The best audiobooks need an author and reader both suited to the medium, but occasionally the quality of one can compensate for the other's failings. The to-ings and fro-ings in time of Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor (HarperCollins, 3hrs, pounds 8.99) are hard to hold, and the language sounds more overwrought than on the page. But Derek Jacobi romps through the roccoco phrasing with such competence that it's hard to stop listening to this tale of a modern detective'sperception of a 17th-century architect's devilry.
Nick Hornby's demotic style is, by contrast, easy on the ear. But whoever got Hornby to read Fever Pitch (HarperCollins, 3hrs, pounds 8.99) almost scored an own goal: his voice is amateurish and uneven. Persevere. He gains in confidence, and the book explores male obsession just as well as High Fidelity.