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Change of Heart
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A cast of four narrators (plus one extra for the epilogue) read Picoult's latest melodramatic take on an interesting social dilemma. Death-row inmate Shay Bourne, convicted of murdering a little girl and her cop stepfather, wants to donate his heart to the little girl's sister, who requires a transplant. ACLU lawyer Maggie Bloom (voiced by Danielle Ferland) and Fr. Michael Wright (played by Stafford Clark-Price) attempt to carry out Shay's wishes. Meanwhile, as apparent miracles begin happening in the prison, some wonder if Shay is some sort of messiah. As the overlong book drags on, the narrators do their best to keep the story moving and hold listeners' interest. Ferland effectively inhabits Maggie and James Frangione's calm baritone does much to engender sympathy for Shay's fellow inmate, Lucius. However, listeners may have a tough time getting to the painfully obvious revelation of the truth about Shay's crimes and the book's long-foregone conclusion. Simultaneous release with the Atria hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 21). (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

When itinerant carpenter Shay Bourne is moved to the maximum security wing of the New Hampshire State Prison to await execution in the state's first capital punishment case in decades, odd things happen. The water in the cells runs red with wine; a rescued baby bird comes back to life; an inmate's AIDS goes into remission. Eleven years earlier, Shay was convicted of murdering Kurt Nealon and his seven-year-old stepdaughter, Elizabeth. Kurt's wife, June, was pregnant when her family was killed, and her second child, Claire, was born with a heart defect. Without a transplant, Claire will die, so Shay wants to donate his heart to make amends for Elizabeth's death. Because lethal injection will render the heart useless, ACLU attorney Maggie Bloom seeks to change the sentence to death by hanging. Her unlikely ally is Father Michael, a priest who as a college student had served on the jury that convicted Shay. Can June and Claire accept such a gift from the person who destroyed their family? Once again, Picoult's deft treatment of a contemporary issue demonstrates that there are few simple answers. Twists in the plot keep the listener in suspense until the end. The five-member cast of narrators (Nicole Poole and others) is masterly. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Change of Heart is the latest New York Times best seller from Picoult; it is also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--Nann Blaine Hilyard, Zion-Benton P.L., IL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Picoult is a rare writer who delivers book after book, a winning combination of the literary and the commercial." -- "Entertainment Weekly"

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