ANDREA SEABROOK, host:
My next guest, Steve Brosnan, doesn't just take the highway to his job; the highway is his job. He's a trucker and that means long solitary hours on the road. So when he climbs into his cab and faces down the horizon, he leans over to the stereo and pops in a book. And he's not alone. There's a thriving business in audiobook rentals at truck stops across the country. So this summer, as we look for a little reading inspiration, we'll turn to truckers. We'll get Roadside Reviews of the best and worst in books on tape.
Steve Brosnan joins us from his rig somewhere west of the Mississippi. Steve, where are you?
Mr. STEVE BROSNAN (Trucker): I'm in Shelby, Montana.
SEABROOK: Wonderful. And what are you hauling this week?
Mr. BROSNAN: Right now, I'm on a wind - what we call a wind project. I'm hauling the blades for the big windmills that are going up.
SEABROOK: So what are you listening to these days? I understand you're a fan of a good murder mystery.
Mr. BROSNAN: Yeah. I like a lot of whodunits and then, you know, the forensics and the science of some of these books. Patricia Cornwell's one of my favorites and Kathy Reichs is another one. She's got a show on Fox.
SEABROOK: Her stories became the show "Bones."
Mr. BROSNAN: Correct. Yeah.
SEABROOK: So let's start with Kathy Reich's book "Break No Bones." Do you recommend this?
Mr. BROSNAN: This particular book, no, I don't.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SEABROOK: Why don't you recommend it? Tell me about the book.
Mr. BROSNAN: Well, it's a little boring for my taste. I need to be kept interested and I don't want to be bored with a boring book. This one bored me.
SEABROOK: What is it about?
Mr. BROSNAN: It's about a forensic anthropologist and she's investigating an Indian burial ground and comes across a body that's a little too fresh for an Indian burial ground. And it opens up into a murder mystery.
SEABROOK: We pulled a clip from this. A description of the anthropologist's dinner. Let's listen to this.
Mr. BROSNAN: Yes.
(Soundbite of audiobook, "Break No Bones")
Ms. DOROTHEE BERRYMAN (Reader): Cold spiced shrimp, smoked trout, lobster salad, marinated asparagus, brie, pumpernickel squares, tapenade. We ate watching fingers of sunlight change from yellow to orange to gray. The ocean was calm. A background symphony of swells rolling gently to shore. We finished with key lime pie as the gray turned to black.
SEABROOK: Dorothee Berryman reading there. I guess...
(Soundbite of laughter)
SEABROOK: I guess the last thing you want to do is put a trucker to sleep.
Mr. BROSNAN: No. That's not a good thing out here. You know, between her voice, to me, was just a little too monotone and it didn't rise and fall and I'm not interested in her key lime pie for dinner.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. BROSNAN: That's not why I got the book.
SEABROOK: Okay, Steve Brosnan. Let's talk about something you did like, something you could recommend to us to pop into our CD players or iPods.
Mr. BROSNAN: Yeah. The other book was, yeah, the Patricia Cornwell book, "Book of the Dead." She's investigating a serial killer. She travels over to Italy tracking this guy and tying the murders together. And it was very good. A couple of the discs you kind of looked over your shoulder and wished you'd get back in the cabin to finish it off and listen to it. It kept you.
SEABROOK: So this one was narrated by the actress Mary Stuart Masterson. Let's listen to a little bit of the first scene of the book; this is the murder scene.
(Soundbite of audiobook, "Book of the Dead")
Ms. MARY STUART MASTERSON (Reader): She sits quietly in water and the water is very cold with melting ice cubes in it. And there's little in her eyes. Nothing much there anymore. At first her eyes were like hands reaching out to him, begging him to save her. Now her eyes are the bruised blue of dusk. Whatever was in them has almost left. Soon she will sleep.
Mr. BROSNAN: Now, that was the very beginning of the book and to me that's a hook. Right off the bat, you know, it kind of threw you a little teaser there and then it gently got into the characters and the rest of the book. It was well put together. I really enjoyed it.
SEABROOK: Well, Steve Brosnan, happy driving, happy listening.
Mr. BROSNAN: Well, thank you very much and thank you for having me on. I enjoyed it.
SEABROOK: Trucker Steve Brosnan, who goes by the handle Flyboy, has been on the road for more than 30 years. He reviewed Patricia Cornwell's "Book of the Dead" and Kathy Reichs's "Break No Bones." We reached him in his truck in Shelby, Montana. For more summer reading recommendations, including good old-fashioned printed books, visit the books section of npr.org.
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