Loyalty by Ingrid Thoft

Loyalty by Ingrid ThoftLoyalty by Ingrid Thoft
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Published by Penguin Audio on 6/18/13
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
three-stars

Story: C+
Narration: B+

Quick Review:

A feisty PI, dysfunctional family dynamics, good narration by Rebecca Soler, and a plot that moves along nicely make this a decent, if not groundbreaking, listen.

The Plot:

Josefina “Fina” Ludlow quit law school and became an investigator in her family’s law firm. The firm focuses on personal injury claims and has made its fair share of enemies in the police department so when Fina’s brother, Rand, becomes a suspect in his wife’s disappearance, not only will Fina have to untangle a web of family secrets, she’ll have to do it while racing to beat a hostile police detective to the truth.

My Thoughts:

Loyalty is constructed of two different story-lines that eventually converge into one. The astute listener (which was not me, in this case) will quickly see at what point they are likely to intersect but the story is engaging and well-paced enough to keep both the clue-solver and the clueless listener involved.

Fina’s father and her three brothers are all lawyers in the family firm but Fina flunked out of law school. In punishment, her father set her to working her way through various jobs at the firm and she found her place (and a mentor and true father-figure) with the firm’s private investigator. She lives at her (deceased) grandmother’s condo and splits her affections between her friend (with benefits) and massage therapist, Milloy, and her friend (with benefits) and inside source at the cop shop, Christian. She maintains contacts in various professions and social strata of Boston – including among the criminal element – and utilizes them when working a case. As she leverages some of them, it becomes clear that Fina’s investigation is seriously irritating someone because they keep trying to kill her or beat her up.

I like a tough PI protagonist as much as the next reader but the combination here struck me as somewhat awkward at times. Sure, Fina was more than willing to take a swing at a bad guy but she spent a lot of time collecting bruises from being run off the road or punched in the face to discourage her investigation. Then, when she confronts some of her more questionable contacts face-to-face (where her primary threats seem to be “I have a gun” or “don’t make me come back here a second time”) she strikes fear into their hearts? I felt that was more “tell” than a pattern of “show” in terms of how tough Fina is.

Fina loves her family but her father is forceful and controlling and she struggles to balance her desire to please him with how she wants to live her life and what she thinks is right. This sets up a nice internal conflict for Fina to accompany the external conflict of the search for her missing sister-in-law, although I would have enjoyed a deeper look into the dynamics there. The steps Fina goes through to track down her sister seemed logical and grounded, in contrast to many mysteries that rely too heavily on coincidence. Boston is the setting for the story but my sense of the city as a character came strictly from the accents used in the narration rather than atmospheric descriptions in the text.

I was slightly bothered by the fact that most of the adversaries Fina encountered in her investigation were categorized as physically unattractive: possessing cleavage that probably had to be “excavated for crumbs” at the end of the day (Lt. Pitney), or fat (multiple characters) and balding (Mark), or egregiously unfashionably dressed (multiple)  in contrast to the Ludlow’s fashionable attire and Fina’s beauty, rapid metabolism, and athletic nature. It’s a simplified bad guy vs. good guy shorthand characterization that limited the dimensions of the story for me.

It took a while for the story to get going, not because it was poorly paced but because none of the characters are particularly likable so I needed a better understanding of what their motivations were and how the plot pieces were going to start to twining together before I could sink into the story. The plot winds up to a very strong climax and Fina’s internal conflict as she finally uncovers all the components of her sister-in-law’s disappearance and how her family will be affected was particularly engaging.

The Narration:

I’ve enjoyed Rebecca Soler’s performances in the past (most notable with Cinder) and this audiobook was no exception. She does an excellent job encapsulating Fina’s personality and easily transitions between characters with distinctive changes in tone, accent, and pitch. The accents were well done: typical American, Boston-specific accents used intermittently (among the characters, not within the same character), light Hispanic, and a couple of nicely done mild Southern drawls. She conveys the bored teenager with aplomb while moving into the domineering patriarch with equal skill. Her pacing was good and overall, the production was very clean.

It didn’t get a perfect grade from me because a) I’m starting to prefer slightly more natural-sounding narrative and b) the reactive nature of the dialogue between characters, while good, still felt somewhat as if each character was recorded in their entirety and then another had all their lines recorded and… you get the point. This was certainly not the case but that impression was caused by every character having very smooth and consistent pacing in their dialogue with no breaks or leveraging of pauses to really humanize and individualize the characters as well as the presence of an almost metronomic regularity in conversational “call and response.” Overall, it was still a good narration that should suit any listener.

