I am loving all the audiobooks I have been getting on Netgalley as well as the ones I was able to purchase during a recent audible sale. All but Before She Disappeared were provided to me by the publisher upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
Daughter by Kate McLaughlin, Justis Bolding (Narrator)
Published March 8th 2022 by Recorded Books, Wednesday Books
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Scarlet is a normal teenager with an overprotective mom. She is smart but a little shy and sneaks around so she can attend parties etc. She knows nothing about her father except that they are better off without him, until the FBI show up at their door. She learns that her father is the infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake, aka the Gentleman Killer, and her mother took her, changed their names and went into hiding during his trial. They were located by the FBI when he said he would reveal the names of other victims and the whereabouts of their bodies only to his daughter, Brittany. With their true identity revealed, they now have to deal with the media and public opinion as well as facing a man that she has no desire to claim as her father.
Daughter is identified as a YA thriller, but it is also has romance, coming of age, and psychological suspense all tied together by a serial killer father. There are a lot of secondary characters that had me confused at times, but the main characters were well drawn. This was a quick read that I zoomed through to find out what was going to happen next. There is a huge storyline about media, both mainstream and podcasts. The way they treated Scarlet and her mom was terrible. Innuendo and supposition were a huge part of their “reporting”. I liked that once they were outed, Scarlet gets to meet family she didn’t know she had. Seeing her navigate her way through everything was made easier by a couple of friends and family members that stood by her. I also liked how she does what she thinks is right even though it might hurt her. The ending doesn’t pull any punches and had me taking a few deep breaths. Another theme in this book deals with how families left behind cope when serial killers are incarcerated or killed. This is not a book for young teens as there is a lot of mention of partying, drinking, drugs and sexual activity. I would suggest 17 and over. Overall, I enjoyed this story and the narration by Justis Bolding was enjoyable. I enjoyed listening to this one.
The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth, Narrated by Barrie Kreinik, Caroline Lee, Jessica Douglas-Henry & Zoe Carides
Published April 5th 2022 by Macmillan Audio, St. Martin’s Press
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The book opens with the wedding of Stephen and Heather, a much younger woman. They met when she redecorates his house. Then there is a scream and the story goes back to Stephen announcing to his daughters that he is getting married to Heather, the woman he has brought to their lunch. Stephen Aston is a 60 something attractive physician who is getting married to a much younger woman. The thing is, he is already married. Pam has dementia, so he divorces her, even though he claims he still loves her. He asks his daughters, Tully and Rachel to be bridesmaids. Tully is married with 2 young children but their family is having financial issues and Rachel is single woman with a thriving cake baking business. Neither is happy about the wedding. As we get to know more about this family, you wonder how this wedding ever came about.
The Younger Wife is a story of flawed characters with all kinds of different issues to deal with. I really enjoyed that the story is told through various POVs as well as an unknown narrator at the beginning. The story introduces us to a family that seems perfect from the outside, but as we get to know the characters, it is evident that they are dealing with so many issues. I wanted to scream at Heather to run quickly in the opposite direction. Without giving anything away, I will tell that some of the issues being dealt with by the various characters are kleptomania, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, dementia, poverty, difficult children, social appearances, getaway money and more. This was another winning domestic suspense novel from Sally Hepworth. The characters were so well developed and interesting, even though they were unlikable. I know a lot of people didn’t like the ending, but I thought it fit well, poetic justice maybe… The audiobook was narrated by a full cast which drew me in and had me listening intently. I definitely recommend the audiobook if you enjoy listening to your stories.
214 Palmer Street by Karen McQuestion, Stacey Glemboski (Narrator)
Published April 6th 2022 by Bookouture Audio
3 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐
Maggie, a nosy neighbour spots some movement in the house next door, but the neighbours are out of town. Sarah is pretending to be the housesitter, but why. When she calls someone to ask him to take care of Maggie, I thought we were in for a chilling story, but we are thrown back to Sarah being attacked in her own backyard and meeting her husband and his friends. What happened to find Sarah hiding out in the house at 214 Palmer Street.
This is a book about secrets, suspicions, relationships and how the past never stays buried. What I thought would be an exciting thriller became a slow, unbelievable story with characters that I didn’t connect with or really like. There were times I became invested, then something happened that had me shaking my head. It had promise, but just didn’t measure up. I will say I liked the ending, it was perfect and had me adding a star to my rating. If you enjoy a book with spoiled, unlikable characters who do get their comeuppance, small towns and suspicious spouses, then you may enjoy this book. I think it would make a much better movie than a book. The narration by Stacey Glemboski for well done.
Before She Disappeared (Frankie Elkin #1) by Lisa Gardner, Hillary Huber (Narrator)
Published January 19th 2021 by Brilliance Audio, Dutton
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I am very late to the game finally getting to Before She Disappeared. I purchased the audiobook during a sale and once I started it, I couldn’t stop listening. Lisa Gardner constantly surprises me with the plots and characters she comes up with. Frankie Elkin is a middle-aged woman and recovering alcoholic living with regrets. She lives a very minimalistic life searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. She is pretty successful in her quest to find them, but not very often are they still alive. Her new search brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation, where she is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Not being law enforcement means people might talk to her and tell her things they didn’t share with police. The flip side is that police are not always happy to have her poking around and “interfering” with their case. Will Frankie find Angelique? Better yet, will she find her alive?
Frankie is an amazing characters. In order to keep her demons at bay, she searches for missing persons. She picks up jobs to fund her search, in this book she tends bar. It is amazing how quickly she gets people to trust and like her, perhaps they want to help this flawed, hurting person. She also has more guts than brains at times, but is caring and seems to know just what questions to ask. She puts herself in danger more than once, to find Angelique. I did like most of the secondary characters in this book, especially when they were helping Frankie. There are many layers to this mystery and Frankie ends up looking for not one but two missing young girls. Finding their connection will help solve this case. Frankie seems to be smarter than the police as she finds clues and evidence that they overlooked. There is a lot of action with chase scenes and gunshots. There are some players that want Frankie to butt out, but she doesn’t back down. The ending was perfect and as we learned just a bit more about Frankie’s past, my heart breaks for her. Before She Disappeared is a fast paced and gripping story that kept me immersed throughout, listening throughout the day while doing chores. There are various themes in the story: using education to escape poverty, drugs and gangs and trying to get out, addiction, immigration and refugees, missing persons who have been forgotten and trauma. All this is wrapped up in a well-written, energetic story that I highly recommend. Be sure to read Lisa Gardner’s author notes at the end as she explains what inspired her to write Before She Disappeared. Hillary Huber does an amazing job with the narration of the audiobook. Her expression, tone, accents and voices made this a wonderful book to listen to.