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The Troubles Keeper

By: Susan May
Narrated by: Steve Marvel
Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Summary

In The Troubles Keeper, narrated by three-time Voice Arts Award finalist Steve Marvel, we meet a wonderful character we can love, who possesses a unique gift. 

Most of us are lucky if we have one friend to simply be there when we're down. Well, meet bus driver Rory Fine, who possesses the unique gift of relieving others of their troubles. For real! Strangers, friends, anyone he passes by, he can help. With just the barest of touches, for a while, the troubles in their hearts simply fade away. 

It's his way of making the world a better place, by giving people the chance to get out from under the weight of their woes. His bus-driving job is perfect because it allows him to meet so many people every day. And all of them are completely unaware why being near him makes them feel happier and more able to face life's struggles. 

There's another bonus, too. He's smitten with one of his regulars, sweet Mariana, but he can't find the courage to even say hello. He's shy and awkward and, well, different because of his gift. 

Until one stormy night, when he makes a bold announcement to his passengers. Upon disembarking, he suggests they offload their worries into his palm. This might present the perfect chance for him to finally speak to the girl he thinks he just might love. 

But....

There's a killer aboard, and he leaves behind something darker and more terrifying than troubles. Soon Rory will discover a powerful entity also seeks Mariana, but his intentions have nothing to do with love. 

Can a gentle soul such as he, stand the remotest chance of stopping a cold, relentless evil? 

To do so, he’ll face more than this enemy. He'll face his own harrowing past. But he will need to find a way to overcome everything he fears. For not only is Mariana in terrible danger but the very fabric of the world is at stake. 

From international suspense author Susan May comes another story keeping listeners awake way past their bedtime. Board The Troubles Keeper for a non-stop killer suspense ride. Meet memorable characters you’ll love and a world you won’t want to leave.

©2016 Susan May (P)2017 Susan May

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

you need to listen to this

I'm not a horror genre person and i nearly stopped after the first couple of chapters BUT the story develops into a twisty turny rollercoaster of a sci-fi love plot thriller i couldn't stop listening the only downside was the narrator was two evenly paced

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Loved it (Audiobook)

This is the second book I’ve listened to by this author, and it’s wonderful. The touch of supernatural adds another level to the story, yet keeps it within the realms of believability. As hinted at, I think these characters have a few more adventures to come, and I look forward to them unfolding, hopefully soon.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An accidental hero

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, thank you Susan.

Gentle, shy and sweet Rory Fines drives the bus. He watches life from the drivers cab, making everyone he touches feel happier, lighter, more care free. Literally. Rory Fines has a secret, a gift, if you prefer, Rory can take away your troubles just by accidentally touching you. He takes those troubles and locks them away inside himself, then later dumps them in the river where they can’t trouble anyone anymore.

Haunted by a terrible event from his childhood that he feels responsible for, he eases his pain by helping others. The regulars on the bus love him and he cares for them in return particularly the girl who works in the local music shop, Mariana. Actually he loves her, is drawn to her in an inexplicable way and she to him it seem. But Mariana is also special and this has attracted something dark, something evil, something deadly.

Now Rory must fight to save the girl he loves from being destroyed by someone linked to to him in a surprising way. Helped by an old teacher, a psychic and a couple of guardian angels, can Rory save the day, the girl and the world from a brutal gory end?

I was reminded of Odd Thomas while listening to this book, another gentle soul with problems he doesn’t deserve. I really hope we hear more from Rory, Mariana and co.

This is definitely an over 18 read with graphic descriptions of murder and horror. If you are disturbed by horror this is not for you. That being said the book is humorous in places with a satisfying HEA which, as I’m a nurse, touched my heart. I look forward to reading more from Susan May and can highly recommend this book. Steve Marvel did a great job narrating (see how I avoided saying he was marvellous?) now go and read it.

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An amazing journey with a very Fine troubles keepe

Where does The Troubles Keeper rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

it is among the best audio books i have listened to so far.

What did you like best about this story?

I was already familiar with the story. but i enjoyed listening to the original plot and the interesting characters. The mix of fantasy, science fiction and romance was what i liked the most in this book. The idea of Trouble Keeping, mixed the presence of an odd serial killer was fascinating.

What about Steve Marvel’s performance did you like?

