cover image Defectors


Joseph Kanon, read by John Bedford Lloyd. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 10 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-5082-3289-6

It’s a pleasure to listen to actor Lloyd read this spy novel set in Europe in 1949. He manages Russian, Polish, and British accents that are convincing but not exaggerated. His pace is slow enough to be clear but quick enough to carry us along with Kanon’s fast-paced, if improbable, plot. Without becoming melodramatic, Lloyd conveys the narrative’s tension as the KGB and CIA commit treachery and murder. Through careful alterations of tone he reveals the deep fondness that protagonist Simon Weeks, a former State Department official turned book publisher, feels for his apparently double-defector brother, Frank, and his panic at finding himself engaged in violence and espionage because of Frank’s subtle and self-serving manipulation. The listener may have trouble suspending disbelief, but the story is fun, and Lloyd has narration down to a balanced and fine art. An Atria hardcover. (June)