As False Cast by S.W. Hubbard opens, Earl Davis responds to a call during his first week as a sworn officer, only to find local survivalist woodsman Ronnie Gatrell holding hostage his wife’s Happy Camper Day Care. His motivation? The bank is going to repossess his house. Earl successfully talks Ronnie into letting the children and his wife leave the house, making Earl a hero for a limited time. Then, Ronnie breaks out of jail and becomes a folk hero in Trout Run, NY. Though the state police don’t want to include the Trout Run police in the investigation, Chief Frank Bennett works to track down the escaped prisoner, who shows signs of more and more mental deterioration as time goes by, making the race to catch Ronnie become more and more urgent.
As with other books by Hubbard, I really enjoyed getting to listen to False Cast. The whole Adirondack Mountain Mystery Series is exciting, with especially well-drawn characters whom listeners get to know well and feel a personal connection to. In many books, especially when I listen to them in the audio format, it becomes easy to lose track of some of the characters amid the bunch. I recently listened to a book that shall remain unnamed (but not by Hubbard) in which I found myself lost during the famous scene that unveils the murderer. I couldn’t place the bad guy among all the many characters in the book, which clearly disrupted my enjoyment of the book. But I never have to worry about such confusion with Hubbard’s books, which depict each character very uniquely
In addition, I appreciate the creative plots of Hubbard’s books, and False Cast contains many interesting threads that tie in together to create an exciting unified plot. I thought this book had many such threads that I enjoyed getting to read.
One detail I particularly appreciated was the parallel the book makes between Ronnie Gatrell and John Brown, of the 1859 Harper’s Ferry raid. Both get seen by some as terrorists and by others as freedom fighters. False Cast features a reenactment of the raid, which involved Brown’s trying to meet honorable goals through violence. In the same way, Ronnie tries to deal with the loss of his house through violence as well.
I really appreciated the audiobook performance of Danny Campbell, who does an excellent job of making False Cast seem especially exciting. The timbre of his voice suits the character of Frank, using good levels of expression to indicate the ups and downs found in the book and not over-emoting.
I highly recommend listening to False Cast, which is a fascinating book. However, I recommend listening to the series in order so that you get the sense of the series and the characters. I give this book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this audiobook for review purposes, but that had no influence on the content of my revue.
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