Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013

conspiracy Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013 Adler-Olsen, Jussi. A Conspiracy of Faith. (Department Q, Bk. 3). 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 16 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611761627. $39.95; digital download. F

An intriguing message in a bottle motivates Det. Carl Mørck’s assistants Assad and Rose to look further. Is it a prank from 20 years ago or a desperate cry for help? Though no related cold case exists, his determined assistants push Carl into the search for what turns out to be multiple crimes by a diabolical serial killer. This latest series entry (after The Absent One) is given an outstanding reading by Graeme Malcolm. This is an extraordinary mystery by a writer at the top of his game. The translation by Martin Aitken captures the ironic nuances of police and government bureaucracy, the terrors of victims and captives, the subtleties of racism and sexism, and the excitement of dangerous chases and confrontations. VERDICT This adult audio, with its moments of laugh-out-loud humor, is a must for adult fiction collections. [“This series has enough twists to captivate contemporary mystery readers and enough substance and background to entertain readers with historical and literary tastes,” read the starred review of the Dutton hc, LJ 3/15/13.—Ed.]—Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH

Walls, Jeannette. The Silver Star. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781442362857. $29.99; 7 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Best-selling memoirist Walls’s (The Glass Castle) first novel is a bildungsroman set in 1970 that delves into issues of racism and bigotry, bullies, neglect, and the love of family. The star of this novel is Jean “Bean” Holladay, the 12-year-old narrator. She is a fully fleshed character who is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird’s Scout Finch. Pivotal to this story is the relationship Bean has with her older sister, Liz, who has been the source of stability in Bean’s life. When tragedy strikes Liz, the roles reverse as Bean stands by her sister no matter the outcome. Walls performs the narration herself, and while it is smooth, the variations among characters are very subtle, so readers might get sidetracked or confused if not paying close attention. VERDICT For fans of heartwarming fiction such as Harper Lee’s classic and Walls’s other books. [“This engrossing story is told with the warmth and humor that will appeal to fans of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. Readers will find themselves rooting for the spunky heroine and her smart, offbeat sister as they persevere in the face of multiple hardships,” read the starred review of the New York Times best-selling Scribner hc, LJ 6/15/13.—Ed.]—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom P.L., MI

seeger Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013 Seeger, Pete. The Storm King: Stories, Narratives, Poems; Spoken Word Set to a World of Music. 2 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 2½ hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619698307. $19.98; digital download. MUSIC

This collection features iconic folk singer and social activist Seeger narrating his own spoken-word selections as set to a wide swath of musical styles including classical, American folk, jazz, New Age, and even Tuvan throat singing. It is a credit to producer and percussionist Jeff Haynes that the efforts of over 40 musicians (including Dar Williams and Richie Stearns) are channeled into roles that uniformly support and highlight Seeger’s words throughout. Seeger casually waxes on his travels and the genesis of his poems and songs; his reading is folksy and intimate, projecting all the intelligence and acumen of his remarkable life. VERDICT An especially interesting and lovely experiment, this program deserves to be heard. Despite a possibly narrow range of listeners, this is an appropriate and economical choice for any library, especially safe for large public libraries, music collections, and folk collections.—Douglas C. Lord, Middletown, CT

fiction

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013 Kagawa, Julie. The Immortal Rules. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Dreamscape Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781624066054. $59.99; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Lovecraft, H.P. At the Mountains of Madness. 4 CDs. retail ed. 5 hrs. Naxos Audiobooks. 2012. ISBN 9781843795940. $28.98; digital download. F

McCann, Colum. TransAtlantic. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307878021. $40; Playaway digital; digital download. F

McKenzie, Sophie. Close My Eyes. 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427232175. $39.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Miller, Linda Lael. Big Sky Summer. (Parable, Montana, Bk. 4). 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781464010033. $77.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Perry, Anne. Midnight at Marble Arch. (Thomas & Charlotte Pitt, Bk. 28). 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470348311. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Scalzi, John. Redshirts. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781469298573. $49.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F

Weisberger, Lauren. Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns. 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 13½ hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780743583824. $39.99; 11 CDs. library ed.; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F

Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12¾ hrs. Dreamscape Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781624068669. $59.99. F

NONfiction

Bacharach, Burt, with Robert Greenfield. Anyone Who Had a Heart: My Life and Music. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. ISBN 9780062210883. $21.99; digital download. AUTOBIOG/MUSIC

Carroll, Andrew. Here Is Where: Discovering America’s Great Forgotten History. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307750723. $45; digital download. HIST

Kirkman, Jen. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids. 5 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 6½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452612133. $34.99; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR

Lancaster, Jen. The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; or, Why I’m Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Dreamscape Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781624065316. $ 59.99; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR

Martin, Brett. Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution; From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 10½ hrs. Blackstone Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781482913279. $29.95; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. SOC SCI

Min, Anchee. The Cooked Seed. 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781436186292. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. MEMOIR

OrangeReviewStar Audio Book Reviews | September 15, 2013 Thompson, Neal. A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385366373. $50; digital download. BIOG

CIRCUS TALES

Daly, Michael. Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 6 hrs. AudioGO. 2013. ISBN 9781624606335. $59.95; digital download. HIST

The 1903 public electrocution of a circus elephant named Topsy forms the centerpiece of this sprawling audiobook, but Daly (The Book of Mychal) frequently digresses from Topsy’s story to include chapters on the history of elephants in America and the travails of circus barons in the Gilded Age. Daly’s captivating final chapters describe the “current wars” between electricity rivals George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison. Topsy was a victim of the rivalry, publicly executed to illustrate the supposed dangers of AC current. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes but somewhat unfocused. Narrator Mark Peckham’s no-frills delivery presents the text and no more. VERDICT Recommended to fans of Gilded Age Americana or circus collections. [“Although this is a tale with a sad ending, popular history buffs will enjoy. Fans of Paul Chambers’s Jumbo, about a Barnum elephant, or Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will be drawn to this as well,” read the review of the Atlantic Monthly hc, LJ 4/15/13.—Ed.]—Mark Swails, Johnson Cty. Community Coll., Overland Park, KS

Jensen, Dean. Queen of the Air: A True Story of Love and Tragedy at the Circus. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780385362535. $45; digital download. BIOG

Art dealer and critic Jensen (The Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet Hilton) tells the story of Leitzel, a circus saltimbank or trapeze artist in the early 20th century who was such a star she was known by a single name. As beloved in her day as Olympic gymnasts are now, she wowed audiences with spectacular aerial feats including a series of one-armed ring turns high above the sawdust. She overcame the poverty of her upbringing to earn top dollar and marry three times. Her last husband, Alfredo Codona, of the Flying Codona Brothers, was undoubtedly her true love. He was a trapeze artist famous for a triple spin. Each was circus royalty, and both died tragically. One was a suicide; the other, an accidental aerial fall. Actress Emma Bering brings an imaginative interpretation to this story, which reads more like a novel. She expresses Leitzel’s voice with a German accent. Author’s Note and back of book information are not included in this recording. VERDICT Recommended for all circus lovers and those who like historical events of the early 20th century. [“More like a novel than a well-researched work of nonfiction, this engaging book will appeal to readers who like books with circus themes,” read the review of the Crown hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 8/2/13.—Ed.]—David Faucheux, Louisiana Audio Information & Reading Svc., Lafayette

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