Narrator: Jake Urry
Publisher: Richard Alan Storry
Length: 4 hours and 13 minutes (unabridged)
Audio Release Date: March 16, 2016
Set in a sprawling gothic mansion in a remote coastal location, somewhere in the British Isles, the elderly recluse Lord Alfred Willoughby is deciding what is to become of his vast fortune after his death. Whilst his head is telling him to leave nothing at all to his wastrel son, Matthew, his heart is speaking differently. After much deliberation, in a last-ditch attempt to try and show to his son the importance of applying himself to a task and staying with it to the end, he devises a series of enigmatic puzzles cunningly concealed within the lines of a poem – the cryptic lines. If he completes the task successfully and solves the puzzles he will inherit the entire estate; but if he fails he will receive nothing. However, from Lord Alfred’s Will it emerges that Matthew is not the only interested party. The mysterious old house holds many secrets, and nothing is as it first appears…
What Did I Think About the Story?
Every year when the seasons begin to move towards longer nights and cooler weather, my reading and listening mood starts shifting more and more towards the scary, dark, and mysterious. When I saw this cover and read the synopsis I thought it sounded like the perfect eerie mystery to listen to on my commute to and from work. I just can't get enough of gothic mansions and hidden secrets! While the story wasn't necessarily as "spooky" as I anticipated, it did present an exciting and twisty adventure that was full of family drama and revelations.
One aspect I found very well done was the attention given to building a truly ominous atmosphere around the mystery at the heart of the story. The setting being a dark, isolated, windswept mansion by the sea, slowly falling apart around its aging owner - a rich and eccentric sort of man - sets up the perfect backdrop in which to have characters skulking around corners and through family cemeteries. The house itself almost becomes it's own character with a sort of decrepit opulence and I absolutely loved following along as our two main characters, Lord Willoughby's son, Matthew, and his solicitor, Charles, explored it and the surrounding grounds. While it became clear pretty early on that this wasn't a ghost story, I did keep expecting to see something spectral pop up around every corner!
The grand hunt Lord Willoughby sets up for Matthew and Charles was also very well constructed. Setting the two on a task to find a sapphire, using clues with double meanings and a time limit in place to ensure they work quickly, the men must use all of their wits and resources to find the sapphire first. The man who finds the sapphire will inherit the Lord's entire fortune...the man who comes in last gets nothing. And the clues left for them are anything but easy! Let's just say there are plenty of twists and turns, hidden passageways and secret rooms to discover and explore before the end is finally in sight.
What I really didn't expect, but still enjoyed, was how wrapped up in family this story and quest became. There's a lot of love and hurt, heartache and disappointment, floating around these characters and quite a few family secrets that are revealed by the end. I have to admit that I suspected the biggest reveal pretty early on but there were still a few that I never saw coming. There was also mention on and off about Charles's ex-fiancé and why she left him, but that plotline didn't seem to go anywhere and I'm not really sure it needed to be included. I'm also not sure I agree with all the choices the characters made, however the intentions and motivations behind these choices were easy to see.
I have to commend the narrator (Jake Urry) for his ability to keep the atmosphere tense and dramatic. I loved his voice for this sort of story (he sounded to me a lot like Vincent Price) and he kept things very low and ominous throughout most of the narrative. I was also impressed with his ability to keep the pace even and not rush or bog down the portions of the story that were more about the characters thinking about the clues then anything really happening. I would have possibly liked a little more variance between characters as it sometimes was hard to distinguish who was talking, but this was only a minor issue and I was really impressed overall.
The Cryptic Lines was so much more than simply a chilling gothic mystery, although it did have a good bit of that as well. The mood and atmosphere was perfect for this time of year and I genuinely enjoyed trying to unravel the clues along with the characters. I recommend this for anyone who likes a quick, twisty tale about the lengths some people will go to for family.
What Did I Think About the Cover?
I think the cover is perfect for the story! It's got that dark and eerie vibe that hangs over the whole narrative. I love that the house, which is so essential to the plot, takes up such a large portion as well....it almost gives off a haunted house feel, although that isn't actually part of the story. All in all it's definitely eye catching when you're looking for something mysterious or spooky!
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jake Urry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it. Continue on below for more information regarding the author, narrator, and the rest of the blog tour.
About the Author: Richard Storry
Richard is the author of four published novels, with his fifth “A Looming of Vultures” due for
publication in 2017. Prior to writing his first novel, “The Cryptic Lines” he was very busy in the theatrical world: He composed the incidental music to Chekhov’s Three Sisters, seen in London’s West End, starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Eric Sykes, and subsequently broadcast on BBC4 television. His musical adaptation of “The Brothers Lionheart” premiered at London’s Pleasance Theatre, followed by a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival where it was voted Best Childrens’ Play. “The Cryptic Lines” has now been adapted for both the stage and screen.
Learn more about Richard on his website, and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
About the Narrator: Jake Urry
Jake Urry is a British actor and audiobook narrator, and also co-founder of Just Some Theatre. Sincegraduating from an Acting degree course in 2012 he’s toured with Just Some Theatre as an actor and producer, worked on a number of commercial voice over projects and most recently started producing Audiobooks. Jake has produced over 10 titles since March 2016 and has rapidly found himself at home narrating Thriller, Horror, Mystery and Suspense titles. His audiobook work includes dark psychological thrillers White is the Coldest Colour and Portraits of the Dead by John Nicholl, occult mystery series The Ulrich Files by Ambrose Ibsen, and gritty Sci-Fi novel Shadows of Tomorrow by Jessica Meats.
Learn more about Jake on his website, Voices, and Soundcloud, and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
The Cryptic Lines Tour Schedule
Oct. 23: Dab of Darkness (Review & Interview)
Oct. 24: My World in Words and Pages (Review)
Oct. 25: To Read Or Not To Read (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Oct. 26: He Said Books Or Me (Review)
Oct. 27: Maureen’s Books Blog (Review)
Oct. 28: Desert Bibliophile (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Oct. 29: Never 2 Many 2 Read (Review & Spotlight)
Oct. 30: Bookaholic Banter (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Oct. 31: The Paper Pilgrim (Review)
Nov. 1: My Book Fix (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 2: Bound 4 Escape (Spotlight)
Nov. 3: Totally Addicted to Reading (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 4: Books Are My Way of Living (Audio Excerpt)
Nov. 5: Highway YA (Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 6: Jorie Loves A Story (Review & Interview)
Nov. 7: Bedtime Bookworm (Review & Audio Excerpt)
Nov. 8: ShannonBookishLife (Spotlight)
Nov. 9: Book Journey (Review & Audio Excerpt)
Nov. 10: A Literary Vacation (Review)
Nov. 11: Avid Book Collector (Review, Audio Excerpt & Spotlight)
Nov. 12: Brooke Blogs (Review & Audio Excerpt)