Tuesday, January 1, 2019

YOU’RE DEAD by Chris Knopf

Human nature is a mystery in itself, and many people underestimate the resourcefulness of the loner. This is true of Jack Reacher, and also Dr. Waters, the first person company psychologist at the heart of YOU’RE DEAD by Chris Knopf. When the company owner Paresh Rajput dies, Dr. Waters is suddenly suddenly under suspicion, (as Dr. Richard Kimble was in The Fugitive, starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, based on the novel by Roy Huggins, originally a TV series starring David Janssen. Huggins was one of the creators of Maverick and The Rockford Files as well.) Waters picks up both stalkers and hired guns, with cops and alluring female executives in on the mix, and with a billion dollars on the line related to high tech and artificial intelligence. What those trailing him don’t understand is that Waters, a former autistic child, is highly skilled as a former wrestler and weight lifter. He is also relentless, as Reacher is, with poker as one of his skills. So the plot is high finance, aerospace, and massive money versus a flawed loner with the ability to read intent by mere observation. They picked the wrong man to frame. Read by VoiceArts winner Kevin Kenerly, whose spot-on narration amplifies the mood without venturing anywhere near melodrama, the audiobook version is a must-hear. Noir? Knopf has been compared to everyone from Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard, Ross MacDonald, and John D. Macdonald. He is also author of “Two Time” and “A Billion Ways to Die,” among many others. For border wall intrigue, Ray Porter will be reading “The Border” by Don Winslow, book three of the Cartel series, and Book Two is going to film as well, directed by Ridley Scott. Sign up to Audiobooks Today for more news and new titles.

Friday, December 28, 2018

HELP is Here: The Beatles and Audiobook Deals

HELP!, The Beatles and Duke Ellington’s Orchestra stand as the two greatest examples of collaboration in music history. Duke University musicologist Thomas Brothers delivers a portrait of the creative process at work, demonstrating that the cooperative method at the foundation of these two artist-groups was the primary reason for their unmatched musical success. While clarifying the historical record of who wrote what, with whom, and how, Thomas Brothers brings the past to life with photos, anecdotes, and more than thirty years of musical knowledge that reverberates through every page, and analysis of songs from Lennon and McCartney’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” to Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge.” Help! describes in rich detail the music and mastery of two cultural leaders whose popularity has never dimmed, and the process of collaboration that allowed them to achieve an artistic vision greater than the sum of their parts. For more great audiobook new titles go HERE. Algis Budrys HERE.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

THE MAILROOM: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up

THE MAILROOM: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up by David Rensin reveals why Harvard MBAs fight to turn down secure six-digit corporate salaries to start work at a major agency for less than $400 a week; what it takes to appease impossible bosses, outsmart the competition, and "agent" the agents; and how a hungry, star-struck kid can become the next Geffen or Diller by sorting mail, eavesdropping on crucial conversations, and trying anything to get noticed. Reaction: these interviews, mostly covering the decades prior to our own, are revelatory and anecdotally interesting for anyone wanting to know how The Entourage’s (Endeavor’s) Ari and many other agents and agencies operate. There are a laundry list of interviews, with dirt shed on each. Apparently loyalty (as in DC politics) can be bought for a price. The team players switch teams in a heartbeat for better parking elsewhere, and rat each other out for advantage…worse than pro football. It’s not all a “sex slave versus master” dual of wills, as in the TV series, but Hollywood competition makes it difficult for legit and honorable people to thrive, although some do. “Mailroom” is a broad term here to mean, not just delivering scripts after hours, but also making phone calls, filling the candy jar, or carrying a giant inflatable ornament to a party on the roof of your car, while getting treated like someone who doesn’t have an MBA but is a nearly homeless person—whom you might well be. Why do college grads put themselves through all this? For the chance to talk to stars on the phone arranging meetings, on the off chance that a five minute aside in some corner office five years later might turn you into a “made” person, on the path to millions. (You lick boots until you can put them on and kick other butts.) It’s all here, too. Confessions, asides, name dropping, ego tantrums, and the agency equivalent to the casting couch. Did Michael Ovitz really start out in the mailroom, and does the new generation of agents and actors rely on family ties while feeling entitled without working long and hard? Find out in this recommended listen, narrated with consummate skill by actor and Earphones award winner Sean Runneth, new to audio on Christmas Day. ...And if there’s any agents reading this, I have a prequel script to the 2004 Tom Cruise movie Collateral in this ebook. See also Krakatoa by Simon Winchester.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Puppet Master by Ronald S. Barak

THE PUPPET MASTER by Ronald S. Barak is a new prequel to his “The Amendment Killer,” a political thriller set in Washington DC. If the system is fixed or “rigged,” there are those willing to kill to set it right. Or left. It is described as “a gripping story ripped from the headlines.” Pipe bombs and politics figure into the plot of Barak’s novel, forecasting events to follow, he says. (As did my Postmarked for Death, endorsed by Clive Cussler--whose latest is SEA OF GREED--and originally recorded by Frank Muller as “Postal,” about a serial bomber attacking immigration offices in Tucson.) A homicide detective named Lotello is tasked to find the killer, eventually making a White House connection. There is a court trial, angry citizens, abuse of trust, and various points of view brought to bear in an intriguing plot as three leaders are murdered in as many days. (As in the movie Collateral, by hitman Tom Cruise, although that movie focused on one frenetic night and a gun.) Narrator Edward Bauer is an LA actor with theatre experience. The NY Times praised him for his performance about a conflicted bomber. He’s boom boom good. 
An audiobook I’m looking forward to is FINDING DOROTHY by Elizabeth Letts, author of “The Perfect Horse.” Interview HERE. "We're not in Kansas anymore." --Avatar

