Review:: The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe

It’s 1907 Los Angeles in The Secret Life of Anna Blanc. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, she buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are covering up. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding.

Anna must choose–either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose. (via Goodreads)

I received an Audible copy of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc through Audiobookworm Promotions in exchange for an honest review during the blog tour! 

I got really excited about The Secret Life of Anna Blanc, because a lot of reviewers compared it to the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries show that I have fallen head over heels in love with on Netflix. I didn’t love this quite as much as I loved the tv show, but it was still a good mystery, where the murderer actually surprised me.

Also a trigger warning for gaslighting, rape, abuse, suicides that turn out to be murders, and Anna saying repeatedly that a good woman would never commit suicide by slashing her throat.

Yeah. She said that. A lot.

While she was right that the “suicides” were not what they seemed, her repeating over and over again that women shouldn’t commit suicide that way because it’s too much work for other people almost made me DNF the book twice, before I was 30% into the book. Luckily, she gets a lot better, mostly thanks to Mr. Melvin and Joe.

I regularly wanted to shake Anna by her shoulders to knock some sense into her. She was very smart, but she was so completely out of touch with the people she was working with, and so Catholic it hurt. Despite her growth as a human being, I still regularly wanted to shake her. She was not a very likable character, through her sheer materialistic desires, but that might be someone else’s thing more than mine.

I don’t want you to think I hated The Secret Life of Anna Blanc though. Reading what I wrote, I know it sounds like it, but there were a lot of good elements. I loved the side characters, I loved seeing 1907 Los Angeles, and Anna’s motivations – to escape from her controlling father – were great. Honestly, I almost expected Melvin to be the killer, which I was pleased to see he wasn’t. I also enjoyed the writing style. It worked for this novel.

I also enjoyed Moira Quirk’s narration of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc. She brought Anna’s silliness to life, while giving each character their own unique voice. I liked her voice for Detective Wolf the best, honestly. I thought it was weird to have him have a country accent, given he was in LA, but I’m not a linguistic expert so not the end of the world. The way he said “honey bun” gave me the giggles, though.

This book would get a 3.5 if I did half stars, but since I don’t, it gets 4 stars from me!

four stars and one empty one meant to signify a four star review

If you want, you can check out the playlist that the author put together for Secret Life of Anna Blanc on Spotify. The next book, The Woman in the Camphor Trunk, is due to be out in 2017, and I may give it a shot. You can pick up a copy on audible, Amazon, Indiebound or at your other favorite bookseller.

About the Author: 

Jennifer has been a block layer, a nurse’s aid, a fragrance model, and on the research faculty at UCLA, where she spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy. A native of Southern California, she now lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and two teenagers. She’s currently writing book three in the Anna Blanc Mystery series. Book two, THE WOMAN IN THE CAMPHOR TRUNK, is coming out in Fall of 2017 from Seventh Street Books.

About the Narrator:

Moira grew up in teeny-tiny Rutland, England’s smallest county, which is fitting as she never managed to make it past five feet herself.  Moira’s work spans the pantheon of the voiceover world: plays for BBC radio, plays for NPR, video games, commercials, television promos, podcasts, cartoons, movies and award winning audiobooks. She’s won Multiple Audie Awards, Earphone Awards, as well as Audible’s prestigious Book-of-the-Year Award. She has lately set foot in front of the camera again, appearing in “Pretty: the Series” and the Emmy-winning “Dirty Work.”

Disclaimer: All links to Indiebound and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money off of it.

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