Orchids and Stone by Lisa Preston


Orchids and Stone - Lisa Preston

This was a good book. It was intriguing and enjoyable, but not earth-shattering. This had been my March Kindle First book but I was way late in getting to it.

They’re trying to take me. Help! Help me, please.

Daphne Mayfield sought a moment of quiet in a park—a break from city life, a tense relationship, and chronic overwork—but then an elderly woman makes a desperate plea. Daphne is reluctant to get involved when she’s not sure what’s happening, but she wants to help the stranger. Is the rambling old lady the victim of a crime or a victim of dementia?

As her unease grows, Daphne can’t let go of the encounter. No matter what her boyfriend or her friends say. No matter what the retired homicide detective warns. Though she knows she’s meddling in other people’s lives, her instincts scream that the danger is real.

With each increasingly bold intervention, Daphne involves herself in someone else’s crisis until she’s in too deep to turn back. She’s not just fighting for a stranger’s life…she’s fighting for her own.

I went ahead and got the audio upgrade, voiced by Cris Dukehart, since it was available for just $1.99. Those have been helping get through these old Kindle First books that I hadn’t reviewed in a timely manner. Dukehart was a great narrator, too. Her voice just felt perfect for Daphne Mayfield.

The book is listed as a mystery/thriller/suspense type book which isn’t really my thing, but it was still a fun read/listen. Part of my issue with the genre is that it always feels a bit predictable to me, and in that, this one wasn’t an exception. I felt like I knew where the overall story was going for most of it. Aside from that it follows that typical pattern all mystery novels seem to,  the parts of the story are great and the characters were amazing and written with great depth. There’s also some great misdirection, and extra things that seem like clues but don’t add up to anything, and blocks along the way that were totally normal but not things that I expected to see in a mystery. The ties between the back story and the plot were solid. I especially enjoyed the way some comments haunted the main character.

As a character, I really liked Daphne and identified with her as a woman working outside of expectations. I enjoyed the pieces of her relationship with Vic that were the opposite of gendered expectations and roles and the way it’s even pointed out in the story. I felt like every character was someone I’d met before and I liked that about it, as mystery/thrillers go. I’m kinda over the whole super-specialized this or that type of character. I like that everyone was just a normal person and all the police procedural parts were entertaining for their absolute believably. One of the reasons I tend to stay away from this genre is all the pieces of the story that are expected to be there, like super concerned cops or the story getting the one cop who cares or the one that was amazing but just got divorced or has an problem with alcoholism after the one case they never solved. These guys were all normal and responding in ways that I would expect actual cops to respond rather than the stuff I see on television. I appreciated that even her best friend and boyfriend only humored her because of her past and that it was a bad anniversary for her.

I especially enjoyed that it was a mystery that wasn’t about a cop solving a case, even though there are plenty of cops in the book. Personally, I’m sick to death of cop shows and cop stories. Don’t get me wrong, I think cops mostly do as good as they can with what they have and I know that’s different from county to county. I absolutely respect them, but these sensationalized crime stories are grating on my nerves and the concepts of criminals forming some sort of bond to the cop who usually gets their case and blah blah, snore. Anyway, this was not one of those stories, and I adored the cop who even pokes fun at that.

There are triggers to be concerned with in this book, specifically rape, suicide and murder. I’m not calling these spoilers though, because they are all part of Daphne’s back story and revealed in the first two chapters as such. Whether or not they happen again later in the story is another matter….

Anyway, they are part of Daphne’s motivation so they will come up a lot in the story as her character progresses through the plot. If these things trigger you, I wouldn’t pick up the book. But then again, if they’re problems, I’m sure you aren’t reading mystery novels in the first place since most cover these topics.

Like I said above, I had gotten this book as a Kindle First back in March, but it’s still available at Amazon for both Kindle and Audible here but it’s also available from the Book Depository.

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