Ann Kinnear has created a peaceful existence at her cabin in the Adirondack woods. But the calm is shattered after Philadelphia socialite Elizabeth Firth is reported missing. With few clues and fewer options, detective Joe Booth calls upon Ann's spirit sensing abilities to help solve the mystery. With Joe and her brother Mike, Ann attempts to uncover what Elizabeth's husband may be hiding beneath his cloak of wealth and privilege. As Ann is drawn deeper into a web of lies and betrayal, she realizes she may be racing against time to keep herself from disappearing too.
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If I had to describe this book in one word, that word would be solid. The plotting is careful, and because it is, suspension of disbelief is not stretched so far that things become distorted. The characters are very well drawn, and even some of the minor characters are believably and charmingly human. Even the villain of the piece, though entirely despicable, is believable, though he is complicated enough that understanding his motivations and reactions takes some time and a bit of serious thought. At first, my reaction was that a person of his background and insipidness couldn’t be either smart enough or cunning enough to do what he did, in the ways he did. However …as with most essentially weak people, he uses certain other traits and tendencies to manage his actions and interactions, so, in the end even he works ..rather well, in fact.
One of the things I really liked about this book was the way in which the paranormal elements were handled. They were treated seriously, but they weren’t over emphasized, or mystified in any way. Anne could do what she could do, and, despite her self-doubts and self esteem issues, she absolutely knew and understood that her abilities were simply a part of her, just as tied to who she was as her eye color, her height, or her build. On a very basic level, she accepted both who she was, and what she could do, and that was heartening.
The writing is excellent too, and fits the parameters of the story perfectly. It is straightforward yet interesting, and, if anything just a bit understated. This becomes especially apparent in the extremely dramatic and touching scenes in the book, and the writing never overshadows the story itself.
The narrator was excellent. She voiced each character appropriately, and her phrasing and enunciation were perfect, as was her tempo and shaping. My only minor issue with the editing of the recording was that the pause between chapters was so long that it took a couple of chapters for me to adjust to it. At first, I found myself being concerned that something had happened either to the recording or to my computer. Once I made the adjustment, though, the long pause between chapters just became part of the listening experience.
I can unreservedly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery …even if you aren’t fond of paranormal elements. They won’t get in your way, because this author knows how to handle them, and make them actually support and enhance her story.
I am pleased to be able to give both book and narrator 5 full stars.