#SaturdaysAreBookish | Celebrating the first Police Procedural Thriller of this series & my second Autumnal guest author via #SatBookChat: “Murder on the Marshes” (Book One: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase #SpooktasticReads

Posted Saturday, 27 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 3 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Audiobook By: This particular audiobook (‘Murder on the Marshes’) marked the first pre-order I placed on Audible.com when I had my membership with Audible. In the months since August, I decided to switch memberships to Scribd for the time being due to the reduction in cost for a subscription based service for audiobooks – however, I still have an active account on Audible and still use it to listen to audiobooks – either those I’ve purchased (past/ present), the complimentary ones I receive for review and/or the ones I’m either gifted or have won in giveaways. As this was an author I had previously read and loved – I happily awaited the publication date to arrive to where I could start listening to ‘Murder on the Marshes’. I am posting my review of this novel for my own edification and for continuing to want to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I was not obligated to post an honest review nor did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Previously, I did host an interview with the author, Clare Chase and she provided the Press Materials for this series to use on both the interview and on my review if I elected to share one. She is also a guest via my chat on Twitter showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction (inclusive of all sub-genres) @SatBookChat on the 27th of October to discuss this series and her character Tara Thrope.

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Why I was excited about listening to ‘Murder on the Marshes’ and why it took me until October to begin listening to the story during #FraterfestRAT!

A lot of times I have the pleasure of joy of #amlistening to a sampler of the audiobook I want to purchase – however, in rare instances, there is an embargo on having those available publication. Ergo, I was wickedly itching to ‘hear’ the narrator, as listening to audiobooks for me is a brilliantly lovely visceral experience to where I feel pulled into the world a writer creates through the fusion of not just their written words which are eloquently interpreted & brought to life by the narrator – but the actual way in which the narrator voices the characters, sets the tone of the story and the ‘experience’ of hearing the story articulated through spoken dialogue – it’s a lovely immersion of bookish delight – so imagine, trying to ascertain ‘how’ this would sound without a guide? My curiosity nearly killed me,…

I’ve disclosed this before – a narrator can quite literally de-motivate me from listening to an author’s collective works even though I technically try to keep the door ajar to re-try another of their stories (similar of course, if I read a story in print, find it wasn’t my cuppa & try to find a different title of theirs to give a whirl of a chance of fitting my bookish wanderings). For me, the narrator makes/breaks the whole experience – I can give narrators a bone if say, the delivery isn’t quite posh or if it feels like their still gaining traction on their narration style – but overall, if their voice grates in my ears, if their approach is less than reasonable or even plausible – I can feel myself ‘pull out’.

Here’s how I reacted to hearing ‘Murder on the Marshes’
for the very first moment I found it available to ‘hear’:

Having become so dearly transfixed by Alison Campbell’s style of embracing Kay Hunter, I was primed for ‘meeting’ Lucy Brownhill! Even though I’ve heard only a smidge of the first Chapter, I already could *feel!* this was the right narrator – her approach into embracing Tara Thrope echoes Campbell’s Hunter. In finding this realisation, I knew my time spent within ‘Murder on the Marshes’ was going to be epic, brilliant & chilling!

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If you had told me back in *August!* my father would have had a health scare wherein we thought he might have a second stroke (due to issues with his hypertension) – I might not have believed you! I was emotionally taxed and stressed for over three weeks within August awaiting to see if everything would right itself again. Somewhere in those weeks, as I felt numb to reading and completely lost in my reading life as a result – I avoided stories like the plague! I couldn’t get focused on hearing audiobooks nor could I focus on reading them either – the whole month is a bit of a blur except for the emotions I felt as a result of the health crisis my Dad went through.

As a result of that – September started off on hard footing as I had my own share of health issues I had to transition through as well. Ergo, August & September were not the best months for me and this is after five months of Spring being especially wrecking for my health & wellness. However, similar to July being the month I reclaimed my reading joy after a hard Spring, so too, has October become a renewing month for me now that Autumn has taken hold!

Even with two low grade migraines these first weeks of October, I am undeterred – as I personally feel better than I had in the previous two months! Thus, my listening of this new story by Ms Chase was placed on ‘hold’ – even knowing the sequel was due out in October, there is only so much you can do when your facing adversity in life and doing the best you can to find your bookish joy again lost inside the stories you love reading. This is why when October started to draw closer, I knew I would want to seek out some readathons and/or reading challenges – fun events to get myself re-inspired into the stories I had to hold off reading or listening whilst life calmed back down again.

This is how I came to find #FraterfestRAT – which celebrates everything under the October moon from ghosts to Thrillers to crime dramas! It truly is an all-encompassing readathon and for me personally, it felt like the best way to get re-charged & re-fuelled to reading the stories I love during this time of year! I might have had a late start (due to the second migraine!) but for me personally, this readathon gave me the little nudge I needed to begin once again inside ‘Murder on the Marshes’!!

