Audiobooks from Berry, Greene, Jio, & Riley | Xpress Reviews

Week ending August 29, 2014

Berry, Steve. The Lincoln Myth. (Cotton Malone, Bk. 9). 12 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780449009086. $50; Playaway digital; digital download. F
lincolnmyth082914In Berry’s latest historical thriller (after The King’s Deception), Cotton Malone is looking forward to a peaceful retirement as a European bookstore owner. One phone call puts his plans on hold and the fate of the United States in his hands. Malone must unravel a mystery that involves the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln, Brigham Young, the Mormon Church, and a powerful senator with questionable intentions. A secret letter, containing details that would be damaging to the very foundation of the country, has been passed down from president to president—and stopped with Lincoln. Neither Malone nor his enemies know exactly what the letter says or who currently possesses it, but Malone knows he must find it first to save the nation. Matters are complicated by Malone’s girlfriend Cassiopeia, who is intimately involved with one of the case’s biggest targets. Scott Brick’s voice acting adds depth and entertainment to the story.
Verdict Cotton Malone fans will not be disappointed, while those unfamiliar with Berry’s work will appreciate his depth of research and realism. Great for any thriller fan. [“The intricate historical “what ifs?” will astonish loyal readers and series newcomers,” read the review of the Ballantine hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 5/2/14.]—Sean Kennedy, Cleveland Marshall Coll. Law Lib.

Greene, Joshua. Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. 13 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 15 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781480538733. $69.97; 13 CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. SOC SCI
Greene (Justice at Dachau) here clearly sets up the rules for when one should trust one’s instincts and when to let reason take over. He breaks the world into tribes, the members of which follow certain rules within the tribe, and he posits that our brains were made for tribal life, which is an “us vs. them” environment. However, in modern life, tribes have to get along as the world keeps shrinking. Greene addresses the problem of motivating ourselves to care about individuals from radically different tribes with whom we have a cooperative future. Narrator Mel Foster has a bit of a gasping style of reading, mixed with a bit of dramatization. Amazingly, this does not get in the way of his straightforward delivery, so the book makes interesting listening.
Verdict Recommended for libraries with business and political philosophy collections.—Karen Perry, Greensboro, NC

Jio, Sarah. Morning Glory. 8 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 9 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781480541993. $59.97; 8 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Jio (The Violets of March) continues her streak of nuanced romantic suspense novels set in Seattle. As in Jio’s other novels, the chapters alternate between the perspectives of two women in two different decades. In 1959, Penny is a young wife living on a houseboat off Lake Union who feels neglected by her older artist husband. Penny starts an affair with a handsome boat builder and then disappears without a trace. In the present day, New Yorker Ada, grief stricken after the deaths of her husband and daughter, moves into Penny’s old home and begins a tentative relationship with a man who is similarly damaged by his past. After discovering Penny’s old trunk full of mementos and hearing the neighborhood rumors, Ada begins investigating Penny’s disappearance, hoping to unearth the truth. An excellent production, apart from poorly selected disc breaks.
Verdict Will be of interest to those curious about mid-century Seattle. Recommended for all popular fiction collections.—Julie Judkins, Univ. of North Texas, Denton

starred review starRiley, Lucinda. The Midnight Rose. 14 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 16¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. ISBN 9781490623788. $123.75; digital download. F
This romantic tale traces an Indian matriarch’s confessional letter, entrusted to a great-grandson and conveyed to Astbury Hall, the English manor described within its yellowing pages. Riley (The Lavender Garden) alternates the stories of Anahita Chavan, companion to Indian royalty in the early 1900s, and American movie idol Rebecca Bradley, who’s filming on location at Astbury 90 years later. Each resides briefly on the estate, conceals past misfortune, and contends with stereotypical expectations. The parallels are bridged by Rebecca’s uncanny resemblance to a previous Lady Astbury and by Anahita’s missive. Intended for the son taken from her in 1922 (whose death certificate Anahita always refused to credit), the document now illuminates Astbury antecedents and Rebecca’s future. Apart from a bizarre kidnapping scenario in concluding chapters, Riley’s century-spanning drama affords listeners a rewarding sweep of familial intrigue and glimpses into lives of the privileged. Anjana Srinivasan ably expresses Indian, American, and British accents, heightening the narrative’s effect with the voice of prescient Anahita, evoking her depth of character and yearning.
Verdict Recommended for the Downton Abbey crowd, historical romance fans, readers preferring Ashenden-style house stories and Thorn Birds–style sagas, and followers of Jeffrey Archer, Kate Morton, and Penny Vincenzi.—Linda Sappenfield, Round Rock P.L., TX