The Searcher: A Novel by Tana French – #Audiobook Review #policeprocedural #TBT

#audiobook-The Searcher by Tana French

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a bucolic Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens. But when a local kid whose brother has gone missing arm-twists him into investigating, Cal uncovers layers of darkness beneath his picturesque retreat, and starts to realize that even small towns shelter dangerous secrets.

“One of the greatest crime novelists writing today” (Vox) weaves a masterful, atmospheric tale of suspense, asking how to tell right from wrong in a world where neither is simple, and what we stake on that decision. 

My Review:

Yes, I discovered Tana French novels when I began participating in the Reading Ireland Month (March) and her writing, albeit lengthy, caught my attention and interest.

I have to admit, however, this might be a cat of a different color. Oh, it’s lengthy alright, and thankful I was listening to the audiobook, as I can do that fixing dinner, cleaning house, and working in my yard and this time of year the yard soaks up a ton of my time (currently working on some step pavers).

Usually it’s the narrator that either sells it for me (or not) and I must admit to getting into the spirited Irish dialogue pretty quickly and yes, buys into that old Irish saw about whiskey and beer.

The characters.

The Searcher by Tana FrenchOh my, the characters. Well, Cal as the retired Chicago cop who retires from the force and buys a piece of property uninhabited for years in a rural Irish countryside is a bit of a stretch for me. Granted, he is divorced, and has an adult daughter he is close to. Not sure why he’d skip the pond and land in Ireland. No relatives, no ties.

Cal is introduced to Trey who comes quietly into his life. It’s this very gradual friendship and later investigative work that gets him back into his cop mentality to solve the disappearance of the missing brother. Along the way, he imparts fatherly wit and wisdom on the child, teaching patiently some of the process of restoring first a desk and later additional sporting and hunting ventures.

The community is small, tight knit. And it’s a whole nother way of life, rather slow paced, and there is much to be learned about his new countryside. Something the good ole boys are more than happy to teach—in their own way and in their own time.

He’s not totally sold on his little cottage, the land, the people. He might go back to the states and he might not. It’s a clever twist of characters in and out, clues about the missing brother, almost a ruse to get to know the “lay of the land.” So who is keeping secrets?

It’s atmospheric, the bitter with the sweet. Definitely different than those I’ve read most recently The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) and before that The Secret Place. Still, I’ve become a fan and will certainly look for another. Recommended—with reservations.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural Mysteries, Literary Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B086Q1J7FC:
Listening Length: 14 hrs 32 mins
Narrator: Roger Clark
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Searcher [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

 

Tana French - authorThe Author: Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

 

Roger Clark - narratorThe Narrator: Roger Clark began working in audiobooks as a child cutting out newspaper clippings for the local newspaper for the blind. Now a narrator of almost 100 audiobooks, he works in theater, film, voice over and performance capture. He is best known for portraying Arthur Morgan in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2, for which he won several awards. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two boys.

©2021 V Williams

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It: A Mystery by Elle Cosimano – #Audiobook Review – Humorous Fiction

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Book Blurb:

“Getting the job done” for one single mom takes on a whole new meaning in Finlay Donovan is Killing It, a deliciously witty adult debut – the first in a brilliant new series from YA Edgar Award nominee Elle Cosimano.

FINLAY DONOVAN IS KILLING IT…except, she’s really not. The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written, her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her, and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head.


When Finlay’s overheard discussing the plot of her new novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet…and she soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart.  

My Review:

Is a mystery, contract killer supposed to be funny? Yes! This one’s a hoot! I totally devoured this audiobook, leaving the buds in while cleaning house (found more things to clean) and cooking dinner. One catastrophe after another, stupid decisions, and circumstances that force a situation you’d never find yourself in. Well, I wouldn’t.

But this is a crime-romance(?) writer having a major case of writer’s block, a divorced wife of a husband who found sweeter pastures with another woman, two children including a precocious four year old, an agent who won’t leave her alone, and bills piling up like snowflakes in winter.

And WHERE is that babysitter-housekeeper?!!

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle CosimanoWhen Finlay meets her agent at Panera’s (where she’s previously been banned) she is overheard discussing the mystery plot with her agent and is badly misunderstood by another desperate wife. Who leaves her a contract note with an attractive $$figure.

A normally intelligent albeit very desperate person, she won’t do it. But then, curious, she decides to check out the target. Just checking.

Well, you know how one innocent thing leads to another? And then that escalates beyond control, and trying to get out of the situation only makes it worse?

Enter Vero. Yah gotta love her.

