Narrator: Christina Cox
Publisher: IOF Productions Ltd. (2013)
Length: 9 hours 18 minutes
Series: Book 3 Steven Hawk/Inola Walela Mysteries
Note: Even though this is Book 3 in the series, it worked just fine as a stand alone.
Bryson City, NC isn’t known for its diversity. But that hasn’t stopped Cherokee Inola Walela from excelling at her chosen career – city police officer. In fact, she and her partner are running late to an awards ceremony where they will both receive commendations. Yet a tense traffic stop sends Inola chasing after a missing child and a dangerous man. Unfortunately, there is very little info to go on, and Inola has been placed on administrative leave after a shooting that left her partner dangerously wounded. Meanwhile, Sheriff Steven Hawk tries to maintain his objectivity while also supporting Inola. They relationship faces several challenges in this book.
There was quite a bit to enjoy in this modern-day mystery. Inola and Steven make a fascinating couple. She is stand-offish and not a cuddly type person. Steven is goal oriented and steadfast. She has worked very hard to prove herself worthy and yet still feels that she isn’t good enough. Steven knows he is good enough but also sees the worth in those around him. I really loved watching the interactions between these two. They are so human, with faults and worries and joys and triumphs. I am really hoping to see the other books in this series make it to audio.
The mystery had several points to pull together and, for the most part, it was done well. We meet the main antagonist, Preston, right away. He has a side kick, Hondo, who is the more experienced and competent of the two. Preston’s father is dying and isn’t willing to leave Preston an inheritance unless Preston has reproduced. Now Preston is trying to track down his ex-wife and son in order to take his son to the lawyers and have them run a paternity test and set the will. Pretty soon, a traffic stop eliminates Hondo from the mystery and Preston has to muddle through on his own. Meanwhile, the police are left with too many questions and too many bodies. Inola believes there is a missing child out there and she can’t stop looking.
There are several side characters that I enjoyed. Inola’s mom, Elise (spelling?), was a quiet, steady character that gave enticing clues as to Inola’s childhood. Edgar, who recently finished his prison sentence, has been assigned a stint of community service with the Sheriff’s department. Lorie Krager (spelling?) is a rookie city police officer who doesn’t hesitate to flaunt her assets (even though she has a brain and is mostly competent). There’s several others, of course, but these especially stood out to me.
I really only have one issue with the storyline. A chunk of the mystery hinges on determining the identity of a woman involved in the traffic stop (which occurs near the beginning of the story). She had just withdrawn a large amount of money ($20, 0000 or $25, 0000). Bryson City is a small town with few banks. Yet the cops don’t think to look into bank surveillance records and info until nearly the end of the book, days later. To me, this seemed like a really obvious and pretty quick way to determine her identity. Hondo, who was with the woman, is a very distinct man. Plus, there are only 2 banks (the exact number is revealed late in the story) so it would not take the cops long to question the bankers and figure out who the woman was, etc. Of course, if they had, this book would have been a bit shorter and I would have had less time with Inola and Steven, who I grew found of.
Narration: Christina Cox did a great job with this book. She was the perfect voice for Inola Walela bringing to life her strength and determination, and her insecurity in personal relationships. Cox had distinct male & female voices, including accents (when needed). She also had an adorable little boy voice. Excellent narration!
What I Liked: The lead characters were great!; interesting mystery; great side characters; very satisfying ending; Inola’s insecurities in personal relationships made her real.
What I Disliked: There was one very obvious line of inquiry that would have speeded up the mystery yet the cops didn’t pursue it until near the end of the book. This is a small criticism and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book.
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