Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime

Ben Blum, read by Jonathan McClain. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 13 CDs, 16 hrs., $45 ISBN 978-0-8041-6605-8
Voice actor McClain briskly recounts the story of Alex Blum, a straight-arrow 19-year-old who joined the army out of high school and participated in an armed bank robbery with two fellow soldiers days before he was set deploy to Iraq. The book, written by his cousin Ben, attempts to unravel the confused and suspect motivations behind Blum’s uncharacteristic actions, and the several conflicting explanations for his involvement in the crime proffered by his defense lawyers, Blum and his co-conspirators, and his family. Is he a victim of brainwashing? Did he really believe the heist was an organized army simulation? Was he just acting out? Narrator McClain does a terrific job of guiding listeners through this complex story as attitudes toward Alex shift. He vividly captures the book’s watershed moment, Alex’s appearance on the Dr. Phil show, nailing the emotional weight of the scene and the show host’s folksy aphorisms. The book’s narrative arc makes it well suited for the audio format, and McClain is more than competent. A Doubleday hardcover. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 11/27/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-385-53843-5
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-525-52812-8
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-385-68142-1
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