Critical Notes

NBCC Roundup

By Bethanne Patrick

Each week on Critical Mass NBCC Bethanne Patrick curates a round up highlighting the work of NBCC members (to submit, send links to

Candace Levy reviews the audiobook version of The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansen at The Book Studio:

The unabridged audio edition of “The Wife’s Tale” was read by Justin Eyre. Eyre's narration takes us smoothly through the range of Mary Gooch's experiences and emotions. Her rendering of Mary is sympathetic, but the irony and humor of Lansens's writing is not lost. The voices are varied enough to guide the listener without being distracting or intruding.

Harvey Freedenberg’s review of Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes is up at

From the first page, Marlantes immerses the reader in the world of the frightened, desperate, often bored Marines. He has made a calculated gamble that readers will grapple with the military jargon that is an integral part of the story, but he makes little effort to explain or clarify (there is an informative glossary of some 30 pages at the end of the book). It’s also a challenge at times to follow the military maneuvers of Bravo Company in all their complexity. In this, it seems that Marlantes is striving to simulate the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the lives of these enlisted men and their officers.

David Abrams reviews Nowhere to Run by CJ Box:

Caught in the middle between law enforcement and sympathy for those who want to melt into the natural world, Joe Pickett faces a constant internal struggle.  Doing what’s right and abiding by his professional code of conduct are frequently at odds.  This, more than anything, is what lends the novels their depth, complexity, and genuinely-earned emotional pitch.

Gregg Barrios paid tribute to the late David Mills:

It's difficult to write about the passing of a talented television writer whose work has graced some of the most important TV programming in the last decade: “The Corner,” “NYPD Blue,” “Homicide: Life in the Streets,” “ER,” “Kingpin,” “The Wire.” It's even harder when that writer is in the prime of his life and creativity.

Randy Gener is named Deadline Club Awards finalist for Best Arts Reporting in New York City:

Gener has been cited for his article “Fomenting a Denim Revolution,” which appeared in the May/June 2009 international theatre edition of American Theatre Magazine, published by Theatre Communcations Group. The article chronicles the plight of the guerilla artists of Belarus Free Theatre who perform underground in Minsk while arguing openly for regime change.

The other two finalists in the Arts Reporting category are Benjamin Ivry, The Forward, “From the Kol Israel Orchestra to a Pygmy Choir” and Robin Pogrebin, The New York Times, “Preserving the City.”

NBCC member Bethanne Patrick is the Managing Editor of The WETA Book Studio (<a href=""></a>) and tweets as The Book Maven.