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Rain Dogs: A Detective Sean Duffy Novel

Adrian McKinty, read by Gerard Doyle. Blackstone Audio, , unabridged, 9 CDs, 10.5 hrs., $34.95 ISBN 978-1-5046-6144-7

McKinty’s new addition to his police procedural series featuring Sean Duffy, a detective in 1980s Belfast, kicks off when a young female journalist is found dead in the locked courtyard of Carrickfergus Castle. While the likable Duffy takes listeners through the twists and turns of the plot, the author paints a vivid, dimensional portrait of the man, the town, and the time. As the voice of nearly all of McKinty’s novels, including the four previous in this series, native Irishman Doyle is no stranger to his well-plotted, darkly funny, socially conscious prose as well as the beaten-but-never-bowed Duffy. He delivers the detective’s narration in a breezy, high-energy voice that magically retains its lyrical quality even when Duffy is down in the dumps. He also employs a bouquet of brogues in defining other coppers, including Duffy’s loyal assistant, a caretaker of the castle, and various townsfolk. For a visiting delegation of businessmen from Finland, Doyle adds a chilly Nordic touch to their conversation about creating a local factory for manufacturing mobile phones. Though the project is beneficial to the area, when Duffy discusses it, his voice is rich with sarcasm, indicating his suspicion it will somehow involve and derail his investigation. A Prometheus Books/Seventh Street hardcover. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 04/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

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The Singing Bone

Beth Hahn, read by Hillary Huber. Dreamscape Media, , unabridged, 11 CDs, 13.5 hrs., $59.99 ISBN 978-1-5200-0239-2

Hahn’s debut novel time-hops between the year 2000, when filmmaker Hans Loomis is prepping a documentary on Jack Wyck, a charismatic cult leader whose rabid followers have increased during his 20-year imprisonment for murder, and 1977 in upstate New York, where Wyck seduces the story’s protagonist, 17-year-old high school student Alice Pearson, and many of her friends. The frequent shifts in chronology, with flashbacks taken from several points of view, are identified by headings, but reader Huber clarifies them even more by developing voices that match the main characters as they age. Her teen Alice’s girlishness as she meets, loves, and eventually aids in jailing Wyck is recognizably transformed into a thoughtful 37-year-old version whose quiet, incognito life as a folklore professor is threatened by the documentary. Wyck’s smarmy, seductive whisper, which lured the kids into sharing his farmhouse and lifestyle, is more relaxed and casual two decades later with Hans, but quickly resurfaces when he sees the filmmaker’s female assistant. Huber’s performance covers this exquisitely stitched novel’s full array of emotions—from blissful joy to fury—along with dreamy drug sequences and the surprising murder that rests uneasily at its heart. A Regan Arts hardcover. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 04/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

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The Advocate’s Daughter: A Thriller

Anthony J. Franze, read by Robert Petkoff. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, 7 CDs, 9 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-6834-1

This domestic thriller, set in the nation’s capital, follows the travails of D.C. lawyer Sean Serrat, who’s been harboring a dark secret from his youth. Thirty years before, in Japan, he’d stood by while another 14-year-old boy murdered a shopkeeper. With Sean’s name on the president’s shortlist for filling a vacancy in the high court, he faces the possibility of his long-buried secret surfacing. Worse yet, his beloved law student daughter, Abby, is found murdered in the library of the top court. The police arrest her boyfriend, Malik Montgomery, but Sean suspects he’s been framed. Actor Petkoff alters his voice to present a frantic, determined Sean, an excited, indignant Malik, a tough-talking Supreme Court police chief named Martinez, and over a dozen others, including the audibly sneering killer of that shopkeeper from the past, who reemerges with dreams of blackmail. These interpretations add a needed depth to characters who seem to have been written mainly to serve the plot. Petkoff anchors the story by keeping an appropriate pace and underlining the more highly charged sequences with an effectively dramatic tightening of his voice. A Minotaur hardcover. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 04/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

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