"Grief can change us... rewire our brains and shift the way we look at the world..." After returning home from her father's funeral to find her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Mackenzie Clair is looking for a fresh start. She thinks she'll find it in her favorite childhood vacation spot, but returning to Donn's Hill awakens more than nostalgia. Mac regains a lost psychic ability to talk to the dead, and the poltergeist haunting her apartment is desperate to make her use that gift to find his killer. Aided by her new roommate - a spirited Tortoiseshell cat named Striker, and the ghost-hunting crew of the nationally televised show Soul Searchers, Mac struggles to learn how to use her powers. But she'd better get a handle on them fast, because someone in town is hiding a deadly secret. If Mac can't somehow divine the truth, Donn's Hill will never be the same.
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Mackenzi Clair is leaving home--or is she finally returning there? This is the unstated question that colors the rich beginning of a book that invites the reader to come home to Donn's Hill as well. Pull up a chair, put on some Chai tea, and grab a plate of lemon squares. But don't get TOO comfortable. This home has a history, and you're about to get a full serving of it.
Enter Mac's world--at twenty-seven years old, she's lost both of her parents and finally ditched that duplicitous boyfriend. She's completely adrift, and finds her focus by returning to the vacation home she remembers so fondly from childhood. Listeners get a complete tour of the place, and we come to love the people in it: the ghost hunting apartment neighbor Kit, Gabrielle the medium, Yuri the show runner, even the unaccountably and perpetually cantankerous deputy-mayor who's got it in for Mac from the start, for no reason at all. Or ... is there a reason after all?
Because there's a reason for EVERYTHING at Donn's Hill, and a complete story-unto-itself for every character. The listener may be lulled into a false sense of comfortably wandering security early in this book, but really, you're kind of being set up, here. Author Caryn Larrinaga knows exactly what she's doing from the start, and you don't want to miss any of the details.
Ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists, and murder--take THAT with your lemon squares, Listener. This book has a real tendency to lure you in and then unexpectedly scare the stuffing out of you, so without spoilers, fair warning.
But half of the dark and comfortably-scented magic of this whole experience is the performance of the young but veteran voice actor Jessica McEvoy. In this particular medium (see what I did there?), there's absolutely no one better. She has an uncanny knack for reading the story exactly as you might hear it in your head, whether the part in question being read is a narrator of her own generation and gender, a middle-aged Russian, a Spanish gypsy psychic, or a ... strangely intuitive cat. Yes. Cat. She plays a cat. And before you tune out, listen to me: she pulls it off. Seriously.
More importantly, Jessica McEvoy has a natural empathy with the full emotional range of the human condition, and she brings reality to situations that are beyond the scope of most people's experiences. Couple that with an instant relatability to the simple pleasures, disappointments, self-doubts and fears that we all feel and express--she draws you in with the authenticity of her voice and delivery. It's really amazing, every time. She's done it before, but it surprises me every time.
Donn's Hill is so, so worth the time and investment. To reveal any more here would be criminal. But do yourself a favor: check it out. Enjoy the experience. It'll be one you don't soon forget.
Caryn Larrinaga's newest book, Donn's Hill, was a blast to read/listen to and I quite enjoyed Jessica McEvoy's vocal talent as always. She brings the story to life and makes Mackenzie's character her own and the mix of great writing and wonderful character voices makes this audiobook a must-have for any fan.
A simple but well written novel for the entire family, this is a must-have for any fan of mystery on the more casual side.
Check out the Sample and see for yourself if this wonderful tale is worth your time. For me, it was.