Can you pick a winner? #TuesdayBookBlog

Can you pick a winner?  

The official start of the autumn season begins tomorrow.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2020Along with the beginning of the Fall comes the annual push for Goodreads Choice Awards nominees. With over 5.6M votes cast, the winners of the 12th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards were announced last December 2020. The opening round began late October. This is the only major book awards decided by readers. Decided.

So, I must ask you: If there are three rounds of books to vote, the opening round, the semifinal round, and the final round, where do the books to vote on come from in the first place? (Not from the readers?)

No, from Goodreads.

According to their analyzation of “millions of books added, rates, and reviewed” on Goodreads, fifteen books are initially nominated in each category.

Books published between November 18, 2020 through November 17, 2021 will be eligible this year. And these books are based on an average rating of 3.5 or “higher at the time of launch.” Ouch! At the time of launch! (Must have had major buzz at launch!)

There are twenty categories, in everything from General Fiction to Picture Books. A book can be nominated in one of the specific genre categories as well as the debut novel category. If you’ve been following my blog, you know my favorite category is Mystery & Thriller. Yes, I voted if I saw a book I read and liked.

The categories in which I chose a nominee were Best Fiction, Historical, Memoir & Autobiography, and Mystery & Thriller. Of those, I had my picks hit third or better my ratings three stars to five, and I had a total of six winners.

The breakdown is as follows: (Links below to my blog review.)

Rosepoint Publishing Goodreads Choice Award picks

In An Instant
The Pull of the Stars
Green Lights
The Sun Down Motel
The Searcher
One by One

Have you been keeping a tally of your favorite books by month or quarter? Will you vote? I have been fortunate in that I’ve gotten several of the above from NetGalley as well as the audiobooks from my local library audiobook selections and obviously I was not in agreement with many readers. How did you fare in your selection of the winners?

Are you looking for a few of your favorites to show up on this year’s list?

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Autumn at Rosepoint Pub

False Witness: A Novel by Karin Slaughter – #Audiobook Review – #legalthriller

False Witness by Karin Slaughter

Book Blurb:

AN ORDINARY LIFE…

Leigh Collier has worked hard to build what looks like a normal life. She’s an up-and-coming defense attorney at a prestigious law firm in Atlanta, would do anything for her sixteen-year-old daughter Maddy, and is managing to successfully coparent through a pandemic after an amicable separation from her husband Walter.

HIDES A DEVASTATING PAST…

But Leigh’s ordinary life masks a childhood no one should have to endure … a childhood tarnished by secrets, broken by betrayal, and ultimately destroyed by a brutal act of violence.

BUT NOW THE PAST IS CATCHING UP…

On a Sunday night at her daughter’s school play, she gets a call from one of the firm’s partners who wants Leigh to come on board to defend a wealthy man accused of multiple counts of rape. Though wary of the case, it becomes apparent she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to keep her job. They’re scheduled to go to trial in one week. When she meets the accused face-to-face, she realizes that it’s no coincidence that he’s specifically asked for her to represent him. She knows him. And he knows her. More to the point, he may know what happened over twenty years ago, and why Leigh has spent two decades avoiding her past.  

AND TIME IS RUNNING OUT.

Suddenly she has a lot more to lose than this case. The only person who can help is her younger, estranged sister Callie—the last person Leigh would ever want to drag into this after all they’ve been through. But with the life-shattering truth in danger of being revealed, she has no choice…

My Review:

Another author for whom I’ve seen tons of books, reviews, and accolades, I bit when I saw the massive selection of books, both ebooks and audiobooks listed at my favorite local library.  I’ll never understand why an author would pack what might otherwise be viewed as a well plotted, fast-paced five star contender with language that would make even a sailor blush. And this one was so blatantly graphic, violent, and brutal, I almost gave up on it several times.

False Witness by Karin SlaughterThe narrative crawled like a centipede up the back of my neck, raising hairs, and would not be swatted away.

The main character, Leigh, a defense attorney, may not be the most sympathetic character over that of her younger sister, Callie. Callie becomes a heroin addict following a catastrophic accident. A child gymnast and cheerleader, the resulting broken neck left her with unrelenting pain. Further, she was babysitting a boy whose father began abusing her. Callie finds herself in a life and death struggle with the father and ends up killing him. She calls her older sister and together they deal with it—the body, the scene, and the money which pays for Leigh’s college.