Disclaimer: I received this book from Penguin Audio via the audiobookjukebox.com Solid Gold Reviewer program.

three-stars

A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry

A Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. HenryA Cold and Lonely Place by Sara J. Henry
Narrator: Abby Craden
Series: Troy Chance #2
Published by Dreamscape Media on 2/5/13
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
three-half-stars

Story: B
Narration: B

Quick Review:

An enjoyable listen, this one is a slow scraping away of layer after layer of one man’s life in search of the reason he died. The location is well-drawn and atmospheric, the characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, and the narration – which I found enjoyable – has aspects that lead me to suggest you seek out samples to see how suitable it is for your listening tastes.

The Plot (via Goodreads):

“Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body–a man she knows. One of her roommates falls under suspicion, and the media descends. Troy’s assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who, it turns out, was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family who had been playing at a blue collar life in this Adirondack village. And the deeper Troy digs into his life and mysterious death, the murkier things become. After the victim’s sister comes to town and a string of disturbing incidents unfold, it’s clear someone doesn’t want the investigation to continue. Troy doesn’t know who to trust, and what she ultimately finds out threatens to shatter the serenity of these mountain towns. She must decide which family secrets should be exposed, what truths should remain hidden, and how far her own loyalty can reach.

A Cold and Lonely Place, the sequel to Learning to Swim, follows Troy on a powerful emotional journey as she discovers the damage left by long-hidden secrets, and catches a glimpse of what might have been.”

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed Sara J. Henry’s 2011 release Learning to Swim and had a pretty high level of anticipation for the second book starring Troy Chance. If you’re thinking of jumping in with the second book though, it works very well as a stand-alone read. The sense of place in both books is exceptionally well-drawn and the character of Troy is easy to connect to while still retaining the personality flaws that make her realistic. With A Cold and Lonely Place, the speed of the action slows down a bit but the story has more interpersonal depth and that suited me nicely.

This isn’t a mystery where there are clues dropped and the reader should feel triumphant for arriving at the solution before the end of the book. Rather, it’s a slow reveal – layer by layer – of the life of the dead man and the lives that intertwined with his. Although the majority of the book is focused on Troy’s efforts to understand who Tobin Winslow was and what events in his life led him cross-country to his death in the town of Saranac Lake, there’s also a nice narrative tension drawn between Troy’s first person musings on her resistance to personal connections and her actions – often protective and always empathetic – when it comes to those she’s close to. The plot was effective at providing the framework for that part of the story to run like a low-voltage current throughout.

I found this story to be character-driven but that shouldn’t be taken to imply the pacing was slow (granted, I do have a distinct preference for character-driven novels, even when the pacing is slow.) The book unfolded smoothly with constant forward motion but any chills passed on to the reader were more due to the author’s skill in constructing the quiet winter setting than the presence of dramatic action sequences.

The basic premise for Troy investigating Tobin’s death is that a) he was the boyfriend of one of her roommates and b) the newspaper she often writes for allowed a shoddy and biased article to be published and is trying to make amends by asking Troy to write an in-depth exploration of the dead man and his life. This initially struck me as slightly contrived but as the story progresses and Troy comes into contact with Tobin’s sister, Jessica “Win” Winslow, the way in which the details of the story spin out made me forget about that. The arc of Jessamyn’s (Tobin’s girlfriend and Troy’s boarder) story – although it wrapped up a bit more neatly than I would have liked – was well integrated with ongoing events and I was struck by the fact that in both Learning to Swim and A Cold and Lonely Place, Troy’s initial involvement in the mystery is sparked by her (almost maternal?) protective instincts.

I enjoyed how Troy’s preconceptions about who Tobin was and, to a certain extent who Jessamyn is, slowly shifted with every new interview she did and each new bit of information she gleaned. She herself reflects on the assumptions she initially made and how she was proved wrong. Tobin’s history turns out to be far more complex than expected and it’s the mystery in his past that holds the key to the momentum of the story more than the current one.

