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I wish I could say I have a group of Halloween stories to share in The Best of October; however, since I tend to listen to books that feature some pretty scary characters every month, that would be a bit redundant. October’s choices are no exception. From the tongue-in-cheek Make Me No Grave to family dramas The Secret Child, What Have You Done, and psychological thriller Twist of Faith, these books are filled with some people you hope you don’t know because they are liars, secret keepers, and occasional murderers.
I’ll begin with Make Me No Grave – a book I freely admit I choose because I love the star character’s name. Apostle Richardson hooked me not just with his name but because he is a good guy hidden in a book with a supernatural twist that has a cast of bad guys. Make Me No Grave is an entertaining take on the Old West that is a tribute to author Hayley Stone‘s creativity. Excellent 5 Star narration by Oliver Wyman makes it a listen that is part old western movie and part Blazing Saddles. 4 Stars to the author for this gutsy take on the Wild, Wild West!
What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell is one of those books that leads you down so many paths, you will find every character suspicious at some point right up to the shocking end. This family drama is very much character-driven and the author does an exceptional job fleshing out the brothers Dwyer who are the stars of the storyline. 4 star narration by Chris Andrew Ciulia will keep listeners interested. 4 Stars to Mr. Farrell for a fine debut thriller!
The second family drama, The Secret Child, is a book many listeners will find relatable since it begins in an era when unwanted pregnancy was frequently dealt with by sending the mother away to give birth in secret and putting the baby up for adoption. The fly put into this fictional ointment by author Kerry Fisher is that Susie Duarte is not an unwed mother, but a married woman who already has a child. Try to wrap your mind around the possibilities of that premise and you won’t be surprised when I tell you this book is emotional, suspenseful, and shocking all in one heart-wrenching tale. Narrator Emma Spurgin Hussey will probably make you cry. I know I did so I’m giving 5 Stars to both the author and narrator for those tears!
Although there are some borderline crazies in the other novels, the true crazies are residing in Twist of Faith. Author Ellen J. Green has written an ending so twisty I may have to invent a new slot for books that make me say “Did I just read that???” For now, I’ll say 5 Astounded Stars to the author and 5 Stars to narrator Angela Dawe for another stellar performance. Ava Saunders is not a particularly likable character even though someone in her position (abandoned at birth, hard-hearted adoptive mama) is usually pretty sympathetic. Nevertheless, as the story unfolds we know that Ava is doing very well for someone in her position and we are rooting for her to find answers and to remain safe until the author finishes toying with us.