Friday 26 January 2024


The Taken Ones by Jess Lourey
Book 1 in the Steinbeck and Reed series
Narrated by Carly Robins
Genre: crime fiction
Format: paperback, ebook & audiobookAudiobook

Two girls vanished. A woman buried alive. Between two crimes — decades of secrets yet to be unearthed in a pulse-pounding novel by the Edgar Award–nominated author of Unspeakable Things.

Summer 1980: With no fear of a local superstition, three girls go into a Minnesota wood. Only one comes out. Dead silent. Memory gone. No trace of her friends. The mystery of the Taken Ones captures the nation.

Summer 2022: Cold case detective Van Reed and forensic scientist Harry Steinbeck are assigned a disturbing homicide — a woman buried alive, clutching a heart charm necklace belonging to one of the vanished girls. Van follows her gut. Harry trusts in facts. Their common ground is the need to catch a killer before he kills again. They have something else in common: each has ties to the original case in ways they’re reluctant to share.

As Van and Harry connect the crimes of the past and the present, Van struggles with memories of her own nightmarish childhood — and the fear that uncovering the truth of the Taken Ones will lead her down a path from which she, too, may never return.
Source: Info in the "About The Taken Ones" was taken from GoodReads at on 07/10/2023.

Buy Link(s):
  Audible Books

My Thoughts:
The story is not just crime fiction. It has an element of the paranormal in it. Van's instincts are so bang on that it borders on the supernatural.

I love the premise of this book! Paranormal hunches that are always correct! Catching the bad guys! Wonderful! What is not so wonderful is the way the author makes the heroine so masochistically subservient, it is royally pissing me off!

I think the author wrote it so that the readers would hate Detective Dave Comstock. And I do! Specially when he did not shake Van's hand and said "you never belonged". No decent human being does that!! But, that's the key word: "decent" human being, isn't it?...

I got so annoyed with Comstock that I stopped reading this book and picked up another. Then when I forgot my annoyance, I picked this book up again. So, no, this book was not a fast-paced read for me.

Police outright harassing other officers of the law? Like, what century are these people living in?! I thought that was what the Bureau of Internal Affairs are for!...

I am also not very agreeable with vigilante justice. Not in fiction books anyway. So, I am in a dilemma here...

And what's up with Van taking out garbage bags to the chute?...

At the start of the book, Van was kind of a weak character. She lets people run rough shod over her. She takes her frustrations out on her poor subordinates. Then at the end, she all of a sudden speaks out to Comstock? That character inconsistency there brought the character development down a notch.

This is my first Carly Robins audiobook and I would listen to her again.

Now we have to wait a year for the next Steinbeck and Reed book to come out!

Quantitative Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 3.5
Character development = 3
Story itself = 3
Writing Style = 3
Ending = 4
World building = 4
Cover art = 4.5
Pace = (10 hrs and 31 mins listening time)
Plot = 3
Narration = 5

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 cherries

Books In The Steinbeck and Reed Series:

Meet The Author

About Jess Lourey:
Jess Lourey writes about secrets.

She's the Amazon Charts bestselling, Edgar-nominated, ITW Thriller, Anthony, and Minnesota Book Award-winning author of young adult, magical realism, crime fiction, nonfiction, and children's books. She's a retired professor of writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft's Excellence in Teaching fellowship, and a TEDx presenter (check out her TEDx Talk to discover the surprising inspiration behind MAY DAY, her first published novel).

She lives in Minneapolis with a rotating batch of foster kittens (and occasional foster puppies, but man are those goobers a lot of work). Drop by to find out more.

The Narrator

About Carly Robins:
Carly Robins is an actress and voice-over artist. She can be heard on commercials, video games, and promos. Carly comes to narration with a passion for performance along with the capability to span several genres, from romance to children's literature and thrillers.

FTC Disclosure:
The paperback, ebook and audiobook were bought with private funds.
No money received for this review.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to high volume of spam I have to utilize comment moderation. Please bear with me. Thank you!