In Finlay’s defense, it’s not like she is a professional. No clue what she is doing or who she is dealing with. She’s not stupid. Well, maybe she is and there is no way out. And you know how “word of mouth” works. It could happen.

I really liked Nick and Julian—great, possible romantic interests—and Vero is a keeper. Some of the scenes with the kids brought back memories as well as the noisy level of chaos. Her sister is another great support character. Loved the backfires of the plans, the twists, the dialogue and the way the narrator delivered the well-paced plot.

The only thing I didn’t love? Well, the conclusion was very satisfying—but that little bit in the epilogue? Ah, no. Overall, a rollicking good time, just roll with it. It’s not meant to be a “how to.” Heartily recommended—most especially in audiobook format.

Book Details:

Genre: Humorous Fiction, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio

  • ISBN-13: 1250241707
  • ASIN: B088KRYQXZ

Print Length: 363 pages
Listening Length: 9 hrs 59 mins
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It

Add to GoodreadsElle Cosimano - authorThe Author: Elle’s debut thriller NEARLY GONE was a 2015 Edgar Award Finalist, winner of the ITW 2015 International Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and was awarded the 2015 Mathical Book Award recognizing mathematics in children’s literature. Her novel HOLDING SMOKE was a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award and the International Thriller Award. Her novels have appeared on several statewide school and library reading lists. You can learn more about Elle at her website: http://www.ElleCosimano.com.

Photo courtesy of Powell Woulfe Photography

The Narrator: Angela Dawe is an actor and improviser working with the Annoyance Theater and Second City in Chicago. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Angela’s career has encompassed stage, television, and film work, in addition to award-winning audiobook narrations, which include young adult, suspense, romance, and historical fiction titles.

©V Williams me

Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney – #Audiobook Review – #literaryfiction – #readingirelandmonth21

Normal People by Sally Rooney

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation – awkward but electrifying – something life changing begins.

A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship, and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can’t. 

My Review:

OMG, I HOPE that Marianne and Connell are NOT “normal” people.

The storyline begins while they are still in school in a small town in West Ireland. And then for the next four years, the plot revolves around each with their own POV, going to college in Dublin, meeting other people, discovering new talents or the lack thereof, and maturing, except in their relationship.

Normal People by Sally RooneyBoth knew they had a strong connection early on. But Connell hails from the other side of the tracks. He strongly feels his inferior place in her life—she is a daughter from a wealthy, entitled family. While he is the product of a poor mother who loves and supports him, her family is detached, dysfunctional. They each carry their upbringing on their shoulders. It weighs on them. But each time their lives cross, that mutual powerful attraction between them begins where it left off.

Then they go their separate ways again, each to new lovers or experiences, unsatisfying, incomplete, and, what do you know? Their lives cross again—and again—and still they deny the full disclosure of their feelings toward each other.

The plot explores the sharp divide between classes, bullying, dysfunctional families, self-esteem, and the baggage of childhood—left open ended.

Obvious from the beginning they love each other.

So GET OVER IT!

As the reader progresses through each meet up and hopes they’ll finally have that last, final, heart-to-heart going between them, the time wasted comes ever more sharply into focus.

Two intelligent adults. And the clock is ticking. Each get-together lacking that all too important communication. Tomorrow is not promised.

It’s downright depressing.

I didn’t realize I was in the conclusion until the whole story ended. There was no plot really, not necessary to tie anything up, it just ended. No change, no closure—there never was going to be one. What was the point? It’s one of those books that just left me—meh.

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B07PC2K62C
Listening Length: 7 hrs 34 mins
Narrator: Aoife McMahon
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Normal People [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three Stars three stars

Sally Rooney - authorThe Author: SALLY ROONEY was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she is the author of Conversations with Friends and the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.

Aoife McMahan - narratorThe Narrator: Aoife McMahon was born in 1973 in Clare, Ireland. She is known for her work on Random Passage (2002), Broken (2017) and Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (2013).

©2021 V Williams

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent – An #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthriller – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Reading Ireland Month 2021 (Amazon) Editors Pick – Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb:

From the international best-selling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it*. 

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life – wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax. 

My Review:

OMG! This book is crazy twisted. The narrative is a psychological thriller-suspense but that doesn’t really classify a novel that reaches for and secures the devastingly dark, gasp-inducing hyperventilating novel this produces.

Doesn’t that line hook you in the blurb?* It did me and like a horror film you carefully sneak peaks through your fingers, you must…need to…finish. This is a family drama. No, not drama, noir, so dark it’s causing disbelieving, disturbing waves as you read it.

