Unheard: The Story of Anna Winslow by Anthony Del Col is an eight part podcast produced by a student for a college course, the topic chosen solely based on one vague voicemail message and the questions it raised.
Melissa Lopez is studying linguistics and journalism and has decided that the voicemail left on her phone is in fact from missing student, Anna Winslow. Missing turns into a case of murder when Anna’s body is found in the woods. Each session of Melissa’s podcast has clips of the actual voice messages Anna has left her and a few fellow students. But no one really knew Anna, so why the voicemails and why is she dead? Melissa wants to find out and becomes so entangled in the story she actually becomes a suspect herself, asking questions that no one that never knew Anna should even care about, unless they killed her and are trying to cover their own tracks.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars for its originality and realistic plot. Because there are eight podcasts in the series there is quite a bit of repetition, so as to set the story up for a reader who may not listen to all of them. It is quite like a television show that begins with a recap of the previous episode. Melissa is a bright student and you come to realize that she has some real talent in both the podcasting and interviewing of characters, trying to get to the truth of who killed Anna Winslow and why.
The Secrets We Left Behind by Susan Elliot Wright is a gripping story of love and loss and illustrates what any mother would do for her child. At the beginning of the story the narrator does not give her name but you come to find out that she is Joanna, presently a mother herself. She tells her story starting when she was a teen. Her mother had just passed away and her father left many years ago. She is now on her own, ready to start her new life. But the London streets aren’t like they are down on the coast, in the small town she grew up in. Luckily she meets Eve, a sweet, caring, and sensible soul who takes her under her wing and teaches her how wonderful life can truly be. Jo moves in with Eve and her boyfriend Scott and they soon become a close family of three. This was all in the past. Now, Scott has come back, on his deathbed, threatening to tell Duncan and Hannah, Jo’s husband and daughter, the truth about when they lived as squatters about 30 years ago. Scott wants to clear his conscious regardless of what it does to Jo and the life she has built since then, built on lies. I give this book five out of five stars for its intricate plot that is woven so tightly and neatly you feel as though you are there with the characters, feeling what they are going through, living your life alongside them. The story flips back and forth between past and present but does so in such a way that there is no interruption to the plot and no loose ends left. It is amazingly touching and you will come away loving Jo and the other characters as if you have now all become family. The question is, can you forgive Jo for what she’s done?
Billy, have you gotten the shovel out of the shed? Indeed, I have. Billy, have you gotten the lye and the safety mask? Indeed, I have. Billy, do we have a spot in the yard yet? Indeed, we do. Billy, do you know what comes next? Billy sneered. Of course he knew. He’d push this old bag in and find himself the heir to a fortune!