The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby – #Audiobook Review

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby

Book Blurb:

The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a 30-year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near-fatal accident 10 years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.

When Jamison Vaughn – billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful US presidential candidate – drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia, is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide? Or was it murder?

Before long, Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends, an elite group of academics, and the brutal murder 30 years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced – for good. 

My Review:

Book 8 in the Wine Country Mystery series, I reached back aways for this one. I’ve enjoyed the Wine Country series and the aura, mystique, and history of the Virginia vineyards and countryside. There is always more to learn about the craft of wine making.

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen CrosbyIn this installment, Lucie Montgomery witnesses a horrific accident at the same location she experienced the accident that resulted in her permanent disability. She tries to rescue billionaire and unsuccessful US presidential candidate Jamison Vaughn but was driven back by the flames. The accident—or was it an accident?—starts an investigation into his death that ultimately reaches back thirty years. Something he said to her before Jamie died—and she’s promised to deliver the message.

This particular entry became multi-layered, tying not only the former presidential candidate, but her own past. She has never forgiven her ex-boyfriend for the accident and her injuries and it still weighs heavily on her.

When she gets closer to the secrets held so long, people told her to back off. But she wouldn’t and didn’t and with the help of her fiancé Quinn, discovers the shocking truth. In so doing, she may have found, at long last, the way to ease her burden as well.

This entry just didn’t grab me as well of two previous reads, The Angels’ Share and Harvest of Secrets. I suspect because of the complexity involved in the plot, the normal share of history and wine making secrets devolved well into the background and concentrated instead on the mystery.

I’ve tended to jump around and borrowed whatever I could and each have been interesting though obviously I have my favorites. It’s a series I’ll continue reading or listening to.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
ASIN: B0778Z14SP
Listening Length: 7 hrs 57 mins
Narrator: Christine Marshall
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Vineyard Victims [Amazon]

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

 

Christine Marshall - narratorThe Narrator:  Christine Marshall is an actress, director, and designer who makes her home in Maine. She is a member of the Mad Horse Theatre Company and the Maine State Ballet, works on many independent Maine theater projects and films, and appears regularly on local commercial television. As a narrator, she recently won her first Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine for her work on Dancer.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

His & Hers: A Novel by Alice Feeney – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and hers. Which means someone is always lying.

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown, a quintessentially British village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Detective Jack Harper is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.

Someone isn’t telling the truth, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.

His & Hers is a twisty, smart psychological thriller. A gripping tale of suspense, told by expertly drawn narrators that will keep listeners guessing until the very end. 

My Review:

OMG, does this grip and hang on or what? Related in three POVs, Anna Andrews is the “her.” She’s been a fixture on the BBC news as a lunchtime anchor, always dreaming of her next big break. The old anchor returned, however, beloved, well-known, and still under contract after maternity leave and Anna is unceremoniously returned to the position of news correspondent.  Oh groan.

His and Hers by Alice FeeneyJack Harper is the “his” working on the police force in Blackdown. He was called to investigate a body found in the woods and is shocked to see it is someone he knows—and knows very well, btw. But he keeps that part to himself.

And then there is the perp, the killer, whose dialogue is skewed by a voice changer. Very creepy and creepy enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Insult to injury, now Anna is asked to cover the murder in the little town of Blackdown and no, she doesn’t want to go—she grew up there, not particularly happily. Of course, she, too, recognizes the victim.

Once in, the listener doesn’t get a bathroom break. You must listen to the next chapter, whether it is her or him—or that other one.

“There are always two sides to every story, yours and mine, ours and theirs, his and her. I always prefer my own.”

Fast paced, well-plotted, creepy narrative spiced with hometown-childhood secrets, adult secrets. Twists and turns leave the listener spinning. No getting a breath now—are you figuring it out? The tension ramps up another notch.

Jack came off as highly engaging, approachable. Anna not so much—she’s narcissistic and scheming. Her career is her life. She just wants back in the anchor spot and she can detach her emotions from the scene.

This novel-audiobook totally envelopes the listener, sinister, gripping, full of suspense. And, oh yeah, that one last gotcha at the end? Brilliant! Storytelling genius. You don’t want to miss this one!

