Thursday, October 1, 2020

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW - The Birds That Stay

Author:  Ann Lambert
Series:   Russell and Leduc Mysteries #1
Publisher:  ECW Press Audio
Genre:   Mystery'Thrillers
Format:   Audiobook
Narrator:  Ann Lambert
Length:   9 hours, 16 minutes
Date of Publication:   September 30. 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

In a small village in the Laurentians north of Montreal, a reclusive older woman is found strangled and frozen outside her home. Roméo Leduc, the enigmatic Chief Inspector for Homicide, is one day away from his first vacation in years, and reluctantly answers the call on the case. Roméo suspects a local biker gang is involved in what appears to be a robbery gone awry—or was the old woman a victim of a violent hate crime?

Marie Russell, a 58-year old writer and divorced mother of two, lives next door to the victim. Marie becomes an inadvertent detective when her mother, suffering from dementia, offers a startling clue that links the woman's murder to a terrible incident that happened on Marie's suburban Montreal street in the 1970's. Together, Marie and Roméo discover that the murder goes even further back, to another crime during the darkest days in Hungary at the end of WWII. As they combine wits to find the killer, they are forced to face demons from their own pasts as they confront a cast of characters from the Quebec of yesterday and today; where no one and nothing is really as it seems.


In this detective fiction novel we meet two protagonists, Chief Inspector of Homicide Roméo Leduc and Marie Russell, a divorced mother of two. The way the pair meet is that a woman was found murdered near her home and Marie was her neighbor. The victim was in her 80s and now Roméo  must try and find out why she was murdered and find her killer. In cozy mystery fashion, Marie becomes an amateur detective of sorts and ends up working with Roméo.

As the pair dig deep to try and find out why happened, they are shocked to find out that things reach far into the past, as far back as World War II. 

I loved the lyrical writing of this book, the wonderful description of the Laurentian Mountains in Montreal and the excellent character development in what ended up being quite an interesting mystery. While readers are seeing the investigative process, there is a side story going on and as the two converge, the book becomes quite thrilling. It is the backstory that brings out enough details that get behind the murder of the victim. In so doing, the story is delivered in multiple perspectives.

I got The Birds That Stay as an audiobook and it was narrated by the author, Ann Lambert. One thing I loved about this book and her narration of it was the French phrases and her perfect diction when using certain words and phrases. This made this good story even better and it served well to capture my interest from beginning to end.

While it is definitely business first between Roméo and Marie, I can definitely see the draw that they have for each other and look forward to future books in this series where this is explored. Also, they are both in their 50s and that in itself is great because most primary protagonists in books of this type are a decade or two younger. All in all The Birds That Stay is an excellent book and makes the perfect beginning to a new series.

Many thanks to ECW Press Audio and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Ann Lambert has been writing and directing for the stage for thirty-five years. Several of her plays, including The Wall, Parallel Lines, Very Heaven, The Mary Project and Two Short Women have been performed in theatres in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia.

She has been a teacher of English literature at Dawson College for almost twenty-eight years in Montreal, Quebec, where she makes her home.


  1. I envy your flexibility in switching from reading to listening. I want to be you when I grow up ;)

  2. I love it when audiobooks get the foreign language phrases correct x

  3. Not heard of this book before. Sounds good. Great review.

  4. I've been looking for new mysteries to add to my TBR :) Hoping to cure a reading slump. Great review!

  5. Great review Robin, this book is new to me and it looks and sounds absolutely fantastic and right up my alley as well. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post and for putting this book on my radar.