Category Archives: Audiobook Reviews

Audiobook Review: If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock

Title: If I’m Found
Author: Terri Blackstock
Publisher: Zondervan
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Published: March 2017
Series: If I Run, Book 2
Genre: Suspense, Christian fiction
Length: Unabridged. 7 hours, 45 minutes.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

In this riveting sequel to the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness.

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail cell.

My Thoughts on the Book:

The scenario Casey faces in this series is huge and overwhelming, and yet, she’s battling her impossible odds and helping others too, even at risk to herself. I find that beautiful and inspiring. And even if her choices at times stretch credulity a bit (there was one point in this book where I wanted to shout at her that there was a better option she hadn’t considered), they do seem to fit her, and I can’t fault her for them.

Casey’s faith journey is a gradual one and doesn’t feel forced. That’s probably my favorite part of this series so far. I haven’t even seen the full story unfold yet, but I love where it seems to be going and the way it’s woven into the fabric of her day to day existence.

The multiple first person present tense viewpoint used here is refreshingly different and yet, paradoxically, feels familiar and comfortable, particularly in audiobook format. Speaking of audio format, the narrator for this one is fabulous. Her reading of each character is friendly and personable, and overall, well suited to that character. But I was particularly impressed by her rendition of the slurred speech of one particular character.

In summary, this is shaping up to be among my favorite series in quite a while, one that I would highly recommend. I can’t wait for Book 3! And the audio edition is definitely the way to go. At least it is if you’re the type to savor a good audio performance.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed listening to the book.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: The Raven by Mike Nappa

Title: The Raven
Author: Mike Nappa
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Oasis Audio
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Published: September 2016
Series: Coffey & Hill, Book 2
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Christian Fiction
Length: 12 hours, 16 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun–until he decides to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants,” The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named “Nevermore.”

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.

My Thoughts on the Book:

For a mysterious thrill ride of shifting allegiances, with devious plots to be undone, look no further than The Raven. I enjoyed reading this novel even more than I did its predecessor, Annabel Lee. Either book could be read as a standalone, but I recommend starting Mike Nappa’s Coffey and Hill series at the beginning if you haven’t already, as the characters grow and develop from one book to the next.

Recurring characters Trudi and Samuel continue to work through their personal issues, while they team up to solve another case. I felt these characters were more sympathetic than in the last book, maybe because they weren’t as hard on each other? Anyway, I do like the direction they seem to be headed, and hope to meet them again in a future installment of this series.

The lead character for this book, besides Trudi and Samuel, is The Raven, a street magician calling himself a deception specialist, whose attempt to blackmail someone lands him in a heap of trouble and smack dab in the thick of something bigger than he would’ve imagined. He’s not your typical lead for a Christian fiction novel, but his cool-headed and somewhat sarcastic analysis of even the most traumatic situations can be quite entertaining. And despite his many flaws, he also manages to be quite sympathetic, and I won’t give details away, but I like where the storyline takes his character arc by the end of the book.

Highly recommended if you enjoy a good mystery, and don’t mind witnessing some violence along the way.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Romy Nordlinger’s excellent narration does justice to the story, with character voices and storytelling that immerse the reader into the thick of what’s happening. Whether she’s portraying a thug with an accent, or the sarcastically laid back analysis of The Raven, her narration fits just right, and is fun to listen to.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Title: High as the Heavens
Author: Kate Breslin
Print Publisher: Bethany House
Audio Publisher: Oasis Audio
Narrator: Renee Ertl
Published: June 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 12 hours, 41 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

A British nurse in WWI German-occupied Brussels, Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital and her nights working at a café . . . or so it seems. Eve’s most carefully guarded secret is that she also spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a Belgian resistance group.

When a plane crashes as she’s en route to a rendezvous, Eve is the first to reach the downed plane and is shocked to recognize the badly injured pilot as British RFC Captain Simon Forrester. She risks her life to conceal him from the Germans, but as the secrets between them grow and the danger mounts, can they still hope to make it out of Belgium alive?

My Thoughts on the Book:

This is a story historical romance fans will love. It is set in German-occupied Brussels during World War I and incorporates vivid cultural and historical details. It’s particularly cool that its characters are based loosely on actual historical figures (see the author’s note in the book for details).

The plot features espionage, danger, and intrigue alongside the emotional joys and uncertainties of a chance at reclaiming lost love. The characters, while at times larger than life, are struggling with relatable issues like guilt, mistrust, and fear.

Despite the promising premise, the start of the story dragged a bit for me, under the weight of a little more exposition early on than I would have liked. Fortunately, I stuck with it, because once the action and romance kicked up a notch, I was hooked.

The character development was well done and the action and romance plotlines brought readers along to a satisfying conclusion. Recommended to adult fans of historical romance and suspense. Because of the difficult things Eve and other characters have to go through in the story, I’d recommend parents preview the book to determine if they feel it’s appropriate for their teenage readers.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

The wide range of Nationalities represented in this book could have lent itself well to voicing characters with a variety of different accents. While the narrator did not take full advantage of this opportunity, she did distinguish between character voices, to the extent that I was never in doubt about which character was speaking. The reading was clear and pleasant listening, with emotions well reflected in the performance. Overall, the audio edition makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but I wanted to share.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | Audio Sample | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: The Sky Beneath My Feet by Lisa Samson

Title: The Sky Beneath My Feet
Author: Lisa Samson
Print Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Audio Publisher: Oasis Audio
Narrator: Rebecca Gallagher
Published: March 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Literary
Length: 9 hours, 48 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Being married to a saint isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Beth’s husband won’t be joining the family on vacation at the beach this year. He’s not even joining them in the house. Instead, Rick has holed up alone in the backyard shed. Nobody knows exactly what he’s up to. Maybe he’s immersing himself in prayer. Maybe he’s lost his mind. Maybe he’s even the modern-day prophet or the saint the neighborhood artist imagines him to be. But while “St. Rick” waits for an epiphany, Beth will have to figure out what to do with herself and their teenage sons, possibly for the rest of her life.

What happens next is both uproarious and bittersweet: a peace march turns violent, her son is caught with drugs, and she embarks on an ambitious road trip that turns into something nearly surreal. Will Beth rediscover the idealistic woman she used to be, once upon a time? Can her marriage survive Rick’s backyard vigil? Will anything ever be the same? And should it be?

Truthful, comic, heartbreaking, and magical in the very best sense of the word, The Sky Beneath My Feet gently tears the veil off our egos and expectations to reveal the throbbing, redemptive, and achingly beautiful life beyond and within us.

My Thoughts on the Book:

I have great admiration for the skill and literary techniques that went into the writing of this story. The subtlety of storytelling and the beautiful use of language on display are truly impressive. At the same time, certain aspects of the main character’s beliefs and attitudes rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn’t stop reading, and yet, at times I really wanted to.

The thing that bugged me most was the story’s internal symbolism surrounding the “Jesus fish” and Beth’s attitude toward it and, by extension, all things conservatively Christian. At times it felt like the characters and plot were poking fun of people with beliefs different and more traditionally conservative than their own. As if sincere expressions of conservative religious conviction somehow equate with being dogmatic, judgmental, and out of touch with reality. It’s entirely possible that I misread the story’s intent with this use of symbolism, but that was the vibe I got from it, and I didn’t much like it.

Regardless, I can’t deny that this story touched me emotionally and made me think long and hard. I particularly enjoyed the symbolism centered on the sky, and how that played out in the end. There’s also some good bits about connecting with God on an individual level. As for the parts I didn’t like, sometimes it seems that the books we don’t necessarily “get” or completely agree with can lead to some of the best discussions. I’ve got to say, at this point, I’d love to hear what others thought of this book and compare notes on what was its intended message.

I’ll confess, I almost didn’t review this book. It’s been a while since it was published, so it wasn’t really a timely thing to review and I had such mixed feelings about it I wasn’t sure what to say at first. But in the end, I found that like it or not, I couldn’t just ignore it. Know what I mean?