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Police Procedurals Mysteries
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B07TFLWV4H
Listening Length: 10 hrs 39 mins
Narrators: Richard ArmitageStephanie Racine
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: His and Hers [Amazon]

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Alice Feeney - authorThe Author: Alice Feeney is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her debut novel, Sometimes I Lie, was an international bestseller, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is being made into a TV series by Warner Bros. starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. His & Hers is also being adapted for screen by Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films. Alice was a BBC Journalist for fifteen years, and now lives in the British countryside with her family. Rock Paper Scissors is her fourth novel and is being made into a TV series for Netflix by the producer of The Crown. It will be published around the world in 2021.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

TV Netflix Series Outlander vs #Audiobook by Diana Gabaldon (Author) and Davina Porter (Narrator) – Time Travel Romances

“This romantic odyssey earned three Golden Globe nods and won “Most Bingeworthy Show” at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards.”

TV Netflix Series Outlander vs Audiobook

Once again, trust the CE to find a series we carefully parceled out (depending on the last episode watched) to make this series last longer and still burned through it quickly. I never was really able to see the sparks between Jamie and Claire (always viewing her as so much more mature than he), but the stories were riveting and kept us glued. Those who have followed me for some time know I’m not a big fan of romance—but these stories—getting past the romance part—put you back in time, the beauty and barbarism, the daily struggle of life. And I do so enjoy that historical aspect. 

Netflix Series

Currently, there are five seasons (67 episodes) on Netflix. Season six possibly May of 2022 and strong hope of a seventh season—some time. It was developed by Ronald D Moore.

It’s a historical drama, so you know it got my attention. Basically, a married WWII nurse is transported back to 1743 during the Jacobite rising. There she meets Jamie Fraser, a Highland warrior. But Jamie is just the start of a roster of stellar characters, manly men in kilts. They set the scene of the people, the time, the country, and their fierce loyalty to the clan they belong. First the clan—then the country—and they have a common enemy, the English.

There are eight books in the Outlander series with Outlander: Book 1, kicking it off. Many of the seasons storylines can be traced directly back to the original books:

  1. Outlander
  2. Dragonfly in Amber
  3. Voyager
  4. The Drums of Autumn
  5. The Fiery Cross
  6. A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  7. An Echo in the Bone\Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

The Making of Outlander

I listened to Audiobook 1 in its entirety and then couldn’t find either Book 2 or 3 and started Audiobook 4, The Drums of Autumn. Within Season 1 are sixteen episodes.

The male lead, Sam Roland Heughan was born April 30, 1980 in Balmaclellan, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. He’s 6’2” and owns that Highlander part right now to his tricorn. He is a co-founder of My Peak Challenge, a charitable community-based organization.

The female lead, Caitriona Balfe was born in Dublin, Ireland and grew up in County Monaghan. She worked as a model (she is 5’9”) and was studying drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology hoping to become an actress when she was scouted.

 

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved the swoon-worthy Jamie and still not sure Claire “fits” him, although looking at Hepburn and Bogie you’d not think they’d fit any better. I feel she’s a little light on chemistry, but, hey, that’s just me. Otherwise, these storylines move so fast, appear so authentic you’d swear you took that stone journey right along with Claire, a delightful fantasy in itself. I appreciate the inclusion of the Scottish Gaelic, the speech patterns, from sassenach to bhalaich and glimpses of the countryside. It’s a series that bombards the senses with sight and sound and teleports the imagination. Escapism when we truly needed it. 5 stars

Audiobook

This stunning blend of historical romance and time traveling adventure has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world and catapulted author Diana Gabaldon to the top of the New York Times best seller list. Outlander introduces an exhilarating world of heroism and breathtaking thrills as one woman is torn between past and present, passion and love.

In 1945, former combat nurse Claire Randall returns from World War II and joins her husband for a second honeymoon. Their blissful reunion is shattered when she touches a boulder in an ancient stone ruin and is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland, a place torn by war and raiding border clans. Will Claire find her way back to her own time, or is her destiny forever linked with Clan MacKenzie and the gallant James Fraser?

My Thoughts

Oh, ouch! Here I go again! Watched a G-rated Netflix series thinking I’d get the same rating from the audiobook. Nope. Reminds me a great deal of the experience I had with another well received and popular Netflix series only to find out that the author wrote a sexually laden series—not the toned down small town fiction series we got on the home screen.

While much of the action-adventure, spirit of the eighteenth century works a strong background, the romance between the two main characters take front and center stage, sometimes getting more graphic than I’m comfortable with. Claire, not a nurse but a practiced surgeon, falls for a warring Highlander with little romantic experience. She becomes the teacher.

Otherwise, it would appear most of the support characters echo those presented in the TV version with various degrees of debauchery. Claire becomes a strong presence among the men, owing to her medical prowess, while still clinging to the secret of having been plunked into their midst from another time. Wincing narrative scenes are easier to read (or listen to) than broadcast in full sight to a general audience? Torn between 3 ½ and 4 stars, perhaps I’ll settle at 3 ¾ stars.

