Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!

Posted Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a new blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. The Cryptic Lines blog tour marks my first tour wherein I was quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The Cryptic Lines” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the narrator Jake Urry) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love Suspense Thrillers and what drew my eye to listen to this particular one:

If I were to have a cosy comfort genre to read, it might not be as readily obvious as my readers might believe! You see, despite my regularly gushed about genres, there is a hidden passion lurking behind the stories I read most regularly! I am simply in love with Mysteries (of the Cosy variety) including the cousins of the genre with stronger or more darkening undertones of Suspense and Thriller! I grew up reading mysteries and watching the tv serials or motion pictures, too that fetched my eye for a thrilling adventure or a character who embodied what I love about the Mystery & Crime genre the most!

I immediately felt this particular story would be a lovely exception to the rule – of not finding out too much about the story ahead of listening too it and just ploughing straight in and seeing how you alight once the story has begun! I just sensed this had all the components I love to read, and thus, would love to listen too, now that I have turnt my eye on audiobooks!

When you read Suspenseful Thrillers – there is that moment where you feel a slight chill and a slight sense of ‘can I handle this’ murmuring through your mind. Even if your a Cosy girl like me who doesn’t go for True Crime or Hard-Boils, you still have that fringe thought of – what could be the secret everyone is trying to keep hushed? What is going to be the resolution now that all the threads of the story have taken you so far afield of centre it’s hard to know which way is truly the right way to follow next?

Truly what caught me is the classical set-up on the story itself – the layout of how it felt it might read and the manner in which the narrator chose to eclipse the characters in his narration! My first instincts proved to be right – I not only loved listening to this audiobook but I became an instant appreciator of the work Mr Urry and Mr Storry are doing to giving all of us a wicked good read!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!The Cryptic Lines
Subtitle: an audiobook read by Jake Urry
by Richard Storry
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Jake Urry

Set in a sprawling Gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently.

After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines.

If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears…

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781508488415

ASIN: B01D0E6ZK6

Also by this author: A Looming of Vultures

Genres: Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Thriller


Published by Cryptic Publications

on 16th March, 2016

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Cryptic Publications

About Richard Storry

Richard Storry

Richard is the author of four published novels, with his fifth “A Looming of Vultures” due for publication in 2017. Prior to writing his first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” he was very busy in the theatrical world: He composed the incidental music to Chekhov’s Three Sisters, seen in London’s West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes, and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television.

His musical adaptation of “The Brothers Lionheart” premiered at London’s Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it was voted Best Childrens’ Play. “The Cryptic Lines” has now been adapted for both the stage and screen.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

On how this is very much about charles, too:

You would be lead to believe this story is actually about the living will and legacy of assets for a one Lord Willoughby, but truth be told, this is an everyman’s story centred on Charles. A man whose personal life has become a bit despairing of late (his girlfriend left him without explanation) and of whom, felt there might be a transitional shift in career needed to right his perspective. For Charles was nearing that moment where remaining in the status quo was far less appealing than contemplating something new, something wholly different than the career he had put forward til now.

It was whilst he was in wait for his client to grace his presence wherein Charles found the most respite for his encroaching thoughts; the small bits that noodled round his mind and gave him the most anxiety to work out if only for a measure of peace. This estate makes you think about your past and your present; such a void of outwardly contact, the drafty halls and largeness of it’s footprint, grant ample time to reconsider yourself and your motivations; hence why Charles is folded in on himself most times, seeking to work something out that bears notice of his attention. He’s a quiet sort of fellow, not one for confrontations – but he has a stronger streak inside him, too! Never think Charles cannot rise to the occasion because that’s when he blessedly disarms your concerns, taking you by surprise for how his fortitude in crisis can rally any leftover concerns!

