Review: What’s in a Name? by Terry Odell

What’s in a Name? by Terry Odell
Release Date: December 18, 2013
Publisher: Terry Odell
Pages: 330
Source: Audio book provided by author for review

Running for the wrong reason can still get you killed.

Kelli Carpenter has changed her name, her appearance—her life—to avoid being connected to a crime she committed in self defense years ago. But just when she thinks she has nothing to fear, handsome stranger Blake Windsor shows up.

He claims to be the handyman her boss sent to help complete the project she’s working on—Camp Getaway—a place where inner city kids will get respite from concrete and drive-bys. Being a loner has kept her alive, and Kelli’s instincts tell her to leave. But without Blake’s help, the refuge for inner city children won’t be completed on time. Against her instincts, she accepts his help.

Blake Windsor is a corporate executive accepted his boss’s request to find out if Kelli Carpenter is really a woman his boss thinks he knew years before. He begrudgingly returns to the blue-collar construction lifestyle he vowed to leave behind, hoping doing this favor will advance his career.

The woman he meets bears little resemblance to the woman he’s supposed to find, but something about her mystifies him, and he decides to continue with his deception to learn more about her.

When someone makes an attempt on Kelli’s life, she runs—but she takes Blake with her. Keep your friends close but your enemies closer is her philosophy. And Kelli is convinced Blake knows something that will link her to her former lover’s death, ending her life as she knows it.

What’s in a Name? is full of twists and turns as Blake and Kelli try to keep one step ahead of whoever is following them—while they try to figure out why.


Review: This was my first attempt at an audio book and I have my reservations regarding the audio aspect so I will attempt to review this book in two parts – one for the writing and one for the audio.

The book itself was great. This story had a couple of mystery aspects involved – who is Kelli and why did she change her name? Why is she fearful that someone will recognize her? Then there’s Blake and we realize early on that he isn’t who he claims to be either, but what’s the connection? And just when I thought I had it figured out, a plot twist! A lot of authors will give away the answers early on but Odell draws it out to the end and I loved it!

Kelli has been on her own, taking charge of her life, for several years. She is emotionally strong and has learned how to cope with the loss of her family and the life she previously led. She has also learned how to hide her emotions and change herself as needed at the drop of a dime.

Blake comes in as an inquisitive handyman although it was quickly discerned he was much more than just day labor. He’s hired to find out if Kelli is someone else but becomes convinced they are not the same woman. At the same time, he becomes intrigued by her and decides to stay on as handyman. This is when his inner self comes out – the truth about his past and how he ended up not as a carpenter but as a white collar corporate executive.

While Kelli’s story is a little more far-fetched than real life, Blake’s is solid. Differences between father and son that drive a wedge between them, only to find out too late that they had more in common than he thought. This book is really a great read and I look forward to reading more of Odell’s work.

Now for the audio. Some of you may be die-hard audio fans, others may never have tried an audio book before. This was my first and I found various likes and dislikes. Unfortunately, the dislikes column is a little longer.

I found myself easily distracted. I might also get distracted while reading a hard-copy or ebook but all I have to do is run through my thoughts, then pick up where I left off on the page. With audio, the narrative keeps going whether I’m paying attention or not. I would often find myself suddenly listening again and thinking, “How did they get there?” It’s not so easy to go back to where you last remember being with an audio player.

I also found that the narrator’s voice plays a big part of whether it’s easier or harder to get into the story. I’ve heard there are very good readers out there but this one was not to my liking. Every time she quoted a man it came off as a bad John Wayne impression, which then brought images of old John Wayne movies to mind, which then took my mind to places other than the book. The narrator also put different inflections on sentences than I would have heard in my mind if I were reading.

I’ll try audio again but I’ve been given a few hints to make it a better experience. Don’t listen when you can be easily distracted, like on a bus or in a grocery store line. Listen in a quiet room, perhaps at bedtime or when no one else is home. Listen to the snippets to see if the narrator has a flowing voice or one that will grate on your nerves. And once you find a voice you like, look for other books narrated by him/her.