Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Once upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—a True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder

Ben Mezrich, read by Jeremy Bobb. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 6.5 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-8717-1

Voice actor Bobb’s calm and leveled reading anchors this nearly unbelievable but true story of the swift rise to—and eventual fall from—power and wealth of two billionaire oligarchs in post-Communist Russia. In the feeding frenzy after the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse, venal businessmen grew rich as the bankrupt government sold state-owned companies at fire-sale prices. Boris Berezovsky, a one-time academic and used-car salesman, was an early beneficiary and mentor to Roman Abramovich, a talented young entrepreneur. Both flourished until Vladimir Putin became premier in 1999. Along the way are attempted assassinations, bombings, murders, and corruption. Given the over-the-top events depicted in the book, Bobb makes the perfect choice of reading in the manner of a detached reporter. He allows the material to dominate the reading without attempting to embellish or grandstand with accents or dramatizations. The story speaks for itself in this solid audio edition. An Atria hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Seven Good Years: A Memoir

Etgar Keret, trans. from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston et al., read by Alex Karpovsky. Penguin Audio, , unabridged, 3 CDs, 3.5 hrs., $25 ISBN 978-1-61176-416-1

Karpovsky, a prolific young actor and filmmaker best known for his roles in HBO’s Girls, brings tremendous attention to detail and emotional depth to the new nonfiction title from Israeli fiction writer Keret. Keret chronicles the eventful time period between the birth of his son and the death of his father through a series of short vignettes from daily life, which gradually interconnect against a backdrop of political unrest in the Middle East. Karpovsky, the American son of Jewish Russian immigrants, beautifully masters the range of accents in the narrative. He also captures the developing speech patterns of Keret’s little boy, Lev, from vulnerable toddlerhood to the assertiveness and independence of a seven-year-old. Karpovsky scores in his rendering of the author’s aging parents through such memorable interactions as playing Angry Birds with their grandson. The sheer humanity in both the serious and lighthearted moments makes for a captivating listening experience. A Riverhead hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Will College Pay Off? A Guide to the Most Important Financial Decision You’ll Ever Make

Peter Cappelli, read by Tom Perkins. Tantor Audio, , unabridged, 6 CDs, 7 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-4945-0988-0

Cappelli tackles a question on the minds of many parents and students: what is the value of a college education in the 21st century? His book dutifully explores a variety of complex issues that probe the nature of higher education and its contributions to the individual, while simultaneously weighing the more practical payoffs and pitfalls of secondary schooling in the United States. Voice actor Perkins reads with a deep, slightly nasal voice as he makes his way through Cappelli’s many different arguments and considerations, using pacing and emphasis to drive home points. The audio book gets a bit monotonous during the longer passages, when Perkins loses his momentum. But these moments are far and few in contrast to how often he keeps listeners’ ears attuned. A PublicAffairs hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal

David E. Hoffman, read by Dan Woren. Random House Audio, , unabridged, digital download, 12 hrs., $20 ISBN 978-1-101-91392-5

Pulitzer-winner Hoffman returns to the Cold War era in his latest, a biography of Adolf Tolkachev, a Russian engineer who in 1977 approached the CIA offering his services as a spy for America. For over half a decade, Tolkachev gave the U.S. priceless information on the latest Russian technological advances, until his capture and subsequent execution. Woren provides the perfect narration for this book. His deep, well modulated voice brings just the right amount of formal authority to hold the listener’s attention, but never falls into a drone of professorial lecturing. His phrasing, tone, and characterizations, especially his Russian characters, bring to life each clandestine meeting, each secretive exchange of information, and every moment of danger. He pulls the listener into the story and turns what could have been dry and boring into something as captivating and enthralling as a John le Carré spy novel. A Doubleday hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Beauty’s Kingdom

Anne Rice, writing as A.N. Roquelaur, read by multiple narrators. Penguin Audio, unabridged, 12 CDs, 15.5 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-1-61176-464-2

At the start of book four in Rice’s erotic Sleeping Beauty series (after 1985’s Beauty’s Release), Beauty and her husband Laurent return to the kingdom where they once served as sex slaves, to serve on the throne 20 years later. As ruler, Beauty adds new refinements and erotic delights, making the major change that all slavery must now be voluntary. Reader Cassandra Campbell provides Beauty with a lovely, melodious voice that draws the listener into her fairy tale world and epitomizes a queen who is at once wise, kind, sensual, and passionate. The various royals all sound appropriately elegant and cultured (though Dmitri, a Russian prince, inexplicably has an British accent). Reader Paul Boehmer also has a standout performance playing Bren, a young commoner who journeys to the kingdom in hopes of being accepted as a slave. He sounds adorably boyish, eager, hopeful, and awkward, and his chapter about “auditioning” for slavery is delightful to listen to. All the narrators are excellent and perfectly convey Rice’s style, which is lush, sensual, and explicit without being coarse. This new installment will thrill fans of Rice and the original series, and it should also draw in Fifty Shades of Grey fans in search of the latest mainstream erotica to enjoy. A Viking hardcover. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Precipice

Paul Doiron, read by Henry Leyva. Macmillan Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 10 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-6313-1

