What lies buried in a hoarder's house - precious treasure or ghastly secrets? One moment of misguided generosity throws estate sale organizer Audrey Nealon's life into turmoil. She loses a client's money, cripples her budding romance, and witnesses a murder. Strapped for cash, she accepts a questionable project: clearing out the home of a mentally ill hoarder who may have hidden valuable Civil War letters. What really lies at the bottom of 20 years' worth of collected buttons and dolls and stuffed owls and atlases? As Audrey digs through the hoarder's obsessions, she unleashes a vengeful response from all sides. The house has destroyed lives in the past. Will Audrey and those she loves - her friends, her father, and even her dog - be its next victims? As the final twist reveals, secrets can remain buried, but they never disappear.
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"...like a flamingo in a flock of ducks..."
What an excellent book - well written, beautifully narrated, great characters, two simple but very effective plot lines set in a very convincing back story. Sheer delight.
The story focuses around Audrey, a young woman who runs her own house clearance sale business, and her two employee friends, Ty and Jill. Things have not been going well for Audrey recently but finally seem to be looking up when, totally unexpectedly, the good name of her company is called into question when she is deemed to have (albeit inadvertently) broken a contract and lost a large sum of her client's money. With no other work forthcoming, she reluctantly agrees to help partially clear the about to be condemned house of an obsessive horder whilst trying to get back the lost money of her former client. Meanwhile her personal life begins to fall apart as already conflicting feelings for a local police investigator are increasingly confused as he, too, is involved with her in the pursuit of a man responsible for death of a teenager.
Very carefully constructed and told in the first person by Audrey, this book never once feels unrealistic or improbable. The book is visual, almost tactile at times. The main protagonists all have a life of their own and are completely three dimensional and solid, being able to surprise whilst still staying in character. Even the minor players are well drawn. This verisimilitude is enhanced by the marvellous Janelle Tedesco, who not only takes on the personality of Audrey herself, adding depth and feeling by her reading, but also convincingly voices all of the other characters, giving each their own distinct lives. Her performance is a pleasure to hear, never abrasive to the ear but always well modulated and clearly delivered. And always perfectly fitting the text. Superb.
As the story progresses, the reader is increasingly drawn into the growing mystery surrounding the background of the old horder and the house he has so packed with his acquisitions as well as the desperate search for the stolen money. But the ending still comes as a surprise.
My thanks to the right's holder who gifted me Treasure of Darkness, via Audiobook Boom. It is not an all action book but is never, ever dull, with continuous gentle excitements. I loved it. This is the second story in the series but completely stand alone. I look forward to the next and, whilst waiting for it to be published, intend to go back to the first in the Palmyrton Estate Sale Mystery series, which I have not yet read/heard, and enjoy another treasure of a story.
- Norma Miles