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Audio Book Review
Dodgy deals and dangerous women

Jonathan Lowe
Audio Book Reviewer

Author James Siegel, like James Patterson, worked for a New York advertising agency before becoming a writer of fiction. Not every copywriter out there would be able to pen “Derailed,” his first novel. This brilliant suspense about a duped train passenger, which is now a Miramax movie. 

But his ad copy skills certainly enabled him to hone his craft by making his sentences spare and concise.

Siegel’s new novel, “Detour,” is about a childless couple who attempt to adopt a little girl from war-torn Colombia, with its nightmare drug cartels and twilight- zone legal system. Naturally, things go very wrong when their baby is mysteriously different after a brief time with a “nanny.”

So now protagonist Paul Breidbart, an insurance executive, must calculate the odds and risks of crossing the line to make things right again. While not as good as “Derailed,” this novel is certainly worth a listen in the hands of actor Holter Graham, and as such it makes for an interesting detour from heavy traffic on the highway. (Time Warner Audiobooks/6 hours abridged) ˜˜˜1/2

Actor Tony Roberts reads “Mr. Lucky” by James Swain, a mystery novel by the author of “Loaded Dice.” Swain’s new mystery is about a cop in Atlantic City named Tony Valentine who is summoned to investigate the enigma of Ricky Smith, a man who appears to have lady luck as a mistress. 

How else to explain his unending streaks in Las Vegas and with the lottery? But when Valentine uncovers Ricky’s past, an ingenious scam begins to emerge. 

Renting “Mr. Lucky” isn’t much of a gamble, particularly since Roberts is one of the most listenable of narrators, a man who also reads some of the works by another of my favorite satirical writers – Carl Hiassen. (Random House Audio/6 hours abridged) ˜˜˜

Next, I wanted very much to recommend to you an SF novel titled “Altered Carbon” from Tantor Media about digitized clones whose memories are stored in a data bank.

Alas, the intriguing plot degenerated into gratuitous sex and overuse of  the “F” word. So I’ll recommend another title from Tantor instead. 

“Dangerous Women” is a collection of short stories by various authors from Elmore Leonard to Anne Perry and read by five different narrators.

Can the fairer sex be evil? You bet. And proof comes from anthologist Otto Penzler in this collection recommended by Janet Evanovich. 

I particularly liked the Nelson DeMille story about a female sniper in Vietnam, more cunning than any man.

For those of you with MP3 CD players, it’s also available in that format, on one disk. (Tantor Media/11.5 hours unabridged) ˜˜˜˜

For the health conscious, Lloyd Sherr reads “The Perricone Promise” by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a well-researched nutrition book that outlines seven classes of super foods necessary for optimal health, including vegetables, fruits, fish, peppers, onions, spices and nuts.

With recipes on an enhanced second CD in PDF format for computer, the production enables listeners to utilize Perricone’s famous 28-day program to reverse the effects of aging from the inside out.

So if you want to boost your immune system, lose weight and become less disease-prone in the process, buy this audio book and give up junk food. (Time Warner Audiobooks/2 hours abridged) ˜˜˜˜

Finally, the inimitable Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres star in “The Sherlock Holmes Theater” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It’s a full cast production that also includes Kristoffer Tabori, Josephine Bailey and Mark Bramhall, among others, and is the first-ever audio recording of the only two plays Doyle wrote, one titled simply “Sherlock Holmes” and the second, “The Speckled Band.”

As a bonus, the audio book also includes the premiere of a comedy written by producer/director Yuri Rasovsky titled “Ghastly Double Murder in Famed Detective’s Flat.” It’s an amusing capper to an intriguing and well-acted production, new for 2005, and a must-have for Sherlock buffs. (Blackstone Audio/4.5 hours unabridged) ˜˜˜˜

These audio books may be rented from Audio Adventures in truck stops or by calling 1-800-551-6692. Jonathan Lowe’s award-winning suspense novels “Postal,” “Awakening Storm” and “Fame Island” are now available in e-book format at