There is a turning in the story, where despite your feelings towards this being Matthew’s story, it’s definitely Charles who is at the forefront to take the lead. I enjoyed seeing Charles come into his own throughout the novel; as he goes on quite the journey both inwardly and outward. He is putting himself into positions he normally might not consider and it’s his search for truth and to uncover what is hidden that endears you to him most directly! He’s the unsung hero of the story, in other words!

my review of the cryptic lines:

Tucked inside a miserable night’s storm, a solicitor humours his eccentric client by embracing his quirky habit of asking for him to stop round his estate at the most perilous of hours and in such fraught conditions. This hour and evening were unrelentingly cruel – the rain had wicked itself to cling so strongly to the clothes and skin of Charles, you could feel the miserable condition and state he entered the stately old home known as Hesten Grange. Quite a stark contrast to the sea – a mere stone’s throw from the front door and whose grounds are so very encompassing it would take proper hours to walk through them in full! Darkness and shadows were plentiful but so too, was the curious nature of the night. How light can flicker through the inky black void and play a trick on your eyes or so you first believe.

Sadly this estate had crumbled into its ruined state, as if determined to forestall time from erasing anymore of it’s presence if by some cruel fate the lightning could do further damage. It is here Charles is finding his client is further straining their relationship by asking him to once again sit through a logical and logistical reason for needing to change the structure of the will. This was what kept Charles employed – a crafty bloke in many regards, he upped the charges to the old dodger in order to work less and yet still make an ample living! In this regard, the generosity of his client both confused him dearly and left him with gratitude; for he was always well looked after on these infrequent sessions. Why he had to be fetched at this dire hour of night and never by daylight, weighed on his brow but he continued to make headway through the blustery storm and shake off his nerves of feeling as if the storm itself had only been seconds away from devouring him!

Upon emerging into the house, the dutiable butler James leads Charles on a labyrinth route towards his sleeping quarters (as Lord Willoughby has noted the storm is not one to mess with on a return trip!) – it is here, as the darker corners of the foreboding house alight in front of your eyes, you start to see where the decay of it’s interiors truly started to begin. The attention to it’s caretaking has been withdrawn for quite sometime if the dust is as thickened as it was observed by Charles! One stark reminder of how quickly a house can fall and how far it can recede from a time of proper upkeep. A nod of the legacy of what had gone on in this place long before Charles ever met the Lord is quite evident on the forgotten walls where artifacts of lives once actively lived are still stark reminders of memories put away.

The whole thread of plot surrounds the curious papers and videotapes left behind by Lord Willoughby – of whom was both crafty and unwittingly exasperating! The key to his riddles of course, is to solve a series of riddles and well placed clues towards finding the ‘keys’ to the path which would lead to the location of the hidden treasure. One of the best lines of course to prove the point of how dire this process is for Charles and Matthew to undertake is best said on this badge:

The Cryptic Lines quoted badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission.

Talk about your tipping point! This searing news quite boggled Charles at first, of whom never considered he would play any other role than that of solicitor! He was suddenly caught up in a scheme of unearthing what the Lord had hidden somewhere on his estate whilst having to partner up with the one person of whom he couldn’t quite read – was Matthew trustworthy, or as James eluded to mentioning – an opportunist who was only out for his own affairs. Charles would take most of the hours leading down to the deadline (to which would null the will) to sort out not only his mind but his understanding of human nature.

This isn’t just a straight mystery, however, as it arches into a discussion about life and how living a life is far more important than merely existing or counting out your hours caught up in work. It’s about taking charge and being the best person you can be whilst being a contributor to your community. Lord Willoughby had a huge weight on his shoulders – he had to bequeath his wealth to someone he felt could handle the burden what such an inheritance would entail. You gather that his quirky method of giving a chase towards reading books in order to find the ‘next clue in turn’ was a way of him insisting that even self-gained knowledge is an honourable pursuit as much as the structure of college. I liked how this was presented because some of my favourite passages were when Charles and Matthew were in the library – trying to find the right book or books, and finding themselves so full of enlightenment it didn’t matter much if they hadn’t found what they had sought to find. At least, one of them felt it was time well spent,.. the other I am afraid hadn’t quite sorted out his morality and ethical compass!

There is a secondary story-line that overlaps the main thread – without spoilting it for you, it is what becomes of James and how James is a bit crucial to the plot that I felt was most fitting! Everything during that time frame of the story’s setting felt realistic – this is one of the last moments where service and servitude was an honourable career. Therein self-sacrifice and self-dedication to one’s employers is more commonplace than perhaps even a decade lateron. How this all connected into the heart of the novel’s core of purpose was beautiful to listen too.