Lying in Wait by Liz NugentThe storyline is set in Dublin. A woman so narcissistic that no loved one is beyond sacrificing and it would appear that’s essentially what she does either directly or indirectly.

It’s beyond this normal reader’s fathom to wrap my head around the plot line—a woman who feels justified in pushing her husband to find a surrogate. She MUST have another baby. Her son, poor innocent Laurence, is growing up, getting older. She is a smother mother and there is a cruelly unhealthy connection between mother and son. But really, her husband Andrew, the judge, isn’t the first casualty. The surrogate, Annie Doyle (a prostitute and junkie now buried in their backyard) is not either. What extended family can look at this perverse situation and continue to make excuses?

There are few characters in the book and several have their own POV’s. My heart wept for Karen (sister of Annie), ached for Laurence, raged at Lydia Fitzsimmons. So easy to go from one POV to the other, filling in little voids, little thoughts or questions, mini-contradictions. The author smoothly develops her characters, adds the tension, gravitas, that the reader doesn’t realize how darkly and deeply ugly the plot has become. It’s sick. My heart was sinking and I kept waiting for that tiny spark, the pinpoint of light. Surely it was coming.

The well-plotted pace was full of twists and turns. The conclusion hurts—does nothing go the way you hoped or predicted? And then the final blow—the fatal punch to the gut. I woke my husband sleeping peacefully beside me with a plaintive cry—NOOOO! What did I just read?! I couldn’t believe it—it CAN’T end this way—but it did? No no no

I look at the author’s picture and think she looks so normal but from where in her mind did this come? And the narrator? Nailed it!

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
ASIN: B07BHTQPXW
 Print Length:
Listening Length: 8 hrs 33 min
Narrator: Caoilfhionn DunneDavid McFetridgeLesley McGuire
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Lying in Wait [Amazon]

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Liz Nugent - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally before writing extensively for radio and television drama.

Unravelling Oliver was published in 2014, hit the number 1 spot for several weeks and won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Liz Nugent - author witth awardLying in Wait, published in 2016, went straight to number 1 and was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. It won the Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Listeners Choice Award at the Irish Book Awards.

In October 2017, Liz won the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award in Literature.

Skin Deep was published in 2018. It also went straight to number 1 in the bestsellers charts and scooped two awards at the An Post Irish Book Awards in Nov ’18: Crime Novel of the Year AND the Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Listener’s Choice Award. Catch her at her website or her Twitter account @lizzienugent.

The Narrator: Caoilfhionn Dunne is an actress, known for Love/Hate (2010), In View (2016) and Wrath of the Titans (2012). Born in Dublin, Ireland.

©2021 V Williams

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – An #Audiobook Review – #medicalfiction #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

‘…Influenza delle stelle – the influence of the stars. Medieval Italians thought the illness proved that the heavens were governing their fates.’

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue - audiobookMy second contribution to the #begorrahthon. 

Book Blurb:

In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new flu are quarantined together. Into Julia’s regimented world step two outsiders – Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other’s lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work. 

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

My Review:

Just in time for our current pandemic state, along comes the author with her emotional tome set during 1918 Dublin. As if the world wasn’t still fighting a war, the viral fed Influenza of 1918 was killing more than those involved in the conflict.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma DonoghueNurse Julia Powers is an experienced, savvy nurse, where the maternity ward has been sectioned off and quarantined those with the flu symptoms. Desperate for help, Nurse Julia is joined by Bridie Sweeney, a local resident of the religious institution where she grew up, but having no education or experience in health services. She is also visited from the regular maternity ward by Dr. Kathleen Lynn, a Sinn Fein rebel, successfully avoiding so far being caught.

A strong parallel to the current epidemic with short supplies, escalating numbers, staffing, efforts to train and manage the population with proper sanitary procedures, but that is largely where the similarities end as there were no vaccines until the 30s when many of the home grown remedies were discarded.

No, this is a whole nother story, deeply rooted in the capacity of the nurse to love and care for her patients while her hands in a male dominated medical world are largely tied to doctors who quickly segregate care by the patient’s economic level. Waiting for even the capacity to apply fever or pain mediums, helpless to watch as her patients steadily lose ground in the interim. Amazing her quick thinking so often exhibited with her knowledge of hands on, education, and sharing.

The entire timeline covers no more than several days but packs so many disturbing details in the cringe-worthy descriptions, it has your teeth shuddering. As a woman having borne children, not difficult to remember the difference between front and back labor pain, but the practice of actually splitting the pubic bone (symphysiotomy or pubiotomy) had me terrified at the mental image.

