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935 Lies: The Future of Truth and the Decline of America%E2%80%99s Moral Integrity

Charles Lewis, read by Don Lee. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, digital download, 9 hrs., $25.87 ISBN 978-1-62231-166-8

According to Lewis’s outspoken study of recent U.S. history, his title reflects the exact number of times members and allies of the Bush-Cheney White House issued untrue “facts” justifying military action in Iraq. Not that the book is focused solely on W’s term as president: there are vehement condemnations of Lyndon Johnson’s truth-bending on Vietnam, Richard Nixon’s response to Watergate, and even Barack Obama’s handling of the Affordable Care Act. Taking the brunt of Lewis’s wrath are current members of the news media who enable politically inspired lies. He also pulls no punches when he describes the reasons why he felt forced to resign as Mike Wallace’s producer on the television series 60 Minutes. Lee has a deep, resonant reading voice. It’s also authoritative—a trait most crucial to the work at hand—and Lee adds a layer of indignation and/or contempt when the material indicates that register. Considering the subject matter, it’s no surprise he’s obliged to do so frequently. (July)

Reviewed on 08/29/2014 | Details & Permalink

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Contents Under Pressure

Edna Buchanan, read by Erin Bennett. Dreamscape Media, $59.99 ISBN 978-1-62923-722-0

Pulitzer Prize-winner Buchanan’s first book about tough, resourceful, and beautiful crime reporter Britt Montero, published in 1992, has its dated aspects—the absence of cellphones, laptops, and other tools of the trade, not to mention the Internet’s influence on journalism. But few recent novels feature as knowledgeable and compelling a portrait of Miami, its environs, and its history. And the book’s major set piece, a description of a riot prompted by the acquittal of white and Cuban-American cops charged with beating a popular black ballplayer to death, is not only decidedly credible but also unnervingly relevant to today’s headlines. The novel is narrated by Montero, and it takes a while for reader Bennett’s performance to compensate for the fact that she sounds a bit young and refined for a seasoned 30-something crime reporter. Still, she eventually succeeds in becoming Britt and has no problem giving voice to other key characters, including the reporter’s equally job-obsessed photographer pal Lottie, a tough-talking friendly homicide cop named MacDonald and an even tougher, snarling, and very unfriendly Police Department major named Alvarez. A Hyperion hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 08/29/2014 | Details & Permalink

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The City

Dean Koontz, read by Korey Jackson. Recorded Books, 3.5 hrs., $39.99, $ ISBN 978-1-4906-2396-2

The middle-aged African-American protagonist of this novel, Jonah Kirk, describes his account of his youth in the city as an oral history, and Jackson reads it that way—with the conversational, easy-going attitude of a guy talking to friends, unaware that he’s being recorded. It’s a beguiling performance, charming enough to add some needed sparkle to Koontz’s not always on-key tale of a musical family trying to make ends meet in the late 1950s. Instead of developing a unique voice for each family member, Jackson follows the example of most dinner-table raconteurs: he concentrates more on attitudes. Young Jonah, a piano phenom, is naïve and generally happy. His mother, Sylvia, is upbeat around the boy, but there’s an underlying air of weariness she can’t hide. His grandfather, the respected pianist Teddy Bledsoe, is confident and a little self-satisfied. The book’s villains, gang member Fiona Cassidy and her partner Lucas Drackman, are both perennially angry. The only character for whom Jackson seems to have developed a special voice, jivey and insouciant, is the mysterious Pearl, an attractive young woman who claims to be the living incarnation of the New York. She also seems to possess magical powers. This being a Koontz novel, would anyone expect less? A Bantam hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 08/29/2014 | Details & Permalink

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