I hadn’t quite put the pieces together – but something was quite at the surface of my mind as I first listened to this audiobook – something I had mistakenly overlooked and hadn’t quite pierced together. When you re-listen to this a second time round, you start to notice a few subtle things that you hadn’t noticed previously. Little things, so small you might mistake them for a red herring when in fact, they were actually pointing towards the conclusion at the end. Nothing quite of course could have prepared me for the true ending – the big revelation regarding the Lord of the Manor and how this elder gentleman was nearly bested by his scheme! Imagine?! All the planning and research that had to go into lacing together clues struck out of poems and bits of literature?! For that is what the ‘cryptic lines’ is you see, portions of poetry which were suddenly turnt into a map of sorts to find the treasure.

on the thriller suspense styling of richard storry:

If your familiar with Alfred Hitchcock Presents – the opening sequence of this novel reminded me of listening to the appealingly droll opener of the series wherein Mr Hitchcock himself would use his dry humour and wit to encourage your curiosity to know more of the story he’s about to disclose. You only think it’s droll, mind you, as that’s part of Hitchcock’s trademark; to make something sound relatively uninteresting and turn it round to be the most thrilling thing you’ve ever heard or cared to have known about directly! The opener felt similar to this – as Storry gives you a presentation of the setting and of the various unknown variables ahead of settling you in straight-away to where dear Charles the dedicated servant of law to Lord Willoughby shall be spending his hours for the foreseeable future!

How Mr Storry embraced one of my favourite niches of Mysteries – the Cosies with a dabbling of Mrs Marple is quite the curious question! He’s written such a classic mystery – it’s a bit of a search and seek mystery, where you can have plenty of time to root out your own inclining clues and see if you can sort out the layers of where Storry is taking you to tread ahead of Charles. He had these elements of wonder spread through the story, too! Strange keys, peculiar rooms and odd layout of ground where everything was not quite as it appears! A quite unusual place to set a mystery – where it’s far more intellectual than telling of a crime! You’re meant to keep on your toes, to keep firm to the hunt and to see who will let out the truth in the end!

I can see why he would love theatre as he’s written this story very akin to that of a play (smashing it’s on stage now! wish I could see it!) – where your giving just enough to visualise what you need to understand but it’s so fashioned like an old radio programme, too! You know those old serials where you have to pay such rapt attention to each piece of dialogue and thrown away comments? Best not to overlook something that might be critical? He’s given such a well-rounded breadth of story, you nearly do not wish this to end! And, when the end did arrive, I must confess – I needed a long, long Epilogue to feel as if I had had enough time to depart on my own accord. This might be the only remark of criticism – I wanted just a bit more,… only how much more to feel as if I could say ‘good-bye’ without the emotions gripping me as much as they had?!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

specifically in regards to the audiobook:

As this is my first audiobook review, I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

About Jake Urry

Jake Urry

Jake Urry is a British actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-founder of Just Some Theatre.

Since graduating from an Acting degree course in 2012 he’s toured with Just Some Theatre as an actor and producer, worked on a number of commercial voice over projects and most recently started producing Audiobooks.

Jake has produced over 10 titles since March 2016 and has rapidly found himself at home narrating Thriller, Horror, Mystery and Suspense titles. His audiobook work includes dark psychological thrillers White is the Coldest Colour and Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl, occult mystery series The Ulrich Files by Ambrose Ibsen, and gritty Sci-Fi novel Shadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats.

Listening Habit:

I decided to add this section, because one thing I had to do whilst I first started listening to “The Cryptic Lines” was to find a way ‘inside’ the audiobook to where my active imagination wasn’t on hyperdrive and to where I couldn’t grow distracted by Twitter and/or any other bit of technologic curiosities on my computer! (such as TapTiles, Mah Jong or Solitaire!) My perfect solution!? Colouring! Crazy as it may sound to you, the art of colouring let’s you relax straight into the story-line, focusing keenly on the voice narrating the story itself and your senses are distracted from the ‘clutter’ of everyday life wherein you can find immediate focus on the audiobook!

