Guild Boss by Jayne Castle – #Audiobook Review – #audiobookreview

Guild Boss by Jayne Castle

Book Blurb:

Welcome to Illusion Town on the colony world of Harmony—like Las Vegas on Earth, but way more weird.

Living in this new, alien world doesn’t stop the settlers from trying to re-create what they’ve left behind. Case in point—weddings are still the highlight of any social calendar. But it’s the after-party that turns disastrous for Lucy Bell. Kidnapped and drugged as she leaves the party, she manages to escape—only to find herself lost in the mysterious, alien underground maze of glowing green tunnels beneath Illusion Town. She’s been surviving on determination and cold pizza, scavenged for her by a special dust bunny, when help finally shows up.

Gabriel Jones is the Ghost Hunter sent to rescue her, but escaping the underground ruins isn’t the end of her troubles—it’s only the beginning. With no rational reason for her abduction, and her sole witness gone on another assignment for the Guild, whispers start circulating that Lucy made it all up. Soon her life unravels until she has nothing left but her pride. The last thing she expects is for Gabriel Jones to come back to town for her.

The Lucy that Gabriel finds is not the same woman he rescued, the one who looked at him as if he were her hero. This Lucy is sharp, angry, and more than a little cynical—instead of awe, she treats him with extreme caution. But a killer is still hunting her, and there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to heroes. Despite her wariness, Gabriel is also the one person who believes Lucy—after all, he was there. He’s determined to help clear her reputation, no matter what it takes. And as the new Guild Boss, his word is law, even in the lawlessness of Illusion Town.

My Review:

I’ve been known to start a series with Book 15 (or otherwise well into the series) before, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’d try a Harmony Novel well into a long-running series. Well, according to Amazon, Book 15; according to Goodreads, Ghost Hunters series, Book 14. I’m confused from the beginning.

I’ve tried other paranormal series before but I think what attracted me in this instance is that Sweetwater and the Witch (Harmony Novel Book 16—according to Amazon—is the Editors’ pick for Best Romance. Hmmm, you say, but you don’t read romance. Well, yes, that would be true. Or for that matter, “Paranormal Vampire Romance”?? Thought I’d test this novel first—then see if I didn’t want to swing right into the Editors’ pick. So, do I?

Guild Boss by Jayne CastleThis is like almost no—well, okay, none of the paranormal books I’ve read before. And no, you can’t pick this up as a standalone. Totally lost, my first problem was the “dust bunny.” Is this supposed to be a dog substitute? If so—how does he have six legs? Four eyes? (What was I reading?) Confusion reigned supreme.

The paranormal tendencies were also “gifts” of a nature I’ve heretofore never read, nor imagined. Lucy Bell is a weather (goddess) channeler—she can summon–at will–weather patterns that would disrupt any unhappy situation.

She was rescued following her kidnapping by Gabriel Jones, a Ghost Hunter and now the new Guild Boss of the area. This is Illusion Town—a Las Vegas by any other nightmare. It’s an alien world. Of course there is romance. Who doesn’t love the white knight who rescued you?

It’s a futuristic world with a dark underbelly and antagonists who harbor a conspiracy that threatens to harness the very power source of Harmony with “tuned amber.” Otis, the dust bunny, seems to be fairly capable, but communicates with annoying and constant chortles and has an amazing affinity for pizza.

I could do without the romance and attendant sex and was ready to find a powerful vacuum to rid myself of the dust bunny but had to admit to enjoying the imagination it took to fashion scenes in a tour bus of an alien world, the underworld, the inhabitants, and extremely bizarre weather patterns.

The storyline does hook as well as hold engagement. The explanation of society as it evolved in this world was simplistic while sensible in the setting and the descriptions of marriage and law were interesting. There is an eclectic mix of characters from the techno-wizards to evil doers—the push-pull of good versus evil. The narrative is complex and entertaining.

