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Audiobook Review: All That Remains by R.J. Scott Leave a comment


all that remains audio coverStory Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 3.75 stars

Narrator: Sean Crisden
Length: 6 hours, 49 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links:  Amazon | iBooks

Note: The Lancaster Falls Trilogy is a murder mystery that spans all three books. Therefore, this review will have some spoilers for events earlier in the series. Check out my review of What Lies Beneath for a spoiler-free review of the first book in the series. This is a great trilogy and definitely worth reading!

Federal Agent Lucas Beaumont has come to Lancaster Falls to provide FBI assistance in the Hell’s Gate murder case. Now that some of the bones have been identified, it is clear the case spans multiple states/counties. Lucas isn’t interested in taking over, but the FBI can bring more resources to the case. Lucas also has a personal interest in what’s happening in Lancaster Falls; a woman his grandfather was seeing years ago went missing and they think she might be one of the victims. With his grandfather experiencing dementia, Logan wants to find the woman’s killer while his grandfather can still learn her fate. Lucas arrives in town expecting to settle in and get the lay of the land, but upon arrival, he finds himself facing a new layer to the case — the severed hand belonging to survivalist Adam Gray.

Josh grew up in Lancaster Falls and now runs the local hotel where he lives with his teen son, Harry. Josh is a young dad, having had Harry as a teen himself, and has been raising his son alone. Josh had hoped that buying the hotel would give the pair some stability, but he is finding it is draining money faster than he can make it. To help make ends meet, Josh has a secret side job as a white hat hacker; he is one of the good guys, but he has to access some places that put him at risk of anyone finds out. When the gorgeous FBI agent shows up looking for rooms for himself and his team, it is mixed blessing. Josh can use the money for the hotel, but having an FBI team around puts him at risk of exposure — especially when he wants nothing more than to get to know Lucas a lot better.

As the days and weeks go on with the investigation, Lucas and Josh become friends and begin to grow close. They act on their attraction and soon the men are considering if there could be a future for them when the case is over. But though Josh has put hacking aside, his past could threaten things with Lucas. But even more serious is the serial killer case. As the cops and FBI get closer to learning who is behind the murders, the most desperate the killer becomes. It will take all Lucas has to stay one step ahead of the killer and solve the case, before the man he loves is at risk.

All That Remains is the third book in the Lancaster Falls Trilogy and I thoroughly enjoyed this series. After reading the first book, I was so caught up in this small town murder mystery that I immediately grabbed the next two books. I really enjoyed R.J. Scott’s unique approach here in that we have one long mystery over the course of the series, but three sets of main characters. I was curious how it would work to have the POV shifting to new characters investigating the same case, but it worked nicely, particularly in this last book, as the FBI arriving was an anticipated outcome since the first book. Logan comes in and offers a different perspective, as well as lots of resources, to help get the case moving. I am not going to get into details here on the investigation, as I don’t want to spoil anything. But I will say that things really heat up here as we have more dead bodies and more revelations about the dark Lancaster Falls past. The mystery has been taut and exciting over the books and things come together really well here. I had suspicions about the killer, but the tension stayed high until the final reveal. There was a little bit of monologue info dump at the end while the killer explained what happened and why, and there were a few pieces that didn’t make complete sense to me, but I think overall, the story comes together in a really satisfying way.

I definitely enjoyed Logan and Josh together. Josh has been a side character since the first book, and he is close friends with other series characters, so it was nice to see him get his story here. He is a young dad and clearly adores Harry, and I liked their father/son dynamic. Josh and Logan are hot for one another from pretty much the beginning, and at first they are cautious given Lucas’ job and Josh’s secret. But as they get to know one another, the men act on their attraction and I think there is a great connection between them. There is a passage of time here that makes their falling for one another feel real; it is clear the men spend many nights talking and hanging out, and I could believe that both a friendship and a romance bloomed between them. There are some conflicts here surrounding Josh’s past as a hacker. I will say I didn’t always totally understand the details of why this was a problem, but it adds a nice layer to their relationship that is largely smooth sailing otherwise. I also liked the side story with Lucas and his grandfather, as it adds a nice dynamic to Lucas’ character to see his connection with his grandfather and his determination to find a resolution to the case that had haunted him (just as Josh’s relationship with Harry is a great way to showcase his character as well). There is a nice ending for the men and I enjoyed them very much as a couple.

One of the hallmarks of this series for me was the way it digs into this small town of Lancaster Falls. There is a dark underbelly to the town that we slowly explore over the course of the series. What looks like a charming place with a holiday market and quaint shops turns out to be hiding many dark secrets and I enjoyed watching it all get revealed. I also think Scott does a great job with a very large cast of secondary characters who appear across the books. I feel like I know these people and know this town. On occasion, I would find myself a bit lost as to the connections among everyone, but for the most part, I found the way Scott brings together this large cast works so well. It added so much richness to the town, as well as the storyline in general, to have all these moving parts. I will say despite the creepiness in Lancaster Falls, I will miss reading about this town and the characters.

I listened to this whole series in audio with narrator Sean Crisden. My assessment of his performance hasn’t changed much across the books. Overall, I feel like Crisden is solid. He has a voice that makes for easy listening and he gets the tone well for both the exciting and quieter parts. The women’s voices feel natural and the side characters feel consistent across the books. However, as I have noted previously, Crisden speaks very quickly and, at some points, it was just too fast for me. He also has a somewhat limited range of voices and it was even more noticeable here in this third book after meeting all the main characters. When the six men are together, it was often hard to distinguish who was talking, since characters from one book often had very similar sounding voices to characters from another.  I also felt like the main characters’ voices weren’t always consistent from past books. For example, at times Drew almost sounds drugged here. At one point, I thought something had happened to him, his voice was sounded so off. So I will say, this type of series where main characters all carry over across books may not have been a perfect match for Crisden’s style, but overall, I found this enjoyable to listen to in audio. If you are interested in this series, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it in either format.

So overall, I really enjoyed this series quite a lot. Scott does a great job of carrying an engaging mystery over three books. The series is tightly written and the connections across the books develop well and play nicely into the final resolution. All the books are out in audio or print, so if you like suspense thrillers, definitely check out the Lancaster Falls series.

 



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