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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Rough Country

Narrator: George Newbern

ISBN: 9781666615654

8 hrs. 27 minutes

Publisher: Dreamscape Media

Publication Date: 10/04/2022

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 3 Stars 🎧 (ARC)

A young girl, Kasey, is murdered in the woods of northern New York, a strange symbol carved into her stomach.

Investigator Reed Raleigh, Major Crimes, is tasked with finding the killer.

Reed has his own troubles. He’s in therapy, divorced, and estranged from his son. But he desperately needs to solve this case—his own stepdaughter vanished when she was a teenager, and Reed knows all about the agony of having no closure. There's no way he's letting Kasey’s mother go through that.

But as Reed begins to dig, the case grows ever more complex. Why is Kasey’s boyfriend acting so strangely? And why is her mother lying to the police?

As evidence of Kasey’s bizarre secret life starts to emerge, Reed realizes this case isn’t just about a dead girl. There’s something much bigger at play in this small rural town: a decades-old secret that needs to be protected—at any cost.

My Review

ROUGH COUNTRY by T.J. Brearton is a dark and disturbing crime suspense tale of a town of secrets with decades-old murders, suicides, evil and controlling sex, and religious cults with strange branding symbols.

Set in northern rural New York, Reed Raleigh is the protagonist of this unsettling novel. He is an investigator for Major Crimes and has been assigned the case of finding the killer who left a young woman, Kasey, with a strange symbol carved in her stomach dead in the forest.

Reed is a troubled soul. A veteran with PTSD, a divorce, and a recent separation from his son. He is still grieving the disappearance of his stepdaughter (missing for years).

The case becomes complicated when Kasey's mother and Kasey's boyfriend are not forthcoming with the investigation, and Kasey's appeared to have secrets.

However, after further investigation, it appears there is more to the story than just one murder.

Something bigger and more sinister involves other murders, suicides, and clues leading to religious and sex cults. From rape, sex with minors, control, witchcraft, carving, strangling, drugs, branding, molestation, conspiracy, blackmail, power, and more.

However, since they cannot make arrests for cults, they must find ways they are breaking the law. Similar cases go back 50 years.

Pros: I liked Reed Raleigh. That is about all.

Cons: I do NOT like Cults (religious or sex cults of any kind), nor do I want to read any books about Cults. This is why I am including this in my review. If someone had put this in the book description, I would never have requested the audiobook. None of the above is appealing to me. Slow-paced with multiple characters.

Audiobook: I have listened to narrator George Newbern before, but the way it was laid out was dull and mundane. I did not care for the audiobook at all. The same flat voice, the same throughout, like reading from a book. No change of voice and NOT engaging in any way. Because he does not change his voice, you have no clue who is talking. Not how I want to spend 8 Hours, 27 Minutes of my time.

Unfortunately, I would NOT recommend the book nor the audio.

My first book by the author. I am sure the author is talented indicated by other reviewers, and this book may appeal to other readers, I am just not one of them. Book publishers, please start adding CULTS in the description, so I can stay away.

Thank you to #DreamscapeMedia and #NetGalley for an ALC in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 2.5 Stars Rounded to 3 Stars

Pub Date: Oct 4, 2022

About the Author

I wouldn’t call myself a stay-at-home dad, though I’m definitely hands-on with my kids. I raised my son alone for four years before I met my wife, and we have two smart, beautiful daughters. I’m the main cook in my home, and the meals are typically whole-foods, plant-based, so my kids mostly hate dinner time.

I’ve written fiction at least as far back as when I was six, but it wasn’t until my son was born — and I was twenty-nine — that I decided to write a novel. After several attempts, I landed a publisher, a small UK upstart called Joffe Books.

Joffe has since grown into one of the UK’s largest publishers, and I have written over twenty more novels and branched out to two other publishers, including Bookouture, a division of Hachette UK, and Inkubator Books, a Dublin-based publisher.

Today my kids are 17, 10, and 7. We have a small homestead in rural upstate New York in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. I write full time, though being a father and a husband, an ambitious gardener and chicken farmer feels like a couple more full-time jobs thrown in. But keeping busy suits me, so I’ve also started a podcast, a gardening & homestead YouTube Channel, and I still run out to do the occasional broadcast TV camera job. Once, many moons ago, I worked in the movies, too.

Are you still reading? God bless you. I guess that’s all I have to say about me. Oh! The books. So, I mainly write crime fiction — mysteries and police procedurals and psychological thrillers. But we need to keep things fresh in life, and creatively we have to grow, so there are some exciting new directions I’ll be taking in the coming years. I hope you’ll stick along for the ride.

Thank you for reading, for your invaluable support, and for all that you do.







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