It was really good. I liked how he voiced Rory Fine, the changes he made in the intonations to signal different charaters and emotions. I liked the performance very much. And many times i found myself smiling, without being aware of it, at Rory Fine and his thoughts.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was a little bit distracted at the beginning, but then it became harder to stop listening. I felt more drawn to the characters, more concerned about them and feeling sorry to leave them behind when i had to stop listening.

Any additional comments?

I felt that the voice of Rory Fine was like i imagined it, it fit him and his character very well.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

A very entertaining book. A part serial killer, part love story and part supernatural all in a good mix, recommended

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Wonderfully read, gripping, scary, but ultimately

Would you listen to The Troubles Keeper again? Why?

Probably. I've only just finished it, so it's hard to say. It is certainly good enough to read again.

What does Steve Marvel bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Steve can do different voices and bring a range of emotions to each. This really helps convey the story.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me happy, sad, scared and frustrated at different times.

Any additional comments?

I was gifted this book in return for an honest review. I read a lot of audio books and feel well placed to review from that point of view, as well as being a big SF, Crime, Fantasy fan.

I'll start at the beginning (good place huh?).

I had a few problems in the opening few chapters and you might too, so I want to tell you about them in the hope that I can convince you to keep going. You won't regret it.

The narration is excellent! However, this wasn't immediately apparent to me. Frequent audio readers will know that, in addition to getting used to the writing, as with any book, you also have to get used to the reader. I was honestly confused to begin with, was there two or more resides here? Whose voice belonged to which character? Possibly it was just because I read while driving and often have to pay more attention to the road. Anyway, there is one reader and he gets the voices, in my opinion, spot on.

There are several characters that have big speaking parts. The main one, Rory, is read in a completely befitting laid back style, but you get exactly how Rory is feeling from the inflection and intonation and this is crucial. Rory is a thoughtful, introspective person who takes the weight of the world on himself. Inevitably this pulls him in many directions. The pain and difficulty is apparent.

A big one for me is the bad guys voice. It's creepy, but not in a pretend, put on way, it sounds like a real person who really is evil.

A warning is appropriate at this point, the evil character really is evil and some events are not for the squeamish. I hear Susan May had to tone it down even! It borders on Lovecraftian sometimes.

All of these things the reader is aware of in the opening chapters. It can be confusing, dark and even feel slow because of it. You might find yourself saying - oh get to the point Susan! Believe me, she will.

When an event, around chapter 5/6, brings the story to life, there is no turning back. Apart from a mid book slow down, the pace lifts and you will be hooked til the end.

I found it easy to suspend my disbelief because Rory is a wonderful character and I hope we hear more from him and his abilities. Even so, I found I was even more enthralled in the second half of the book, once a lot of things are more out in the open. You really care for Rory and Susan keeps us guessing right to the end. There are many truths spoken about the universe and the evil person perpetrates his evil by doing a real, horrible thing that I hadn't heard of before. Creepy! Brilliant!

I have a couple of things that, I pondered as I read, and I hesitate to include them, both because, having thought more about them, I understand now, though it wasn't stated in the book. Also, this section might include spoilers.

I don't like it when something is introduced in the latter half or worse, near the end of a book, that helps solve the problem. Especially if it's a gadget. It is arguable as to whether this is the case here, but there is a Character who could be a great one, if there are further books in the series, who has solutions in his box of tricks. He could easily have been introduced earlier, even right at the start. However, because the start already has so much going on, I think this would have been a mistake. As it is, he appears in the mid book lull, and explains himself fully - so I'm ok with this now.

Also, I kindof wish there was more to Marianna. I won't expand on what I mean, that would be a big spoiler. It doesn't affect this book though.

Overall, I tend to rate a book based on how it made me feel, how good it was to read, how difficult it was to put down and if there were any major gaffs. Add to this book the excellent narration and there is no contest. It's a straight 5.

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". tiny dark fish caught in a net."

Any additional comments?

Rory Fine is a bus driver. A simple job, perhaps, but he enjoys seeing his regular passengers but not to see them unhappy. And there is one special regular, a woman named Marianna... .For Rory has two secrets: he is falling in love with that one special lady and he has the power to take away people's troubles with a simple touch.
Meanwhile, in the city, there is a serial killer who leaves his victims dead in an unconventional way, by trepanning. And he is getting too close for comfort when one of Rory's regulars falls prey to the unusual murderer. Something dark has entered his bus.

