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Publisher's Summary

Before the death of his wife, Sean O'Brien makes a promise to her that he has no plans to break - until he starts building a new life in an old cabin on a remote stretch of a tropical river in the heart of Florida. It's there that he discovers an injured young woman who whispers a cryptic message into his ear. As she fights for her life, Sean makes a promise to her, but to fulfill it he'll have to end the vow he made to his dead wife, and he'll have to face a criminal mind that has a tap root into his previous life. For O'Brien to begin to live a new life, he must revisit the past, where a brilliant criminal mind lies waiting to write a dark future.

©2009 Tom Lowe (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A darkly suspenseful, atmospheric thriller. Absolutely relentless. I refuse to believe that this is a first novel. It's just too damned good." (Steve Hamilton, award-winning author of The Lock Artist)
"A False Dawn makes good reading for anyone longing to stumble upon an unpublished John D. MacDonald Florida mystery." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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First in a series

Any additional comments?

A False Dawn is the first book in Tom Lowe's Sean O'Brien series.<br/><br/>O'Brien was a police detective in Detroit, but with the death of his wife, he follows through on a promise he made to her. Quit the force and build a new life. He plans to fix up a cabin on backwater stretch in Florida. And live peacefully. It's a good plan until he discovers a dying young woman who whispers to him just before she dies......Well, once a detective, always a detective. O'Brien immerses himself in the search for who the girl was - and who beat her to death.<br/><br/>Lowe has created a strong, likable character in O'Brien that the listener can root for. I do like that he wasn't always right and made mistakes. There's a wealth of supporting characters. I was intrigued by a mysterious man named Joe Billie who appeared in the first few chapters - and then disappeared until his cameo in the final wrap up. Dave and Nick at the marina were engaging characters. I did find the 'bad guys' a bit cliched. Max the dog was a great addition to the cast.<br/><br/>The plot is ambitious and far reaching and on the dark side. (Fair warning to gentle listeners - there are some graphic scenes and strong language.) I had to suspend disbelief that the FBI would let a retired detective take such a leading role.<br/><br/>The Florida setting was well described and painted vivid mental images.<br/><br/>Listening to an audio book is a different experience than reading the novel. We tend to hear every detail - details we may have glossed over with a printed copy. My peeve was O'Brien's similes - even in stressful situations he's got something to compare. By the end they were simply annoying.<br/><br/>A False Dawn is a good first book and I would listen to another. (There are now five books in the series)<br/><br/>The reader, Michael David Axtell, was quite good. He has a clear, resonant voice with a little gravelly undertone that matched the mental image I had created for the character. He interpreted the book well, matching his inflection to the scenes.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A welcome surprise

I can't believe I've never heard of Tom Lowe before. This is my first listen to Lowe and I'm hooked! The main character, Sean O'Brien is a very likable protagonist. The supporting cast, including Max, a cute and lovable dachshund, well round the story. There is plenty of suspense as the mystery unfolds. I look forward to the next book in this series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent storyteller!

The narrator is incredibly talented at bringing the individual characters to life! Suspenseful and exciting!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 05-07-17

Wonderful first novel in the Sean O'Brien series

Two weeks ago I listened to A Murder of Crows, the 8th and most recent release in the Sean O'Brien series, and was so impressed that I purchased the earlier seven novels. A False Dawn is not as good as A Murder of Crows, but it is very close. O'Brien is an ex-cop in Miami who quits after his wife died. In this novel he discovers a dying woman and sets out to catch her killer only to find out the man who murdered her is a serial killer he tried to find when he was a cop. There is lots of action along with suspense and a couple of nice twists. 4.5 stars.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Easy listen

This was a good book kept you guessing what was going to happen. I liked the main character Sean O'nell. Had a bit of witty humor. Will listen to the next one in serious

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • Kula, HI, United States
  • 09-23-15

Great Series

I really liked this first book in the Sean O'Brien series, A False Dawn. So far I have listened to the first 3 books and have started on the 4th novel. I have found them to be very interesting mysteries. I have purchased all six novels in this series available to date and have always looked forward to hearing the next one. Sean O'Brien, the main character, is an ex-Miami homicide detective who retired early after his wife died and moved up to the Daytona Beach area. He has a river house inland from the beach but also has a boat that he lives on. He keeps running into murder cases that need to be solved which he can't help but getting totally involved in. You will meet all his colorful boat neighbors and his cute little hotdog mutt, Max. Mr. Lowe is a great writer and Mr. Axtell is a wonderful narrator. All in all I highly recommend this series.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Slow decline from 5 stars

Here's what slowly made me decline my rating of this book:
1) The weakest, most incompetent, female detective I've ever read. She basically swoons over the hero and uses him to solve every bit of this mystery.
2) Sometimes became preachy. Even though I agree with the political undertones, they weren't all that necessary.
3) I've never heard someone refer to A1A (a ONE a) as AIA (a I a). Maybe that was the narrator's fault? But since I'm a Florida native I was more sensitive than most might be about getting the geography right.
I wouldn't let the 3 stars block a recommendation, but choose for a lighter mystery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very good

The only thing I didn't like about this book was how weak the female police officer, Leslie was. She's a cop for christs sake not a florist.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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&quot;Onced Buried, Not Wise To Keep Digging It Up&quot;

Where does A False Dawn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Thanks Audible for 1st in series sale. Good writing and editing.

What other book might you compare A False Dawn to and why?

This is my 3rd in this series. Good entertaining story and each story doesn't depend on the previous story.

What about Michael David Axtell’s performance did you like?

He is very good and I would buy a read he does if the author is good. His voice matches the hero in this series.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Sean and Max's relationship is first described

Any additional comments?

Note. I do use the new 1.25x speed to match the author's intent. <br/>If this was helpful, please let me know.

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Loved it! Then hated it.

What would have made A False Dawn better?

If the main character wasn't nearly as pompous, arrogant and obnoxious as he was.

Would you ever listen to anything by Tom Lowe again?

Maybe! Kind of doubtful, though. Maybe a short story??

Which scene was your favorite?

The entire first hour was fantastic. I liked it so much I almost wrote a review right then and there, because it had been so long since I read a book that grabbed me so quickly and kept me so engrossed. But then it just started going downhill and never stopped.

What character would you cut from A False Dawn?

The main character. I would scrap him and start from scratch. By the time the book was only half way through I found myself hoping that he would meet a grizzly demise.

Any additional comments?

I was so excited about the beginning of this book. It's the first book that I have listened to in a while that I just couldn't stop. I was totally engrossed. And then the main character started acting rudely and belligerently. He is/was a retired detective and he was acting like everyone, except him, was dumber than a box of hair. He acted this way to the point of absurdity. If this was a short story instead of an 8 hour novel, this would be an entirely different review. This is the first book I have read by this author and a very good chance it will be my last. I'm really bummed, because like I said, the beginning of the book was fantastic. Boo!