Skeletons in the Attic

Written by Judy Penz Sheluk ⎮ Narrated by Claira Jordyn

Author: Judy Penz Sheluk
Narrator: Claira Jordyn
Series: A Marketville Mystery, Book 1
Length: 8 hours and 33 minutes
Publisher: Judy Penz Sheluk
Released: Jul. 31, 2017
Genre: Mystery

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Synopsis

What goes on behind closed doors doesn't always stay there.

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn't surprised to learn she's the sole beneficiary of her late father's estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville - a house she didn't know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie's inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother's murder.

Callie's not keen on dredging up a 30-year-old mystery, but if she doesn't do it, there's a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father's wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic? Find out.

This audiobook was provided by its author, Judy Penz Sheluk, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Judy!

Jess's Review

4.5 Stars

Let's slow clap it out for Judy Penz Sheluk. I watch a lot of mystery series on television, but you got me with this one, Judy. I usually wind up being at least a little disappointed in the conclusions of mysteries, but the ending of Skeletons in the Attic was every bit as captivating as the build up to it had been. I'm still marveling at how well Skeletons in the Attic was written. It was a mental scramble right up until the last few minutes.

Penz Sheluk is a new author to me, but I was highly impressed with what she was able to accomplish in 8.5 hours. I enjoyed getting to know Calamity ("Callie") as a memorable and likable protagonist. She showed a great deal of common sense, something which is a scarcity among main characters these days. Furthermore, the cast of secondary characters was just as memorable. I have this bad habit of dismissing secondary characters as "decoration" or plot devices, but knowing this was a mystery and everyone was a suspect, I paid special attention to the background characters and was rewarded for it. Skeletons in the Attic boasted a memorable and also likeable supporting cast.

Also memorable was its setting. Marketville is a small suburb in Ontario, Canada. The last Canadian set story I remember hearing was the Casey Duncan series which takes place in the Yukon. Having never been to Canada and with the Casey Duncan series as my only frame of reference, the Marketville setting was quite a culture shock initially. There were several mentions of Canada Day and Canadian locations of which I had no prior knowledge, so it was a learning curve, but definitely enjoyable. The setting of Marketville was particularly atmospheric and added an extra dimension of depth to the mystery and Callie's backstory.

There were so many red herrings in Skeletons in the Attic that I was constantly being faked out. I spent the last half waiting for the hammer to drop, only for my expectations to once again be subverted. For the first three fourths of the book, I was convinced that I knew the who of the "whodunit", but not the how or the why. As any mystery enthusiast knows, the why is the corner stone of a a great mystery. Around the 75% mark, Penz Sheluk pulled the rug out from under my feet by eliminating my two top contenders. At that point, it was back to the drawing board and all options were back in play. That's when I became a woman possessed, forsaking all other tasks and single-mindedly listening to this audiobook with the intent of solving the mystery before the ending.

And I failed. The resolution rounded a corner and smacked me in the face. I'll admit that it had sort of been one of the [many] options I was considering, but I'll also admit that probably doesn't amount to much. I may have lost this round, but based on my level of enjoyment while listening to Skeletons in the Attic, the loss doesn't hurt that much.

I listened to Skeletons in the Attic in less than 48 hours. Considering how complex this mystery was and how intricately woven the story became as it went on, it's surprising that I was able to listen to it so quickly and easily. That is certainly a testament to Penz Sheluk's ability to weave a good tale.
Narration Review
Claira Jordyn provided an enjoyable listening experience for Skeletons in the Attic. I was pleased with the production quality, as it was worthy of any big time publishing company. Jordyn's tone and overall voicing were satisfying, reminding me distinctly of an actress I've heard on television, although I'm still unable to put my finger on exactly who. However, I did struggle with dialogue scenes, particularly between two female female characters. Even when concentrating solely on the matter, I still found myself unable to tell who was speaking most of the time, which became frustrating over the course of the book. I hate to do it, but I have to detract half of a star due to Jordyn's lack of character distinction. Other than that, this was a wonderful listen and I would not discourage anyone from hearing it, nor would I hesitate to hear another title from Jordyn.

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Jess has been a constant presence in the audiobook community since 2016, running The Audiobookworm and Audiobookworm Promotions. The only thing that surpasses her love of audiobook listening is the passion and zeal with which she promotes them.

When not reviewing for Audiobook Empire, she posts reviews on her personal review blog at The Audiobookworm.com and organizes audiobook blog tours at AudiobookwormPromotions.com.

Comments (1)

  1. Reply

    Thank you so much for this fabulous review, Jess. It’s greatly appreciated. You may find it interesting to know that Marketville is loosely based on Newmarket, a town I lived in (and nearby) for many years. Of course, great liberties were taken!

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