Week ending August 16, 2013
Grecian, Alex. The Black Country. (Murder Squad, Bk. 2). 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611761726. $39.95; 12 CDs. library ed.; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Grecian (The Yard) continues his Victorian-era detective series as he brings back Insp. Walter Day and Sgt. Nevil Hammersmith of the Scotland Yard. In this outing, they have two days to solve the disappearance of several family members in an isolated coal mining village. Accompanied by forensics pioneer Dr. Bernard Kingsley, the men are immersed in a baffling mystery in a community where secrets and superstitions abound. Australian actor Toby Leonard Moore does a good job bringing the characters’ regional accents to life.
Verdict This atmospheric novel is recommended for fans of historical mysteries.—Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence
Guthrie, A.B. These Thousand Hills. (Big Sky, Bk. 3). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Dreamscape Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781624062926. $19.99; digital download. F
First published in 1956, this book tells the story of Lat Evans as he grows up and becomes civilized, much like the frontier around him. Lat is born on a wagon train, raised in a buffalo camp, and finds his first love with a dance-hall hooker. Then a loan, a ranch, and a respectable marriage to a schoolteacher change his path and put him in conflict with his past, his old friend, and his first love. Though less strong than the first in the series, this novel still deserves its place in the Western canon. Kevin Foley, the narrator for the whole series, continues his excellent work.
Verdict Recommended for Western audio collections.—Mark Swails, Johnson Cty. Community Coll., Overland Park, KS
Lescroart, John. The Ophelia Cut. (Dismas Hardy, Bk. 4). 14 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611064155. $79.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Lescroart (Damage; Betrayal) returns to familiar but popular ground with his latest San Francisco–set thriller. When the cruel and politically connected rapist of defense attorney Dismas Hardy’s niece is killed, Hardy takes the case to defend his off-the-wagon brother-in-law, Moses McGuire, of the man’s murder. As Hardy gets to work on the thorny task of defense, secrets are revealed and the story gets really interesting. The plot is complex and at times exciting. The narration by noted reader David Colacci is solid in its cadence and with his use of accents.
Verdict Recommended for fiction collections, especially where previous titles in the series have been popular. [The Atria: S. & S. hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Scott R. DiMarco, Mansfield Univ. of Pennsylvania
Margolin, Phillip. Sleight of Hand. (Dana Cutler, Bk. 4). 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062265043. $34.99; 7 CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
In Margolin’s (Capitol Murder) latest, PI Dana Cutler must stop Charles Benedict, a criminal defense attorney who has set up millionaire Horace Blair to take the fall for Blair’s wife’s death right before she fulfilled the terms of their prenuptial agreement. Margolin creates an engaging murder story laced with mystery, history, intrigue, and descriptive detail. Jonathan Davis offers brilliant narration of a story that captures the listener’s attention.
Verdict Recommended to those who enjoy hearing from the criminal’s viewpoint as well as that of the victim. [The Harper hc was a New York Times best seller.—Ed.]—Thadious Polasek, Schulenburg P.L., TX
Rutherfurd, Edward. Paris. 30 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 38½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385359535. $60; digital download. F
Rutherfurd’s (London) latest explores different periods in the development of Paris by interweaving the interactions of four fictional families with historical figures through time. The nobility, the Republicans, the bourgeoisie, and the poor are all represented to tell a story of the City of Light with depth and dimension. This novel of grand scope ably conveys a sense of place. Owing to the nonlinear writing style, however, listeners may find it challenging to keep up with the time period and cast of characters. Jean Gilpin easily brings to life the diverse characters and their varied accents.
Verdict Of interest to Rutherfurd’s fans. [“This is not novelistic history in depth; rather, it is like a New York show—gorgeous sets, great acting, and lights, camera, action!” read the review of the Doubleday hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 4/5/13.—Ed.]—Cheryl Youse, Colquitt Cty. H.S., Moultrie, GA