This book has been around for over ten years, early in Nora Robert’s writing career, but released in audiobook format in 2014, according to Audible. Different publishers for different versions, different covers – same book. Narrated by Tom Stechschulte, the audiobook is close to eighteen hours of listening.
A concert violinist escapes the circuit of concert halls, a pushy stage mother, and a philandering boyfriend-conductor for her deceased grandparents home in small-town Innocence, located in the deep south. The entire town of Innocence is beyond soap-opera-ishy; affairs abound. All characters are extraordinarily stereotypical, i.e., the men type-As, the women southern belles, the children “Yes’m.” and “No, sir.” polite. The distinctiveness of southern morays is a touch over-done, in my opinion. Not sure where ‘carnal’ fits into the title, other than the loose morality of the town residents.
Innocence is in the throws of a serial-killer rampage. The main character is thrust into the middle of an existing mystery including … wait for it … the arrogant, handsome, sports-car-loving and obscenely rich bad-boy with a dripping southern drawl. Caroline, a sophisticated Yankee, is charmed … no surprise. Personally, I found his attitude toward her, and all women, patronizing, but that’s just me. Requisite and mawkishly romantic love scenes may have you fast-forward a few times before you finish Carnal Innocence. There are some scenes that seem superfluous. Could be an effort at setting and environment flavoring rather than plot oriented detail on the part of the author. But, the story moves along nicely and is a page-turner.
Tom Stechschulte does a nice job with a slick southern accent. Distinctive voices for all the characters, women and children included. You’ll have no trouble discerning who-says-what-to-who.
Typical Nora Roberts, this is a love-story-mystery-drama-who-done-it, in a not so typical good-ol’-boy setting. If you’ve enjoyed any of her work, you’ll like Carnal Innocence. A surprise ending.