The Lost Order Writer’s Cut Audio Edition is written and annotated by Steve Berry and narrated by Scott Brick. It is the 12th installment in the Cotton Malone series (available April 4, 2017).
Steve Berry is one of my favorite thriller writers not only because the stories are entertaining and action-packed, but also because of the way he weaves real historical events into his modern-day stories. I’ve read all of the books in his Cotton Malone series and loved them. If you’ve never read Steve Berry, think National Treasure only better. With the Writer’s Cut Audio Edition of his latest novel, The Lost Order, you get excellent narration from veteran reader Scott Brick and the occasional insight on research or characterization from Berry.
When I first started the book, I was more than a little skeptical that Berry’s interruptions would be anything but annoying. I didn’t want my experience ruined by extraneous comments. But I’m so glad that I was completely wrong. I loved hearing background from Berry. He doesn’t chime in too often, but when he does, it’s exactly when I was wondering if the fire at the Smithsonian Institution discussed in the book really happened in the 1860s or if he made it up.
The historical references make an ideal subject matter for the annotations. My curiosity was satisfied—saving me from mid-book Internet searches—without taking me out of the story, and it provided me with detail I couldn’t get anywhere else. There was only one interruption in the entire book that I thought was unnecessary, and overall I loved the extra information.
The narrator of the audiobook is Scott Brick, veteran not only of multiple Berry novels but nearly 400 mystery, thriller, and suspense titles and nearly 700 audiobooks in total. In this book, he did a great job of keeping me engaged so my attention didn’t wander. He also varies the voices well so you can keep track of the action and the players, which is no small feat for a book that keeps multiple storylines in play and has quite a few characters.
The story itself is an intriguing one that features series hero Cotton Malone and recurring character Danny Daniels—now ex-United States President—at the forefront. Using an ex-President as a character adds a fresh perspective to the story, while grounding it with the series favorite Malone meant I knew what I was getting. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two storylines—Confederate treasure hunting and government intrigue—along with the machinations of the secret order. I also loved the use of the history and current day Smithsonian Institution and Libraries as both a setting and almost a character in the novel. The Smithsonian is one of my favorite museums, and it was great to learn more about it.
The plot of The Lost Order was memorable and kept me engaged over the multiple sessions needed to finish an audiobook. It was also easy enough to track so that I didn’t lose details if I had to step away. For Steve Berry fans, this audiobook is a treat that I highly recommend. I will definitely reach for the Writer’s Cut Audio Edition of his next novel.
If you’re new to his books, you may want to start out with the first book in the Cotton Malone series, The Templar Legacy, and work your way through so you can enjoy all of his wonderful stories.
Listen to an excerpt from The Lost Order!
To learn more or order a copy, visit:
Deborah Lacy’s short mystery fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly Magazine, the 2016 Bouchercon Anthology: Blood on the Bayou, and she has a story coming up in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. She also runs the Mystery Playground blog.