03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Dead Irish by John Lescroart, read by Tracy, on 01/17/2014

In his new life as a bartender at the Little Shamrock, Dismas Hardy is just hoping for a little peace. He’s left both the police force and his law career behind. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to leave behind the memory of a shattering personal loss-but for the time being, he can always take the edge off with a stiff drink and round of darts. But when the news of Eddie Cochran’s death reaches him, Hardy is propelled back into all the things he was trying to escape. Now he must untangle a web of old secrets and raw passions, for the sake of Eddie’s pregnant widow Frannie-and for the others whose lives may still be at risk.

03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Classics, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle, read by Tracy, on 01/17/2014

We owe The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) to Arthur Conan Doyle’s good friend Fletcher “Bobbles” Robinson, who took him to visit some scary English moors and prehistoric ruins, and told him marvelous local legends about escaped prisoners and a 17th-century aristocrat who fell afoul of the family dog. Doyle transmogrified the legend: generations ago, a hound of hell tore out the throat of devilish Hugo Baskerville on the moonlit moor. Poor, accursed Baskerville Hall now has another mysterious death: that of Sir Charles Baskerville. Could the culprit somehow be mixed up with secretive servant Barrymore, history-obsessed Dr. Frankland, butterfly-chasing Stapleton, or Selden, the Notting Hill murderer at large? Someone’s been signaling with candles from the mansion’s windows. Nor can supernatural forces be ruled out. Can Dr. Watson–left alone by Sherlock Holmes to sleuth in fear for much of the novel–save the next Baskerville, Sir Henry, from the hound’s fangs?

Many Holmes fans prefer Doyle’s complete short stories, but their clockwork logic doesn’t match the author’s boast about this novel: it’s “a real Creeper!” What distinguishes this particular Hound is its fulfillment of Doyle’s great debt to Edgar Allan Poe–it’s full of ancient woe, low moans, a Grimpen Mire that sucks ponies to Dostoyevskian deaths, and locals digging up Neolithic skulls without next-of-kins’ consent. “The longer one stays here the more does the spirit of the moor sink into one’s soul,” Watson realizes. “Rank reeds and lush, slimy water-plants sent an odour of decay … while a false step plunged us more than once thigh-deep into the dark, quivering mire, which shook for yards in soft undulations around our feet … it was as if some malignant hand was tugging us down into those obscene depths.” Read on–but, reader, watch your step!

03. February 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Classics, Fiction, Horror, Science Fiction, Tracy

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, read by Tracy, on 01/10/2014

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

21. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Children's Books, Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, read by Tracy, on 01/18/2014

A horse is a horse of course unless of course the horse is Black Beauty. Animal-loving children have been devoted to Black Beauty throughout this century, and no doubt will continue through the next.
Although Anna Sewell’s classic paints a clear picture of turn-of-the-century London, its message is universal and timeless: animals will serve humans well if they are treated with consideration and kindness.
Black Beauty tells the story of the horse’s own long and varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to an elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse.
Throughout, Sewell rails – in a gentle, 19th-century way – against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty’s fortunes, good and bad, with gentle masters as well as cruel. Children can easily make the leap from horse-human relationships to human-human relationships, and begin to understand how their own consideration of others may be a benefit to all.

21. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell, read by Tracy, on 01/14/2014

There is nothing extraordinary about Margaret Parsons, a timid housewife in the quiet town of Kingsmarkham, a woman devoted to her garden, her kitchen, her husband. Except that Margaret Parsons is dead… Who would kill someone with nothing to hide? Inspector Wexford, the formidable chief of police, is baffled – until he discovers Margaret’s dark secret: a trove of rare books, each volume inscribed by a passionate lover identified only as Doon… the case builds with relentless momentum to a shocking finale as clever as it is unexpected.

21. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Tracy

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts, read by Tracy, on 01/12/2014

With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Ireland. County Mayo, to be exact. Where her ancestors’ blood and magic have flowed through generations—and where her destiny awaits. Iona arrives in Ireland with nothing but her Nan’s directions, an unfailingly optimistic attitude, and an innate talent with horses. Not far from the luxurious castle where she is spending a week, she finds her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer. And since family is family, they invite her into their home and their lives.

When Iona lands a job at the local stables, she meets the owner, Boyle McGrath. Cowboy, pirate, wild tribal horsemen, he’s three of her biggest fantasy weaknesses all in one big, bold package. Iona realizes that here she can make a home for herself—and live her life as she wants, even if that means falling head over heels for Boyle. But nothing is as it seems. An ancient evil has wound its way around Iona’s family tree and must be defeated. Family and friends will fight with each other and for each other to keep the promise of hope—and love—alive.

21. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

The Bookseller by Mark Pryor, read by Tracy, on 01/09/2014

Max—an elderly Paris bookstall owner—is abducted at gunpoint. His friend, Hugo Marston, head of security at the US embassy, looks on helplessly, powerless to do anything to stop the kidnapper. Marston launches a search, enlisting the help of semiretired CIA agent Tom Green. Their investigation reveals that Max was a Holocaust survivor and later became a Nazi hunter. Is his disappearance somehow tied to his grim history, or even to the mysterious old books he sold?

On the streets of Paris, tensions are rising as rival drug gangs engage in violent turf wars. Before long, other booksellers start to disappear, their bodies found floating in the Seine. Though the police are not interested in his opinion, Marston is convinced the hostilities have something to do with the murders of these bouquinistes.

Then he himself becomes a target of the unknown assassins.

With Tom by his side, Marston finally puts the pieces of the puzzle together, connecting the past with the present and leading the two men, quite literally, to the enemy’s lair.

Just as the killer intended.

21. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

The New Countess by Fay Weldon, read by Tracy, on 01/02/2014

From the award-winning novelist and writer of Upstairs Downstairs, the third book in a brilliant trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey. England, 1903. Lord Robert and Lady Isobel Dilberne and the entire grand estate, with its hundred rooms, is busy planning for a visit from Edward VII and Queen Alexandra just a few months a way. Preparations are elaborate and exhaustive: the menus and fashions must be just so, and so must James, the new heir and son of Arthur Dilberne and Chicago heiress, Minnie O’Brien. But there are problems. Little James is being reared to Lady Isobel’s tastes, not Minnie’s. And Mrs. O’Brien is visiting from America and causing trouble. Meanwhile, the Dilbernes’ niece, Adela is back and stirring up hysteria in the servants hall by claiming the house is cursed. The royal visit is imperiled, but so are the Dilberne finances once more. His Lordship is under tremendous stress, and the pecking order will soon be upset as everything at Dilberne Court changes.The New Countess is the final novel in Fay Weldon’s exciting trilogy that began with Habits of the House and Long Live the King. The bestselling novelist and award-winning writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs lifts the curtain on British society, upstairs and downstairs, under one roof.

02. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva, read by Tracy, on 12/31/2013

Art restorer and spy Gabriel Allon is sent to Vienna to discover the truth behind a bombing which killed an old friend – a Nazi hunter. While there he encounters something that turns his whole life upside down. Each fact he uncovers only leads to more questions until finally a picture emerges which is more terrible than he could have ever imagined – a portrait of evil stretching across 60 years and thousands of lives into his own personal nightmares.

18. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Relic by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, read by Tracy, on 12/17/2013

Investigating a series of savage murders that disrupt a massive new exhibition at the New York Museum of Natural History, graduate student Margo Green finds a clue in a failed Amazonian expedition.

18. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Brimstone by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, read by Tracy, on 12/13/2013

A body is found in the attic of a fabulous Long Island estate.
There is a claw print scorched into the wall, and the stench of sulfur chokes the air.
When FBI Special Agent Pendergast investigates the gruesome crime, he discovers that thirty years ago four men conjured something unspeakable.
Has the devil come to claim his due?
Some things can’t be undone.

18. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Tracy, Westerns · Tags:

A Big Sky Christmas by William W. Johnstone, J.A. Johnstone, read by Tracy, on 12/10/2013

From the masters of frontier fiction comes a holiday tale set in the very heart of America–a Western saga of courageous souls coming together, with a little help from the Jensen family

18. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Tracy

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe, read by Tracy, on 12/08/2013

Harvard graduate student Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer doing research for her doctoral dissertation. But when her mother asks her to handle the sale of Connie’s grandmother’s abandoned home near Salem, she can’t refuse. As she is drawn deeper into the mysteries of the family house, Connie discovers an ancient key within a seventeenth-century Bible. The key contains a yellowing fragment of parchment with a name written upon it: Deliverance Dane. This discovery launches Connie on a quest–to find out who this woman was and to unearth a rare artifact of singular power: a physick book, its pages a secret repository for lost knowledge.

As the pieces of Deliverance’s harrowing story begin to fall into place, Connie is haunted by visions of the long-ago witch trials, and she begins to fear that she is more tied to Salem’s dark past then she could have ever imagined.

Written with astonishing conviction and grace, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane travels seamlessly between the witch trials of the 1690s and a modern woman’s story of mystery, intrigue, and revelation.

18. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, read by Tracy, on 12/03/2013

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart—half tavern, half temple—stands Brokeland.

When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples’ already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe’s life.

An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own, Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we’ve been waiting for. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, and triumphant.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Autobiographies, Memoirs, NonFiction, Tracy

Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir by Linda Ronstadt, read by Tracy, on 11/24/2013

In this memoir, iconic singer Linda Ronstadt weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and ’70s.

Born into a musical family, Linda’s childhood was filled with everything from Hank Williams to Gilbert and Sullivan, Mexican folk music to jazz and opera. Her artistic curiosity blossomed early, and she and her siblings began performing their own music for anyone who would listen. Now, twelve Grammy Awards later, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.

Ronstadt arrived in Los Angeles just as the folk-rock movement was beginning to bloom, setting the stage for the development of country-rock. After the dissolution of her first band, the Stone Poneys, Linda went out on her own and quickly found success. As part of the coterie of like-minded artists who played at the Troubadour club in West Hollywood, she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s. One of her early back-up bands went on to become the Eagles, and Linda would become the most successful female artist of the decade. She has sold more than 100 million records, won numerous awards, and toured all over the world. Linda has collaborated with legends such as Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Aaron Neville, J.D. Souther, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Bette Midler, and Frank Sinatra, as well as Homer Simpson and Kermit the Frog. By the time she retired in 2009, Ronstadt had spent four decades as one of the most popular singers in the world, becoming the first female artist in popular music to release four consecutive platinum albums.

In Simple Dreams, Ronstadt reveals the eclectic and fascinating journey that led to her long-lasting success. And she describes it all in a voice as beautiful as the one that sang “Heart Like a Wheel”—longing, graceful, and authentic.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Tracy, Women's Fiction (chick lit)

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy, read by Tracy, on 11/14/2013

Kit MacMahon, growing up in the lakeside village of Loughshee, seems to lead a charmed life. She is the loved daughter of Martin MacMahon, the kindly local pharmacist, and Helen, his beautiful wife. She has a little brother, Emmett; a best friend, Clio, and a host of other friends.

But Kit worries about her mother. Helen MacMahon does not fit in with the people and the ways of Loughshee. She wanders alone by the lake night after night—until the dark windy night when she disappears and only her overturned rowboat is found near Loughshee’s shore.

Kit grows up in the small village without the mother she has loved and so staunchly defended, determined to carry out her mother’s last wishes that she should make something of her life. Though she moves to the city, Kit is constantly drawn back to Loughshee and the people who live there—Clio Kelly and their love/hate relationship; Clio’s father, Dr. Kelly, whose sister-in-law Maura has her eyes on Kit’s father; Philip O’Brien, who has loved Kit since childhood; and roguish Stevie Sullivan, who runs the garage and rules the affections of every woman for miles around.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

White Fire by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, read by Tracy, on 11/22/2013

Special Agent Pendergast arrives at an exclusive Colorado ski resort to rescue his protégée, Corrie Swanson, from serious trouble with the law. His sudden appearance coincides with the first attack of a murderous arsonist who–with brutal precision–begins burning down multimillion-dollar mansions with the families locked inside. After springing Corrie from jail, Pendergast learns she made a discovery while examining the bones of several miners who were killed 150 years earlier by a rogue grizzly bear. Her finding is so astonishing that it, even more than the arsonist, threatens the resort’s very existence.

Drawn deeper into the investigation, Pendergast uncovers a mysterious connection between the dead miners and a fabled, long-lost Sherlock Holmes story–one that might just offer the key to the modern day killings as well.

Now, with the ski resort snowed in and under savage attack–and Corrie’s life suddenly in grave danger–Pendergast must solve the enigma of the past before the town of the present goes up in flames.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Black Out by John Lawton, read by Tracy, on 11/19/2013

In the tradition of John le Carré, Eric Ambler, and more recently, Joseph Kanon, Black Out is a stunning wartime thriller. As the Luftwaffe makes its last, desperate assaults on the battered city, Londoners take to the underground shelters amidst the black out. Detective-Sergeant Troy starts with the clue of a neatly dismembered corpse leading him into a world of stateless refugees, military intelligence, and corruption all the way to the top of Allied High Command.

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Tracy

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson, read by Tracy, on 11/15/2013

Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.

Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac’s apparently random attack.

Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making – with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband – until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge .

25. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, read by Tracy, on 11/12/2013

In the late 1970s, Larry Ott and Silas “32″ Jones were boyhood pals. Their worlds were as different as night and day: Larry, the child of lower-middle-class white parents, and Silas, the son of a poor, single black mother. Yet for a few months the boys stepped outside of their circumstances and shared a special bond. But then tragedy struck: Larry took a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she was never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the county—and perhaps Silas most of all. His friendship with Larry was broken, and then Silas left town.

More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they’ve buried and ignored for decades.