As the stories of each in her ward are examined, it’s easy to become engaged in their welfare and root for their successful birthing experience and triumph over the flu symptoms. Nurse Julia has seen it all and her one light in the catastrophic scenario is her friendship with Bridie and the growing respect for Dr. Lynn (who in real life performed an amazing job both medically and socially in her fight for the treatment of women).

It’s a heartbreaking story, enveloping the reader in the dark and dreary times; the daily struggles of living another day in Ireland during the worst of poverty, famine, ignorance, religious, social, and sexual abuses. I was blind-sided by the short and unexpected romantic tryst near the conclusion, but the narrative is as educational as sensitive and disturbing.

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Fiction, LGBT Historical Fiction, World War I Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Hackette Audio
ASIN: B089X4V3HR
Listening Length: 9 hrs 6 mins
Narrator: Emma Lowe
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Pull of the Stars [Amazon]

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

Emma Donoghue - authorThe Author: Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is a writer of contemporary and historical fiction whose novels include the international bestseller “Room” (her screen adaptation was nominated for four Oscars), “Frog Music”, “Slammerkin,” “The Sealed Letter,” “Landing,” “Life Mask,” “Hood,” and “Stirfry.” Her story collections are “Astray”, “The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits,” “Kissing the Witch,” and “Touchy Subjects.” She also writes literary history, and plays for stage and radio. She lives in London, Ontario, with her partner and their two children.

The Narrator: Emma Lowe is a Watty Award winning author, who writes urban fantasy novels for both adults and young adults. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Emma attends university where she studies a Bachelor of Art in Creative Writing.

With a strong passion for the written word, Emma has also been published in Girlfriend magazine for her novel, Newborn (Helena Series) and other upcoming projects.

Aside from writing, Emma enjoys reading fantasy and horror novels, watching “one episode” from her favourite TV series, and admits to having a “small” obsession with cats. Though she has an extremely busy schedule, Emma plans to expand on the evergrowing world that is Helena Series, including its spin off origin series. On top of that, Emma is working on C.A.T Academy along with several other secret projects.

Emma’s first published book, Newborn, follows the tale of a young woman named Helena who witnesses a supernatural murder and is sucked into an underground world full of mythical creatures, a complex love hectogon, and a mystical prophecy that entails a brewing undead war on the horizon.

©2021 V Williams

The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French – An #Audiobook Review – #police procedural – #TBT

Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

The Trespasser by Tana French 

Book Blurb:

In best-selling Tana French’s newest “tour de force” (The New York Times), being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point. 

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed-to-a-shine, and dead in her catalog-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before. 

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-the-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be. 

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?  

My Review:

Protagonist Detective Antoinette Conway and her partner, Detective Stephen Moran, begin work on a new case involving Aislinn Murray, whose death is easily and quickly attributed to her new beau by the veteran detective who took lead in the interview. But since Conway was promoted to the Dublin Murder Squad, she has been the butt of practical jokes, harassment, and hostility, partly owing, she attributes, to her being a woman in a male dominated bastion.

The Trespasser by Tana FrenchDetective Conway is pushing back, however, her gut telling her this quiet, ineffectual man could NOT have been the one to cause Aislinn’s death. She is wondering, however, with the obvious circumstantial evidence, if she is getting paranoid, pushed this one time too many in a bid to find something that isn’t there.

Not my first go-round with the author, I previously read The Secret Place (semi-finalist in Goodreads’ best mystery/thriller category 2016) for a Reading Ireland Month in March 2019—it was 480 pages—and included both detectives. I figured this time I’d try an audiobook. Even at just over twenty hours, I’d make it in time for March.

Tana French is nothing if not verbose—I’m glad I went the audiobook route as that included narrator Hilda Fay who didn’t just read the book, she became Detective Conway allowing the reader to see the rest of the narrative riding on Conway’s shoulder, heart, and mind, hitting the nuances of French’s dialogue and thoughts with depth of emotion, philosophy, and circumspect anguish.

The problem is, with ALL that dialogue, and ALL those recriminations, and ALL those subtle disclosures of the nasty pranks from the guys, the novel tends to lose sight of the story arc and extends exponentially when it could easily have been conveyed in under 300 words. The interdepartmental rivals and pissing matches become a broken record and loses the plot spit and fire.

French does pull all her various threads together in spectacular fashion in the climatic conclusion thrusting home her theory. It’s a hallow victory—sad—unsatisfying. But it’s a win.