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Rebecca Gallagher does a good job reading this first-person present tense story. She infuses appropriate levels of emotion (including wit and sarcasm) naturally into the text, and varies the voices enough to keep different characters distinct in their dialogue. I encourage interested readers to give the audio edition a try.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla, and I was not expected to write a review.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | Audio Sample | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: From This Moment by Elizabeth Camden

Title: From This Moment
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Print Publisher: Bethany House
Audio Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Published: June 2016
Genre(s): Historical Romance, Christian Fiction.
Length: 9 hours, 56 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Stella West’s artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister’s death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.

Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board.

Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister’s death worth the risk to his publishing empire?

My Thoughts on the Book:

Romance, history, suspense, and mystery – what’s not to love? I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Camden’s novels, and From This Moment delivers on the features I’ve come to look for. We’ve got a strong heroine with a goal, an intriguing hero with whom to team up, and a plotline filled with suspense and danger. Oh, and romance, of course. :)

Stella and Romulus are believably flawed characters, and clash with each other in a big way at times, which can make for some fascinating moments. They both learn some valuable lessons and change over the course of the story. Meanwhile, Clyde and Evelyn’s subplot brings a great deal of substance to the book, as they work to repair a broken relationship. And the historical context of the Boston subway’s construction makes for a vivid backdrop, with intriguing details that made me curious to learn more. And I think my favorite part of the story is how the ending plays out, but I don’t want to spoil that for you!

Specific to the Audio Edition:

I have mixed feelings about the audio performance for this book. I liked the characters’ voices – how they were differentiated, and how the voices fit the characters. I also appreciated the emotion portrayed in Justine Eyre’s performance, which I found to be spot on. What I found distracting, was a persistent quirk in the reading style, most noticeable in some of the narrative portions in between character dialogue. There seemed to be an extra vowel sound attached to the end of the last word of each sentence as if for added emphasis. I still enjoyed listening to the book, and while I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek out this narrator’s work, I also wouldn’t let it stop me from listening to a book I was interesting in.

The book itself I highly recommend. The audiobook I recommend with the caveat that you’d do well to sample a brief passage before purchasing. Actually, I think that’s a good idea before purchasing any audiobook, as the things that bother one person may go completely unnoticed by another, and vice versa.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the story.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Audiobook | Author’s Site | About the Narrator

Audiobook Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Title: If I Run
Author: Terri Blackstock
Print Publisher: Zondervan
Audio Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Nan Gurley
Published: February 2016
Series: If I Run, Book 1
Genre: Suspense, Christian Fiction
Length: 6 hours, 41 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

My Thoughts on the Book:

If I Run makes a fabulous kick-off for Terri Blackstock’s suspense series by the same name. The first person point of view draws you in and gets you thinking about the what-ifs behind the premise. What would you do in Casey’s shoes? In Dylan’s? Overall, this story has a great premise, relatable characters, suspenseful action, and high stakes. I especially love how well matched Casey and Dylan are as adversaries… and potentially allies? At first, I wondered what could possibly be Casey’s reason for running, but as the story unfolds, it all makes an unfortunate kind of sense. I’m impressed, and I must read more!

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Nan Gurley’s narration does justice to the characters’ personalities and voices as written. She takes us into the characters’ heads and beautifully portrays the emotions and challenges they’re going through. I look forward to a repeat performance in Book 2, If I’m Found. It’s going on my must-listen list.

I borrowed this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site

Audiobook Review: Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

Title: Fraying at the Edge
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Print Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Audio Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Stina Nielsen
Published: August 2016
Series: The Amish of Summer Grove, Book 2
Genre: Amish Fiction
Length: 12 hours, 6 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Family, community, faith, and love. These “quilt blocks” sewn together made Ariana’s beautiful life. When they are pulled to pieces, will anything familiar remain?

The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana’s two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals?

 At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family.

New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures?

My Thoughts on the Book:

If you read my review of the first book in The Amish of Summer Grove series, you know that Amish fiction isn’t my usual cup of tea, but that I particularly enjoyed the start of this series. Enough that I had to know what would happen next. Well, the story of the switched-at-birth Ariana and Skylar, and their friends and families, continues with Fraying at the Edge, and in my opinion, it does not disappoint.

