Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Books, December 27, 2013

Week ending December 27, 2013

Atkins, Ace. The Broken Places. (Quinn Colson, Bk. 3). 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470370497. $92.75; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Following the events in The Lost Ones, Jericho, MS, sheriff Quinn Colson’s sister, Caddy, takes up with recently paroled Jamey Dixon. The convicted murderer has become a preacher, but Quinn is not convinced he has reformed. Then two escaped convicts come looking for revenge against Jamey. The Colson books are slightly darker than Atkins’s highly entertaining “Nick Travers” series but pack plenty of local color and, in this case, an homage to William Faulkner as well. Brian d’Arcy James does fairly well with the dialog of multiple characters but does not make the villains sound sufficiently threatening.
Verdict Recommended for Atkins’s fans and those who enjoy colorful but violent Southern tales. [“Atkins has real men grappling with classic themes like redemption, duty, villainy, and sympathy; his knack for realistic dialog is especially attuned to the direct, Southern way of speaking that conveys volumes about the speaker’s nobility or crudeness,” read the review of the Putnam hc, Books for Dudes, 4/18/13.]—Michael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr. Lib.

Clark, Marcia. Killer Ambition. (Rachel Knight, Bk. 3). 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781619696341. $29.98; 13 CDs. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Clark’s (Guilt by Degrees) real-life experience as lead prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson trial lends credibility to this story that blends Hollywood heavy-hitters and a horrifying crime. The daughter of high-profile Hollywood director Russell Antonovich has been murdered, and her boyfriend—former child star Ian Powers, who is now Russell’s agent—is the prime suspect. DA Rachel Knight and her buddy Det. Bailey Keller are assigned the daunting task of trying to prove Powers’s guilt. January LaVoy returns as narrator, effectively capturing the diverse personalities of Knight’s inner circle as well as providing the necessary tension during the courtroom scenes.
Verdict Recommend to those who enjoy legal thrillers with a female protagonist and tales of Hollywood told from an insider’s perspective.—Theresa Horn, St. Joseph Cty. P.L., South Bend, IN

Hart, Carolyn. Escape from Paris. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624066597. $59.99; 2 MP3-CDs. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
Shortly after American sisters Linda Rossiter and Eleanor Masson begin to help English soldiers escape from Nazi-controlled Paris in 1940, they learn that they could be shot if their efforts are discovered. Encouraged by Eleanor, whose husband has been missing since the Battle of Dunkirk, they continue, gaining strength from knowing they are helping the war effort. In this novel, Hart (Engaged To Die) captures the tense atmosphere in occupied Paris and provides plenty of suspense as her characters wonder whom to trust, as they search for money and food while avoiding German attention. Jennifer Brownstein gives the French characters a charming accent, but her sweet voice isn’t quite menacing enough for the Germans.
Verdict Originally published in a shortened version 30 years ago, this expanded edition, although somewhat predictable, will appeal to World War II buffs.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

starred review starMead, Richelle. Gameboard of the Gods. (Age of X, Bk. 1). 13 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781611761764. $39.95; 13 CDs. retail ed. Penguin Random Audio; digital download. F
gameboard122713In a near future where religion and worship must be approved by the government, Justin March, Servitor to the Republic of United North America (RUNA), is pulled out of exile to investigate a string of murders that may be connected to an underground religious cult. Paired with Praetorian Mae Koskinsen, a genetically engineered soldier, Justin discovers that there are ethereal adversaries, good and evil, who seek out human vessels to do their bidding. Mead (Vampire Academy) here launches “Age of X,” a provocative new series for adults. Sex, murder, and the supernatural are delivered with twists, turns, and action-packed suspense. Narrator Emily Shaffer guides listeners through a new world order fraught with uncertainty and precariously balanced in the occult. Written for adults but acceptable for Mead’s young adult crossover following.
Verdict A must-have for library collections. [“Mead melds romance, mystery, urban fantasy, and action into a fascinating dystopian tale, featuring fully realized characters that will captivate her many current fans and attract new ones,” read the review of the Dutton hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 7/5/13.]—JoAnn Funderburk, South Garland Branch Lib., TX

Moyes, Jojo. Me Before You. 12 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Penguin Random Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611762358. $29.95; digital download. F
Despite her lack of nursing experience, former waitress Louisa Clark lands a job as daytime caretaker for recently paralyzed quadriplegic businessman Will Traynor. Will’s wealthy family prays that this cheerful young woman can dispel Will’s depression and determination to end his own life. Louisa is horrified when she learns that euthanasia has been scheduled and sets out to enrich Will’s life enough to restore his will to live. Moyes (The Girl You Left Behind) writes with such intimacy that the listener almost feels like an eavesdropper. Susan Lyons’s reading brings Louisa to life, with an array of other voices that relay the thoughts of key characters in Will’s life.
Verdict Recommended for all collections.—Judith Robinson, Dept. of Lib. & Information Studies, Univ. at Buffalo

White, Susan Rebecca. A Place at the Table. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470348168. $123.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
Food represents not only nutrition but also friendship, personal growth, and personal fulfillment in this thought-provoking story. Combining flashbacks with a present-day New York City setting, White (Bound South) introduces and establishes each character’s life and the backstory that brings them together at a Manhattan café. Bobby is a gay Southern boy who has been ostracized by his family; wealthy Amelia is struggling with a recently revealed family secret; and Alice is an African American chef with a famous cookbook but a mysterious past. Food and companionship teach the characters that it is possible to find authenticity and fulfillment on their own. Consistent volume and lack of background noise merge nicely with the accent-free, slow-paced, and expressive voices of Robin Miles, George Newbern, and Katherine Powell.
Verdict The work will appeal to White’s fans and those interested in serious fiction.—Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX