaren Mystery Series. Jo A. Hiestand has a powerful, distinct writing style that draws you into her stories and makes you feel as though you are living with her characters. Callum Hale does an outstanding job with the narration. His voices and inflections are wonderful and he made it an enjoyable listening experience. I have no qualms recommending this book or any of the other books in this series; they are all well worth the cost or credit. Kudos to both the author and narrator on this one!