#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “Death on the River” (Book Two: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase, narrated by Lucy Brownhill [an audiobook I began listening to during #FraterfestRAT 2019]

Posted Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: In the months since August 2018, I decided to switch memberships to Scribd 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. I took a brief hiatus in my subscription services for Scribd – especially from June-October 2019; resuming the service on 24th October during the #SpooktasticReads readathon.

I previously placed a pre-order for the first audiobook in this series “Murder on the Marshes” whilst I submitted a purchase request (for the print edition) at my local library for the third novel “Death Comes to Call”; which they accepted and the book is being added to their card catalogue this Autumn 2019.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Death on the River” direct from the publisher Bookouture in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

It should be noted: 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 was a guest via my chat on Twitter showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction (inclusive of all sub-genres) @SatBookChat on the 27th of October, 2018 to discuss this series and her character Tara Thorpe.

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Why I was thankful to begin “Death on the River” during #FraterfestRAT 2019 and how it has become a tradition of mine to read a Claire Chase Thriller:

Unfortunately, due to my health afflictions throughout [2018] and the increased frequencies of my chronic migraines – I had a lot of trouble shifting back into reading and/or listening to the audiobooks I had planned to focus on for review considerations. This is one of the audiobooks I had to push forward until I could give it my full attention. Due to the distance from acquiring it and when I could honestly listen to it – the series has evolved rather quickly! As I noticed each of the individual installments of this series released quite frequently back-to-back without too much delay between them.

Since my review of “Murder on the Marshes” this series has grown and has become a complete set of four stories which are the following: Murder on the Marshes, Death on the River, Death Comes to Call and Murder in the Fens.

One observation did sadden me – I cannot find the release dates for the next two audiobooks as the previous two installments were released shortly after the ebook and paperbacks. I was hoping Ms Brownhill was commissioned to narrate the third and fourth novels given how attached I’ve become in hearing her embrace the characters – giving us a wholly organic evolution of their essences and placing us directly in an emotionally complex series which you honestly don’t want to beg off for sleep! I’ll simply have to remain hopeful further announcements will eventually be made if and when the series resumes to be released into audio.

The reason I was wicked thrilled for a bit of a nudge during #FraterfestRAT 2019 – which has apparently become my ‘tradition’ to read a Clare Chase Thriller during the readathon – now two years strong here on Jorie Loves A Story – is I needed a segue back into reading Thrillers! I have struggled with my focus as foresaid and this readathon gave me the best [block] of time to just re-settle my heart into the stories themselves. I happily populated a *thread of tweets on Twitter and had the most joy in re-discovering where I would be picking up the story-line next to #TaraThorpe!

This is why readathons are a reader’s delight – they allow us the chance to rediscover why we love reading and they tend to take the pressure off the guilt whenever we cannot attach into the series we desire to be reading straight-away!

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Why I am enjoying engaging with Tara Thorpe & her series:

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.

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.

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 believability 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!

-quoted from my review of 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 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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#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “Death on the River” (Book Two: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase, narrated by Lucy Brownhill [an audiobook I began listening to during #FraterfestRAT 2019]Death on the River
Subtitle: A gripping and unputdownable English Murder Mystery
by Clare Chase
Source: Direct from Publisher
Narrator: Lucy Brownhill

Meet Tara Thorpe – she’s Cambridge Police’s newest recruit… but her dark past is never far behind her.

When a body is pulled from the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of town, everybody assumes it was a tragic accident. But Detective Tara Thorpe, newly joined and determined to prove herself, suspects there’s more to the story.

Tara is desperate to investigate further, but her supervisor Patrick Wilkins has other ideas. He would rather die than let this ambitious upstart show him up – even if it means some digging in Tara’s secret past to keep her under his thumb. After all, it’s not like he can report her – everyone knows that his boss Detective Garstin Blake and Tara have a history…

When another body is found, it becomes clear that there’s a killer on the loose. Could the murders be linked to the secrets that Tara has been keeping from her team… and can she solve the case before another innocent dies?

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781786817402


Also by this author: You Think You Know Me

Also in this series: Murder on the Marshes

Published by Bookouture, Hachette UK

on 22nd October, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 10 hours and 3 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 ChaseDeath Comes to Call by Clare ChaseMurder on the Fens by Clare Chase

Murder on the Marshes (book one) | (see also Review)

Death on the River (book two)

Death Comes to Call (book three) ← local library purchased!

