Cain, James M. The Cocktail Waitress. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Harper Audio. 2012. ISBN 9780062209061. $21.99; digital download. MYS
Cain worked on this novel at the end of his life and left multiple versions of scenes that recently were edited and arranged into a classic noir crime novel. Young Mrs. Joan Medford’s abusive husband dies leaving nothing but bills, so directly after the funeral she takes a waitress job. Assigned to the restaurant’s bar, curvaceous Joan quickly impresses the customers, and soon she is remarried to a wealthy older man, who dies under suspicious circumstances. A handsome young lover and an angry sister-in-law further complicate Joan’s world. This first-person narrative is a natural for audio, and reader Amy Rubinate has just the right voice for it: young and naive yet sexy and knowing. From the beginning, readers will want to believe everything she says, but there’s something about that voice that makes them wonder if they are being manipulated. VERDICT A clever reading that mystery lovers will enjoy. Recommended for all collections. [“Overall, the characters are fully fleshed out, the dialog flows, and Cain’s signature sexual tension crackles on every page. A tasty cocktail, indeed,” read the review of the Titan hc, LJ 6/1/12.—Ed.]—Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Williamsburg, VA
Chabon, Michael. Telegraph Avenue. 15 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 18¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781470322564. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Telegraph Avenue is the gathering place for a complex set of characters brought together by the iconic Brokeland Records. Owners Archy Stallings and Nat Jeffe still treasure used vinyl and the neighborhood camaraderie that’s threatened by former NFL quarterback Gibson Goode’s proposed megastore that could help revive the decaying area. On the surface, this seems to be a common tale of “urban renewal by mega corporations,” but it is personalized by the stories of the two old band mates who have marked their lives by soul and jazz albums and artists; of their wives, Gwen and Aviva, the Berkeley Birth Partners midwives; and of the coming of age of Archy’s son. This wide-ranging novel on marriage, race and class, parenting, and trust is possibly Chabon’s most exuberant and funny novel to date. Clark Peters is truly a performing narrator, bringing a strong and wise reading to the audiobook. VERDICT Highly recommended. [“Ambitious, densely written, sometimes very funny, and fabulously over the top, here’s a rare book that really could be the great American novel,” read the review of the Harper: HarperCollins hc, LJ 8/12. See also the novel’s Best Books: More of the Best mention in LJ 12/12, ow.ly/gtYqf.—Ed.]—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo
Fangoria’s Dreadtime Stories. Vol. 2. 4 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 4½ hrs. AudioGO. ISBN 9780792787976. $59.95; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital. horror
This second volume of horror shorts (see LJ 11/15/12, p. 47) features six stories from authors Max Allan Collins, M.J. Elliott, Barry Richert, and others. Collins’s “Mercy” reveals how a blonde bombshell cheerleader finds religion and brings other sinners to salvation through bloody retribution. “Talking in the Dark” by Dennis Etchinson explores the loneliness of Victor Rippon, who rarely interacts with anyone since his wife left. His only entertainment is reading books by Rex Christian, who amazingly arrives at his door after receiving Victor’s fan letter. The harrowing events that follow may be a preview of Christian’s next book. Richert’s “Final Battlefield” explores the troubled memories of Daniel Conway, a veteran who is haunted by dreams of the Hangman, a brutal Viet Cong officer who tortured him as a POW. Has the Hangman followed him to Iowa? Or perhaps Conway never left Nam. Suggestive of old mystery and horror radio shows, the sound effects here are so loud and authentic that listeners will think their own doorbell or phone is ringing. Each story contains is read by a cast of versatile actors. Malcolm McDowell again serves as the host, and his deep voice emphasizes the thrills and surprises to come. VERDICT Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys being scared.—Gloria Maxwell, Metropolitan Community Coll., Kansas City, MO
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The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Doig, Ivan. The Bartender’s Tale. 13 CDs. library ed. 14¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781464043277. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Heller, Peter. The Dog Stars. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10¾ hrs. Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 9780449013137. $35; digital download. SF
Kardos, Michael. The Three-Day Affair. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 7½ hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781611749151. $29.95; digital download.THRILLER
McBain, Ed. The Gutter and the Grave. 4 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 5 hrs. AudioGO. 2012. ISBN 9780792793199. $49.95; digital download. MYS
Oates, Joyce Carol. Black Dahlia and White Rose. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8¾ hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2012. ISBN 9781611209617. $59.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Williams, Amanda Kyle. Stranger in the Room. 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Random Audio. 2012. ISBN 9780307966896. $22.50; 11 CDs. library ed.; digital download. MYS
Cooper, William J. We Have the War Upon Us: The Onset of the Civil War, November 1860–1861. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781464046223. $123.75; digital download. HIST
Crystal, David. The Story of English in 100 Words. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. AudioGO. 2012. ISBN 9780792791546. $64.95; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST
Neitzel, Sönke & Harald Welzer. Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying. 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781611749076. $84; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. HIST