Audiobooks from Buckley, Cornwell, Lancaster, & Phillips | Xpress Reviews

Week ending June 13, 2014

Buckley, Carla. The Deepest Secret. 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780804192033. $40; 9 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. F
deepestsecret061314For Eve Lattimore, keeping her deepest secret is the only way she can protect her 14-year-old son, Tyler, and hold her family together. Tyler has a rare disease that makes exposure to sunlight fatal, and Eve believes she is the only person vigilant enough to protect him. Though Eve doesn’t know it, Tyler is working against her. In his nocturnal wanderings, during which he takes pictures, he unwittingly captures all the secrets of the neighborhood’s inhabitants, although he doesn’t understand what most of them mean.
Verdict Buckley (The Things That Keep Us Here) creates a seemingly benign group of characters whose flaws slowly become apparent, until the climax reveals everyone’s secrets. The story is beautifully read by Kirsten Potter. Readers of general fiction will enjoy this book. Recommended.—Joanna Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence

Cornwell, Bernard. The Pagan Lord. (Saxon Stories, Bk. 7). 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Harper Audio. 2014. ISBN 9780062310989. $39.99; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Cornwell (Death of Kings) brings the saga of Saxon lord Uthred closer to an end, as its events occur during the last years of the Saxon struggle against Danish occupation of northern England. Typical of Cornwell’s fiction, the novel begins quickly and compellingly, with Uthred accidentally killing a Saxon abbot to earn the enmity of his fellow Saxons. Forced from his Mercia home, he leads a small band of loyal followers north to his ancestral estate in Northumbria. The many intrigues and challenges he faces along the way make for another can’t-miss action story from the seemingly inexhaustible master of historical fiction.
Verdict Offering a vivid picture of early tenth-century England, The Pagan Lord is beautifully narrated by Matt Bates. Recommended to all general collections.—R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA

Lancaster, Jen. Twisted Sisters. 7 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2014. ISBN 9781629232195. $59.99; digital download. F
Reagan is a licensed psychologist, star of the hit cable show I Need a Push, and about to go on to national fame. Reagan is also the middle child in a family she just cannot get to respect her. As the producers put more pressure on her, Reagan turns to her friend Deva, the New Age healer on the show. With Deva’s help Reagan’s segments are a success, but can Deva help Reagan deal with her family? Lancaster (Here I Go Again) narrates herself, doing a fantastic job voicing all of her characters. Unfortunately, this book’s protagonist is one whom many listeners will really try to like but will find it impossible. Even with that, Lancaster fans will pick this up without question, as will fans of quirky story lines.
Verdict Recommended where the author’s other titles are popular.—Jessi Brown, Huntington City Twp. P.L., IN

Lynn, Cari & Kellie Martin. Madam: A Novel of New Orleans. 8 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 9¾ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781452616155. $39.99; 8 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
This biographical novel portrays Mary Deubler, a young New Orleans alley whore who through a unique stroke of luck or voodoo becomes the notorious Josie Arlington, a noted bordello owner in Storyville. It’s an area where prostitution was legal and jazz and riotous living flourished in early 20th-century New Orleans. The story abruptly ends as she is starting her new life. There are cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E.J. Bellocq. The sultry tones of narrator Hillary Huber bring drama to this earthy portrayal.
Verdict Recommended for lovers of biographical fiction, New Orleans history, and historic fiction of a rather racy variety.—David Faucheux, Lafayette, LA

Phillips, Carly. Perfect Together. (Serendipity’s Finest, Bk. 3). 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781490623184. $102.75; 1 MP3-CD. library ed.; digital download. F
After their unlikely chance meeting—arresting her after assuming she was her twin sister—Sam Marsden is shocked when Nicole Farnsworth decides Serendipity, NY, is the place where she wants to start over. Nicole hopes to leave life in New York City behind along with all that it entails, including her less than loving parents, her ex-fiancé, and the questionable business practices of her father’s partner. Despite the crazy situation that brought her to Serendipity the first time, Nicole realizes it feels like home—but is she ready to love again? This novel about second chances can stand alone if listeners have yet to experience the first two in the series (Perfect Fit; Perfect Fling). Narrator David Barker conveys the characters’ emotions without overdoing it.
Verdict Recommended for fans of Phillips and also of Susan Mallery, Bella Andre, and Jill Shalvis.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom P.L., MI