cover image Forty Thieves

Forty Thieves

Thomas Perry, read by Peter Berkrot. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, 8 CDs, 9.5 hrs., $34.99 ISBN 978-1-68168-022-4

Perry’s novels are enhanced by a sardonic, slyly humorous approach. Reader Berkrot smoothly conveys this with a voice that sounds street-smart but literate, frequently amused and never terribly ruffled, even when the plot takes one of its frequent surprising twists. The novel concerns two married couples. Sid and Ronnie Abel are LAPD detectives turned private sleuths, hired by a corporation to find out who killed one of its scientists. Nicole and Ed Hoyt are assassins hired to stop the Abels’ investigation, who, after several unsuccessful attempts, wind up on their Russian clients’ hit list. Berkrot executes Sid and Ronnie’s rapid-fire exchanges with perfect timing, sounding loving yet critical, exactly what you’d expect from seasoned long-married sleuths. He presents Nichole and Ed with Texan drawls even though the author is vague about their origins, giving them an easy-going geniality that seems off until it’s justified by the ever-inventive plot. As for the cadre of unequivocal Russian villains, they are plentiful, yet Berkrot has devised a distinguishing gravelly croak for each male and an oddly sexy, consonant-rich growl for the group’s ultra-deceptive female. A Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious hardcover. (Jan.)