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  • Cruel Winter

  • A County Cork Mystery
  • By: Sheila Connolly
  • Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
  • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • 3.6 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Cruel Winter cover art

Cruel Winter

By: Sheila Connolly
Narrated by: Amy Rubinate
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Summary

Snow is a rarity in Maura Donovan's small village in County Cork, Ireland, so she wasn't sure what to expect when a major snowstorm rolled in around Sullivan's pub. But now she's stranded in a bar full of patrons - and a suspected killer in a long-ago murder.

Maura's been in Ireland less than a year and hasn't heard about the decades-old unsolved crime that took place nearby, let alone the infamous suspect, Diane Caldwell. But the locals have, and they're not happy to be trapped with her. Diane, meanwhile, seeks to set the record straight, asserting her innocence after all this time. And since no one is going anywhere in the storm, Maura encourages Diane to share her side of the story, which she'd never had a chance to do in court.

Over the next few hours, the informal court in Sullivan's reviews the facts and theories about the case - and comes to some surprising conclusions. But is it enough to convince the police to take a new look at an old case?

A clever spin on the classic locked-room mystery, Cruel Winter, the fifth in New York Times best-selling author Sheila Connolly's series, will delight fans of the Emerald Isle.

©2017 Sheila Connolly (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Cruel Winter

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    3 out of 5 stars

Nope.

I started but I can’t continue. If the book is set in Ireland why couldn’t you find an Irish narrator? They do exist, I’ve heard them. This american woman who can’t do accents is just not an acceptable choice. I wish publishers would actually think about their choice of narrator as it either makes or breaks an audiobook.

2 people found this helpful

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Beggars belief

So, you have owned a pub for a year, you don't know how it is heated - you don't even know where the oil is stored, you don't know where your staff live and after a year you hope there is not going to be a tax problem. What is more, after a year in Cork the idea that waterproofs, a warm jacket or boots might be essential also has not struck you.

These sorts of silly things encouraged me to give up on the book after a few chapters - a waste of time.

2 people found this helpful

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An issue with Irish accents

The story is a perfectly acceptable easy crime story with a requisite cosy setting. The main character, Maura is well narrated, she’s American so the American narrator obviously did well there. The rest of the characters are a dreadful stew of mangled ‘Oirish’. Think Dick Van Dyke’s attempt at cockney. This one was free on Plus, sadly don’t think I would pay for another in the series without a change of narrator.


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disappointing.

15 minutes in and just couldn't bear the accent attempted by the narrator any longer, switched it off.

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  • S
  • 01-07-17

Not up to Sheila Connolly's usual standard

This audio book is 7 & 1/2 hours long. Unfortunately, there were only about 2 hours of story here. The author starts with a storm and a mysterious woman in the bar. Then she proceeds to tell the woman's story over, and over, and over and over again. I got so sick of Maura "reviewing" or "summarizing" the facts in her head and to the group that I could have smacked her one. There was zero advancement of the series ongoing story of romance between Maura and Sean or Mick, an infinitesimal bit about Jillian and Harry, a tiny bit about Maura wondering, (but not deciding) what to do with the bar, and several repetitions of praise for Rose's cooking. It's like Ms Connolly had an idea and a deadline, so she just repeated her material until she had enough words down to call it a novel. Don't waste money or a credit on this. Buy the paperback and read the first two and last three chapters, and you will get the gist of it.

13 people found this helpful

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  • AnnieB
  • 12-05-17

All talk, no action

I loved the earlier books in this series, but this one was a huge disappointment. It was slow, very repetitive, and the entire story is based on people sitting in a room talking about something that happened 20 years earlier. It was painful to get through.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Lisie
  • 30-09-20

Pointless story

90% of this book is different people saying "as i said before". Incredibly boring, no character motivations, should not qualify as a mystery.

7 people found this helpful

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  • P. MacL
  • 19-02-19

Cruel is Right

The concept of the story was interesting and I was listening to it while in the middle of a snowstorm. It should have been ideal. But although I have enjoyed the earlier books, I am frustrated that the main character. She just doesn't seem to mature.
Will she ever stop having inner dialogues? Will Maura review the plot line one more time? Must she go on about being accepted? Will she ever learn to think properly and not just ask a series of questions? The questions, the questions...If I had a print copy I would have counted them. Surely there is a better way to move the plot and to develop the character.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Elizabeth
  • 18-07-18

Repetitive

Note to self: read reviews before purchasing any book, audio or otherwise.

Although the main character, Maura is from Boston (a city with more than it's share of snow storms and blizzards), she absolutely freaks out when told that a snow storm is coming. What should I do? Oh my gosh, what do I do? Do I get food? What if we have people taking refuge at the bar? What if they want to spend the night? What do I do?? This takes up several chapters

The story, which could have been an interesting one, is based on a 20 year old murder. A woman, who was a person of interest, enters the bar and wants to tell her side of the story. Maura acts as a moderator for the discussions that ensue.

Maura repeatedly reviews "what we know so far" as one reviewer put it, over and over and over and over and over. As the discussions take place in ONE night, there was no need for this but acted as filler to up the word count.

This was the fifth book in this series (there's one more out) and Maura hasn't grown...she's still whiny and waffling back and forth between two men (although she claims she doesn't have time for a man, she's too busy with the bar...and solving murders) Instead of the author using "said" as an attributive, the author has Maura "demanding" as in "'Why did they do that?' Maura demanded." This is to customers. She's not a likeable character. I don't believe I'll be listening to any more in the series.

SPOILER ALERT: One rule in mysteries is "play fair with your reader." This author didn't adhere to that rule.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Larry
  • 12-07-18

Boring and Silly

Nothing much happens in this book. The main character, Maura, seems to be right out of Nancy Drew. Unfortunately, Maura is an adult woman, not a teenage girl. Maura's wild-eyed naivete does not jive with a woman who supposedly is the smartest person in the room. The recurring theme that things were so much different in the 1990s than the present is simply ridiculous in the context of the book. The supporting characters are poorly developed and really do not bring much to the party. The dark and stormy night setting was basically wasted and the author seemed to go out of her way to create zero suspense.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Patti Salmon
  • 06-07-18

Not happy

One thing that really bothered me about this book (and I have listened to all of them in the series so far) is she makes this woman (Moira) sound so dam dumb most of the time, but then allows her to be smart enough to solve a 20 year old murder... The woman lived in BOSTON, but the author has her whining about the weather. She complains repeatable that she isn't sure "what to do" with the coming snow storm. No coat, no boots, should she stock up some food ? OH PLEASE... the woman is in her mid 20s and lived in BOSTON.... did Moira live in a bubble. ? So she runs around asking everyone's advice about what she should do. Give the girl some gonads please !

4 people found this helpful

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  • Beatrice
  • 09-04-17

It was ok

I enjoyed the first four books of this series. However, it was a bit difficult to get through this one. The characters and the mystery were well developed and entertaining, but, the story was repetitive and lasted longer than necessary. I hope the next one is better. It's also time for Maura to develop more.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-03-21

Couldn’t continue listening

So disappointed that after 3 chapters I could not continue. The main character grated on my nerves. She was supposed to be a manager of a pub, but acted clueless about everything. Perhaps it would have improved, but I couldn’t take the chance. Not worth investing more time!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mystery Beading Cat
  • 29-04-17

I love this series

I really love this series, but this book was not the best in the group. It dragged and was repetition. I hope the next one is a bit better. I do like Amy Rubinate's performance.

3 people found this helpful