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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Audio Book Review: The Red Shoelace Killer by Susan Sundwall

This is a fun cozy mystery but I was not impressed by the narration.
by Susan Sundwall
Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett

Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:03-24-14
Publisher: Susan Sundwall
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

First in the Minnie Markwood Mysteries: Minnie Markwood can out-sleuth Miss Marple any day of the week - in her imagination. But when a real killer begins to target Minnie and her young sidekicks, reality trumps imagination big time. Who's buying up all the red shoelaces at the mall and stalking a cashier? Is it the killer who terrorized Minnie on the highway and kidnapped her coworker?  It soon becomes frighteningly clear that Minnie's onto something, and The Red Shoelace Killer's days are numbered.
©2012 Susan Sundwall (P)2014 Susan Sundwall

Minnie Markwood is a widow in her 50s. She works as a survey taker in Albany, New York. Minnie is a down to earth, sweet woman who ends up sleuthing with her co-worker Rashawna and Rashawna’s brand new boyfriend, Joel. Rashawna is a cute, exhuberant 21 year old who is a bit on the ‘ditzy’ side. Joel appears to be a shiftless, but very likable, young man with an affection for Rashawna and a protective streak that conflicts with his self-preservation instincts.

Joel begins to ‘confess’ to Minnie that he has knowledge of the unsolved Red Shoe Lace Killer case. After seeing some strange, staring men at the mall and finding a store that sells red shoe laces these three set off on a not-so-casual investigation of suspicious activity, including a visit to Joel’s “mean” boss-lady, Salina. Minnie is friends with the local police detective who gives her the okay to keep an eye on things but expects her to call for back up if anything truly suspicious or dangerous arises.

Little sightings and details build up to threats with shoe laces tied on Minnie’s car mirror and an attempted kidnapping. I did think that these details should have been turned over to the detective but, of course, that might ruin the story for these rather bumbling investigators.

The characters are fun and the mystery has a humorous absurdity to it. There is a bit of mundane description and action throughout but overall the reading is light, easy and appropriate to the genre. However, I think this is one story that might be better read than listened to on audio, as my audio notes below indicate. I would recommend this to those who like cozy mysteries.

Audio Notes: Sadly, I found the narration to be very monotone and dragging. Initially it might be thought that the plodding narration was suited to the older character Minnie, and it reminded me a little bit of Murder She Wrote. But the voice for Rashawna is a squeaky girl sound and I’m not sure there was much effort to change the tone for Joel. There was minimal excitement and expression shared. It was so distracting that it detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Listen to the sample to see if you could enjoy that reading for 8 hours. It might just be that I wanted a bit more up beat but I don’t think it is just me.

I received this audiobook from the author/publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.

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