Monday, December 10, 2018

Power, Pleasure and Profit by David Wootton

Power, Pleasure and Profit by David Wootton is read by Charles Constant for Tantor Audio. If you are a professional book reviewer and would like a free download code, leave a comment. I have a few left. No club to join, no strings. If not, go HERE. The subtitle is “Insatiable Appetites from Machiavelli to Madison.” Wootten is a professor of history at the University of York (UK.) Previous books include The Invention of Science, and Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Harm Since Hippocrates. This audiobook is a densely researched examination of how our culture became what it is: driven by “success” at all cost. While it can’t be described as “a light read” (or rather “listen”) it is quite eye and ear opening. Not the typical fare, but ultimately fair in debunking the socio-economic background to today’s focus on “instrumental reasoning.” (Like the instrumentalism which David Deutsch debunked in his “The Beginning of Infinity,” as a computer scientist and historian.) Was Adam Smith correct in “The Wealth of Nations?” In the telling chapter eight, it is revealed that “starvation in the midst of plenty” was the rule, and Smith overlooked caring for the poor in favor of the “utility” of selfishness. People died in the streets, not from lack of food, but from lack of compassion. Money often needed to have a reward as investment, whether in this world or the next, and if one did not believe in the afterlife, there was no reason to care. Wootton jumps back and forth in time to make his points, and to connect the dots on how one philosophy had an impact on others in other generations. The incidents range from gluttons throwing crumbs to the starving to the legitimized eating of babies (cooking recipes included) in historical Ireland 1740, during a famine when the rich ate well. While this sounds sensational, and stands out, it is mentioned in passing, without emphasis, as a footnote. There’s a lot here. The goal is in the liner notes: “This new instrumental reasoning cuts through old codes of status and rank, enabling the emergence of movements of liberty and equality. But it also helped to create a world in which virtue, honor, shame, and guilt count for almost nothing, and what matters is success.” Also from Tantor is FRYDERYK CHOPIN: A Life and Times by Alan Walker, read by Corrie James. It’s a biography of the composer, the greatest poet of the piano, who once said, “My goal has always been the heart and soul of man.” Running over 23 hours on audio, it is the definitive history, linked to the times, with scholarly and interesting anecdotes throughout. Listen while in the car or gardening or shoveling snow, and you’ll know more about Chopin with Liszt and George Sand in France, Poland, and the cold studios in Majorca than anyone, as the genius who died young at 39 created music that would last from 1849 to current stages worldwide. There is debunking of Chopin myths, to boot!

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Boy in His Winter and Dark Visions

Launched into existence by Mark Twain in 1835, Huck Finn and Jim have now been transported by Norman Lock through three vital, violent, and transformative centuries of American history. As time unfurls on the river’s banks, they witness decisive battles of the Civil War, the betrayal of Reconstruction’s promises to the freed slaves, the crushing of the Native American nations, and the electrification of a continent. Huck, who finally comes of age when he’s washed up on shore during Hurricane Katrina, narrates the story as an older and wiser man in 2077, revealing our nation’s past, present, and future as Mark Twain could never have dreamed it. The Boy in His Winter is a tour de force work of imagination, beauty, and courage that re-envisions a great American literary classic for our time. 
DARK VISIONS by James Byron Huggins. Joe Mac was a legendary homicide detective until his vision was lost in the line of duty and he was forced into retirement. Now he lives a life of darkness, his only friend being a huge Raven that Joe Mac names "Poe." But when Joe Mac's grandson is murdered by an unknown killer, Joe emerges from his self-imposed solitude to resurrect the skills of the detective he once was. And, although he is blind, Joe Mac begins to hunt down his tiny grandson's murderer. Led in some dark way by Poe, Joe Mac relentlessly tracks a force that literally owns the darkness, uses the darkness, and belongs to the darkness. For the force he is tracking has fed upon this world for thousands of years, and has never known defeat. It kills like demons, disappears like ghosts, and leaves nothing alive. But Joe Mac is determined to follow this road to Hell no matter the cost. He will find whoever it was that so mercilessly killed his young grandson, and he will deliver justice ... even if it costs him his life. Fearlessly following the clues, he tracks the murderers of his grandson into the deepest, most dangerous heart of ancient nightmares. And with each haunting step into that darkness, Joe Mac realizes that he has somehow challenged a power that has destroyed nations and conquered continents. And the death they have delivered to the Earth reaches back to the beginning of the world. It is a battle that will take Joe Mac to the edge of sanity and beyond. EbookInterview coming soon. 

PREDATOR: IF IT BLEEDS (VoiceArts Award Winner: Blackstone Audio)