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The Estate

Audible's Crime and Thriller Listen of the Month
Narrated by: Denise Gough
Length: 6 hrs and 57 mins
4 out of 5 stars (151 ratings)

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Audible's Crime & Thriller Pick of the Month: February 2020

Love nothing more than being engrossed in a creepy thriller or playing detective with a gripping mystery? You're not alone! Always ready for a challenge, the Audible editors have taken on the tough task of seeking out spine-chilling tales that will keep you up all night. Every month we’ll bring you the very best in murder and mystery in Audible's Crime & Thriller Pick of the Month.
Liza Costello

About the author


Liza Costello’s stories and poems have been published and broadcast in The Irish Independent, The Stinging Fly and RTÉ Radio 1, among other places. She won the 2011 Dromineer Literary Festival's annual poetry prize and has also been short-listed for the Seán Ó’Faoláin International Short Story Competition, RTE Radio 1’s Francis McManus Award for short stories, and the 2015 Patrick Kavanagh Award for poetry.

She is the author of the Kindle Singles Retreat and Spin. The Estate is her first novel. She lives in the Irish midlands.

Summary

There’s no place like home...and Beth hopes there never will be again.

Beth never had a settled home as a child, but that’s all behind her now. She’s fine. Great. Settled in her single life. Until friends start peeling away, moving on to careers and family, leaving her feeling impatient and angry. When she bumps into Jason at a party, she spots the opportunity for her own fresh start - to turn her back on a reckless life of drinking and missed deadlines. She can build a new life, too...can’t she? When she discovers that Jason has the opportunity to house-sit a new build out of town, she glimpses her chance. There’s only one catch - Jason needs to stay in town for the sake of his new job. But Beth can keep their dreams alive on her own, can’t she? 

As her drinking worsens, and new friends turn out to be prospective enemies, her sense of reality begins to unravel. As Beth comes to confront the mysteries of her own past, she moves closer to understanding the desperate crime at the heart of the estate. But first she must learn who is behind the strange attacks on her new home. And is Jason who she thought he was? Can she even trust him?

In this taut crime novel set in the aftermath of the Irish recession, a change for the better turns into a nightmare of uncertainty. An edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Cass Green.

©2018 Liza Costello (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Strange Mix

I think that Audible will soon ban me from reviewing their special choices like this their "Crime and Thriller - Listen of the Month" because I keep getting sold on the concept then not being wholly enamored with the execution. In truth there is quite a lot to like about "The Estate", Liza Costello spends good time building her lead Beth. She's neither a likeable nor a particularly admirable character but she is definitely relatable which is absolutely key.

The main setting, one of Ireland's ghost estates is a good choice and comes to life nicely during the story. But it's that story that never quite hit the right balance for me. There was too much just thrown into it, broken families, drug use, violence against women and so on, all good crime fiction staples but it just got a bit muddled and the idea of the remote retreat and what happened there very much bolt-on rather than integrated.

I was also surprised at the relative flatness of Denise Gough's delivery, she has a lovely voice and accent but there was very little characterisation in there. That said, the last 30 minutes of this audiobook is dedicated to interviews with both the author and the narrator which were both genuinely interesting. Denise explained that as the story was being told from Beth's viewpoint she wanted to relate all through Beth's voice but I'd still prefer more of a performance personally. Liza explained that the whole thing began with the place, the ghost estate, and I definitely got that as she brought it and Beth to life well with the plot being the weaker part.

So, I finished it, I enjoyed it well enough and I'll be tempted to see what this author does next but I'm not convinced it's quite in Listen of the Month territory.

30 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Gripped me from the start - sleepless night ensued

I do not know if this thriller kept me up all night or just kept me company all night - but one way or the other I listened to it straight though and did not get to sleep until 5am!

For me it was so very nearly a five star Audiobook overall.
I loved the narration - which to me sounded so natural it really sounded like a real person reading their diary rather than a narrator telling a story in a polished traditional way which I felt really suited the story and was very un-selfconscious and believable. Genius casting and direction.
The plot was great - It gripped me from the getgo and I did not guess the sneaky twists, in fact I was on the wrong track entirely!
The writing was excellent and the story rattled along at a great rate and the near 7 sleepless hours I spent listening really flew.

Then after the story finished there was a rather odd sort of "What Beth Did Next" section including more of her backstory which tied in with the subplot running mainly altenate chapters with the thriller.
After that there was an epilogue.
Not sure how I felt about that, it felt rather like an after thought or an add on - as if the publisher had mentioned they thought the book was a bit short so it was tagged onto the end. However it was good but somehow once the mystery had been solved it felt a bit like the wind had been taken out of the book's sails and it sort of pottered until it petered out.

