cover image FaceOff


Edited by David Baldacci, read by multiple narrators. S&S Audio, , 10 CDs, 11 hrs., unabridged, $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-7004-3

This anthology, in which members of the International Thriller Writers society double up on 11 short mysteries featuring their famous protagonists in tandem, is both gimmicky and intriguing—and surprisingly testosterone-soaked. All but two of the tales feature male bonding. Dennis Boutsikaris’s tough, verging-on-cynical voice stands in for the lion’s share of the protagonists, including Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme and John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport, in the longest, and most entertaining, entry, “Rhymes with Prey.” Narrator Dylan Baker scores with two fantasy-mystery duets, adding Southern-tinged sarcasm to “Infernal Night,” in which F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack and Heather Graham’s Michael Quinn meet in a New Orleans cemetery, then using a suspenseful whisper for “Gaslighted,” a nightmarish thriller with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s Aloysius Pendergast and Slappy, R.L. Stine’s ventriloquist’s dummy—by far the anthology’s oddest coupling. Narrator January LaVoy easily handles the women protagonists; she adds a thick Boston accent to Det. D.D. Warren and a brittle, energetic pacing for a N.Y.C. prosecutor. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (June)