But will I progress to Sweetwater and the Witch? Probably not. If you, however, are looking for a unique paranormal romance, this may be the book or series for you. There are themes that include

politics and friendships—

as well as those imagined hurdles future colonists may confront.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts. (Oh, and by the way, I also stumbled on this author and series because I was looking for books narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Barbara Rosenblat, and she didn’t disappoint.)

Book Details:

Genre: Action & Adventure Romance, Science Fiction Romance
Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc.
ASIN: B0973HH8HX
Listening Length: 8 hrs 48 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: November 16, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Guild Boss [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four stars 4 stars

 

Jayne Castle - authorThe Author: The author of over 50 New York Times bestsellers, JAYNE ANN KRENTZ writes romantic-suspense in three different worlds: Contemporary (as Jayne Ann Krentz), historical (as Amanda Quick) and futuristic (as Jayne Castle). There are over 35 million copies of her books in print.

[Goodreads] She earned a B.A. in History from the University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to obtain a Masters degree in Library Science from San Jose State University in California. Before she began writing full time she worked as a librarian in both academic and corporate libraries.

Ms. Krentz is married and lives with her husband, Frank, in Seattle, Washington.

©2022 V Williams

Christmas typewriter

Borderline (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 15) by Nevada Barr- #Audiobook Review – #throwbackthursday

Book Blurb:

Agatha and Anthony Award winner Nevada Barr, New York Times best-selling author of Winter Study, enthralls millions with the exploits of roving park ranger Anna Pigeon.

The killings on Isle Royale have left Anna drained and haunted, her memories of her time with the wolf study group forever marred by the carnage on the island. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, she is on administrative leave, per her superintendent’s urging. Anna wonders if the leave might not be permanent, either by her own choice or that of the National Park Service.

The one bright spot in Anna’s life is Paul, her husband of less than a year. Hoping the warmth and the adventure of a raft trip in Big Bend National Park will lift her spirits, Paul takes Anna to southwest Texas, where the sun is hot and the Rio Grande is running high.

The sheer beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert and the power of the river work their magic-until the raft is lost in the rapids and a young college student falls overboard, resulting in an even more grisly discovery. Caught in a strainer between two boulders and more dead than alive, is a pregnant woman, hair and arms tangled in the downed branches. Instead of the soul-soothing experience they’d longed for, Anna and Paul find themselves sucked into a labyrinth of intrigue that leads from the Mexican desert to the steps of the governor’s Mansion in Austin, Texas.

My Review:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I decided it was high time I listened to another Park Range Anna Pigeon mystery. I do sooo enjoy these books, not in no small part due to the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat.

Anna Pigeon has been a park ranger long enough to have experienced various jobs all over the US in some very unique national parks. Reading about these parks is always enlightening, educational, and fascinating. But the predicaments that Anna Pigeon gets herself into truly amaze. Is she a strong protagonist? Oh yeah, and then some, at times pushing disbelief, but, hey, she can handle it.

This episode follows what was apparently almost her swan song in the last book that resulted in her being put on temporary leave, diagnosed with PTSD. She is married now to Paul, so she and hubby Paul decide to take a nice relaxing raft trip in Big Bend National Park. Breathe in the clean air, absorb the atmospheric desert fragrance and experience the Rio Grande in all its glory. Should be fun.

Unfortunately, they share the raft with several college students, one of whom falls overboard resulting in the loss of their equipment, and her rescue results in the discovery of a very pregnant young woman caught in the reeds more dead than alive. The alive part doesn’t last long forcing Anna to try to deliver the baby with little more than a pocket knife.

Borderline by Nevada BarrOkay, okay, but I told you you might have to suspend some disbelief so just go with it. It quickly becomes a question of who the young woman was running from when they are suddenly dodging bullets. With a river rapidly progressing toward flash flood stage, bad guys on the ledge above, and a newborn in trouble they are forced to find ways to evacuate safely.

