• The Archivist

  • A Novel
  • By: Rex Pickett
  • Narrated by: Caroline Hewitt
  • Length: 29 hrs and 51 mins
  • 3.4 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

When archivist Nadia Fontaine is found dead of an apparent drowning, Emily Snow is hired by Regents University to finish the job she started - to organize and process the papers of Raymond West, a famous Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has been short-listed for the Nobel.

Emily’s job comes with its inherent pressures. West’s wife, Elizabeth, is an heiress who’s about to donate $25 million to the Memorial Library - an eight-story architectural marvel that is the crown jewel of the university. The inaugural event in just a few months will be a gala for the who’s who of San Diego to celebrate the unveiling of the Raymond West Collection and the financial gift that made it all possible.

As Emily sets to work on the West papers, it begins to dawn on her that several items have gone missing from the collection. To trace their whereabouts, she gains unsupervised access to the highly restricted “dark archives", in which she opens a Pandora’s box of erotically and intellectually charged correspondence between Raymond West and the late Nadia Fontaine. Through their archived emails, Emily goes back a year in time and relives the tragic trajectory of their passionate love affair. Did Nadia really drown accidentally, as the police report concluded, or could it have been suicide, or, even worse, murder? Compelled to complete the collection and find the truth, Emily unwittingly morphs into an adult Nancy Drew and a one-woman archivist crusader on a mission to right the historical record.

Twisting slowly like a tourniquet, The Archivist turns into a suspenseful murder mystery with multiple and intersecting layers. Not just a whodunit, it is also a profound meditation on love, privacy, and the ethics of destroying or preserving materials of a highly personal nature.

©2021 Rex Pickett (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Archivist

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    3 out of 5 stars

Writing by thesaurus

I am many hours into this book and am considering dropping it, which I hate to do. The description made it sound like an intriguing mystery. In fact, it is ridiculously overwritten. Turgid prose. Obscure vocab words that distract from the narrative. It’s becoming almost silly. And it’s taking forever to move things along. Can’t remember where I heard about this book, but it’s not good. And the performance is overwrought. So sorry.

2 people found this helpful

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3

I had high hopes that this was really a focused archivest mystery. For me, it wasn't.
1) It wallowed in an adolescent level
lust affair between two middle aged literati.
A big part of the book wasted.
2 The mystery was interesting
3) BUT I loved the characters of the Special Collections feifdom of Helena. Very well done!
4) If we see Emily Snow featured in a sequel, I will be there.
It is worth a credit, speed thru the long romance setting scenes early in the book. Then settle in
for a good read.

1 person found this helpful

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Repeats repeats repeats

Too long and too pretentious; an intriguing dilemma is buried under a slog of words. The Regents U ( UCSD ) and Blacks Beach setting was wasted. Obviously intended as a noir homage to Chandler but falls short . Needed an editor not an archivist to hone in on what was a very timely ideas: artist’s work v artist’s private life, big donors controlling the archive, what’s the source of an artist’s inspiration, digital cloud storage replacing books ( now a space for galas instead of research stacks.) too bad the writing dragged all this under .

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  • A.
  • 11-15-21

WoW! So much packed in here!

I loved it and had difficulty putting it down. If I were still in school, I would critique more analytically. Suffice it to say, it's a great, complicated, beautiful read! The reader did an excellent job, btw.
👏😃

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An elevated performance

I bought the book because I liked the movie sideways. While it took me a minute to get into the story, the narrator kept me hooked with her performance. I don't think I would make it far reading the text because of its pacing, but the reader's precise enunciation makes it an enjoyable 1.75x listen.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-03-22

Long but mostly enjoyable

I found that I was trying to make up my mind about whether I was enjoying the book for more than the first half. then the final chapters made it all come together and by the end I was sad it finished

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  • Elizabeth Stacey
  • 01-05-22

Is this a spoof?

The premise of this story seems interesting but the author has swallowed a thesaurus and after a while I found the mixed metaphors and multiple adjectives and adverbs in every sentence so distracting I couldn’t finish. ‘She stepped across lily pads of desire’ like an osprey unfurling her wings and using her talons… this from memory but I just kept laughing so I remember it well. I’m usually kind when reviewing but I feel I wasted a lot of time and will never know what happens

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  • Llynn of melbourne
  • 12-06-21

Absorbing

It took a while and I did think often this would be a better book if it had a tighter grip on the plot lines but I did keep listening, didn’t skip bits and ultimately enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job on the audiobook.