Small plot hole for me was why the developer needed for the house to be occupied at all times rather than and why Beth never used her mobile to call for help. But despite this, the plot did hang together well generally.

Hate the introduction of animals being put in harms way to ramp up drama - this was not too upsetting in this book and was not just gratuitous but it was sloppy writing the way there was no mention of what happened to one of them. I mean HELLO! we heard enough about it, then suddenly no mention of what ever happened to it - like the author just could not be bothered after it had served the function she had created it for and made it look as if nobody in the book gave a toss either.

Also Beth's drinking was a bit all over the place swerving from antisocial argumentative car wreck of a binge drinker to daily two glass drinker to bottle a day barely functioning alchoholic. It just seemed a bit random and possibly a superfluous additional theme.

Not sure how I felt about the how Beth and her boyfriend's story ended but I suppose that sort of thing does happen in real life however for people to be so unaware of their feelings was just adding a bit more unnecessary relationship complication twists to an already crowded party.

Also Beth did seem a bit inconsistent - wracked with guilt about snapping up a recession house bargain as others had their homes repossessed and yet not a lot of interest in stopping puppies being killed or going hungry or a teenager being properly cared for as not her problem.

Apart from these little quibbles it was a 5 star gripping thriller with a very surprising twist.
Wish I could have given it 4 1/2 stars as I would really recommend it as I did enjoy it very much.
I will really look forward to Liza Costello's next book.

14 people found this helpful

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Gabbled story telling

I enjoyed the story line for the most part. The psychological 'gaslighting' aspect of the story was well told, hoevever despite having listened twice to the story I'm still trying to understand how / why the missing child was intorduced. It feels a bit like the author couldn't find a way to end the story so this the child was introduced to provid the 'out'. It just felt rushed. Other than that I found the performer spoke too fast with little intonation. It was all one pace, one tone. However not a bad listen.

8 people found this helpful

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My first audible book

I love reading and like to read actual words on a page. I wasn't bowled over by the idea of listening as opposed to reading. One of the things I thought would be lost in the listening was the details and innuendos that catches the imagination. However, I found the narrator caught my imagination just as effectively and the bonus is that I can get on with daily rituals whilst listening. Definitely recommend. Frankie

6 people found this helpful

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Very interesting

Listened too in one sitting.. Would highly recommend. Well done. Great story telling. Thanks very much

5 people found this helpful

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Fabulous!

This book ticked all the boxes for me but the narrator let it down, her voice was nice enough but it was just so fast!! I actually had to put the speed down to enjoy it better. Just completely rushed. The character Michael was so realistically creepy. Loved it

3 people found this helpful

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A great story!

This is a great listen with twists and turns. I liked the narrator Denise Gough very much...she was the characters! More please!

2 people found this helpful

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Do not hesitate download now

I loved this book and the narrator is brilliant. Gripping, hilarious, scary and at times so moving I had tears in my eyes.

2 people found this helpful

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the estate <br /><br />absolute rubbish. how it was put in

won't take recommend listening as a benchmark. for women only.total rubbish and no ending? worst book ever read

1 person found this helpful

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Narrative a shame!!

I just couldnt get into the story as the narrator just didnt do it for me, no way i could buy in and get hooked when every sentence sounds rushed! A shame as the story line sounded so promising!

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  • Katherine Girgenti
  • 11-02-20

Disjointed

I was lured by talk of a modern gothic novel, but did not find it here. This story is completely disjointed. There is a lot going on but very few of the tragedies culminate. Beth's friends abandon her, she takes a random guy home who ends up as her abusive boyfriend. She isolates herself in a creepy neighborhood of her own accord and makes friends with all the broken neighbors, not the least of whom kid naps a former charge and kills Beth's dog. Not to mention that, for some reason, her sister is actually her mom and her mom is her grandma. AND she purposely puts herself in the path of a venomous snake and almost dies. It should be retitled "Beth's Sad Life." I am mentioning all the bullet points of the plot to demonstrate that none of them are really connected except that they are being experienced by our unlucky narrator who does not inspire a lot of sympathy and seems to get herself into a lot of trouble as we, as the readers, sit cringing on our sofa's willing her not to be so stupid. The other characters are equally flat. I think Denis Gough did a great job though and have to say that her performance was the only part of the story that I enjoyed. The only theme I can find is that bad things happen when we day drink and don't follow our instincts. And when we take random guys home.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Justyne
  • 10-02-20

Well that was a trip

Absolutely worth the read if you’re looking for something exciting. Lots of twists and turns. Very odd all around but I enjoyed it. I’m sure you will too!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Christalpistol
  • 16-02-20

Beth isn’t an unreliable narrator she’s unbelievable character!

