cover image Field of Graves

Field of Graves

J.T. Ellison, read by Joyce Bean. Brilliance Audio, unabridged, 8 CDs, 10 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-5318-8755-1

This eighth edition of Ellison’s chronicles of Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson is a series prequel, in which Taylor and FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin meet and begin their now long-established relationship. The duo is searching for a lunatic who impregnates and then kills Vanderbilt University students, ritually preparing their corpses. Reader Bean begins the tale using a tense voice to describe Taylor’s fatal shooting of a crooked cop bent on homicide. John is haunted too, by a profile mistake that resulted in the deaths of three of his associates. He has lost interest in his job but agrees to help identify the madman, mainly motivated by an immediate attraction to Taylor. She’s attracted as well. Her speech is tough but feminine, southern accented, defensive, and troubled, but, once she’s been introduced to Baldwin, Bean softens Taylor with the character’s newfound curiosity and interest. Ellison interrupts the pair’s investigation and romance with snapshots of the addled murderer’s grim progress. The bad guy’s motivation is bizarre, but he sounds both erudite and arrogant, two traits that might tip the audio audience to his connection to the victims, were the audience not puzzled and distracted by his insane activities. A Mira hardcover. (Sept.)