Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, May 17, 2013

Week ending May 17, 2013

starred review starCook, Robin. Nano. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781464046513. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
The heroine of Death Benefit, Dr. Pia Grazdani, moves from New York City to Denver to work as a researcher for medical nanotechnology firm Nanobots. She is curious about the company’s seemingly endless funding and by chance soon finds that Nanobots uses human guinea pigs to test its latest discoveries. Though she’s soon in mortal danger, Pia still pursues the mystery to its darkest bottom. This suspense-filled and scientifically detailed thriller is given a splendid reading by George Guidall. His pacing, inflection, diction, and intonation are all a nearly flawless pairing of text and voice. His seemingly effortless performance almost immediately draws in the listener, giving each character a consistent and distinct voice and each narrative passage just the right pace and inflection.
Verdict Recommended for all public libraries.—Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll., Lynchburg

LaPlante, Eve. Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother. 12 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781452610467. $39.99; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; digital download. BIOG
A trailblazer and mainstay of American literature, Louisa May Alcott has always been framed by historians as her father’s daughter, molded in his image. LaPlante (Salem Witch Judge: The Life and Repentance of Samuel Sewall) reveals that while Bronson Alcott certainly influenced Louisa, he was absent, distant, and critical for much of her childhood. Instead, Louisa’s long-suffering mother encouraged her to be a fiercely independent woman, far ahead of her time. In this story of the early stages of American feminism, Abigail May Alcott is revealed to have led a thankless, invisible life in the shadow of her strange and overbearing husband, though she perseveres and finds meaning in her family and charity. Abigail’s fierce love and sacrifice for her children is something to be celebrated. Karen White vocalizes LaPlante’s assiduous research into letters, diaries, and current events to reveal the nuanced and loving relationship between mother and daughter.
Verdict Recommended for public and academic libraries. [“This heavily researched double biography serves as a kind of twin to John Matteson’s Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father. Nineteenth-century New England literature buffs and Alcott aficionados will appreciate this well-wrought study,” read the review of the Free Pr: S. & S. hc, LJ 9/15/12.—Ed.]—Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P.L.

Lutz, John. Pulse. 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13½ hours. Books on Tape. 2012. ISBN 9780449808498. $50; digital download. F
There is a violent serial killer on the loose, and the killings appear to be the work of Daniel Danielle, who was presumed dead after escaping a prison transport during a violent storm. Or perhaps a copycat is using the same MO. Working with his partner Pearl at the request of the police chief, former homicide detective and current P.I. Frank Quinn must find the killer. There are changes in Pearl’s personal life to deal with as well as her reunion with her long-lost daughter. Told through flashbacks into the killer’s past, the book is narrated by seasoned pro Scott Brick, whose reading enhances the listening experience.
Verdict Lutz’s (Serial; Mister X) seventh Frank Quinn title is recommended only for series fans and for readers with a tolerance for graphic and frequent violence.—Mary Knapp, Madison P.L., WI

Parks, Adele. Whatever It Takes. 12 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. IBSN 9781470332136. $123.75; digital download. F
Eloise Hamilton and her best friend Sara want to control their lives, their families, and their future. Eloise’s mother-in-law, Margaret, wants to control her early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Eloise and her husband, Mark, move their family to her husband’s childhood home of Dartmouth, a coastal English village, in order to control how their children grow up. Sara remains in London and desperately attempts to exert control over her efforts to conceive a child. Margaret gladly welcomes Eloise and Mark, but she has secrets that will be revealed as her Alzheimer’s progresses. Charlotte Strevens provides the perfect accents for the large cast.
Verdict This introspective character study offers some thoughtful answers to the question of what people are willing to sacrifice for control. Recommended.—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA

Bette-Lee Fox About Bette-Lee Fox

Bette-Lee Fox (blfox@mediasourceinc.com) is Managing Editor, Library Journal.

Now in her 46th year with Library Journal, Bette-Lee also edits LJ's Video Reviews column, six times a year Romance column, and e-original Romance reviews, which post weekly as LJ Xpress Reviews. She received the Romance Writers of America (RWA) Vivian Stephens Industry Award in 2013 for having "contributed to the genre or to RWA in a significant and/or continuing manner"