Published by Audible Studios
Released on May 2, 2017
Length: 18 hours 14 minutes
A couple with some mileage, a small town in Nebraska, a murder, exes… complicated and oh so worth it in Kristen Ashley’s latest released exclusively on Audible with a fab narration team duo (but hsst, I hear its going out in electronic version in the fall so the pain will be brief for non-audio KA fan book folks).
Complicated was a luscious standalone gem from an author that is hit or miss for me. This one was definitely a hit full of later life dreams come true. The book is full of all sorts of interesting plot threads that radiate out from the two main characters. They were likeable and lovable and they both had lives that marked them so their character depths were well-deep and many faceted.
On the surface, it could be reduced down to two divorcees- one recent and one a few years old finding a connection, but not expecting the connection or what follows when small town friends and family are also involved. That was pretty good, but what took this one deeper for me was that the author took the time to tease out what killed the old relationships and what built this new one that was stronger and richer for the pair of them. There are exes, conflicted children, interfering parents, and all sorts of small town stuff including their separate friends and places of employment. The mystery is interesting and Hixon is the sheriff so he must deal with that, but it was interesting in the sense, too, of how it hit the community and the family of the victim.
This author knows how to make ordinary people with flaws and their simple, but flawed lives fascinating and story-worthy. I thought she was at her best with that in this one. Hixon and Great were a surprising pair in some ways. But after a few false starts, they really make sense- the devilishly handsome family-man county sheriff with the hair-stylist lounge singer once trailer trash woman with an adult brother with disabilities and a crazy ‘good for a drama scene’ mother.
Many times I struggle with this author because of writing style, but I did not with this one. Characters didn’t get lost in their heads or unnecessarily drama this up. There are sections of character development and reflection as well as action which was a great balance. These characters were mature (well, the ones who were meant to be portrayed as mature) and acted like it. And while this was long, it did not drag. There is a lot going on and it all was natural to the story and equally engaging.
As I noted above, this is an Audible exclusive release and I was thrilled to encounter a new pair of engaging narrators in Lance Greenfield and Erin Mallon. Sections were told by Hixon with Lance taking the lead and then sections by Erin. Both were a great match for their particular character counter-parts and did a great job with the large cast of characters ranging from kids to older folk. There are many emotions to portray and changes in mood that were transitioned well. Humor, sadness, and firework-worthy passion was superb.
All in all, this latest outing with this author, her story, and the narrators was a trifecta of fabulous. Its standalone and I think those looking to try KA for the first time would find this a great place to start particularly if small town romance is your gig.
My thanks to Audible for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #133 CR
New Release #69 Audio #34
Books N Tunes #21