Hear Audiobooks from Bradley, Gardner, Paretsky, & Sullivan | Xpress Reviews

Week ending July 18, 2014

Bradley, Celeste. Desperately Seeking a Duke. (Heiress Brides, Bk. 1). 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 11½ hrs. Tantor Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781494500344. $42.99; 10 CDs. library ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
desperatelyseekingaduke071814Three cousins must compete for their family’s inheritance; in order to secure it, the winner must marry a duke. Phoebe is the wild one, though she has vowed to put her wild ways aside to do the right thing. After she meets Rafe Marbrook at her first London ball, she receives a marriage proposal from the Marquis of Marbrook. She promptly accepts, thinking it is from Rafe, only to find out that it was actually from his half brother. Does she adhere to her vow or break it for a chance at true love, even though it means losing a fortune? Originally released in 2008, the first novel in Bradley’s “The Heiress Brides” series is brought to life by the expert narration of Susan Ericksen.
Verdict This charming romance is sure to find new fans among audiophiles, while old fans will fall in love with it all over again.—Stephanie Charlefour, Wixom P.L., MI

Gardner, Lisa. Fear Nothing. (D.D. Warren, Bk. 7). 11 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 13 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781455847341. $89.97; 11 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. MYS
In veteran detective D.D. Warren’s seventh outing (after Catch Me), crimes from three different decades surface along with two sisters’ history of abuse, psychological quirks, and physical anomalies. Dr. Adeline Glen cannot feel pain because of a generic condition, while her sister, serial killer Shana Day, glories in causing it. As daughters of Harry Day, who tortured and killed dozens of women during the sisters’ childhood, the sins of the father could give clues as to the identity of “The Rose Killer,” who is stalking Boston in the present. It is those sisters who make this tale compelling as it is not clear if this is a copycat, revenge, homage, or manipulation by the incarcerated sibling. Kirsten Potter gives a solid performance, highlighted by clear shifts into character.
Verdict Not for the faint of heart, this is recommended for adult audiences.—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo

Paretsky, Sara. Critical Mass. (V.I. Warshawski, Bk. 16). 15 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 17½ hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781480532014. $79.97; 15 CDs. retail ed.; 2 MP3-CDs. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Paretsky’s latest in her long-running series (after Breakdown) begins with a frantic call from the daughter of Kitty Binder, a woman involved in the early life of Dr. Lotty Herschel including their escape from the Holocaust in 1939 and their ultimately landing in Chicago. The story moves to the meth labs of rural Illinois and the disappearance of Kitty’s gifted grandson, integrating World War II atomic research with the atomic world of the present day. V.I. Warshawski’s integrity and conscience shine through as she makes life-altering decisions for herself, her closest friends, and her clients. Paretsky includes characters and events from previous series entries, but her books may stand alone since she includes enough background information to bring the reader effortlessly up-to-date. The writing is superb, with understated humor and marvelously descriptive language. Susan Ericksen, the ongoing narrator of the series, makes a great Warshawski!
Verdict Recommend to listeners of works by Nevada Barr, Sue Grafton, and Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis.—Sandra C. Clariday, Tennessee Wesleyan Coll., Athens

Sullivan, Michael J. Hollow World. 10 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16½ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781407384388. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; digital download. F
Locked in a loveless marriage, grieving his son’s suicide, and suffering from a terminal illness, Ellis Rogers manages to build a time machine and catapult himself into the future where he is sure a cure for his disease exists. He overshoots by some 1,800 years and, not surprisingly, finds a world very different from the one he left. The human race has conquered death, hunger, and war; as well, gender has been removed from the human genome, making sex irrelevant. These cookie-cutter “humans” live beneath the surface of the planet in a vast network of underground chambers that have been engineered into a veritable paradise. But all is not as it appears! Accompanied by his friend Pax, Ellis begins to explore his new environment while trying to solve the mysterious murders that are happening near him. Will Ellis solve the murders in time, or will this utopia be destroyed by forces that Ellis himself unknowingly unleashed? The narration by Jonathan Davis gives the book a dramatic, even theatrical feel.
Verdict Recommended for fans of Sullivan (The Rose and the Thorn) and those who enjoy speculative fiction with a touch of mystery.—David Faucheux, Lafayette, LA