From the Beacon: Library's audiobooks bring novels to life

A Playaway is a preloaded digital audio player. It brings pages to life at the push of a button. I find that the Playaway is the simplest way to listen to an audiobook on the go. It's perfect to listen to at the pool or beach, when you go for a walk, on an airplane, or in the middle of the night when you wake up and can't go back to sleep. Our libraries have a great selection. I'll tell you about some of my favorites.

"Big Girl," by Danielle Steel, is the story of Victoria Dawson, a chubby girl who looks ordinary and has always felt out of place. In this book, Danielle Steel strays away from her usual heroines and decides to make a heavier woman the star of the show. Victoria always has endured her father's belittling comments and often turns to oversized helpings of all the wrong foods. She lands her dream job in New York City as a high school teacher. The story chronicles her dieting attempts as she comes to terms with her family and finds a man who falls in love with her. A chance encounter, a deeply upsetting betrayal and a family confrontation lead to a turning point for Victoria. Can she finally accept herself as she is?

In "The Glass Rainbow: A Dave Robicheaux Novel," by James Lee Burke, Detective Dave Robicheaux is back in New Liberia, La., and involved in the most harrowing and dangerous case in his career. His partner, Clete Purcel, is being accused of killing a suspect, and his daughter is having an affair with a notorious ex-convict. He fears his beloved Alafair might be destroyed by the man she loves. This book is already being hailed as perhaps the best in the Robicheaux series. The prominent theme is the perennial one of good versus evil. The cast of colorful characters is easy to follow and the Louisiana background is always beautifully articulated. You will love to listen to the voice of the narrator and will be hooked until the very end. The story heats up until it becomes explosive.

In "Ice Cold: A Rizzoli and Isles Novel," by Tess Gerritsen, Boston medical examiner Maura Isles joins a group of friends on a spur-of-the-moment ski trip. They lose their way and Rizzoli is determined to find them. She faces many obstacles on her quest to find the missing skiers. This is a story of survival under extreme conditions, the limits of a romantic love, the dangers of adhering to a cult leader's will and suspense along the way. This story is fast-paced with a knockout conclusion.

"Murder is My Racquet," by Otto Penzler, is a collection of stories by great mystery writers such as Kinky Friedman, Lisa Scottoline and Ridley Pearson. Each story is unique. In "Six Love," a father tries murder to help his daughter become a champion. Stephen Hunter's gripping "Stephen Longacre's Greatest Match" provides a lesson on race relations when a young white man, a ne'er-do-well from a wealthy family, tries to redeem himself by taking on a poor black man as a doubles partner.

Want to hear a terrifying detective story? "The Hypnotist: A Novel," by Lars Kepler, was named one of the best 10 fiction books in 2011. "Not for the faint of heart."