A Matter of Grave Concern, by Brenda Novak

A Matter of Grave Concern
by Brenda Novak

Audiobook, 9 CDs, Read by Michael Page

Matter of Grave Concern, A

My Rating *** (3 of 5 stars)

I listened to this as an audiobook during my commute back and forth to work. I have to admit that Historical romance is not one of my preferred genres, and someone who enjoys romance novels might have a different opinion of this book. I was in the library one Saturday afternoon with my two girls and wanted to grab something to listen to in a hurry. The title caught my eye, and I skimmed the beginning of the blurb on the back. I read just enough to make me think it was an historical mystery, and not even paying attention to the author’s name (which I would have recognized) I took it and checked out. Driving in to work that first Monday morning after picking it up, it didn’t take long to realize what I had. I might have stopped listening if I’d had another book to listen to in the car, but since it was all that i had with me, I kept going.

The story is about a young woman named Abby who’s father is a surgeon at Aldersgate School of Medicine. She decides to help the college keep their students by providing a corpse for the required anatomy classes. This requires Abby to deal with a group of resurectionists, or body snatchers. Little does she know that one of the gang is not what he is pretending to be. Max Wilder has actually joined the gang of grave robbers in search of his half sister, Madeline, who has gone missing and was last seen in the company of the gang’s leader, Jack Hurtsill.

This story had it’s ups and downs. At times the characters thoughts and concerns seemed repetitive and almost silly. Should she or shouldn’t she give in to Max. Will he or won’t he tell Abby the truth. I know some of that is necessary to help build tension, but it seemed a bit much. I’m not sure how I would have felt in Abby’s position as Max revealed one secret after another, instead of coming clean up front. It also seemed that after spending the first 2/3 of the book searching for Madeline, her part of the story was wrapped up in a rush. It was interesting to hear about what colleges were willing to condone to get the corpses they needed for their students to study medicine, however, and there was enough danger, suspense, and intrigue to keep my attention.

All in all, this was not a bad story, but there was too much graphic sex for my taste. If you don’t mind that, or are willing to do a little skimming, then it might be worth a read.

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes and Noble

7 thoughts on “A Matter of Grave Concern, by Brenda Novak

  1. Erika, your review made me smile. A similiar thing happened to me a few years ago. I downloaded a novel from Audible on the basis of listening to the first chapter for free. I wasn’t familiar with the author, but the first chapter was promising. The setting was turn of the century England, a murder occurs, and the strong-willed female protagonist has to fight against the prejudices of her time (being she was an older single woman and some considered her to be a witch). And there was a mysterious but handsome man who keeps crossing her path and upsetting her plans. I don’t mind romance as long as there’s a strong, compelling mystery. Well. The mystery was secondary to the romantic entanglements of the two main characters. Again, not necessarily bad, but the graphic (and gratuitous) sex scenes had me practically laughing out loud. I wasn’t prepare at all for them. I don’t consider myself a prude; rather, the scenes really seemed out of place and frankly, far-fatched, especially given some of the locations (really, a hothouse????). I stayed with the story partly because I really did want to know “who dunnit.” But it was anticlimatic and the writing, all in all, was uneven. For example, with only a few minutes to search an empty house for clues, the two main characters launch into a long discussion, just dialogue for what seems like pages, all the while ignoring the fact that they are in a dangerous situation. I think what I got most out of the novel was some good examples of what to avoid in my own writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sums it up exactly – I was unprepared! I don’t mind a thread of romance as part of a mystery or other story that I am interested in, but as the main plotline of a story it’s just not my cup of tea. I’m glad you were able to get something constructive out of your “mistake”! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you find yourself more frustrated when you get an audiobook that you don’t enjoy compared to a regular print book? I think the narrator for this particular audiobook was quite good and that can also keep me going. But I’ve had a few audiobooks that I just had to stop listening to, either because the narrator was terrible or the story was. With print books, of course, there’s no narrator, but it’s easier to skip the bits I don’t like 😉


      2. The narrator does make a big difference! I have listened to several books in a series only to have the narrator change to someone else and that’s it for me. Maybe I feel like they hesitate over some words, pronounce names differently than the previous narrator, or I just don’t like their voice, but I stop listening to the series. (of course that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t read them.. 🙂 ) A good narrator can add a lot to the story, and the reader did help in this case.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t like love stories either but do like a good mystery. Sounds like something I would buy for my wife though.


  3. I probably would have enjoyed the book more since I do like Brenda Novak’s but most of the time. Sounds interesting so I will try to read it when I catch up on my other books. Happy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s