Murder on the Fens (book four)

More insights & ruminations forthcoming on this series to Jorie Loves A Story!

Converse via: #TaraThorpe, #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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a notation about the relationship between blake & thorpe:

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.

These were my observations as I listened to Murder on the Marshes – what I was most keen on finding as I dug into Death on the River is the continuation of this relationship. We hit a sweet spot in their connection during the first installment and similar to why I appreciate the ‘team’ behind Kay Hunter in Amphlett’s series (of the title character) – I was enjoying the instincts Chase was bringing into her own series with Thorpe!

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my review of death on the river:

We’re greeted by an ominously honest observation of the crime scene – whilst pulled through keen talking points about the evidence of what can be observed on-scene whilst having those points bridged by physical attributes of the Fens themselves. This is a thankful repose of insight for those of us across the Pond (thus unfamiliar with the setting) as it aligns us with the observational evidence the investigative team is seeing and how their process must begin to sort out the details left behind to be found. It’s a rather grim scene but there are a few clues to be tucked away for lateron.

Shifting off the scene, we re-enter Tara’s life quite readily thereafter, finding a woman [Cancross] is insisting on speaking with her at her door. She’s the kind of pushy and determined sort who wants to dig into Tara’s past – to pull something out of Tara’s past which could then be used as leverage for her own personal advantages. She wants to almost guilt Tara into helping her – thus placing further leverage on Tara and do what she needed to compel her to take a keen interest in the case being presented. A bit of a gull of wits to do that – to seek someone out just because you thought you understood what motivates her and then, insist they are the right sort of person to tackle a case other detectives were already taking a pass on. All whilst in a time-line this woman was demanding to not just become re-examined but re-opened for a proper investigation!

Tara is sharp as ash – knowing this sort of behaviour is what motions things into action yet in most instances would rather have an opposite effect. Tara is still conflicted by whom she has to work with on the job – lots of hidden ghosts in her closet so to speak but she felt honour bound to insist this woman goes through the right channels and chain of command. Not wanting to step on the toes of Wilkins but sensing if she could solve this case, the success would be a good feather in her own cap. Tara was a bit betwixt what she ought to do even if what was logical and justified was straight in front of her; as she constantly weighed how her colleagues would judge her actions.

I was more than a mite surprised Tara let her guard down – letting this woman into her flat and extending the time she would have to listen to her insistence about why Tara was the right investigator. As the case unfolds for her, Tara takes a sharper look at the facts as they’re relayed to her and finds it is more than a little telling how the case did seem to be lacking specific attention by her colleague. Despite the fact, this woman is rambly – trying to give Tara enough reasons to give interest into her brother’s case – the more she talked, the more you felt Tara was convinced she could do a bit of good for the woman.

It wasn’t too long after this impromptu meeting where the darker shades of how sinister the night can become were soon to be revealled. Including a panic of a phone call from this Cancross woman who was so wrapped up in her fears, she had trouble talking again to Tara. This was interesting on several levels – she was clear-minded and confidently calm prior to the call – which I felt re-heightened how quickly things can spiral out of control. Whilst at the same time, I had a feeling there would be another segue away from Tara and Chase didn’t disappoint! We had the chance to tuck closer to the person responsible for what was going on – to peer into their motivations and to recognise how close Tara would have to come to realising who was behind it all if she hoped to help herself and the sister of the deceased.

As Tara attempts to dig into the history of behaviour of Cancross’s brother, she also starts to unearth more of a conspiracy of sorts – where there are two victims rather than one. This other case parallels her investigation but doesn’t entirely connect either as she has to root round for the clues which would patch both of the cases together. They did share a mutual contact and a reason for aggressively exhibiting dangerous behaviour patterns – more of a living affirmation of how to live on the edge than anything more specific but that was a tipping point for Tara. As a journalist she was used to going into tangents of research based on rudimentary clues which may or may not prove to be sustainable. As she shifts into the role of an investigative detective, she was trying to re-align her past instincts into this new job – using her strengths and trying to make good on the experience she had prior to changing fields.

Meanwhile, the office dynamics of her team are shifting and evolving – naturally of course, but what was interesting to note for me is how distant she seemed removed from Blake. I had felt they had had an established connection to each other – even a well-lit working relationship to where they could lean on each other or at the very least confide a confidence when working a case. This time round, it would appear they were bent on keeping things less relatable and more sterile – by the book and all that. It was slightly disappointing to see but it also played in well with how office dynamics are in constant flux and how there are always shifting alliances. Of course, personally speaking there was a key reason why Tara was keeping her distance and you can’t fault her for that reason as it was something to applaud!

