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Singularity screenshotNightlife screenshot
Singularity and Nightlife iPhone screenshots



Singularity

The science fiction story with an espionage twist, Singularity, was written in 2004 by author William H. DeSmedt and published by Per Aspera Press. Then in 2006, Bill DeSmedt did the entire narration of his book. It is now on Podiobooks and iTunes as a FREE podcast. From Prologue to Epilogue is 46 separate files, for many hours of interesting listening.

Bill's reading of the story is easy to understand, even with the Russian accents, and expressive for each character. This book has exciting scenes, humor, mystery, and romance along with the hard science and technology. Bill's speaking pace is slow enough to grasp all the story. For sexuality, language, and violence, this is recommended for mid teens and up.

The Storyline

The prologue begins with an account of a firsthand witness to the Tunguska Event, which took place in Russia in 1908.  It is commonly accepted that the event occurred as a result of a meteoroid or comet fragment entering the Earth's atmosphere and bursting before hitting the ground. But in 1973, American physicists Albert A. Jackson and Michael P. Ryan had a different theory. The Jackson-Ryan hypothesis involves a single tiny-sized Black Hole passing through the Earth's surface into the planet's core.

American Jonathan Knox had been a university exchange student living in Moscow, Russia in 1984. By accident, he happened to meet two physics students from Siberia. Galina (Galya) Mikhailovna Postrel'nikova, a teenage prodigy studying magnetohydrodynamics (known as MHD) and Alexander (Sasha) Andreyevich Bondarenko, studying astrophysics. The three became friends but had lost touch over the years.

Post 9/11/2001 in the book, Marianna Bonaventure is an operative of Critical Resources Oversight Mandate (CROM) and in hot pursuit of a Proliferation Threat on a lower Manhattan skyscraper rooftop. CROM is part of the Department of Energy and tries to keep foreign WMD scientists (aka the proliferation threats) from imparting weapons knowledge to enemies of the USA. Marianna can almost taste a capture, but the target surprisingly gets away by powered hang glider, heading towards New Jersey.

Jonathan Knox, also post 9/11, is now a Systems Analyst and IT Consultant working for the company Archon. He notices one day at work that someone else appears to be using his office email account. Why is anyone trying to steal his identity? And who are they sending emails to from his account? Jonathan contacts one of his IT hacker friends to investigate and get him some answers.

Before Jonathan can find out about the email spoofer, Marianna Bonaventure arrives at his office and admits she needed to use his account for official government business. She then recruits Jonathan to assist in her location of her target. Jonathan considers Marianna "the client," while Marianna sees Jonathan as "the Archon resource" as they tentatively begin to work together to find and pick up her lost target.

Meanwhile, on the year's expedition to Russia with a camp of other international scientists, cosmologist Professor Jack Adler of the University of Texas at Austin sets out to collect more data to bolster the Jackson-Ryan hypothesis. The unanswered question, of course, about the tiny black hole hypothesis: Why is there no evidence of an exit by the black hole from the other side of the Earth? Adler has his own theory about that, but is it provable? And if so, what are the consequences to Earth?

The outcome of this story about the connections and interconnections of scientists, technologists, government spies, academicians, and mercenaries reveals what fate has in store for Jonathan, Marianna, Jack, Sasha, Galya, and in fact the whole world.



Nightlife

The crime thriller Nightlife was written by prolific author Thomas Perry and first published in writing in 2006 by Random House. The audiobook version is about 13 hours of listening time and was produced by Tantor Audio in 2006. It is also available from Audible.com, other vendors, and at local libraries. The book is narrated by Shelly Frasier.

Ms. Frasier's reading has just the right amount of matter-of-fact chilled detachment where needed as she voices all the characters in this suspenseful police manhunt. It leaves one a little haunted after the close of the book. The story contains sexuality, very mature language, and a lot of violence. It may be disturbing for younger listeners, and is recommended for late teens to adult.

The Storyline

Nightlife cover
The story opens with a young woman named Tanya Starling brushing her long blonde hair in front of a full length mirror. She's so pretty she grew up being a beauty pageant contestant. She admires herself in the mirror, and across from the mirror is a second mirror, where she can see her reflection reflected. Looking at herself, she remembers how she used to imagine there were so, so, many, many, pretty-women mirror images of herself all lined up and kicking their legs, just like the Rockettes.

Her boyfriend for the past month, Dennis Poole, a Portland, Oregon computer salesman, has just arrived home and she stops brushing her hair. After they embrace, Tanya tells him he should relax and soak in the tub. Now the very pretty woman retrieves a small pistol from her purse and enters the bathroom. As Dennis has his head resting on a towel at the end of the tub, she holds the gun a foot away from his head and squeezes the trigger.

So goes the first killing of the book's female serial killer. The rest of the book will take us inside Tanya's head to try to understand why she begins killing and why she won't ever stop. We hear about her upbringing and education, her calculations and assumptions. And her steady but sure total disconnect from reality. A sad, maybe even tortured, look deep inside the twisted mind of a common killer.

Later, Homicide Detective Catherine Hobbes, of the Portland Police Department, is assigned to investigate Dennis Poole's death. Her investigation reveals that from Poole's salary, the house is affordable but the supercleaning meant maybe it was done by the killer instead of his maid crew. The long strand of blonde hair did not match the all-hispanic-and-black cleaning crew. So goes the first clue that Detective Hobbes has to the killer. Now she has to follow up on it, and whatever else surfaces, to track down Tanya.

In San Francisco, the pretty woman sits in a hotel bar and chooses a man who enters from the hotel instead of the street. They drink and dine together. They date briefly. Because the man is thinking of investing in the pretty woman's business, he has her investigated to protect his money. When the pretty woman discovers this, she decides the prudent thing to do is to quickly disassociate herself from him and his private detectives. And the pretty woman is frustrated she couldn't just kill him off to solve her problem.

This man got away, but the next would not be so fortunate. As the bodies multiply from Tanya, Catherine tries to keep a cool head and work her clues. When she eventually confronts Tanya, her last ditch effort needs to be flawless. Whether the lady serial killer or the lady police officer can outwit the other will determine which one gets to stay alive.




This is the final edition of the Audiobooks Club.

Thanks to everyone who read & wrote in the blog, listened to the selections, and voted in the polls.

And a Special Thanks to both jeanette0605 and newdem1960 for contributing their Guest Diaries to the series.


Keep On Listening!


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