• The Heat of the Moon

  • A Rachel Goddard Mystery, Book 1
  • By: Sandra Parshall
  • Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
  • Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (816 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Young veterinarian Rachel Goddard’s world begins to crumble when a client rushes into the animal hospital with a dog struck by a car during a thunderstorm. The woman’s terrified child, drenched with rain, loses sight of her mother in the flurry of activity and screams, “Mommy! I want Mommy!” Instantly Rachel is hurled back in time to a day in her own childhood when her baby sister, Michelle, uttered the same cry while thunder crashed and rain poured down on them. The unearthed memory feels like a fragment of a nightmare, and Rachel doesn’t understand its meaning or the anguish it stirs up in her.

When she seeks answers, she learns nothing from Michelle or from Judith, their loving but manipulative mother. Judith is a psychologist who is only too happy to have her adult daughters still living in her elegant Tudor house outside Washington, DC. But their apparently serene home is a house of secrets where Judith’s unspoken rules forbid questions about the family history or the daughters’ long-dead father. As more baffling memories surface, Rachel begins to suspect that nothing about her family is what it seems.

Fighting her mother’s attempts to control her, Rachel embarks on a quest that takes her not only deep into her own memory but also halfway across the country. The truth she uncovers will shatter her world and force her to make an unthinkable choice.

Sandra Parshall, a former newspaper reporter, is the author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries, the first of which won the Agatha Award in 2006.

©2012 Sandra Parshall (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc

What listeners say about The Heat of the Moon

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quite an unusual and captivating book!

I read the second book in this series before the first was available on Audible. To her credit, Sandra Parshall didn't give away any of the essence of this book in the sequel (as authors of series sometimes do, to update a reader). Even more to her credit, this book is excellent as either a stand alone, or introduction to the series that will come after. This is a mystery arising from one woman's strange fragmentary memories, eerie moments of angst, but not being able to piece them together. She has to find their meaning, despite the anguish it will cause her to know.

Rachel Goddard and her sister Michelle are both adults, still living at home with their mother, who has subtle ways of controlling them which Rachel senses more than her sister. Mother uses some fairly unconventional means to organize all their lives, and it is very difficult for Rachel to find the emotional strength to investigate the secrets that haunt her. Luke, another doctor she works with in the veterinary clinic, helps her find the courage to explore her troubling dreams and sensations, even though it will lead to surprising twists and turns in the book.

I really liked the second book, and figured then it was going to be a good series, but now hearing this first book puts a lot of what was in the second in better perspective. I like that the author has created characters who have an intriguing back story, and feel that she has a good balance with setting the stage with deeply drawn characters in this book (appropriate to the whole story), but using only what is needed in the next book. Rachel is an interesting and inspiring protagonist. I really liked this book, and look forward to reading more in the series.

66 people found this helpful

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Head's Up #10!

Today's price for this Audio Book is $3.95. For those who are interested in Whispersync For Voice, I recommend purchasing the Kindle version of this first for $0.99 and then the Audio Book is $2.99 for a total of $3.98 or only $0.03 more than the Audio Book alone.

23 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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explicit sex scenes ruined it for me.

This was an interesting story, but the relationship between the doctor and the main character developes to fast for the "I love you's" that follow. Plus the descriptions of the sex are way to explicit for my taste. Overall, weird twist and hated the ending.

14 people found this helpful

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Unpleasant to listen to.


I'm unusually sensitive to stories, fictions and nonfiction. This made me uncomfortable and anxious knowing where the story was headed. Wish I hadn't purchased it.

This is not to warn off other readers/listeners. It is suspenseful and leaves one wondering what comes next. I thought it was creepy, but often felt frustrated and impatient with the daughters' inability to grasp, or even suspect, the obvious.

10 people found this helpful

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Daily Deal from June 2015

I finally got around to listening. If you believe you would enjoy a novel about a certifiably crazy female psychologist determined to control the lives of her two young adult daughters with two very graphic out of context sex scenes thrown in gratuitously, then this novel is for you. The story line is actually quite good and the narration is excellent.

8 people found this helpful

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Great Surprise

Simply put, I really liked this book. It is different than the regular murder mystery. I guess one would call it a psychological thriller mystery. The narrator was really competent. nothing exceptional, but nothing irritating or off key. The story was original and a bit twisted in an interesting way. I get tired of the retired, alcoholic, divorced, tortured depressed detectives who can't give it up. It was really original and compelling, well written, and entertaining. thumbs up.

7 people found this helpful

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Nightmares and Reality . . . GREAT LISTEN!

I couldn't stop listening to this one . . . short glimpses of memories flashed back into veterinarian, Rachel Goddard's mind as she treats a dog hit by a car, and a little girl briefly gets separated from her mom in the flurry of activity . . . Something about the fear in the little girls eyes made Rachel remember a day long, long ago . . . but when she asks her own mother about what happened, she hits a dead end. That began Rachel's journey into her past, to find out about the accident that killed her father over 20 years earlier and her quest to find out why her mother refuses to show her any pictures of their family together before her father died. Everyone seems to have their "own version" of the truth . . . but Rachel has to unearth the real truth. Excellent story.

6 people found this helpful

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Good narration, weak story

It's an interesting quick read but not very well written. Characters unconvincing and often just exasperating.

5 people found this helpful

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AWFUL, TEDIOUS, IRRITATING

Tedious story, characters and reader. I, unfortunately, listened to the entire book, hoping it would redeem itself at some point, but I wound up hating the book. Unlikable characters. I haven't disliked a book as much as this one, since I read The Red Tent when it came out, several years ago. I was/am irritated by this experience. It was awful. It was painful. I am so glad it's over. I had just finished listening to Valhalla and was so happy with that book, I was excited to jump into another book, hoping to remain on that high. Instead, I crashed and burned with disappointment. Others liked it, good for them. I hated it.

4 people found this helpful

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Cheesy, Boring and Irritating

Any additional comments?

I'm about 4 hours into this book and I just can't take anymore. There are so many cringe worthy lines and ridiculous sex scenes. And since when was hypnotizing a viable means of therapy???? The male character is so unrealistic, it's almost as though the author has never met a man in her life. I might have to sue for the medical bills I'm going to incur to correct the permanent damage gained by rolling my eyes so much. I shudder to think I may finish this book only to discover that the plot doesn't end and I'd have to be put through another torturous book just to find out what the whole mystery is. Honestly, I don't think I can bring myself to care enough. Rachel might be one of the most annoying characters I have ever come across in my 3 years with Audible.

Thanks, but no thanks Sandra Parshall.

2 people found this helpful

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