Overall Impression

Hazzah to those who created and went with a romantic time-travel adventure! More about the people, the time, the culture than the two love interests. I loved the costumes, the authentic touches of the Netflix series and the plot that continually builds into another period journey and I didn’t have to hide my eyes or block my ears once. This is one VERY long series and in either printed or audiobook form may constitute an epoch undertaking. I found my own quota after completing Book 1 and sampling Book 4. Probably no different for those who follow long running series well into the double digits. Some never get old and some just wear you out. I’ll happily watch another season on Netflix, but think I’ll move on to other audiobooks now.

Book Details

Outlander: Book 1

Genre: Time Travel Romances, Scottish Historical Romance, Historical Fantasy
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B000GW8NVA
Listening Length: 32 hrs and 38 mins
Narrator: Davina Porter
Audible Release: July 13, 2006
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Outlander: Book 1 [Amazon]

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Diana Gabaldon - author
Photo by Gage Skidmore

The Author: Diana Gabaldon is the internationally bestselling author of many historical novels including Cross Stitch, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow Ashes. She lives with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a New York Time bestselling author.

Find her at https://www.dianagabaldon.com/

Davina Porter-narrator
Photo by Jo Anna Perrin

The Narrator: Golden Voice narrator Davina Porter has performed not only the entire Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, but also other fantasy classics including many of Marion Zimmer Bradley Avalon audiobooks, and Erika Johansen’s widely praised THE INVASION OF THE TEARLING.  Davina’s audiobook work includes titles ranging from classics to mystery to philosophy, with an enduring thread of splendid fantasy audiobooks.

“I was born and raised in England, my father was English, a true “Londoner” (read Cockney!), and my mother was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. Two accents under my belt! I am married to a Glasgow-born Scot, more diversity. Being a product of my background, I am very familiar with the English and Scottish way of life, and all its foibles!”

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 18) by Nevada Barr – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation – an autumn canoe trip into the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is 13. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting-edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River.

When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country, in Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr.

My Review:

No, wait!

Did I get a different Anna Pigeon?

I started reading this series because I really enjoyed the protagonist, a US Park Services ranger, a woman, and the different parks where the particular novel was sited. A different park every entry to the series and so much to learn—that and the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat who adds her slightly gravelly voice with such marvelous inflection in both the situation and the reflection of the situation. Well, anyway, I’ve listened to four, and particularly enjoyed Deep South and Hunting Season. They heavily featured Anna Pigeon.

Destroyer Angel by Nevada BarrThis one…well, this one features friends, acquaintances, who on a vacation trip into the Minnesota wilderness to enjoy nature, test equipment, and try out a handicap prototype are taken hostage when Anna is away from camp on a quick and quiet little canoe outing of her own. In the camp when the ladies are overtaken by four nasty gangsters is also their older dog, Wiley, who is left for dead when the men move the women out.

We’re talking two women (one of whom is a paraplegic) and two teenagers. Of course they are out of cell phone range. They are headed out to rendezvous with the baddy who hired these guys. So, much of the focus is on the ladies, their struggles, and the men. Meanwhile, Anna discovers Wiley is not dead and manages to stabilize him, stalks the hostages and their captures and without weapons takes on the task of disabling the men while rescuing the women. Wow…different.

Or not. The characters are pretty much stereotypes—wealthy Leah and her estranged and sullen daughter Katie, the paraplegic and her daughter Elizabeth. The bad guys, dangerously bad—and stupid, btw.

Anna takes on the dog, having hearts to heart with Wiley while he’s recuperating enough to provide a sounding board for Anna’s whispered thoughts, although he doesn’t provide many thoughts in return.

While there is essentially no mystery, there is tension and the tension ramps up with each chapter. The toll on Anna is serious, but she manages to power through, the ladies manage heroically, the bad guys are just seriously raunchy.

The reason for the whole kidnap seemed a bit weak to me, not wholly believable, but the little zinger at the end was delicious. So, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed. As the series has nineteen books, I am now counting back down. Oh yeah, I’m hooked.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B00IIUW9EE
Listening Length: 11 hrs 37 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: April 1, 2014Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Destroyer Angel [Amazon]

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

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada 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, Bittersweet 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 - narratorThe 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.[2] On Broadway she appeared in The Secret Garden and Talk Radio. Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks.

