Audiobook Review | “Sharpe Shooter” (Book One: Maycroft Mysteries) by Lisa B. Thomas, narrated by Madeline Mrozek There is something quite wonderful about this quirky Cosy series!

Posted Friday, 2 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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. I started hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions at the end of [2016] during “The Cryptic Lines” tour wherein I became 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 “Sharpe Shooter” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Lisa B. Thomas) in exchange for an honest review. The difference with this complimentary copy I received is I had a 90 day window to listen and review the book whilst given a soft deadline where I could post my ruminative thoughts at an hour which worked for me on the day the review was due; this differs from a blog tour which has a more set schedule of posting. The audiobooks are offered to ‘adopt’ for review consideration and are given to readers to gauge their opinions, impressions and insight into how the audiobook is resonating with listeners. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: Due to my unexpected hiatus in September, my adopted audiobooks (‘Life as a Spectrum Mom‘, ‘Sharpe Shooter’ and ‘Sharpe Edge’) as well as the blog tour ‘The Supernatural Pet Sitter’ were delayed from posting until I was able to listen to them due to a series of health issues which left me afflicted throughout Autumn 2017 and again in early Winter 2017/18.

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What initially prompted me to listen to Sharpe Shooter & why I loved it:

I remember I was browsing the adoptable audiobooks, seeing if I could find either a light-hearted story OR a Mystery; reason being, I personally *adore!* Mysteries! Especially the ones which fall under ‘Cosy’ or ‘Quirky’ or uniquely spun in such a way as to give you something to think about whilst your reading (or in this case ‘listening’) to the story! I was not disappointed with my selection, as one of the most immediate things I realised as I was listening to ‘Sharpe Shooter’ is how intricate it was developed and conceived! The layers within this Cosy Mystery are quite remarkable – as the further you get into the center of novel, the closer you become to seeing the fuller picture – of how this small towne gal has a missing relative whose mysterious disappearance is actually connected to a very, very well-known event in our country’s History!

As this was being revealled bit by bit, I hadn’t quite sorted it out in my mind – not initially, but as you think back on what you’ve listened to and how each of the pieces started to fit together – it was a plausible theory. Also, part of listening to this audiobook reminded me of why I loved watching ‘Quantum Leap’. Sometimes – it is lovely to see how ‘wrongs are righted’ and how the past can be healed in the future by an unforeseen way of finding closure to an event which happened so very long ago it has become ‘lost within time’ itself.

I was thoroughly entertained watching Deena move through her investigation – of how she continued to seek out the truth even if she wasn’t entirely sure where it was going to lead. It is also a story about second chances and new beginnings – of how sometimes the lemons life brings onto your path is a period of self-growth – of seeking to find something anew to freshen your spirit and re-align your purpose onto a new path. For Deena, it meant letting go of being a teacher and finding that as a sleuth, she had a lot more to give than she had as a teacher. It is a classic story in that regard of our truer talents and how we don’t necessarily realise what we can accomplish until we’re forced to make a chance in our lives.

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Audiobook Review | “Sharpe Shooter” (Book One: Maycroft Mysteries) by Lisa B. Thomas, narrated by Madeline Mrozek There is something quite wonderful about this quirky Cosy series!Sharpe Shooter
Subtitle: Cozy Suberbs Mystery Series

Deena Sharpe is ready for a change. She’s burned out and tired of teaching. Little does she know that an old family mystery is about to turn her life upside down and inside out!

A Texas sheriff’s office has just found a skeleton in their closet…literally. After the body is identified, Deena’s family turns to her to uncover the truth about the murder before a conspiracy theory-nut implicates the victim in his latest book.

Deena must channel her inner super-sleuth to solve the puzzle and protect her family name. With the help of her off-beat brother, she takes on a quest that leads to more questions than answers.

Sharpe Shooter is the first book in the Cozy Suburbs Mystery Series. With antique shopping, car chases, and ghosts in the night, the story will keep you guessing as you follow Deena on her quest for the truth.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse


on 30th August, 2016

Length: 5 hours, 18 minutes (unabridged)

Self-Published Audiobook

Order of the Maycroft Mysteries: (Read the Series Synopsis’s on the Author’s Site)

NOTE: Initially I thought this was the Cozy Suburbs Mysteries – however it’s really the Maycroft Mysteries series – as the sub-title on the audiobook versions revealled the other name.

Sharpe Shooter | Book One
Sharpe Edge | Book Two | Synopsis
Sharpe Mind | Book Three | Synopsis
Sharpe Turn | Book Four | Synopsis
Sharpe Point | Book Five | Synopsis
Sharpe Cookie | Book Six | Synopsis
+ Sharpe Image | PREQUEL Novella | Synopsis

Lisa B. Thomas | Blog | Site | @LBThomas2 | Facebook

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my review of sharpe shooter:

The sharpness of Ms Thomas’s wit is aptly on display as soon as you hear the narration funnelling into your ears,… Deena is not your typical school-teacher who is being fired. She took a stand against the principal and his insistence of featuring his daughter predominately through the school yearbook (a big ‘no-no’ if you have journalistic ethics like Deena); thus we find her as her days are no longer numbered: they’ve expired! She’s collecting her belongings – whilst under the hawk-like observing eye of a staff member who has drier humour than the desert. Never one to let others dictate her mood, Deena tried to keep her attention focused on her meager and humble belongings – moving through her classroom as if someone who needed to archive her hours in this room through the windows of her memories; knowing right then and there a chapter had shifted in her life’s purpose.

Meanwhile, a cold case which was never fully resolved – a crime which left the identity of a woman ‘unknown’ was found quite unexpectedly and it became tagged to be solved once at for all. This case was over fifty years old – where the evidence was thin but there was still forensic evidence to be expounded upon. You had the feeling it was the embarrassment about the age of the cold case which sparked the new interest rather than the fact it was left unresolved.

Deena was slowly becoming miserable trapped at home, without purpose or a note of inspiration towards what she should do with her life; the hours stacking against each other in a lost attempt to know what to do with herself. She was feeling nostalgic – going back over the memories of her life, whilst noting, she was never quite good at keeping still or filling the void of where life stilled between tasks. It was an unusual feeling for her, to find herself without any foreseeable reason to be doing anything at all – now that her tenure of being a teacher was over-with. Her husband was happy to see her home earlier than normal, but his joy was the only ray of positivity in her newfound freedom from responsibilities. Despite expecting her to have dinner ready, Deena seemed to thrive of being able to go out to eat instead. Retirement wasn’t something she was embracing – as she quickly points out to her husband, insisting this is just a temporary displacement from having a job rather than a long-term arrangement.

Theirs is a close-knit marriage – they support each other through the adverse and happier moments of life – each giving each other what they need to get through life when life chose to derail their emotional stability. It was clever how they understood what each other needed, whilst being aware of how to act as each others’ sounding board, too. She wanted to remain close to where her brother lived, something her husband accepted and knew was part of what anchoured his wife to the last remaining relative she had in this life. Whilst owning to the fact his wife wasn’t going to find retirement her cuppa tea, he found he’d rather encourage her towards pursuing a career she never had the chance to tackle due to her brother’s needs. In this, you have a soft spot for him, for giving her the nudge she needs to find the confidence to do something she is really passionate about and could give herself leeway to let a new challenge occupy her time.

When the subject broached about reconstruction of a face from a skull is what truly perked my attention because I still remember how fascinated I was by this process from an episode of Macgyver. It’s a part of Forensic Anthropology I found wicked interesting for how scientific methods have progressed to think outside the box in regards to victim identifying practices. I had to smirk and chuckle a bit when a presumption about gender of the corpse was discredited because this was one of the earlier misnomers presented in this case. It is also interesting how Ms Thomas ties everything together and loops it back through a key conspiracy theory which to this day hasn’t found rest years after the original incident.

Due to my interest in Forensics, I found the developing exploration of the skull alluring because it broke-down the science behind how forensics has changed the way in which crimes are solved. You get to have a hands-on descriptively detailed exploration of what the tech did to bring back the dead to a portrait of life – by piecing everything together, you can pull together a model of a person who lived by ‘re-sculpturing the person’ to life using special materials which bring out the likeness of someone who once lived. Having seen this in an episodic tv series aided me to see what I was listening too. Still, the curious bit is how well Ms Thomas showcased the art of this technique but also, didn’t take me out of the threads of the story-line either for the sake of scientific theory and execution.

What was so very curious though is how the missing deceased who is newly identified through the efforts of the police to finally put a name to the remains – is how this person is related to Deena! It draws a cautionary line to how sometimes the people in your family’s past who go missing will one day be found, but it’s how their found you have to prepare yourself as you just never know how their story will end. As you pull closer to Deena’s family, you start to see a picture emerge about her long-lost cousin. His life is pieced back together through family recollections and other tidbits being shared about the years he was missing – where part of her family tried to sort out what might have become of him.

Deena is brought into the fray of uncovering her dead cousin’s story when her great Aunt asked her over for a conversation and an earnest request to help the family uncover the truth. It was there where she saw how complicated her cousin’s life truly was to understand; not to mention the fact there was an unknown person digging into their personal affairs and trying to get information about both the family and her cousin. This is where Deena started to put down the roots of her idea to become an investigative reporter – of following the leads and tracing the origins of a story through putting the pieces back together once they had become fragmented and discarded.

One part which was interesting is where Gary finally took an interest in Deena’s research – when a box arrived which could hold the secrets behind Matthew’s (her missing cousin) back-history. I even liked how the thread of her previous career as a teacher was still ever-present as a previous student of hers was delivering the pizza. It was this dinner break which gave Gary a reason to enquiry about Deena’s progress. As previously it was mentioned he didn’t take an active interest in her affairs – as they had a bit of a separation of active interest in each other’s work. I found that interesting as in my own family, if something was important to someone, everyone was encouraging and supportive – even to the point of offering a sounding board for ideas or just to re-arrange the idea from a new angle of focus.

As Deena grew closer to the truth – she was finding she wasn’t the only person investigating Matthew’s disappearance – in fact, she was nearly circling the same leads as the other ‘investigator’ who was either a few steps ahead of her or right in-line with where her own queries were leading her to venture future into the past to see where Matthew’s own footsteps might lead her to uncover the fuller truth of his disappearance. One of the best parts about her tenacious focus is how she was not afraid to follow every clue which might have insight into Matthew and thereby, a small trace of the truth which was so shrouded from sight now in the present day as if to be forever erased from the memory of those who might have known more than they were willing to share.

I had to agree with Deena about shopping at thrift and antique stores – you get caught inside your own memories and the memories of other times. I also like the fact you can find things no longer available and they can become part of the treasures you enjoy now in your own life. They have histories you might never know yourself but you can appreciate them with renewed love and find that sometimes the best way to curate your own style is looking for things which are being resold years after their original owners have parted with them.

I love how there are people who are in Deena’s life who provide her with new insights into Matthew’s life – such as the person who noticed something about a photograph. In other ways, it was interesting to see how Deena is connected to a lot of people who can aide her in her effort to understand Matthew’s unknown past. Meanwhile, as her path was on a collision course with the other investigator – you are partially surprised by what you find when the two actually meet! I was expecting this to go a different way, but he, in turn, ended up being one of the best people to point her in a direction she might not have considered otherwise! It was as if the closer she came to having all the loose threads resolved, the further she was from the actual truth which tried to remain out of reach.

Whilst Deena was trying to resolve the case, the police were trying to delegate the investigation and let things take their due even if that meant passing off some people to the family. I was truly impressed though how the conspiracy theory angle actually held weight and how Ms Thomas was able to knit this Cosy into a thread of such a well-known event in our History was quite impressive to listen to unravel – this is one thing that I admired most about how she told the story. You think at first it’s a simple answer to why Matthew disappeared and why his death went unknown for so many years – but then, there are other components being pulled into the tapestry of this mystery and which deepen the plausibility of why Matthew might have run into trouble.

on the cosy mystery styling of ms thomas:

I originally listened to this audiobook back in August 2017, wherein I thought for sure I would be posting my review shortly after I had listened to it. However, the key reason I hadn’t is because I only had enough time to listen to the story once before the lightning storms kept me offline due to the high frequency of their arrivals. Summers here are spent pulling plugs and watching the electrical activity in the atmosphere – it’s not kind for those who rely on electronics in their lives, such as computers for book blogging and digital apps to listen to digital audiobooks! Mind you, I hadn’t foreseen what would happen in September nor would I have predicted my health would take several back-steps from Autumn to early Winter 2018.

Therefore, its been a comedy of errors and life moments which took me into February 2018 before I could re-listen to this audiobook and sort out how to talk about my enjoyment of a story which held my attention to where I could not believe how well executed the back-story and the climax were to knit together so much known History into the foundation of a Cosy Mystery series!

I quite literally LOVED listening to this story – yet finding a way to articulate this admiration into a review took a bit of extra time! Sometimes you can find yourself devouring a story with wicked passion but then, how do you fuse your passion for a story and discussion of it’s heart?

