Thursday, March 28, 2013

One Breath Away; Heather Gudenkauf

Title: One Breath Away
Author: Heath Gudenkauf
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Edition: audio

Source: Library
Setting: Iowa
Date Completed: March - 2013
Rating: 3.5/5 
Recommend: yes novel (not audio)

A gunman in a school, every parents worst nightmare is the basis for One Breath Away.

From the very beginning, readers will be reeled into the story knowing that something very wrong is happening at a school in Broken Branch, Iowa.  There is an unknown gunman in the school, but who he is or what are his motives are unknown.

The story is told in short chapters by several different characters: Holly, the mother of (2) of the children: Augie and her younger brother P.J. ( Holly is recovering from serious burn injuries miles and miles away and the children have been staying with their grandfather).  The other characters are Mrs. Oliver the teacher, a female police officer and the children's grandfather, Will.  Through the changing narratives the reader learns more and more about the background of the individuals and insight into who the gunman may be as well as what his issues are.

The author uses a technique similar to Jodi Picoult's style - short chapters and different perspectives. Some readers mentioned that there were lots of twists and turns along the way, and that they had no idea who the gunman was, while I  had the gunman pegged pretty early on.  I didn't enjoy this one as much as other readers, and I think I may have felt differently if I read the book instead of listened to it.  There were (4) different narrators for this book: Joyce Bean, Susan Erickson, Kate Rudd and Buck Schirner, and honestly for a variety of reasons they attributed to my lack of enjoyment after a while.

I would recommend this novel but not the audio version.  I would still be willing to try other books by this author, just not audiobooks.  


  1. It is interesting how not all books seem suitable for audio! And yet they are available that way anyway, which is also interesting! :--)

  2. I have a love/hate relationship with has to be just right (whatever that means) for the narrator to hold my attention.
    I'm pretty sure this book is not for me though due to the subject matter :(

  3. Funny how sometimes you need to see it rather than hear it to keep it all straight.

  4. Not sure I'd be up for this one even in print :-(

  5. I really enjoyed this book but I read it, not listened. Her first book was really good although the name is escaping me right now. I find that a narrator or narrators can definitely make or break a story.

  6. I'm sorry that this audio didn't do it for you, but I have had the experience that multiple narrators spoil some books for me. I think I prefer one narrator per book, too many others is like having too many cooks in the kitchen. Thanks for your always honest look at this one. Though I am curious, I think I will stick to print.

  7. This does sound suspenseful in a Jodi Picoult sort of way. Excellent review, Diane!

  8. That's a tough subject to read about but I'll try it in print if I decide to read it.

  9. I can see why this would be a good one to read rather than listen. Thanks for your review, today, Diane!

  10. I think it sounds pretty interesting.

  11. I read and loved the I'm thinking you might have enjoyed it more in the print version. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  12. I don't think I've ever listened to an audio book with so many narrators before. I think that would have distracted me also.

  13. I liked the author's first book although the subject of this book seems difficult to read and especially listen to. I have found narrators can make or break an audiobook. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!

  14. bummer about the audio version. I just liked this one but like you, I would read another book by this author.

  15. Still haven't read this author but I have one or two of her books around here somewhere.


Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thanks again for visiting.