The Audiobook Shelf
The Last Shadow
Orson Scott Card
9781250818157, $39.99, 11 CDs. 13.5 Hours
Synopsis: Orson Scott Card is an American writer known best for his science fiction works. He is currently the only person to win both a Hugo and a Nebula award in consecutive years, winning both awards for both books back-to-back. Card's works were influenced by classic literature, popular fantasy, and science fiction; he often uses tropes from genre fiction.
Orson Scott Card's "The Last Shadow" is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe - the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania. One planet. Three sapient species living peacefully together. And one deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions. Is the only answer another great Xenocide?
Critique: Complete and unabridged, this CD audio book edition of "The Last Shadow" is dramatically brought to life in the mind's eye of the listener as it is performed by a cast of expert actors that includes Emily Rankin, Gabrielle de Cuir, John Rubinstein, Judy Young, Justine Eyre, Kirby Heyborne, Orson Scott Card, Scott Brick, and Stefan Rudnicki. An absolute 'must' for the legions of Orson Scott Card fans, this action/adventure science fiction tale is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library audio book collections.
Murder by the Bookend
Laura Gail Black
9781666518801, $22.99, 7 CD, 8 Hours 42 minutes
Synopsis: Hokes Folly, NC, beloved antiquarian bookstore, Twice Upon a Time, is throwing a bash for its grand reopening. But bookseller Jenna Quinn's peace of mind is shattered when the local library's Director of Antique Books turns up dead in the parking lot with his head bashed in by a glittering pair of vintage glass bookends that he'd won in the bookstore raffle.
As they examine the murder scene, Jenna and her police detective boyfriend Keith happen upon the only witness -- Eddie, the victim's dog, who flees the scene leaving a trail of bloody footprints behind. If only dogs could speak, Jenna might be able to make quick work of the murder case and get back to stocking her bookcases. Alas, finding the killer won't be so easy, even though this is not Jenna's first murder investigation (she inherited Twice Upon a Time from her slain uncle). The suspect list includes the late librarian had not-so-friendly run-ins with numerous guests -- but suspicion eventually centers on three unsavory individuals who left the party shortly before the victim did.
Now Jenna must edit her inventory of suspects from three names to one before the bloodthirsty bookend-wielder becomes the author of Jenna's demise.
Critique: The sequel to author Laura Gail Black's mystery novel "For Whom the Book Tolls" which launched her "An Antique Bookshop Mystery' series, "Murder by the Bookend" is an impressively crafted 'whodunnit' with many an unexpected plot twist and turn before the unexpected finale! Especially recommended for community library audio book collections, this complete and unabridged audio book edition is skillfully narrated by Susan Boyce and is an ideal 'theatre of the mind' experience that will be especially appreciated by Amateur Sleuth fans.
Suburbia Made Me Do It
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9798200714537, $29.95, CD
Synopsis: For over twenty-five years, Rory Davenport had based her life on the ancient, mental code of ethics passed down from previous generations that she secretly nicknamed The Suburbia Handbook.
High school sweethearts must marry and the wife is to stay at home and raise the children while the husband brings home the bacon. All married couples must procreate and raise, at a minimum, two and a half children, preferably staggered in ages by three years. A woman's job as housewife is to maintain a pleasant, always spotless home for her family. Check. Housewives must service their husband's needs when the man's urges overtake him, no matter how tired, sick, in pain, or stressed the wife feels.
For over twenty years, Rory adhered to the strict rules -- until a final act of egregious infidelity on the part of her husband shattered her mental control. This was the culmination of a series of traumatic events the sent her life spiraling out of control, destroying each and every archaic, foundational rule.
Except Rule Number Eleven: One must defend their family, no matter what. This rule trumps everything else, even if the defense comes in the form of bodily harm to another.
Critique: An extraordinary, unique, and inherently compelling suspense thriller, this complete and unabridged audio book edition of "Suburbia Made Me Do It"" is giftedly narrated by the author -- Ashley Fontainne. A simply fascinating story with incredible plot twists that continue right down to the unsuspected ending, "Suburbia Made Me Do It" is especially and unreservedly recommended for the dedicated suspense/thriller fans wanting a true 'theatre of the mind' experience, as well as an enduringly popular addition to community library CD audio book collections.
Best in Snow
David Rosenfelt, author
Grover Gardner, narrator
9781250818058, $29.99, 6 CDs, 7 Hours
Synopsis: Christmas has come early to the town of Paterson, New Jersey, in the form of a snowstorm that left over two feet of snow on the ground. Lawyer Andy Carpenter likes snow (to a point) but he misses the walks he takes his dogs on every day.
When the snow starts to melt, and a body is discovered by his dog, Andy ends up in the office of the local newspaper editor. The murder victim is that of crooked businessman Thomas Lansing, who had an infamous relationship with the newspaper. Last year a young reporter published an expose, and Lansing had him fired for libel. Now, the young reporter (and prime suspect) isn't answering his phone -- and everyone is worried.
Andy agrees to take the case, though it's not looking good this holiday season. The snow is piling up -- along with the evidence
Critique: An inherently compelling and fully entertaining Andy Carpenter mystery by veteran mystery/suspense author David Rosenfelt, this CD recorded edition of "Best In Snow" is deftly narrated by the vocal talents of Grover Gardner. The result is a true 'theatre of the mind' style audio book, complete and unabridged, that is especially and unreservedly recommended for the personal lists of all dedicated mystery buffs and will prove an enduringly popular addition to community library audio book collections.
The Midwest Book Review is an organization of volunteers committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. We accept no funds from authors or publishers. Full permission is given to post any of these reviews on thematically appropriate websites, newsgroups, listserves, internet discussion groups, organizational newsletters, or to interested individuals. Please give the Midwest Book Review a credit line when doing so.
The Midwest Book Review publishes the monthly book review magazines "California Bookwatch", "Internet Bookwatch", "Children's Bookwatch", "MBR Bookwatch", "Reviewer's Bookwatch", and "Small Press Bookwatch". All are available for free on the Midwest Book Review website at www (dot) midwestbookreview (dot) com
Anyone wanting to submit books for review consideration can send them to:
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive
Oregon, WI 53575-1129
To submit reviews of any fiction or non-fiction books, email them to Frugalmuse (at) aol (dot) com (Be sure to include the book title, author, publisher, publisher address, publisher website/phone number, 13-digit ISBN number, and list price).
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review