cover image Blow the House Down

Blow the House Down

Robert Baer, , read by John Rubinstein. . Random House Audio, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-3239-9

Rubinstein reads Baer's first novel, aglimmer with purple prose and intelligence world double-dealing, with a tough-guy grunt and a taste for broad comic voices. Baer intends his novel as a fictionalized version of his own experiences as a career CIA officer (his memoir See No Evil was the inspiration for the movie Syriana ), incorporating real-life figures like FBI man John O'Neill (who died in the World Trade Center) into his story of a Baer-like intelligence agent who finds himself trapped in a web of global terrorist maneuvering. Rubinstein's reading is solid, but listeners will undoubtedly find that the most fascinating aspect of this audiobook is Baer's chat with author Seymour Hersh. Two experts of the shadowy intelligence underworld, they discuss the relationship between Baer's characters and real figures, and Baer's stated intention to prod the uninformed reader into learning more about the secret workings of the intelligence world. Baer and Hersh deliberately leave things vague, but their hints about the relationship between Baer's book and reality are tantalizing. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 13). (June)