Saturday, October 11, 2014
Book Review: Murder at Avedon Hill by P.G. Holyfield
Arames Kragen is trying to use the mountain pass controlled by the Avedon family. Unfortunately, the pass has been closed due to a recent murder in the town of Avedon Hill. Arames will only be able to earn passage if the murderer is found. Most of the townspeople are convinced Greta Platt was killed by a vampire. Arames thinks differently. Will he be able to solve the murder in time to get to the conference he’s traveling to? And more importantly, will he and the other townspeople survive, or is the murderer ready to strike again?
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from http://podiobooks.com/title/murder-at-avedon-hill/
Lord Avedon has a problem. Generations of Avedons have watched over Avedon Hill and controlled the only pass through the Lantis Mountains. Traditions are important to the Avedon family, but one tradition has tragically come to an end. Gretta Platt, Housemistress of Avedon Manor, has been murdered. A member of the Platt family has always served the Avedons as Housemistress. until now. Only a handful of people live at Avedon Hill, and most are suspects. Arames Kragen, retired Aarronic Advisor and scholar of prophecy, arrives at the gates of Avedon Hill, hoping to gain access to the mountain pass. Lord Avedon is not in a giving mood, however.
This is the story of Arames Kragen and his attempt not only to discover who killed Gretta Platt, but also to uncover the truth about a town that apparently has more secrets than inhabitants.
The Land of Caern: It is a world where the gods, the Children of Az, can choose to be born as mortals to directly affect events in the world, and often do. It is a world where the Priests of Caern frantically search for the mortal incarnations of any of the Children, in order prevent the Prophecies of Iberian from coming to pass.
As you probably know, I’m a big fantasy fan. Murder at Avedon Hill is an amazing introduction to the land of Caern… a land filled with things I hadn’t expected. I was looking forward to a fairly standard fantasy world— European-ish, tradesmen and nobles, that sort of thing. I’ve been through a few mysteries and was eager to see how Holyfield melded the two genres.
I hadn’t expected the supernatural to come and play in Avedon Hill. But vampires and moonbeasts (lycanthrope-type creatures) make their appearances, and I was thrilled. This isn’t a simple whodunit mystery. This is a no-holds-barred mixed up alibis-and-mystic-quests, interrogate-and-question again and again novel that really brings out the best of a mystery plot. Couple that with there not always being a simple answer, thanks to the supernatural coming into play (not to mention a bunch of gods who have their own designs on the world) and you’ve got a great mix of world and wonder.
I listened to Murder at Avedon Hill through podiobooks.com. This was a wonderful way to experience the novel. I do feel like it would be just as good an experience (maybe even a better one) if just plain read in print or ebook. There are a lot of small details about this different world that I think would be easier absorbed through print rather than audio. Still, this was a great experience and a wonderful mystery. Arames and his student Arrin go through their investigation with such perfect methodology, but there is also the side quest to just get started, and other questions to be answered along the way. There’s much to chew on for the traditional fantasy fan, but the mystery reader won’t be disappointed, either.
I was pulled into Murder at Avedon Hill from word one. Holyfield’s characters are true to their own personalities and natures from start to finish. His dialogue is very real, although I do think Arames tended to say, “Just one more question,” a few too many times. But that could just be his nature, and if so, he was definitely true to that. There’s plenty to uncover in Avedon Hill, and the growth of the more prominent characters is admirable. Holyfield manages to subtly take away layers of details to reveal more and more intrigue in this little town. As a whole, it is beautifully done.
For the audio, a great cast lined up to voice the characters themselves. That definitely helped with the audio version. Even though the cast isn’t huge, the separate voices really made a difference for me in keeping track of who was who and what their stories and alibis were. I’ll admit, there was one character toward the end that came sort of out of left field for me, but I think I can chalk that up to my own overlooking him rather than it being a failing in the audio or the writing. I got a few of the very minor characters mixed up, but it didn’t really detract too much from my enjoying of the end of the novel.
Would I Recommend This Book? I absolutely would! This is a great novel for the fantasy or mystery fan. If you like either, give it a shot, and if you like both genres, well this is the book for you. The mystery is solid, the characters are a real community, and the outsiders (Arames and Arrin) definitely do not fit in, which builds some great tension. I give Murder at Avedon Hill a secretive 4 of 5 stars.
Before I go into the author’s website, I do want to make a mention. Sadly, P.G. Holyfield recently lost a battle with an aggressive and inoperable form of cancer. He is sorely missed. Please, if you read and enjoy his work, consider helping his family with a donation to help cover medical costs and provide for the children he’s left behind. Since Murder at Avedon Hill and much of his other material can be downloaded for free, this would be a wonderful way to show your appreciation. You can make donations through podiobooks.com or his GoFundMe page at http://www.gofundme.com/pgfund
For more on the author, visit http://www.pgholyfield.com/maah/