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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Woman in the Camphor Trunk by Jennifer Kincheloe

Anna Blanc Camphor Trunk 1
The Woman in the Camphor Trunk
by Jennifer Kincheloe
Book 2 in the Anna Blanc Mystery series
Unabridged, 10 hr. 52 min.
Jennifer L. Kincheloe, Ltd
Moira Quirk (Narrator)
December 6, 2017
★★★★ ½☆
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Genre: Historical Mystery/Thriller

Source: Received audio download for review as part of the tour with Audiobookworm Productions

Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.
Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.

Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family's sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.

Oh dear Anna Blanc, how you get yourself into even bigger scrapes in this book than you did before! One might have thought you would have learned something…but it is just as hilarious, so keep bringing it. That is one thing that I have to mention – while this book is a historical mystery and sometimes thriller, there is so much comedy in the writing and dialogue that it keeps me listening hour after hour!

Book 2 picks up just a short time after the culminating events of the previous installment – Anna is figuring out even more how to navigate the working class world on her own, without her father’s money. But what she lacks in know-how she makes up for in spirit! As she gets herself wrapped up in a case of kidnapped Chinese women and a simmering war in Chinatown, she continuously bests the “real” cops is solving the crime. She knows a little more about the seedy world than she did before, but Chinatown is WAY out of her experience zone, so she is constantly playing catch-up. Through this storyline the author explores many Chinese customs as well as the barriers and stereotypes that the Chinese faced at this time.

I still loved Joe Singer and Anna’s relationship – that push-pull is there no matter how much they fight it, avoid it, and move on, but they are still SO hung up on each other that their working together is HILARIOUS. I loved the scene where Joe is in jail and Anna is intent on taking on solving this crime herself – he is having NONE of it! They are from such different worlds and really want different things in life, but something keeps pulling them back together and some of their best scenes are when they are looking out for each other.

The plot was pretty tight and covered A LOT of ground. There were a couple spots in the middle where I felt we didn’t need to be off on this tangent (while still relevant), but the banter and relationship growth moved me quickly through it enough that I don’t feel that it much affected my enjoyment of the novel. I would pick up another installment in a heartbeat! There is still so much unresolved!



Much like the first book, this was one of THE best audio productions I have listened to. It is excellently narrated. Moira Quirk is someone that would now lead me to pick up a book I’m not even interested in because she could interest me in it through her performance (believe me, I have already went and shelved a few of her other works in my Audible wishlist that are paranormal in genre, which isn’t my typical thing). And a performance it truly is. Quirk doesn’t just read the novel, but imbues Kincheloe’s characters with even more life. As I stated above, Kincheloe wrote some amazing characters that I loved, but Quirk brings out their complete nature to where you feel like they are standing in the room next to you. Yes, each character has their own unique voice, but many narrators do that. However, Quirk not only brings a different voice, but you can envision their mannerisms as well just from the way they are speaking. I’m not sure how she does this, but whatever it is, keep doing it! There is quite the range of nationalities and type of personalities in this novel and Quirk makes them all feel truly real, not cookie cutter or stereotyped. And there is singing! Actual singing! That is one of the things that always disappoints me is when a part that is clearly intended to be sung is instead simply read. And while I know that there are often legitimate reasons this has to be done, it does take away from the experience of the book and colors my perception of it.

Loved the book, loved the production, loved the narrator! Go pick up this book in print (if you don’t listen to books), but I HIGHLY encourage you to check out this audiobook production, it is FANTASTIC and you will not regret it!

You can check out a sample of the audio production by clicking the play button below.

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Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Jennifer Kincheloe:

The SecretLifeofAnnaBlanc audiocover art Final_thumb[1]
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc
(Book #1)
[My Review]

Find Jennifer Kincheloe:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Find Moira Quirk: WebsiteTwitterFacebook

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1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a Kerry Greenwood book. Thanks for the review.


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