When you bring together a former Presidential candidate, Secretary of State, and First Lady—Hillary Rodham Clinton—with a bestselling and beloved mystery author—Louise Penny—you are going to get buzz. STATE OF TERROR was released as an audiobook narrated by Joan Allen in mid-October. Clinton and Penny have since been making the rounds promoting the book. Having reviewed the audiobook, I can honestly tell you that it is a compelling listen. The tension and terror escalate with each scene and will have you walking or driving that extra mile to find out what happens next. The main characters, Secretary of State Ellen Adams and her best friend and counselor Betsy, are smart, powerful women who also have fears and faults. Listeners will feel the fear generated not just by the external terror posed by a potential nuclear threat but also political maneuverings and government dysfunction. Listeners will have to focus to know who is speaking as the scenes shift quickly. This is a case where the writing drives the experience more than the narration. Penny's fans will be delighted to meet up with Inspector Gamache when the story shifts unexpectedly to Three Pines, and they'll recognize the little Gamache tidbits sprinkled throughout. You can catch Clinton and Penny in a great interview offered free on Audible. And you can listen to Scott Simon’s NPR interview with them here.
The threat of nuclear attack on American soil is also what's making things tense in BETTER OFF DEAD, the latest entry in the Jack Reacher series. This is the 26th book in the series, and the second co-authored by Lee Child and Andrew Child. “Reacher creatures,” serious fans, wait with anticipation every year for the release of the next book. Lee Child, in his mid-60s, very intentionally started to hand over the mantle to his younger brother Andrew with Book 25, THE SENTINEL. Golden Voice narrator Scott Brick has been the voice of the series since Book 23, taking over from Golden Voice Dick Hill. The buzz on the last two books in the series is mixed. Some have expressed dismay that the new Reacher always chooses physical violence to solve problems, while the former Reacher said less and thought more. You be the judge—what do you think of the direction the series is going and of Brick’s interpretation of Reacher?
For a much lighter listen, Janet Evanovich fans are all abuzz about the release of GAME ON: TEMPTING TWENTY-EIGHT, the newest Stephanie Plum audiobook, once again narrated by the brilliant vocal shape-shifter Lorelei King. Fans will find all of the usual delights they have come to know and look forward to: cars exploding, a ridiculous plot, sexy men (the mysterious Diesel takes center stage in this one), and Lula providing the comic breaks. King brings life to Evanovich’s characters through the dialogue. It’s just plain fun to listen to. True confession: I tend to listen on repeat just to keep me in a good mood.