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The Doll Maker Audiobook

The Doll Maker

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Publisher's Summary

Detectives Byrne and Balzano return to the streets of Philadelphia to put an end to a macabre succession of murdered children.

A quiet Philadelphia suburb. A woman cycles past a train depot with her young daughter. There she finds a murdered girl posed on a newly painted bench. Beside her is a formal invitation to a tea dance in a week's time.

Seven days later two more young victims are discovered in an abandoned house, posed on painted swings. At the scene is an identical invitation. This time, though, there is something extra waiting for Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano: a delicate porcelain doll.

It's a message. And a threat. With the killers at large, Detectives Byrne and Balzano have just seven more days to find the link between the murders before another innocent child is snatched from the streets.

©2015 Richard Montanari (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (2184 )
5 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.2 (2012 )
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Story
4.4 (2011 )
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (44)
1 star
 (24)
Performance
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  •  
    shelley Raleigh, NC 04-30-15
    shelley Raleigh, NC 04-30-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Page Turning Nail Biting Suspense Beginning 2 End"
    Would you listen to The Doll Maker again? Why?

    There are times I have nothing new to listen to and if that were the case, then yes, this is one, I could easily repeat.


    Which character – as performed by Scott Brick – was your favorite?

    Scott Brick has made narration into an art! He is one of my favorites. His performance as always was perfect as was his interpretation of the characters.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    SPOILER ALERT: I did feel very sad after the first murder of a young girl when her father was told. After finding out the father committed suicide. Other then that, a rapid pulse while the crimes were being committed and the hope that "that one" would get away.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was excellent. Fast paced and full of nail biting suspense right from the first paragraph. I have enjoyed all of Richard Montanari's books, but this one more then the last since he has returned to Scott Brick as the narrator. This story is so twisted with familial relationships gone wrong but so very believable. I like the turn the Byrne/Balzano books seem to be taking. At the end we find out that Jessica Balzano will be going to work for the DA while her partner will remain a detective. Can't wait for the next installment. Very Highly Recommended. If this review was helpful please indicate so. I base many of my own purchases on reviews and always leave feedback and let the reviewer know their time writing it is valued. Thank You.

    68 of 75 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 05-17-15
    John S MA 05-17-15 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

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    "To much cheating."

    I love mystery/crime novels where the plot unfolds at a steady pace. What the characters know, the reader knows. This book has way to many "how could they know that moments." . Routinely, I was rewinding book to see if I missed something. There is one scene where the major evil character knows the police will be arriving soon at a house he as at. There is nothing in the story that would let him know that fact. The authors has all these mysterious things going on with no explanation of why they occur. The evil doers are out for revenge for something in the past, so they kill people. The last person they target has nothing to do with anything. The author never explains why. You will be left shaking your head saying, "that's not fair."

    Scott Brick as usual is excellent narrator.

    33 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacqueline 05-22-15
    Jacqueline 05-22-15

    .

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    "Creepy and Clever"

    This one grabbed me from the beginning. A unique storyline with several sub-plots running concurrently, you have to really pay attention to get all the clues.

    These well dressed, polite and charming killers are completely different from what I have come across in other books of this type. He calls her Annabelle and she calls him Mr. Marseille. They have a love of tea parties and beautiful porcelain dolls.

    The two detectives assigned to the case have worked together a long time. While Detective Jessica Balzano and Detective Kevin Byrne relentlessly hunt down the killers in the tea party case, Kevin is also following up on a case he had years ago. A woman was convicted of killing a child and will be put to death in less than two days. Kevin is convinced that she killed other children who went missing at the same time, and he wants her to confess to give the families some closure.

    There are some bizarre twists to these stories, and I had to go back a few times to re-listen. However, it was due to the complexity of the story, and did not interrupt the flow.

    Toward the very end there is some information about the last intended victim. I found myself shaking my head at trying to figure out what this person had to do with anything and how there was a connection to the others. It took awhile, but when it finally hit me I was so impressed with the author--he didn't feel the need to spell it out for us or point us directly at the connection--but gives the reader enough credit to figure it out. Very clever.

    I also thought Scott Brick did a very nice job on this one. He didn't overrun the narration with his emotions, and the different characters stood out. Recommended for anyone who likes a good murder mystery.



    23 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beckilicious 05-06-15 Member Since 2013
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    "FINALLY and original story about a child murderer."

    amazing story. truly intruiging. but no pedophile element at all! I was both completely interested in the story and able to enjoy it without being subjected to the typical author's ploy of inserting sexual abuse where it is unnecessary to the story.

    the story itself is complex with well drawn characters and distinct voices for each point of view. loved it.

    19 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Meggin McIntosh Reno, NV 05-25-15
    Dr. Meggin McIntosh Reno, NV 05-25-15 Member Since 2016

    Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D. 'The Ph.D. of Productivity'(tm)

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    "WOW! Grabbed me from minute 1"

    My goodness! I don't know what I expected but this wasn't it. Scott Brick, of course, is fabulous and did a great job with this book. I liked so many of the characters in this book (not the bad guys) and am commenting because sometimes, books are good but even the "good guys" aren't too appealing. Not true here. Overall, intricate and glad I listened over about 3 days because it would be possible to lose the train of thought on some of the pieces if too much time elapsed between listening. Went back and bought the first in this series (didn't realize it was a series until I went back and looked up the author).

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gretchen SLP Sacramento, California 11-08-15
    Gretchen SLP Sacramento, California 11-08-15 Member Since 2014

    I listen to something educational on my way to work to wake myself up, and listen to a page-turner on my way home to stay alert on the road!

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    "Gruesome story full of plot holes"
    What would have made The Doll Maker better?

