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Publisher's Summary

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And 13-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

©2012 Heather Gudenkauf (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about One Breath Away

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not Gudenkauf's standard

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes. This book would've best been served as a novella. It drags on so long, and honestly doesn't go anywhere. The characters just ring flat in some places and act emotionally overrun in others.
Perhaps the narration also contributed to this thought; no narrator shines in this performance either.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The relationship between Holly and her parents and children was the most interesting; the least interesting was probably the gunman and his identity and motive.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

I have listened to some of these narrators before; some are better than others, but as an ensemble I just couldn't finish.

Any additional comments?

This is not up to the potency of Gudenkauf's "The Weight of Silence" or the strong female leads in "These Things Hidden." I wanted to like this book, but it just meanders along with rabit trails that lead nowhere and everywhere, and I know that Gudenkauf is up to better than this.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrators make or break the book!

With the exception of Susan Ericksen, Joyce Bean and Laural Merlington, the other narrators ruined an otherwise good novel. Excellent story.

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Flat As An Iowa Prairie

I like Heather Gudenkauf's work. I was in complete thrall of "The Weight of Silence" and read it in one sitting on a Boston-Sacramento flight recently. But this? What is this? Is the author trying to borrow and apply the suspense and minute-by-minute trauma of the families in "The Weight of Silence"? If that's what she's doing, it isn't working. Instead of getting into the hearts and minds of the families and community players, the reader has to stand back and watch the author paint the scenes using a very bland, broad brush outlining the main features without developing anything substantial.

There is only a lot of small-town gossip and nothing really happens. However, I must qualify this review because I have not finished the book due to a diminishing supply of patience.

I don't object to books that are mostly back story if the stories are detailed and layered enough. But these tales are shallow and merely skim the surface of buried family drama and small-town dysfunction. I want to know more but there is nothing there. Ack! Frustrating!

The Columbine/Virginia Tech plot homage is not even frightening, and the entire scene comes off flat as an Iowa prairie.

But the narration is great.

15 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Just no.

Every time the story begins to go somewhere the author goes off the rails with "memories" that have nothing to do with the plot. When she finally gets back to the story, a minute later she's off on another detailed memory and the story once more is abandoned. Sorry, just couldn't stand the constant, unnecessary interruptions. Could not finish,

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

ehhhh....

I neither loved nor hated it, but she has other books that are much better. The storyline was fine, but could have been about 20 chapters shorter. The only major thing I disliked were the narrator who rccread Wills chapters. when he did the voice for Wills wife it sounded like Mrs. Doubtfire sucking helium while driving down a dirt road. it was terrible.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Totally Addresses Events in our Time

A gifted writer. I couldn’t stop listening. All events could have happened in our time.
Readers added to the characters in the book.

I would like to recommend this book to any person in education.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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LISTEN TO THIS ONE!

This is a GOOD novel read by equally good narrators. There is a steady stream of just the right amount of tension with
well developed characters. I highly recommend this audio book.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Good performance. Story lacking.

Weak storyline. Reminded me of a documentary. I would not recommend if you’re looking for a good mystery.

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Not a fan of the narrative style

I enjoy Heather Gudenkauff books. They keep me engaged until the end. Generally, I prefer a single narrator, so the multiple character voices was not a personal favorite. I particularly found the voice of Auggie to be unnaturally stilted. Overall, I recommend as I recognize these are personal preferences rather than a reflection of the quality of the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent who is it?

Great story that keeps you guessing until the very end. Perfect performance by all readers that enable you to see each character and visualize the story. I really enjoyed it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • F
  • 09-22-12

brilliant!

After a number of mediocre listens, this came as a breath of fresh air! Great writing and superbly narrated with varied voices. Loved it and will be looking out for more of this author.

2 people found this helpful