In the late 1960s, a group of young radicals were suspected in the bombing death of a college student during one of their anti-war protests. Twenty-two years later, the group is pulled together once again when the one who has been in hiding turns herself in, and another is shot in the head by an unknown assailant.
Maggie MacGowen, a well-known documentary film maker, is called to Los Angeles by her older sister, Emily, near the twenty-second anniversary of their brother’s death. Emily had been part of the radical group years earlier. Her twin brother, Mark, was a soldier in Vietnam, and was killed by friendly fire just after Emily’s arrest in the bombing. Shortly after Maggie arrives in LA, she learns Emily has been shot in the head and is in critical condition.
Maggie meets LA Detective Mike Flint as she starts trying to unravel the mystery surrounding Emily’s shooting. While skeptical at first, Flint starts to agree with Maggie that Emily’s shooting isn’t random, but instead has some connection with the reemergence of the fugitive and the former members of the 1960’s radical group. As they work together, Mike and Maggie also find themselves attracted to each other.
Donna Postel does a fine job narrating this engaging mystery. A few times her voice does lack animation, but usually she injects just the right amount of emotion into her characters’ voices. She never sounds like she’s trying too hard getting the feelings of her characters across to the listeners. Telling Lies is told in first person, so all the narrative is from Maggie’s point of view. Ms. Postel is most likely to flatten out her narrative voice when there are long stretches of Maggie “telling” the story and not talking to someone else, but even then it is only occasionally. Ms. Postel effectively differentiates her characters and, although the differences may at times be subtle between characters of the same sex, I didn’t have any problems following dialog. The male and female characters are easily distinguished one from another. Her voice for Mike is low and subtly sexy, while Maggie’s is more matter-of-fact. Both voices fit the characters well.
Telling Lies, the first in the Maggie MacGowen Mystery series was written in 1993 so don’t expect lots of recent technology. I didn’t find that to be a problem, but it does date the story somewhat. I enjoyed all the references to the 1960’s since I grew up during that decade and remember the chaos of the anti-war demonstrations quite well. Older readers like me may enjoy this glimpse back to their adolescence, while younger readers may experience an era they know little about.
The romance in Telling Lies is subtle but engaging. I love mysteries, so the romantic thread in the story is like icing on a cake. I found my way into romance novels through romantic mysteries after years of reading only mysteries, and I would dearly love to read more mysteries with solid romances. I’m looking forward to seeing how the relationship develops in the second book in the Maggie MacGowen Mystery series.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: You can play it out loud
Genre: Contemporary Suspense
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Telling Lies was provided to AudioGals for review by Highbridge Audio.