    If the author had devoted as much attention to the plot as he did to inclusion of specific Philadelphia and Pennsylvania area references! Being a Philly-area Pennsylvania girl myself, I certainly appreciated hearing references to Montgomery County (where I grew up), Birks and Bucks counties, Wildwood amusement park, the Amish, dairy farms, the Schuylkill, field trips to the Franklin Institute (where, like one of the first murder victims, I went with my family and with my class during school trips), the Philadelphia Art Museum, and the King of Prussia mall (where one of the final victims worked, and where I often shopped with my mother). However, inconsistencies and illogical occurrences that bothered me included, but were not limited to, the following:

    *Hardened homicide detectives who bring their kids with them on inquiries involving a suspected mass murderer of children....and then are shocked to find their offspring in harm's way!

    *A seasoned judge, well aware of the dangers of retribution from sentenced criminals, who leaves his 12-year-old twins home alone while he travels out of the country on the week he has custody of them!

    *Twelve year old boys who would utter the pickup line, "So, whaddaya say, Annabelle? Wanna come party with us?"--or, for that matter, ANY pickup line!!

    * A man who has just discovered that his daughter has been murdered, and has just seen evidence that reveals to him (but only to him) who did it....and then, instead of telling the police officer in front of him, "I know who did it," thereby helping to prevent the killer's next strike, and the deaths of multiple additional children, decides to thwart justice for no reason by excusing himself, going upstairs, making a ridiculously illogical phone call to the ten-years-ago judge in the case and leaving a preposterously cryptic voice message (in a foreign language almost certainly incomprehensible to the judge, no less) before shooting himself in the head, thereby ensuring that the secret will die with him and his daughter's killer is free to kill again

    * A lead homicide detective who literally buys a house and personally inhabits the crime scene rather than just going to the trouble of conducting a sufficiently thorough investigation of the house to discover things hidden in walls and sealed rooms/hidden passages

    I could go on and on, but you get the idea! The writing itself was fine, but the plot definitely needed more work and some serious editing!!


    Has The Doll Maker turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes, for a time. I turned down today's daily deal when i noticed it was the same genre (mystery/thriller/suspense), and that other readers/listeners had commented on plot inconsistencies/I probabilities, thinking, "No, I can't go through that frustration again so soon!"


    What didn’t you like about Scott Brick’s performance?

    Too creepy-slow...agonizingly slow...which worked very well during the initial creepy scenes told from the point of view of the violent psychotic mass murderers, and very much less well during scenes told from the point of view of healthy, mentally stable police investigators. About halfway through the book, when I realized that I was horribly annoyed by this and was only continuing in order to discover how the story would end, I ended up doing something I've never done before, and increasing the speed to 1.25, then to 1.5, and finally to a preposterous 2x speed, just so I could race to the finish line and declare this case closed!!


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes! For which I did agonize over whether it deserved three stars rather than two (it actually deserves 2 1/2 out of 5 stars). The book does pull you in, is strong in its characterizations of Detectives Byrne and Barzano, and, even for those of us who hate blood and gore, provides an occasionally compelling, if very disturbing, look inside the minds of the criminally insane mentally ill. I also, very unexpectedly in this time of intense scrutiny on how police treat the suspected and accused, developed a much stronger empathy for what police officers risk on a daily basis.I also learned all the lyrics to "These Foolish Things," an apparently well-known old standard I'd never heard before!


    Any additional comments?

    IF YOU FOUND THIS REVIEW EVEN SLIGHTLY HELPFUL, PLEASE PRESS 'YES'!! Thanks!

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.C. 05-11-15
    J.C. 05-11-15
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    "Fantastic suspense novel"

    This was an excellent storyline and characters. Every time I thought I had it figured out, the author surprised me with another surprising twist. Narrator was excellent. He made a great book even greater. This author never disappoints.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 08-18-15
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 08-18-15 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Really creepy and completely addicting."

    I easily could have listened to this in a day. I was so caught up in the suspense, the time just flew by. The author maintains a tension throughout that's just impossible to put down. Scott Brick's narration is perfect.

    I don't necessarily love thrillers because they often have more gore than I can stand. With this book, I appreciated the writer's ability to stay away from gory descriptions while still maintaining the creepiness. It's tough to do and he pulled it off.

    If you like thrillers once in a while and you have a long drive or a boring task - mine was painting - this is the perfect book to keep you company while you work.

    12 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 06-16-15
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 06-16-15 Member Since 2006

    Addicted to Audible!

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    "Grabbed me from the beginning"

    I enjoy murder mysteries, police thrillers and good narration. This book has it all. It kept me wanting to sit in my car a little longer so I could keep listening long after I reached my destination.Love Scott Brick, his narration style is perfect for this type of mystery. I am looking forward to listening to more by this author.

    12 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 09-28-15
    R. Pontiflet Fairfield, CA USA 09-28-15 Member Since 2015

    retired writer

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    "Porcelain Dolls, Tea Parties and Murder...."

    Overall this was a good murder mystery, not your usual cookie-cutter type story. She's Annabelle and he's Mr. Marseille, who are they really? And, their guardian... who is she? Their tea party invitations are code words for murder. Actually, there were a few code words or symbols in the story which help to make a murder mystery good... I liked the story but there were times in the story that common sense was not in play at all.... in particular, how is it possible to hide/conceal (but not underground) a couple of extra rooms in a regular 2 or 3 bedroom size house? Okay, there were drugs used to incapacitate one (or two) characters, so maybe the drugs was supposed to dull the reader's common sense?...Even so, I really enjoyed the story. I couldn't wait to get back to listening.

    Narrator Scott Brick did a good job, not too emotional...

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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