Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman read by Kimberly Farr

Two mothers.

Iris, mother of the bride, is pushy, ambitious, Jewish, overpresent, and proud of her Red Hook genealogy, which can be traced back to the Battle of the Bulge. But Iris is not exactly a local. Yes, every summer Iris comes back to the oceanfront Queen Anne house, chats up the Red Hook Ladies, attending “every last bean supper and blueberry breakfast of the season,” where she tries to befriend the wives of lobstermen by feigning enthusiasm for rummage sales. But every Fall, Iris returns to New York, to art and to work, and will never, in the eyes of the locals, be anything but a “from away”.

Iris’ father, Mr Kimmelbroad, is indeed “from away”: a real gentleman,  a refugee violinist from Prague who still smells of polished wood, rosin, violets and 4711 Kolnisch Wasser.   The family are immigrants: bustling, displaced, well educated.

Jane, mother of the groom, is a local: by temperament, by income and by genealogy. Jane is strong from “clomping up and down stairs and hauling laundry and vacuum cleaners.” Jane has been taking care of  houses for the “from aways”  for a long long time, as had her mother before her. One of these houses is Iris’, which she cleans in the summers and tends all year long.

She [would get] the furnace and the propane tank filled, turn on the water,   take down the storm windows and put up the screens, mow the meadow and lawn, replace the water filter, have the piano tuned, and replenish staples like flour, sugar and the fancy teas ….

The story begins in the middle of the wedding, detailing the  profusions of fresh flowers, mismatched vases, white lace tablecloths, blues band,   bar, hanging lanterns, crab-cakes and lobster puffs and champagne of  the  reception at Grange Hall, where the mothers find out that the bride and groom are dead.  What becomes of the mothers and their other children is part of the story of the wedding, because the wedding  joins not only the bride and groom but the mothers; makes them, in Yiddish, Machatainisteh.

Kingdom of Lies by N. Lee Wood read by Ralph Cosham

Kingdom of Lies (Unabridged)
Length: 16 hours and 13 min.
Release Date: 05-03-2006

First: ignore the Audible summary. There is an office bureaucrat sitting in Bangalore who listens to audiobooks in between doing customer service calls for Verizon and emergency care calls for Viagra wives. Which explains summaries that sound as if they were based on hearing every third verb, badly. So, forget the summary.

This is a well arranged, nicely plotted detective novel, featuring a depressive Yorkshire cop of the John Harvey variety, divorced, dedicated, and dieting. He is comfortable in his own melancholy, his own territory, with his own defeat. His ex-wife’s robust ambition has moved her and their twins to a monied life in London. His neighbor’s wife irons his uniform shirts. His cat welcomes him home.

One day, a woman academic disappears while at a local conference; she turns up drowned and drunk and is identified by a pretty American colleague on vacation.

The Yorkshire seargent and the pretty American professor begin to investigate the dead woman’s death, and then her life, and then her taste for sad encounters.

The coupling is obvious, the end is not.

Hide by Lisa Gardner read by Maggie-Meg Reed

A family is a system. For Annabelle, aka Tanya, aka Sienna aka Sophia, it is a rigorously cheerful, rigorously protective, rigorously mobile system. It packs up and moves every 18 months. Until Kansas City, when the system’s mother drinks herself to death, and the rules are preserved by the father and the daughter.

The 32 year old remains of the system is now a woman, who wants to live in the suburbs,  plant roses, and forbid her husband to buy suitcases.

BRUSHBACK by K.C. Constantine :: Lloyd James


Jesus Mary and Joseph in Rocksburg, Pa. Heartflipping. Smile wrenching. Honestagawd. Self-conscious, thoughtful, slightly misaligned human being, good son, and Detective Sergeant Acting Chief, Rocksburg Police, Rugs [”because some people think they can walk all over me”] Carlucci, falls in love while investigating death of sociopath baseball legend. Utter-fuckingly wonderful. K.C. Constantine does Dego America, Pa., talking. 
8.01.2001