This was an audiobook that took a solid story-line about a suspicious death and spun it out into a broader examination of not so much whodunit as how did events reach that point. The small town feel of Saranac Lake and a sympathetic protagonist who feels more disconnected in her relationships than she actually is grounds the reader in the story and the supporting characters are interesting in and of themselves. Overall, this was an enjoyable listen.

The Narration:

The second book in this series comes with a change of narrator and for the most part, that worked well for me. With the first book, I wasn’t sure Suzanne Toren brought an age-appropriate voice to the character of Troy. With this one we have a younger sounding narrator but again there’s a slightly rougher quality to the voice (Was that intentional, Dreamscape? To ease the transition to a different narrator?)

I’m of two minds on Abby Craden’s narration and it took me a while to pin down exactly why. Just in terms of the quality of her voice, I found her performance appealing. She has throaty voice with a scratch in the lower register that I find very pleasing and her narrative delivery was relatively soft and intimate. That worked extremely well for nailing the performance marker of The here and now and as the story unraveled I felt like I was right there seeing events through Troy’s eyes with a sense of immediacy.

In terms of delivery choices and how I perceived them – it took me half the audiobook to be able to relax into the narration and immerse myself in the story because Ms. Craden has a very specific rhythm to her narrative voice that I had to accustom myself to. She regularly ended a sentence (or, just as often, made a comma or em dash sound like the end of a sentence) by raising the penultimate syllable and dropping the last one. The pause and sense of closure this generated wasn’t egregious but it was noticeable. It didn’t come across as used in aid of navigating the subtext of a phrase/sentence and as the narration went on it created a disruption within individual sentences as well as generating a rhythmic nature to the narrative that didn’t sound natural to my ear. That persistent two syllable pitch rise/fall was the only barrier I had to total immersion in the story.

The range of character voices were unique although anytime a character was angry they expressed it with the exact same clipped “spitting nails” delivery. Each bit of dialogue sounded as if it was from the specific point of view of the character speaking and the back and forth within conversations was reactive and realistic. A lot of the chapters (and a few of the larger scenes within a chapter) ended with a wrap-up statement (and I don’t even know if there’s a term for that but I’m going to label it “wrap-up”) similar to those foreshadowing lines some authors use at the end of a section such as “I left the gun in my purse. That turned out to be a mistake.” (except Ms. Henry eschews the use of heavy-handed foreshadowing lines) and I found the narrator’s delivery of those lines oddly effective at giving me a gut-punch sensation and setting my sense of anticipation for the next chapter.

My split opinion of the narration is basically this: I liked the narration and particularly like the timbre of Ms. Craden’s voice. I’ll pick up another audiobook narrated by her without hesitation although I won’t expect to be able to immediately lose myself in the story. I do suggest you look for an audio sample first, to see if her performance melds with your personal tastes.

three-half-stars

Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Snow White Must Die by Nele NeuhausSnow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus
Narrator: Robert Fass
Series: Bodenstein & Kirchoff #4
Published by AudioGO Ltd. on 1/15/13
Genres: Mystery
Source: Audiobook Jukebox
two-half-stars

Story: C
Narration: B+

The Plot:

Tobias Sartorius was sent to prison for the murder of two girls the summer after he graduated from high school. The case against him was circumstantial since the bodies were never found. After ten years he’s been released and returns to his hometown to find his childhood home in disarray, his father’s restaurant shut down, his parents divorced, and he and his family facing boundless hostility from the townsfolk in Altenhain. When his mother is assaulted and a body is found soon after his return and then another girl goes missing, the horrible events from his past are stirred up into a toxic brew.

Called in to investigate the assault and the newly discovered remains, Detective Superintendent Oliver von Bodenstein and Detective Inspector Pia Kirchoff find themselves investigating both the past murder and the current disappearance. At the same time, they have to contend with inter-office strife in the Division of Violent Crimes at the Regional Criminal Unit in Hofheim as well as struggling with various issues in their personal lives.

My Thoughts:

This is a complex mystery story that relies on a multitude of characters as it winds a twisty path to a final whodunit revelation. I couldn’t shake the sense that I’d picked up a cozy mystery that had been thrown into a blender with a true-crime novel and mixed on high. I’d call it an anti-cozy except the in-depth involvement and accompanying portraits drawn of a large cast of villagers was oddly reminiscent of one, as was the “whodunit” nature of the story and the lack of gratuitous descriptions of violence. The amount of venality, anger, unlikable characters, and dysfunctional personal lives in the story pretty much took the “cozy” aspects to the mat for a body slam, however.

