Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, November 1, 2013

Week ending November 1, 2013

Hamilton, Laurell K. Affliction. (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Bk. 22).17 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 22 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611761641. $49.95; digital download. F
Anita, Micah, and Nathaniel rush to reach Micah’s father before a zombie-rotting sickness kills him, but as soon as Anita sees him she knows she’s looking at the victim of a vampire attack. She thought that the death of Morte D’Amour, Lover of Death, meant that the rotting vampire line would not cause problems in America. She was wrong on every count. Although the action gets bogged down by endless conversations about relationships, sex, and magic, the hours listening to Hamilton’s latest still fly by. Kimberly Alexis doesn’t manifest a huge vocal range, but she ensures that listeners know who the key players are and when they are speaking.
Verdict Fans always welcome the books that feature Marshall Ted Forrester (Edward) as a guest star. Public libraries will want to purchase.—Jodi L. Israel, Birmingham, AL

Handey, Jack. The Stench of Honolulu. 3 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 3 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619693609. $24.98; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
American humorist Handey (Deep Thoughts) narrates his zany and ridiculous travel novel, filled with humor and hilarious misadventures. “Wrong Way Slurps” and his companion Don head to Hawaii to find a fabled golden monkey. Their journey is not an easy one, though, as they encounter turtle men, horrible smells, angry natives, and a pelican god; this is no tourist attraction, this is a hellhole! Told by a reliably unreliable narrator, this absurd adventure will have the listener laughing uncontrollably. With the book serviceably narrated by Handey himself, the humor is always present and the story flows smoothly.
Verdict For fans of ridiculous travel novels and absurd, laugh-out-loud literature.—Erin Cataldi, Franklin Coll. Lib, IN

Hoag, Tami. The 9th Girl. (Kovac & Liska, Bk. 4).11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Brilliance Audio. ISBN 9781455853618. $89.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Vicious crimes, hard-nosed cops, and angst-ridden teens combine in this police procedural that follows the joint investigation of homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska into the murder of a teenage girl on the mean streets of Minneapolis. In this story largely told from the police perspective, readers are reacquainted with the personal lives of these series characters, who last appeared in Prior Bad Acts. The segments told from the killer’s point of view are not overly chilling but get the job done. David Colacci’s narration suits the gritty police inquiry (which includes just the right number of autopsies); he does particularly well with the noirish character of Sam.
Verdict Recommended for libraries where thrillers are popular.—Victoria A. Caplinger, NoveList, Durham, NC

McGuire, Seanan. Chimes at Midnight. (October Daye, Bk. 7). 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. Brilliance Audio. ISBN 9781455848874. $89.97; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
The latest addition (after Ashes of Honor) to the urban fantasy world of October “Toby” Daye starts off at full throttle and goes at high speed to the very end. Set in the misty real and fae world of San Francisco, the book starts with former PI Toby’s investigation of a deadly Faerie street drug that kills changelings like herself. Events soon spiral out of control, and Toby is fighting for her very existence as she attempts to mastermind the overthrow of her false queen. Her weapons include her sharp wit and many allies with different strengths and abilities. Narrator Mary Robinette Kowal brings a wondrously funny and sarcastic tone to the wisecracking Toby and equally good voices to the many other characters, ranging from the King of the Cats to Toby’s squire. Tight pacing and clever plot twists add to the enjoyment.
Verdict For fantasy fiction collections and readers of Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, and Ilona Andrews.—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA

starred review starMcKinty, Adrian. I Hear the Sirens in the Street. (Troubles Trilogy, Bk. 2). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9½ hrs. Blackstone Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781407879709. $80; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
McKinty’s second Sean Duffy thriller (after The Cold Cold Ground) establishes his place in the latest generation of Irish crime writers to take the genre by storm. The bleak and almost desperate conditions of 1982 Belfast and rural Northern Ireland are presented in a fashion that make the setting an equal character in this murder mystery in which a torso is found in a suitcase. Duffy just has a single clue—a tattoo—to go on to establish the torso’s identity and solve the crime and must deal with interference from everyone from the IRA to the local gentry before he can get the job done. The twists of the case are brilliant, the characters complex. The rich Irish brogue of Gerard Doyle is magnificent but not overwhelming to American listeners.
Verdict Highly recommended.—Scott R. DiMarco, Mansfield Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib.

O’Farrell, Maggie. Instructions for a Heatwave. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780804120692. $40; 9 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. F
In 1976, a historic heat wave and drought hit Great Britain, with conditions so extreme that a Minister of Drought was appointed. On one blistering day that summer, Robert Riordan gets up and simply walks away from his wife of 40 years. Gretta Riordan calls her three adult children home. O’Farrell’s (The Hand That First Held Mine) latest takes place over the span of a week, with reflections cast back over the lifetimes of each of the family members. John Lee is best with the Irish voice of Gretta and good with both the female and male characters. Just as heat blisters paint and reveals layers underneath, so, too, are family fissures and cracks laid open as the search begins for the patriarch and deeply guarded secrets are forced to the surface.
Verdict For listeners who enjoy introspective family dramas.—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"