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Editorial Reviews

By day, Brooklyn Wainwright restores old books — but in her off hours, she keeps having to clear herself of murder. Author Kate Carlisle follows up Brooklyn’s crime-solving debut, Homicide in Hardcover, with If Books Could Kill, a frothy mystery novel that’s elevated by an engaging cast of characters and complex narration from Eileen Stevens.

After solving the mystery behind the death of her mentor in Homicide in Hardcover, Brooklyn travels to Scotland for a book fair that sounds run-of-the-mill: rare books for sale, breakout sessions on bookbinding, Q&As on forgeries. But then she runs into an old boyfriend, Kyle, who asks her to verify the authenticity of an antique book that reveals long-held secrets of the royal family — and when Kyle turns up dead a few hours later, Brooklyn is once again the prime suspect. The plot is nothing groundbreaking but — though the “who” in whodunit isn’t a complete surprise — Carlisle includes some nice twists, and she makes Brooklyn’s dull-sounding job a vibrant, lively component of the story.

Narrator Stevens has plenty to work with: Not only does she give Brooklyn’s ordinary thoughts a boost of character with her personality-filled reading, she also brings to life an extensive secondary lineup of voices, including a love interest, a childhood best friend, recently-divorced acquaintances, professional rivals, a secret widow, stop-at-nothing book collectors, Brooklyn’s parents, and, of course, the requisite detectives and policemen. Each has his or her own pacing, tone, and inflection, and even the minor changes in Scottish and American accents from person to person shine through. —Blythe Copeland

Publisher's Summary

Murder is easy - on paper.

Book restoration expert Brooklyn Wainwright is attending the world-renowned Book Fair when her ex Kyle shows up with a bombshell. He has an original copy of a scandalous text that could change history - and humiliate the beloved British monarchy. When Kyle turns up dead, the police are convinced Brooklyn's the culprit. But with an entire convention of suspects, Brooklyn's conducting her own investigation to find out if the motive for murder was a 200-year-old secret - or something much more personal.

©2010 Kathleen Beaver (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Brooklyn's uncommon occupation drives the well-constructed and smoothly executed mystery. Offbeat secondary characters contrast nicely with the more level-headed Brooklyn.” (Romantic Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Brutal listening experience

I was very excited to find a mystery series about someone who binds books. I enjoyed the sections where the author detailed the intricacies involved in the process. Then the storyline plummeted from there. I made myself listen to 21/4 of the 3 books I had downloaded. My husband listened to the 3rd one with me and commented on how terrible it was. Perhaps we are too old (in our 50's) to enjoy the humour & plots. Perhaps if the reader had been more animated and had read in a more fluent manner, it may have been less brutal to listen to the story. Derrick (main love interest through out the series) rendering was terrible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Third rate atempt to emulate Janet Evanovich...

... and the narration is so bad as to be unbelievable! The ridiculous imitation of male voices and british accents is so irritating that it is hard not to throw the the iPod to the floor and stomp on it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A really good book, ruined by the narration.

What would have made If Books Could Kill better?

I own all the books in this series, both on paper and as e-books. I obviously enjoy them a lot, and I was delighted to find them on audible. Sadly, I haven't been able to finish listening to even one of them, as the narrator irritates me so badly with her supposed British accent. This noise pains me and makes me want to throw my iPod into the sea to make it go away.<br/><br/>As I know there are quite a few Brits involved in the books, I know the narrator will keep on making these bizarre noises, and I'm not able to deal with it. I'm British, I live in Britain and I teach English as a Foreign Language. If any student of mine made that noise, I'd have to give them extra lessons.<br/><br/>Apart from the awful accent issues, the narrator is fine - please, please, only let her read books without characters from outside the US! I have a few audio books which I find could do with a narrator with a better grasp of accents/foreign languages, but I have never before given up on a good book due to this problem - so, a first for me! I hope it doesn't happen again.

What didn’t you like about Eileen Stevens’s performance?

See above.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from If Books Could Kill?

None!!

Any additional comments?

