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Murder Mystery Thriller Fan

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  • 105
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Unique, Intriguing, wanted so much to like it but

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-08-20

This is a tough one to review. I want to be honest. A lot of the reason I chose it was because of the foreign location and I wanted a safe get away during lockdown, I was impressed that the author was narrating and she did a great job and is obviously very good if not fluent in French also which was impressive,
I really wanted to like this as it was a big slice of different and so fresh and unique.
The plot was intriguing and got curiouser and curiouser.
My problem was that I did not care for the main character Emily.
Then despite so many mysteries like the foul smell in the house I just got bored.
Yes I even felt bad about it as it was so well written and it was so thought provoking.
I found the Australian accent also got on my nerves and I got to like Emily less and less.
I then missed a huge chunk of it as left it running (Ok I admit it - I fell asleep!) and could not be bothered to go back as really had enough.
By then mental illness had reared its head and I just find that always muddies the water in mysteries.
I never found out why the house was stinky, I never found out the big mystery that made Emily faint and behave oddly or what was wrong with the child but I had just had enough,
It was a shame as so beautifully written to a standard which is so far superior to most thrillers but just the content could not hold my attention as everyone was so unlikeable and nuts.
There was also self harming which I find an upsetting theme.
Then there was a bit of a plot hole. Someone complaining about the price of a pony then offered to buy someone a house ... um hard to reconcile that so I just left it at that.
I did wonder what Emily's secret was .... and the stink that they kept trying to cover up but what with the madness and the unlikeable characters and the plot hole and the self harming and the way this lovely French hideaway was constantly referred to as "The Property" ad nauseum I gave up.
No idea how a book can be so well written, so mysterious and yet I found it heavy going, a bit dull and just a bit boring.
I have read and enjoyed many more farfetched books but this one, despite its great attributes left me cold.

Fab premise, good start, then went off the rails

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-07-20

Could have been so good but soon the shiny exciting people became mired in depression and sleazy ways to make ends meet ... as the characters developed into very unlikeable, unhappy and frankly grim women I tuned out. Odd to say the least and just so very unlikely ... and dull... could not care about what happened to any of them. YAWN!

Great premise ... boring execution - what a shame

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-06-20

Oh this had so much going for it - an insight into the world of the ghostwriter, the allure of the glossy world of the social influencer domestic goddess phenomenon.
Stephanie Racine is one of my favourite narrators so that was a plus.
Olivia Dowd did a good job too, but was rather nasal a lot of time with the sound of a dry mouth that sounds as if she has just eaten a digestive biscuit. Strange mix of accent which was distracting as it seemed to be all over the place, sometimes quite posh, a bit London and then some huge flat vowel sounds making it all a bit confusing along with some strange mispronunciations like Ran-Gee for Rangy - odd read which stopped me from getting immersed in the story.
I lost interest in this story - wandered off leaving it running several times and in the end could not be bothered to go back as seemed to get more and more implausible and though I have no clue of the mystery, I just cannot summon up much interest.
The characters are just quite drab, the mystery so unlikely, could not follow the significance of one character smoking and then a non smoker deciding to suddenly also smoke ... it could have been glamorous, intriguing, mysterious - instead it all just seemed like rather hard work and lacklustre.
Something also about the way the book is structured also does not flow well and in ways like two books and just found myself not really caring about the secrets or what happened in the past, present or future to anyone in the book.
Not a "bad" book, no complaints with the writing which was great but a rather dull view of an exciting and glamorous premise and sadly just not a right riveting rollercoaster of a thriller I was hoping for.
Meh!

A Solid Mystery Thriller which keeps you guessing!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-06-20

I have been disappointed by so many "Thrillers" of late and have not had the interest to finish them but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Not an amazingly gripping read but a good, well thought out thriller which keeps you guessing.
Strong points - nice visit to France location wise, plenty of twists and all is not as it seems.
Weaker points - too many nutters. Serious need of medication for many of the characters,
Overall, very entertaining, a little unbelievable but not gritty or gory for those like me who enjoy whodunnits which engage the brain without overly violent, disturbing or dark, upsetting themes.
Excellent narration as always by Stephanie Racine makes it an all round winner.
Given the fact that good thrillers with decent narration seem thin on the ground these days - this is a good option.

6 people found this helpful

OH DEAR ... this is just the opposite of thrilling

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-06-20

Imogen Church so often gets given the plum narration jobs and though I often find her best listened to at 1.25 speed as she so often over performs, over eggs and overwhelms great thrillers with the boundless enthusiasm and energy of a bouncy puppy - seeing her name on a thriller is usually a very good sign.

This time I found it a much more nuanced read with a lighter touch which was a lovely surprise ... however this was about the only exciting twist that I encountered.

It all sounded so intriguing and alluring and different but all I heard was an oddbod who had been scarred by an overbearing and uninvolved mother who chose to focus on her love life to such an extent she neglected her daughter.

On and on and on and on Imogen's character moaned and whined and droned on about her mother.

I get it, many people carry their child hood with them and it shapes their adult life but really ... YAWN!

Then the Fat Police Officer ............. or should I say the woman who was obsessed with her weight as being a police woman seemed to come a poor second to her body image woes.

It started so well, glam wife, gorgeous house - did she know her husband would not be coming home for dinner as he was dead ................. but the backstory was just agony listening to.

Should have been great - could have been great .... maybe it did get great later on - but as I am in lockdown with my mother, hearing someone endlessly referencing their mother in what seemed like every sentence, I just could take no more.

I gave up about a week ago when one of my pre-orders was released and just have not got the heart to go back to it plus it seems to have all just not left much of an impression - except that I am glad I gave up when I did.

So many great thrillers out on Audible right now I feel spoiled for choice so no regrets.

