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Audio Book Review
Books to read with your eyes on the road

by Jonathan Lowe
Audio Book Reviewer

What exactly is magic? Where do all those talking animals come from? And the spells, the gnomes, the fairies and castles … are they supposed to exist in alternate universes, before past ice ages, or what? Terry Brooks’ “Magic Kingdom For Sale: Sold” contains many unbelievable elements – gnomes, castles, a talking dog, magic, myth and legend. But the presentation is original, allowing for more of a “suspension of disbelief.” So what we have in this book is a believable fantasy for those who don’t enjoy fantasy. A crossover fantasy that has elements of mystery and adventure. The novel begins with an advertisement – a magic kingdom is for sale in an ad, and the skeptical buyer is brought in a step at a time to discover the magic for himself. You will be under the unholy spell of reader Dick Hill, so gifted in creating believable character accents that he must have made a pact with the devil. (6 hrs./Brilliance/Nova Audio/ISBN 1-58788-373-2) 

Actor/singer Jim Gough reads “Six Guns and Double Eagles” by Ralph Compton, a western tale about a gunfighter’s son hired to round up some counterfeiters in the 1880s. Revenge and the Carson City mint figure into the plot, which Gough narrates with a native Texas brogue. While Gough’s voice comes across as natural and entertainingly appropriate, his character voices are neither distinguished nor three-dimensional. The book is fun to hear, much like a western bacon cheeseburger is fun to eat. (6 hrs/Otis Audio/ISBN 1-890990-57-4) 

Stuart Woods is up to his old tricks with “Cold Paradise,” a novel set in decadent Palm Beach, where Stuart himself keeps an estate. This mystery has a lot of gunplay, and it’s about divorce and extortion among all those idle rich bitches and bastards. It’s well read by the very listenable Tony Roberts. (6 hrs./Putnam Berkley/ISBN 0-399-14759-4)

Another Woods release is “Palindrome,” about a battered wife who escapes to another island paradise only to find anything but peace. Read by Susan Ericksen for Brilliance Audio. (8 hrs./ISBN 1-58788-146-2)

Jan Karon is back with “A Common Life,” about the wedding of Father Tim Kavanagh in Karon’s popular setting of Mitford. Dana Ivey presents the story with a careful but natural reading, appropriate to this sensitive tale of small town life. (4 hrs./Viking Penguin Audio/ISBN 0-14-180274-X)

Probably the best of the James Patterson books is “Along Came A Spider,” his first Alex Cross novel, also a movie starring Morgan Freeman. A new abridged release has Alton White and Michael Cumpsty doing a skillful reading. (6 hrs./Time Warner Audio/ISBN 1-58621-108-0)

Dick Wilkinson has a versatile deep voice and talent for reading Dalton Walker’s western “Shiloh – Blood Rival,” about an old west tycoon who hires a bounty hunter to bring back his daughter. (3 hrs/Otis Audio/ISBN 1-890990-28-0)

Bold, opinionated comic George Carlin is back with “Napalm & Silly Putty.” Wow, is he irreverent. This is shocking in-your-face stand-up humor. But if you’re stressed out, listen to this, then have a good laugh and truck on. (2.5 hrs./Highbridge Audio/ISBN 1-56511-450-7)

Now, after hearing Carlin rant, complete the healing process with “Meditation As Medicine.” Author Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa describes how to activate the power of natural healing and achieve perfect calm after a long haul on the road. (4 hrs./Simon & Schuster/ISBN 0-7435-0490-9)

Audio Book Rating System
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&Big winner

For rent or sale of most audio books, visit, or call 1-800-532-7385. Go postal yourself with reviewer Jonathan Lowe’s suspense novel “Postal,” an Earphones award-winning audio book, which bestselling author Clive Cussler calls “powerful and accomplished … mystery at its best.