Author: Miss Mae
Narrators: Stephen Mendel, Dave Mallow, J.W. Terry, Toni Attell, Robin Riker
Length: 5h 51m
Publisher: Miss Mae – 2017
Release Date: November 11, 2016
Buy Links: Buy on PulpRadio.net
On an island bordering the coast of South Carolina, a convention is planned for “Catch Me” game enthusiasts. The game, designed by Stuart Harrington, wealthy businessman, is the genius behind the hottest game craze. But only ten guests are able to arrive before Brian, a category four hurricane, makes landfall. Lois Steinberg washes ashore on the beach. Amongst strangers, she has no idea who to trust and when Paul, the cook, is found murdered, events happen too eerily reminiscent of any “Catch Me” game that Stuart Harrington could ever conceive.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Trigger warning: racism
Part Murder, She Wrote episode, part Clue, this full cast production audiobook of Catch Me If You Can begins as any good, classic mystery might: in a dark and stormy night. Lois, a young woman out “snorkeling”, is caught in a category four hurricane and washed ashore, only to be rescued by a guest of the manor house where some sort of gathering is occurring. It isn’t long before it is clear that Lois isn’t the only one to be wary of; everyone is suspicious whether outwardly brash Bob or one of the more “innocent” seeming guests.
My first impressions were thus: 1. These guests and the story’s circumstances reminded me of the movie Clue, what with everyone running about, and 2. Lois is not the innocent lead she seems, as evidenced by the first few scenes of chapter two.
The vocal cast was well chosen. Their voices were neither too grating nor too monotone. Ranging from, I’m guessing, 30-40’s up to a few elderly guests, there was a wide variety of personalities. Each was well defined, which is a plus. There were two that were a bit exaggerated: Bob, the brash man that was around for most of the story and a supposed investigator of some sort; and Andy, a reporter who shows up near the end of the story, who sounds like a two-bit gangster from a twenties flick.
With an audiobook narrated by a single person your expectations may be limited, but those expectations rise when more people are brought into the mix. There’s more drama, more ways to stretch the material. The expanded vocal cast combined with the sound effects, heavy handed as they were at times, made it easy to see them in my head, to picture them sniping at each other, moving about the rooms of the manor house, etc.
One of the difficulties I did encounter right from the start with sound quality were the noises from the storm. It was too loud in parts, obscuring parts of dialogue and making it difficult to understand what the characters were saying. The roaring of the wind, the lashing of the rain at the windows, it was too much.
The mystery of the story, the murders that take place within the manor house under the cover of the storm (Hurricane Brian, in fact), was moderately interesting. It was simple enough to follow along, even as more victims appeared. I was wondering at some points whether the point would be gotten to, but I believe that all questions were answered by the end. There were some twists that I starting guessing at, but I didn’t guess the final ones at the end, which was nice. As much as I try to see the ending coming, it’s fun to not see it coming 100% of the way.
There was a bit of a romance between Lois and one of the guests, which I was not really meshing with, for at least two reasons: 1. Instalove is very much not my thing and even if it was 2. it was not written believably. Lois and this person get together far too easily/quickly for much about their relationship, if you want to call it that, to be believable. I’d believe her adopting the dog in the book more than I’d believe her ending up with the guy.
Something that I think would have made the book a whole lot better would have been for the casual racism in the book to have been wiped out. Not that there’s ever a need for it to be in a book, but if the characters had at least been called out on it, it would have been something. There were several examples that annoyed me because there was nothing added to the story by the author including them.
Early on, when Tia is introduced, there is a comment on how Lois can tell she’s Asian because of her hair and such, but she can’t tell the difference between Chinese, Japanese, and Taiwanese.
Later, Victor makes a comment about Tia’s reaction to Mike (note: Mite? I couldn’t hear the name clearly) the dog, asking don’t all Chinese like dogs and she replies “only on a menu”. No one says anything about this and the only reaction we get, so to speak, is Lois wondering if Tia meant it as a joke, but not thinking so.
There’s also a time when the group is waiting out the night in a room and most are sleeping while Lois, Tia, and Cookie are keeping watch. Under the guise of girl talk to keep boredom at bay, Cookie presses Tia to reveal her heritage, where her parents, her ancestors are from, and wondering why she’s ashamed of revealing it. She even says she’s not ashamed to say she’s Irish and English: English because of her coloring, Irish because of her fiery temper. The racism toward Tia and defense of it with European stereotyping was irritating and unnecessary in the course of the story.
Jared, one of the other guests, tells Lois she should thank “their Asian friend” for saving her from an incident. Later, when files are recovered on the guests that managed to get to the manor, Tia’s revealed that she arrived via a flight from Beijing and Cookie exclaims that at least they now know she’s Chinese. This was annoying and arrogant; just because she came on a flight from one country doesn’t mean she’s of that country’s ethnicity.
Then there is Lois’s suspicion of Rajah, a fellow guest, of one of the subsequent murders, primarily because he’s Iranian and aren’t “they sworn enemies of Americans” rather than a simple fact like he had opportunity. His race/ethnicity had nothing to do with it. It’s later revealed he isn’t even Iranian (not that that excuses her hasty, racist judgement; he was judged by his appearance, lumping all Asians together.
The romance between Lois and Victor felt flimsy and forced. It wasn’t necessary for the story and the places were it was shoehorned in felt quite awkward, especially when they were in the garage and we were getting an info dump of their theories about the murderer(s).
As far as a mystery goes, I liked it well enough and I would recommend it for fans of the genre. I wouldn’t pick it up if you read the synopsis and went into it thinking the characters were game enthusiasts like I did, was lead to believe. That part of the story was wholly unimportant and could have been switched out for any other kond of convention, sadly.
I would caution that it would be best listened to in as short a time as possible so as to keep characters, motives, and what not straight, and also that there are racist comments that really have no place in the story.
Interested in hearing this production for yourself? Click on the link below to hear the first chapter of Catch Me If You Can. Check later tour stops for chapter two!
About the Author: Miss Mae
Miss Mae is all about romantic mysteries. With her writing style compared to the likes of Agatha Christie, her books “Said the Spider to the Fly”, “When the Bough Breaks”, “Dove Island”, “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred” and “See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” are award winning best sellers. The novellas “Miss Penelope’s Letters”, and “Through a Glass Darkly” have received top rated five-star reviews. Her latest murder mystery, “Catch Me If You Can”, in audio format, has won the platinum award in the 2017 Hermes Creative International Competition. Tantalizing trailers, and more information, is readily available at her website.
She’s also penned three tales in the ‘Ahoy, Mischaps!’ children’s/humor series. Book #1 is “Ahoy, Gum Drop!” followed by Book #2 “Ahoy, Out There!” with Book #3, “Ahoy, Mummy Mia!” In these slightly cracked stories, readers are introduced to a cast of intriguing, extraordinary and downright bizarre characters, accompanied by the one and only I.B. Nosey, the ‘official unofficial’ reporter. To learn more about the ‘Mischaps’ and cyberspace’s only Pukelitzer Award winning interviewer, visit ‘Feeling Nosey?’
Catch Me If You Can Giveaway
Open Internationally, there’s a giveaway for visitors to the stops of the Catch Me If You Can blog tour for a chance to win $25 Paypal Cash.
I received a copy of this book from the Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review.