cover image The Naturalist

The Naturalist

Andrew Mayne, read by Will Damron. Brilliance Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 11.5 hr

Actor Damron’s dynamic narration adds a veneer of credibility to Mayne’s breezy thriller. The first time biology professor Theo Cray is told that Juniper Parsons, a former student whom he hasn’t seen in six years, has been literally torn to pieces is just after he’s become the main suspect in her murder. His name turned up in the investigation when the police found his treatise on her iPad, and he happened to be on a Montana field trip near the scene of the murder when it occurred. Reader Damron gives the professor’s narration just the right combination of intellectual arrogance, hard-headed determination, and guilt (“If only he hadn’t encouraged Juniper to study animals in the wild...”). Other characters get their vocal due, too, including an oddly likeable detective with an unruffled interrogation technique, a sweet small-town waitress whose voice betrays her immediate affection for Cray, and the horrific killer whose carefully spoken threats carry an unnerving, insinuating air. These character renditions add a bit of flavor as the plot moves steadily to an exciting final confrontation between Cray and the killer. A Thomas & Mercer paperback. (Oct.)