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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
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Following in the footsteps of Edgar Wallace’s classic The Four Just Men, these contemporary mysteries put a spin on the timeless theme of taking the law into one’s own hands. Skilled narrators carry the audios, creating chilling atmospheres and portraying a range of diverse characters, from detectives to terrorists, all of whom operate outside the law.
Freelance assassin Samuel Carver prides himself on killing only the bad guys, but when he discovers that an “accident” he set up in a Paris tunnel claimed a famous innocent couple in 1997, he seeks revenge on his employer. Lee’s splendid narration dominates the action-packed tale, emphasizing the menacing hero’s dangerous mission.
The Camel Club. By David Baldacci. Read by Jonathan Davis. 2005. 16.5hr. Books on Tape, CS, $72 (1-4159-2504-6); CD, $90 (1-4159-2518-6).
A group of Washington, DC, misfits who ponder government conspiracies witness the murder of a Secret Service employee and get caught in the middle of a complex conspiracy as they root out evil and fight injustice. Davis excels in creating an edgy mood, building suspense and tension right up to the action-filled denouement.
Gone Tomorrow. By Lee Child. Read by Dick Hill. 2009. 14hr. Books on Tape, CD, $100 (9781415962886).
Paladin hero and enigma Jack Reacher, a person “who trusts no one and likes it that way,” often finds himself in situations where he must find culprits—without concern for legal niceties. Hill personifies Reacher’s justice-at-all-costs persona, building suspense in his reading of this moody terrorist drama.
In this lighthearted mystery, British mystery writer and urbane thief-for-hire Charlie Howard finds himself charged with murdering a man in Amsterdam who hired Charlie to steal two seemingly worthless plastic monkeys. Vance, a master of accents, reads with his usual verve, vividly portraying the amusing and lively protagonist, also the prime character in The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice, which is also available from AudioGO and narrated by Vance.
Christie’s classic mystery finds detective Hercule Poirot looking the other way so justice can be done after a ruthless American businessman is brutally murdered onboard the Orient Express. In a stylish, British-accented reading, Suchet sets up the clever puzzle and claustrophobic atmosphere—the train is stopped by an avalanche—reflecting the mood of this timeless tale.
Following the murder of 13 people in a restaurant, investigator Ray Prescott embarks on a relentless cat-and-mouse pursuit of a psychopathic killer. Weiner controls the action, capturing the intensity of the game and building the tension of a psychological thriller in which Perry’s stellar reading allows listeners to breathlessly follow the twisted plot and anticipate the final confrontation.
Strozier’s gravelly baritone establishes the tone of this edgy mystery in which Russian police investigator Arkady Renko investigates a case in the “zone of exclusion” (the area around the Chernobyl nuclear accident). Strozier adeptly characterizes the cynical Renko and a range of secondary characters, from ruthless entrepreneurs to displaced peasants. He convincingly portrays malevolent forces in a brooding tale of greed and corruption.
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