cover image True Evil

True Evil

Greg Iles, , read by Dick Hill. . Brilliance Audio, $40.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4233-1793-7

As well-tuned here as he was when he narrated Iles's last Deep South thriller, Turning Angel , Hill takes a smart half-step back from the novel's near-hyperbolic but effective mixture of suspense and spooky science. The plot begins at full gallop, with the smugness of self-satisfied Dr. Chris Shepard shattered by the news from frantic FBI agent Alexandra Morse that his wife has been talking to a divorce lawyer. Not just any lawyer, but one whose clients' spouses, like Morse's sister, die seemingly of natural causes. Über-villain and genius scientist Dr. Eldon Tarver justifies the novel's title by developing deadly and undetectable biological viruses and testing them on unwanted better halves. Iles's characters are almost over-the-top, but Hill captures their personalities without overdoing it. He holds to the pace Iles sets in slowly upping the suspense ante, but he does it in a manner more modulated than breathless, adding to the building tension. When Tarver injects Shepard with a quick-acting cancer virus, Hill renders the event in subdued tones. The effect is as startling as if an insect suddenly flew into your ear. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 20). (Dec.)