Neither of the two can escape the lingering trauma and Leigh is left with crushing guilt over the resulting spiral of her sister. It’s all her fault. All her fault! She’d given the babysitting job to her sister burying her experience with the boy’s father.

Now 20 years later, Leigh finds herself defending Andrew in a horrific rape case. Turns out, Andrew is Trevor, the son of the man they disposed of. He is now a very wealthy sexual predator, a vicious psychopath, a 33 year old following the path of dear ole dad.

The author has developed her characters so well, a reader might very well feel the skin crawl at the connection between he and Leigh. His delight in manipulating the trial, his hold over Leigh’s sixteen year old daughter. He drips with power, impunity, entitlement. He’s cold, calculating.

The novel also includes the contemporary atmosphere of the impact of the Covid pandemic while examining each piece of the puzzle, the exploitation, the cold disengagement of the accused. Juxtaposed against the court drama is the struggle of Callie, the desperation of Leigh, and the limitations of normal public function due to the virus.

The book examines some horrifically disturbing issues: drug addiction, rape, sexual deviation, domestic violence, and murder.

There are few emotional connections here, the two sisters kept at arm’s length by an extremely abusive background. One likeable character in the vet where Callie routinely returns to care for animals. One sister damaged psychologically and physically for life, one going the other way into intellectually unemotional detachment, driven together again for a shared solution. A story that does not, can not have, a happy ending.

I can honestly admit my old-fashioned mind was grossed out on more than one occasion and the language was abominable. While the story might be engrossing, the level of mayhem coupled with the language was over the top for me. This is probably my first and last book by this author. Have you the same experience or dulled by the constant hammering of the theme and language?

Book Details:

Genre: Legal Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Blackstone Publishing
ASIN: B09239CX27
Listening Length: 18 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: False Witness [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

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

Karin Slaughter - authorThe Author: Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated COP TOWN and the instant NYT bestselling stand-alone novels PRETTY GIRLS, THE GOOD DAUGHTER, and PIECES OF HER. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, she lives in Atlanta. Her stand-alone novel PIECES OF HER is in development with Netflix, starring Toni Collette, and the Grant County and Will Trent series are in development for television.

http://www.karinslaughter.com

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorKarinSlaughter/

Instagram http://www.instagram.com/karinslaughterauthor/

Twitter @SlaughterKarin

Kathleen Early - narrator, actressThe Narrator:  Kathleen Early was born on October 31, 1973 in Irving, Texas, USA. She is an actress, known for Across the Universe (2007), Trip in a Summer Dress (2004) and Grey’s Anatomy (2005).

 

 

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Couple Next Door: A Novel by Shari Lapena – #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthrillers

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

(Amazon) Editors Pick 

Book Blurb:

An instant New York Times best seller

“I read this novel at one sitting, absolutely riveted by the storyline. The suspense was beautifully rendered and unrelenting!” (Sue Grafton, New York Times best-selling author of X)

It all started at a dinner party…

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors – a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives….

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. 

Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family – a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My Review:

Of course I’d heard of this author for some time but didn’t have an opportunity for a book. This time I saw an audiobook copy for this one, released in 2016. Mercy!

The Couple Next Door by Shari LapenaBeing an older book and armed with the blurb, this gripping tale doesn’t need a lot of introduction. A young couple with a new baby backed by rich parents (hers), they have the home, a business, and the appearance of “having it all.”

Maybe.

Behind closed doors, however, is a young husband worried about his business, a new mom who is having difficulty coping with a fussy infant, and parents with attitude. It is the tangled story of couples keeping secrets from each other, the new mom feeling unattractive, her husband neglected and attracted to Cynthia next door. It is during Cynthia’s dinner party that Anne and Marco’s baby is abducted. Marco had assured her that in the absence of the babysitter, a last-minute cancellation, they could use the baby monitor and check in on her every half hour. After all, they were only next door.

Anne is a fragile personality suffering postpartum depression. Marco wanted a few more drinks, time to flirt with Cynthia, and it was late when they returned home to find Cora missing from her crib.

