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Publisher's Summary

When Lily stumbles upon the well-built corpse of a local body builder - his neck broken by a barbell - the town's underlying racial tension begins to boil over. The white victim was somehow connected to two unsolved murders of black residents of Shakespeare - and a dogged policeman is determined to stop the killing. But it is Lily herself who may have to decide whether to stay and fight for justice, or run away one more time.
Investigate more mysterious doings with Lily Bard.
©1997 Charlaine Harris Schulz; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Lily Bard is a complex woman who embodies many of the contradictions of the modern South - its dark side as well as its charm - and this suspenseful, deftly written novel will send new fans scrambling to read its predecessor." (Amazon.com review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good/Bad--depending on your taste in crime reading

In general, I have liked the two books about Lily Bard, a woman who is a survivor of heinous crimes in her past, who has moved to the little town of Shakespeare to start her life over. Some of the same characters are here--the chief of police, the people from her gym, her lover. I rather enjoyed the first one. This, not so much--but it's not exactly because of the book (I don't think). It's because I personally prefer a series that has more cerebral interest than fast-paced action (here, often resulting in multiple injuries). I suspect many would enjoy this story more than I did.

I gave this book 4 stars instead of the 3 that would more accurately account for how I viewed it, to account for my own taste here. But another part of my frustration with it is that Lily keeps putting herself into such avoidable situations. I know that's what makes the story move, but then I just sit with disbelief that she, for example, could be seriously beaten up one day and show up to work as a cleaning woman the next! Most human bodies could not manage such a feat!

I really like Lily Bard, the character. She has a painful history and is showing courage in her attempts to restart her life. This particular book deals with people who are unable to accept that their southern town is integrated, and are secretly promoting pre-civil rights attitudes, and view the local African Americans as their enemy. It is sad to be reminded that such things do still happen, and I believe the author was trying to bring attention to a problem that still exists in our society.

But I just didn't enjoy this book as much as the first--and it was largely because I found it hard to suspend disbelief at some of the actions that took place. Too much of the story was filled with a long chain of various physical fights & encounters--that people couldn't realistically have recovered from fast enough to keep doing more of the same. If that's your cup of tea, you'll give this story 5 stars. Despite that this is not my reading taste exactly, I did find it hard to stop listening till the end. It is compelling in that way.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • Odenville, AL, United States
  • 08-05-13

Kept on twisting and turning...so much fun!

What made the experience of listening to Shakespeare's Champion the most enjoyable?

Just when you thought you had it figured out...it took a turn to the unexpected.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lilly herself is my favorite character as she is smart...never stops looking at life as a puzzle to solve, fights her demons and from the shadows solves the mystery in a tiny little town where everyone knows everyone else except the hidden heart within Lily.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene happened when Lily let her guard down and accepted a mysterious "dectective" into her life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh yes and I did!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pleasant, not great

I like LIly Bard and the stories of her life in the small-town South of Shakespeare, Arkansas. In this book, Lily is in the wrong place at the wrong time on several occasions, all for very good and unrelated reasons, but it nearly gets her killed. We meet Jack, who will become a big part of her life, and who also finds himself in far greater danger than he expected when he took his in this little town.


Julia Gibson does a decent job of reading the story, but I think somehow her very level voice takes some of the excitement out of the book (I read it before listening, a couple of years ago). The some of the events that take place are quite exciting, but you wouldn't know it from just listening to the sound levels.


Really good story, meh reading. I give this a 3.5, taking off a half-point or so for the reader.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another Winner

I enjoy all of Charlaine Harris' series, except for Stackhouse (I don't do vampires!), and have never been let down. They're cozies, but with a bit more edge. I'll be sorry when I finish the two of the Lily Bard series I have left. Interesting characters, interesting premise, straight forward story, and some sex without turning into a romance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Give me more.

it lack substance and left me wanting more. it's like you knew where the story was headed half way through the book and at times a little cliche'. I'm a fan of Charlaine Harris and have seen and read many of her works but this one was not one of them. {{ SPOILER ALERT} } FOR a women that has been through so much pain and hard ach why do almost every man in town want to fall in love or jump in her bed. That's a mystery too me.

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Hats off to Charlaine Harris!

I, as many others, am a huge fan of Sookie Stackhouse's series. Not so much for the sensational world it was in but because it took the fantasy to paint a very clear picture of humanity. While this series is nothing like Sookie and definitely not as addictive...Charlaine Harris has the uncanny ability of making you feel like you are literally the main character in a very realistic way. My hats off to her because she is once again showing the ugly and the beauty of people in it's true, uncoated form.

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Loved it

i love this series, second one as good as first. Charlaine Harris always delivers an action packed tale. I'm never bored. I love that Lily is strong, but her scars, inside and out, make her vulnerable as well as cautious. And she is not dumb. She thinks things through and can keep her mouth shut.

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Horribly disappointing

I'm a huge Charlaine Harris fan, so I thought I'd give this series a try. I've always believed that one may not have an opinion until she has read/heard an entire book series, but even though I've purchased all four books, I will NOT be continuing. What a horribly boring and idiotic main character! She keeps getting herself in the most ridiculous situations which are so obviously avoidable and none of her business! The story-line is equally boring and ridiculous. I not only would like my money back, but my precious time! You're so much better than this, Ms. Harris!

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great narrator

Love her books in this series. I have read them before and really enjoyed hearing the narrator read them. She does a great job.

Now on to the other books.

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Less mystery, more action, still love Lily

Any additional comments?

I went right on to this after finishing the first in the series because I was dying to know what happened next with this character. There is a strong theme of racial tension in this book, which is not my favorite topic and I do I think Harris is stronger writing white characters, however none of that stopped me from enjoying the book. There is a lot more action in this installment than in the previous book. One thing I didn't really understand was why the author chose to do the prologue the way she did. I think it gave us too much of the upcoming story, taking out a lot of the mystery of the mystery. Additionally, it wasn't my favorite mystery since although the motive is one that certainly occurs in real life, I prefer something more personal and complex. Still, I enjoyed the Lily character, and in each of the books we see an interesting development in her character.