One of the scenes which makes you sit up a bit in the story is when Tara returnt home and seemingly had an ‘everyday’ accident outside her door whilst attempting to navigate a snowy and iced pathway. There was a brief second where I felt it might have been a natural occurrence as ice can sneak up on you but knowing how Chase underwrites the venom of malice into her Thrillers & Suspense novels, something else was stirring in the back of my mind than an extra helping of Wintry duress. This is where we started to see the underpinnings of how far the person of interest in this case would take their cause – to see them as the mischievous villain they were and the lengths they would go to prove themselves as no one was even questioning them because they were still hidden in the shadows. In other words, for all the police knew – this ‘other’ person was not even on their radar but if you observed Tara – she was keenly aware of how shadows and darkness are not just the ominous darkened areas of our natural line of sight – sometimes they hold more treacherous dangers which simply cannot be seen.

It doesn’t take much for rumours to speculate about how Blake cared about Tara when she was danger of being killed. Especially considering how Wilkins was more than irked that Tara might have received special consideration to join the police force – as she wasn’t readily accepted as a ‘peer’ to the rest of the detectives who felt she had switched careers without properly being vetted. Hers was a path fraught with suspicious minds and untrusting colleagues who would rather put her in place than help her grow as a detective. In honest fact, she wasn’t the kind of team-mate they felt they needed on the force. And, thus opens the door of an inter-office conspiracy against Tara which is a secondary thread of the narrative for this installment.

I took an instant liking to Bea – Tara’s mother’s cousin, due to her motherly instincts towards Tara but also because of her personality. She might have been going through a tough patch in this story but it is how she rises through her adversities which gives you the most to smile about – whilst noting, when it comes to finding those of whom can rally behind Tara when she herself needs a circle of support, your quite thankful she has Bea in her life!

You had to smile a bit when you realised that the person Tara liked to use as a sounding board to work through her current case is Bea. She liked entrusting Bea with these details because she knew she’d get her distracted and that was something positive due to the rest of the circumstances surrounding Bea. Distractions like a puzzle of a crime gone unsolved was one way of useful bait and switch where someone doesn’t always have to know ahead of time how you’re attempting to help them through a rough spot when simple words are not enough to fill in the losses they are experiencing.

Tara’s confidence to present her theories to her team-mates is hindered by how she knows they distrust her instincts; evenso, she still puts herself forward – willing to be vulnerable to their discrediting rebuttals and attempt to win them over with the logic of her theories even if initially they would try to shake off whatever she had to say. This is where Tara still was trying to navigate her way through the murkiness of her interoffice relationships. It would also become quite the trend – where her only ally on the job is Blake and yet, he’s the one person who seemingly is trying to stay the most removed from her directly. He might have his reasons but it left the office space rather cold to Tara.

The interlocking layers of this mystery was further complicated by the fact each time she reached a clue to guide her forward took her two steps backwards; she was under a deadline with Blake – to sort through what she could gather with her interviews and piercing enough evidence to convince any theory into something tangible. As you observe her trying to still prove herself to Wilkins and how infuriating it is that each time she did attempt to establish a working truce with the man, she ended up with the opposite resolution; his discontempt of her only grew rather than levelling out or dissolving. This felt like a foreshadow to me – how they were interlocked into a dance of of insanity to where they could not breach the disrespect and the discontempt between them.

She had two victims which needed their stories to be told – the truth of how they came to her desk and allow them the peace they needed to be put to rest in her own mind. The stress their case(s) was giving her the most angst over is how there is a measure of doubt about if any detective can solve all the cases they are given to solve. Her doubts about her own abilities left her insomniac but also with more determination to succeed. Tara was emotionally empathetic to the investigation she was responsible for which was something more than she could feel others in her unit had within them to give as well.

The ways in which this case entangled itself round the circumstantial situations the two victims had died led you to believe the interlocking connection was not going to be one you would readily draw out yourself. Part of the confusion was the affirming beliefs of one victim which seemed to interlock with influencing others round them. This was not surprising as people can follow someone else with blinders if they feel the person is a positive influence on them rather than a negative one.

