The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 11, 2008

Book review: 'Night Ferry' is a tense, engaging thriller

‘The Night Ferry’

By Michael Robotham

(Playaway audiobook)

Alisha Barba, a Sikh detective with the Metropolitan Police, is recovering from a serious back injury when she receives a letter from Cate, her best friend from childhood.

Alisha and Cate have been estranged for several years but Alisha is eager to see her old friend. In her letter, Cate begs Alisha to meet her at their high-school reunion. At the reunion a seemingly very pregnant Cate tells Alisha that someone is trying to take her baby. She pleads for Alisha to stop them. The two friends don’t have much time to talk before a speeding car comes out of nowhere and kills Cate’s husband. Cate dies later of injuries she sustained.

Alisha enlists the help of colleague Vincent Ruiz to help investigate Cate’s death. Their investigation leads them from London to the red light district of Amsterdam — a dangerous journey into the underworld of sex trafficking, people smuggling, slavery and exploitation.

Robotham’s novel contains the elements of a tense, engaging thriller: appealing characters and exciting plot twists. Clare Corbett’s British accent and great narration make the characters shine.

This was my first time listening to a book in the Playaway format, and I enjoyed the convenient format. The Playaway is about the size of a deck of cards and can be easily carried in a pocket.

The Joplin Public Library also has the audiobook disc edition and regular print version available for checkout.

‘A Killer’s Kiss’

By William Lashner

(Playaway audiobook)

This mystery thriller finds criminal lawyer Victor Carl in bed with Julia, a beautiful old flame who dumped him years ago for Wren Denniston, a doctor of urology.

Carl quickly realizes that he and/or Julia are prime suspects in the case when homicide detectives Hanratty and Sims appear at Carl’s door to question him about a murder.

In addition to the detectives mentioned above, Lashner introduces a number of other colorful characters including Gregor Trochek, a Russian hoodlum whom Denniston cheated and who now wants his money back any way possible; Julia’s slimy lawyer, Clarence Swift; and Derek Moats, Victor’s African-American wisecracking client who eventually becomes his infuriating partner.

Although Victor is suspicious of Julia and realizes that she may be setting him up for the murder, he ignores his inner voice and continues to try and clear Julia and himself.

The unique characters, non-stop action and sharp wit makes “A Killer’s Kiss” an enjoyable novel. Jim Frangione provides excellent narration for this mystery.

“A Killer’s Kiss” is available in regular print as well as the Playaway audiobook format.

‘Blue Heaven’

By C. J. Box

(Compact disc audiobook)

Twelve-year-old Annie Taylor and her 10-year-old brother, William, are upset with their mother for letting UPS driver Tom Boyd stay overnight at their house.

They steal Tom’s rod and reel and go fishing in the woods of North Dakota without telling their mother. As they get close to the river, they witness the vicious murder of a man by four other men. The killers see that the two children saw them commit the murder, and Annie and William run for their lives.

This part of North Dakota has a large population of retired Los Angeles policemen. After the children’s mother reports the kids missing, an intense search is organized and the local sheriff is happy to have some of these retired policemen volunteer their efforts.

One of the killers (a retired policeman) gives an exhausted Annie and William a ride to his home. They manage to escape when Annie overhears his phone conversation and realizes the man took part in the killing. Annie and William believe that they can trust no one. They can’t even go home, because the killers will be watching it. They continue to run and seek shelter in a barn on Jess Rawlins’ ranch. Jess discovers Annie and William, reunites them with their frantic mother, and ultimately risks his life to help them.

“Blue Heaven” is a tension-filled crime thriller with intriguing characters that delivers twists and turns until the last page.

The Joplin Public Library owns the regular print and large print editions as well as the compact disc audiobook version narrated by John Bedford Lloyd.

Phyllis Seesengood is the technical services librarian at Joplin Public Library.