Audiobooks from Briggs, Grimes, Korelitz, L’Amour, & Rieger | Xpress Reviews

Week ending August 8, 2014

Briggs, Patricia. Night Broken. (Mercy Thompson, Bk. 8). 9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781455820054. $89.97; 9 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. retail ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Mercy Thompson’s latest adventure (after Frost Burned) begins when her husband’s ex-wife shows up with a stalker in tow—and not just any garden-variety creep but an ancient volcano god. Simultaneously, one of the Gray Lords of Fae wants the return of an artifact Mercy has given to Coyote, never a predictable character. The politics are complicated, and the dangers are imminent and extreme. Briggs has maintained the intensity of this series, and throughout the building action and suspense it remains Mercy’s character-driven story. Shape-shifters, vampires, witches, and mythological beings seem believable, so well are the elements juggled. Lorelei King does a terrific job with the narration.
Verdict Because of the relatively large ensemble cast, urban fantasy fans unfamiliar with Mercy might want to start at the beginning of this series, but even for a new listener, this episode is a terrific ride.—Janet Martin, Pinehurst, NC

Grimes, Martha. Vertigo 42. (Richard Jury, Bk. 23). 10 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 12 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781442369801. $39.99; digital download. F
vertigo080814Hitchcockian influences enrich the latest (after The Black Cat) in Grimes’s series featuring Scotland Yard superintendent Richard Jury. With humor, acuity, and a wealth of information about London and the surrounding areas, Grimes continues to make the cozy mystery a joy as returning characters Wiggins, Plant, and company contribute to the ultimate solution of the classic whodunit. New characters, whether innocent or guilty, are well drawn, humorous, and integral to the story. Steve West’s narration (he reads all the titles in the series) is excellent in his portrayal of Jury and the rest of the varied cast.
Verdict Although this entry is part of a long-running series, listeners will enjoy it as a stand-alone and be eager to read the all the other installments. Listen-alikes include analytical and reflective policemen in detective fiction by Louise Penny, Donna Leon, Agatha Christie, and Ngaio Marsh. [“Sly and well plotted, with more than a hint of Hitchcockian flair—another excellent addition to the series,” read the review of the Scribner hc, Xpress Reviews, 6/27/14.]—Sandra C. Clariday, Tennessee Wesleyan Coll., Athens

Korelitz, Jean Hanff. You Should Have Known. 14 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 16½ hrs. Hachette Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781478978138. $30; Playaway digital; digital download. F
In Korelitz’s (Admission) latest novel, psychotherapist Grace Reinhart Sachs’s soon-to-be-published relationship guide, You Should Have Known, turns out to have an unintentionally ironic title when shocking revelations come to light about her own husband, Jonathan. Grace, who has always considered herself to be happily married and a keen observer of human behavior, learns firsthand how it feels to have people stand in judgment of her personal and professional instincts. The very public implosion of her marriage forces Grace to flee Manhattan with her preteen son and reevaluate everything that she believed about herself as a person, wife, and psychotherapist. In addition to creating an engaging character study, Korelitz offers a tantalizing peek into the world of moneyed Manhattanites and exclusive New York City private schools. Narrator Christina Delaine deftly handles the characters’ various accents, genders, and ages and recounts the story in a warm tone, as if relating the tale to a close friend.
Verdict This well-crafted novel of suspense is recommended for fans of Gillian Flynn’s work.—Nicole Williams, Rochelle Park Lib., NJ

L’Amour, Louis. The Proving Trail. 7 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 8 hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780804192392. $30; 7 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; digital download. F
Another audio treatment from prolific Western writer L’Amour’s back catalog—this one from 1978. After the mysterious death of his father, a young drifter is hunted by unscrupulous relations from back east intent on removing the last blood relation standing between them and a substantial inheritance. As he travels from the high country of Colorado back to his roots in the South, he slowly uncovers both his father’s past and his true birthright. Narrator Michael Crouch’s performance is appropriate for the young age of the narrator.
Verdict Fans of L’Amour’s work will enjoy this book, but newcomers might want to seek out a more action-packed point of entry.—Mark Swails, Johnson Cty. Community Coll., Overland Park, KS

Rieger, Susan. The Divorce Papers. 11 CDs. library ed. abridged. 13½ hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780804166355. $45; 11 CDs. retail ed. Random Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Sophie Diehl, a young criminal lawyer, is assigned to a divorce case. It is not her area of expertise, and she is unhappy about it, especially as the case brings back painful memories of her parents’ divorce. The story is told through correspondence Sophie receives and sends to her boss, her best friend, her boyfriend, her client, and other important people in her life. More than ten narrators, including Rebecca Lowman and Kathe Mazur, read the book, as each character who sends an email or a letter is read by a different speaker. The epistolary format does not lend itself well to the audiobook format since the letters are prefaced by a painfully slow and irritating delivery of the letterhead, which in printed media the reader would glance at and move on.
Verdict This book would be more enjoyable in print.—Ilka Gordon, Aaron Garber Lib., Cleveland