Sunday, February 18, 2018

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Dark Harvest by Chris Patchell

Author: Chris Patchell

Narrators: Lisa Stathoplos, Corey Gagne

Series: The Holt Foundation Stories, Book 1

Length: 14 hours 5 minutes

Publisher: Audible Studios

Released: Sep. 27, 2017

Genre: Suspense, Thriller

Marissa Rooney stands in her daughter's empty dorm room, a half-used vial of insulin clutched in her trembling hand. Brooke has been missing for days. Her roommate hasn't seen her since that night in the bar. And if Marissa has Brooke's insulin, it means that Brooke does not.

But Marissa isn't alone in her terror. A phantom from her past is lurking in the shadows, waiting in the night, and holding her family the dark.

Chris Patchell is the bestselling author of In the Dark, Dark Harvest, and the Indie Reader Discovery Award winning novel Deadly Lies. Having recently left her long-time career in tech to pursue her passion for writing full-time, Chris pens gritty suspense novels set in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her family and two neurotic dogs.


Narrator Bio
Lisa Stathoplos has been a professional actor working onstage, in film and commercial VO work for many years as well as narrating books and performing in Audiodramas for and Hachette Audio. Most recently, Lisa played Nina Locke in Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ epic multiple Audie award-winning 13-hour audio drama of their wildly popular graphic novel LOCKE AND KEY produced by Pocket Universe Productions’ AudioComics division and Finalrune Productions for Audible Studios.
Narrator Bio

Corey Gagne is an audiobook narrator, stage, and voice actor from Portland, Maine. Corey trained at Mountview Theater Conservatory (now Mountview Academy) in London, England, and has appeared on stage in London, New York, Philadelphia, Austin, and Portland. His work as an audiobook narrator includes Inci by Mike Resnick and Tina Gower, The Constable's Tale by Donald Smith, the Sin du Jour series by Matt Wallace, The Goblin Crown by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, The Twilight of the Gods Series by Christopher G. Nuttall, The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer, The Builders by Daniel Polanski, and Dark Harvest and In the Dark by Chris Patchell.

Dark Harvest was great!! I enjoyed In the Dark but Dark Harvest was an amazing thriller! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time! Chris Patchell really fine-tuned the characters. They were the same characters from book 1 but she really developed them more and made them so relatable. Poor Marissa can’t seem to catch a break with life!

I enjoyed that Patchell really connected some real life medical research into her story. She came up with an original storyline. It was extremely fascinating! Now there was some areas in the book where I shook my head and questioned the characters sanity. I mean, most people don’t do or think how some of these characters did. I loved seeing Brooke and how she was healing, or trying to heal. Again, it was a real-life situation. Not everything is simple and Patchell proves this while taking us through Brooke’s healing process.

This book has it all! We have teen pregnancy with illegal adoptions, kidnapping, and scientific research into a super interesting thought process. I really liked that aspect of it. She took a super interesting idea and really explored the mind of a man who is on the edge! The narrators, Lisa Stathoplos and Corey Cagney did another stellar job! They add great infliction and emotion to a story that packs the emotion.

