Calibre by Ken Bruen read by Gerard Doyle

He’d read up on noir and called it Nora.

Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me hard boils the story from the start: London as the small bad city with its own 87th precinct: Brant, who cuts a bit off the top of every drug bust, makes himself loved by women, plays laid back surfer dude cop but functions as the magus and manipulates everybody’s fate; Macdonald: the aged bully with the mean little soul and the overblown self-estimate; Porter Nash: the gay cop; W.P.C. Falls the bitch black psychopathic girlcop with the knuckle dusters in her purse; P.C. Lane: tall and lanky nerd cop who carries an umbrella and wears an “expression of friendliness, the very worst thing for a cop,”; Chief Inspector Roberts & more.
A silly accountant whose whore lives across the street decides to play Miss Manners with an edge, and finds he enjoys killing people who behave badly in public.

Slick with references that both emulate and parody the grittiest American fiction (Robert B. Parker, Karin Fossom, Ed McBain, Andrew Vachss, Elmore Leonard, Newton Thornberg, Mankell, Willeford, Joe Lansdale); this text is black with humor (“He’d read up on noir and called it Nora.”) and gorgeous with distemporal language (The drinks came and he hoped she wouldn’t say Bottoms Up. “Bottoms up” she said.”) Read it and smirk.

All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming read by Suzanne Toren

At St. Alban’s Church there is a stained glass window picturing a Roman soldier with a halo dressed as a Priest. The Roman soldier was Alban. When the Priest who converted him was sentenced to death, Alban switched clothes with him and died in his place.

A soldier disguised as a priest describes in some sense the Rector herself, an ex-army helicopter pilot, who turns up at crime scenes, and helps the Chief of Police solves crimes in a small snowy parish about 2 hours drive from Albany.

Good Faith by Jane Smiley read by Richard Poe

At what point can one say that a man is a cheat? When he buys a house from you, when he tells you how to avoid paying income tax, when you help him misrepresent himself, when he helps you find a woman you can marry, when he calls you his best friend? When he complains to you about his wife with the long red hair? When he tells you that everyone trusts you, likes doing business with you, and you could have more, much more? When you close down your business to help him turn an old farm into a classy residential community? When you’re a real estate agent, and it’s 1981?

Perhaps deception should be classified as a sexual crime, as a long form of seduction. Because this is what Good Faith maps out: the leisurely seduction of an average Joe, the leading astray, or leading aside, or leading apart of a country realtor (from the Latin s?ducti?, s?ducti?n-, from s?ductus, past participle of s?d?cere, to lead astray : s?-, apart; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots + d?cere, to lead; see deuk- in Indo-European roots.)

It was June and summer was right on time.

This is the mood of a good seduction. Not so much an act or an agency as an atmosphere, an environment, a happy economic mix: inflation, undervalued property, optimism. Jane: a combination of older sister, receptionist and tease. Marcus: a persuasive, likeable, ex IRS agent. Joe: a small-town, laid back, bill-paying Christian. A well brought up boy who dusts and smiles at buyers, widows, bankers, and government clerks. Who seduces and is seduced.

Martha Grimes read by Tim Curry: The Old Silent

Short cuts to well told endings of British crime novels don’t usually work. They leave out the localized, linguistic pulp of English thought. And it is thought not plot that makes a novel so very relentlessly English.

Tim Curry’s reading resonates with localized, idiomatic, parochial, inherited sense, regionality, territoriality.

Listen up. Tim Curry turns this abridgement into an exception.

Wolves Eat Dogs by Martin Cruz Smith

It is the story of a happy Captain of a sinking ship. It is the story of Chernobyl, afterwards. It is the story of provisional investigators, provisional policemen, provisional scientists who are provisionally accepted as the mad inhabitants of a zone officially uninhabited, in which no crime officially occurs. The mood is of a cocktail party on an asteroid hurtling toward earth. There we find Arkady, sullen, stubborn, singular, biting at radioactive pickles (“Crisp, tasty, and with a touch of strontium”) and asking questions.

SUZANNE’S DIARY FOR NICHOLAS by James Patterson::Becky Ann Baker

The tired old technique of a text within a text popped in the microwave with a 2K twist: a mothers diary to her one year old son. The kid dies. Instant tear jerker, instant Oprah Book of the Year, instant Right to Life siege technology. Use it to dummify your life-story, infantilise your reader and seduce your next girlfriend. Where can we find it better brighter and gut-wrenching? Andrew Greeley, Younger Than Springtime; a father’s account of falling in love with his wife, given to his son; Ian Rankin , The Black Book, a beautiful reckless dead man’s confession to an old crime in a diary rocked out of the past by an even older Edinburgh cop; Bernard Shlink, The Reader; lawyer reads last letter of his ex-girlfriend-ex-Nazi concentration camp guard, 20 years too late. Forget Suzanne.