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specifically in regards to the audiobook:

As I am relatively new to reviewing audiobooks and listening to them with a greater frequency than of the past, 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.

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

Twice except both times were listening to ‘Sharpe Shooter’. I originally listened to this audiobook closer to the time I adopted it and then, when life took me away from it – I had to wait until I could re-wrap my mind around it in order to properly set my thoughts to rights. The key issue is I didn’t get the chance to take notes the first time round – as I was knitting as I listened to the story! I also was dodging severe lightning storms and tucking into this story every free chance I could which wasn’t the easiest thing to do when your region is plundered regularly with severe storms!

The second time round – I simply tucked into the story – as I was re-shifting back to listening to audiobooks, therefore I didn’t colour as I generally do. I wanted to simply re-listen and re-align my thoughts – whether I caught sight of my original opinions or takaways or not, I wanted to feel as if I had written a review shortly after I listened to the story or whilst I was listening to it as the case is more oft than naught.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Deena: She has such a memorable voice – you can determine Deena from the rest of the characters, plus her slight accent (halfway between a traditional Southern accent and someone from Texas) gave more dimension to her character’s presence. I must admit, I was quite fond of how she portrayed Deena. She came to feel so familiar in the role, you could almost feel as if you’ve previously met Deena! She also has sharp wit and this comes through how the narrator delivered the lines and gave you a believable impression on who Deena would be IRL. 

Supporting Cast: I love when narrators make each character a special component of the story – in this instance, the whole supporting cast makes this feel like a larger ensemble because of how well adjusted the narrator was at switching ‘voices’ per each new character who came into view. What makes this enjoyable as a listener is you don’t feel as if you are listening to a story by a singular ‘voice’ but rather, you have a lot of people all talking turns speaking their parts and giving you a fuller story. Some of the support cast are quite the hoot and holler to listen, too! I love the humour etched out round the edges of the mystery – it is partially what made this an enjoyable read for me!

The older characters: I liked how Ms Mrozek changed her voice to ‘alter the years’ which could be heard in her inflections of dialogue – curiously, whether the older character was male or female, they took on a similar voice and tone; yet this didn’t bother me too much. Sometimes that can become slightly off-putting if there isn’t enough of a separation between the voices but in this case, it felt comfortable because of how she could switch from their perspective and Deena’s.

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

This is definitely one of those audiobooks where I feel it’s ‘theatrically narrated’ – meaning, Ms Mrozek did such a smashing job at bridging that gap between the script and the performance – you felt like you were in a theatre or listening a radio performance! She even drops her voice to accent different characters’ style of speech or she makes some of them sound a bit larger than life – what is classic for her style is how she bounces off the energies of the characters and can make all of them sound so wonderfully ‘fun’ to listen to you… you wonder how she makes so many switches within one round of dialogue! (such as found around 3 hrs and 33 minutes)

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

Hmm,… this is tricky! My first instinct is to say I’d prefer to listen to this series in audio without the print editions – but then again, it might be a clever third listening experience if I had the print to go along with the narration? I’m a bit torn about what to decide to do in this regard, however, I do know since I felt so very keenly attune to how Ms Mrozek presented Deena and the story – I know I won’t soon forget listening to how she performed it! She’s definitely one of the narrators I prefer to listen to and hope I’ll have the chance of hearing her again.

In closing, would I seek out another Madeline Mrozek audiobook?

lol I jumped the final question, didn’t I? Yes, of course!! I love her instincts and I like how she puts her whole heart into her performance! She has great timing and it’s how she etches out this full picture in your mind and imagination that endears you to the characters – it also helps you see the style of the writer whose writing the Mysteries, too! I oft feel audiobook editions heighten the original story – I truly love how attached you can become within an audiobook and by definition, how an audiobook can draw you closer to the writer and the narrator with equal admiration.

The hard part is the narrator changes in the series – starting in Sharpe Edge, Kelley Hazen takes over and the litmus test is seeing if I can make the transition.

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 This audiobook review is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Adopt an Audiobook badge provided by Audiobookworm Promotions

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{SOURCES: Whilst signing up for adopting audiobooks through Audiobookworm Promotions, I sought permission to use the cover art & the book synopsis of the audiobooks I would be adopting to use on my reviews. I was given permission by Audiobookworm Promotions to use these materials. Therefore, the cover art for Sharpe Shooter” and the book synopsis are being used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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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 Friday, 2 March, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Siblings, Small Towne USA, Women's Fiction

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