Audio: The third Strike
Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are back. This time around, J.K. Rowling, writing in Robert Galbraith mode, lets us in on more of her Nick-and-Nora-esque detective duo’s backstories, stories that are relevant to the horrific crime they’re faced with. In the very first scene of Career of Evil, Robin opens a package addressed to her and finds not the wedding trinkets she expected, but the severed leg of a young woman. Strike, who lost part of his right leg after an IED explosion in Afghanistan, is sure he’s the real target of this ghoulish gesture, but fears that Robin is also in this grisly killer’s sights. He can come up with three men vile and vindictive enough to be suspects. So the hunt begins, and with it, Strike and Robin reveal more of themselves, ever-circling their buried attraction to each other. Robert Glenister narrates in a fabulous array of British accents and gives both Robin and her scruffily appealing boss real emotional depth.
VICTIM OR VILLAIN?
When Claire Abbot, a prominent feminist writer, is murdered while on a book tour, elegant, aristocratic Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Det. Sgt. Barbara Havers—his rough-edged, headstrong side-kick—must deal with the crime and with Claire’s manipulative, narcissistic assistant, Caroline Goldacre, a prime suspect who might also be the intended victim. Caroline—her murky past, her disturbingly unhealthy relationship with her two grown sons, her confusing relationship with Claire and her habitual lying—becomes the fascinating centerpiece of this who-and-whydunit, while Lynley and Havers’ ongoing problems weave in and out of the narrative. Elizabeth George’s psychological thrillers are far too cleverly choreographed and well-executed to qualify as guilty pleasures, but for me, the arrival of a new Lynley novel means I can sink into it and forget about our troubled world for a few blissful hours. A Banquet of Consequences, read by the always pitch-perfect John Lee, is George at her plot-twisting best.
TOP PICK IN AUDIO
Carly Simon’s songs have been part of the soundtrack of my life, her take on reality often mirroring mine—and I know I’m not alone. This supremely talented singersongwriter takes us into her early life with her new memoir. Based on diaries she’s kept since she was 9 years old, Boys in the Trees is an intensely immediate, graceful and lyrically written tell-all. Simon had a glitterati-literati-filled childhood as the daughter of one of the founders of Simon & Schuster, but she always felt the least loved, the ugly duckling compared to her two “bird of paradise” older sisters, and she started to stammer as a 6-year-old. Despite feeling inadequate, being shy but ambitious, “a soul who loses direction,” Simon went on to a meteoric career, romantic entanglements with famous men and a turbulent marriage to James Taylor. It’s all here in vivid detail, read in her lovely, familiar voice, backed up with a piano score she and Teese Gohl arranged for this audio, plus a previously unreleased song, “Oh Captain! My Captain!” At 70, she sure sounds great.
This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.