Narrator: Jack deGolia
Series: A Harbor Secret #1
Published by Self Published / Indie on 21 December 2016
Length: 4 hrs and 3 mins
Genres: History, Mystery/Thriller, Romance
Source: Narrator, Submitted
Harbor Springs is a tiny resort town in northern Michigan that serves as the summertime playground of the wealthy, famous, and sometimes infamous. Starting a new business with her aunt, the fiercely independent Kylie Branson moves to town and unwittingly purchases for her home what had once been the summer stomping grounds of the notorious Purple Gang of Detroit. Soon she finds herself getting into predicament after predicament. Fortunately for Kylie, local fire chief Jason Lange always seems to show up at the right moment to rescue her. Unfortunately for Chief Lange, Kylie isn't the kind of girl who believes in being rescued. When Kylie's puppy gets stranded in an old air shaft in the woods, Kylie soon discovers that she may have gotten more than she bargained for when she purchased her home. Could the local lore about what was once Club Manitou be true? Kylie won't rest until she has learned the whole story.
©2016 Kristie Dickinson (P)2016 Kristie Dickinson
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Narrator, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.com
The premise of this book is intriguing. However, the plot could be stronger. The story transports you back to the 1930s, to a speakeasy named Club Manitou, run by the Purple Gang. Soon we discover that the maître d’ and employee of the Purple Gang, is having an illicit affair with a married woman, whose husband is a frequent gambler at the club. Just as the couple’s tête-à-tête begins, a gunshot sounds and they realize a raid is in progress.
Fast forward to present day where we meet Kylie, proud new owner of the old Gerhart place (Club Manitou), as she tries to find her lost puppy, Cupcake. The dog has found her way into an old air shaft and Kylie, unable to get the dog out herself, calls the fire chief, Jason, to help her. So begins her journey into discovering the tunnels and the building’s history.
Three love stories weave through this book, one in the present day between Kylie and Jason, and the other two from the thirties; Paul, the maître d’ and Phyliss, his married lover; and Willie, with the forbidden love of his young life.
I enjoy books that layer events from a past era with the current day and bring the two storylines together at the end. The time shifts in this book were sometimes a little confusing, and it was not always readily discernable what year it was for the first sentence or two. The love stories would be better with further character development. Willie, who was not the main character, and his sweetheart had the most fully developed love story of the three.
This book feels like a cozy mystery or romance. Even with the illicit affair, it is tame. Overall, I enjoyed this book. Some of the cons for me were the backstories of the main characters. I never felt connected to Paul and Phyliss and thought that the romance between Kylie and Jason left a lot of room for growth. Kylie and Jason’s “love” seemed contrived and too instant. We discover what happens to Paul and Phyliss, but there are not enough details or explanations. While part of me liked the idea presented in the epilogue it felt too convenient.
Jack de Golia’s narration was good. The men’s voices were distinctive, but the women’s voices were either too little-girl-like or old womanly. In the book, the protagonist refers to her dog as Cupcake, Cuppie, Cupcakie, etc. Every time the narrator read those words, my ears were annoyed. The combination of those words being read excitedly in a man’s woman-voice was like fingernails on a blackboard. It might have been better if a woman had read it – but then, the men’s voices might have been off.
To summarize my thoughts, the story premise is sound; the story needs additional character development, and the epilogue needs work to make it believable, and not just a convenient ending.
The production quality was excellent.
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