I was slow to warm to this book. I suspect there’s one big reason for that: the majority of my reading selections – especially in detective/mystery fiction – have trained me to focus on one or two primary protagonists and I had a hard time adjusting to the sheer number of detailed perspectives and lives in play. This novel has a large cast of characters and while there is something of a focus on Tobias and the police duo who are investigating the current-day crimes, the story branches out in what seemed like far too many tangential directions.

The police procedural aspects of the story made me expect a certain amount of straightforward presentation of detail but the majority of descriptions tended towards factual rather than atmospheric. This created a mental image of this story, the characters, and the environment that was very black and white rather than full-color and multi-dimensional and so my ability to firmly construct vibrant character sketches and connect to them was limited.

Without knowing what the directive was to the translator (i.e. how much leeway he had to make phrases seem more natural to an English-speaking audience) it almost feels unfair to nit-pick but while the meaning of almost everything was clear, I had a few places where I had to make assumptions. Phrasing like a reference to a necklace found in the “milk room under the sink” and “But until today he’d had those black holes in his memory…” – implying his memory returned today when the context of the story actually indicates it should be “To this day he had those black holes in his memory” (indicating the persistence of his lack of memory) – made me pause. I also found it interesting that it wasn’t until I translated a phrase back into the German words I’m accustomed to seeing it in (Kinder, Küche, Kirche) that I understood the cultural implication/context of its use.

The mystery was engaging and I did enjoy the layer-by-layer reveal of motives and connections among the populace of Altenhain once I was grounded in the story and the cast. There are hints dropped throughout the book so it would benefit the listener to pay close attention. This is the fourth book in this series that follows Bodenstein and Kirchoff and although it worked as a stand-alone I got the sense that the events in the Regional Criminal Unit and in the personal lives of the detectives would have been easier to mentally organize (and would have generated more sympathy for the characters) had I started with the first book.

I found the ending frustrating and that had a noticeable impact on how I graded this one. After the basic outline of who/how had been worked out, there was an hour left in which some very unlikely plot twists took place. By that point there was no room in my brain for a couple of not-introduced-until-now names/people and I was just waiting for the end to make sure everything wrapped up. If you are a frequent consumer of mysteries and police procedurals though, I think there’s a lot in this one that will appeal to you.

The Narration:

The narration worked well and I would imagine that Robert Fass’ delivery will satisfy any listener. Characters were clearly differentiated although I would have found additional delineation/characterization through varied cadences and more character-specific emotional delivery to be beneficial. The narrative and character dialogue was, as I would expect in a translated work, delivered primarily in American accent. Proper nouns, however, were given their full German-accented pronunciation which I appreciated tremendously. Male/female vocal range separation was done well, the narrative voice was distinct, pacing was excellent, the delivery was smooth, and production was top-notch.

 

Thank you to AudioGO for providing me a copy of this audiobook for review purposes via the Solid Gold Reviewer program at www.audiobookjukebox.com
 
two-half-stars

Hunter: A Thriller by Robert Bidinotto

Hunter: A Thriller by Robert BidinottoHunter: A Thriller by Robert Bidinotto
Narrator: Conor Hall
Published by Robert J. Bidinotto on 9/13/12
Genres: Suspense
two-half-stars

Story: C+
Narration: B+

The Plot:

A series of vigilante killings have grabbed headlines in the Virginia/D.C. area. Of even more interest is the fact that with each murder, a recently published newspaper article that exposes how the victims of the murdered criminals were failed by the justice system is left on the body. Dylan Hunter, the journalist responsible for the articles, is a man on a crusade to expose the failings of a system that releases criminals to re-offend. When he attends a victim support group, he meets Annie Woods and the two begin a romantic affair.

Annie is a security officer with the CIA. After the Agency traitor she uncovered is assassinated right in front of her, she vows to find the ‘mole’ responsible for giving away the location of the safe-house he was stashed in. As her life begins to intertwine with Dylan’s, the threads of their separate causes start to overlap.

My Thoughts:

Hunter is a vigilante thriller with good pacing, an interesting and hyper-capable protagonist, and a dose of romantic elements thrown in. Overall, this was a decent listen although there were some areas that I struggled with.

