Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Widows and the Grim Reaper, An Odd Combination

Maybe widows and the grim reaper aren’t such an odd combination after all, but in this case they are. I have two tantalizing audios to share with your today. Both are well worth listening to.

widows coverAuthor Jess McConkey’s stirring tale of several generations of a Iowa farm family will hold you spellbound.

Narrator Coleen Mario does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. Her vocalization of the various emotions conveyed throughout the story gives depth to the writer’s words.

The story begins in 1890 with a mysterious murder and then moves to present day with the marriage of Kate and Joseph Krause. Kate leaves the city and an overbearing grandmother to live with her husband on the Krause family farm. The farm has been in Joseph’s family for more than 140 years. What Kate finds is Trudy, a domineering mother-in-law who doesn’t hide her distaste for Kate nor her belief the family is cursed.

The story weaves back and forth from the present to the first murder in 1890. As the events unfold, Kate struggles to understand the family’s long-held secrets and make a new beginning for her family. However, tragedy strikes in many forms and Kate is forced to re-evaluate everything she knows. Do the sins of the father fall to the sons?

McConkey does a good job of blending the past and the present into a smooth flowing story. The characters are realistic with a mix of likable and hated personalities. She touches on spousal abuse and the course it sometimes takes. The secondary characters add flavor and intrigue to the mix.

With an eye for detail, McConkey places you in the middle of the farm with its numerous sights, sounds and smells. She incorporates mystery, suspense, romance, family loyalty, friendship and bits of humor for a well-rounded story. She adds a few twists along the way so what you think you know may not be quite as it seems in the end.

THE WIDOWS OF BRAXTON COUNTY is a haunting tale of how far some families will go to preserve their legacy.

Author Jess McConkey is the pseudonym for Shirley Damsgaard and her website is

The Widows of Braxton County by Jess McConkey, Performed by Coleen Mario, Harper Audio, @2013, ISBN: 978-0062295743, Unabridged, Digital Download, Listening Time: 9 Hours 5 Minutes (Also available in Paperback and Kindle format) 

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

coverLaughing at the grim reaper seems a bit odd, but oh so right when that grim reaper is Charlotte Jean ‘Charley’ Davidson, who also pays the bills as a private investigator.

Bringing the character to life with her amusing mannerisms is narrator Lorelei King. Her vocalization gives each character their own indelible image. Her timing and emotions expressed as the various characters enhances the writer’s captivating story.

This time around Charley is operating on 13 days of no sleep - her choice. She’s living on coffee to keep from sleep because when she closes her eyes, he’s there. He is Reyes Farrow, part-human, part-son of Satan with a gorgeous body that Charley has bound for all eternity.

Charley takes on a case of a missing woman, believing the husband who wants to hire her really killed his wife. Meanwhile, somehow Reyes manages to escape from prison and carjacks Charley only to release her later. He wants her to find his adopted father, the man he’s in prison for killing. It seems he’s alive and Reyes was framed for the faked murder.

Charley pays a visit to her friend Rocket who knows who’s dead and who isn’t. He can’t help her with Reyes’ quest as the man has too many aliases, but the woman is alive with only a short time left. With the help of her receptionist and best friend, Cookie, Charley begins her search. Along the way she encounters a biker gang, a nun who knows who she is, finds herself tortured almost to death, and loses a friend.

Author Darynda Jones has a way of taking death and torture, mixing it with humor and mystery for a fascinating tale of suspense and laughter. She weaves in bits of humor in the right places to lighten the dark spaces of the story.

Her cast of characters are intriguing, zany and memorable. She has you believing in the unbelievable and wishing you were Charley’s neighbor. The dialogue is witty holding your attention from the first paragraph to until the end. Each chapter begins with an amusing saying such as “When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane” and “I chose the road less traveled. Now I’m lost.”

The story flows smoothly and at a steady pace with lots of action and a good amount of steamy romance. The story’s subplot of a missing woman is suspenseful and filled with turns to keep you guessing. The overall plot of Charley and Reyes sizzles with heat, fun and tension.

THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD could be read on its own, but I wouldn’t recommend it. To fully appreciate Charley and her friends, the series should be read in order. The overall story will be better understood and the charming ways Charley has evolved will entertain you.

If you’re looking for a story that will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, listen to THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD the third installment in the Charley Davidson series. Who knew the grim reaper was a coffee addict with a sense of humor. 

Author Darynda Jones’ website is
Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones, Charley Davidson Series, Performed by Lorelei King, Macmillan Audio, @2013, ASIN:B00730GOXBQ, Unabridged, Digital Download, Listening Time: 9 Hours 51 Minutes (Also available in Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle format) 

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks for stopping by today. Hope I’ve introduced you to a story or two that has captured your attention. Have you tried audio books yet?

1 comment:

  1. Mason - Quality of narration can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying an audio book,can't it? And The Widows of Braxton County sounds really atmospheric and interesting. I like the idea of integrating two timelines too. Thanks for sharing.


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