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Saturday, April 9, 2016

VALLEY of DECEPTION: JAKE MATTHEWS, BOOK 1 (audiobook) by T.H. Michael

Published by Tobin H Michael in February of 2016
Read by Tom Lennon
Duration: 8 hours, 33 minutes

Valley of Deception is a thriller featuring Jake Matthews, an experienced U.S. Marshal who lives and works in Iowa.

The book starts out with a lot of action as Jake Matthews and his team are out to execute an arrest warrant in a small town in Iowa, accompanied by an inexperienced local deputy who is serving as the local guide. The arrest goes poorly and most of the team gets shot. 

Jake takes some much-needed time off with his wife to recover emotionally in his vacation home in Iowa. It is a farmhouse where Matthews can play at farming a bit and go hunting. But, this time for rest and relaxation is not going well - Matthews is experiencing panic attacks and having a hard time sleeping at night. 
Photo by DWD

One day, he decides to go on a walk along his property line when he smells the all-too-familiar smell (in his line of work) of a meth lab. He crosses onto a neighboring piece of property and soon finds the new, well-maintained meth lab. Plus, he sees the physically intimidating leader of a very private and mysterious local religious sect, Zebadiah Caldwell, walking away from the lab.

Matthews still does not feel steady enough yet to step in and arrest Caldwell so he decides to tell the local sheriff about the lab the next time that he goes to town. And, that's when things start to fall apart...

I listened to this book as an audiobook. The narrator, Tom Lennon did a great job with the voices. He had to create multiple characters, including men, women, a geeky pharmacist, a mildly mentally handicapped girl, a teenage boy and the accented, hyper-masculine voice of the religious sect. 

But, Lennon's outstanding work as a reader could not make up for an inconsistent book. 

Up to the point where I left off describing the action, I was more than pleased with this book. But, it just started to slip from that point. I thought that some of the characters started to act in an inconsistent manner which hurt the book. But, the biggest problem was that the book became repetitive.  I am fine with characters re-stating things so that the readers (or, in my case, listener) can be reminded of things as the story goes along. But, there were so many times when the sheriff's and Caldwell's internal thoughts were repeated in an attempt to create drama and underscore their motivations that I got tired of hearing them.

Too bad, because the first part of the book really did hold out a lot of promise but it just broke down.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Valley of Deception.

Note: I was provided with a free digital copy of this audiobook so that I could provide an honest review.

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