2 people found this helpful

OMG - THAT OLD LADY VOICE ... ABANDON BOOK!

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-06-20

Love some of John Marrs books - adore Elizabeth Knowelden but oh dearie dear dear dear that old lady character voice made me abandon this book in seconds - nails on a blackboard - I could not stand to listen any longer - maybe one for me to read rather than listen to. What a shame.

4 people found this helpful

Impossible to follow mish-mash interview format

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-05-20

I was so looking forward to this but just could not follow and was boggle eared trying to sort out who was who and what was happening - no many voices, too much switching back and forth. Might work on the screen where you can see the faces but just too confusing - or should I say too much work when you are looking for a relaxing book to unwind with.

2 people found this helpful

More Domestic Drama than Crime Thriller Suspense

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-05-20

When I read the title Little White Secrets and the synopsis which mentioned a tennis star - I mistakenly thought this would have a lot about tennis in it ... it did not.

When I saw it was categorised as Crime Thriller Suspense - I mistakenly thought it was my sort of book ... it wasn't.

I love an exotic setting or foreign holiday in a book for extra escapism and as this had a trip to Greece I thought I would enjoy it ... I did not.

But if you like domestic dramas, people struggling with tired marriages and the challenges of parenthood ... in minute detail, then this could be for you.

I did think it was well written and flowed well, good narration though so many narrators would do well to look up the correct pronunciation of "Irrevocable" Simon managed it but a fail for Esther.

Annoying pop at vegetarianism which seems to be a thing these days in books. Who invites a vegetarian to dinner and cooks lamb and then gloats when the "vegetarian" tears into the meat barely leaving bones behind .... do not really know what to make of that message but this is the second book which has "baddies" eschewing meat eating like it is a new villainous trait which is only done as an annoying attempt to shame meat eaters. Weird.

It started off very intriguing but then became all a little heavy handed, stereotypical and predicable and so I gave up as I was finding the female protagonist more and more priggish and annoying and when the book focused on the theme of alcoholism and a very unlikely romantic sub plot I just gave up.

I thought I was getting a suspense crime thriller - it was a kitchen sink drama and I am just sorry I wasted so much time getting mired into dreary problems and parenting crises it was even duller than my own life ... in lockdown!

3 people found this helpful

Another depressing tale of a ditchwater dull wimp

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-05-20

Ok ...... it was a great cover - a glamorous holiday setting, an intriguing premise and a writer whose books I have enjoyed in the past - well one or two which I thought were well written but became rather unbelievable.

This one started off so well and I was licking my lips as the story got going but then it took a turn for comedy with the main character quickly melting down into a stereotypical stooge and wishy washy wimp.

It was hard to know if it was meant to be funny or not but it certainly was fairly broad comedy and disappointing that this is yet another overweight, frumpy, boring woman, obsessed with her children and trying to keep her marriage from collapsing while blaming herself for not being a supermodel.

I soon began to far prefer and identify with the glamorous sister-in-law especially when there is so much anti- vegetarianism and veganism spouted against her by Mrs Dull (yes I cannot recall her name) - she only develops a backbone when she feels awkward about eating a hunk of lamb. "I am an animal lover ........ but I love eating meat! Also do not mention the benefits of not eating meat or how Veganism can benefit the planet as it is hard enough to get my kids to eat meat as it is."

Yes, it was then I jumped ship to team Ellie as she cooked fabulous Vegan meals for 5 adults and three children and Mrs Mopey moaned about not being able to make Meat Balls with her Mum in Law like she did every year.
Jeepers woman - you are a full time nurse as well as a mum of 2 very young children and a 9 year old - what are you complaining about and if you are so worried about being porky, maybe this might actually help you lose some weight.

So as cartoon style baddies and stereotypical downtrodden frumpy wives go there were really no surprises here but it could have been so much better if it had not been laid on with a trowel and if the protagonist had not been quite such a drip. She is meant to be a nurse so rather unbelievable that she could be such a pushover as that is one tough profession and this puddle of patheticness and self doubt would not have lasted a minute on the wards.

Of course Mrs Dull is just a character but she was so submissive (except about the thought of not being able to eat meat) and just such a sad domestic drone, I lost patience with her feelings being hurt and the secrets she mentioned that she was so afraid of coming out, I felt might be on a scale of swapping butter for margarine in her scones or having a gym membership that she never used.

YAWN!

Not sure if the narration or writing made this character so insufferable, I think maybe a different, less downtrodden sounding narrator might have saved the book. Weird accents, mumsy delivery and so much saliva in the read that sometimes the voice sounded like a wet bag flapping - voluminous and sloppy.

The worst thing about the book was how drearily repetitive it was, just the same topic covered in 36 different ways and rehashed again and again so the book became stagnant and I just gave up as just so many unlikable characters, bad accents, slurpy narration and nothing happening for chapters and chapter as we just covered the same old topics said in slightly different ways.

I will look out for Sue Watson again as she has written much better books before and I will also watch out for Diana Croft with a view to avoiding as just too insipid and irritating to listen to.

10 people found this helpful

Bewitched by the narrator but story disappointed

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-03-20

It seemed like a great thriller from the synopsis and I have to say I was rather taken with the narrator Natalie Pela, who I had not heard before.
Then after a while, though her voice is lovely, the read seemed a little inexperienced - that and the fact the story did not really sit well with me. I was intrigued by the wife's neck ... bored by the Polish couple and their bizarre life job-sharing/caravan dwelling/anorexia ... found it hard to believe such a savy young lady would throw herself into joining the family gardening business ... then just lost interest.
I will look out for Natalie Pela in the future but it all just turned out to be a bit of a damp squib for me and have no interest in what happened next after all the digging and swimming ... yawn.

2 people found this helpful