cover image Marrow Island

Marrow Island

Alexis M. Smith, read by Emily Rankin. Random House Audio, 8.5 hrs., $35 ISBN 978-0-7352-8466-1

Reader Rankin beautifully renders the lyrical prose of this compelling and enigmatic novel. Twenty years have passed since a cataclysmic earthquake struck the northwest coast of Washington State, resulting in widespread devastation, including a terrible fire at an oil refinery on the isolated Marrow Island. Efforts to battle the blaze with flame retardants and other chemicals so polluted the soil and groundwater that the island was rendered toxic and uninhabitable. Lucie Bowen, an environmental journalist whose father died in the fire, returns to Marrow, where a small community of people have been working under the radar to make the land livable again. But the island harbors dark and deadly secrets. Rankin’s clear and thoughtful reading perfectly captures Lucie’s emotional turmoil as she tries to reconcile her past with the present and an uncertain future. She effortlessly navigates the story’s shifts in time, as well as the small, distinctly portrayed cast of characters. Her pacing and tone keep the story moving at a deceptively leisurely pace, building stealthily to a suspenseful and moving climax. A Houghton Mifflin Harcourt hardcover. (June)