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A Murderer's Heart by Julie Elizabeth Powell

A Murderer's Heart - Julie Elizabeth Powell

Anne Blake and her colleague, Frank Miller, run a psychiatric practice. They spend their days listening to people spin out their woes and do their best to help them where they can. Anne’s secretary, Sam, is a true gem, anticipating her needs with well timed coffee. However, nothing can ease Anne’s mind as some of her patients start turning up dead.

This was a fun modern murder mystery that had me guessing up to the end. Peter Armstrong burst into Anne’s life seeking professional help for his mother, who has yet again tried to commit suicide. However, Peter wants to handle things quietly, so after a brief home visit, Anne recommends that she check into Tadmore Psychiatric Hospital. All looks like it will go well for all parties involved. That is, until Mrs. Armstrong ends up dead at home. So of course the police have to chat with Anne, as one of the last people to see her alive. Also, she had Sam follow her to the Armstrong home in a separate vehicle in case things got dramatic. Then there was Peter himself. So many suspects!

Nearly all of the story is told through Anne’s eyes, though we do get a tiny bit from Peter’s point of view concerning his mom. Then there are flashes from the killer sprinkled throughout the book. These are written in such a way that you don’t know the gender of the killer. For the most part, these are written quite cleverly. However, there were one or two scenes where the author fell back on using the pronoun ‘it’ which felt clunky.

Anne does get to have a little downtime in this book. She has some friends, David & Jenny who have a set twins, that she visits often. Then there is her friend Barbara who she has been friends with for ages but lately hasn’t had time to catch up with. Throughout the story, these side characters add depth to Anne’s character. Also, Sam is a potential romantic interest who happens to be gay. Ah, Anne’s complicated life!

All around, it was a delightful mystery. The deaths are described in brief giving you the exact means of death but without being gory about it. Anne is at the nexus of this storm and she was an enjoyable character to connect with. I did find Jenny’s character to be a bit dramatic, but she is also described as the nervous sort. She was a minor character so just when I was starting to get tired of her silliness, we moved on. The suspects were plentiful and I was guessing all the way through. When the real killer emerged at the end, I was totally, and pleasantly, surprised.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Narration:  Melanie Fraser was an interesting pick for this audiobook. She made everyone sound swarmy. It was odd to hear throughout the book. Now there were certain times when swarmy was definitely the right inflection (fund-raising party, certain egocentric characters) but to have the inflection turned on for most of the book took a little getting used to. In general, once I got use to swarminess, I liked her voice for Anne – which was steady and thoughtful. Her male voices blended together for me, though the male characters were often separated by scenes or the dialogue made it easy to keep them straight.