We’re very excited to announce that journalist and author Teresa Carpenter‘s masterful work of crime reportage, Missing Beauty, is now available as an audiobook via ACX. The opportunity to revive a book of this caliber and broaden its audience is what makes us excited to come to work every day, but don’t just take our word for it. Ann Rule called Missing Beauty “a classic…exposing murky passions and bizarre secrets. A truly incredible book.” And Robert B. Parker raved, “Compelling, wonderfully told. Don’t miss it.”
Carpenter, a former editor at the Village Voice, where her articles on crime and the law won a Pulitzer Prize, is also a longtime ACX supporter. During the audio production of Missing Beauty, she agreed to collect a few of her thoughts on the book and the audiobook. We’re happy to share them below.
Missing Beauty was my first book. It was published over twenty years ago by W. W. Norton and Company and in recent years, hardcover copies have been increasingly hard to come by. (Every time I would find one on Amazon. I’d snap it up). So I am thrilled to know that it will now be enjoying a brand new life — as an audiobook.
I’d been aware for the past few years that editors, agents and other publishing people in my acquaintance were relying more heavily upon audiobooks; this so that they could maximize their reading time while driving, or taking cross-country flights, etc. But it wasn’t until my husband’s recent book, In the Plex, was published by Audible last spring that I realized what a huge audience this medium is gaining. Authors are enthusiastic about its potential because we are all painfully aware of how many good books have been tanked by a print sales force that is conditioned to sell nothing but celebrity biographies. A small, eccentric and brilliant little book can now, in theory, be launched onto a level playing field where it receives a first print run that stretches to infinity. Electronic and audiobooks offer the possibility that the book will be staying in print forever. Believe it or not, that matters to an author.
I was sold on Audible when I went to the rollout of ACX and realized that older books of mine could enjoy new life by being recorded as audiobooks. I asked my agents at ICM to send a copy over to Audible’s headquarters in Newark and they worked with me to find a suitable actor. I sat in for a bit of the Missing Beauty reading, narrated by the actor, L.J. Ganser. (He also recorded Plex.) My initial reaction was surprise that I found myself so drawn so deeply into the plot as it was read. I, of course, know how the story turns out, but L.J. brought to it a fresh interpretation which made me realize how much of a performance art the reading of audiobooks is. You could have the same book read five times by five different actors and you wouldn’t tire of it because each would be a fresh interpretation. I am actually putting that theory to the test. The first Gothic novel ever written, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, has been recorded in at least seven audio editions. I plan to listen to them all. I’ll let you know what I find.
Also, we urge you to check out Teresa’s new book, New York Diaries, which The New York Times called “the most convivial and unorthodox history of New York City one is likely to come across.”