Title: The Copper Bracelet
Authors: (In order of chapter written) Jeffery Deaver, Gayle Lynds, David Hewson, Jim Fusilli, John Gilstrap, Joseph Finder, Lisa Scottoline, David Corbett, Linda Barnes, Jenny Siler, David Liss, P.J. Parrish, Brett Battles, Lee Child, Jon Land, James Phelan
Narrator: Alfred Molina
Publisher: Audible Inc and International Thriller Writers Inc 
Length: 8hrs 38 minutes
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My rating: 3.5/5
One-liner: A true edge of your seat thriller
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
This book features the same band of war-criminal hunting ‘Volunteers’ who first appeared in The Chopin Manuscript, which, like this one, featured chapters written by different thriller writers. In the opening sequence Harold Middleton, leader of the Volunteers, and key members of his crew are nearly the victims of a hired assassin but, of course, they turn the tables and instead begin to learn that the copper bracelet which the assassin was wearing is far more than a piece of jewellery. The team must track down someone known as The Scorpion and prevent the world exploding into a new world war when a conflict between India and Pakistan is orchestrated by some nefarious types.
If Frederick Forsythe had written a season of 24 it would, I imagine, have turned out a bit like this book. It’s full of global politics, double-crossing assassins and the implausible high-tech gadgetry that a decent thriller must have. But, probably because each one is written by a different author all trying to leave their mark, the chapters each have their own story arc and cliff-hanger endings so it’s even more action packed than an average thriller. There are undoubtedly more twists and turns in the overall plot than would be the case if the story was written by a single author but it holds together well and there are surprisingly few loose ends left over. It’s not a particularly thought-provoking story but it didn’t lose my attention once.
As tends to be the way with thrillers the characters aren’t particularly well-developed, partly because they’re busy leaping out of the way of thermobaric bombs and partly because there are so darned many of them (that’s probably another side-effect of the multiple authorship). However the notion of a group of people tracking down the world’s war criminals is more clearly defined in this book and some of them were quite engaging in their brief appearances.
As he did with the first book Alfred Molina narrates brilliantly, taking the numerous characters of multiple nationalities in his stride. As someone who is a real fan of audio books I am pleased to see this audio only experiment continue. It’s quite clear the authors have fun collaborating as a change from their solo pursuits and I can’t imagine too many listeners wouldn’t experience a similar sense of fun with this classic roller-coaster of a thriller.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
As far as I can tell there are no plans for the book to be available in print but a version for the kindle is due in January 2010.
I reviewed The Chopin Manuscript, the first book in this audio-only series, earlier this year