This is a satisfying middle-of-the-series read, picking up where the previous book left off, shaking up our characters’ lives in new ways, and answering some questions, while leaving others to be addressed in a future book. Ariana and Skylar both grow and change for the better over the course of this story, but their futures remain unresolved. And I for one, cannot wait for the next book…though I guess I’ll have to.

I found this story very thought provoking. In particular, I was fascinated by the closer look it takes at what the Amish believe and why, as compared to the “Englisch” world I’m more familiar with. The story also takes something of an oblique look at nature vs. nurture as we see similarities and differences between the girls and their biological and non-biological families. And it was interesting to see each girl react to challenges to her belief system.

I would recommend this book to fans of Amish fiction, as well as to book groups and to anyone who enjoys a good thought-provoking read.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

This audiobook was recorded by the same narrator who read the first book in the series, and I’m happy to report that this encore performance is just as well done as the earlier one. The narrator does a great job at giving different voices to the various characters within dialog and expressing their emotions in her reading.

I borrowed a copy of this audiobook from my local library. I was not expected to write a review. But I wanted to.

Quick Links: About the Book | About the Series | Audio Sample | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Audiobook Review: Ties That Bind by Cindy Woodsmall

Title: Ties That Bind
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Print Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Audio Publisher: Recorded Books
Narrator: Stina Nielsen
Published: September 2015
Series: Amish of Summer Grove, Book 1
Genre: Amish Fiction
Length: 11 hours, 55 minutes. Unabridged.

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart?

Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach.

Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish.

Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever.

Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

My Thoughts on the Book:

I don’t read a lot of Amish fiction. It’s not that I dislike it, or anything, but there are other genres I tend to gravitate toward first. That said, I loved this story and these characters, and I’m looking forward to reading more from this series.

Ariana is a sweet and likeable young Amish girl, and I found myself rooting for her to achieve her dreams, even as complications arose to throw those dreams into disarray and cause her to question her own identity, purpose, and family ties.

Skylar is a young woman with a lot of hidden pain, and while her story seems only to have started in this book, I am very curious to see how her life might be changed within a future book in this series.

Quill is a particularly interesting character, and one whose perspective I can appreciate on a number of issues, particularly his perspective on faith. I will be very curious to see what the future holds for him. Hopefully something good!

This book has a number of romantic threads running throughout, and I’m curious to see if I’m right about who’s going to wind up with whom. But at the same time, I liked the fact that the story takes a broader perspective than many romances, looking at a variety of relationships within and outside families. It raises many thought provoking questions on issues of identity, religion and more, leading me to wonder how I would respond if I found myself in a situation similar to the ones these characters are facing.

This novel’s ending leaves me more than ready to find out what will happen with these characters in the next book. Thankfully Fraying at the Edge is already available. I just need to track down a copy.

Overall, it’s a book/audiobook I would gladly recommend, but don’t go into it expecting to read just one! This story reaches a comfortable stopping point, but there are a lot of unanswered questions remaining to be addressed.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

Stina Nielsen does a great job narrating the audio edition of Ties That Bind. With quite a few viewpoint characters, this story must have been quite a challenge to narrate, but she makes it seem effortless! Male and female voices are well done and distinct, and characters’ emotions are clearly portrayed in the reading. I am very happy to see that the next book in the series has been recorded by the same narrator.

I listened to a copy of the audiobook that was borrowed from my local library.

Quick Links: About the Audiobook | About the Series | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site

Christian Fiction Audiobooks, New for Summer 2017

I love Christian fiction! But you knew that, right?

And I love audiobooks. Big surprise? 😉

So with “June is Audiobook Month” rapidly coming to a close, I want to take a moment to feature some of the fabulous new Christian fiction audiobooks scheduled to release this summer. Without further ado, here are the twelve titles I’m most excited about listening to, chosen from among dozens of upcoming new titles.

