Fireball: Carole Lombard and the Mystery of Flight 3 by Robert Matzen (Blackstone)

Carole Lombard’s successful and highly entertaining career was cut woefully short when her plane crashed in Nevada in 1942. Here, Matzen provides an intriguing mixture of biography and history as he relates not only the story of Lombard’s life, but those of the other passengers on Flight 3, as well as the curious elements of the plane crash. Narrator Gilbert delivers a skillful performance that will keep listeners engaged throughout. Her pacing, tone, and emphasis are all spot on, and she infuses suitable emotion into more touching sections of the book. Publishers Weekly

Matzen exhaustively examines the TWA crash into a Nevada mountainside in January 1942 that resulted in the death of Hollywood actress Carole Lombard. She had just completed the first sale of war bonds before the U.S. entered WWII. Tavia Gilbert delivers a fast-paced narration in a pleasant voice. Others died in the crash, many of whom were members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the book provides an almost day-to-day account of the impact of those deaths on the families and loved ones of all involved. Gilbert brings appropriately subdued tones to Clark Gable, Lombard’s husband, who was never the same after his beloved wife’s death. Both the story and some of the narration lean toward the overly dramatic, but otherwise this is an enjoyable listening experience. AudioFile