Audiobook review: Canyons, Caravans, & Cadavers
Author: Tonya Kappes
Narrator: Johanna Parker
Audio Speed: 1.25x
Series: Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery #6
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Tantor Audio
Picking up shortly after previous book, our story opens with Mae receiving the key to the city for all the work she’s done to help revive Normal’s economy. In addition, she’s offered the chance to teach a six-week course at the high school. However, when a teacher ends up murdered at the Happy Trails Camp Ground, Happy Trails starts losing reservations, and Mae finds herself with a full-time subbing position teaching at the school.
Canyons, Caravans, & Cadavers is another fun tale in the Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery series. This time around, the murder mystery is centered around the local high school. Being a new setting, several new characters are introduced, making things a bit confusing for a little while. This storyline felt a little bit darker and unearthed a slightly seedy underbelly, with all the talk of secrets and such at the school – a lot of drama. I liked the mystery, but I felt it was a bit predictable. Although I knew from the start the who, I didn’t know the why, which kept me engaged. As did the regular characters, whom I still enjoy, including Mae’s love interest, Hank, and his Granny. Although meeting Hank’s family was a huge disappointment and fueled more unnecessary drama.
Narration: I’ve come to love Ms. Parker’s southern drawl and how it adds ambiance to these stories. The series is shared from Mae’s first person narrative, and Ms. Parker’s voice fits Mae’s personality: friendly, courageous, and determined. Overall, Ms. Parker fits the southern, small-town feel and pacing of the narrative. Each character has a slightly different voice fitting his/her age and gender, with her male and older women characters having deeper voices.
Now that we are six books into the Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery series, I have to wonder why anyone would visit Normal when there has been at least a dozen murders in the past year. I like Mae and the residents, and the books are short, easy, mostly entertaining listens. However, I’m starting to get annoyed by inconsistencies in the world-building and overly dramatic and stupid behavior from one or more characters. The seventh title in the series comes out in audiobook next month, and I’ll listen, but I may need a break from the series after that.
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio
About the Book:
When the principal of Normal High School asks Mae West to teach a semester on small-town economics, since she helped bring the thriving economy to Normal, Kentucky, when she used her brilliant ideas to bring the Happy Trails Campground back to life, Mae is thrilled and happy to teach the young people.
But when a fellow teacher and archery coach, Roger Carlson, is found stone-cold dead, face down in one of the Happy Trails Campground campers with an arrow sticking out of his back, it puts a damper on Mae’s excitement to teach.
Mae’s hankering to snoop into the coach’s private life and find out exactly why he was renting a camper in Happy Trails and not living at home with his young wife. Her efforts don’t leave her short on suspects. Especially since Mae uncovered many unhappy parents who had relied on an archery scholarship and perfect ACT scores as their child’s ticket to get out of Normal and go to college.
Mae has to be careful or she just might find an arrow with her name written on it.