Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, September 6, 2013

Week ending September 6, 2013

Jonasson, Jonas. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. AudioGo. 2013. tr. from Swedish by Rod Bradbury. ISBN 9780792793328. $84.95; Playaway digital; digital download. F
When nursing home resident Allan Karlsson climbs out the window to avoid his 100th birthday party and to get his hands on some liquor he accidentally ends up with a suitcase full of cash. He then boards a bus without a destination to get away from the home’s vile director, who strictly controls the community’s vodka consumption. Meanwhile, the mayor has shown up for the birthday party to find out that his photo op has disappeared and sends the entire police force after the geriatric fugitive. Once the suitcase owner/thief discovers his money is gone, he gives pursuit. Soon everyone finds out a 100-year-old man can be very resourceful. Joining Allan’s journey is the owner of a hot dog stand, a crime boss, a watermelon farmer, a beauty, and a criminal-crushing elephant. This impossible and impossibly hilarious odyssey is peppered with famous people and memorable events from history with a twist of the bizarre. Narrated by Steven Crossley, Jonasson’s story is a marvelous marriage of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Forrest Gump and highly recommended.
Verdict Readers will be absolutely charmed by Allan and his adventurous spirit as well as his companions, both human and otherwise. [“This quirky novel is a sly, satirical look back at international relations in the 20th century through the eyes of an old man who has seen it all,” read the review of the Hyperion hc, LJ 9/1/12.—Ed.]—Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix P. L.

LaFevers, Robin. Grave Mercy. (His Fair Assassin, Bk. 1) 12 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 14¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781464023835. $108.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
LaFevers (“Lowthar’s Blade Trilogy”) launches a new young adult series with this story set in medieval France that follows 17-year-old Ismae, daughter of one of the old gods, as she escapes to a convent to avoid an arranged marriage. However, the sanctuary she seeks is one where women are trained to become assassins rather than traditional nuns. The tale embodies mystery and intrigue, great characters, romance, and a clever heroine, but the strange plot twists makes this at times a slow-moving experience. Erin Moon’s narration is clear and pleasant.
Verdict For fans of romantic fantasy and historical speculative fiction.—Denise A. Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary Coll., Newburgh, NY

MacKenzie, Sally. Surprising Lord Jack. (Duchess of Love, Bk. 2). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452612980. $39.99; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
MacKenzie’s (Bedding Lord Ned) latest Regency-era romance concerns Jack Valentine, the third son of the famous Duchess of Love. The tale unfolds as Jack, a known rake, encounters Frances Hadley while she’s disguised as a boy. When her pretense is uncovered Lord Jack proposes marriage to save her reputation, but she declines. With a killer on the loose in London they are drawn together into danger and intrigue. Abby Craden delivers a well-paced reading of this historical romance with entertaining characters, plenty of danger, action, and the redeeming element of love.
Verdict Recommended for romance listeners.—Denise A. Garofalo, Mount Saint Mary Coll., Newburgh, NY

Nicholson, William. Motherland. 14 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470344634. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; digital download. F
Kitty, a witty and charming World War II army driver, has been turning down marriage proposals her entire life, until she meets royal marine commando Ed. It only takes one encounter with Ed for Kitty to fall madly in love with him. And it only takes Ed’s best friend Larry, a liaison officer, one encounter with Kitty for him to fall madly in love with her as well. Three short weeks after Kitty and Ed’s nuptials, Ed and Larry are both deployed on a dangerous mission in enemy territory with results that change the dynamic of all of their relationships forever. Here we follow the lives, loves, and losses of Kitty, Ed, and Larry, exploring the hardships of war, their beliefs about religion, and the unspoken love triangle that remains between them.
Verdict This work will grip listeners initially, with well-written dialogue that keeps the story moving. Midway through the story, the pace slows considerably with details and conversations that add little to the plot and continues sluggish until the focus shifts to Larry and his ventures, bringing the story back to life, which leads to a satisfying ending that makes the journey worthwhile. [“Nicholson, a British screenwriter (Gladiator; Shadowlands), playwright, and novelist (I Could Love You), pays careful attention to historical details. He develops central characters that stir our emotions and keep us engaged even when the touted happy ending seems unlikely. Recommended,” read the starred review of the S. & S. hc, LJ 2/15/13.—Ed.]—Elizabeth Hoff, Bulverde/Spring Branch Lib., TX

Palmer, Diana. Protector. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 7 ½ hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781455816583. $69.97; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Lawman Hayes Carson has never liked Minette Raynor, especially since he believes she was responsible for giving his brother the drugs that caused his death, a belief that baffles Minette. When Hayes is shot in the shoulder and needs help recuperating, it is Minette who offers the Texan a room in her house. While he’s there, Hayes realizes that he was mistaken about Minette—though she is hiding a secret that will shock Hayes to his core. Narrated by Eric Long, this story takes listeners to small-town Jacobsville, TX, where life is simpler and time moves at a leisurely pace. This book will charm best-selling author Palmer’s previous and new fans alike.
Verdict Those who enjoy the contemporary fiction of Linda Lael Miller or Johanna Lindsey will want to give this a try.—Stephanie Charlefour, Garden City P.L., MI

Annalisa Pesek About Annalisa Pesek

Annalisa Pesek (apesek@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor, LJ Book Review
[photograph by John Sarsgard]