Alice in Jeopardy by Ed McBain read by Bernadette Dunne

In Cape October during the rainy season, but May is not the rainy season, you can expect a thunder storm along about 3 or 4 every afternoon… The rain when it comes mercilessly assaults the sidewalk and the streets. . . But the heat and the humidity follow as closely behind the storm as does a rapist his victim. Within minutes, you’re sweating again. This is not the rainy season, this is May, but at 3 o clock that afternoon the rain is coming down in buckets.

A fundamental law of Hemingway holds true for Ed McBain: if it is raining at the beginning of the chapter, there’s going to be sex by the end of the chapter. McBain is edgier, angrier, and New York funny, even when describing South Florida.

Did you ever go to bed with Alice?
This is now 3 o’clock in the morning. Around 3 o’clock in the morning they all ask you to start cataloging all the women you’ve ever slept with.

McBain  chronicles telephone conversations, everyday speech,  questions, commands, exclamations : between widows and out of town businessmen and redneck cops, truck drivers and sisters in law, white trash and nosy neighbors and nosy reporters, the way a real estate agent shows off a house… or a Cape:

Every discourse as smooth as single malt Scotch on fast ice.

A Deeper Sleep by Dana Stabenow read by Bernadette Dunne

The Ninilta Native Association is run by Aunties – fierce old women who knit and protect native women and define the small life of the large territory called The Park. One of the Aunties belongs to Kate Shugak and functions, among other things, as a creditor.

We give you time, Katya. You almost get killed when you stop bad man . . . and you come home to heal. Ok we let you heal. We even give you puppy to let you heal. You fight with your Imah. She dies. We let you mourn. Your man die. We let you mourn some more. Your house burn down. We build you another. We give you life, we send you to school, and then instead of coming home like you should have you take job in Anchorage… What about us? Your people?

Kate knows well that the human geography of the Park is a map of old and odd relationships, and that these relationships are to the right and to the left and to the side of the law that comes from the State.

What wasn’t Park was wilderness and what wasn’t wilderness was wildlife refuge. Less than one percent of it was privately owned…

A fraction belongs to those who came during the goldrush in 1898 when the Park was created around them. Another fraction belongs to the native Alaskans who traded the right of way to oil for money and land. These are called Park Rats.

Among these Rats is a murderer. Find out who…

The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins read by Bernadette Dunne (!)

I am reading, no hearing, a beautiful book where a photograph is described:

This is us when we are happy is not the message that Alice Roosevelt’s wedding delivers…and unlike Alice Roosevelt who continued to be an unrepentant thorn in her father’s side even after Teddy’s death, all the Curtis children never stopped believing “Chief” could do no wrong, never stopped believing Chief was the perfect father, even after absences of many years, never stopped seeking Chief’s approval.

The woman who gives this sharp, tenderized commentary on Edward Curtis, father, renegade husband and shadow-catcher is at the wheel of a car in L.A., stuck in traffic. She tells us about Edward with the same familiarity that she tells us about the shortcut (Fountain Avenue) she will take, the shortcut everyone takes, the shortcut each of the 30 million drivers currently sharing the road believes that they alone discovered.

He became, she tells us,

by disappearing from their daily lives, not a father but the myth of one, a myth they needed to believe in to survive. And despite his actions, despite all contrary evidence, they needed to sustain that system of belief even if it meant altering their memory, creating a false memory, a false identity of who their father really was. If Edward, the disappearing father was to play the good guy in their system of belief, then someone anyone had to play the villain because surely there was real unhappiness in their home in everything around them… and someone , never dad, no never him, someone else had to take the blame… the person who was too tired to cook dinner after working all day long, that other unromantic parent asleep at the stove in her flannel slippers, stressed out and exhausted: mom….”

And as she drives and thinks and turns her thoughts over, and over, she assembles the person of Edward Curtis, and how this photographer intersects with the structure of the family, how he poses and positions himself within the family so as to appear a certain way, to seem a certain way. This seeming was in fact his art.

It is no wonder that there is an aura of indeterminacy surrounding this shadow-catcher, an uncertainty arising from the distance he put between himself and his world, himself and his own century.