One of the  minor characters truly rubbed me wrong – Shona is such a piece of work – her indifference to Tara Thorpe is definitely motivating her to gain traction on a story she wants to jump on if only to increase her own notoriety. Her career is everything to her but secondary to that, you gathered she’d rather find a way to put an end to Tara’s future as a detective. She just had no remorse over causing friction for Tara or for continuing to pass forward rumours which never needed to be re-said. Uniquely, she seemed to weave in and out of the story-line like a snake slithering through the tall grass by the waterway.

When Blake and Tara get the opportunity to resume working together – as they are placed in the same car en-route to the same scene – you felt they might have had the chance to clear the air between them. There was such a distance between what they had prior to this installment and now – it felt insurmountable. For her sake, Tara was questioning her feelings as much as she was presuming his – if they could only sort a way to communicate both their minds could rest easier; at least this is what I was drawing out of it.

Quite early-on in the novel, Blake is seen having a conflict of conscience – he was questioning his most fundamental life choices and you felt for him because of how he was humbled enough to realise he ought to take his time to decide exactly what course he should be taking once he resolved his thoughts. Blake’s grief run wide and deep – the details of which he only previously had shared with his close confidante of whom happens to be the forensic pathologist everyone trusts: Agneta. Through their conversations, you truly gather the scope of what Blake has to contend with off-job and why he’s emotionally conflicted throughout Death on the River.

When it came down to the bones of the mystery itself – I must confess, some of those aspects felt rather muddling to me because it was a very drawn out period of disclosure. Meaning, there was a lot of back-and-forth processing of information to where the pacing of the disclosures took more time to be revealled than you might have preferred yourself. This has a lot to do with understanding the actual conspiracy and who the players were to be involved in that central plot where an alliance of adventurers never truly understood the harm they were to each other until it was far too late to repent their actions.

I also felt there might have been a few red herrings here or there – little nudges of clues which took you off the mark in regards to who was pulling all the strings behind the scenes. Those had their point of merits but what was more chilling is how the villain presumed they were in the right rather than the wrong. The key question of the hour of course was the following: How does someone interlock different crimes with a pattern even the detectives had trouble sleuthing out?

Another minor character who stood out to me was Philippa and the anguish she was put through in life – she was Cancross’s daughter and a victim in her own right. Whilst through everything else going on Kemp is the kind of ally you want in your life – if you consider how far he went to defend Tara and to give Blake something he could use to even the score against Tara. I all but applauded out loud when that sequence was revealled because in all honesty *something!* had to be done!!

Chase never disappoints me with harrowing scenes wherein her characters have to attempt to survive something quite dire – Death on the River has a riveting showdown at the conclusionary chapters which will have your ears glued to your earphones! Brownhill expertly shifts your focus between lead and supporting cast members to where you felt you were living that sequence rather than merely listening to it unfold! I loved how Brownhill approached it because it felt truly authentic and as heart-stopping as I believe Chase wanted her words to translate to the reader.

on the suspenseful thrilling styling of ms chase:

Just as the first Tara Thorpe Mystery pulls you through a sinister atmosphere so does the sequel “Death on the River”. Chase envelopes you into the crime scene – hauntingly giving you the sense of the scene before she dips close to the observations by the CSI team; she wants you to understand this locale, how isolating the Fens are and how uniquely set of a location it is to have found a crime committed.

Chase blessedly doesn’t wait long to re-align us back into Tara’s head and lifestyle; although a bit of time has gone past us now from when we first met her – she’s still a decidedly work-in-progress. She is growing in confidence for her abilities but in regards to her lifestyle and her personal preferences of what she wants to see evolve into her living hours – she was still a bit of a reserved woman in those regards. She singularly has the focus to put in her work and then retreat away from the public. That in of itself was still a curiosity to me – as it leaves you hankering for what could ultimately free her from her fears of the past.

Readers with a keen interest in herpetology will find the case evolving into Tara’s work life to be one of wicked study as it tackles the inter-connections of species misidentification and how certain species of reptiles of the slithering kind can place a striking cause of effect when it comes to crime scenes. I am not a ready fan of them myself except for one cheekily friendly python when I was a girl growing up at a Science Center – but the ways in which Chase used these lovelies in the background of her crime drama was another visual presence of bringing the Fens into the reader’s visceral understanding of her setting. These little nudges and nods of contemporary observational data are what give leverage of credibility of how well-crafted Chase has brought these Tara Thorpe Mysteries to life.

Whilst at the same time, if you are into metafiction as it relates to writers and their craft towards writing the stories which illuminate our imaginations – there is a lovely nod towards this angle of interest as well. Noting also how fiction can be brought into a living reality as another tool of intrigue to off-set the truer cause of a person’s targeting of select victims within a crime drama.

Atmospherically Chase almost begs you to listen (or read) her stories after dark – to question the nefarious events in her stories against the moonlight and to tuck into the crafty way she invites you to experience her Thrillers when daylight is a long stretch of hours away from re-appearing! The atmosphere of her novels is one of my favourite aspects of the background she knits you inside because she has a bit of a Hitchtockian manner of approaching it – of setting the scene ‘just enough’ for you to feel the chill but without going too far to where you don’t want to read the book!

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About Lucy Brownhill

Click the link to find out about Ms Brownhill.

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 second audiobook featuring Lucy Brownhill and I still very much intend to seek out more of her collective works as time allows.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Tara Thorpe: Still fiercely confident but with shadows of secrets illuminating behind her like a shadow she cannot let go of anytime soon.

DI Blake: His voice moves from being full of the anguish of a man disillusioned in his marriage to a detective whose role is to oversee his colleagues in such a way as to not reveal his personal strife and adversities. His conscience is worked over by nerves and emotions alike – where you truly can get a better sense of how conflicted his personal and professional life are becoming – a credit to how Brownhill narrated his scenes. His voice reflects the complexity of this period of his life and you never once forsake hearing him as anything other than a bloke with too much to shoulder and not enough hours to shift through his feelings.

DS Wilkins: Not the kind of boss who likes dealing with women; he had a temper against them and an impatience for their nature. It was hard to see how Tara would get on with him without rubbing him the wrong way. His voice had the kind of edge to it you’d expect of someone who was suspicious of his co-workers. He wasn’t keen on a potential personal connection between Blake & Thorpe and he would turn his ear to anyone who could confirm or at least fan his suspicions in that regard. His snarkiness towards Tara especially in front of Blake was even more over the top but well in step with his misgivings of having to work with Tara at all. His attitude is classic and Brownhill does well at painting him as the one person you’d like to see have his prejudice checked.

Secondary characters:

(Pathologist) Agneta* Lawson: Agneta made a return appearance – giving Tara the kind of details which she felt were not just pertinent to understand the death in question but to draw a new line of observation on his person. These were the details only a forensic examine would reveal – giving Tara more fuell to re-look at the death in a manner of approach she was naturally starting to accept as the hidden reasons why this person was targeted.

Agneta’s presence was well timed as I was hoping she might step forward in this installment as she had in the first; she’s a great addition to the cast and one I loved hearing as Brownhill flexed her accents and brought her to life rather beautifully.

(Doctor) Monica Cancross: She was the woman who insisted on speaking with Tara – to the point of intrusion and readily had a story to share with Tara about a sad set of circumstances which truly did need some intervention by the police. Her first impression was of this fiercely strong woman but when she rings Tara after their impromptu meeting – her words are rushed and full of emotional conviction. Your impression of her shifts as the story moves forward – she’s a complicated character and I was impressed by how Brownhill re-aligned her voice to reflect those complexities.

There were a few secondary and background characters of interest: 

Shona: Snippy character who liked to dish on Tara and give her a certain kind of reputation in front of her colleagues. She actually took joy in trashing her image – suppose it takes all types. She didn’t even hesitate to rankle some ire towards Tara in the present tense – spreading rumours about Tara and Blake.

Fleming: She spoke with a sharpened and precise manner of approach – as she wanted to keep her ship together without letting anyone fall out of line. She doesn’t have a lot of scenes but when she’s present, you will definitely notice!

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

Dramatic crime narrative (spoken) in the same vein as Alison Campbell who narrates my beloved Kay Hunter series. Both women pull you through emotionally – rooting you into their characters by endeavouring to give you an internal pause of thought about who they are – what makes them function in their roles as detectives inasmuch as what drives them.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of the story:

Crisp, strong and enunciated in such a way to ground you into the persons who are arriving into your earphones. You can detect their mannerisms and their unique spins of dialogue whilst you can decipher which character is currently in-scene by their personality quirks and/or how they think inside their heads. There is happily just enough differences to know whom is being featured even before you hear their names which is true delight as a listener.

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 – which is exactly what I observed when I heard Murder on the Marshes. You only hear Brownhill’s clear narration and the ways in which she offsets her performance by the suspension of belief she is one member of the ensemble cast she’s portraying is even more brilliant if you think about it! She’s one narrator who can give you that layer of reality where there are multiple characters all vying to be heard yet of whom are narrated by a singular voice!

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

What is interesting is I began this series in the audiobooks – meaning, I’ve now listened to both Murder on the Marshes and Death on the River as they were narrated by Ms Brownhill. I would have loved to have continued my journey with her narrations – however, I didn’t see an announcement for Death Comes To Call – which is why I requested the book in print at my local library.

I will eventually purchase a print copy for Death Comes To Call for my personal library but this way, at least, I get to finish the series ahead of Ms Chase sharing news of a new series I am sure she will be releasing soon as I caught wind of an announcement towards that regard – I’m itchy to know more details, that’s for sure!

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

I definitely want to start seeking out more audiobooks narrated by this lovely narrator – however, I unexpectedly have the chance to listen to her narration on behalf of Light Over London by Julia Kelly. This shall be my third audiobook I’ll be listening from her collective works whilst my heart is still hopeful for good news directly regarding #TaraThorpe!

Although last year I was sharing the good news of learning that Ms Brownhill was narrating this lovely audiobook – I am still on pins awaiting to know if Ms Brownhill will be the narrator for either the third or fourth novel in the series. For me as a reader & listener of the series – Brownhill *is!* Tara Thorpe as much as Alison Campbell is Kay Hunter. Some people inhabit their characters to such a high degree of clarity it is hard to conceive of new narrators replacing them. It is definitely a ‘wait and see’ for me – I’d love these to be produced but I am unsure if / when those announcements will be made…

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This audiobook review is courtesy of both the publisher Bookouture & the author Clare Chase. I am thankful I had the chance to continue knowing Tara Thorpe! And, hear Ms Brownhill’s narration!

Meanwhile, for the second year I must declare:

Thank you #Fraterfestrat for the nudge to hear this series!

#FraterFestRAT banner created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Marko Blažević

Read my TBR for #FraterfestRAT Year II | Read my Wrap-Up Post for #FraterfestRAT

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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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And, here is what is coming next to Jorie Loves A Story
from the collective works of Clare Chase:

Death Comes to Call by Clare ChaseWhen a promising local artist disappears, the victim’s brother begs Detective Tara Thorpe to take the case. It seems there’s no evidence of foul play… he simply disappeared without a trace. Tara agrees to do some digging… never mind that her unorthodox approach to policing has got a few of her colleagues’ backs up.

Amongst them is her former supervisor Detective Patrick Wilkins… he’s had enough of Tara calling the shots and will do anything to knock her down. She must be careful. At least she has an ally in their boss, Detective Garstin Blake.

He’ll always back her hunches. If anything, they work together too well… at least, that’s the rumour around the station these days. When a body of a young woman is found frozen near the fens, Tara’s evidence suddenly becomes key to solving a high-profile murder. Is their missing artist still a victim… or in fact a clever murderer with a deadly plan?

Stay tuned, dear hearts! As soon as this lovely arrives into my local library, I am in first in queue to be reading it!! I cannot wait! This will mark my fourth Clare Chase novel to be read as I never had the chance to fetch a copy of “A Stranger’s House” which is the sequel to “You Think You Know Me”!

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This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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{Sources: Cover art for “Murder on the Marshes”, “Death on the River”, “Death Comes to Call” and “Murder on the Fens” as well as the book synopsis for “Death on the River” and “Death Comes to Call”; author biography and the author photograph of Clare Chase were provided by the author Clare Chase and are being used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Audiobook Review banner provided by Parajunkie Designs. LibraryThing.com banner provided by LibraryThing and used with permission. Blog graphics created in Canva: #SpooktasticReads Book Review banner, #JorieReads Thrillers badge and the comment box banner.}

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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 Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Bookouture, Crime Fiction, England, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Investigative Reporter | Journalist, Modern Day, Psychological Suspense, Vulgarity in Literature

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One response to “#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “Death on the River” (Book Two: Tara Thorpe Mysteries) by Clare Chase, narrated by Lucy Brownhill [an audiobook I began listening to during #FraterfestRAT 2019]

  1. Thank you so much for this lovely, thoughtful review, Jorie! It’s fascinating to read your thoughts on different aspects of both the story and the narration. I love Lucy Brownhill’s work too – she’s wonderful, isn’t she? I’m really glad I got the atmosphere of the Fens across and love your perceptive comments on the characters. Thanks for all your support!

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