Here is a case for unreliable narrator. The storyline spins a lot of effort justifying leaving the baby, Anne is crazy over the top with guilt, the parents are incensed. Then there is the police who are having a problem swallowing any of it.

Something doesn’t add up.

Not easy to cozy up with any of the characters. Marco is beside himself for another reason, as are her parents. There is a lot of deceiving, misconception, and tension that intensifies into the plot. It might be faster paced were it not for the same theme of guilt and justification repeated so many times, each time, however, adding an additional little wrinkle.

Not just one or two twists but then the bomb, the final well placed bulls eye in the conclusion that totally knocks the reader off their rocker. What? NO! I hated that one and couldn’t believe that was how it ended.

Well, phooey. I didn’t expect that. Definitely a slow burning thriller with a killer (get it?) ending.

Did you read this one? Disappointed in the ending as I was? Shocked? So was I.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Crime Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B01IIABQYC
Listening Length: 8 hrs 40 mins
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Couple Next Door [Amazon]

 

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four Stars 4 stars

 

Shari Lapena - authorThe Author: Shari Lapena

 

Kirsten Potter - narratorThe Narrator:  Kirsten Potter, a graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts, has performed on stage, film, and television, including roles on MediumBones, and Judging Amy. An award-winning audiobook narrator.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Happy Thursday!

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Book Blurb:

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me: 

  1. I’m in a coma.
  2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
  3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. 

Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from 20 years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

My Review:

Confusion reigned supreme. Well, perhaps not until about 75% into the book. Then the narrative earned the unreliable narrator stripes and I got lost. I only thought I was following along and had formed opinions. So much for that!

Sometimes I lie by Alice FeeneyThis is a tale of the twins from hell. I think. Were they actually twins or not? The writer’s prose fills the pages, building empathy on the one hand, derision on the other. That nasty sister! I think.

Becoming more twisted all the time, I became to question everything I’d heard. Wait a minute! Didn’t it say…a while ago…or maybe not. Wasn’t I paying attention?

What happened to the best friend, Taylor? Was that a best friend? An imaginary friend?

A sister?

I’m thinking OCD isn’t the only problem this woman has, this sister. Amber? Clare?

ARGH! At this point, I’m totally lost. Was there an Edward? What happened to him? And Madeline—that horrible boss. Or was that another lie? Was Amber really an on-air personality? Is Amber a survivor?

No character to like in this novel of chaos and mayhem. The reader may only have a modicum of empathy for Paul.

A book that prays on a fear most harbor—that of being trapped in a body, aware, but unable to manifest even the slightest notice of responsiveness. No blinking, finger twitching, or communication of any kind. Isn’t that why people were buried with a bell? A dead ringer? But if you were immobile…

So much mayhem. Why was none ever traced back?

And the conclusion. As inconclusive as the last quarter of the novel. Nothing to settle all the questions. Gees, I’m so confused, but I don’t think I’m that thrilled. Did you read this one? Agree with my assessment?

Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B0771TZXW5Listening Length: 10 hrs 7 mins
Narrator: Stephanie Racine
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Sometimes I Lie [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

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

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.

Stephanie Racine - narratorThe Narrator: Stephanie Racine is an actress, known for Shakespeare’s Globe: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014), Holby City (1999) and The Royals (2015).

 

 

 

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz – #Audiobook Review – #suspense #TBT

The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

Book Blurb:

Timothy Carrier is an ordinary guy who enjoys a beer after work. But tonight is no ordinary night. Instead, Tim will face a terrifying decision: Help or run. For the jittery stranger sitting beside him at the bar has mistaken Tim for someone else—and passes him a manila envelope stuffed with cash and the photo of a pretty woman. “Ten thousand. The rest when she’s gone.”

Now everything Tim thinks he knows—even about himself—will be challenged. For Tim Carrier is the one man who can save an innocent life and stop a killer as relentless as evil incarnate. But first he must discover resources within himself that will transform his idea of who he is and what it takes to be the good guy.

My Review:

From the prolific pen of Dean Koontz came The Good Guy, published in 2007. I’ve read a number of his books, mostly of the Jane Hawk series, which I enjoyed. So, it was time I sampled some of his other books while trying to avoid the hardcore horror that my son attributed to him. This one is billed as suspense.