The biggest stumbling block to my full enjoyment of this audiobook was the impact of a tendency to tell rather than show. In terms of the justification for vigilante action, there were multiple scenes that provided an information dump with an accompanying dose of moral outrage that explained why the criminals targeted by the vigilante killer were worth inclusion on his list of targets. When justification is presented in that fashion rather than by allowing me to simply “see” the precipitating events as part of the plot I often feel like I’m being hit with a big moral stick rather than reaching my own conclusions. That lack of subtlety and the simplification of good vs. evil affected my reading enjoyment. Symptomatic of this push to give the reader a conclusion rather than leading them is the way even the musings of the protagonist move from singular to a plural that seems intended to include the reader:

He had enrolled in that world of untruth as an eager volunteer. It had been for a vital cause: to protect his country and its people. Because our enemies use clandestine and covert methods against us, we would be insane to handicap ourselves and risk our very survival by foreswearing such measures in self-defense.
 
There’s a difference between deception and treachery. Sometimes, we must use deception to protect the innocent from evil.

 

My second area of discontent was a particular sex scene that seemed out of context and where I feel the following bit of dialogue didn’t meet what I assume to be its intended goal:

He grabbed the back of her hair. Pressed his lips into light contact with hers. His eyes, so close, bore into hers.
 
“You listen to me, Annie Woods. The one word that’s forbidden when we’re in bed is ‘no.’”

 

Dylan’s alpha/uber-male status had been established by that point and if the sudden inclusion of a scene dealing with sexual consent was intended to entice or titillate readers whose reading includes erotica that deals with power dynamics, it would have been more effective to build to it rather than dropping into the middle of an otherwise rather pleasant love affair.

From a plot standpoint, I wasn’t sure how the opening few scenes, which immediately grabbed my attention, would tie into the story (other than introducing Annie) but they eventually folded in nicely. As the story moved to Dylan’s perspective, I was intrigued by the turn the story was taking and the slow reveal of how it all was going to tie together. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Dylan’s past and the explosive reveal of it.

While the vigilante’s identity wasn’t shocking (and I assume the omission of his name or immediately identifying information about him during his scenes was to build suspense as to his identity),  the scenes from the his point-of-view were engrossing and the tension surrounding whether he would survive each encounter (let alone get away with it) was ably evoked. The range of weapons employed and the creativity when setting the scene for the discovery of the bodies added to the strong pacing of the book.

Dylan and Annie are multi-dimensional characters and I was able to connect to them and their emotional turmoil. The interaction between Dylan and Annie, their increasing attraction to one another, and the secrets each kept from the other added a dollop of tension. If you’re not set on teasing out a path through a moral quagmire, Hunter holds its own in the vigilante sub-genre of thrillers. Although the inclusion of romantic elements should broaden its appeal to a larger audience, I actually would have preferred a straight thriller.

The Narration:

I enjoyed Conor Hall’s narration and, given the skill displayed, was rather surprised to find that this is the only listing under that name at Audible. Mr. Hall has a deep and resonant voice that is pleasant to listen to. He’s a perfect example of how even a narrator with what I’d consider a bass voice can deftly use slight pitch changes to give female characters completely believable voices in the context of the audiobook. His character differentiation was excellent – including tone, cadence, and occasionally accent variations in addition to the standard pitch alterations – and his delivery of the primary bad guy was particularly effective. He pushed the ‘teeth-gritted/hard-boiled’ voice a little too far for a couple of the characters, giving them a noir-like feel that I found unnecessary but he clearly has a facility for vocal characterization and I hope to hear more of his work.

Disclaimer:

I received this audiobook from the author at no cost to me and with the expressed expectation that my review would be objective.

two-half-stars

Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs

Bones are Forever by Kathy ReichsBones are Forever by Kathy Reichs
Narrator: Linda Emond
Series: Temperance Brennan #15
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 8/28/12
Genres: Mystery
three-half-stars

Story: B-
Narration: B+

Quick Review:

The fifteenth entry in the Temperance Brennan series is an enjoyable listen that focuses on a moderately complex mystery that takes an unexpected turn. Somewhat more action/motion-driven as opposed to a strong focus on further character development and lighter than normal on the depth of forensic medical detail, the story is still engaging, educational, and well-delivered by a narrator who, from her first line, immersed me back into the character of Tempe and the world she inhabits.

