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Audiobooks: The Inner Circle and More

By on June 22, 2011
RoadKing Mag

The Inner Circle
By Brad Meltzer
Read by Scott Brick
12 CDs, 14 hours

The charged-up pace never ceases in Brad Meltzer’s latest Washington, D.C., political thriller. The story revolves around the National Archives, home to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and other historical U.S. documents and records. Beecher White is an archivist there who likes routine. His well-ordered life gets a jolt when his high school crush, Clementine, shows up to search the archives for information about the father she never knew.

Beecher still holds fond memories of Clementine and attempts to impress her by showing her the hidden vault where the President himself comes to read documents. While there, they discover a secret book that belonged to George Washington. They have to rush out of the vault to avoid getting caught, but the book stays with them. When a death occurs immediately afterward, seemingly related to the mysterious book, White’s entire world gets turned upside down.

Listeners will have a hard time turning away from this story chock full of conspiracy, historical detail and the power plays of Capitol Hill. Scott Brick’s narration leads the audience through the story’s emotion and suspense flawlessly while giving each character depth. Meltzer keeps the audience wondering who can be trusted. Be sure to pay close attention to this one because it’s easy to get lost in conspiracies, but once the story gets rolling you will need to hear the ending.

Fatal Error
By J.A. Jance
Read by Karen Ziemba
9 CDs, 10 hours

When the listener knows whodunit from the start, the tale of how a criminal gets caught needs to have a load of interesting characters. Fatal Error, the latest in J.A. Jance’s Ali Reynolds series, is filled with wonderful heroes and villains, all moving with lightning speed toward their dastardly or decent endgame.

The story begins with Ali taking her licks as a 40-something student in the police academy. Nicknamed “Oma,” a term that means something akin to old lady or grandma, she nevertheless finds a way to earn a bit of respect before graduating.

A former colleague from her days as a TV news reporter contacts Ali to look into the disappearance of her fiancé, who she met online but never in person. It turns out that the guy is a creep of major proportions, toying with a string of lonely women via computer just for the joy of it. And that would be that, except the background check that Ali does for her old friend leads to bigger questions, especially when the logged-in lothario turns up dead.

Murder, kidnapping, international arms dealing and double-crossing share time with family love and divisions, deep friendships and dedicated work ethics. There’s a lot going on here, but Jance keeps everything moving along so that the listener is anxious to know what will happen next.

Gideon’s Sword
By Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Read by John Glover
9 CDs, 10 hours

Authors Preston and Child have thrilled readers (and listeners) for years with a series of novels built around the wickedly intelligent and gentlemanly FBI Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast. In Gideon’s Sword they introduce another fascinating character, seemingly bound for his own series of adventures. Gideon Crew has a somewhat darker edge, but he can cut through all sorts of intrigue with the best of them.

Since this novel introduces the character, the authors have devoted a big chunk of the book to telling his back story. As a child he saw his father killed in a standoff with federal agents and branded a traitor to his country. At 24, Gideon stands with his mother at her deathbed, where she tells him that his father was framed and murdered. Then she makes him promise to avenge his dad’s death.

He does, in a way that takes patience, cunning and a few disguises. The deed is noted by someone in need of Gideon’s skills, and soon the young man is hired to track a Chinese scientist. The job is supposed to be short-term, but that’s not the way it goes. Soon Gideon is in the middle of a many-layered international mystery that seems to just get more complicated with each new revelation.

Narrator John Glover is a much-respected actor, and he gives this whiz-bang tale his all. Fans of the Special Agent Pendergast books may feel a bit confused if they pick this up expecting the same sort of character. Gideon Crew is his own man, and a pretty interesting one at that.

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