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A notation about Bookouture & Hachette Books:

In [2016] I created a series of interviews featuring #Bookouture authors: Teresa Driscoll (feat. ‘Last Kiss Goodnight’); Natalie Meg Evans (feat. ‘A Gown of Thorns’); Renita D’ Silva (feat. ‘A Mother’ Secret’); Debbie Rix (feat. ‘Daughters of the Silk Road’); Kerry Fisher (feat. ‘After the Lie’); Helen Pollard (feat. ‘The Little French Guesthouse’) and Tom Bale (feat. ‘See How They Run’). I’ve been striving to collect all of these stories for my personal library whilst intending to share my ruminative thoughts – as I personally love to showcase a guest feature ahead of reading the stories which intrigue my bookish heart! Of this list, as of Thanksgiving 2017 – I have happily acquired the audiobook version of ‘The Little French Guesthouse’ which is a next listen of mine this year! I have more to share about how I acquired this audiobook when I share my ruminations!

Whilst for the past few years I’ve been a book blogger reading INSPY (faith-based) and Motivational stories (of fiction and Non-Fiction) from Hachette Books (USA) imprints: FaithWords and Center Street. At the time of coordinating this interview with Ms Chase, I had missed the fact ‘Bookouture’ was acquired by Hachette UK. This marks my first guest feature and showcased story for Hachette UK : Bookouture! (see also the announcement of the acquisition)

Meanwhile, as per my announcement recently featured on The Sunday Post, No. 6 – I purchased a copy of the digital audiobook version of ‘Murder on the Marshes’ which I am looking forward to listening too. My ruminations are forthcoming on behalf of this first installment of the Tara Thrope series as being this is my own purchase I am not obliged to post my reflections on this novel, I am choosing to showcase my reactions as Ms Chase is an author I personally love reading! (see also my review of ‘You Think You Know Me’)

Previously, you will remember, I crossed paths with Ms Chase through my readings of ChocLitUK (of which I am a reviewer) whilst I have had the pleasure of getting to know her personally through my bi-monthly chat @SatBookChat (previously known as @ChocLitSaturday).

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On my connection to Clare Chase: When I started a chat in [2014] my path crossed with Ms Chase as she was a regular chatter of what is now known as @SatBookChat. Ms Chase and I started to notice our reading habits were aligning with each other, and her conversations were happy editions to my week as I liked finding someone else who liked the same types of stories I was gravitating towards myself. We continued to ‘chat’ about our reading habits even outside of #ChocLitSaturday (the previous name of the chat), which was a blessed joy for me.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Ms Chase through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse whilst I host #SatBookChat and privately as well. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available. This also applies to hosting a guest feature by the author I share a connection.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | Celebrating the first Police Procedural Thriller of this series & my second Autumnal guest author via #SatBookChat: “Murder on the Marshes” (Book One: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase #SpooktasticReadsMurder on the Marshes
Subtitle: A gripping murder mystery thriller that will keep you turning the pages
by Clare Chase
Source: Purchased | Personal Library
Narrator: Lucy Brownhill

As the sun rises, a wealthy young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat.

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live... or die.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781786814319

ASIN: B07FPNP92B

Also by this author: You Think You Know Me

Also in this series: Murder on the Marshes


Genres: Amateur Detective, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Bookouture, Hachette UK

on 1st August, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 45 minutes (unabridged)

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The Tara Thrope Mysteries:

Published by: Bookouture (@bookouture)

an imprint of HachetteUK (@HachetteUK)

Murder on the Marshes by Clare ChaseDeath on the River by Clare Chase

Murder on the Marshes (book one)

Death on the River (book two)
celebrated its Pub Day → 17th October, 2018*

*this is a digital first release (ebook)

whilst other formats will follow including an audiobook!

Converse via: #TaraThrope, #Thriller and #Bookouture

About Ms Clare Chase

Clare Chase

Clare Chase writes mysteries set in her home city of Cambridge and is fascinated by the location’s contrasts and contradictions. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books. She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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my review of murder on the marshes:

When you first start to listen to Murder on the Marshes, you don’t have too much time to consider what is being disclosed to you – the somberness is there, along with the tension of discovery – but to better understand the scene and what is happening – those moments are placed on hold. You are only giving a short glimpse of what is there – a flickering of an image if this were a film reel before it fades out and the impression of that moment, of that incomplete scene lingers as you enter the next chapter. This was a unique POV to be placed inside right before moving straight into present day – I love a good flashback sequence like the next person but this one felt honestly unique by how Chase gave only “just enough” to keep us curious before moving forward with a keenly taut & tight delivery of current events in Tara and Blake’s timelines.

