Xpress Reviews: Audiobooks | First Look at New Boooks, March 28, 2014

Week ending March 28, 2014

Berry, Julie. All The Truth That’s in Me. 6 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624069178. $59.99; digital download. F
Berry’s (The Trouble with Squids) first YA novel is both a dark mystery and a romance. Two years after Judith and her best friend Lottie were kidnapped, Judith suddenly returns alone. She is rejected by her remaining family members—her father died while she was gone—and most of the citizens of Roswell Station. Mutilated and unable to speak clearly, Judith still manages to help her childhood friend Lucas save the town from an attack, but that only initiates the true tension of the story. The author never identifies when the story takes place, but the setting is clearly a more distant past than the jacket copy reveals. Reader Kathleen McInerney masters the dual challenges of moving between Judith’s damaged speaking voice and her highly developed inner thoughts and narrating a story that’s written partly in fragments. The style is an often poetic rendering of young love and angst that transcends the vague time period.
Verdict Highly recommended for readers age 12 and up.—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo

Child, Lee. Never Go Back. (Jack Reacher, Bk. 18). 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780307749680. $45; Playaway digital; digital download. F
nevergoback032814In Virginia for a visit with the replacement commander of the 110th MPs, Major Susan Turner, Jack Reacher is slapped with criminal charges and a paternity suit and recalled to active duty. Major Turner is incarcerated and refuses to see him. Child (A Wanted Man) ups the stakes again—Reacher has to break himself and Turner out of jail, get to Los Angeles without being apprehended or killed, and identify the corrupt officials who framed them. Though it’s part of an extended story arc, this work stands well alone. Dick Hill, who has performed all the books in the series, continues his high-quality narration here.
Verdict A must-listen for Child’s fans and recommended to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, action-driven thrillers.—Janet Martin, Southern Pines P.L., NC

De la Cruz, Melissa & Michael Johnston. Frozen. (Heart of Dread, Bk. 1). 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624069147. $59.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
De la Cruz (Gates of Paradise) and her husband, Johnson, team up for a gripping dystopian adventure. Natasha Kestal is a young New Vegas blackjack dealer struggling to hide her true nature as she seeks escape from her frozen, polluted, and dying world. Nat is one of the “marked,” a race of outcasts who are feared and persecuted for their psychic or magical powers. A mysterious voice in her head commands her to search the seas for a hidden doorway that will take her to the Blue, a legendary paradise where the sun still shines warmly and the waters are turquoise instead of toxic black. To get there, she must fight off a dizzying array of dangers, including pirates and slavers, with the help of mercenary runner Ryan “Wes” Wesson. The narrative point of view shifts frequently between Nat and Wes, represented with capable voice work by Phoebe Strole and Dan Bittner.
Verdict Nonstop action, inventive dangers, and a surprising conclusion make this an enjoyable thriller, although the romantic angle is nothing special and the dialog is sometimes a little clichéd. Recommended for most public library collections.—Claire Abraham, Keller P.L., TX

Lin, Tao. Taipei. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452616643. $39.99; 7 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Paul, a socially alienated writer in his late 20s, travels around the country to his book signing events in a drug-induced fog. The rest of the time he goes to bars and health food stores and “does things” on his computer. He hooks up with Erin, they marry, and then film themselves with a MacBook while taking drugs, even on their honeymoon visit to Paul’s parents in Taiwan. Lin (You Are a Little Bit Happier Than I Am) writes in a terse style, a little reminiscent of early Hemingway, although the narrative drifts along without any discernible plot.
Verdict This novel will appeal mostly to readers under 30 who can appreciate Paul’s self-conscious musings and identify with his computer-based lifestyle.—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

Patterson, James & Michael Ledwidge. Gone. (Michael Bennett, Bk. 6). 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Hachette Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781611130393. $35; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Patterson and Ledwidge (I, Michael Bennett) puts Michael Bennett and his family in the crosshairs of brutal killer Manuel Perrine. Bennett, his ten adopted children, and his grandfather are in hiding, but when Perrine ramps up his villainy, Bennett is called into action. Danny Mastrogiorgio and Henry Leyva do an excellent job reading the book. They capture the menacing voice and Mexican accent of Perrine and the fearful pleading of his tortured victims. Sound effects add drama and excitement to the listening experience.
Verdict Recommended for Patterson and Bennett fans and patrons who enjoy a suspenseful thriller.—Ilka Gordon, Aaron Garber Lib., Cleveland

Scottoline, Lisa. Accused. (Rosato & Associates, Bk. 12). 9 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427230775. $39.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Mary DiNunzio’s first client after she makes partner at Rosato and Associates is Allegra Gardner, a 13-year-old girl firmly convinced that the man serving time for killing her sister is wrongly imprisoned despite his guilty plea and eyewitness testimony. When Mary and Judy Carrier begin to investigate, they encounter stiff opposition from members of Allegra’s powerful family who are convinced that the girl is deeply disturbed. January LaVoy gives the book a terrific read, with nuanced vocal characterizations that will be especially enjoyed by fans of the series. A bonus interview with the author adds background to the writing of the novel.
Verdict This audio is highly recommended for adult collections.—Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State Univ. Libs., OH