Mercy! No one writes a faster-moving plot than this author! The tension ramps up as the river rises and the situation more dire. I love the way the author digs into the multiple personalities—those of the college students—pampered, green behind the ears, petulant to the point you want to slap one upside the head. Their mannerisms are so well described, the inflections, body language, you can see them–hear them. Anna and Paul combine brainstorms on the best way to escape their predicament. Snatches of humor lighten a dark situation and amid dialogue so realistic it seems she must have been recording conversations somewhere.

“That vein of conversation mined out, they fell silent again.”

This one so action-packed you can’t put it down even while decrying the characters could NOT have survived the circumstances. Yeah, but it’s thoroughly engaging and entertaining. I’ve listened to a number of the books in this series, now working back from Book 19, Boar Island and Destroyer Angel, although my favorite so far might be Deep South.

If you like wild and wooly non-stop action, well-developed characters, and strong female protagonists, you’ll enjoy this series. I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher: Recorded Books
ASIN: B0026PVY6G
Listening Length: 11 hrs 53 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: April 15, 2009
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Borderline [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Nevada Barr - authorNevada was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.

Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bitterweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.

The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

Barbara Rosenblat - narrator
Attribute: Wikipedia

The Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat has been narrating for more than 20 years, and even had the honor of performing the first book ever recorded at Audible in 1999.

She has also appeared on screen such as in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black as Miss Rosa. Rosenblat was born in London, England and raised in New York City. Upon returning to the US, she read books to the blind for four years at the Library of Congress. On Broadway she appeared in The Secret Garden and Talk Radio. Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks.

©2022 V Williams

Christmas typewriter

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill – #Audiobook Review – #amateursleuthmysteries

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet—until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation, and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer. 

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling listen with this unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and reveals that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.

My Review:

This novel was the library book club choice for October-December. I opted for the audiobook version—perhaps that was the problem as this is a well-acclaimed book according to Amazon.

The premise is the closed-room murder that occurs in the reading room of the enormous Boston Public Library where the quiet is disturbed by an obviously terrified scream. Four strangers occupying the same table are instructed to wait until the origin of the scream is identified and the space given the all-clear. Of course, that doesn’t come quickly, given that the scream is the victim’s last sound, and the four manage to bond.

Each of the four is then examined. Ad nauseum. I wanted to get into this book as it was, after all, voted the read for the quarter. If it was a murder mystery it moved too slowly for me. If it was a character study, someone missed the boat on making at least one of them appealing.

The Woman in the Library by Sulari GentillThe author has a quiet way of subtly introducing characters to whom you need to pay attention. Unfortunately, for me, I found some of the introductions tedious and lost interest. A story within a story, I didn’t care for the way this one was handled though I’ve read and enjoyed others of the same ilk. One, the author writing the mystery story doesn’t wholly jive with what’s concurrently happening and, two, she is corresponding to Leo who responds with critiques leaving me scratching my head as to why it was included.

I sighed with relief when I sensed the coming conclusion and assumed it’d clarify the whole picture, but, alas, it did not and left me wondering what it was I’d missed. I previously read Where There’s a Will by this author in January and noted occasions where the plot slowed, but then something would happen that would spark reinterest. Sadly, not so much here.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Amateur Sleuths
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC
ASIN: B09VCVM3BT
Listening Length: 8 hrs 58 mins
Narrator: Katherine Littrell
Publication Date: June 9, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Woman in the Library [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
KoboAdd to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing: Three Stars three stars

 

Sulari Gentill-authorThe Author: After setting out to study astrophysics, graduating in law and then abandoning her legal career to write books, Sulari now grows French black truffles on her farm in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Sulari is author of The Rowland Sinclair Mystery series, historical crime fiction novels (eight in total) set in the 1930s. Sulari’s A Decline in Prophets (the second book in the series) was the winner of the Davitt Award for Best Adult Crime Fiction 2012. She was also shortlisted for Best First Book (A Few Right Thinking Men) for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2011. Paving the New Road was shortlisted for another Davitt in 2013.

