All the Devils Are Here: A Novel: Chief Inspector Gamache Novel Book 16 by Louise Penny – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

The 16th novel by #1 bestselling author Louise Penny finds Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec investigating a sinister plot in the City of Light

On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand’s godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man’s life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen’s possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d’Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand’s godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen’s Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

My Review:

I know I was supposed to love this book but truthfully had a difficult time keeping an ear on my cell phone earbud and/or my little portable speaker. Goodness. I was so lost!

My fault, obviously, for trying (once again) to jump into a beloved series at Book 16 no less where the reader was supposed to know who all the players were and why.

All the Devils Are Here by Louise PennyGamache and his wife, Reine-Marie is supposed to be in Paris to celebrate the birth of a grandchild—and visit with the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache’s godfather.  Certainly out of their Three Pines, Quebec element, but seems no problem as they search Paris high and low for the person who plowed into his godfather, Stephen Horowitz following their dinner. Intensionally.

The plot seemed all over the board from priceless art to corporate crimes, getting deeper and deeper into rare earth minerals. Meanwhile, Horowitz comes under scrutiny for his possible WWII activities. Wayyy too much going on for this device to work for me. Would it please just settle on one, or even two, main plot points?

Gamache routinely bounces all his theories off his wife, who manages to insert some calming sense into each, after a man is found murdered in Stephen’s Paris apartment.

I greatly enjoyed the narrator, managing voices and French pronunciations with ease, sliding effortlessly over the Paris street names, restaurants, foods, and attractions. The author includes some harrowing tidbits and facts about the fanatical post WWII Paris atmosphere that unsettles—lost in some of the more horrific stories and pictures of the time. (I still marvel that there are any monuments left standing and weep over the loss of Notre Dame in the fire of April 2019. I will never forget our singing experience there and am amazed at their restoration progress.)

Of the immediate family characters, including Daniel their son, I most enjoyed Reine-Marie as being authentic. At Book 16, I’m quite sure I’ve missed the all-important development of Armand but coming into a city not of his domain and taking on the investigation seemed a bit sleuthish, especially given the extent of this plot. He has no authority; how much latitude would he be allowed by the Paris authorities?

Thinking I’ll try another Louise Penny book, but not sure it will be Book 17 of this series. Any of you die-hard Canadian author readers read this series? Did you also have a problem with this narrative?

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Detective Mysteries, International Mystery & Crime
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B0842XLN7Z
Listening Length: 13 hrs 59 mins
Narrator: Robert Bathurst
Publication Date: Sept 1, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: All the Devils Are Here [Amazon]

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

Louise Penny - authorThe Author: LOUISE PENNY is the #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author of the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. She has won numerous awards, including a CWA Dagger and the Agatha Award (five times) and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. She lives in a small village south of Montréal.

Robert Bathhurst - narratorThe Narrator: Robert Guy Bathurst (born 22 February 1957) is an English actor. Bathurst was born in Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1957. In 1959 his family moved to Ballybrack, Dublin, Ireland and Bathurst attended school in Killiney, later enrolled in an Irish boarding school. He is married to Victoria Threlfall and they have four daughters. [Wikipedia]

 

 

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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 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

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]

Add to Goodreads

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

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]

Add to Goodreads

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

Boar Island: An Anna Pigeon Novel by Nevada Barr – #Audiobook Review – Police Procedural Mystery – #TBT

Boar Island by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Nevada Barr brings National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon to the wild beauty of Acadia National Park in the New York Times bestseller, Boar Island.  

Anna Pigeon, in her career as a National Park Service ranger, has had to deal with all manner of crimes and misdemeanors, but cyberbullying and stalking are new ones. The target is Elizabeth, the adopted teenage daughter of her friend, Heath Jarrod. Elizabeth is driven to despair by the disgusting rumors spreading online and bullying texts. Until one day Heath finds her daughter, Elizabeth, in the midst of an unsuccessful suicide attempt. And then she calls in the cavalry – her aunt Gwen and her friend, Anna Pigeon. 

While they try to deal with the fragile state of affairs – and find the person behind the harassment – the three adults decide the best thing to do is to remove Elizabeth from the situation. Since Anna is about to start her new post as acting chief ranger at Acadia National Park in Maine, the three will join her and stay at a house on the cliff of a small island near the park – Boar Island. But the move east doesn’t solve the problem. The stalker has followed them. And Heath (a paraplegic) and Elizabeth aren’t alone on the otherwise deserted island. At the same time, Anna has barely arrived at Acadia before a brutal murder is committed by a killer uncomfortably close to her. 

Boar Island is a brilliant intertwining of past and present, of victims and killers, in a compelling audiobook that could come only from Nevada Barr. 

My Review:

I kept wondering—where is Anna Pigeon? She is the reason I listen to these great audiobooks. But I continued to listen—she does eventually make an appearance, though not before a number of characters have been well developed. Into the book now, it’s quite obvious this won’t be a normal Anna Pigeon book.

Boar Island by Nevada BarrProtagonist Anna Pigeon is a ranger and her locations vary from park to park. There is always an interesting story, engaging mystery, depth, description, and prose. But I missed her while the other main characters were building their argument for the well-plotted twist coming. And it IS a douzy. It’s tragic. But it may come too late.

I’m a big fan of the Anna Pigeon books, so despite the fact this is a decided departure (and I wouldn’t advise beginning with it if you want to jump into the series), I enjoyed the novel ably narrated by Barbara Rosenblat—thank heaven—and will continue to look for Anna Pigeon books. I love her character, the description of our beautiful parks and all the fascinating information usually imparted regarding the region.

There are a lot of books in this series—I also reviewed Deep South and Hunting Season (loved them and sold on the series)–this was just one off. So listen to it as a standalone. The conclusion ratchets up the blood pressure and boils into a climax with a resolution you might have expected, but not quite in the way it did. Good ending. Sad. But what other way could it have gone?

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B01BZ87VFM
Listening Length: 12 hrs 18 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Boar Island

Add to Goodreads

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 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 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

Banner background attribute: Wikipedia

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.

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