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Archive for November 12th, 2021

Donn’s Legacy

Author: Caryn Larrinaga

Narrator: Jessica McEvoy

Length: 9 hours 58 minutes

Series: The Soul Searchers Mysteries, Book 3

Released: Sep. 27, 2021

Publisher: Twisted Tree Press

Genre: Supernatural Cozy Mystery


How do you catch a killer who moves like a ghost? Mackenzie Clair is sure she’ll find answers in New Mexico. The mysteries around her mother’s past have haunted her for 20 years, and every sign points toward the truth lurking in her childhood home. But the Donn’s Hill Body Magnet should have known better than to expect a quiet trip. Everywhere Mac goes, ghosts follow. All her life, Mac thought her mother’s death was just a tragic accident. But when a tourist dies under suspiciously similar circumstances, connections between Evelyn Clair and more recent victims start stacking up. There’s a serial killer on the prowl, and they’ve set their sights on Donn’s Hill. Hard as she tries, Mac can’t convince the police the deaths are related. The murderer is like a ghost, moving through the living world in ways only a psychic can follow. It’s up to Mac to solve the case, but if she can’t sift through the clues from her past, she won’t live to see her future.

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Caryn Larrinaga is a Basque-American mystery and horror writer. She has been a Dragon Award finalist and won multiple awards for her work, including the League of Utah Writers Silver Quill (Donn’s Hill, 2017) and the Cat Writers Association Certificate of Excellence (Donn’s Legacy, 2020). In 2021, she was named Writer of the Year by the League of Utah Writers. Watching scary movies through split fingers terrified Caryn as a child, and those nightmares inspire her to write now. Her 90-year-old house has a colorful history, and the creaking walls and narrow hallways send her running (never walking) up the stairs. Exploring her fears through writing makes Caryn feel a little less foolish for wanting a buddy to accompany her into the tool shed. Caryn lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and their clowder of cats. Caryn is an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Cat Writers Association, the League of Utah Writers, and the Utah Chapter of the Horror Writers Association.

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Narrator Bio Between peddling video games and teaching yoga in her home state of Arizona, Jessica McEvoy attempts to conduct a career as a professional voice actress. This, however, is moderately undermined by the fact that she records in a dimly lit closet with her microphone balanced on a stack of old board games (Junior Scrabble and Powerpuff Girls Monopoly form a strong foundation), but she hopes that no one holds that against her. Though her main work consists of narrating audiobooks, her first dive into the voice world was through the NoSleep podcast after answering a post from the LibriVox forums. Having been raised on horror movies and scary stories, she was beyond excited to be able to work on the show. Many stories, tortured screams, deranged villains, and creepy little girl giggles later, Jessica hopes to work on the podcast for seasons and seasons to come.

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Q&A with Narrator Jessica McEvoy
  • How did you wind up narrating audiobooks? Was it always your goal or was it something you stumbled into by chance?
    • I saw an ad for ACX (the audiobook creation exchange) and it piqued my curiosity. I thought, “I can do that? By myself? Right now?” and then bought a microphone soon after. I’d never imagined I’d find a job where I could read books and be paid for it.
  • A lot of narrators seem to have a background in theatre. Is that something you think is essential to a successful narration career?
    • As much as I’d like to think my role as the Cat in the Hat in Suessical the Musical in middle school was a breakout performance, I don’t think a theatre background is entirely necessary for a career in voice acting.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for narrating?
    • I keep a supply of emergency chocolate on my desk for when my reserves start to run dry. I try to keep my office a happy place, with an essential oil diffuser throwing out some good smells and a few comfy blankets to wrap myself in when I’m trudging through editing the audio. I take breaks when I start to feel like I’m hitting a wall.
  • What about this title compelled you to audition as narrator?
    • After narrating the adventures of Mac and her friends in the two previous novels, Donn’s Hill and Donn’s Shadow, I knew I had to follow through with them to the end.
  • How closely do you prefer to work with authors?
    • I love feedback from authors! It’s reassuring to know when I’m getting something right and when something needs to be adjusted, otherwise I’m a nervous mess and assume I’ve ruined the whole thing.
  • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
    • Sometimes the characters’ voices are explicitly described in the text and so I do my best to match that. If they’re not, I’ll try to do a voice that I feel best reflects their personality or style of speaking.
  • What types of things are harmful to your voice?
    • Screaming. My main gig is voice acting for The NoSleep Podcast, a horror anthology show, so this comes up somewhat frequently. When I know I’ve got to full on death shriek in a story, I’ll save that for after everything else has been recorded to avoid rasping through the narration. Then I consume copious amounts of tea.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I’d say that’s really unfair. I’ve spoken with blind or visually impaired listeners who are so happy to be able to enjoy stories otherwise unavailable to them. Many folks listen at work or while taking care of other tasks and wouldn’t otherwise have the time to sit down and read. Listening to an audiobook still requires reading comprehension and interpretation; it’s just a different way of doing it.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring audiobook narrators?
    • Start small. Don’t jump into a contract for a multiple book series or an epic saga right away. Make sure you know what you’re doing first and take time to experiment. It’s also not a bad idea to use a pseudonym for your first few novels. You’ll inevitably get better with practice and may regret attaching your professional name to projects that don’t match that quality.
  • Bonus question: Any funny anecdotes from inside the recording studio?
    • One of the characters in The Soul Searchers series is a cat, who occasionally has a few bits of meowing or trilling dialogue. Narrating a cat is fun but watching my dogs’ reactions to hearing the result is even better. They’d hear it even when I had headphones on and then walk around the house terribly confused, trying to find this phantom cat.

Review

Graham and Mac are taking a vacation in New Mexico where Mac grew up. They find a dead woman and a possible lead of who Horace is and then learn of a friend’s passing when they get back home. Something sounds odd to Mac about Elizabeth’s passing, especially since that was how her own mother died.

Things keep moving as the Soul Searchers find new crew to replace those that have left. Mac is learning more about astral projection and finds she has brought a ghost back with her from her trip to New Mexico. But she is still plagued by Horace and having a harder and harder time trying to get some restful sleep. Mac is getting closer to the breaking point and it’s looking like Horace may just win.

At the end of Donn’s Shadow, I was worried that with the team breaking up and Mac going to New Mexico that they would be done. But don’t worry, this is just another stepping stone on the way to the finally. Poor Mac, I really thought she was going to snap and be lost to Horace. All is not lost, just keep reading.

Jessica McEvoy does a fantastic job narrating this story. She has an amazing voice and great pace. I can’t wait to find other books that she narrates.

I really liked this series and recommend it to anyone that is looking for a paranormal cozy mystery. I do recommend reading it from the beginning to get the full experience.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Caryn Larrinaga. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

View the full tour schedule here!

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