[Goodreads] Sulari lives with her husband, Michael, and their boys, Edmund and Atticus, on a small farm in Batlow where she grows French Black Truffles and refers to her writing as “work” so that no one will suggest she get a real job.

Website
http://www.sularigentill.com
Twitter
sularigentill

©2022 V Williams

happy thursday!

Clive Cussler The Sea Wolves (An Isaac Bell Adventure Book 13) by Jack Du Brul – #Audiobook Review – #actionthriller

#1 New Release in Suspense Action Fiction (in Kindle format)

Book Blurb:

Detective Isaac Bell battles foreign spies, German U-boats, and an old nemesis to capture a secret technology that could alter the outcome of World War I in the latest adventure in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Clive Cussler.

The Sea Wolves by Jack Du BrulAs New England swelters in the summer of 1914, Detective Isaac Bell is asked to investigate a cache of missing rifles—only to discover something much more sinister. Whoever broke into this Winchester Factory wasn’t looking to take weapons, they wanted to leave something in the shipping crates: a radio transmitter, set to summon a fleet of dreaded German U-boats. Someone is trying to keep American supplies from reaching British shores, and if Bell doesn’t crack the conspiracy in time, the Atlantic Ocean will run red with blood.

Bell must hunt down a new piece of technology that is allowing the Germans to rule the seas from New York to England. With the outcome of the war at stake and Franklin Roosevelt’s orders on the line, Bell will risk everything to stop the U-Boats before they strike again. 

My Review:

Trying to stay neutral isn’t easy when Britain and Germany are about to go at it. Still, things are already going on behind the scenes in America quietly trying to send materiel to Britain. Britain severed Germany’s undersea telephone cable but either the Germans are getting awfully lucky or there is a rat at the east coast harbor.

The Sea Wolves by Jack Du BrulThe Van Dorn Detective Agency is hired to monitor Winchester rifle shipments to Britain as they are becoming aware there are German submarines set to block shipments across the Atlantic. With the Van Dorns is Isaac Bell who discovers a hidden radio transmitter in the consignment of rifles.

Because of that discovery, they are later asked to locate a German spy ring. It’s becoming apparent that the Germans are in possession of technology far more advanced than that of the Allies.

Isaac Bell is a larger-than-life protagonist and dominates the main character position. Between him and Van Dorn, they manage to discover the how and where and prepare to intercept the spies and their secret equipment. The pace picks up quickly after a somewhat leisurely start to the storyline with a prologue that discloses the history of the main antagonist.

I picked up this audiobook as I recognized the name of Clive Cussler and was interested in the WWI plot. It’s a little dismaying to see that it’s “co-authored”(?) in small print. After the plot goes into an explanation of the equipment and the struggle of getting it into the proper hands, it definitely amps up the action.

Interesting the way this author ties his story into the sinking of the Lusitania, making it sound believable, and me wondering why this novel wasn’t considered historical fiction rather than action thriller or crime thriller, although it does become a thriller—with espionage and the brutality of war criminals.

I had a little problem with the narrator for the first quarter of the book or so, but once the narrative took on a lot more action, he smoothed out his delivery.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction, Mystery Action & Adventure, Crime Thrillers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B09SNJN4RC
Listening Length: 12 hrs 2 mins
Narrator: Scott Brick
Publication Date: November 8, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Sea Wolves [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four stars 4 stars

 

Jack Du Brul - authorThe Author: Jack du Brul is the author of the Philip Mercer series [Vulcan’s Forge, Charon’s Landing, The Medusa Stone, Pandora’s Curse, River of Ruin, Deep Fire Rising,and Havoc] and the coauthor with Clive Cussler of six Oregon Files novels [Dark Watch, Skeleton Coast, Plague Ship, Corsair,The Silent Sea, and The Jungle]. He lives in Vermont.

©2022 V Williams

Have a great weekend!

Hell and Back: Longmire Mysteries, Book 18 by Craig Johnson – #Audiobook Review – #westernfiction

Hell and Back by Craig Johnson

#1 New Release in Western Fiction  

Book Blurb:

A new novel in the beloved New York Times bestselling Longmire series.

