Audiobooks: Hunting Manson

| October 02, 2007

The Sleeping Doll – Jeffery Deaver

Reviewed by Albert and Selena Brown
Company drivers, Kennesaw Transportation

Listening Time: 16 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Retail: $49.95
Genre: Thriller

Plot: On Sept. 13, 1999, Daniel Pell was convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of manslaughter for killing a family in their home. The only survivor was 9-year-old Theresa Croyton, who was asleep upstairs in her bed with her toys surrounding her. The media called her “the sleeping doll.”

Pell was given consecutive life sentences and dubbed the “Son of Manson” by the prosecuting attorney. Now, eight years later, evidence has linked Pell to another murder, and he’s been transferred to the Salinas Courthouse from Capitola Prison.

Former criminal journalist and jury consultant Kathryn Dance – now an interrogator, or “human lie detector,” with the California Bureau of Investigation – has been chosen to question Pell at the courthouse. After the interrogation ends, Pell escapes from the courthouse with the help of an accomplice. The race is on to recapture Pell before others are killed. Dance joins forces with Michael O’Neil of the Monterey Sheriff’s Department and Winston Kellogg of the FBI.

Pell has unfinished business before he can go to his mountaintop and become the Pied Piper of California. He considers himself the “king of control” – he can read people just as well as Dance, and nobody will get in his way.

Dance wants to learn more about Pell to figure out why he is still in the Monterey area, so they bring in the three girls from Pell’s “family” from eight years previous – Samantha, known as “the mouse,” Linda and Rebecca. They served prison time for crimes convicted during their time in Pell’s commune. Dance also gets help from a writer in tracking down “the sleeping doll” to see if she has any information to give.

What was your favorite moment? Albert’s favorite: The near capture in the diner, with Pell’s instincts on high alert. Selena’s favorite: When Samantha protects Linda from Pell in the woods.

Which character was your favorite? Albert’s favorite: Michael O’Neil of the Monterey Sheriff’s Department, because he is down to earth and thinks before he reacts. Selena’s favorite: Samantha McCoy. She spends most of her life as “the mouse” but finally finds herself in the end.

What was the book’s message or theme? People are not always what they seem to be on the surface.

What did you like or dislike? Albert: I liked the story line, but it could’ve been shorter. Selena: I liked the way Dance can tell by a person’s body language whether they are lying or not. I disliked one of the death scenes.

Would you recommend this book to friends? Albert: Yes. It’s an action kind of book and keeps you on your toes. Selena: Yes. Just when you think you have it all figured out, Jeffery Deaver does what he does best – throws in a twist and a couple of turns.

Narrator’s style: Anne Twomey’s voice stayed pretty even, meaning the volume didn’t have to be turned up or down. She could have changed her voice more for the different people, especially the men.

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