The Plot:

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan is assigned to an investigation at the house of a Montreal woman, Amy Roberts, who presented herself at the emergency room showing signs she had recently delivered a child but who then vanished. After discovering multiple infant remains, Tempe and Lieutenant-détective Andrew Ryan follow the woman’s trail to Edmonton, Alberta where they join forces with RCMP Sergeant Oliver Hasty. It’s in Edmonton that Amy Roberts morphs into Alma Rogers as well as Alva Rodriguez before becoming Annaliese Ruben. A tangled trail of prostitution, disappearances among the disenfranchised and at-risk population, and turf wars over drug distribution sends the trio to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories where the disappearance of Annaliese Ruben and the mystery of the dead infants turns into something altogether unexpected, placing Tempe and her search for justice directly in the line of fire.

My Thoughts:

This audiobook started out with an intriguing (if gruesome) case for Dr. Brennan: a trio of infant remains to be examined and their presumed mother, who may or may not be a prostitute, nowhere to be found. I enjoy a complexity of plot (I loved Spider Bones) and while I liked this book, as the investigation moved from city to city the introduction of supporting players and the fracturing of case leads began to dilute my initial interest in what started the story. It took a long time before Annaliese Ruben’s story was known and as the one constant in the investigation, I would have liked to understand more about her earlier on.

Rather than mysterious forensic anomalies, this book leveraged interpersonal tension to a high degree, above and beyond the expected police/suspect interaction. Tempe and Ryan were in conflict, primarily due to anger on Ryan’s side that was unexplained until near the end. Ryan and Oliver held pissing contests every time one of them opened their mouth. Events in Edmonton were based on antagonism between prostitutes, drug dealers, and law enforcement and as the story moved to Yellowknife, with its high density of Aboriginal people of the First Nations, minor Anglo/Aboriginal conflict as well as local/outsider and more law enforcement/marginalized population tensions were added.

Tempe spent a lot of time pursuing answers and justice and was universally distrusted by those she sought those answers from. I appreciate that a veneer of legitimacy for Tempe’s presence throughout the entire investigation was in place although I found her to be more impulsive than in previous books and I think this novel held the most I’ve seen of Brennan’s character making questionable decisions. Two events near the end – one that required revisiting Brennan’s history of alcoholism and the other being the sudden disappearance of Ryan’s anger after Tempe’s final life-threatening escapade – strained my credulity a bit but the book reached a satisfying conclusion to an involving mystery.

I always enjoy the well-described forensic detail in these books and this one was no exception. Added to that was detail on the geology of the Northwest Territories in the second half of the book that was right up my alley. Tempe had a stronger emotional investment in this case than most and that was a nice addition. The diverse cast of characters were well-drawn and took on vibrant life in my head, as did the locales. The interactions between Tempe and Ryan were snappy and fast-paced and her reaction to Oliver’s come-ons (they had a fling in the distant past) were amusing.

Overall this was a good audiobook that won’t disappoint those who follow the series and, despite the history of the characters that has been built through books one to fourteen, can be read as a standalone without newcomers to Temperance Brennan’s world feeling lost.

The Narration:

Given a good narrator, I always prefer the audiobook version but that is particularly true when French accents or a large smattering of French words are in play since that happens to be the one language both I and my internal reader are guaranteed to mangle beyond recognition. Linda Emond does an excellent job on my behalf, giving distinct voice to both the Quebecois version of a French accent and to classical French inflections. While I am sometimes struck by her distinctive cadence containing modulations that sometimes seem out of place, she so effectively speaks from each character’s point of view that those similar speech patterns across the dialogue were far less of an issue (maybe even a non-issue) for me than it might have been. Her portrayal of Tempe’s internal monologue – more factual than dramatic and with an educator’s intonation – has always struck me as spot-on for a highly intelligent woman (speaking of Tempe, here, although for all I know it applies to Ms. Emond as well) who views the world through a more scientific or objective lens as opposed to an emotional or dramatic perspective. Easily recognizable characters, the sense of discovery present as the story progresses, realistic back-and-forth in dialogue, and the fact that from the first line my immediate thought was . o O(Ahh, back to Dr. Brennan and interesting forensic tidbits) will always make my choice for this series the audio version as long as Ms. Emond is narrating.

 

Book Source:

I requested this audiobook from Simon & Schuster Audio via the Solid Gold Reviewer program at www.audiobookjukebox.com and they were kind enough to send it to me free of charge.

three-half-stars