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The End of the Day by Claire North

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The End of the Day by Claire North The End of the Day by Claire North
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Published by Redhook on April 4, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fiction
Length: 12 hrs 22 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Charlie has a new job. He gets to travel, and he meets interesting people, some of whom are actually pleased to see him.

It's good to have a friendly face, you see. At the end.

But the end of all things is coming. Charlie's boss and his three associates are riding out, and it's Charlie's job to go before.

Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.

Charlie is the Harbinger of Death. It’s his job. He’s a mortal, has no super powers except a support staff at an office somewhere who are great at making reservations, getting him across borders and out of jail, and paying ransoms. He meets good people and terrible people, and sometimes he’s sent for ideas or ways of life and not individuals. He celebrates Life and we travel with him.

That’s what we do, we see what he sees, hear what he hears, including random snippets of conversation, go where he goes. We’re with him when he meets people, gives them gifts, tells them he is the Harbinger and sometimes he comes as a warning and sometimes as a courtesy. We’re with him as he listens to people’s life stories and when he is beaten and held prisoner. After all, not everyone is happy when the Harbinger of Death shows up; some are though. Yes, sometimes we see slices of the lives of the other Harbingers – each Horseman has one, and sometimes we see what War or Pestilence, or Famine is up to, but mostly we’re with Charlie. This is a very character and idea driven novel. It touches on so many current issues, war, racism, immigration, environmental change, guns. People can be a dreadful lot at times, but they can also be kind, and loving, and hopeful. And who knew Death could be such a likeable guy?

I loved the story. I listened to the audio version. Her writing is beautiful and touching and descriptive and Kenny was the perfect narrator. His voices during the snippets of conversations set them apart nicely. His Charlie was spot on, humorous at times, but so scared at others and just British enough. In a book with so many characters who only show up for a scene or two, he does a great job giving each his/her own personality, own inflections.

The End of the Day doesn’t really have much of a plot, though, and it’s rather slow. It’s a series of events and they do connect, but it doesn’t follow a traditional structure. It’s more about the ideas and viewpoints than about what happens next. For me it worked. I don’t know if it will for everyone.

About Claire North

Claire North is the pen name for the Carnegie-nominated Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. Catherine currently works as a theatre lighting designer and is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

A Fistful of Divas by Camille LaGuire

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A Fistful of Divas by Camille LaGuire A Fistful of Divas by Camille LaGuire
Series: Mick and Casey McKee
Published by the author on August 26, 2013
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Western, Short Story
Pages: 32
Format: eBook
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Young gunslinger detectives, Mick and Casey McKee, are eager to hear some opera singing. But when somebody takes a shot at some visiting divas, the concert is off. The ladies won't sing until Mick and Casey solve a case of blackmail and murder.

So I love Mick and Casey McKee. I wish there were more stories in the series. They are a gunslingers in the old west, a young married couple. And I do mean young. She’s maybe 17. He’s the talker, she’s the shooter and they make a great pair. This time around, the couple want to see singing at the local opera house. There’s a cute story why, involving Casey’s dad. Anyway, with these two nothing is ever simple. Just as they walk in to see who is warming up, there’s a shot, apparently aimed at one of the women on stage. If the ladies are going to feel safe enough to perform, Mick and Casey need to figure what’s going on and stop it.

The mystery was good, for a short story. The actual shooter’s identity is quickly established, but who hired him and why is the question. There are a couple clues and a nice, small list of suspects.

Like I said, I really enjoy the McKees. You get a good feeling for their relationship here. It’s not quite as good as the only full-length mystery in the series, Have Gun, Will Play, but it’s definitely worth the quick read.

Motion for Murder by Kelly Rey

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Motion for Murder by Kelly Rey Motion for Murder by Kelly Rey
Narrator: Lisa Kelly
Series: Jamie Winters #1
Published by Gemma Halliday Publishing on April 20, 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery
Length: 7 hrs 26 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Jamie Winter loathes her job as a secretary in the sleaziest law firm in New Jersey. Trouble is, someone else loathes the whole firm - enough to kill one of the partners, the two-timing, 11-fingered king of lowbrow television commercial spots, Dougie Digits.

Now, Jamie is being strong-armed into investigating by Dougie's frosty widow, Hilary. The suspect list is long, including the firm's bookish paralegal, embezzling bookkeeper, ambitious associate, and resentful senior partners. Add to that list a mélange of oddball clients with grudges of their own, and Jamie has her work cut out for her. With assists from her studly landlord and husband-hungry sister, Jamie uncovers enough dirt on her coworkers to launch a tabloid in her hunt to find the killer before he or she strikes again!

Motion for Murder is a cute, light mystery. Jamie has a lousy job, but gets even worse when one of the partners in the law firm she works at is killed. One of her co-workers is probably the killer, the question is who?

I like Jamie. She’s funny, but she lets people take advantage of her. The reason for her investigating is a bit weak, though. Hilary, the widow, who she doesn’t like, has insisted that she look into one of her co-workers and her natural curiosity and/or worry that she might be next, keeps her digging around. I will say the killer’s identity caught me totally off-guard. It made sense, just wasn’t someone who was on my radar at all.

The secondary characters are a mixed bag. I like Curtis, Jamie’s landlord and love interest. He’s a good guy, but he rides the line between trying to keep Jamie safe and semi-encouraging her to investigate, which is a little odd. Her sister, Sherri, is TOO desperate for a husband. The other women who work at the firm are an odd bunch, I’m not sure which, if any, I was supposed to like.

I listened to the audio. While the narration was good, kept the story light and fit with Jamie’s character well, the quality was a little off. It was kind of like the narrator was on a speaker phone, if that makes sense. Once I got used to it, it wasn’t a problem.

Oh – and I got tired of hearing how tiny Jamie is and how much she eats.

This was a fun start to a series, but maybe I should pick up #2 as an ebook and not on audio.

About Kelly Rey

From her first discovery of Nancy Drew, Kelly has had a lifelong love for mystery and tales of things that go bump in the night, especially those with a twist of humor. Through many years of working in the court reporting and closed captioning fields, writing has remained a constant. If she’s not in front of a keyboard, she can be found reading, working out or avoiding housework. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and lives in the Northeast with her husband and a menagerie of very spoiled pets.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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