As we shifted into present day, we arrive inside Tara Thrope’s life where the nightmares of her past are never far outside the shadows lingering outside her residence. Though those shadows were more ominous now – as someone could very well be lying in wait to return and to cause her duress. It was this uncertainty – of sensing something she couldn’t chase down herself which pinned her on edge and gave her the unease of realising she was as vulnerable now as she had been previously; she could not control all situations nor of someone who felt they could harass her into a panic. Part of this was due to how she arrived home but the other half of it stemmed from receiving a parcel in the post – a parcel which held such a curiously normal object but which was sent with malice and not a kindness of heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed observing DI Blake on scene – where Professor Seabrook is first discovered and where his investigation begins – ahead of meeting Tara where he is pulled into investigating how what happened to Tara might or might not interconnect with the Seabrook case. During this scene, there was a lovely piece of juxtaposition where Art History and crime investigation merged into a beautiful symmetry of insight – as Blake started to talk about Millais’s Ophelia. This was also a small gesture of introducing us into the reserved and private DI Blake – a bloke who did not readily disclose bits about himself unless he was in company he trusted.

It was around this time I had already noticed another series was being hinted at in the back of my mind: as the case itself was being discussed, it brought back memories of Scott and Bailey: Season One as this involved a roundtable approach to discussing the details and potential leads. I love Police Procedurals for this one reason – you get to tuck close to different opinions, different attitudes and personalities and different approaches in sleuthing out the truth. Everyone has to work together and everyone has a different role to place in the pursuit of justice. I think this is why I read a lot of mysteries and why I enjoy watching them as well – the percolation of personalities against the background of working together to solve a case.

Tara’s boss Giles is dearly self-centred, self-absorbed and focused solely on inking out more profit for the publication he hired Tara to write for even though Tara wasn’t entirely sure if she were on the right side of journalism; as she questioned the publication’s moral code (if it had one!). Still. It was a living and a job; perhaps not the one which would sustain Tara too long into the future as you sensed she was at her right’s end knowing how to stick to her principals and not feeling she’s too far outside her own sense of morality about working with Giles.

Tara turnt philosophical about her own life as she starts to investigate the late Professor’s life – especially as she observes the irony of how one door closed, another could be closing behind it – in reflection to how no one knows ahead of time when their own path shall take an exit and how others are able to continue moving forward. It hit Tara to the core to realise how the Professor lost her life could in effect be a newsfeed yet to be released about her own sudden passing if she couldn’t put the pieces of this together fast enough to survive the threat looming over her head.

As Tara started to go about her regular routines, you gathered a sense she was torn between being self-assured in knowing how to protect herself and wanting to stay within the perimeters of what she was legally allowed to carry with her without getting her into trouble. This was a component of concern for DI Blake as well – wanting to keep a ready eye on Tara but without tipping his hand or his colleagues as they wanted to keep Tara at a bit of a distance with a keen interest on what she saw and heard.

DI Blake was finding out Academia was nearly a closed shoppe – how those who knew the personal lives of the Professors were a bit mum and quirkily evasive when attempting to respond to background questions regarding Samantha Seabrook. Each person in turn of being interviewed gave him a measure of influence and personality into the life of Seabrook but each time he felt he was making a firm progress towards understanding more than the superficial facts and the innuendos that can flutter round a University – Blake found himself being cut off or at least given more questions than the answers he would have preferred.

Tara had somehow mastered the art of listening when it comes to interrogating people who only believe your interviewing them for a presumable reasonable request from a journalist. The way she intuited which questions she could ask and how proved her instincts were sharpened in a way others might only hope to achieve. The only downfall she had was allowing her emotions and her more innate reactions to overtake herself as she’s being the one directing the conversation – it is hard to separate oneself from the subject of your work – especially for a journalist on the trail towards proving who may or may not have guilt in a crime. For Tara, this pursuit of hers was far more personal than what it would appear on the surface and knowing that, she had to work extra hard at not showing her hand too early.

Blake returns to talk to Tara though in her condition – surviving a horrid bike accident and having to have dealt with Askey. This particular bloke rubbed me the wrong way the whole time Tara was speaking to him, as he started off as an informant, someone you have to talk to as an investigative journalist and he was shifting into a person I would consider of interest to the case at hand. He had this personality of a snake, slithering in and out of the right side of the law and story whilst he maintained a presence where he knew he had the upper hand on Tara. The downside to that is that it took Tara a longer period of time to understand she could be prickling close to danger and that perhaps, trusting this contact as an informant was not the best course of action she could have taken. There was something about the mannerisms of this character – how he was disclosing things he ought not know about giving you the impression he held more cards in his hand than Tara held in hers which switched the whole scene for me to be honest.

