06/26/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Audio Book Review: Shadow of Power

AUTHOR Steve Martini (9th in the Paul Madriani Series)
GENRE: Legal drama
LENGTH: 13.5 hours
PUBLISHER: Harper Audio
NARRATOR: George Guidall, "Everyman," "The Foreign Correspondent," "The Dark Tower," the Vince Flynn Series, plus 650 other book narrations.

Who killed the author of the incendiary best seller that claims slavery is still written into the Constitution? And where's the secret Thomas Jeffferson letter that threatens to facture the entire country, if exposed.

And who really cares? The McGuffin here - the thing that everyone is after - is a smoking-gun Thomas Jefferson letter that supposedly institutionalises racism in the Constitution. It's the letter that get's the media-hound author murdered, which gets San Diego lawyers Paul Mandriani and Harry Hinds, defending a young punk for the dasterdly deed. There may be some episodes in this Madriani series that are absorbing - this is not one of them.

This plot is like Hamburger Helper. There's a modest ingredient somewhere in there, to which is added a whole lot of filler in an attempt to bulk up a meager meal. Others familiar with these series regulars may know who these people are. But for a first timer, there is not much character dimension to latch into. Paul, and his partner Harry, have been together so long - the series starter came out in 1984 - maybe they're bored with each other. Makes it hard to care about them, their client, the victim, or the McGuffin.

Veteran narrator George Guidal does what he can with the leaden material. Guidall's voiice has an aged richness that wouldn't be your first voice choice for women and young characters.

Jury duty would be more exciting.