Audiobooks from Chamberlain, Doig, Faye, & Hart, plus a New MASH | Xpress Reviews

Week ending May 23, 2014

starred review starChamberlain, Diane. Necessary Lies. 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427232915. $39.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
necessarylies052314In 1960s rural North Carolina, Jane Forrester will begin her career as a social worker, right after her picture-perfect honeymoon to a well-to-do doctor. Her husband, however, is none too crazy about his pretty little wife heading off alone on gravel roads to serve the feeble-minded and colored folk of Grace County. Ivy is a 15-year-old girl who works on a tobacco plantation to earn the right to stay in the shack where she and her family live. That family consists of a diabetic grandmother whose mental state is “marginal”; Ivy’s beautiful, mentally disabled sister; and her sister’s illegitimate two-year-old. Jane and Ivy, from totally separate worlds, will meet and change each other’s lives forever. Chamberlain has written a wonderful novel. With plenty of action and lots to think about, this riveting story is one with conscience and historical backing. Chamberlain explores poverty, civil liberties, and the U.S. eugenics program while creating characters that are believable and likable. Alison Elliot’s narration draws listeners deeper into the story. Place this one on the shelf next to The Help.
Verdict Highly recommended.—Lisa Anderson, Omaha P.L.

Doig, Ivan. Sweet Thunder. (Morrie Morgan, Bk. 3). 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11¼ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2013. ISBN 9781470372101. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Morrie Morgan returns to Prohibition-era Butte, MT, with his new bride in Doig’s series’ third installment (after Work Song). Morgan has hired on as a columnist for a pro-union newspaper dedicated to taking down the evil Anaconda Mining Company. With the help of quirky characters including an eccentric librarian, a scrappy newsy, a hard-boiled editor, and a jovial bootlegger, Morgan trades editorial blows with Anaconda’s own columnist. Ultimately, the fate of the paper—and the miners it protects—hangs in the balance. Jonathan Hogan’s rocky yet urbane narration fits with the urban Montana setting.
Verdict Recommended to fans of the series or setting and adventure-loving librarians.—Mark John Swails, Johnson Cty. Community Coll., Overland Park, KS

Faye, Lyndsay. Seven for a Secret. (Timothy Wilde, Bk. 2). 11 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 14 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624067075. $59.99; digital download. F
Faye’s follow-up to The Gods of Gotham is set in New York City during the 1840s and Timothy Wilde is a newly minted police officer. With power comes responsibility, and his conscience and skills are sorely tested when he’s called in to investigate the disappearance of a free woman of color and her nephew. Steven Boyer brings to life various characters, from the physically and emotionally scarred but mindful and smart-witted Wilde himself to his brother, Valentine, who’s part of the Democratic political machine that runs the city.
Verdict Highly recommended for listeners who enjoy historical-set adventures.—Stephanie N. Juarez, Keach Family Lib., Robstown, TX

Hart, Carolyn. Skulduggery. 6 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 6½ hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624068218. $59.99; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; digital download. F
Peking Man, whose ancient skeletal remains were found in China and who is considered a direct ancestor of modern humans, has been missing since 1941. In 1980s San Francisco, anthropologist Dr. Ellen Christie has a visit from Jimmy, a mysterious Chinese man who claims to have the bones in his possession. Soon, Jimmy also goes missing. Dr. Christie and Jimmy’s brother, Dan, try to find him. In their forays into Chinatown, they learn much about the residents’ lives and the moving history of Chinese people in America. Dr. Christie takes many personal and professional risks as she closes in on Jimmy and the criminals who also want to get their hands on the priceless bones. Narrator Jennifer Bronstein aptly captures Dr. Christie, and she also does an impressive job with the multitude of Chinese words and dialog in this fast-paced quest.
Verdict Mystery fans and those who enjoy anthropology and Chinese history will particularly appreciate.—Susan G. Baird, formerly with Oak Lawn P.L., IL

Hooker, Richard. MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. 5 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 5½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781452617671. $34.99; 5 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
This audiobook may take listeners back to the past and make them feel like they’re in the field with beloved characters such as Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John. In his first book, Hooker does an excellent job of examining the brutality of war, recounting what military surgeons witnessed during the Korean War, while lightening it with comic relief and showing the wildly entertaining shenanigans the doctors and soldiers engaged in to pass the time and keep their sanity. Johnny Heller does a superb job narrating the audio version.
Verdict A must-listen for fans of the 1970s–80s TV show as well as those who enjoy military humor.—Ledezma L. Rodriguez, Bell/Whittington P.L., Portland, TX