cover image The Bone House

The Bone House

Brian Freeman, read by Joe Barrett. Blackstone Audio, unabridged, 10 CDs, 12 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-4417-8045-4

Past crimes, hidden secrets, mysterious murders, unknown villains, a plucky heroine, an innocent man condemned by circumstance, and a likable, witty, eccentric detective%E2%80%94all the ingredients for a propulsive page-turner are present in Freeman's new thriller. The frequent surprises are smartly enhanced by the crisp, slightly satiric delivery of narrator Joe Barrett, whose smooth, slightly wise-guy twang is nearly a voice double for film star Christian Slater's. Protagonist Mark Bradley, an ex-schoolteacher fired without cause for a rumored affair with teenager Tresa Fischer, is on vacation with his wife when he becomes the main suspect in the murder of Tresa's younger, wilder sister, Glory. Freeman has designed a complicated puzzle, and while all the pieces fit, keeping track of them could have been a challenge to the listener. Fortunately, Barrett's emphatic rendering of the events, along with his distinctive character voices, makes the ordeal of audio backtracking totally unnecessary. A Minotaur hardcover. (Apr.)