Saturday, November 19, 2016

"Have You Heard?" - Dead Bolt by Juliet Blackwell

“Have You Heard?” is a new column featured only on Lesa’s Book Critiques.  It features many reviews of audiobooks (fiction, with a concentration in mysteries) but these reviews will include recent and past books for an interesting mixture of titles. Content is often written by Sandie Herron.  It also covers news of note and not generally available, such as ASAP publishing a limited edition for a certain author or perhaps something important out of Publisher’s Weekly.  The column is published sporadically, so you’ll want to watch for it!

Dead Bolt
Unabridged Audiobook, Listening Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio Release Date: September 9, 2013

I've read this book previously, and I'm surprised that I did not write a previous review. I like to write something if not a complete review as I think of it, just so I record my initial thoughts and/or feelings upon completion.

Briefly, the book follows Mel Turner, current head of Turner Construction, a leading company that renovates old homes in San Francisco to their former glory as much as possible and to the extent their clients desire.

Mel has run into some snags on the renovation of The Cheshire House, once a boarding home with many feline residents. Today all that is gone, and a young couple thrilled to finally own it have hired Mel to restore it to its former state before the boarding home.

They don't quite realize at first that this will include laying three or four ghosts to rest. The story of their demise is actually based in fact. Mel's former beau, Graham, has left his former job with Cal. OSHA in favor of green construction methods, at Mel's suggestion. He plays a key role in dispelling the ghosts. Even the neighbor across the street with his upholstery shop helped and hindered. There were many subplots well presented and explained and tied into the ending, far too many to list here without spoiling the book.

I enjoyed DEAD BOLT just as much this time if not more. I was able to make much more sense of the many twists and turns of this title. I'm sure some of that came with my familiarity with the characters and the city. I could devote a bit more emotional energy into following the intricacies of the plot as well as the spirits in the attic. Granted my interest was further piqued by Mel renovating The Cheshire House because of the many cats that lived there at one time.

I've truly enjoyed the story, the many mysteries within, and the variety of people who populated it. Further, I still enjoy Xe Sands' voice narrating the book with the numerous foreign words and phrases rolling off her tongue as naturally and seemingly effortlessly as a child's fairy tale. A narrator can make or break an audiobook, and I think Xe Sands helps make it as much as Juliet Blackwell's writing each time. Highly recommended.

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