June Releases

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin
Read by Renee Ertl
Historical Romance from Oasis Audio
Also available in print from Bethany House

God Bless the Broken Road by Jennifer Dornbrush
Read by Lauren Ezzo
A novelization of the upcoming movie by the same name
Also available in print from Howard Books

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury
Read by January LaVoy and Kirby Heyborne
The Baxter Family, Book 1
Romance from Simon and Schuster Audio
Also available in print from Howard Books

July Releases

The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck
Read by Windy Lanzl
Romance from Brilliance Audio
Also available in print from Zondervan

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh
Read by Matilda Novak
Romance from Blackstone Audio
Also available in print from Tyndale House

August Releases

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar
Read by Rendah Heywood
Biblical Fiction / Historical Romance from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Tyndale House

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason
Read by Rachel Dulude
Elite Guardians, Book 4
Romantic Suspense from Tantor Media
Also available in print from Revell

Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon
Read by Therese Plummer
Hope Harbor, Book 3
Romance from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Revell

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson
Read by Johanna Parker
Evie Blackwell Cold Case, Book 2
Suspense / Thriller from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Bethany House

True to You by Becky Wade
Read by Stephanie Cozart
Bradford Sisters Romance, Book 1
Contemporary Romance from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Bethany House

Wild Montana Skies by Susan May Warren
Read by Cynthia Farrell
Montana Rescue, Book 1
Contemporary Romance from Recorded Books
Also available in print from Revell

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall
Read by Stina Nielsen
Amish of Summer Grove, Book 3
Amish Fiction from Recorded Books
Also available in print from WaterBrook


So those are my top picks for summer listening. Which books and audiobooks are you most looking forward to?

Audiobook Review: Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

In case you didn’t already know, June is Audiobook Month! In case you’re thinking of celebrating by listening to an audiobook, here’s one worth considering.

Title: Annabel Lee
Author: Mike Nappa
Print Publisher: Revell
Audio Publisher: Oasis Audio
Narrator: Romy Nordlinger
Published: Print: March 2016; Audio: August 2016
Series: Coffey & Hill, Book 1
Genre: Christian fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Length: Unabridged. 10 hrs, 36 mins

About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. The secret’s name is Annabel Lee.

She doesn’t know why her enigmatic uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Miles away in Atlanta, private investigator Trudi Coffey is visited by a mysterious older man calling himself Dr. Smith. He’s been trailing a man for a decade–a man she met through her ex-partner Samuel Hill–and the trail has led him to her office. The last thing Trudi wants to do is to contact Samuel. But it will take both of them to unravel this mystery–before it’s too late.

My Thoughts on the Book:

Mike Nappa’s Annabel Lee strikes me as an unusual novel with uniquely interesting characters. Its plot is quite suspenseful, with ever-present danger and an intriguing mystery to be solved. But be aware, it can also be quite violent at times, so if you’re especially squeamish about blood, consider yourself warned.

In my opinion, Annabel Lee, the Mute, and Dog pretty much stole the show from the series’ lead characters Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill. Annabel’s uniquely child-like yet mature voice and way of looking at the world combined with Mute’s and Dog’s unique lack of voice (yet interesting personalities nonetheless) kept me turning the pages more than anything else. Well, okay, there was also that nagging curiosity about WHY Annabel was in this situation in the first place. And whether everything would turn out okay in the end.

Trudi and Samuel have more than their fair share of baggage as ex-spouses and ex-business-partners, which I presume they’ll continue working through in future installments of this series. I am interested to see where the author will take their relationship in the future, but I have to admit to being a bit annoyed by some of their more petty moments and occasional tactical blunders in this book. I’m hoping to see them get their act a bit more together in The Raven. Which, by the way, has what sounds like another intriguing storyline.

The Christian thread in Annabel Lee seems subtle and well thought out, with a lot of the deeper story coming to fruition within the Epilogue.

Overall, a delightfully unusual offering in this market, and one that I would recommend to fans of mystery and suspense.

Specific to the Audio Edition:

The narrator, Romy Nordlinger, does a fabulous job portraying the voice of a young girl, complete with accent, as well as voicing a variety of male and female characters with nuance and emotion. If you can get a copy of the audiobook, listening will be a treat.

My copy of the audiobook was borrowed from my local library.

Quick Links: Audio Sample | Audible | Author’s Site | Narrator’s Site