Picking up where Daughter of the Morning Star left off, the next Longmire novel finds the sheriff digging further into the mysteries of the wandering without—a mythical all-knowing spiritual being that devours souls.

Walt thinks he might find the answers he’s looking for among the ruins of an old Native American boarding school—an institution designed to strip Native children of their heritage. He has been haunted by the image of the Fort Pratt Industrial Indian Training School ever since he first saw a faded postcard picturing a hundred boys in uniform, in front of a large, ominous building—a postcard that was given to him by Jimmy Lane, the father of Jeanie One Moon.

After Walt’s initial investigation into Jeanie’s disappearance yielded no satisfying conclusions, Walt has to confront the fact that he may be dealing with an adversary unlike any he has ever faced before.

My Review:

Yikes, this novel takes us to La-La Land, full on mystic, supernatural, spiritual heritage. It’s the continuation of Daughter of the Morning Star, Book 17 that I read in October of ’21. This narrative is a huge departure from any previous in the series, including the last in which he was introduced to the Wandering Without (a Cheyenne spirit).

The intro to the book discloses he will delve heavily in the “Indian Training School,” the Native American boarding school at Fort Pratt where young boys were taken to strip the children of their heritage. The history is horrific and still weighs heavily on the hearts of their people.

Hell and Back by Craig JohnsonIn Book 18, Walt wakes lying in the snow, slowly becoming aware he experienced a traumatic accident. It is the first of several different times, this one being when the school was full of boys. In a type of dream-like state, he visits his own early period, now believing he can see his deceased wife. A separate time period includes Henry Standing Bear and Vic on a search for him.

As he navigates the historical period of the school where he decides he must battle an evil spirit, the storyline takes on an ethereal quality, atmospherics, the boys struggling with their school administrators.

Enter Ground Hog Day. He’s moving around, experiencing exchanges with different characters, but each time he sees them it’s 8:17 pm…and doomed to rinse and repeat but he’s gradually becoming weaker (is he dying?)—and Vic and Henry keep searching for him.

“ …he rested the butt of an 1873 Winchester, the rifle that you could load on Sunday, shoot all week long.”

I’m a die-hard Longmire fan series (loved the Netflix series!), most especially the audiobooks with George Guidall narrating, putting himself in the shoes of Henry Standing Bear, firing off glib philosophical spikes. This one though was pretty wild, definitely had my head swirling. It was weird and unique. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea but you can’t say it isn’t gripping.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Western Fiction, Native American Literature
Publisher: Recorded Books
ASIN: B0B1QRSRN2
Listening Length: 9 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Hell and Back [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  4.5 stars 4 1/2 stars

Craig Johnson - authorThe Author: Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

George Guidall - narratorThe Narrator: George Guidall is a prolific audiobook narrator and theatre actor. As of November 2014, he had recorded over 1,270 audiobooks, which was believed to be the record at the time. Wikipedia

©2022 V Williams V Williams

Audiobooks

Defending Jacob by William Landay – #Audiobook Review – #throwbackthursday

Audiobook review-Defending Jacob by William Landay

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than 20 years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, and as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own – between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis – a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.

My Review:

I must admit that I chose this audiobook because I saw that it was narrated by Grover Gardner and I’m a huge fan of Mr. Gardner—the “Andy” of the Andy Carpenter series (by another author). His artistic rendition carries most any book to new heights, not just reading the book, but making the characters come alive—flesh and blood—along with their foibles. Such is the Andy in this book.

The hook at the beginning manages to jump what will become the meat and potatoes of this book—the POV by Andy Barber. Andy is happily married and they have a fourteen-year-old son, Jacob. Every now and then, the POV jumps over the catastrophic event in the family’s life that propels the legal thriller to a heartbreaking family drama.

