cover image Murder Unleashed

Murder Unleashed

Rita Mae Brown, read by Johanna Parker. Recorded Books, unabridged, library edition, six CDs, 7.5 hrs., $72.75 ISBN 978-1-4498-3151-6

This delightful second book in Brown’s Mags and Baxter Series set in Reno, Nev., finds transplanted stock trader Mags Rogers; her elderly great-aunt, Jeep Reed; and real estate broker Babs Gallagher trying to find a solution to the local foreclosure crisis. But when a body turns up in an abandoned house, Mags and her wire-haired dachshund, Baxter, must once again take it upon themselves to crack the case. Narrator Johanna Parker ably conveys Mags’s gracefulness and intelligence, Babs’s enthusiasm, and Jeep’s warmhearted crankiness. But where Parker really shines is in giving voice to the ladies’ crime-fighting dogs. Baxter speaks with a speedy squeak, while German shepherd King is deep, thoughtful, and almost regal. Parker is equally successful in providing voices for a kindly neighborhood coyote and her spiky, bickering brood. Honorable canines, good-hearted people, a serious discussion of current financial woes, and top-notch narration make for a surprisingly winning mix. A Ballantine Books hardcover and consumer digital download from Recorded Books. (Oct.)