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Audio Buzz, Past
Audio Book News
By Jonathan Lowe

APRIL 2013
by Jonathan Lowe

MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA by Paulo Coelho, narrated with sensitivity and equanimity by actor Jeremy Irons, is a novel set in Jerusalem in 1099, in which a wise man known as the Copt (or Egyptian) addresses the townspeople to answer their questions about life, beauty, love, and loyalty. In ways it is similar to Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" (in both structure, length, and content), and also seems to be influenced by the Sermon on the Mount. Coelho's most popular work is The Alchemist. Irons is a patient and listenable narrator with both stage, screen and voiceover experience. At around two hours, the story is sure to be a hit across South America, where Coelho, a Brazilian, is a folk hero. Interestingly, he's also a musician interested in self-improvement and economics, and once tried to remove a vampire book (to which he contributed) from bookstore shelves. He is a Catholic.

Daniel H. Pink has a new business book out titled TO SELL IS HUMAN. Like many recent titles, it offers counterintuitive insights into motivations and influences. The author also reads the audiobook version, and says that most everyone is into sales in one form or another, and that extroverts do not usually make the best salesmen (or women.) Why? There is an innate tendency for people to resist strong sales pitches. Tests have shown that, even in real bargain situations, customers perceive aggressive promotions as misleading. They do not want to be "sold" prior to their own discovery and romance with the object being sold. I once learned this on the day I was to give a talk on audiobooks at a major bookstore, and went outside an hour prior to give away free audiobooks to people in the mall (along with a printed invitation to stop by.) "Would you like a free audiobook?" was followed by "Have you ever tried an audiobook?" and then "I'm giving away free audiobooks…would you like one?" Few of the dozens of people passing by took me up on the offer. Some acted as though I was distributing explosives. Many people simply cannot make a decision when pressed, and need to circle an idea first, suspiciously. These are motor responses. Knee jerk reactions. We are motivated subconsciously more than we are consciously.

The character of Doc Ford takes his 20th outing in NIGHT MOVES by Randy Wayne White. The setting is Sanibel Island, Florida, (where, incidentally, White hangs out at the Doc Ford Rum Bar & Grille.) The plot involves a murder attempt on Doc or his buddy, both of whom have secrets that prevent them from going to the police. The intrigue is that it relates to the disappearance of five Navy planes in the Bermuda Triangle in 1945. What's an accident here, and who is targeting who? White is skilled writer focused more on character and motivation than on chase scenes and knife jabs in the dark (like, say, James Patterson.) For this reason, his style may not appeal to those who bore easily, or consume a lot of TV pablum. For those who prefer the thoughtful, inquisitive unfolding of a storyline, his writing is ideal. Veteran narrator George Guidall reads the novel, and is again ideal for this approach. (Has anyone in the industry recorded more books? I don't think so. Guidall has surpassed 800 unabridged books in his career. When and if he reaches 1000, you're going to see him on the Evening news!)

Jenny Milchman picks up Cassandra Campbell as interpreting narrator for her thriller and first novel COVER OF SNOW, about a policeman's wife whose husband has committed suicide in upstate New York, without discernible reason, having made love to her the previous night. When she tries to find out why, she gets only resistance from his friends, his colleagues, his mother. What are they hiding? Reader Campbell has the ability to find that perfect balance between living in the character's shoes and engagingly guiding the listener on their path to the chilling truth.

Eric Vincent reads THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN by Joe R. Lansdale, another talented writer with a collection of cross-genre stories that includes western, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Vincent reading the always intriguing Lansdale sounded perfectly matched to the text, and complex enough in undertones to engage the listener with rapt curiosity.
Finally, travel back in time to the 1950s, when comic books came under the target of censors, forcing publishers to censor themselves. Inspired by real events, SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT by Max Allan Collins spotlights the McCarthy era with an entertaining whodunit ably brought to life by performer Dan John Miller, whose accented interpretations of characters is always "spot-on." Join Jack Starr as he tries to solve the mystery as Dr. Werner Frederick aids hearings against comic book violence. It's also an insider's view of comic book history, when EC Comics publisher was the subject of a witch hunt that amazingly banned words like "terror" in comics in some States! Collins is the author of "Road to Perdition" and completed a Mickey Spillane script to pick up an Audie award for "The Little Death" that was produced on audio by a full cast headed by Stacy Keach.
Your reviewer's new book, out this month under an assumed name, is the sports satire "The Umpire Has No Clothes," an ebook from Crossroad Press for Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

2013 Past Columns