Started Early Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson read by Graeme Malcolm

Jackson slugs a bully and saves a small dog. Hence Jackson, ex military man, ex husband (twice), having been familiar with violence his whole life has now finally found a good use for it. Now on the other side of the law, but otherwise non-localizable: “when he stayed at a hotel, he knew who he was. A guest.”

Tracy is big, post-menopausal, plain, and so indistinct that qualifiers float over the surface of her identity, like flat swabs of paint on a blank canvas.

At school Tracy had always been wary of the domestic science crowd – methodical girls with neat handwriting and neither flaws nor eccentricities. For some reason they were usually good at netball as well, as if the gene that enabled them to jump for the hoop contained the information necessary for turning out a cheese-and-onion flan or creaming a Victoria sponge-sandwich mix.

After she pays $3000 for a small child being dragged around by a street-mother, Tracy buys the kid cotton clothes and uses thought to re-organize her life from the point of view of a small girl.

Two characters in an England out of time, make a decision that makes no sense, and thereby changes the sense of life and everything in it. Two characters that grip us by the throat, and leave us breathless, waiting for the real inside the fiction.

Blindman’s Bluff by Faye Kellerman read by Mitch Greenburg

A few Jewish words referring to a few ritual baked goods eaten by a few Jews does not a Jewish novel make. Nor does a description of a modestly clad woman with her hair tied back by a long scarf. If the Peter Decker novels wielded some specific charm by virtue of their glimpse into orthodox Jewish life, that charm is gone. Gone too is the charm of an utterly believable relationship of utterly believable characters: husband and wife Peter and Rina. Instead we have an infinitely patient, infinitely wise, infinitely understanding wife who agrees with her husband agreeably, and a pouty teenaged daughter that contributes nothing to the conversation or the scenery but red hair. A police procedural on Prozac.