TV Netflix Series Pieces of Her vs #Audiobook Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter and Kathleen Early (Narrator) – #thriller

TV Netflix Pieces of Her vs Audiobook by Karin Slaughter

TV Netflix Series Pieces of Her vs Audiobook Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter 

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Intro

After having listened to the audiobook that I then learned would be a Netflix original, I patiently waited for this one to debut, which it did on Friday, March 4. Again, I’m flummoxed by the difference between the original story and the Netflix series.

So if it’s well-received as a book title or audiobook, did it also translate well to the small screen? If you’ve caught a few of my previous audiobooks versus Netflix series, you’ll note my continued bewilderment. Is this actually better? Or worse. A radical departure from the Virgin River while a faithful reproduction of Longmire. (And I really loved the characters on Longmire.)

As you’ve no doubt read or heard by now, Pieces of Her is the story of a daughter who is just discovering that her mother hasn’t always been the person she thought was her mom.

Pieces of Her the Netflix thriller was developed by Charlotte Stoudt and Lesli Linka Glatter. The director for all episodes (and there are eight in the first series) is Minkie Spiro who directed Downton Abbey and Better Call Saul and while I’ve not watched the former, a solid fan of the latter, so I was excited.

Netflix Series

Toni Collette - actressPieces of Her (in the co?) leading role is Toni Collette as Laura Oliver with Bella Heathcote as Andy Oliver (her daughter). There are a number of other actors, of course, my favorites being Omari Hardwick as Gordon Oliver and Gil Birmingham as Charlie Bass. There is a lineup of actors portraying Laura as a child and as an adolescent.

The series is adapted from the novel (same name) by Karin Slaughter who is also acting as a producer on the show.

Bella Heathcote - actressAndy (Andrea) is celebrating a 30s birthday out with her mother, Laura, in beautiful coastal Belle Isle when the quiet serene atmosphere suddenly turns tragic. While Andy freezes in horror, Laura springs to action in the protection of her daughter and is soon forced to make a deadly decision.

That split-second automatic reaction to the situation changes their lives immediately and forever.

Laura is hurt but following triage medical attention clams up and refuses to speak to anyone; not to the police, her ex (Gordan), or to Andy. To Andy, however, she barks quick instructions to speak to no one and leave. She is handed some money, a burner phone, and car keys but no explanation. YAY! So far, so good.

Well, but Andy hasn’t been doing so well with her life though; aimless, living off her mother’s generosity in her mother’s garage apartment. So I’m not sure how she can be trusted to follow the instructions.

And she doesn’t.

My Thoughts

But now, is it just me? Or did the Netflix version veer into it’s own interpretation? The constant flashbacks crippled somewhat the timeline from Laura’s childhood to the present situation, introduction of all the backstories, new characters and twists that spins wildly with 70s US history. Indeed, at times spun completely out of coherence, forcing the viewer to catch up and make connections in later scenes.

While Toni Collette (Laura) made a heroic effort at portraying a horrific history and her effort at escape, her wretched persona got a bit tiresome. Andy, what can I say about poor, dear Andy; not the brightest daughter ever to be delivered from a pseudo-protest child.

3 starsthree stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

The number-one international best-selling author returns with an electrifying novel of devastating secrets and hidden lives that probes the fraught relationship between daughters and mothers and the lengths we go to protect those we love.

Pieces of Her by Karin SlaughterWhat if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all? Andrea Cooper knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows Laura has spent nearly her whole life in the small beach town of Belle Isle, Georgia; she knows Laura’s never wanted anything more than to lead a quiet, normal life in this conventional community; she knows Laura’s a kind and beloved speech pathologist who helps others; she knows Laura’s never kept a secret in her life. Andrea knows that Laura is everything she isn’t – confident, settled, sure of herself. Feeling listless, with no direction, Andrea, unlike Laura, struggles to find her way.

But Andrea’s certainty is upended when a visit to the mall is shattered by an act of horrifying violence that reveals a completely different side of Laura – a cool woman who calmly faces down a murderer. It turns out that before Andrea’s mother was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly 30 years she’s been hiding from the woman she once was, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The assailant was a mentally troubled, teenaged scion of Georgia law enforcement royalty, and now the police want answers about what really happened in those terrifying moments at the mall. Though she’s being scrutinized at every level of the criminal justice system and her innocence is on the line, Laura refuses to speak to anyone, including her own daughter. She pushes Andrea away, insisting it’s time for her to stand alone and make a life for herself. To save her mother, Andrea embarks on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. Andrea knows that if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for her mother…or her.

Filled with intriguing turns, surprising revelations, and a compelling cast of characters, Pieces of Her is Slaughter’s most electrifying, provocative, and suspenseful novel yet.

My Thoughts

Okay, by now the well-plotted storyline has been laid out more than once. When Andy witnesses her mother in action, she is both stunned by her actions and also suffering from the disastrous circumstances that forced her mother’s reaction. She is not capable of applying what she knows about her mother with the person who so deftly ended the appalling scene. It’s shocking.

Pieces of Her by Karin SlaughterI was hooked by those opening scenes, narrated well by Kathleen Early. I quickly compared many of the headlines of the 70s to the circumstances dibbled out in little dabs, building the tension and whipping the listener from mother to daughter. As the old saying goes, make no conclusions until all the facts are disclosed, but mercy, that could be sooo slow sometimes.

Mainly told in Andy’s POV, there are the backstories, flashbacks revealing another tiny morsel of truth. Or was it the truth? Who can you trust?

The truth, the reveal, when it finally came, came as a knowing relief and combined several theories in the complex plot meant to throw the reader/listener off.

The setting is beautiful, the characters’ depths varied, most not wholly sympathic, the dialogue often blue. I listened to False Witness last year, my introduction to the author and her graphic writing style, but had to try one more. Perhaps I’ll try one in her signature series next time, rather than a standalone thriller.

4 stars  4 stars

Overall Impression

While I enjoyed the book, the tension, drama, and thrill of discovery, there were times when I lost all faith in Andy, finding her making questionable decisions more than once. I had too early formed an opinion of the circumstances, having lived through those years and headlines, and was shocked at the jaw-dropping reveal when it came. Still, I questioned some of Laura’s early handling of Andy and wondered how that might have been better.

The Netflix series, usually following their well-received formula, took a slightly different tack this time, throwing in Andy’s quick romantic interest (not unusual), but making a hash of the flashbacks. They generally work to create an equitable R-rated series, but missed building the tension this time like the book did.

This time my vote has to go to the author’s book—and it’s been out for some time–and can be found at your favorite retail outlet.

Book Details

Genre: Women Sleuth Mysteries, Police Procedural Mysteries
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio, Inc.
ASIN: B07CLKPDWL
Listening Length: 16 hrs 5 mins
Narrator: Kathleen Early
Audible Release: August 21, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Pieces of Her [Amazon]

Add to Goodreads

 

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

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#throwbackthursday

Info attributes, photos, and covers:
Netflixlife.com
Actress photos: Looper.com

 

TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook – The Virgin River Series – by Robyn Carr — What Happened?

…The romances and friendships of this small California town from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr. Now a Netflix Original Series!”

Noting the series is based on Robyn Carr’s books, I went searching and listened to three (well, almost) audiobooks. They were definitely not the saccharine-based Hallmark narrative I was expecting.

TV Series vs Audiobook--What Happened? 

The Netflix Series  

“Searching for a fresh start, a nurse practitioner moves from LA to a remote northerrn California town and is surprised by what–and who–she finds.”

Season one of the Virgin River released in 2019 starring Alexandra Breckenridge, Martin Henderson, and Tim Matheson. Promised a second season of a ten-episode run tentatively assumed to release around August but has not yet been scheduled. There is, however, rumors of a third season in the offing.*

As my followers know, I’m not big on romance–don’t generally read them unless it’s a glimmer in a mystery, historical fiction, or action thriller of some kind. But this Netflix series, yes, although a romance, is contained within a gorgeous mountainous location that hits several of my nostalgia buttons. Whether or not I could actually live there isn’t the issue. So scenic, so quiet, so bucolic–and oh, so closed. Like trying to penetrate an Appalachian village where the newcomer has been established over twenty years. Still, it conjures the hunting, the fishing, the fresh smell of the redwoods and the hidden odor of illegal pot farms. (Okay, now I’ve gone too far. You can’t smell anything over the redwoods.)

We loved it, the CE and I, binge-watching until the entire season was quickly consumed (you can’t watch just one). The characters are very likable, even the ones thought not supposed to be, although I have a tendency to think the male and female leads are more than a few years apart in age. The town busy-body is OCD in all things Virgin River and she’s great in the part. And the surprise? (Or maybe not–since he created the character in The Heart of Dixie.) The old town doctor–slow to relinquish the reins–much less to a nurse/midwife. Is this a rip-off the HOD? I don’t think so–this being so atmospheric, with well-developed characters, albeit locale oriented. And granted, I never watched The Heart of Dixie, so you tell me.

But is this really Robyn Carr? Based on her books, it’s obviously rewritten for a wider audience and adapted to episode limitations. Carr says of the experience:

“… there’s a lot going on, a lot of adventure. It’s contemporary, and it deals with a lot of military and ex-military people. And it’s a small town that’s so isolated and remote that they really have to depend on each other. It’s a landscape and a setting that demands something of the characters. it’s not an easy place to live.”

 

 Two Audiobooks of the Virgin River Series

 Book Blurb of Whispering Rock:

Virgin River became a safe haven for Sacramento prosecutor Brie Sheridan after she nearly lost her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she has some fears she can’t escape—but now she has someone who wants to show her just what it means to trust again.

A decorated marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty. When he agrees to become Virgin River’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found—a woman who can tie up his heart forever.

Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him—her heart, and with it, a new beginning.

Book Blurb of A Virgin River Christmas:

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago, then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Overview Impression

Both blurbs attracted my attention, sounding like an interesting and plausible plot device and made me want to hear more. And boy howdy did I get an ear full. I also listened to a newer one out (the two above very early releases of her series) of a standalone called Sunrise on Half Moon Bay.

These multi-plotted books carry the MCs as well as the current focus of the book characters which varies widely and can include some very sensitive topics–not my fav.

The women appear needy, hormonal, and selfish; the men all willing to provide just want they needed (wink, wink), and they certainly seem to need a lot of that. This went beyond romance straight to sex and some of it more graphic than I was willing to listen to. Too much going on, rehashing and overhashing, sappy men, horny women, terrible histories made forgettable by moving to Virgin River and then succeeding with perfect lives and pregnancy. (Gag me) At one point I just shut off my audiobook and started something else. This series as written by Robyn Carr is just not for me. (Sorry–not sorry)

Book Details:

Whispering Rock by Robyn CarrWhispering Rock Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  Recorded Books – Audible
Whispering Rock – ASIN: B002IFLWNY
Listening Length: 11 hrs 39 mins
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Whispering Rock
Whispering Rock Goodreads Link

A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr - audiobookA Virgin River Christmas Genre: Holiday Fiction, Holiday Romance
Publisher:  Recorded Books – Audible
A Virgin River Christmas – ASIN: B004NNG2HU:
Listening Length: 9 hrs 10 mins
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Publication Date: February 14, 2011
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: A Virgin River Christmas
A Virgin River Christmas Goodreads Link

Robyn Carr - authorThe Author: Robyn Carr is a RITA® Award-winning, eleven-time #1 New York Times bestselling author of almost sixty novels, including the critically acclaimed Virgin River Series. The fifth novel (THE COUNTRY GUESTHOUSE) in her fan-favorite series, Sullivan’s Crossing, will be released in January 2020. Robyn’s latest women’s fiction novel (released May 2019), THE VIEW FROM ALAMEDA ISLAND, appeared on four bestseller lists: New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Wall Street Journal. Robyn is a recipient of the Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 and in 2017, VIRGIN RIVER was named one of the HarperCollins 200 Iconic Books of the past 200 years. Netflix has taken notice of Robyn’s success and is producing a 10-episode series based on her fan-favorite bestselling Virgin River Series. The Netflix series will be released in late 2019. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can visit Robyn Carr’s website at http://www.RobynCarr.com.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

*What’s on Netflix

Carr quote by Rachael Ellenbogan at ibtimes.com

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