Margaret Maron's best-selling Deborah Knott mystery series won instant acclaim upon its debut in 1993. In this 16th entry in the series, the judge is faced with a horrifying holiday murder case. After a beautiful young cheerleader is found dead in a car wreck, Judge Knott's husband Deputy Dwight Bryant discovers evidence that the death was anything but an accident.Now Knott and Bryant are on a desperate search for a killer before he or she trikes again.
Solve more cases with Deborah Knott.
©2010 Margaret Maron (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
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"Couldn't get through this"
I had this on my wish list for several months and finally decided to give it a try. Sorry I did, I could never get hooked into the story. The narrator's cadence was off-putting. I found myself learning how she would pronounce words and her phraseology then it started getting on my nerves. This is the first book I have put down barely one-half in. I will stick to Michael Connelly.
"One of the worst I've heard on Audible so far"
Probably not. I found myself groaning a good deal more than anything else.
Let me count the ways...accent, tone of voice, just overall poor reading.
I've read several of the books in this series, and I find them to be uneven in how good they are. I love some of the books--and feel the author has interesting knowledge that she weaves in. But sometimes there is too much "filler" for story. Although the actual mystery aspects are usually very good, they are not tops on my list because I never know what to expect. Had thought I might feel differently if I heard one read (and I might have, with a different narrator.)
"I Love Judge Knott"
I will probably listen to this audio book several more times.
I like the series and the characters. While the earlier novels in this series were more "gritty" in my opinion, Margaret Maron has made Deborah and her family plausible.
"Terrible narrator ruins an barely-okay book."
Quite a few years ago I paper-read a number of "cozy mysteries" by Margaret Maron, featuring North Carolina Judge Deborah Knott. They were okay, and I read 5 or 6. I recently downloaded "Christmas Mourning" on sale, read by a narrator I have heard (and found "meh"), a woman named C. J. Critt.
This time it's nearly torture. While Critt has a very excellent, rich voice, her reading style is PAINFUL! She inflects a ridiculous amount of inappropriate emotion, virtually baby-talking through simple narrative sentences, and takes pauses SO LONG that I have repeatedly unhooked my iPod from my belt, thinking the battery had died or the headphones detached! She also puts a little smirk into sentences which SHOULD HAVE reflected compassion and sorrow.
I'm nearly halfway through the book, and I think I'll go ahead and finish it, but it was a poor choice for me. The story concerns a teen girl killed in a car "accident" (I personally lost a daughter that way) and the characters' attitudes toward both the dead girl and her parents is dismissive, flippant and cruel. Considering these books are supposed to reflect a small rural community where everyone knows and supports one another, the first-person storytelling makes the Judge out to be a hard-hearted and lackadaisical bitch.
"Mildly entertaining; narration detracts"
The story itself is mildly entertaining. This is lightweight fiction, very down-home, everybody's cousin and relative in a small town. It starts off slow and gets a bit more interesting as the book progresses.
Of course, we all have different tastes in narrators. This narrator (C.J. Critt) doesn't work for me on many levels. She reads FAR too slow for me. The pauses after every sentence, after every phrase drove me a bit mad. The pause between chapters was long enough that I kept thinking there was something wrong with my iPod. She injects a lot of drama into every word, even when it is background description or a casual conversation, considerably more than is called for in my opinion. The singsong emphasis really got on my nerves after awhile. I'm not that keen on her interpretations of men's voices.
It may work for you - just make sure you listen to a sample first, which is a wonderful feature of Audible. Sadly, I listened to the sample but accidentally put the book in my cart with several others and ended up purchasing it before I realized what I had done!
"As down home and home spun as it gets"
A teen is killed in a single car accident ...but was it an accident? Or was it murder?
Rather than being a story where the book centers around the mystery, this book is a sweet tale which centers around the lives of Deborah and Dwight, there families and town as they prepare for Christmas. The mystery is woven into there story not the other way around. This book is not hard hitting suspense but more like finding a soft fluffy kitten in your christmas stocking on Christmas morning.
At the same time, I must say the narration was off putting. It's the speed and the deliberate cadence with which she reads the book. The lilting almost sing song affect, the frequent pauses for emphasis where there shouldn't be any and the leisurely turtle like speed at which she reads the story.
Although I liked the story, the narration was just extremely tedious.
"I really tried..."
There's too much extraneous 'stuff'' and not enough real story in this book. I found the narrator slightly annoying at first and then more so as the book went on. I got half way through and just couldn't finish.
More meat stronger main characters
"Everyday Life and a Mystery"
This is the first book of this series I have read. The "mystery" part of the story is revealed gradually. That annoyed me at first, and I wondered if the book had been classified incorrectly. However once the mystery began to unfold I became more engrossed in the entire story. Be aware that this book spends alot of time describing the every day lives of the main characters and their families. Once I got used to the style, I appreciated and enjoyed it. In fact I liked it so much I have purchased another, earlier book in the series.
I found the main characters to be likable and interesting. I live in the northern U.S. The rural southern location of this story was interesting and appealing to me. Part of that appeal may have been due to the fact that temperatures here were well below zero during the days I was listening to this book!
Narrator C.J. Critt is very good. Her diction is clear. She does a good job differentuating character voices.
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