cover image THE MOTIVE


John Lescroart, , read by David Colacci. . Brilliance Audio, $40.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59355-362-3

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Fiction THE MOTIVE John Lescroart , read by David Colacci. Brilliance Audio , unabridged, 12 CDs, 14 hrs., $40.95 ISBN 1-59355-362-5

As series protagonists Deputy Chief Inspector Abe Glitsky and defense attorney Dismas Hardy struggle to solve a dual murder in this first-rate audiobook, listeners learn quite a bit about firefighting, arson investigation, the San Francisco police department line of command, how city contracts are awarded and, the author's specialty, the complexities of courtroom procedure. This, plus a large cast, an intricate story line replete with red herrings and a particularly tricky finale, makes this audio a formidable test for any narrator. Colacci passes it stylishly, matching Lescroart's crisp and accessible procedural descriptions with a confident, no-nonsense delivery, while providing the secondary characters with subtle touches—wariness for an arson investigator; smug cynicism for a city planner; a suspicious, chip-on-the-shoulder inflection for a troubled cop; etc. But his expertise is most evident in his handling of the protagonists. For Glitsky, Colacci assumes a voice conveying a flat, middle-aged weariness that increases in frustration and sadness as the lawman learns of his newborn son's potentially fatal heart defect. And he captures Hardy's many shifting moods—from the lawyer's pretrial uncertainty to the jauntiness in his byplay with law partner Wes Farrell (another Lescroart series protagonist)—with ease. Listeners couldn't ask for a better performance. Simultaneous release with the Dutton hardcover (Forecasts, Nov. 29, 2004). (Jan.)