Review of ‘Grave Decisions’ by Claire Highton-Stevenson, Audiobook narrated by Fiona Thraille
This is book 2 of ‘Detective Sophie Whitton’ series by this author which started with the murder investigation thriller ‘The Doll Maker‘. Even though ‘Grave Decisions’ could be read as a standalone, I recommend starting at the beginning of the series as Detective Whitton’s personal and relationship issues are connected to what happened in book 1. ‘The Doll Maker’ is a great read/listen too so it’s worth starting there.
Following the Doll Maker case, Detective Sophie Whitton is trying to get back to normality and working to overcome her PTSD. But when a couple of people appeared murdered on top of graves, Whitton realises that she might be facing a dangerous vigilante who is acting as Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
I love this series a lot. Highton-Stevenson’s mysteries remind me of Cari Hunter’s work though perhaps with less social critique and gruesome parts. The Britishness of the characters, the police system, and the landscape are present like in Hunter’s work. Even the weather plays an important part, in this case, the stifling heat of a rare British ‘Indian Summer’.
The mystery arc develops at a good pace to keep the reader invested with each new clue that the author adds throughout the story. But what I love most is that the story balances really well the police procedural and the personal parts. This is a character-driven series and Whitton steals the show with the crucial help of the supporting characters, especially her girlfriend Rachel and her police partner. I liked how the author presented the dichotomy in the detective personality, on one hand, her gentle and caring personality – her ‘Sophie side’, and on the other hand, the determined and rough side of Whitton. Dealing with brutal crimes produces her detachment.
The audiobook version is narrated by Fiona Thraille who read the first book too. She did again a great job. Her narrative pace is perfect and she lets the tale unfold in the listener’s mind eye. The story has a few very emotional parts and Ms.Thraille nailed them all. Her voices are distinctive and she has a good range of different tones and accents even for male characters. As a matter of fact, I prefer her male voices to the females’ though that’s my personal taste. At any rate, this is a great lesbian mystery audiobook if you are a fan of British police procedural fiction. 5 stars.
ARC provided by the author at my request in exchange for an honest review.
Duration: 6 hrs and 17 mins