Clean Sweep
Grade : B

Clean Sweep was my introduction to the writing duo whose books are published under the name Ilona Andrews. Over the years, I heard a lot of talk about the Andrews novels, and so, when Clean Sweep was offered for review, I was excited to give it a try. While it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, public opinion, as well as an appreciation for the writing, will compel me to try something else by this prolific author and narrator team.

Dina Demille is an innkeeper in a small town in Texas. She owns a bed and breakfast that gives off an utterly normal appearance to anyone who happens to pass by. Anyone, that is, but otherworldly visitors in need of sanctuary. Dina takes these beings into the inn, protecting them throughout their stay in her area. It's a life she's very used to, since her parents ran a very well respected inn up until their mysterious disappearance.

Innkeepers aren't governed by actual laws. However, there are a few unwritten rules that have been put in place over the years. The most important of these is that the inns and their keepers are to be neutral. They are not to get involved in anything unless the safety of the inn or its guests is compromised.

When dogs, cattle, and a farmer are found dead in an area very close to Dina's home, she feels that she must do what she can to find out what is responsible for the grizzly killings. True, she could face judgment from fellow innkeepers, but Dina wants to ensure the safety of both her guests and her neighbors.

It isn't long before Dina is forced to contend with Sean, an extraordinarily powerful werewolf who has recently moved into the neighborhood, and Arland, a vampire soldier from another planet who is intent on taking care of family business. The three team up to discover who is responsible for the mayhem, finding far more than they bargained for along the way.

As always, Renee Raudman was a joy to listen to. I am continuously impressed by her ability to add just the right amount of dramatic flare to the story without going over the top. Each character was distinctly voiced, making dialogue tags superfluous.

Ms. Raudman's depiction of Dina was especially remarkable. The story is told in first person from Dina's point of view. So, the entire book was read with a slight southern drawl. The accent is not natural, but is done incredibly well.. Although the text did not indicate our heroine spoke with an accent, I don't think it was a bad choice at all. It lent a sort of charm to a very quirky character.

I was slightly put off by Ms. Raudman's attempt to depict an otherworldly monster. She adopted a very gravelly tone, and I found myself wondering if she would give herself a sore throat. Something like that can't be good for one's vocal chords, not to mention the fact it's not very pleasant to listen to. True, monsters are meant to be unpleasant, but I would have preferred it expressed in a less jarring, painful-sounding manner.

Clean Sweep is lighter than my usual paranormal fare. Andrews' writing kept me engaged but, overall, I like things a little darker, and with more substance. The world building seemed a bit shoddy, but the characters mostly made up for that. Dina's inn, with its ability to function like a sentient being was quite fascinating, and I would have liked to know more about the magic that made such a thing possible.

In a word, Clean Sweep is charming. If you're not looking for a heavy read, and if romance isn't essential, I think you'll enjoy this. If, however, you enjoy things with a darker bent and a romance that is front and center, Clean Sweep likely isn't the book for you.

Breakdown of Grade - Narration: A- and Book Content: C+

Unabridged. Length - 7 hours 55 minutes

Reviewed by Shannon Dyer
Grade : B

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : October 21, 2014

Publication Date: 2014/03

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Shannon Dyer

I'm Shannon from Michigan. I've been an avid reader all my life. I adore romance, psychological fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and the occasional memoir. I share my home with my life partner, two dogs, and a very feisty feline.
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