©2021 V Williams

Vicious Circle (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 17) by C J Box – #Audiobook Review #crimethriller #TBT

Vicious Circle by C J Box

Book Blurb:

The plane circled in the dark. Joe Pickett could just make out down below a figure in the snow and timber, and then three other figures closing in. There was nothing he could do about it. And Joe knew that he might be their next target.

The Cates family had always been a bad lot. Game warden Joe Pickett had been able to strike a fierce blow against them when the life of his daughter April had been endangered, but he’d always wondered if there’d be a day of reckoning. He’s not wondering any longer. Joe knows they’re coming after him and his family now. He has his friend Nate by his side, but will that be enough this time? All he can do is prepare…and wait for them to make the first move.

My Review:

Hmm, this being my fourth book by CJ Box, three in the Joe Pickett series, I’m thinking I’ll swerve back to the Highway Quartet series.

No, I’ll not give up the author for the let down experienced by listening to Vicious Circle. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t hate it—but neither did I love it.

It’s the general atmospheric storytelling that compels me to gravitate to the western world of Wyoming and Montana. While I did get some of that western color, I had a problem with the characters—and I’m still struggling somewhat with the narrator.

Vicious Circle by C J BoxJoe Pickett is a Wyoming game warden who is coming up against an old local family with whom he’s crossed paths before. And not happily. Now they’re coming back for him.

Guess I’m getting tired of the vengeance theme. The backwoods family, nasty, with little concern for other than their perceived retribution begins a cat and mouse game to the end putting both Pickett, his family, and Nate Romanowski at risk. (Nate is the experienced falconer who’s played a prominent part in other episodes of the series.)

A smaller plot underlying the Cate family retribution is the poaching of animals by a group who has succeeded in evading discovery. Interesting local lore as well as game animal stats are woven into the narrative adding to that wild west mystique. Usually, poachers are after trophy animals, but the twist here is that the animals are standard wildlife. (They are not, however, being wasted as meat portions are being harvested.)

I did enjoy Wolf Pack and Long Range, perhaps less so than The Bitterroots, but I’ll be trying the Highway Quartet series again—maybe it’s time to go back to a female protagonist.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B06WRT9FSR
Print Length: 377 pages
Listening Length: 10 hrs 20 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Vicious Circle [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

C J Box - authorThe Author: C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over twenty-two novels including the Joe Pickett series. He won the Edgar Alan Poe Award for Best Novel (Blue Heaven, 2009) as well as the Anthony Award, Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, the Barry Award (twice), the Western Heritage Award for Literature, and 2017 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western. The novels have been translated into 27 languages. Open Season, Blue Heaven, Nowhere To Run, and The Highway have been optioned for film and television. Millions of copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone.

Box is a Wyoming native and has worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, fishing guide, a small town newspaper reporter and editor, and he owned an international tourism marketing firm with his wife Laurie. In 2008, Box was awarded the “BIG WYO” Award from the state tourism industry. An avid outdoorsman, Box has hunted, fished, hiked, ridden, and skied throughout Wyoming and the Mountain West. He served on the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo and is currently serving on the Wyoming Tourism Board. He lives in Wyoming

The Narrator:  David Chandler was born on February 3, 1950 in Danbury, Connecticut, USA as David Suehsdorf. He is an actor and writer, known for Hide and Seek (2005), Law & Order (1990) and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (1987). He is married to Janet Elizabeth Muir. They have two children.

©2021 V Williams –

Land of Wolves: A Longmire Mystery (Walt Longmire Mysteries Book 15) by Craig Johnson – #Audiobook Review #TBT #westerns

Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Attempting to recover from his harrowing experiences in Mexico, in Land of Wolves Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is neck deep in the investigation of what could or could not be the suicidal hanging of a shepherd. With unsettling connections to a Basque family with a reputation for removing the legs of Absaroka County sheriffs, matters become even more complicated with the appearance of an oversize wolf in the Big Horn Mountains to which Walt finds himself feeling more and more empathetic.

My Review:

You all know I do love the Longmire series and while I’ve reviewed several here, have listened to many more and just enjoyed. I’m sure part of my interest lies in the narration by George Guidall, but you can’t go wrong with a Longmire episode. Also, having devoured the entire series offered on Netflix, I can now see in the minds’ eye these characters who were so well cast in the TV version.

While it’s nice to have some knowledge of the characters, you can start this series most anywhere as a standalone and quickly get up to speed. As mentioned above, I’ve listened to a number of these books, most recently Dry Bones and The Highwayman. The novels are all great, some even better, and George Guidall is consistently excellent.