There is a turning moment during this meet-greet with Tara and Blake, where the conversation over a shared pizza clues you into the intentions of the author for wanting to bridge in a bit of her Romantic Suspense stories into her Police Procedural Thrillers. This relationship and connection between the two characters was brewing rather organically – as they were each vulnerable in their own rights, each struggling with baggage they could not fully disclose to one another and yet, there was something shared between them which eluded to they each were starting to draw a curious eye on each other. The interesting bit there is Tara was wholly free to pursue a relationship but Blake wasn’t quite as free at the moment their paths crossed though his internal thoughts swayed you to think that would not always be the case. I personally loved seeing this develop as much as I enjoyed the development of the professional relationship between Kay Hunter & Barnes (throughout the Kay Hunter series) – theirs was never crossed into the personal arena, as Kay is happily married to Adam but on the professional angle of it, I saw a beautiful symmetry of honesty in how both Ms Amphlett and Ms Chase approached writing these kinds of connections between their characters.

Blake and Tara were both emotionally distant from what they wanted to feel – he had to present himself at a distance to survive being a detective but for Tara, as her past is clouded and cluttered with situations most people might feel themselves retreat inward or at the very least remain housebound – Tara took a different tact entirely. She hardened herself to handle what life was going to throw at her – to give herself an edge and had a will to survive no matter what. Blake to his credit, started to notice how Tara held herself, reacted to his questions and gave her a few inches of respite rather than call her on it. For him, he wanted to have a working relationship with Tara – where he could return to talk to her again without the fear of feeling he had already lost her trust.

As we peer through the layers of this mystery, the thrilling bits of the suspense were an undercurrent of unanswered questions surrounding the victim, Seabrook. Who on the surface felt like an innocent victim of the circumstances she was found – yet as Tara and Blake ran duelling investigations which started to run parallel, they were soon finding there was more to this Professor than meets the eye. For starters, she wasn’t the kind-hearted Professor who enjoyed encouraging her flock if anything she was the instigator – the one who liked to stir pots and see if she could cause a disturbance rather than use her position to encourage academic thought and progress. She was a heavy-handed Professor who couldn’t write a tactful observation or criticism if you gave her an open-ended deadline; it simply wasn’t something which would come naturally. Hers was a personality which was a bit hard to understand as she had a hardness to her and yet, she had a second personality running concurrent to her public one – where she would take risks and chances with men; of having relationships which were a bit more covert than they were honourable. It was almost as if the professional life she maintained was an illusion of truth which was not entirely honing in on her intra-personal affairs.

Tara had one ace in her sleeve which was a retired cop (Kemp) who gave her advice – first when she was seventeen and now, as she was on the fringe of questioning how to hold it together whilst she had to be brave and courageous to go back out to investigate. He had the kind of advice which could keep her alive but also keep her out of the clutches of the police for there were certain actions she could take which might place her own freedom in jeopardy. This was an interesting segue of the story as it was captialising on the realities Tara’s contemporary women were also facing in trying to be self-prepared for a situation they might start to feel as being overpowered and without a way for defence.

There were moments in her current investigation – where questioning and researching her persons of interest or chasing up a lead she had stumbled across drew Tara’s mind back to the past. This is where the duality of the narrative is further revealled; knitting together the opening bits of Murder on the Marshes and is evocative of a larger scope of narrative being stitched together in the background of where our present day adventures with Tara Thrope are headed. There are two trajectories really – how her back-history leads through the present and how her back-history is still relevant now, wherein you might have felt it was closed and solved. Watching how these were being merged together was quite lovely as I felt Ms Chase gave amble attention to both focuses and by doing so, re-grounded us into Tara’s personal history whilst granting us a keen insight into how she processes her life and why everything about this particular case was allowing the past to haunt her as everything she was doing now was re-hashing what she had already survived.

I was rather curious how this back-history was going to continue to affect Tara – not just for what it was implying but to a greater extent, if this would become a period of her life which would seek to define her and bolster her courage – but also, give her a fuell of purpose, to aide others and perhaps do more with her life than she could achieve as a journalist. There is a scene where even Blake observes this sentiment about Tara; how responsive she is and how credible she is with instinctive reactions in dealing with everyone she interviews. She had a mind for criminology and she could pierce the clues together like a bonefide detective. This also reflected a character who was based on a real-life woman who gave back to families who faced similar tragedies of her own situation (Jane Alexander) as reflected through the tv film Citizen Jane. Since I had seen the film prior to finishing listening to this story-line, it clued me into possibilities about how sometimes you can discover a hidden talent and truth within yourself which re-routes your future and gives you a measure of responsibility you might not have realised you could undertake as a new path.

