cover image Single & Single

Single & Single

John Le Carre. Simon & Schuster Audio, $25 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-04390-2

Le Carr reads his new thriller with the voice of a master of the genre, gamely throwing himself into long passages of the dialogue-driven plot. He jumps right into the complex story, set in locations that shift back and forth from Turkey to England, with little set-up explanation. The sense of atmosphere is rich, the polished, descriptive scenes exquisite. However, perhaps due to the abridgment process, a listener is left playing catch-up throughout the tape, struggling to discern what's really going on with the characters. At heart, this is a story of a struggle between father and son, shadowy financier Tiger Single and children's magician Oliver Hawthorne. Tiger has deserted the family to consort with Russian mobsters, and Oliver, having betrayed his father once, now must fight to save his life. They're joined by a complex financial thread that provides the central framework for the international intrigue propelling the action. As audio, the listening experience is frustrating because the material sounds so wonderful, yet it's difficult to keep a grip on what's happening. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover. (Mar.)