The Good Guy by Dean KoontzIn this standalone, Timothy Carrier (our good guy) is approached by a man who mistakes him for the hired killer he was to meet, handing him an envelope with $10k and leaves. When the real killer arrives and mistakes Tim for the client, Tim tries to cancel the contract, offering half the money back to drop it.

Oh, wait…I think I’ve heard this one!

Tim, being stuck and checking out the target, decides he’ll warn the unsuspecting woman and together try to figure out why the impending hit. (Cue the violins.) She’s clueless why someone would want to kill her. She’s a simple woman, albeit a bit unusual in her tastes, and they’re both single with baggage and unhappy histories. (I think I can see where this is going.)

Koontz is nothing if not adept at developing his characters carefully, a nuance at a time, right down to nervous tics and tells. Tim is a simple mason—but good at his job. Linda harbors secrets and I’m thinking, “run, Forest, run!.” But no, they are ducking and outwitting the antagonist who is one very nasty guy, free of any moral compass, and so far hasn’t hesitated to knock off those who block his way or just generally piss him off. Krait also has a history,

But you don’t want to know…

Krait anticipates their moves and positions himself very well. He really hates the thought he may be losing cred with his employers and the tension ramps up.

As usual, Koontz kicks in his own macabre sense of humor bestowing it mostly on Krait and the sense of the man rises the hair on the back of the reader’s neck. Some tender scenes with Tim and Linda, natural dialogue, Tim rising to his white knight position, Linda to distressed damsel.

The narrator used a soft sell voice on the antagonist adding to the creepy factor. He is truly going over the deep end trying to save his face on this one and his handlers are cueing in.

The conclusion actually arrives with more of a whimper not a bang but Koontz has one more little surprise for you. If you like suspense thrillers, you’d probably like this, and I’d recommend the audiobook. Do you read Dean Koontz? Did you enjoy his Jane Hawk series? What is your favorite Koontz book? Strangely, I don’t see that many five stars on his books in Goodreads. Well, anyway, I like the pictures of his dogs.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense, Suspense Thrilllers
Publisher:  Random House Audio
ASIN: B000R34YQ6
Listening Length: 9 hrs 18 mins
Narrator: Richard Ferrone
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Good Guy [Amazon]
 

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Dean Koontz - authorThe Author: Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirits of their goldens, Trixie and Anna.

Richard Ferrone - narratorThe Narrator:  Richard Ferrone is a former lawyer who became an actor in the 1970s. He has appeared on Broadway and in theaters across the country. His television appearances include ”Law & Order,” “Against the Law,” “Guiding Light,” and “One Life to Live.“ He became an immediate favorite of audiobook fans more than 20 years ago with his first audiobook, “The Stranglers” by Loren D. Estleman, and since then he has recorded the works of many bestselling authors including Dean Koontz, Dashiell Hammett, and myself! Although he has recorded books in nearly every genre, from romances to children’s stories to self-help books, he is best known for his mystery and thriller recordings, especially those of John Sandford’s “Prey” novels and the Tim LaHaye/Jerry Jenkins “Left Behind” series. He is an Audie Award winner and is married to actor Cynthia Darlow.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

The Long Call: The Two Rivers Series Book 1 by Ann Cleeves – #Audiobook Review – Traditional Detective Mysteries

The Long Call - Ann Cleeves

Book Blurb:

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family, too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

My Review:

The long Call by Ann CleevesBook One of a new series by Ann Cleeves? Oh, yes. Count me in. As it happens, this was originally published as a digital release back in September, 2019. The audiobook was published just this April.

In The Long Call, the reader is introduced to Matthew Venn of the Devon Police. Venn is called out to investigate a body found on the beach at Crow Point.

It is a small village and all knew of the victim, but not actually who he was or his story. Cleeves dives us into the inhabitants, defining, describing the people and the possible relationship, if any, to the victim. The support characters are widely diverse.

During the course of the investigation, we learn more about Venn and his husband, Jonathan. Venn is surrounded by a magnetic group of colleagues, including his partner, DS Jen Rafferty, a dynamo with a chaotic private life and still manages to be extremely effective at her job. The villagers are not entirely onboard with his investigation nor particularly helpful.

