The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

September 5, 2008

Book review: Great plot, narration have a "Collision"


By Jeff Abbott (compact disc audiobook)

Ben Forsberg is a freelance corporate consultant who works part-time for a government contractor. Newlyweds Ben and Emily, who have been honeymooning in Hawaii, are getting ready to leave the island when Ben discovers his new bride lying dead in a pool of blood. Police find no suspects in this apparent random murder.

Two years later, agents from Homeland Security pay Ben a visit when his business card is discovered in the pocket of a dead assassin known to have terrorist ties. Ex-CIA agent “Pilgrim” was set up to die and given Ben’s identity. Pilgrim and Ben form an unlikely duo in their quest to discover who framed them and why certain people want them dead.

Jeff Abbott’s “Collision,” a spy thriller packed with memorable characters, several plot twists and plenty of action and suspense, will take you on a wild roller-coaster ride. Phil Gigante lends his excellent narrative abilities to this entertaining thriller. “Collision” is available in the regular print edition as well as the compact disc audiobook version.

‘At First Sight’

By Stephen Cannell (compact disc audiobook)

Middle-aged Chick Best is a California millionaire who has run an Internet business for several years, but in the past couple of years competition has cut into his profits. Chick’s dysfunctional family includes his wife, Evelyn, whose personal trainer occupies most of her time. Melissa, their 16-year-old daughter, dates bikers when she isn’t in a drug-stoned state.

Chick and his family are vacationing in Hawaii when he first sees Paige Ellis, a beautiful, sexy young woman vacationing with her husband, Chandler. Chick is smitten with her and befriends Paige and her husband. Shortly after the vacation ends, Chick is presented with the opportunity to murder Chandler. He appears to get away with it and then tries to insinuate his way into Paige’s life during her grief.

Robert Butler, the homicide detective assigned the case, is determined to hunt down Chandler’s killer. Chick’s obsession with Paige leads him to plan and execute another murder, and his life starts spiraling out of control.

This rather dark, fast-paced, and occasionally humorous novel is not typical of the previous thrillers written by Stephen Cannell. I enjoyed listening to the novel but found most of the characters shallow and not particularly likable. Scott Brick does an excellent job with the narration, and in particular, his interpretation of Chick’s character.


By Karin Slaughter (compact disc audiobook)

Abigail Campano, a wealthy Georgia attorney, arrives home to find the door to her mansion unlocked and shattered glass on the floor. Fearing for the safety of her daughter Emma, she rushes upstairs to discover the battered body of a teenage girl she believes to be Emma. Abigail is so enraged at the sight of the man standing over the body that she kills him with her bare hands.

Special agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assigned to the case. Will concludes that the murdered teenager is actually the body of one of Emma’s friends and that the man Abigail killed was Emma’s boyfriend. So where is Emma? Will is teamed with Atlanta police Detective Faith Mitchell to find Emma, her kidnapper and possible killer. Will is dyslexic but is determined to hide his disability from Faith during their intense investigation into Emma’s probable kidnapping and/or murder.

“Fractured” is filled with complex characters and exciting plot twists. Phil Gigante’s riveting narration of this thriller adds to the breathtaking suspense. The novel is also available in regular print at the Joplin Public Library.

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