Once again, with beautiful word building and skillful characterisations, author Susan May has given the reader an intriguing and thought provoking story of gentle kindness and powerful determination to root out the hurt and evil that seeks to destroy the world of those for whom the quiet, gentle man feels fondness and love. In this she is ably assisted by the narrator, Steven Marvel, who takes on the complete personality of Rory, with his hesitant unspoken love for Marianna, his delight at relieving others, at least temporarily, of their cares and his unwavering persistence that the killer be found and stopped from doing more harm. His reading of the text is impeccable, Ms.May's delightfully crafted sentences sliding past, so easy on the ear. Never overdramatizing, Mr.Marvel paces his performance precisely, the impact of this gentle reading bringing the story itself into perfect focus.

This is a delightful book. Despite having some unsavoury parts - what story of multiple murders would not? - in so many ways it is one of hope and joy. Definitely recommended to all who enjoy thrillers with a difference, served up with style. In the final chapters, after the story's conclusion, Ms.May personally gives a brief outline about how The Troubles Keeper came into being as well as noting some of the factual information included. She also asks readers if they would like a continuation of Rory's story. Well, this reader most definitely would. My thanks to the author for the gift of this book

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Profile Image for pugpower63
  • pugpower63
  • 05-04-17

WOW what a story. Love this author!

The narrator was excellent. Hard to have to stop listening and go back to work.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Clau
  • 25-10-19

Oh, this was such a wonderfully original story!

I should know it by now: if Susan May wrote it, I'll love it.

But seriously, this book is simply fantastic. The idea behind it is fascinating; the premise of the story is original and so intriguing.

And Rory! Rory is probably the best of her characters: generous, a bit shy, sweet but courageous and with an inner fortitude that will help him along the terrifying times ahead. Although, in truth, all the characters are interesting and very well drawn, and I cared deeply about all of them. There are some truly scaring moments and some heartbreaking ones, too, but the thing is, once I began, I simply couldn't stop. I spent the whole day listening to the story, wanting and fearing what would come next.

This is a very much recommended story, and, to be honest, a most recommended author. You won't regret entering in her worlds.

Oh, and Steve Marvel honours his last name, as his narration was a true marvel. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself!) Seriously, the subtlety of his tones, the emotional charge of his narration made this even a better experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah Moon
  • 29-09-19

It would be nice if my bus driver took my troubles

I loved this book. The premise begins the book of a bus driver thay could take your troubles and dump them in the river is such a nice thought. But of course a horror novel can not let such niceness alone. What a story, I was unable to let the story rest, even when I was supposed to be doing other things. I am falling under the spell of another excellent writer.

The narration was top notch. I love narrators who do not get in the way of the story, this one excelled at presenting without become part of the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Angel Weers
  • Angel Weers
  • 20-09-19

Another Great Susan May Book!

I greatly enjoyed The Troubles Keeper. A thriller with some science-fiction, tragedy, and romance thrown in, it's another great story by Susan May. Our main character, Rory, is a little simple, super sweet, and very gifted... more than he even realizes. He is also in the sights of something dark and scary.
Susan May always gives a lot of interesting bits of true or nearly true information (fun stuff to Google!). The character development is good, though I would have liked a deeper understanding of both our villain and Rory. I was hoping for more answers about the villain's "goal", but I have a feeling that may come later, and so I'm excited to see what comes next for this cast of characters.
I really liked this Audible narrator!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Stacey Dobratz
  • Stacey Dobratz
  • 17-09-19

Troubles Keeper

We all could use someone like Rory in our lives!

I enjoyed this book and the narrator did a good job with the different people. It was the struggle of doing good for others and then what happens when darkness creeps in and puts a spin on the good of helping others. It is a great listen and look forward to possibly hearing more about Rory in the future!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kim Hunter
  • 18-04-17

Outstanding narration for a chilling story

Rory is a nice, friendly guy, driving his bus route every day with a smile and possibly a touch for each of his passengers. But what that touch does is extraordinary and turns out to be more dangerous than he ever could have thought.