It’s a smorgasbord of turmoil, well-developed characters, motives you can’t guess, and a perp who won’t peg as well. But it was a slow burn for me, and perhaps coming from an audiobook delivered in quiet monotone, tended to blur into the background. I had a little problem staying engaged and was only mildly surprised at the conclusion.

It’s sharply character-driven with immersive description into the local countryside. I previously read The Darkest Evening of the Vera Stanhope series and found it to sag somewhat in the middle as well although I may go back to that series as Vera is a “mature” but very competent DCI in Northumberland.

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, International Mystery and Crime
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B091RYVYLK
Listening Length: 11 hrs, 36 mins
Narrator: Ben Aldridge
Publication Date: April 8, 2021
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Long Call [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five Stars 3 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.

Ben Aldridge- narratorThe Narrator: Ben Aldridge

Ben Aldridge (actor) – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ben_Aldridge_(actor)

Benjamin Charles Aldridge (born 12 November 1985) is an English actor. … He is best known for is portrayal of Thomas Wayne in the crime drama series Pennyworth…

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Long Range (A Joe Pickett Novel Book 20) by C J Box – An #Audiobook Review – #crimefiction

Editors' pickBest Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Long Range by CJ Box

Book Blurb:

Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett must investigate an attempted murder – a crime committed from a confoundingly long distance – in the riveting new novel from number one New York Times best-selling author C. J. Box.

When Joe Pickett is asked to join the rescue efforts for the victim of a startling grizzly attack, he reluctantly leaves his district behind. One survivor of the grizzly’s rampage tells a bizarre story, but just as Joe begins to suspect the attack is not what it seems, he is brought home by an emergency on his own turf. Someone has targeted a prominent local judge, shooting at him from a seemingly impossible distance. While the judge was not hit, his wife is severely wounded, and it is up to Joe to find answers – and the shooter.

The search for the would-be assassin becomes personal when Joe’s best friend, Nate Romanowski – just as he’s adjusting to the arrival of his first child – falls under suspicion for the crime. It’s a race against the clock as Joe tries to clear Nate’s name and identify the real shooter, all while deciphering the grizzly encounter. Beset by threats both man-made and natural, the two men must go to great lengths to keep their loved ones safe. 

My Review:

The twentieth episode in the Joe Pickett (game warden) series, Long Range hooks immediately with the setting of the technical, sophisticated, and very expensive gear that successfully picks off a target a military sniper would be proud of. The shot pulls Picket from his participation in the search for the survivor of a grizzly attack in his district.

Long Range by CJ BoxMy second Joe Pickett (I also listened to The Wolf Pack). I was drawn to vivid descriptions of the people and the area of Wyoming along with the main characters. This installment understandably adds more characters, while subtly reminding us of the well developed protagonist and support characters from previous installments and will work fine as a standalone.

The long range shot hits the wife of the person who was considered the target, a judge. The search is on for the shooter and gets too close when Joe’s best friend, Nate, falls under scrutiny by the local sheriff. Nate is a well-known falconer and just recently became a new daddy. He is a strongly independent and uniquely forceful character. Descriptions of the training and abilities of his birds build a pulse-pounding visual.

The plot inserts layers of well-paced, complex hypotheses, builds tension, and twists. Many of the support characters are well developed sufficient either to engage and empathize or decry. You can’t stay neutral and uninterested. The narrative absorbs the reader’s attention, entertains, and posits thoughtful consideration.

The conclusion was a bit hurried, explanations, and resolution, but not wholly. There were a couple quibbles—the grizzly thread, was that actually answered? (Perhaps legally, but I never got a satisfactory reason for the bears’ action.) And the Nate thing, hmmm…just too pat. While I enjoyed the novel (the storyline never dragged), it seemed to fall back on an overused trope and I’ve tired of that one. Also, a little disappointed in the narrator’s delivery this time. I don’t remember that the previous one sounded quite that monotone. 

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

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction, Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Recorded Books
ASIN: B07ZJTW2XX
Listening Length: 10 hrs 35 mins
Narrator: David Chandler
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Long Range [Amazon]

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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.

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