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Publisher's Summary

When the granddaughter of a prominent North Dakota state senator goes missing from her hometown of Williston, law enforcement has a couple leads on out-of-state roughneck oil workers - but with the holidays approaching and the trail growing cold, each day that passes decreases the chances that she will ever come home. Reporter Cooper Smith is chasing a story about the Bakken oil industry for Minnesota Public Radio when he learns that the missing woman is his wife's best friend. 

Leaving the story behind, he puts his investigative skills to work to help rescue her. His pursuit takes him to the Deep South, where he learns that this may be one story too big for his Northern britches to come back from in one piece.

©2017 Paul Bunyan Publishing (P)2017 Paul Bunyan Publishing

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great!

Really enjoyed this story and the mystery/suspense aspect. It kept me interested all the way through. Narration was fantastic!


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. The fact that I was gifted this book had no influence over my opinion of it.

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Black Gold

This is a thriller in which Gabby, the granddaughter of a popular and prominent State senator from Williston, North Dakota, is kidnapped from her local community rec center. Gabby, herself, is an upright and upcoming politician in her own right as a city councillor and is opposed to many aspects of the oil industry. Gabby's college roommate and best friend, Soojin Smith is married to Cooper Smith, a Minnesota Public Radio reporter, and when they learn of Gabby's disappearance they commit to helping find her. The kidnapping and disappearance happens on the eve of a huge snowstorm a few weeks before Christmas. This together with the additional inserted characters of the oil worker roughnecks who did the kidnapping, and the dirty politicians trying to stay abreast and thwart the investigation with the aid of an ex cop PI, sets the stage for a great read. Everything progresses at a reasonable pace, characters are developed well with twists and turns, and enough facts about the Bakken oil industry are used to keep you interested. I would rate this as a solid 4 in all categories.I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Slow burn

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author / narrator / publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

The book started slowly and is kinda boring at first, honestly. Pacing is slow and fails to grab my attention. I kept listening to it because of the good reviews this book has. After a while, it does pick up pace and gets a bit interesting. But then keeps falling flat again n again, with interesting peaks in between. The characters are confusing; as in the traits they are given don't really match what they are doing in the story. For example, the two kidnappers' background and their actions are weird mismatch. I wouldn't wanna write spoilers in my review... but when you listen to it, you would wonder how can a person with this kind of mental instability be recruited in this profession and then end in this situation. The journalist's and his wife's characters also exhibits some weird traits. Such quirks kept bothering me while listening to the story.

But if you can look past these and speed through some of slow burning chapters and get to the meaty parts, you do get a good story. And the narration matched the mood and pace of the story. So, there's that.

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Good book

I may have been given a review copy of this audiobook but I swear it is not affecting my review. I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. I liked the storyline, the characters and the locations. I especially enjoyed the pace the narrator chose for the narration. Great listen. Hope to run across more Joe Field and Ward Paxton combos.

I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

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Exciting mystery - can stand alone

This is the second book in the Cooper Smith series, and though I have read the first, this book could easily stand alone for those who don't want to start at the beginning. The book started a little slow for my tastes, but it picked up shortly thereafter. It was interesting how the story wove together and spanned different parts of the country. What I really like about this series is that the main characters are good people, and so I don't feel bad for rooting for them (like I do with anti-heroes). I listened to the Audible audio edition of this book narrated by Ward Paxton. At times he came across a little robotic in his reading, but he has a pleasant voice, so it didn't annoy me too much. I was able to get used to his voice pretty easily. Overall, an entertaining mystery. I would continue reading this series.

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  • Casey
  • Huron, SD, United States
  • 11-13-17

Meeting Cooper Smith

I saw the title of this audiobook recently and it immediately grabbed my attention. As a life-long resident of South Dakota, I enjoy reading fiction that is set in this area of the country.

This is the second installment in the Cooper Smith series but the first book I've heard. When you start at somewhere other than book one, you run the risk of not getting all of a character's back story or even worse, having the first book spoiled for you. Luckily, I was able to jump in right away and was left wanting to read the first installment as soon as possible.

I was surprised when I started listening and heard a song titled 'Banshee of the Bad Lands' which I have to admit is pretty catchy and fits the story.

The story moves at a brisk pace with not a lot of wasted scenes or moments. Everything had a purpose and I was hooked long before the final car chase.

As for the narration, Ward Paxton has a voice I found oddly familiar. I felt like I had heard it before even though this was the first book I ever heard him narrate. It felt...comfortable. I thought the voices for the different male characters were quite distinct and I could tell which character was speaking without it being pointed out. His female voices could maybe use a little more work but that's okay because I believe that men doing women's voices is quite a difficult skill to master. At least his weren't overly winy like I've heard some other male narrators make the mistake of doing when voicing women.
Other than that, he read at a good ace and did a lot of nice accents.

I will definitely go back to the first book in the series and look forward to hearing more from both author and narrator. The only drawback is now I have a vicious craving for 1919 root beer that is likely to go unsatisfied for the near future.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. The fact that I was gifted this book had no influence over my opinion of it.

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  • DK
  • 11-12-17

Rather Slow But the Kidnapping Kept My Interest

A prominent politician's granddaughter goes missing, kidnapped by a couple of roughnecks. Those men who are only in North Dakota; semi temporarily to work in the hot oil industry boom.

A mishmash of characters including a journalist, who is married to the best friend of Gabby (kidnap victim) He descends upon the small North Dakota town and with permission of his bosses at NPR he is able to investigate the kidnapping. His wife joins him along the way and they traveled cross-country to try to find Gabby.

This is a standalone book and whilst tying up the loose ends the listener is treated to a political opinion on drilling, fracking and the like. I could've done without that.

The narration was good and as per my preference I sped it up and enjoyed it more.

*I received this book in exchange for my review. I'm happy to open introduced to these new to me authors and performers. I will look for them in the future. Thanks for reading my review. Please vote below if you found it helpful to you. I invite you to follow me on Audible as well – read my latest reviews, vote and share them.

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Reporter Smith Gets a Major Story

I very much enjoyed this story about the hellraisers working in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota where reporter Cooper Smith and his wife are drawn into a kidnapping case. The author does a great job of capturing the feel of small town America hit with disturbing crime. The narrator is excellent, well matched for the story and characters.