Land of Wolves by Craig JohnsonWalt Longmire is back from a crushing, almost fatal, trip to Mexico to rescue his daughter Katie. He is still not back 100% physically or mentally when he discovers a sheepherder, hanging, which is labeled a suicide. Longmire is not so quick to agree and, as usual, the plot appears to go multi-level with the infusion of the wolf mystique and the age-old quarrel of ranchers, their livestock, and wolves. The Cheyenne Nation sets a spiritual aura surrounding the sighting of a lone wolf. But wolves have not been seen in Absaroka County for a very long time.

Johnson lays on the prose, waxing philosophical through Longmire, spiritually through Henry Standing Bear, Dog, and the flippant and vitriolic under-sheriff Victoria (Vic) and her unfiltered mouth. Love these characters. Longmire struggles mightily during the narrative, sometimes experiencing black-outs, periods of PTSD, as well as physical exhaustion.

The novel explores family, sacrifice, and strong atmospheric immersion into another way of life. It runs a little dark with the inner and outer struggles of Walt, but the occasional flashes of humor are splashed in irreverently as are Vic’s sexual innuendo. Well, who am I kidding? No innuendo about it. She can turn a four letter word fest into a pornographic hootenanny. So nice being back in Absaroka County, Wyoming, where the Red Pony Bar and Grill is a continuous soirée.

Book Details:

Genre: Native American Literature, Westerns
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B07S6525LW
Print Length: 335 pages
Listening Length: 8 hrs 10 mins
Narrator: George Guidall
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Land of Wolves

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five 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 - audiobook 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

©2021 V Williams

 

happy thursday!

Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr – #Audiobook Review – #suspense – #TBT

Track of the Cat by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

From the vivid opening vista, high in craggy mountains, to the final haunting glimpse of a moonlit canyon, Nevada Barr’s first mystery, Track of the Cat, instantly caught the attention of readers and reviewers. Its popularity gained it both an Agatha and an Anthony Award.

The young naturalist, Anna Pigeon, has moved to the Southwest wilderness to be a park ranger. There, her days are filled with the physical demands of working in the Guadalupe Mountains and the satisfaction of living in this splendid land. Her peace is shattered one morning, though, when she discovers the body of another ranger deep in Dog Canyon. How did the usually cautious woman die? Although at first the evidence indicates an attack by a mountain lion, Anna soon suspects that there are craftier predators afoot in the wild grasses.

Fast-paced suspense and sharply defined characters will immediately sweep you up in the force of this compelling mystery. By the end, you’ll be nodding in satisfaction at the final twist and anticipating the next book in the Anna Pigeon series. Narrator Barbara Rosenblat’s performance highlights Anna’s savvy courage and determination to catch her prey.

My Review:

Hoping you are sitting down, though not necessary to clutch your heart. Yes, this is Book 1, the beginning of the Anna Pigeon series. Okay, okay, settle down. I did decide to go back to Book 1—on purpose—to see how the whole thing started.

If I had to be honest, Anna Pigeon isn’t exactly a protagonist you’re gonna love. She can feel detached, above it all. She wears blinders and unless the narrative is following her philosophy, she’s not into it. The quintessential maverick, oh, so attractive on the “bad boys,” but not at all on an independent female. Why doesn’t she just conform?

Track of the Cat by Nevada BarrYes, I was attracted to this series because it takes place at various national parks across the US. Oh, I love the descriptions of the parks, winter or summer, the indigenous species, the topo, the uniqueness of the park and the people. Ranger Anna Pigeon detects that her fellow ranger was not killed by a mountain lion—a set up—with the lion taking the defenseless fall. Poor thing.

I’ve read several others in this series, the last being Boar Island. She really doesn’t change. Her sister is an interesting character, also extremely independent, a NY head shrinker. Dang! Those must have been some parents!!

This one is set in the Guadalupe Mountains Nat’l Park in West Texas, dry, hot, arid desert conditions. Just about monsoon season. I’ve been in similar unforgiving conditions .Even in good physical condition, a major challenge, but Ranger Pigeon finds herself in death defying conditions while investigating the circumstances around the death of a fellow female ranger.

As always, I particularly enjoy narrator Barbara Rosenblat’s narration putting you on the edge, hanging on by fingernails into the conclusion. I do enjoy these novels, particularly the autdiobooks and feel each can be read as a standalone.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002T8XKS
Listening Length: 8 hrs 27 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 29, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Track of the Cat [Amazon] 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

The Author: Nevada [BNevada Barr - authorarr] 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 - narratorThe 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.[2] On Broadway she appeared in The Secret Garden and Talk Radio. Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks.

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