Monday, May 2, 2016
Yes, this is the 26th Prey novel, but thanks to the imagination and skill of the estimable John Sandford it is fresh and new. A Pulitzer Prize winner Sanford is saluted as one of the top mystery writers working today and rightly so. If you haven’t read or listened to one of his Lucas Davenport thrillers don’t waste another minute. If you’re already a fan you know you have one of the best reads/listens awaiting you.
This time out Lucas is enjoying a rare bit of relaxation - no longer with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension he’s been renovating his Wisconsin cabin. His friend Governor Elmer Henderson is putting together his presidential campaign and asks Lucas to join in as part of his campaign staff. “Should be fun,” the Governor says - far from it.
For starters Lucas rumbles through Iowa trying to find out who killed a pair of radical group members and simultaneously protect Michaela Bowden, a determined Republican presidential candidate who may or may not be threatened with assassination. Lucas has barely begun his investigation when people start dying.
One of the things that makes this tale stand out from other thrillers is that the reader/listener knows who the guilty party is and we follow Lucas’s attempts to catch him before he harms Bowden. (A particularly absorbing touch thanks to Sandford.) Along the way Lucas is running a race against the clock to find out who is out to kill Bowden. As is his wont Sandford knows exactly how to rev up tension until the last syllable.
And, there’s a bonus - Lucas discovers a decade old bombing that resulted in numerous fatalities. What is the connection?
Richard Ferrone delivers a highly listenable narration always with appropriate pauses and emphases.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Thursday, April 28, 2016
With over 100 books to her credit Sherryl Woods has captured a readership of millions. She is a Southerner and has ofttimes used the South as a setting along with Virginia, Florida and South Carolina. She creates endearing characters to whom we can relate and stars at delivering satisfying happy endings. Such is the case with Isn’t It Rich?
Wealthy Richard Carlton has had his heartbroken once and he’s not about to let it happen again. He’s steeled himself against any woman no matter how attractive she may be or how much she piques his interest. But then, he has no way of escaping Aunt Destiny. She had come into his life a mere 24 hours after his parents’ plane had crashed. She was exotic, eccentric and more fun than anyone he had ever known - exactly what three frightened young boys needed at the time. Now, some year’s later Richard has the family business just where he wants it and is even considering running for public office in Alexandria. But first Aunt Destiny insists that he meet PR executive Melanie Hart - yes, she’s klutzy as she meets him by barreling through a door right into his midsection, but she is also brilliant and beautiful.
She pitches her firm to him and he steadfastly refuses to be interested. However, he has a feeling Aunt Destiny won’t be satisfied with that so in short time Richard convinces Melanie to pretend that they’re engaged in order to teach his matchmaking aunt a lesson. Question: is this relationship really just pretend?
Teri Schnaubelt delivers an accomplished reading that will have listeners smiling and sorry when Isn’t It Rich is over..
Thursday, April 21, 2016
With more than sixty novels to his credit one can easily understand why an author might occasionally seem to be reprising past situations or ideas. That was the case for this listener and Family Jewels. However, none of that detracted from thoroughly enjoying another adventure with handsome, clever super hero Stone Barrington.
Stone has come a long way from being an ordinary New York policeman and now he travels in high cotton. He’s called upon by the very wealthy Carrie Jarman Fiske for protection from her ex-husband Harvey Biggers who she believes is trying to kill her. However, as he goes about this task he comes across a corpse in a bedroom next door to Carrie’s East Hampton home. Not just any corpse mind you, but that of prostitute Darla Henry who’d been on Harvey’s arm at a recent New Year’s Eve party.
Well, one corpse follows another and Carrie is soon strangled. Is Harvey the guilty party? Not so he claims and does happen to have a solid alibi. Then we have Carrie’s ownership of a fabulous well known jeweled choker - is it real or a perfect copy? How did Carrie come to have it in her possession? As if all of this weren’t enough President Kate Lee asks Stone to look over the backgrounds of three candidates for the Supreme Court - one of whom is Stone’s ex-inamorata Tiffany Baldwin.
Somewhat implausible? All of this a little bit much? Not for this listener who hung on every word uttered by Tony Roberts - an estimable actor who has narrated a number of other Stone Barrington books.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
With The Bishop’s Wife Harrison introduced readers to a world that is probably unfamiliar to most of us - the historically patriarchal structure of the Mormon Church while at the same time creating Linda, a strong woman who boldly steps forward to see that justice is done.
With His Right Hand Linda not only finds a murder in her community but also a social issue that she feels needs greater understanding. The story opens at the annual bishopric dinner where she and her husband, Kurt, the LDS bishop of their ward in Draper, Utah are surprised and distressed by the controlling manner that Carl Ashby, Kurt’s second counselor, focuses on his wife, Emma. Kurt had chosen Carl to be his right hand man and thinks highly of him. He tends to dismiss Carl’s treatment of Emma, but Linda does not.
It is only a few nights later that Emma calls the couple to say she is worried about Carl as he has not come home from a church meeting. Kurt and Linda drive to the church where they find Carl in one of the offices - he is dead, apparently strangled by a woman’s scarf. Perhaps even more shocking is the autopsy report - Carl was transgender, biologically a woman. This revelation stuns Emma and her children who are adopted, Kurt, and the community. The church hierarchy wants to play down Carl’s background, considering it a scandal and a blot on the community.
Linda, however, has other ideas. She does her utmost to comfort Emma and her children while at the same time assisting the police in finding Carl’s killer. Could it have been someone from his former life? The community eventually seems to be no longer primarily concerned with who killed Carl, but how could Emma not have known? How did Carl hide this from his children, and why did no one notice his background while he served in the church’s leadership?
Harrison does an excellent job of portraying the agony felt by those who wish to believe in church doctrine yet by their nature conflict with it.