cover image I Am the Messenger

I Am the Messenger

Markus Zusak, , read by Marc Aden Gray. . Listening Library, $45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7393-3729-5

Two Aussie slackers stumble into a bank robbery, and inadvertently prevent it, bickering about their jalopy all the while. One of them, Ed Kennedy, a 19-year-old taxi driver, soon receives mysterious playing cards in the mail, and winds up taking on other, similarly baffling reclamation and assistance projects, prodded by an unknown guardian angel. Gray's reading accentuates Zusak's amusing tale with a series of comically elongated Aussie vowels for Ed's first-person narrative. Gray doesn't quite sound like a teenager—his diction is too precise, too well-studied for that—but he captures something of the broad humor and lackadaisical good cheer of late adolescence. Zusak's book mingles drama and comedy admirably, and Gray nimbly shifts gears—far more fluidly than that jalopy ever could. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)