Book six in Edgar finalist Doiron’s series featuring Mike Bowditch (after 2014’s The Bone Orchard) has the Appalachian Trail game warden reluctantly diverted from a romantic weekend with a new girlfriend to participate in a hunt for two young women who’ve disappeared in the deepest part of the Hundred-Mile Wilderness. Initially paired with an oddball extreme hiker, Bob “Nonstop” Nissen, Mike gets ample opportunity to display his mental and physical prowess, zeroing in on the missing hikers while battling the elements, bureaucracy, and the Dows, a family of very unfriendly sociopaths. Stage and TV actor Leyva has been reading the series since its debut. His portrayal of Mike, the novel’s narrator, has been youthful, eager, and slightly naive, entirely appropriate for the start of the character’s career, but he’s now sounding a bit jejune for an experienced game warden and too soft to gain the attention, much less the respect, of the rough customers he meets on the trail. When it comes to those tough guys, however, Leyva’s interpretation is spot on. A Minotaur hardcover. (June)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
After the Storm

Linda Castillo, read by Kathleen McInerney. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 11 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-6096-3

Castillo’s seventh thriller about Kate Burkholder (after 2014’s The Dead Will Tell) finds the chief of police of Painters Mill, Ohio, returning to the Amish community from which she was excommunicated as a young adult, after a tornado rips through the state. Reader McInerney’s visceral enactment of Kate’s tense narration adds to the thrilling progression of the storm and it’s aftermath, superbly crafted by Castillo. As a result of the storm, the police chief rescues an injured infant and uncovers the 30-year-old bones of a homicide victim. McInerney speaks Pennsylvania Dutch with the same apparent ease with which she handles the novel’s many voices—tough men and stern women, for the most part. McInerney’s rich portrayal of Kate suits every circumstance: from sharp anger when Kate is challenged, to frustration when the murder clues go nowhere, and, perhaps McInerney’s best accomplishment, to the pain and sadness Kate feels when her personal life is struck by its own romantic tornado. A Minotaur hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War

P.W. Singer and August Cole, read by Rich Orlow. Recorded Books, , unabridged, 12 CDs, 14.25 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4906-7412-4

This self-proclaimed “novel of the next world war,” in which the Chinese, abetted by the Russians, make a sneak attack on Hawaii, is all about cutting-edge air-sea-land weaponry. Even though it is populated by a seemingly endless cast of warriors—American, British, Chinese, and Russian—reader Orlow’s renditions of the characters, with credible accents, are all that make them more substantial than the average hologram. The novel begins with the introduction of several characters, smartly defined by Orlow’s earnest delivery. His natural, almost casual characterizations put enough meat on their bones for us to care about them—even the many who only appear briefly in the story. Of those who stick around for a while, Commander James Simmons and his estranged father, Chief Mike Simmons, who both wind up on the same crucial vessel, have the most compellingly human subplot, but it’s the real-life USS Zumwalt, the guided-missile-destroying leader of the “Ghost Fleet,” that, thanks to a detailed history of its creation and armament, is treated to the book’s deepest and most fascinating backstory. A HMH/Dolan hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Other Son

Alexander Soderberg, trans. from the Swedish by Neil Smith, read by Gildart Jackson. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 11 CDs, 13.5 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-1-101-88926-8

Book two in Soderberg’s announced trilogy (after 2014’s The Andalucian Friend) throws us into the middle of protagonist Sophie Brinkmann’s continuing struggle for survival, caught in the middle of a violent turf war between two Scandinavian drug cartels. A working knowledge of the first book may not be a necessity but it will help in understanding how Sophie, a nurse and single mother, could have fallen in love with her patient, Hector Guzman, the leader of one of the cartels. It would also provide clues as to her relationship to Jens Vall, who seems to be a good-guy arms dealer. Without that and other info, the best way to enjoy this dense thriller is to ignore the past and let reader Jackson’s crisp, dramatic British delivery whisk you along at a breakneck pace that manages to speed up as Sophie’s situation grows ever darker. Jackson smoothly adds the appropriate accents as the action hops from Istanbul to Berlin; Biarritz, France; Sonora, Mexico; and Stockholm, simplifying this complex, overpopulated tale so that most listeners will be ready for book three. A Crown hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Armada

Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-8041-4911-2

When Zack Lightman sees aliens in the sky, he thinks he is going crazy like his conspiracy-theory-prone father, who died in a mysterious accident when Zack was a kid. Growing up, Zack distracted himself with gaming, achieving one of the world’s top scores in a humans vs. aliens video game called Armada. Now 18, he finds himself on the frontline of Earth’s defense against an overwhelming alien invasion as a result of his gaming ability. Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame reads the audio edition. He easily expresses Lightman’s point of view with his own naturally young-sounding voice and does especially well with the more emotional parts of the novel, when Zack crumbles into tears. The overall delivery is steady and straightforward, keeping listeners engaged throughout. Wheaton’s one shortcoming is that some of his voices for other characters feel a bit caricatured rather than fully developed. A Crown hardcover. (July)

Reviewed on 08/28/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.