Great book, but stick with reading it until a reasonable recording is made - save your money!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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very poor narrator accents and masculine voices

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

the book had possibilities but was obscured by the bad character voices

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I like a good actor in the narrator role; this narrator sounded confused about her characters

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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wonderful.

this book is the second in a seried. well written with romance. mystery with a little laughter. can't wait for the next one.

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Practice Makes Perfect

I must make a note to avoid the first efforts of romance writers when they take on a new genre. I don’t do romance and for good reason. I picked up Carlisle’s Bibliophile series after listening to her Fixer-Upper series. I knew from a glance at her website that she a done romance, so I just rolled my eyes when a bit of romance, well more than I would have expected for a cozy mystery, crept into that series. But it was a grave mistake for me to pick up the Bibliophile series because Carlisle had most definitely not gotten the romance genre out of her system when she wrote those. Sadly, I found the first two books in the Bibliophile series to be repetitive in plot line and character development, padded with unnecessary romantic blather that often got in the way of the action. Because of that, I couldn’t get a feel for the stories themselves, or a feel as to whether there was indeed any depth to either the stories or the characters. I was most fortunate to pick up Carlisle’s third series first for I feel she was really beginning to step out of romance and into cozy mystery. Now if she’ll just let her characters, particularly the men, be a bit more realistic in appearance and conduct, she’ll have a winner.

As for the narrating abilities of Eileen Stevens, I have no problems. I think she did the accents well, though her female English accent was much better than her male English accent. I have to say, though, that doing male voices is challenging enough without having to add the English accent. I felt, however, that both her male and female Scots had their accents down pat.

Overall, I would surely listen to another narration by Stevens, and I’ll be keeping an ear out for Kate Carlisle and hope she deepens her plots and fleshes out her characters. She does have the ability to keep the listener engaged despite those moments of teeth-gritting frustration, and I can only see improvement in future works.

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Identity crisis

Mystery? Romance? Travelogue? All things I enjoy, but in this case a little bit of each, none well done. The main character, Brooklyn, has an envious profession as book binder at which she is apparently quite skilled. However, as a sleuth and romantic lead, she leaves a lot to be desired. The author has written her as an easily distracted (by attractive men), shallow person with remarkably poor judgment. While it's true that heroes in fiction often quickly bounce back from trauma and injury, the speed at which Brooklyn forgets about being kidnapped because the kidnappers - and police - are so attractive is ridiculous, as an example. The narrator does her best and distinguishes the characters well, but her British accents are atrocious. Skip this one.

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  • AJ
  • USA
  • 02-07-15

Set in Scotland, my favorite place in the world

Any additional comments?

Of all the audiobooks I've ever listened to, this is my very favorite. I love the Brooklyn Wainwright series and this book tops them all off. Kate Carlisle does a brilliant job of continuing our heroine's lively escapades. And wherever you are, Eileen Stevens, my hat is off to you for the fine job you did on all the accents. I want to read ever so many more books that you have narrated. My dear, I wish you narrated all the Wainwright books. Although the other books are also very well narrated, you are my favorite.

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Bad, Bad Narration

I only finished this book on Audible because I like Kate Carlisle books. I almost gave up halfway because of the lousy narration. This narrator cannot do British voices. Period. And her male American voices were terrible, too. In fact, there were only a few characters that had a voice that seemed appropriate. I listened to the book a second time, just to see if my opinion changed. Nope. The main character's voice, except when she was "speaking", was flat and devoid of personality. I might try another Kate Carlisle book, but not with this narrator.

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Good book ,narration a little hard.

I very much enjoyed the story and have read other books from the author. I did however struggle with listening to the male voices. Sometimes the voices you imagine are hard to blend with the voice that the narrator gives to the character. The male voices were a little either over the top or not quite on the mark. I wanted to enjoy the story so I listened and enjoyed the story. The voice for the main character is very on .

The story was fun and informative. I learned terms for bookbinding techniques and tools of the trade that I had never heard before. Usually while reading a book with a subject that I don't know very much I about I have to trust that the author did their due diligence. And this one definately helped me understand the process better. The story line flows well and there were moments that I had to stop the story and go find someone to share a funny scene or something I learned.

If you can get past the male voices the story is very entertaining.