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Publisher's Summary

A dark and daring debut novel exploring power, control and resilience against all odds, The Tribes tells the story of a cult member accused of a shocking crime and the lawyer who chooses to defend her.

One quiet night in a rural Vermont town, a panicked woman calls 9-1-1 on a gas station payphone to report that a newborn baby has died. Local police respond to the call and charge Heather Garner, a college drop-out who’s been a member of fringe religious community The Messiah’s Tribes since the 1990s, with the murder of her infant son. Heather’s future is left in the hands of a family who hasn’t seen or heard from her in almost 20 years. 

Abby Harris’s friends and colleagues are puzzled by her choice to take on a child homicide case, but Abby is convinced that there’s more to Heather’s story than meets the eye. Putting her own pregnancy at risk, Abby’s investigations lead her to understand that The Messiah’s Tribes may not be a peaceful, eccentric bunch of hippies, but a well-organized, exploitative criminal enterprise.

Engrossing and suspenseful, the mystery of Heather’s past is revealed piece by terrifying piece, until a jury must decide: Are Heather and her dead child just collateral damage, or is the dead-eyed woman a willing participant in the cult’s sinister agenda?

Please note: This audio contains strong language, distressing situations, and descriptions of abuse and violence that some listeners may find upsetting. Discretion is advised.

©2020 Mari Howes (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

About the Creator

Mari Howes is a former lawyer and consultant. A first generation American, Mari graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Rhode Island. She lives in the Boston area with her family, which includes a pair of rescue dogs and a one highly opinionated cat. She loves the outdoors, travel, and of course, books. Visit her on Instagram under the handle @marihoweswriter
Photographed by Allana Taranto

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What listeners say about The Tribes

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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The Tribes

I purchased this as the daily deal. It had no reviews at that time but I thought it sounded interesting and gave it a try. I am glad I did. Absolutely loved it. The narrator does an excellent job and the story is really good.

36 people found this helpful

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Judgemental toward faith that goes beyond thestory

Overall it was fine although very slow moving in parts. The characters were deep and rich. That part of the writing was very good.
The performance was excellent.

The reason I am not giving it five stars across-the-board is the undertone that is very judgmental.
Throughout the book they were negative digs aimed at faith, prayer or anything that resembling a traditional family.
I’m not sure if this was done on purpose or out of ignorance.
It’s as if the writer doesn’t understand that millions and millions of people improve their mental health through their faith, using prayer and belief.
When faith is used in a brainwashing situation or forced, such as the characters in this book, there is a problem. But the writer goes beyond that, with a passive aggressive tone toward anything that resembles faith, religion or traditional roles.

35 people found this helpful

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CULTS: An experience through a member

This is not a book that I would normally spend a credit on. I took a chance and am glad I did. Although this is a book of fiction, we have learned the basics of cults. This story is told through the life of one person. How she got into the cult and why. How she felt she was an unwanted child in her family and did not add up to the expectations of her parents or her siblings. She was the perfect "cult candidate". With low self esteem, no self importance and lonely., she was a target. In the cult she felt as though she belonged. She met friends and shared common ground. Her chosen for her husband was born in the cult and knew nothing of the "outside" world. The story goes on through her escape and the legal drama that follows. I would recommend this book to friends.

29 people found this helpful

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Took a chance and am so glad I did.

I wasn't sure if I would get into this book. I started it and couldn't stop listening until I finished it. It was incredible.

23 people found this helpful

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Great Book

Just amazing writing! I wish my commute was longer. The character development of the girl accused of the crime as well as her attorney was wonderful. I felt like I was living the case with them. I don’t want to spoil anything because the suspense is the best part but you will love listening to this story. I enjoyed the New England setting and loved all the local flavor. For me I found the book a little dark but that what cults are about. I hope Audible list more of this author's books.

Barrie Kreinik and Piper Goodeve were amazing with the delivery of the story

20 people found this helpful

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Out of 5 possible ⭐s...10 stars. 🤩

I have spent my entire adult life working in the legal profession and was actually drawn to the law as the result of spending age 15-18 in a destructive, total control cult. I thus identified with both Abby and Heather. I read the entire book in a day and a half- I just couldn't put it down. The author based her fictional cult on the 12 Tribes cult- founded in the US and now spanning several continents, the cult does preach child abuse, homophobia & racism. It oppresses women and children trapped in the cult in particular. The author also manages to portray the limitations under American law of recognizing the implications of destructive cults on criminal culpability and criminal intent. I know those limitations first-hand. I found the plot to be deeply engaging, the characters extraordinarily well-developed, and I view the author as both a talented fiction writer as well as clearly, a talented lawyer. I hope Mari Howes will publish additional fiction books in the future....I could totally imagine her becoming a female Scott Turow or John Grisham. A stunning debut.

14 people found this helpful

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Could not get into this

I almost never buy a book without reading reviews, but the cult angle in a legal thriller sounded interesting. Heather is the main character, a college dropout who gets lured into a cult. The characters and plot just did not come alive to me a couple hours into the book, so I stopped listening. This felt to me like it was written for a female audience, and I suspect that most women might like this more than I did. Neither Heather nor her lawyer, Abby, were believable enough to pique my interest.

14 people found this helpful

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A good listen/read

Not a true story but could have been. If you liked Educated you will probably enjoy this. This story centres around a cult and the main characters experiences within the cult. The writer is very talented, effortlessly giving the reader a lucid depiction. The plot is very well developed. I would love to see a sequel to this book!

11 people found this helpful

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Incredible & Powerful book

This is absolutely one of the BEST books I have ever listened to. The story & characters are so believable it could have been a true story.
Fascinating delve into the psychology of cults
& how this young women joins group by choice
and yet eventually gives up all freedoms and
her previous life is erased. The lawyer character also has a strong message.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I was captivated and couldn’t wait for time when I could continue to listen. I await Mari’s next book.
( I could see this story being a film or series !!)

7 people found this helpful

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fantastic!

so happy to have purchased this on day one of its release. it is a beautifully written and preformed story. both incredibly heartbreaking and inspiring!

5 people found this helpful