J.H. Moncrieff (Author) • Natalie Gold (Narration) • Audible Original (Publisher)
Reviewed By A.S. MacKenzie
You ever read a story and think to yourself, “Would I call this a horror story within a whodunit? Or would I call this a whodunit story with horror?”
That’s precisely what happened when I finished Dragonfly Summer, though, to be honest… I think I might lean most heavily towards it is a mystery thriller with a dash of supernatural and a whole lot of tension. Which, I believe, can still fit nicely in a horror genre because at the heart of every great horror story ever made, there is nothing but tension.
We open in the story to meet Jo, who in her place in NYC discovers a cryptic message alluding to her hometown. A town she hadn’t thought of, or could really remember, in a few decades. The message mentioned the disappearance of someone that at first, she didn’t recognize, then was struck by the memory of them. They were her best friend in high school, and they went missing then. Why didn’t she remember? Why did she receive this note now? After a brief call to another friend she’d somehow forgotten, only to find they had died recently due to mysterious circumstances, she decided to act.
Taking a hasty flight and a temporary leave from her job, she set out to her hometown of Clear Springs, Minnesota to find some answers for this, and for some other memories that were just now starting to surface after nearly 30 years.
The story takes a lot of twists and turns to leave the reader wondering through so many questions:
Who was Sam?
Who was Amanda?
Why can’t I remember?
With one question raised after another, answers come in short supply. It continues this way through the book giving one tantalizing reveal after another, interspersed with ghostly voices, bloody handprints, and more than one suspect. The tension rarely quiets but instead keeps the story propelling forward. Moncrief has done an excellent job of creating a story that never lets you feel frustrated with answers just out of reach because she has created a main character that we empathize with and know they are struggling with revealing answers themselves. It is a clever twist on a murder mystery and brings the appropriate amount of thrilling tension to the supernatural aspects, also.
Natalie Gold’s narration style is efficient, well-spoken, and clear. They provided the correct pacing and flow to each of the lines as needed to keep the story moving well. There is a single criticism, though, and that is that she doesn’t change her inflexion’s enough between characters. This causes some confusion for the listener when there is dialogue quickly happening between two characters as they sound on occasion like they are from the same character. More than once, I had to rewind a little and listen again for context clues to discern who was speaking when. If in the future they work on creating better dialogue inflexion differences, then we will see some excellent narrations come from them.
Jo Carter never thought she’d return to Clear Springs, Minnesota. But when the former journalist receives a cryptic note about the disappearance of her friend Sam twenty years before, she’s compelled to find out what really happened. During her investigation, she learns another high school friend has died in a mysterious accident. Nothing is as it seems, and Jo must probe Clear Springs’ darkest corners and her own painful and unreliable memories to discover the truth – and save herself from a killer who could still be on the hunt.
Deliciously twisty and suspenseful from the first minute to the last, Dragonfly Summer proves that no small town’s secrets can stay buried for good.
The perfect next listen for fans of Wendy Walker and Shari Lapena.
You can buy Dragonfly Summer from Audible
A. S. MacKenzie
A. S. MacKenzie is an Atlanta based author who loves all things books, movies, games, and comics. He lives with his wife, spoiled dogs, and an unhealthy obsession with building things. He can be found building worlds in books, building plastic models, or building with wood. Check out his website at asmackenzie.com for ways to join his newsletter and read free stories. Also, he’s been known to frequent Twitter (@a_s_mackenzie) to say something vaguely interesting and Instagram (a.s.mackenzie) for food, travel, and random pics.
Hit Then Run
It was a store robbery gone wrong when the criminal got away but the victim was hit by a car.
Then it happened again.
For newly hired detective, Phil Ford, this was beyond coincidence. Told not to investigate further, he couldn’t let it go. When he falls into a much larger conspiracy involving death-for-hire, organized crime, and corruption in the Sanford Sheriff’s Department; it will cost him more than he knows to get to the truth.
You can download Hit Then Run from www.asmackenzie.com