Book Details:

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, #Suspense, British & Irish Literary Fiction
Publisher:  Penguin Audio

  • ASIN: B01IQ1MEH6

Print Length: 455 pages
Listening Length: 20 hrs 6 mins
Narrator:  Hilda Fay
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Trespasser [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars

Tana French - authorThe Author: Tana French is the author of In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place, and The Trespasser. Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity, and Barry awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Dublin with her family.

 

Hilda Fay - narratorThe Narrator: Hilda Fay is an award-winning actress from Ireland who has worked both on stage and screen for the past 25 years. She has performed in Oedipus, Little Gem, and the one-woman show Alice Devine. Hilda’s TV and film credits include Prosperity, Proof, and Whistleblower, which won an IFTA award for Best Drama.

©2021 V Williams

Deep South (Anna Pigeon #8) by Nevada Barr – An #Audiobook Review – Cultural Heritage Fiction -#ThrowbackThursday

“You stick your finger in the water and you pull it out, and that is how much of a hole you leave when you’re gone.” (Finger in the water test–Multiple sources)

Deep South by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Nevada Barr‘s ever-popular Anna Pigeon series is consistently praised as “exceptional” (Denver Post), “stunning” (Seattle Times), and “superb” (New York Times Book Review). In Deep South, Park Ranger Anna Pigeon heads to Mississippi, only to encounter terrible secrets in the heart of the south…

Anna Pigeon finally gives in to her bureaucratic clock-and signs on for a promotion. Next thing she knows, she’s knee-deep in mud and Mississippi. Not exactly what she had in mind. Almost immediately, as the new district ranger on the Natchez Trace, Anna discovers the body of a young prom queen near a country cemetery, a sheet around her head, a noose around her neck. It’s a bizarre twist on a best-forgotten past of frightening racial undertones. As fast as the ever-encroaching kudzu vines of the region, the roots of this story run deep-and threaten to suffocate anyone in the way, including Anna…

My Review:

My second book by Nevada Barr in her Anna Pigeon, US National Park Service series and I enjoyed this one possibly even more than my first, Hunting Season. While we are working through the trope of the lone female in a normally male bastion, the park service, I greatly appreciate the strong, independent woman portrayed as Anna Pigeon.

Deep South by Nevada BarrWilling to tackle just about anything (while admitting in some circumstances fear), she still plows through as if being a female doesn’t matter. In this case, a white woman and a Yankee in a new promotion as District Ranger on the Natchez Trace of Mississippi. Oh, and new to the south as well, she has several strikes against her before she even begins.

It’s apparent immediately she isn’t wanted, welcome, or tolerated. Still, before she can really settle into the new position or thoroughly meet her subordinates, she encounters the murder of a sixteen year old girl. The girl’s body is left with racial implications.

Dealing with the investigation, the road blocks thrown up by her deputies, and confronting an attraction for one of the men, she manages each confrontation with calm and intelligence and is making headway in the mystery.

I love the information regarding the historic area of Mississippi, the Natchez Trace being an ambitious trail from Natchez to Nashville, some 444 miles and three states. Underlying the Trace information is the Civil War stories that permeate the area in general and the Trace in particular.

Anna is well developed, we can see who she is without having read the seven prior to this entry, and in this episode, strong interpersonal relationships are borne of the circumstances that create engaging support characters.

These narratives set an early hook, reel you in, and don’t let go. It is a well-plotted and fast paced storyline that keeps you reading (in this instance—listening) and hard to pause.

Hard push into the explosive conclusion and the calming collective following. An oldie but a goodie that rallies interest in the remaining books of the series—nineteen in all. A good mystery with culture cues. The narrator does an excellent, even superb job of narrative—forcing the pace, either faster or that ease into another discovery, or possible perp. Who was it killed that girl? I won’t tell.

Book Details:

Genre: Cultural Heritage Fiction, World Literature, Women Sleuth Mysteries 
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B0002QUWQY
Listening Length: 12 hrs 8 mins
Narrator:  Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: July 22, 2004
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Deep South [Amazon]

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

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada [Barr] 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 recorded over 600 audiobooks in a distinguished career that has garnered 8 Audie Awards, 50 plus Earphone Awards from Audiofile Magazine for exceptional recordings and numerous  accolades over the years. She has been inducted into the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame. One critic wrote, ‘Barbara is to audiobooks what Meryl Streep is to film’. Her book, ‘Audiobook Narrator- The Art of Recording Audiobooks’ provides personal guidance for those pursuing this avenue of art and is a direct result of answering many questions at personal appearances and at her masterclasses about the craft.

Barbara has also done a lot of animation, anime, and video games as well as documentaries and commercials. (Bio and pic from Hasty Book List.)

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