Katherine O'Donnell was born with a disfiguring strawberry birthmark across the bottom of her face. In 1880s London, that was enough to discourage suitors. Love was something for which she yearned, but never found within her reach. Out of necessity, she became adept at hiding inside her home and behind makeups she formulated and applied herself.
When tragedy upended her modest life and dumped her out onto the streets, she was bereft of options. Desperate, she answered an advertisement for a mortuary assistant, applying makeup to cadavers. She knew what she had to do when asked what skills she possessed that qualified her for the position. Kate brazenly used her kerchief to wiped away the concealing powders and stand before them, birthmark revealed and prominent. She learned to find beauty in her newfound art, forming masques to make the dead resemble the living. If only her education had ended there.
Twist endings are always fun, right? Well, not always.
The majority of the book was excellently portrayed with a good, flowing narrative.
I was 100% with the story until the twist ending. It was entirely left field, and not in the "woah, neat!" way. It seemed hastily cobbled to the end of the book, and drudged up a paranormal element that, in my opinion, was neither relevant nor needed to close the story.
For me, Kristen's narration was the real star of the book. There was an ethereal, dream-like quality in her performance that worked in favor of the narrative.
I can't wait to hear more from her, but I will probably skip the author's next book.
What did you love best about The Mortuary Arts?
I loved Kristen Parisi's narration, and the story itself.
Which character – as performed by Kristen Parisi – was your favorite?
The scotsman who was a family friend. Specifically, because of the way Kristen Parisi was able to portray him and her ability to do the scottish accent.
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed this book. Because it was short, I listened to it at bedtime over the course of a few nights, and that was just perfect. Kristen Parisi's accent was fantastic, it really made me feel as though I was in victorian england. I thought the story was excellent as well, very unique which is always nice in the horror genre. I have to say though that I think there was an editing issue in the beginning of the book, where Kristen repeats a line a couple of times, and it did not seem intentional. I rewound that section to make sure it wasn't me. There were also a few times where it was difficult to distinguish which character was speaking, but by the dialogue I was able to identify him or her. I enjoyed the story very much up until the ending. It just seem to fit very well, and almost seemed to have been included as an afterthought. Lastly, the sound effects were great, I had never experienced this type of spoken word with an echo in an audiobook before, and I thought it really added to the overall experience. The problem was, most of the time it didn't make sense to me as to why it was being spoken, only at the end was I able to really comprehend what was going on with this. Overall, I enjoyed the book as it was written, and I enjoyed Kristen Parisi's narration of the book. I would love to listen to anything read by her again, and I would definitely listen to another of John Gregory Hancock's books. Overall, I would recommend this book.
On a side note, I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest review, and I hope based on what I've said, you can see that I have given just that.
What did you like best about The Mortuary Arts? What did you like least?
Kirsten Parisi's narrating voice is superb. I also felt a deep connection to Kate. I didn't care for the dialogue of the inner voice. It was too abstract and toxic for my taste.
What was most disappointing about John Gregory Hancock’s story?
The fate of the twins was disappointing. I know the focus was on Kate but to have them eventually pass of old age didn't work for me.
What does Kristen Parisi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Her voice really fit the era of the book and it seemed very authentic. Her voice has a soothing quality that sounds great even at 1.25x speed.
Could you see The Mortuary Arts being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
I don't picture this as a movie or a TV series. The content becomes a bit too abstract and macabre for a mainstream audience.
**I was given an advance copy in exchange for an honest review**
Typically, horror is not my genre. However, this book had me hooked! It was disturbing and interesting at the same time. I kept expecting the story to turn around but it didn't and that was a good thing. Slight plot twist at the end.
In addition, the narration and production of the audio was great. I look forward to listening to other books by this narrator. There are parts where the main character is thinking to herself. They way this was produced in the audio is fantastic. The only reason I didn't fully give it 5 stars is because horror is not my genre so I really don't have much to compare it to. This is a good quick read/listen.