For this reading, I opted to start colouring the pages inside “A Very Blessed Christmas Colouring Book” by Robin Mead (of which I am reviewing lateron this month round Thanksgiving!). The holiday themed colouring book was a bit cheeky early to begin in October, however, I had this strange attraction to settling into the pages of the book which were not quite overly Christmassy but were the decorating bits of the holiday season where your in full prep but not full-on celebratory action yet! As I used coloured pencils, coloured chalk and a brief moment of error using crayons – I found myself blissfully enthralled by The Cryptic Lines! I was so engaged – the hours just melted off the clock!

The first time I listened to this story, I did not take any notes – which in hindsight at the time, I felt I might have erred a bit on that note, but in the end on reflection – it was the best choice I could have made! It granted me the freedom to hear everything just as it were meant to be found, whilst giving me time to re-listen to the story and find those key parts I wanted to impart to my own readers that left the best impressions on me as I listened to Urry narrate this suspenseful story that has more than one trick of a twist up it’s sleeve! I continued to colour as I re-listened, pausing here or there to write-up this review and repeating the pattern of this behaviour until I could confidently feel as if yes, that’s it! This is exactly how I felt when I first discovered the beauty of The Cryptic Lines!

Number of Narrators:

There was only one narrator (Jake Urry) in this audiobook – however, the quirky bit to disclose is that I thought for sure there were multiple voices arriving through the speakers, as Mr Urry has such a command of how to present his voice and the vocal stylings of narrated characters – you were under the strongest of impressions this was a bonefide full-on cast of theatrical measure!

Number of Times I’ve heard the Narrator(s):

Honestly, as I’m so very new to listening to audiobooks, this section shall expand over the course of the coming year as I move forward into listening to more and more audiobooks! I listened to an extract from the audiobook first via Audible in order to get a proper sense of the tone of the novel, the voice acting of the narrator (as sometimes you listen to samples and you know it’s not a good fit for you personally!) as well as the overall appeal of soaking into an audio soundscape where you are seeking to withdraw into someone elses vision for the author’s world. What was quite commendable is how quickly (within mere seconds!) I could ascertain Mr Urry was a wicked brilliant narrator who not only owned his characters but he has a voice you could listen too for absolute hours!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

When it came to listening to Charles – Mr Urry had an uncanny way of convincing you of his lack of self-esteem and his inability to lead strong in confidence. He wasn’t inept but he was a walking contradiction at times, a bit unsure of himself in many regards and at other times, he was able to pull together a confidence you wished he could always exhume.

The butler James had this knowingly old soul personality about him – you could tell from the start he had had a hard life and one that was most likely full of adversities. He was resided to his lot in life but also to the life he was living working for the reclusive Lord Willoughby. James takes his time to formulate his thoughts and to make each of his words count double for what he wants to express. He’s a thoughtful butler but you can sense he knows far more than he ever truly lets on about, too! A true characteristic of a butler, mind you, but a cheeky one to find inside a suspense where clues are limited and questions are rampant!

I was most impressed by the sincerity of how Mr Urry presented the housekeeper – as she had such an authentic presence, you mistook her for a woman rather than another voice impersonation of Urry’s! I was quite happy finding out why this was true on the interview over the weekend! He truly brought her character together and gave a happy surprise to me, as I liked how each time he changed ‘character’ the essence of that new character was fully realised.

Lord Willoughby was so convincing of having a near ill-fated effect of being feeble and medically fragile, that you completely believed the scene upon which Charles arrived to find his client quite ill and half gone towards the other side!

Matthew was my absolute least favourite character – how Mr Urry was able to convey this sour creature and switch by to the kind-hearted and soft spoken Charles is unknown! He did not overly make it obvious either about Matthew’s truer nature; in fact, that is owned to Mr Storry who takes his time to give his characters time to reveal themselves as only they can. His voice was full of disdain and he had this way about him that he was his own worst enemy.

I also liked how Mr Urry was able to shift from straight narrative into character driven dialogue and individual character points-of-view. He easily moved from one to the other, as if there wasn’t a break to think of how to re-approach each character in turn. Everything sounded so very intuitive and organically knitted together, you’d have felt each of these characters were flesh and blood; jolly alive and real!

How the Novel sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

Most brilliantly theatrical – as I lamented on the interview I hosted alongside this review for the blog tour. Mr Urry brings the stage straight into your audio speakers – granting you the immeasurable joy of listening to a play take place inside your imagination! You were so wholly enthused by his approach and his tenacity for honing in on each of the individual elements that complete the fullness of the audiobook – it’s quite difficult to pull yourself away! Not even to duck off for a cuppa tea or Teeccino coffee or a muffin!

Regards to Articulation & Performance of different sections of the novel:

When Mr Urry is narrating the setting and textural elements which are tuck into a novel to add to the allure of it’s niche arising out of the Gothic Suspense or Thriller genres – you are pleasantly transported through his carriage for bridging that invisible gap between where his words are etching out the portrait of what your imagination is willing to take-on as verbatim validation of what is happening.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

I honestly felt the sound quality was quite spectacular because you can very clearly hear the distinctive changes in characters; so much so, whenever one of them would step forward to say their piece, you immediately recognised which of the cast was speaking without needing a prompt or reminder! The little nuances to bewitch your mind into thinking your truly just inside the protective walls of an aged estate where a raging storm is casting it’s wrath against it’s seaside cliffs; you begin to forget where your physically at whilst listening to the story unwind itself.

There are proper moments where you get a bit of a hitch in your chest, or you get a choking sense of emotional anguish arriving a bit unexpectedly to deepen the purpose of the story your observing from a non-visual point-of-view. The emotional connective threads as aided through Urry’s narration were quite splendid because you become so attached to the characters, it’s simply too hard to even consider not knowing what will become of the events of the treasure hunt!

The whole allure of this Gothic tale was not hinged to sound effects or artificial promptings but rather the eloquence of how Mr Urry told the story and gave you a visceral viewing of it’s contents!

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

Honest? My favourite treasured treat with audiobooks and print books is to listen to the narration whilst reading the print book! (as previously mentioned I appreciated during my reading of The Ghost Bride) I would love to one day have the print book in front of me whilst listening to Jake Urry’s narration all over again! To me that is such a wicked sweet bottle of joy to indulge yourself with as you get such a brilliant immersion straight into the heart of the story! Whilst seeing where the narrator and author co-merge, completely disappear and only the core of the story remain!

I’ve already listened to this audiobook twice and know I shall be listening to it quite a heap more! It’s simply one of those layered stories where you can return again and again, noticing things you hadn’t quite caught on originally or you noted them, but the fuller development of what ‘those clues’ meant or were hinting towards revealling were of course properly lost on you the first go round! Seriously this audiobook can hold it’s own salt and it’s most definitely #unputdownable! Brilliant slice of all the bits you love from historicals and thriller suspense!

In closing, would I seek out another jake urry audiobook?

Most definitely! In fact, I cannot wait to listen to another one, to be honest! The one I have my eye on to seek out next is Shadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats. I was trying to decide when the best time would be to ask my library to purchase this audiobook! It will be my first request of this kind and I’m too excited for words to see if they might consider it! Most of his other titles I spied on his website at the moment are a bit full-on and dearly the kind to leave me in nightmares! *le sigh* Ergo, I am looking forward to seeing other stories like this one or perhaps works of Science Fiction and Fantasy that are not explicitly too violent or full of naughty language! Although, if he took on a Romance, I’d be wickedly delighted!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

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Whilst participating on:

The Cryptic Lines Audiobook Tour via Audiobookworm PromotionsThis is the first of many reviews I’ll be showcasing on behalf of audiobooks – not just through the lovely tours via Audiobookworm Promotions, but through selecting audiobooks through my local library as well as the ones I hope to purchase in the future, too! If your an avid audiobook listener, I welcome your commentary and recommendations especially for Historical Suspense, Thriller or Cosy Mysteries!

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 8 November, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, England, Gothic Literature, Indie Author, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Suspense, The Sixties




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One response to “Audiobook Review | “The Cryptic Lines” by Richard Storry narrated by Jake Urry Jorie’s first audiobook review!

  1. Such a comprehensive review, Jorie! It’s wonderful. Thank you so much for hosting today’s stop. I’m glad you enjoyed The Cryptic Lines and I’m also glad you shared your coloring trick. I’ll have to try it!

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