And with this distance comes a mystery, a puzzle which is reconnoitred but not entirely solved by the story we are told about a man who sets up a photography studio in Seattle just after the fire…

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik Performed by Ruth Ann Phimister, Christine Mcmurdo Wallis, Christina Moore, Kate Forbes and James Jenner

Four narrators read back to back the recollections of five ‘Angry Housewives’ in Minnesota. Each voice adds to the prism of personalities which reflects how different five women sound from one another, even when they are reading the same books.

Unlike the women in Mary McCarthy’s The Group,  which was perhaps the first of this type of novel about women in a group, the housewives do not show the marks of a common institution. Marriage and motherhood are not finishing schools.

Although the story spans across three decades, this is not a history told through women or through books.  The Angry Housewives is a book club, but the books are pretexts for meeting and talking and eating and feeling and being.

And speaking. But narrators rarely get credit for being there. Not the narrators of this book, either. No mention on the CDs or the book cover or the Recorded Books web site of Ruth Ann Phimister, Christine McMurdo Wallis, Christina Moore, Kate Forbes and James Jenner. How very mean.

Long Time No See:: Re-hearing Susan Isaacs read by Cristine Mcmurdo-Wallis

Who in God’s name could murder a woman who puts doilies on the bottom of guest-room wastepaper baskets? In this decade of the Mother, of Mommihood, of stretchy, skin tight maternity dresses, of preternaturally calm Nannies, Long Time No See is perhaps the precursor of a series of mysteries dedicated to killable mothers.

Bernadette Dunne reads Work Less Make More by Jennifer White

This is so well read, so well thought out, so well organized that it stands out as a motherlode of precious advise for anybody who wants to work better, be better, CHANGE.

Remember your fifth grade teacher? The one that was a little pretty, a little strict, a little scary? The one that somehow taught you short division? Well, here she is. Standing over you while you pull out your journal, and think carefully before you answer.

Structured like a 5th grade workbook divided into modules, with fact sets, homework questions, thinking assignments, and morals (i.e. the moral of this story is ______), it turns you, inevitably, into a fifth grader: in other words, a student.

Buy a composition book, two #2 pencils, and a big eraser.

Linda Fairstein Death Dance read by Barbara Rosenblat

Ghoul: An evil spirit or demon in Muslim folklore believed to plunder graves and feed on corpses.

There is a ghoulish, golemic, East European element that surfaces in the life of every dishy Jewish blonde A.D.A. in NYC. A specific perversion, a senselessness knocks at her door just before it becomes evil, or criminal, or comic.

She is buried alive in the Botanical Gardens by a paraphiliac with a love of Poe. She is held captive in the Metropolitan Opera while a stage hand fingers her inner thigh. She opens a letter which bursts into flames and spoils her hairdo.

Indeed, one of the most lovable qualities of Alex(andra) Cooper, daughter and heir of a man who invented a widget, is the way the forces of weirdness tag at her heels.

For example. She talks to a Turkish intern who likes to rape unconscious women while Mike and Mercer try to trace his number. They can’t. Alex groans: “How come this works on T.V. and in the movies but when I need it the system fails?”
Well, blondie, because the 212 area code is not from the Upper West Side but from Ankara, Turkey … It’s not incompetence. It’s not idiocy. It’s something else.

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern Narrated by Bernadette Dunne

Holly is a youngish, prettyish, slightly loopy, Dublinite whose happy husband tells her what to do. Everybody jokes that if Gerry ever died, he would have to leave her a list … and when he dies, he does. Leave a list. Sort of. Holly is given 10 envelopes, with instructions, signed P.S. I love you….

Yes, it works. The instructions… and the story. Holly gets by with a little help from her friends. Sweet, well accented, light and funny.

Posted By: admin ()  Date: 12/08/2004 1:13 pm   Status: Open

Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews read by Bernadette Dunne

Geek gaming firm with mascots (wounded buzzard, psychopathic dog) sets up shop in small Western town but needs a Wendy to clean up and organize the Peter Pans. Enter Californian Meg Lanslow to clean up their books – and before she finds out whats going on everybody’s least favorite programmer is murdered…. Is it the shrink with a radio show who gives advice to lovesick husbands? Is it the nasty capitalist landlord? Is it one of the temps? Funny, witty and perfectly read by the singular voice of Bernadette Dunne.