Jacob is accused of the murder of a classmate. Andy becomes convinced that Jacob would not—could not—commit the heinous crime—stabbing three times the chest of the boy found murdered and left in the park. He is temporarily suspended from his position as ADA and becomes convinced beyond all reason (and mostly circumstantial evidence) that his son is innocent.

Defending Jacob by William LandayMeanwhile, Laurie, his wife is becoming alarmed at her crushing emotions and conflicting beliefs—then guilt over her thoughts. Could her son have killed that boy? The atmosphere in the air becomes increasingly contentious, Andy defending his son beyond reason. Jacob declaring his innocence. His mother no longer so positive—doubts seeping into the bedrock, loosening her private shocking fears and revelations to her husband.

Meanwhile, as Andy works second chair with the attorney they hired to defend Jacob, they are confronted with Andy’s own history—dark secrets he’d never shared even with Laurie. She becomes horrified and as her experience with her baby boy begins to shed more light on him, Andy continues the unreasonable and dogged resistance to the possibility.

The reader is first left with a child—yes, sometimes children can be cruel—but this is far beyond bullying—and increasing questions as to the veracity of Andy’s arguments. The toll on the family is unimaginable, threatening to ruin the marriage, his mother’s belief in Jacob’s innocence flailing wildly in the wind. While Andy is a well-developed main character, Laurie is more a strong periphery character and Jacob only known through the insight of Andy and his mother.

I’m a fan of legal thrillers and the courtroom dance in the narrative proceeds with all the drama a reader could want, the push-pull, win-lose. Written by a former ADA, the author knows the timing, the procedure, the lingo—it’s high drama in itself.

The family appears to survive the process albeit briefly when another event sends the reader back into high-pressure territory, gasping with shock at the turn of events.

And then; the final twist. I don’t care who you are. You never saw this coming. Yes, I know you’ve heard that before. No, trust me. This one is so beyond what you might have imagined it echoes over and over in your head, leaving you with a book hangover.  The unthinkable. No do-overs here. You can run it over in your mind. It won’t change. I was almost sick.

Does that mean I wouldn’t recommend it? Are you kidding? This is crazy unique, gripping, heart-pounding, and unquestionably a novel both engaging and entertaining. The narration by Gardner is mesmerizing. (I guess it was turned into a TV series released in 2020.)

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ASIN: B0073OGZNM
Listening Length: 12 hrs 24 mins
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Defending Jacob [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

William Landay - authorThe Author: William Landay’s latest novel is the New York Times bestseller “Defending Jacob.” His previous novels are “Mission Flats,” which won the Dagger Award as best debut crime novel of 2003, and “The Strangler,” which was an L.A. Times favorite crime novel and was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award as best crime novel of 2007.

Visit the author at http://www.williamlanday.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/williamlanday

Grover Gardner - narratorNarrator: Grover Gardner is an American narrator of audiobooks. As of May 2018, he has narrated over 1,200 books. He was the Publishers Weekly “Audiobook Narrator of the Year” and is among AudioFile magazine’s “Best Voices of the Century”. Wikipedia

Born: 1956 (age 66 years).

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

 

The Rising Tide: A Vera Stanhope Novel by Ann Cleeves – #Audiobook Review – #womensleuths

The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves

Editors' pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb:

For fifty years a group of friends have been meeting regularly for reunions on Holy Island, celebrating the school trip where they met, and the friend that they lost to the rising causeway tide five years later. Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . .

But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible.

My Review:

Is Ann Cleeves an acquired taste? Installment ten of this series is my second (having read Book 9 The Darkest Evening), although I’ve read another Cleeves novel in a different series. I like Vera Stanhope—she’s not a profanity-spouting, booze-guzzling, bed-hopping DI. And I like the audiobooks, the narrator growing on me a bit as well as she projects the different voices, connotations, inflections of the text.

The Rising Tide by Ann CleevesThe storyline this time involves a group of old school friends who meet every five years at Holy Island—the site of a school trip. Unfortunately, it is also the site of a fatality at their first reunion. This reunion sees the death of another of the former students. Attempted to appear as a suicide, Vera suspects murder.

These are not fast-paced mysteries. The participants at the reunion are introduced and studied, listed as possible suspects or not. There remained a number of inquiries that Vera is loathed to delegate, but as she is getting older, begrudgingly allows her staff to tackle different aspects of the investigation, relinquishing the reins just a bit. And we get to know them as well, their POV, motives. I like both Joe and Holly. It’s a good team.

Vera has a sixth sense, honed from years with the department, as well as unhappy childhood experiences, that she often uses to jump to the next facet of exploration. It’s good that she does and is usually right.

Unfortunately, sometimes her timing is a bit off. In this case, tragically so. I mourned that loss so I wasn’t wholly thrilled with the ending this time. Still, now that I’ve found an almost contemporary protagonist, I’ll be looking for the next book in the series.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuths, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B09Q7QC2NC
Listening Length: 11 hrs 28 mins
Narrator: Janine Birkett
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Rising Tide [Amazon]
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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

Ann Cleeves - authorThe Author: Ann is the author of the books behind ITV’s VERA, now in it’s third series, and the BBC’s SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann’s DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann’s Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands…

Ann grew up in the country, first in Herefordshire, then in North Devon. Her father was a village school teacher. After dropping out of university she took a number of temporary jobs – child care officer, women’s refuge leader, bird observatory cook, auxiliary coastguard – before going back to college and training to be a probation officer.

While she was cooking in the Bird Observatory on Fair Isle, she met her husband Tim, a visiting ornithologist. She was attracted less by the ornithology than the bottle of malt whisky she saw in his rucksack when she showed him his room. Soon after they married, Tim was appointed as warden of Hilbre, a tiny tidal island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary. They were the only residents, there was no mains electricity or water and access to the mainland was at low tide across the shore. If a person’s not heavily into birds – and Ann isn’t – there’s not much to do on Hilbre and that was when she started writing. Her first series of crime novels features the elderly naturalist, George Palmer-Jones. A couple of these books are seriously dreadful.

In 1987 Tim, Ann and their two daughters moved to Northumberland and the north east provides the inspiration for many of her subsequent titles. The girls have both taken up with Geordie lads. In the autumn of 2006, Ann and Tim finally achieved their ambition of moving back to the North East.

For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. It came as a revelation that it was possible to get paid for talking to readers about books! She went on to set up reading groups in prisons as part of the Inside Books project, became Cheltenham Literature Festival’s first reader-in-residence and still enjoys working with libraries.

Ann Cleeves on stage at the Duncan Lawrie Dagger awards ceremony

Ann’s short film for Border TV, Catching Birds, won a Royal Television Society Award. She has twice been short listed for a CWA Dagger Award – once for her short story The Plater, and the following year for the Dagger in the Library award.

In 2006 Ann Cleeves was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland Quartet. The Duncan Lawrie Dagger replaces the CWA’s Gold Dagger award, and the winner receives £20,000, making it the world’s largest award for crime fiction.

Ann’s success was announced at the 2006 Dagger Awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hilton, in London’s Aldwych, on Thursday 29 June 2006. She said: “I have never won anything before in my life, so it was a complete shock – but lovely of course.. The evening was relatively relaxing because I’d lost my voice and knew that even if the unexpected happened there was physically no way I could utter a word. So I wouldn’t have to give a speech. My editor was deputed to do it!”

The judging panel consisted of Geoff Bradley (non-voting Chair), Lyn Brown MP (a committee member on the London Libraries service), Frances Gray (an academic who writes about and teaches courses on modern crime fiction), Heather O’Donoghue (academic, linguist, crime fiction reviewer for The Times Literary Supplement, and keen reader of all crime fiction) and Barry Forshaw (reviewer and editor of Crime Time magazine).

Ann’s books have been translated into sixteen languages. She’s a bestseller in Scandinavia and Germany. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden in 200.

Bio and photo from Goodreads.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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