Susan May is an astonishing talent - her knack for infusing suspense and horror into her mysteries is chilling! A serial killer with a mission brings the past into the present in a way that is unexpected and thought-provoking. I love the idea of this story – a person with a unique talent, used to help the people he encounters. But at what cost? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Award winning Steve Marvel has done an excellent job of narrating this story. He manages a distinction between Rory and the serial killer in a way which adds to the thrill of the tale and sends a chill each time he does it! His voice is melodious and easy to listen to, drawing the listener into the story. This narrator was a good choice for this (not quite) friendly tale.

Highly recommended for people who enjoy a serial killer themed mystery / thriller with a bit of science thrown in to round out the tale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Dennis H
  • Dennis H
  • 18-03-17

The Troubles Keeper...WOW!!!

Loved it? Oh, yeah, I did! I would highly recommend this outstanding work of art by Susan May. It starts out unusually, I didn't get a sense what was going to happen, but having experienced this author previously, I knew something......something rather dark was lurking around the next turn of the page. We're traveling on a city bus inside the bus driver's head, he knows his special 'talent', hints at it, teases us abit, and picks up the next passenger. He seems so sweet, and respectful of others' feelings. He's really likable so when he begins to feel drawn to one of his young female passenger. ....uh-oh. Our presenter is a master of his voices' capabilities, and changes ever so deftly from our good guy's mind to, oh no, the extremely evil guy's head. Tension? Oh, you bet, and the pace quickens! Get this audiobook! Dick Marvel brings Susan May's thriller to real life extraordinarily well. Do yourself a favor, listen with the lights on!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Rhonda Green
  • Rhonda Green
  • 04-03-17

Great story took my troubles away!

What did you love best about The Troubles Keeper?

Rory has a unique gift wherein he can make other people's lives better, if only for awhile, by taking their troubles away. I like this idea of transforming the lives of others by being a positive force.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Oddly enough, my favorite character was Rory's deceased mother. Rory often refers to his mother by quoting things "as my momma used to say." His reverence for his mother and the snippets he shares, show what an amazing job she did raising a child who was obviously different. By allowing him to be himself, and respecting his "otherness", he became a man eager to use his gift to help others rather than for nefarious gain.

Which character – as performed by Steve Marvel – was your favorite?

I rather enjoyed Mr. Marvels characterization of the psychic Christopher. The change in attitude as the scene progresses was spot on.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

At times. The beginning was a bit slow and I grew a bit tired of being inside Rory's head as he pined after his love interest. However, once the action started I did want to finish it all at once! I found the serial killer element interesting and a bit freaky. I listened to the book over two days.

Any additional comments?

I really liked this book and hope there will be a sequel. As mentioned before, the beginning is a bit slow and Rory is quite annoying with his washy-washyness over Mariana. However, Rory's character grows throughout the book and it gets better! I was surprised by the serial killer's identity and thought the story pulled together well.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Alyssa
  • Alyssa
  • 17-02-17

A Thrilling Ride!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Troubles Keeper to be better than the print version?

I think the audio edition is fantastic- especially since the narrator was a great match. I haven't read the print version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Troubles Keeper?

Getting to know Rory's methods of Trouble Keeping and how it could take minutes inside his head, but barely seconds on the outside. That was very cool.

Have you listened to any of Steve Marvel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I'm not sure I've listened to Steve Marvel before, but I surely enjoyed his narration of this book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"It's not always safe to have an open mind."

Any additional comments?

The Troubles Keeper, by Susan May is an exciting story of fate, magic, a little love, and maybe eve a bit of alien intervention. It tells of a bus driver who has an ability to take another's trouble away. It's not a solution to their life's problems; it's just his way of helping them feel better, to see things clearly and with a positive spin to things. But his activity sets a series of activities in motion that are unavoidable and difficult for more than himself.

The story is very well written and is probably my favorite book by May to date. I think it's because Rory was just an ordinary guy. He wasn't overly handsome, nor rich, allowing him to be seen, in my mind as a regular Joe Blow. And he was sweet- something you don't find a lot of. His interactions, at first had be a bit worried the book would be slow, but it turned out to be necessary. Getting to know Rory, the way I did, allowed me to connect to him. Then through his words, focus on his true love and how to stop a killer. It's an amazing story and I even appreciated the narrator, Steve Marvel. He was perfect for the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mark W
  • Mark W
  • 10-11-19

Wow! What a thrill ride!

Growing up my favorite authors was Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Susan May has that same feel. You know it's fiction but it has a realism to it. Once I started Troubles Keeper I couldn't stop until the end!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful