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Return to White Catcliff

Narrated by: Fred Filbrich
Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Return to White Catcliff is Inna Val Helm’s debut novel presented by an unforgettable cast of characters. Fantasy and reality merge amid elements of anthropomorphism, eternal life, and dimensional existence. It tells the story of 30-something Nick Taylor and his black Lab, BD, who stumble upon a convenience store robbery in a suburb of present day Chicago and are left for dead. They awaken to find themselves in the tranquil village of White Catcliff, where inhabitants faced certain death immediately prior to arrival.

The antagonist is VEIL (Volunteer Eleemosynary Institute and League), which presents as a humanitarian organization, but its true agenda is steeped in pillage and plunder. Nick’s mission is to stop its proliferation. This means he must not only leave his new home, but of greater consequence, he must travel alone, leaving his best friend behind.

Return to White Catcliff is a smartly crafted novel, humorous at times, dark at others, and always thought provoking.

©2018 Inna Val Helm (P)2019 Inna Val Helm

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

If a dog is your best friend...

If a dog is your best friend . . .

I’m not much of a sentimentalist, but you can’t help being moved by this story of a man and his dog. Their escapades, indomitable spirits and loyalty will make you smile in the early chapters and tear you up at the conclusion of Part two.

I loved all the quirky characters, especially BD, Peaches and Bonaparte, all of whom I found to be convincing and well developed.

The author boldly chose to artfully combine dialogue with narrative throughout, making for a versatile listening experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Art of Storytelling



A friend recommended Return to White Catcliff. I purchased andread the eBook version, and as evidenced by my first review onAmazon, I thoroughly enjoyed everything about it.

The story delivers an immediate punch that captures the reader inthe first paragraph. Ensuing chapters then go on to describecharacters every bit as captivating. The fantastic yet convincingworld of White Catcliff places the reader squarely in the middle ofthe action amid both human and anthropomorphic personages.

I particularly enjoyed the courtroom scenes, which were superblydepicted in a non-hurried and realistic manner. Equally compellingare the historical occurrences and references to World War II,which are factual and set out in detail. The science behind timetravel and parallel worlds is nonchalantly described and madecredible by the efforts of renowned scientist, Alexa Novaly.

The manner in which the story unfolds is a distinct writing style inand of itself. Periods of dialogue are often balanced with narrativeresulting in a timely and cohesive exchange of ideas. There arethose who would find this style confusing, and it probably wouldbe in the hands of a lesser author.

I am new to the audio book experience and now realize what I wasmissing. The narrator, Fred Filbrich, did an incredible job bringingthe story to life. He gave each character its own twist. Filbrich hasthe talent of telling the story unobtrusively yet holding yourinterest to the very end

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sharp and Witty

I enjoyed Helm’s writing style and sense of direction. The story is fresh and original, and the characters are endearing. I wasn’t familiar with the narrator, but I will definitely take a look at his other works. I hope Return To White Catcliff is the first in a series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • ERF
  • Memphis, TN, United States
  • 02-08-19

A Sophisticated Fantasy

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but that’s exactly what first got my attention. Even viewing the leading character from behind, one gets the distinct impression that he is either lost, confused or both. The dog’s body language is a match and conveys the same confusion.

“What’s going on here?” I wondered.

I began listening to the book and couldn’t stop. The author’s writing style is down to the point, interesting in and of itself. Simple everyday things, mundane and pedestrian, are brought to life, developing the detailed story one step at a time. The narrator’s performance kept an even pace, as it should, from beginning to end.

I recommend this book to all who enjoy a mild fantasy that mimics reality and steers clear of hard-core scenarios.
E Russell
United States

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enticing Story, Soothing Voice

I’m new to audio books. This was my first. Yes, I’m a literature dinosaur and freely admit to carrying print copies in my purse and still re-read my favorite old classics.

Someone in my reading group mentioned Return to White Catcliff on Kindle. I searched for and found the author’s website. After reading the first three chapters, I decided to purchase the audio version.

I found the narrator’s voice soothing and captivating. Perfect as I went about my day-to-day tasks.

The book details the life of thirty-something Nick who is mediocre in every way, but is destined for greatness.

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of the fantasy/science fiction genre and don’t much care for flying saucers and blood-sucking vampires.

If you have ever read Master and Margarita and appreciated its sophisticated style and subtle sense of humor, you will enjoy Return to White Catcliff.

Phebe Harris

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great Fantasy for Grown-ups

I bought this audio book for my teen-age son, thinking it would be a way to access his love of fantasy. I ended up listening to the book myself and really enjoyed the way it was told—fresh with a series of unexpected twists. It was worded in a unique way through the powerful use of dialogue. Having said that, it is a wonderful book but is more of an audience for grown-ups rather than teens.

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A graceful and effortless narration

Initially, chapter one of Return to White Catcliff hooks the reader when the protagonist, Nick Taylor, is fatally shot with a 9-mm several times at point-blank range. The plot is unique and interesting, but it is not entirely a plot-based book, which is unusual for the modern fantasy genre.

Part one reliably unfolds from there, stamping its distinctive brand on each succeeding chapter. It is a study of the main characters’ emotional and personal lives leading up to and influencing the physical behavior attributed to each character.

Part two is the heart of the story where the physical issues are tackled and resolved. Helm does an excellent job explaining what and where White Catcliff is and how it is populated. The finale in part two is heartrending.

Part three is a slick conclusion that ties in a couple of missing links and provides a launch pad for the next book in this sequel (which I hope is coming soon).

The choice of narrator, Fred Filbrich, helped make this audio tale the smooth and finished product it is. His clear voice and classic style complement this engaging story.

This book is well worth the investment.

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Held My Attention To The Very End



Getting to know the diverse characters in this story was, in its own right, worth more than the cost of admission. In addition, the cool tale, with notable subplots, enveloped their strengths and weaknesses and placed the book on a level with some of the top authors out there.

I’m familiar with the narrator, Fred Filbrich, and have always admired his work. It was a pleasure to hear his voice once again.

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Character-Driven

This work is packed with people you already know. It starts with your everyday Joe, Nick Taylor, and his bitchy wife, Shelley, with whom he is unequally yoked. In the middle of this rocky marriage is an unruly dog and thank God––no children. Sound familiar?

Some of us girls can well relate to Kristina, Nick’s feisty new friend, who freely speaks her mind in spite of consequences. This is seen quite often during her share of run-ins with Jeff the mailman, a wannabe lady’s man.

And OMG . . . Peaches and Theodore––such typical brothers! The author concocted their relationship so well . . . all the good and bad, virtues and flaws; it’s easy to forget they are cats.

Of course, VEIL, a relentless, adversarial and power hungry organization provides the resistance in the storyline and may be a metaphor for today’s political climate.

I have barely scratched the surface in this review, but if you fancy character-driven stories spiked with smart humor and a bit of satire, this one’s for you.

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  • idoc
  • Washington, D.C.
  • 02-01-19

Could not stop listening

A Fresh Take on the Fantasy Genre

Return to White Catcliff presents a new perspective on the fantasy genre. The novel first introduces the main characters, Nick Taylor and his black Lab, BD, who are both experiencing fallout resulting from Nick’s troubled marriage.

The first chapter’s storyline produces a credible platform that immediately hooks the reader. Subsequent chapters develop characters and locales that are equally compelling, resulting in a mixture of ever increasing fantasy and reality that somehow become both plausible and captivating.

As an animal–loving guy, I particularly identified with the story’s underlying conceptual themes.

Examples of the book’s twists and turns are found in diverse situations such as detailed courtroom scenes, which in particular, registered and blended with my sense of realism against a backdrop of pure yet believable fantasy.

This book will stretch your power of imagination, but it’s not for hard-action seekers.

Fred Filbrich is a masterful narrator and perfect for this job. A third of the book is dialogue, and he developed each individual character to the fullest extent.