Changing Lara by Anna Jacobs

How is it that Anna Jacobs always swaddles you into a world that feels cozy and safe and hopeful?

Here is another story about a working woman who wants to retire but puts it off until she is at the edge of the world and has to fight her way back to home and to England. There she discovers that her financial advisor has emptied her bank account of everything but her last bonus.

She nevertheless sets up house, in a pleasant community where she has purchased a home, spontaneously, without permission, and without regret.

She is of course divorced and her ex-husband does not much like the fact that her next door neighbor is well off and cares for his ex-wife, carefully. Things move slowly and sweetly. All is well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

Front Page Fatality by Lyndee Walker

The Louboutin-loving print reporter makes us want to read her. She writes well because she knows how to talk well to……everyone in Richmond, Virginia. And seems to fit in everywhere, despite the heels.

Lyndee Walker tells us that “she has always wanted to be Lois Lane…” and gives us a character with curves and connections and a boss she calls “Chief”….

Nightlife by Thomas Perry read by Shelley Frasier

When a computer salesman comes home she greets him with a smile which denies the need to talk about the bill, all the bills, for things he wants to deny her. Later, in the bath, she shoots him. His name is Dennis Poole. He is the kind of man who tips exactly 15% and not a penny more and is proud because it shows he can figure it out in his head. He is a man with a soft belly and thinning hair who sells equipment to other men like himself and he is the cousin of a Los Angeles hood who hires Joe Pitt to find out who killed him.

Dennis Poole is introduced on page 2, killed on page 4, but we have a clear and exact idea of him. Enough to groan a little when his blood drains into the bath. Just enough of a character to make us curious.

There are more clear and distinct ideas, probable, precise images of characters, types, and encounters. The character of the murderess, amateurish, superficial, but conniving, good at imitating emotions but unempathetic, is a live sketch of a psychopath.

The dialogues are witty and fun.

” ..I just sell sound-imaging machines to doctors and hospitals…I’m Brian Corey.” “Pleased to meet you. I’m Marsha.” “No last name?” “Corey. I’m going to be Marsha Corey, right?”

“The life she had constructed for herself was good. But this evening with Joe Pitt was better.”

Joe Pitt is cool, a private detective, hired to find a murderess who is getting better and better and a good match for the serious homicide detective on the case, Catherine Hobbes.

A smart, well crafted and engaging crime novel.

David Ignatius, Bloodmoney, read by Firdous Bamji

At what point are you willing to pay for an audiobook?

  1. When you encounter a quote by Kipling that you have never heard before, and you want to memorize it …
  2. When the reader has such a faraway voice, with a thousand ligatures, selective, discretionary accents, which gives a d that extra bit of blow, can do Urdu as well as Pashto, in a tribal croak and a traitor’s castrato…
  3. When the author has such impressive inner knowledge based not on the ‘facts’ that he could have google-plagiarized in 2 minutes, but on what are not and will never be facts, on things people know that it is not necessary to say, on what would once have been called ‘common sense’ or ‘local knowledge’ … Not to mention that the author has an international, jocular sensibility  about governmental organizations, Yale, and truth.
  4. When you’ve already gobbled up another, later book, which was slicker, better or more brutally edited, and gobbling it down only made you hungrier for more…
  5. When you start to remember your fifth grade teacher pulling down the oil-skin map from its rolled up position over the green blackboard, before picking up her long wooden pointer and positioning it over some small bright orange blob on the bottom right third of the map… which was perhaps the last time you were curious about the geography of Pakistan ….

The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush read by Sophie Amoss

From the very first paragraph, when she almost breaks her tooth on something hard that her mouth found in her peanut butter cupcake, Emily is interesting. Yes, she says yes to an engagement ring. But this is not another goofy romance in which the female not only saves the universe but also spends a lot of time thinking and talking about her lust for various male bodily bits.

Emily is a physician, a surgeon, and the estranged daughter of a medical examiner in a small town. She goes home to see after her father after his heart attack and becomes involved in a murder investigation… with her old boyfriend from highschool.  A good mystery – hopefully the first of a series.

 

Lane by Peter Grainger read by Henrietta Meire

Grainger has a way of ‘teasing out’ the most annoying characteristics of altogether too familiar personality types (aka ‘too old intransigent & traditional to live’, ‘career girl with delayed children’, ‘bureaucratic ox’, ‘resentful government serf’, ‘the thug who will not die’, ‘the devotedly inattentive son’…) and presenting them in living glory under a perfectly charming Cornish sun.

As in the Charlie Gallagher books where threats to family are used to manipulate police and criminals alike, Lane tells the story of a detective’s oldish mother, some thugs who want to punish her, and the inscrutable neighbor that comes for a visit just as trouble begins.

This is not so much about Cops and Their Mothers but rather about Two Women of Different Ages, and what they become when confronted by an odd and evil circumstance…

 

Making It Right by Catherine Bybee read by Cristina Panfilio

After much too much silly shitty giggly girly fiction, this clever, sharp, unpredictable novel about a small town female Sheriff who meets a man at a Quantico training course is a delight. The dialogue between the coupling law enforcement agents is witty, original, delicious; the supporting characters are curious and unpredictable, the clean story line is etched out like an Ed McBain procedural. Spare, lean action. Fast, frank language. No coincidences.