#blackeyedsusans #juliaheaberlin #whitneydykhouse #ericgdove #karenpeakes #brillianceaudio #awantedman #jackreacher #leechild #dickhill #randomhouseaudio #callyourdaughterhome #debspera #robinmiles #adenreleojo #brittanypressley #harlequinaudio #gildedneedles #michaelmcdowell #rcbray #valancourtbook
The Best of May’s listens have all earned 5 Stars, but for different reasons. Remarkably, only one of the books features card-carrying psychos although the others can definitely claim their share of characters with mild to moderate derangement. We have Jack Reacher who can take down a whole platoon of bad guys without reloading, we have a book with a disturbing storyline that is elevated to 5 stars and beyond by the narration, and we have one of Michael McDowell’s “life is creepier than fiction” stories that made me stand up and cheer when the bad guys triumph over the not-so-good good guys.
Black-Eyed Susans is one of those books that not only makes me question my obsession with books that feature psychos but also makes me question my ability to figure out what’s going on in their heads. I’m really trying to decide if anyone is this book is “normal.” So much drama/trauma for these characters who are well-performed by Whitney Dykhouse, Eric G. Dove, and Karen Peakes! The storyline is equal parts shocking and just plain gross. The truly sad thing is I believe this could really happen. Another sad thing is it’s as if none of these characters has anyone they can trust! The ending is a true “gotcha.” The villain turns out to be the last person I would have suspected and I’m still not sure I believe it! This is an engrossing story . . . a bit long on details, but the ending is a tribute to author Julia Heaberlin’s ability to send you down one road while she is traveling another! Definitely the most surprising ending of the month!
I do love Jack Reacher as my followers surely know by now. If you admire mavericks who live and play life’s games by their own rules, then you will love Mr. Reacher too. Narrated by the inimitable Dick Hill who is the voice of Reacher for me, the most remarkable thing about A Wanted Man is the fact that I thought it was over when it was only half-finished! Seriously! The story moved along and I thought I had it all figured out and the end was coming soon. Then I realized how quickly the end had come. When I checked the time left, it showed there were still over 7 hours! So, was this a clever ruse by the author Lee Child, or was it my imagination? Regardless, just when I thought it was about over, the storyline took on steam, and our man Reacher jumps into a whole new plot before he drives his steamroller over the bad guys. His fans will love this one!
I can’t remember if I’ve ever started an audio review talking about the narrators. Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera is a complex tale set in my home state of South Carolina during a time that has been written about and dissected by many, many authors. I will certainly brag on Ms. Spera and her storytelling ability and character development. You will find Gertrude, Miss Annie, and Retta all to be multidimensional and at times each is lovable, shocking, and pitiable. The real stars of this audiobook are narrators Robin Miles, Brittany Pressley, and Adenrele Ojo each of whom gives a perfect interpretation of her character in this examination of family life that is revealing and at times painful to hear. If you have a problem with graphic depictions of cruelty, child abuse, or racial and social injustice, you may want to give this one a pass. As for me, I give it 5 Stars for the author’s courage and the narrators’ performances.
The late Michael McDowell is one of those writers who reminds me of Stephen King . . . or does Stephen King remind me of Michael McDowell? Either way, their minds come from very dark places. One of the things that intrigued me about Gilded Needles is it sounds like an article in a tabloid! Narrator R. C. Bray’s performance has just that hint of “you’re not going to believe this, but it really happened” that characterized the newsreels played before the movies when I was a child! I’ve always enjoyed works of fiction where I find myself rooting for the bad guys, and I like it even more when it turns out the good guys are also bad guys. A family feud always makes for good entertainment and anyone who denies that they love a good tale of revenge is probably not being entirely truthful. Even if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law in this one, you will take almost as much satisfaction in the outcome as the characters do.