Trust No One
With Trust No One, Ms. Krentz continues with straight romantic suspense with no paranormal elements. Thank goodness! But while I enjoyed the story, I found the narration uneven, and at times abysmal; I cannot recommend this in audio format. Buy it in print!
The opening scenes throw us straight into a murder mystery when Grace Elland finds her boss murdered in his home. Seeing a vodka bottle at the scene triggers memories of another crime scene she encountered as a teenager. Grace struggles to avoid a panic attack, and when she runs out of the house and calls the police, her panic comes through clearly in the narration as she speaks rapidly, and sounds out-of-breath. Unfortunately, this is one of the few high points of the narration.
Grace’s boss, the founder and owner of the Witherspoon Way, was a motivational speaker with a rapidly expanding empire, thanks largely to Grace’s efforts. Grace wrote his blog and an affirmation cookbook. The positive affirmations Grace helped pen took Witherspoon to the top of motivational speakers in the Pacific Northwest.
Unemployed after the murder, Grace moves temporarily into her parents’ home in small town Cloud Lake while they’re away. She plans to spend the time figuring out what to do next with her life. Grace is unhappy when friends set her up on a date with Julius Arkwright, a successful venture capitalist and one of her neighbors in the lakeside community.
While the two seem like complete opposites, it is clear Grace and Julius are meant for each other. Their romance has a long buildup as they get to know each other over the course of the book. When Julius tells Grace she needs a “business plan” to find another job, she decides he’s the perfect person to help her. In return, Grace will help him learn to cook some easy meals. When someone begins stalking Grace, Julius steps in to help, bringing the two even closer together.
While I enjoyed the story, and liked both Grace and Julius, the narration doesn’t work for me. In a few places it was impressive – primarily when only female characters are involved. When Grace’s murdered boss’ daughter comes to see Grace, the daughter sounds exactly as snotty and angry as you’d expect. When there is a dialog between just two characters, it is usually easy to tell who is speaking as they’re given somewhat distinctive tones. It’s when male characters are involved that I have major problems.
Ms. Cobb fails to use a lower range for the male characters, and virtually all of them sound more like women than men. In some scenes that was particularly distracting. One man’s voice is called “vampire soft and seductive.” When this character first spoke, I thought he was a woman; when he was identified as a man, it was jarring. Then, when we hear him labelled again as “vampire soft and seductive” by a secondary character, I laughed. He still sounded like a woman in my mind.
Ms. Cobb also tends to place emphasis on words that don’t require it, at times drawing me out of the story as I thought about the highlighted words. Julius was treated inconsistently, and at times I would think he sounded okay only to have his characterization switch a few moments later and pull me out of the story.
Maggie gave the print version a B- (review here, and had problems with the mystery portion of the story. I liked the story more than Maggie, and would give it a solid B. There are parts of the book – particularly at the end – that remind me of one of my favorite books by this author, Trust Me. I just wish I’d read this in print, so I could think of this story more fondly. And in the future, if Amanda Cobb is narrating Ms. Krentz’s work, that’s exactly what I’ll do.
Breakdown of Grade: Story: B Narration: D
Unabridged Length: 9 hours 43 minutes