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Wicklow, North California, is a small town of around 3,000 inhabitants, with an unusual claim to fame: it has one of the highest incidents of multiple births in the world. Lots of twins - and someone is killing them. The little bodies, if found, have all had their hearts removed. After returning home from working away in phycological profiling, Maggie is purchased by old schoolfriend Jake to join the police reserves in the hunt for the murderer.
This is an unusual mystery thriller in that the concentration is not so much on the killings themselves as on the characterisations of Maggie and her family and other inhabitants of Wicklow, in particular would-be lover, Jake, Maggie's friend, Sally, and a handsome fanatically Christian American Indian to whom Maggie feels an instant attraction. Additionally, at the beginning of each chapter is a very brief "28 years ago" snippet, which slowly reveals the reasons behind the deaths of the children. There is also a gentle paranormal aspect, too, nicely underplayed, with the constant attention of the ravens.
As always, Joe Hempel delivers a fine narration, well paced, beautifully read and a pleasure to hear as well as giving individual voice to each of the protagonists. Without him, this book would have been less. There was one major glitch, however, whether in my copy alone or a general production problem, I don't know, but about a minute into chapter six, my book stopped and returned to the beginning. To resolve this, I resorted to skipping that chapter altogether and restarting at chapter seven. There were no further problems.
My thanks to the rights holder for gifting me my copy of The Raven's Daughter, via Audiobook Boom. I am undecided about it. For the most part, I enjoyed it very much and the who done it? aspect was well set up. But, although the main protagonists were given life through the thorough characterisations, they remained, for me, unreal. Having said that I would still recommend it as an Audiobook for the pleasure of Mr.Hempel's narration and for some of the interesting stories gleaned along the way.
And the cover is stunning.
A good first novel. Peggy Wheeler uses "show, don't tell", and the main character Maggie is well-characterised. I particularly liked the early bit of description of Maggie's only wrinkles being crow's feet, even though she rarely smiles.
The setting is interesting, particularly the Native American folklore woven throughout. Joe Hempel's narration is excellent, with distinct and consistent character voices.
There are some flaws in the story (the disjointed passage of time, the villain's identity being hugely telegraphed, and the villain resorting to a long monologue at the end to explain every last detail), but they didn't hurt my enjoyment. These aspects are why I have called this a good *first* book, and I look forward to seeing what Peggy Wheeler writes next.
This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.
What did you love best about The Raven's Daughter?
Peggy Wheeler really knows how to throw you for a loop with her excellent writing. Going back and forth explaining what is happening in the past all the while drawing you into the heart of the story.
Have you listened to any of Joe Hempel’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Joe Hempel's performance is excellent.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
This story is an interesting mix of murder, Native American mysticism, childhood trauma and romance. Two stories, one in the past and one in the present, interweave to give us a thrilling, murder mystery with a supernatural twist. The characters have depth, and the plot has enough twists to keep you guessing who the bad guy is. Maggie, a Native American/Irish criminologist, is a great character; she is stubborn, abrasive, intelligent but reluctant to embrace her native heritage and also the man who loves her. Joe Hempel does a great job in the audiobooks. He brings the story to life, gives individual personalities to the characters and makes it easy to delineate between the past and present. This is an gritty, somewhat gruesome crime story that has plenty of twists and is laced through with mysticism and romance. I received the audiobook at no cost and under no obligation.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful