Before the death of his wife, Sean O'Brien makes a promise to her that he has no plans to break until he starts building a new life in an old cabin on a remote stretch of a tropical river in the heart of Florida. It's there that he discovers an injured young woman who whispers a cryptic message into his ear. As she fights for her life, Sean makes a promise to her, but to fulfill it he'll have to end the vow he made to his dead wife, and he'll have to face a criminal mind that has a tap root into his previous life. For O'Brien to begin to live a new life, he must revisit the past, where a brilliant criminal mind lies waiting to write a dark future.
©2009 Tom Lowe (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
"A darkly suspenseful, atmospheric thriller. Absolutely relentless. I refuse to believe that this is a first novel. It's just too damned good." (Steve Hamilton, award-winning author of The Lock Artist)
"A False Dawn makes good reading for anyone longing to stumble upon an unpublished John D. MacDonald Florida mystery." (Booklist)
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"First in a series"
A False Dawn is the first book in Tom Lowe's Sean O'Brien series.
O'Brien was a police detective in Detroit, but with the death of his wife, he follows through on a promise he made to her. Quit the force and build a new life. He plans to fix up a cabin on backwater stretch in Florida. And live peacefully. It's a good plan until he discovers a dying young woman who whispers to him just before she dies......Well, once a detective, always a detective. O'Brien immerses himself in the search for who the girl was - and who beat her to death.
Lowe has created a strong, likable character in O'Brien that the listener can root for. I do like that he wasn't always right and made mistakes. There's a wealth of supporting characters. I was intrigued by a mysterious man named Joe Billie who appeared in the first few chapters - and then disappeared until his cameo in the final wrap up. Dave and Nick at the marina were engaging characters. I did find the 'bad guys' a bit cliched. Max the dog was a great addition to the cast.
The plot is ambitious and far reaching and on the dark side. (Fair warning to gentle listeners - there are some graphic scenes and strong language.) I had to suspend disbelief that the FBI would let a retired detective take such a leading role.
The Florida setting was well described and painted vivid mental images.
Listening to an audio book is a different experience than reading the novel. We tend to hear every detail - details we may have glossed over with a printed copy. My peeve was O'Brien's similes - even in stressful situations he's got something to compare. By the end they were simply annoying.
A False Dawn is a good first book and I would listen to another. (There are now five books in the series)
The reader, Michael David Axtell, was quite good. He has a clear, resonant voice with a little gravelly undertone that matched the mental image I had created for the character. He interpreted the book well, matching his inflection to the scenes.
"A welcome surprise"
I can't believe I've never heard of Tom Lowe before. This is my first listen to Lowe and I'm hooked! The main character, Sean O'Brien is a very likable protagonist. The supporting cast, including Max, a cute and lovable dachshund, well round the story. There is plenty of suspense as the mystery unfolds. I look forward to the next book in this series.
The narrator is incredibly talented at bringing the individual characters to life! Suspenseful and exciting!
This was a good book kept you guessing what was going to happen. I liked the main character Sean O'nell. Had a bit of witty humor. Will listen to the next one in serious
I really liked this first book in the Sean O'Brien series, A False Dawn. So far I have listened to the first 3 books and have started on the 4th novel. I have found them to be very interesting mysteries. I have purchased all six novels in this series available to date and have always looked forward to hearing the next one. Sean O'Brien, the main character, is an ex-Miami homicide detective who retired early after his wife died and moved up to the Daytona Beach area. He has a river house inland from the beach but also has a boat that he lives on. He keeps running into murder cases that need to be solved which he can't help but getting totally involved in. You will meet all his colorful boat neighbors and his cute little hotdog mutt, Max. Mr. Lowe is a great writer and Mr. Axtell is a wonderful narrator. All in all I highly recommend this series.
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