‘The Unkindness Of Ravens’ – Greer Hogan Mystery #1 by M. E. Hilliard – abandoned at 25%

Greer Hogan, librarian and avid reader of murder mysteries, left NYC to make a new start in the village of Raven Hill after the murder of her husband. Now she’s discovered her best friend’s body sprawled on the floor of the library. 

Was her friend’s demise related to two other deaths that the police deemed accidental? Do the residents of this insular village hold dark secrets about another murder, decades ago? Does a serial killer haunt Raven Hill? 

As the body count rises, Greer uncovers information about her own husbands death and the man who went to prison for his murder an dis worded that she may have helped to convict an innocent man. 

Greer has read a lot of mysteries but she’s never had to solve one herself. Will her quick wits and resourcefulness be enough to protect her from a brilliant, diabolical murderer?

I pulled ‘The Unkindness Of Ravens‘ from my TBR pile because I was in the mood for snuggling up with a cosy mystery and I thought “What could be better than a body in the library found by a librarian who always wanted to be Trixie Belden and who has a personal history with murder?”. As a bonus, ‘The Unkindness Of Ravens’ is the first book in a series about Greer Hogan, a librarian who is an amateur sleuth in a small town.

The book started well enough: Greer Hogan had a strong voice, was something of an outsider and I suspected early on that this was as much about her personality as it was about being new in town, and it was clear that she had a well-developed and challenging backstory that I was looking forward to finding out about. The scene setting was crisp and clear and didn’t lean on cliché. Greer’s interior conversation showed flashes of wit without having that forced “See how bright and witty I am?” flavour that tends to undermine my belief in the character.

The only problem was the way Madeleine Lambert, the narrator, decided to deliver the book. When there was dialogue, the narration was lively and gifted the main characters with distinctive voices. The prose sections felt flat and emotionless.

I hoped that this might change once the scene setting was done and the action sped up.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things went.

At the 25% mark, I reluctantly set the book aside. It wasn’t that it was awful but it wasn’t a book that I found myself eager to get back to. I finally acknowledged that I was only half-listening to the book because I was finding it dull and I was bored.

Partly, that was due to the pace of the storytelling, which felt slow without the benefit of becoming more intense because it was taking its time. Partly it was because the main character, while competent and resourceful, seemed emotionally distant. Mostly, it was because the narration remained flat and deadened the text. The liveliness that was present in all the scenes with dialogue was noticeably absent when narrating Greer’s thoughts. Internal arguments, doubts and fears held no more emotion than a description of pouring a cup of coffee and the humour passed by unremarked.

Maybe I’d have fared better with the ebook but you know how it is, “So many books. So little time.”. I’m moving on.

M. E. Hilliard is an American librarian who spent twelve years in retail merchandising  before getting her Master of Library Science degree.

Originally from the Connecticut shoreline, she currently lives and works in Florida.

She is best known for her three Greer Hogan cosy mysteries.

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