When it comes to secondary characters and characters of whom I would love to see more often in future installments would be the pathologist Agneta Lawson. The reason Chase’s pathologist held my eye is because she had a unique POV on Blake whilst she was aces at her job; the added benefit truly being the narrator brought her to life, gave her a unique voicing which allowed me to consider her position and her character a bit more than if she hadn’t been presented in this unique way to a reader. This is one reason I love listening to audiobooks as you sometimes find yourself able to discern certain aspects of stories which might be lost or left unseen if your reading a story in print. And, vice versa of course! I also have a personal interest in pathologists as evidenced by the fact I love Abby from NCIS who makes a brill job at highlighting how hard their jobs really are outside of the work of Duckie (from the same series) equally brings forward.

Despite all the advancements Tara and Blake had made towards being a unified front, Tara was a civilian and Blake was having more trouble separating them as a ‘duo’ and respecting the fact she was on the outside. It was becoming especially difficult if you factored in his own personal strife and adversities affecting his mind and heart whilst he was working – as no matter how tough one appears to become for a high risk job where lives were on the line, being human was the one element which left everything subjective and challenging. Blake couldn’t resolve his personal life fast enough in order to have a less stressed professional life. You felt for Blake and you understood why Tara was approaching Blake the way she had been – as this is where it all felt a bit murky where two people who might never have meet were suddenly entwined due to circumstances.

As Tara continued to get unwanted mail, the more I started to question who could be behind the mailings as it was a continuing conversation of sorts – little nudges of clues towards guiding Tara towards an endgame she did not yet understand. Almost as if the sender was hoping she would put the pieces together a bit faster and then, know exactly why she was getting the mail and how this mail was connected to the case she was investigating alongside DI Blake. The further we go into this mystery the more we see how the layers are pooling together – how the Seabrook case was only the tipping stone towards a larger story, a complexity of connections and how Tara’s life was hanging in the balance at one point.

Chase had a segue of interest outside of the main threads of interests wherein we tuck into the personal life of Tara Thrope – where we get to become better acquainted with her mother, an actress and of how Tara’s relationship with her Mum is sometimes a bit rockier than most daughters would prefer. Still, her family might have their quirks and their troubles but they were still approachable which I enjoyed seeing as it meant that they still cared about each other and were still an important part of Tara’s life. I felt from the very beginning her personal life with her family might be strained or close to it due to what originally occurred – referencing here how Kemp entered her life and why. Yet, the curious bit is how her Mum helped her pin down quite a few clues she couldn’t have sorted without her help. I had to smile there – as despite everything, Tara’s Mum held answers she couldn’t have found elsewhere!

One observation I was making was how this is like one giant chess board – where the players you’re not expecting to be the most evasive are in Academia & the ones who surprise you are outside of it; everyone moving towards each other & then away – great drama that! I would imagine it is hard to juggle the backstory against the current day cases whilst giving each equal measure of importance; plus having the believablility of solid continuity about the setting (Cambridge) and the protocols associated with both police work and journalism. Nothing was sacrificed to convince you of the other things taking place – uniting you in a lovely puzzle of a crime drama where even the pieces you might feel you should overlook could prove to be the one piece you need to pull the whole picture together!

Specifically Cambridge and an insular setting:

The city itself is like a labyrinth and a myriad catacomb of intersecting lives where Academics and Academia lifestyle sit within the centre. People typically rely more on their feet to travel round the tight corners of the city either by foot or bike; thereby giving this an interesting dynamic to how the worst crashes and bang-ups are really caused by either pedestrians or cyclists. I could relate to that in one way myself – as there is a walking trail overrun with cyclists who never yield to those of us hiking – when I read about how Tara went down on her bike, I could see how such collisions could happen – either maliciously or non-maliciously due to the high volume of ‘traffic’ and how fast everyone intends to be travelling.

Cambridge itself starts to truly shine inbetween the scenes? Of letting us into this insular world where its labyrinth of secrets are percolating below the surface and lying in wait to be revealled – thus giving you another element of suspense and a keen reason to feel grounded into the story. I’ve read a few stories set in Cambridge & I’ve watched crime shows set there – but somehow, it all clicked into focus as I was reading Murder On The Marshes – the whole world just enveloped me allowing me to see it through a different pair of eyes and in a wholly new light of understanding.

Climbing was a key component of the story-line and it was a curious addition as it reminded me of other urban sports which transform cityscapes into a playground for adults or children (depending on the sport!) wherein the city itself is used for what is potentially a thrill of adrenaline! Stateside this can be true of the culture of American Ninja Warrior (both the series and the athletes who compete and train) as well as the artfulness of parkour (a sport where you use what is round you and turn it into an obstacle course of sorts to challenge your dexterity, physicality and stamina). It did not surprise me then, threading through this story was the aspect of a group of climbing enthusiasts who might take the area round Cambridge as their own personal ‘challenge’ ground.

Content Note:

For the most part, this Thriller is without anything too graphic in the background of the story – there are a few instances where there were certain descriptions which were uncomfortable but not nightmarish as it was inclusive of the crimes being described – specifically though involving the back-story about Tara and what was driving her forward after all these years.

Kemp was a strong part in how she survived (the retired cop) and in moments of her memories being re-examined as she worked this current case, more details were being revealled to where you might hear (or read if that is your preference) things that were slightly more grisly but not outside the cosier side of crime dramas where what is overheard is not overtly violent; they were what they were and I was thankful Ms Chase made choices which kept this series dramatic and psychologically bent vs being graphically violent. It was a choice I championed as the story progressed and is why I am thankful I can continue to follow this series per each new installment as they arrive.

In regards to the vulgarity inclusive of the story, I didn’t find it overtly an issue for me – mostly as it wasn’t overly peppered and the word choices were quiet benign which I appreciated.

on the suspenseful thrilling styling of ms chase:

Ms Chase truly knows how to tuck you into the background of the setting for this series – as she bridges the gap between knowing Cambridge outright and seeing at it for one of the first times through this series – straight down to how you might observe the sleeping swans. What I loved most about it is how Chase built this psychological suspenseful core into the background of the series – wherein she really went through the emotional lens & pulled in a taut Thriller

Chase dearly succeeded in making it such a well-conceived and tightly woven arc of narrative – mostly as even when I felt I knew the direction we were heading into there were a few things I either overlooked or hadn’t pierced together quite as quickly as Tara & Blake! Their quite the duo as well – which I enjoyed as I have to admit I love having characters who either strictly keep a professional relationship and/or explore a more personal connection lateron. It works well if you have two people who either don’t get off well at first meeting or if they always held a healthy respect for each other and decided to pull their lives closer together. In this instance, it is how Chase organically found a way to bridge the lives of Tara and Blake together which held the most artful impact. Mostly as Tara and Blake were at opposites going into the story (per obvious reasons) but then Chase re-aligned them with purpose and the heart of the series shined thereafter as they were given more dimension to explore both the case and each other. This willingness to examine their quasi-personal lives with each other is a firm nod of her Romantic Suspense foundation as an author.

One critical nod of appreciation was how Chase was able to keep Blake sympathetic but without losing Tara Thrope’s independence nor her need to fuell her own investigation if only to help her deal with what was evolving through her character’s arc within this first installment. He was going off a bit in regards to protocol even straight after discussing the manner in which he would approach her from a staff meeting at his headquarters – but as you shift through the scenes and stay invested in what is being said or observed, you can better understand why Blake saw Tara more as an equal than as a civilian who might be crossing too many lines which were strictly forbidden.

On an interesting note: Tara’s Mum chose against having an abortion even though Tara’s father was more inclined towards it; thereby this was an unusual piece of back-story for a lead character as generally it isn’t discussed about a Woman’s Right to Choose and whether or not she opted out of an abortion choosing instead to carry a child to term and keeping the child rather than give up for adoption. I felt it was well placed in Tara’s story and also gave a different angle of entrance into the ongoing discussion. Similarly, I am hosting a conversation with another author (Marlene Hauser) who wrote about this subject from the opposite point of view on Sunday.

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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):

This is my first audiobook to hear narrated by Lucy Brownhill though I believe it shall be only the first of many I shall be listening too!

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Tara Thrope: Despite the emotions affecting Tara, she holds herself confidently and she approaches her investigative pursuits with a self-assurance she can handle what will come of it even if she is wavering a bit in that regard. She has a survival’s attitude and she keeps a lot of her emotions to herself but she also has a vulnerability about her which you can see traces of when she has her guard down. I especially appreciated how Brownhill approached presenting Tara Thrope to us and I felt understood exactly who she was and how Tara was evolving in her own personal journey through the story.

DI Blake: Blake comes across with the full weight of being a Detective Inspector whose been on the job long enough to have seen it all and humbled enough to know he won’t ever understand half of what he’s called out to investigate. He has a soulfulness about him – a deep thinker (courtesy of his Mum; the Art History angle her specialty) and one who takes his job with a seriousness that expects the same level of integrity by his peers.

Secondary characters:

(Pathologist) Agneta* Lawson: Strong and confident – Ms Lawson comes on scene with a purpose in her step and you can tell she takes pride in giving Blake a bit of a rib every now and then. They have history and their working relationship hasn’t suffered thankfully. (*) as I initially heard this story I thought her name was Annette until I spoke about this story in @SatBookChat and Ms Chase kindly revealled the proper spelling of her name!

Giles: A prickly boss who makes you thankful not every boss is quite like him. However, he had a few redeemable qualities which Brownhill capitalised upon and brought his self-centred personality out quite well!

Simon Askey: This character felt almost like a background character at first and then, there was a critical clue towards how this might be a bonefide person of interest or at the very least a secondary character I ought to keep my eyes on – he was a bit snarky and smarmy. He had an inferior complex the narrator brought out well – his personality didn’t sit well with me, and he had this way of alarming Tara in ways she was not properly prepared to handle. The accent given to him added to the illusion this is one bloke you want to steer yourself round in a very wide berth! (*) in the afternoon after @SatBookChat I enquired with Ms Chase if ‘Asbree’ was correct or if I was mishearing the name, my second guess was ‘Askey’ and blessedly I guessed right!

Chiara Laurito (spoken as Kiara): This character has a distinctive accent – similar to how Askey is presented but when I first heard her name coming through my earphones I heard “Kilari” which is why I’m going to be working on a post about cast listings for audiobooks! Again, I was blessed Ms Chase helped me pull together the name I overheard vs the name as writ in the book! This is also a strong point towards one reason I also love listening to books whilst reading them in print – as I can see certain small points like proper names as their meant to be seen and heard – and yes, this shows my dyslexia running interference but I presume others might struggle similarly to me as well. In regards strictly to character – this was one of victims of Seabrook’s ire and intense scrutiny.

There were a few secondary and background characters with accents: I love when narrators switch things up a bit and find a way to distinguish characters by not just changing how they intone what their say per character but find small gestures of differences – such as using different accents or giving them impression different characters will ‘sound’ uniquely from one another as they originate from different places (outside of the UK). Being this is set in England – it is also believable there could be different dialects and articulations for different parts of the country.

Of all the secondary and minor characters, one which stood out the most truly was Tara’s Mum – when you heard her against her daughter, you didn’t hear one singular narrator but two distinctive voices each lending your ear to believing you were listening to two different characters voiced by two different narrators! I loved how this effect presented itself in-sync with listening to those passages where they were speaking – as Tara’s Mum held more assurance of self in her voice whereas you felt Tara was still struggling a bit to embrace where she was in her life and where she’d rather be headed. She was at a cross-roads throughout most of the story and it reflected in how she was being voiced – almost as if she always had too much weighing on her mind.

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

Dramatic narrative is how I would classify this styling – similar to how Alison Campbell narrates the Kay Hunter series – where you are pulled into the story directly through the emotional / psychological connections you are responding to as the narrator articulates the story. It truly becomes a personal experience as you feel closer somehow to the stories which are narrated like this as they become intrapersonal.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

I love how Murder on the Marshes was performed – from the accents, to the changing styles between genders (male vs female) and how brilliantly the different dialects were presented per each new character who was coming in-scene. The issues I had with sorting out proper names wasn’t the fault of the narrator as I do struggle knowing how to properly spell a name I’m listening to via an audiobook; thus prompting me to put this into a proper blog post this Autumn/Winter.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

Blessedly the quality was without hindrances and the background was smooth and crisp – just the way I prefer an audiobook to sound! The setting itself provided insta-atmosphere but it wasn’t until I was entrenched hearing the audiobook where I fully understood how much the setting plays a key role in the ambiance but also the momentum of the story itself to where I felt hugged close to Cambridge and the surrounding area in such a new way of understanding I felt immediately connected to this narration.

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

I would very much like to pick up a paperback copy of this novel at some point and then re-listen to the audiobook – to sort out some of the words and names I was hearing but struggled to blog about as those smaller points are sometimes lost to me as I listen to audio versions. I don’t generally mind unless I want to talk about an aspect of a story and then, struggle to know if I’ve sorted out the right name or spelling for what I am discussing. This particular experience brought to mind that perhaps I have a lot of endearing names for all the audiobooks I’ve listened to and reviewed these past two years? So, yes, I would dearly want to read and listen to this story! Though similar to Kay Hunter – this is a series I strictly want to be introduced to (first) via each new audiobook edition!

In closing, would I seek out another Lucy Brownhill audiobook?

I’m truly hoping Ms Brownhill will continue to narrate the Tara Thrope series – not just for continuity which I appreciate in serial fiction on audiobook (as generally narrators can be switched out in future installments) but because of how well Brownhill befits the role of narrating this particular series!

As I listened to Murder on the Marshes I ought to mention it Brownhill herself who pulled me through such a viscerally stimulating version of this story and series – hugging me close to the characters themselves and brilliantly illuminated the world in which they lived. I dearly wanted to continue to take this journey into the Tara Thrope Mysteries and see what was going to await my ears next to listen too!

Happily during #SatBookChat it was confirmed by Ms Chase Ms Brownhill is the narrator for ‘Death on the River’ and I couldn’t be happier! (read Ms Chase’s tweet) However, I couldn’t contain my excitement & my joyfulness in hearing this news which you can clearly see & read through my own tweeted reply! Trust me – you can become dearly attached to a narrator who has an intuitive conveyance of characters & the essence of the story a writer has written – so much so – I find they heightened the stories & give readers a distinctively unique lens in which to retreat into a writer’s mind & imagination.

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This is an audiobook review by a reader who has previously appreciated the Suspenseful styling of Ms Clare Chase and has found a new series in which to follow as her career moves forward with Bookouture!

Thank you #Fraterfestrat for the nudge!

#FraterFestRAT banner created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Marko BlaževićFun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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Be sure to read the #SatBookChat feeds to see where the convo took us during @SatBookChat. We meet-up at 11a NYC | 4p UK on Saturdays if you want to join our conversations. Everyone is welcome to attend – readers, reviewers, book bloggers, and writers alike – sharing our love for Romance & Women’s Fiction stories.

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On Saturday, the 27th during @SatBookChat we discussed the components of this Thriller by examining certain elements of how the story was constructed & how MS Chase approached writing specific aspects of the first installment inasmuch as the overall series which is still in-progress for future stories. The second has already been released into ebook & will follow hereafter in audiobook (& hopefully print). I felt truly honoured to discuss this novel and to bring this series to a wider audience – as it is the kind of story where you can appreciate the layers knitted into it and the dramatic way the story unfolds.

I will be compiling a transcript of sorts of both this conversation & for the convo we shared during the chat with our first Autumnal guest Brittany Fuller. If you’d like to get a headstart on either – please direct your attention to our chat’s main feeds @SatBookChat or follow our tag: #SatBookChat. Replies & comments on previous chats are always welcome and please know you can drop-in whenever time allows!

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I seriously can’t wait to find out when *Death on the River* releases as I very much an eager to tuck back into Tara Thrope’s life and see how she deals with all the changes of her life since we first met her in *Murder on the Marshes*

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{Sources: Cover art for “Murder on the Marshes” & “Death on the River”, the book synopsis, author biography and the author photograph of Clare Chase were provided by the author Clare Chase and are being used with permission. #SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog graphics created in Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish banner, #FraterFestRAT banner created using: (Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Marko Blažević) and the comment box banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

I’m a social reader | I share my bookish life via Twitter

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FraterfestRAT 2018
  • #SpooktasticReads 2018

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 Saturday, 27 October, 2018 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookouture, Crime Fiction, England, Equality In Literature, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, Modern Day, Psychological Suspense, Vulgarity in Literature




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3 responses to “#SaturdaysAreBookish | Celebrating the first Police Procedural Thriller of this series & my second Autumnal guest author via #SatBookChat: “Murder on the Marshes” (Book One: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase #SpooktasticReads

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderfully detailed and insightful review, Jorie! I loved taking part in the chat yesterday too, and your questions really got me thinking. I love the way that you’ve captured so many of the different aspects of the book and its atmosphere in your write-up above – all the elements that were most important to me. I’m so very pleased to know that you enjoyed the audiobook! (I want to get hold of more of Lucy Brownhill’s work now, too!)

    • Happy New Year, Ms Chase!

      I was trying to keep the hope going to dig into “Death on the River” this December but that Winter virus I succumbed too really wrecked me! :( I am listening to the audiobook this first week of January instead. I wanted dearly to listen to both stories during the same year, but physically I was really overcome with the virus. Blessedly, this New Year’s Eve I took to my blog and to bookish Twitter, whilst routing through the book blogosphere – to seek out new bloggers as I visited the ones I love reading already. It was a lovely bookish New Year’s for me, as it felt good just to get back out here and see what everyone is reading and sharing!

      I truly loved hosting you for #SatBookChat – we’re meeting up 3x this January, as on the 5th we are celebrating the #HistRom of Caroline Tinley (her interview was featured this NYE) whilst I also am confirming an author in February. It is becoming a lovely New Year for @SatBookChat as a result!

      Reading your thoughts again on my review, truly re-touched my heart. I am also striving to blog the heart out of the stories I am reading (or listening too) in order to best convey what my reactions were as I was within their worlds. I try to honour the stories and to give the writer(s) back honest impressions as I sort out how to talk about the story, the characters and how it was fused together. I am thankful when someone drops by and lets me know that something I’ve said has staid with them or in this case, if something I’ve shared has helped the writer.

      Here is to a very happy New Year’s – I can’t wait to continue to cheer for your stories as I know you have things in development! Soon, I’ll be chattering with you all about the sequel but for tonight, thank you for blessing my life with these characters! Many wonderful blessings extended to you!

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