The book started out ok but went downhill fast and I mean fasssst! The last bit of the book is just a bunch of weird revelations that made me feel like the author just wanted to tie everything up with a neat bow but it absolutely doesn’t work. I keep getting these books in which the main female, and they are always female characters, are complete idiots and walk overs. First off I would have cancelled any friendship with someone like her too, and the book begins with all her friends are like ‘Beth sucks’ and go to live together in Australia without her. Granted she is annoying and stupid, so you find that out quickly, but why she deserved the nastiness isn’t really explained. So she meets this jerk and they hatch a plan to move in to a house together and she will stay in the house as required until he finishes his job he’s supposed to come on weekends which he rarely does because who wants to be in Beths weird presence lol, she gives up all her finances to him and just lets him abuse her mentally and eventually physically. It’s just an absurd story that anyone would do anything Beth does unless they only have one brain cell. In this time of ‘wokeness’ and what not, how is this even possible to have such a limp rag as a main character! You don’t even feel sorry for her, you are like well she is the biggest dummy ever! Which brings me to all the characters! None are someone you would want in your presence. When you read or listen to these domestic thrillers you expect some fail steps, but not just one after another after another. I almost gave up when (and don’t read this next line if you are trying to decide whether or not to buy this one in short SPOILER!) as Beth is being terrorized by a ghost or madman she gets knocked over the head and also her dog is attacked and not only does she just stay and lay there, once she gets up she doesn’t call the authorities! She runs to a neighbor who clearly doesn’t really like her and you know something is up with her. It’s just plain awful because you are like oh hell no this is just so ridiculous. I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this one! If you want to be frustrated and irritated this book is for you!

2 people found this helpful

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  • amp
  • 20-02-20

Meh.

The narrator did a good job - great voice, very listenable. The story? Meh. Too convoluted, too “philosophical”, too... I don’t know. I tried really hard to like it, hoping for something more, but it never came. So many things unresolved for me. Sorry.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Debra
  • 17-02-20

What did I just listen to?

This story was all over the place without making any real sense at all. The plot was thin. In fact there were so many disconnected things going on here, I’m not sure what the real plot was. The narrator was good, but that’s where it ended for me. The protagonist was never developed, had absolutely no depth and was completely unlike able. Not one character was written with any believability. Wow... what a mess.

1 person found this helpful

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  • SusanS
  • 06-03-20

Couldn't finish

This book started fine but I got about halfway through and decided I'd had enough and will move on to something else. What an idiot of a main character. Never got invested enough to care what happens. And maybe it's a regional thing, but I had a really difficult time picturing this "estate," which didn't help.

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  • kmwyolo
  • 04-03-20

Meh. Couldn’t get into it

Listening to this us like listening a banal conversation at another table in a restaurant but being forced to stay at your meal too long. Just not interesting.

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  • P. R. Reeb
  • 01-03-20

Excellent listen!

Denise Gough’s voice is so compelling! I couldn’t stop listening. She drove the whole narrative along. Love it!

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  • Karen Malley
  • 16-02-20

Wow!

I took a chance on this Audible original and wow, it was so good! Great from start to finish. And the ending... I’ve enjoyed all the Audible originals I have chosen so far and this surely did not disappoint. Highly recommend if you’re looking for a good thriller.

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  • Wendi
  • 14-02-20

Excellent Debut

Beth is obviously an alcoholic, and her college friends are growing up while she's stuck in the swing of the party scene. One evening when she was extra drunk, she meets a boy and decides to go home with him. They become inseparable until Beth has to go stay in an empty house that he wants to move to in a few months because it's free rent, and he has to work in another city for awhile.

On her on, Beth is not doing so well. Weird noises, banging sounds, and a realization that her boyfriend might not have her best interests at heart start to stress her out. And, when she's stressed, she drinks more.

The narrative voice is sort of weird at first. I couldn't figure out if it 'fit' the story, because it was so 'matter of fact.' However, I ate this book up like a plate of hot spaghetti and really enjoyed it. I think the narrative was perfect.

This novel is an excellent first novel from Liza Costello and I will keep my eye out for more from her.

-Wendi