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

Q&A with Author Chris Patchell
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • I am so excited to FINALLY have my books available in audio!! Audiobooks saved my sanity on my long Seattle commute. In fact, I have an entire library of Books on CD that isn’t as large as my hardcover library, but its close. So, when my agent pitched the audio rights for my work, I was delighted to have two of the biggest audiobook publishers make offers. We picked the better of the two and were off to the races! Audible picked a talented male and female narrator to record both stories, since I write from both male and female points of view. I provided some guidance for the narrators--insight into what makes each of the major characters are like, how I pictured their voices, down to details like specific pronunciations. I hope it’s as much fun to listen to as it was to produce.
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    • It’s a great question! I listen to all kinds of books on audio, from classic novels like All the King’s Men to suspense books like mine, to business and leadership books, to all the Harry Potter books, to literary works of art like To Kill a Mockingbird (one of my favorites which is narrated by the amazing Sissy Spacek). In my experience as a listener, I think that choosing the right narrator can make or break a book. For me, it’s not so much about genre.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • While it was something I was hoping would happen, it wasn’t something that I consciously considered while I was writing the book. That said, I do always try to take care when naming characters to make them easy to pronounce and ensure that no two characters have similar names. I remember listening to the first Game of Thrones book and having a hard time distinguishing between some of the characters. I had a hard time distinguishing between Sansa and Cersei. On paper they look very different, but when you’re listening to the audiobook, it’s easy to get lost.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • The kinds of themes I write about tend to mirror the darker aspects of real-life. Human trafficking, illegal adoption, modern-day moral dilemmas. I’m not afraid of controversy and explore different points of view through my cast of characters. Brooke Parker, the girl who is kidnapped in In the Dark, is a type-1 diabetic. This is something I know a bit about, since my husband is a type-1 diabetic. That’s what I like to do--take a potential scenario and amplify it. There are also traces of real people in my characters. Brooke’s mother, Marissa, is a little like my own. My mother was young, and struggled financially. Although times were tough, she always tried to do her best for us.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
    • I absolutely love writing--the adrenaline infused part of the process that culminates in my first draft. It’s like dating – best foot forward, no rules, creativity abound! What comes afterwards, is more like being married. Creating rules to follow that ensures a happy, successful marriage. In authoring terms, this equates to the months, and months, and months of editing is WAY harder. About halfway through the editing process, I end up wanting to kill myself and burn the manuscript (not necessarily in this order). My husband knows the signs. Now he just laughs and says, “Oh, you’re there,” like he knew all along this was coming. Whew. That said, there are a few things I do that gets me through this part of the process. 1) Sharing my work in progress, I read edited chapters to my writing group. Hearing the improvements in the work achieved through diligent editing is good motivation to keep going. 2) I write new snippets of something else that’s new. When my girls and I were learning to play the piano, I would get tired of playing stuff I didn’t like--pieces that were designed to teach you technique, but not all that enjoyable. So, I always started and ended a practice session by playing a piece that I liked. Same thing here. I write something fun to keep me going before buckling down to do the hard work. 3) I set deadlines. Deadlines help move me through the process AND they help me measure progress. Because the editing process can seem endless, it’s important to know that the end is in sight.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    • Absolutely! I started listening to audiobooks when they came on CD. It’s a wonderful way to pass time when you’re in transit. I mentioned my grinding daily commute. Our road trips have been filled with stories from the time our girls were little. They’re now audiobook fans too. I listen to stories when I walk the dogs, and run on the treadmill, and sometimes when I do the dishes. I love letting the words flow through my mind in a different way than they do when I read them off the page.
  • What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    • I guess it’s a matter of perspective. Kids need to read words on a page. Reading is an essential skill and reading written works is a crucial part of learning comprehension, and composition (spelling and grammar, etc.). My kids do both. There is something special about audiobooks. A great narrator enhances the reading experience, and for me, one doesn’t replace the other. Audiobooks allow me to read more, which is something I love to do. I can listen to audiobooks when I’m in transit, or gardening, or out for a walk. If I was limited to reading off the page, I would read for half an hour every night before I went to bed. Now I “read” an hour or two every day. It’s awesome.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • Keep at it! Beginnings are always hard. And find some peers and mentors. Having a group of supportive people around you to offer you advice and cheer you on is invaluable.
  • Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    • No matter what your publishing path, whether it’s traditional, hybrid, or Indie, there’s a way to get your audiobooks made. Don’t be in a rush. Be patient and find the right narrators for your work. It makes a HUGE difference.
  • What’s next for you?
    • My next book comes out in February. It’s called Vow of Silence, and picks up Jill Shannon’s story 5 years after, Deadly Lies. There are a lot of Jill fans out there who have been patiently waiting to hear what comes next. As production finishes off for that work, I’ve finished the first draft of a new stand-alone novel. I’m calling it The Lies We Breathe, and it’s a story about deception. I’m having a lot of fun writing this one. It’s got a few stunning reveals that I hope my readers will love.


In the Dark, Book 1

Feb. 11th:

Feb. 12th:

Feb. 13th:

Feb. 14th:

Feb. 15th:

Feb. 16th:

Feb. 17th:

Dark Harvest, Book 2

Feb. 18th:

Feb. 19th:

Feb. 20th:

Feb. 22nd:

Feb. 23rd:

Feb. 24th:

Feb. 25th:

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