Serial material We haven't had a serious serial killer for a while, but Tami Hoag's latest, Ashes to Ashes (5 hrs), convincingly read by Melissa Leo, makes up for that. The Cremator, as he's called in the press, may take the prize for gruesome ghoulishness. What makes him more vile than many of his evil ilk is that he knows what he is, he's studied his compulsion, and he revels in it without a flicker of remorse. And what makes this fast-paced thriller so involving are the good folks determined to get this monster. Front and center is Kate Conlon, a tough, smart, very appealing former FBI fast-tracker, who has come back to Minneapolis (don't worry, you'll find out why) and is now the witness advocate in charge of a sad, foul-mouthed young streetwalker, the only person ever to see this predatory perp. Working with her is a team of wise-cracking, dedicated cops and an FBI expert sent in from Quantico. As the action heats up, so does the danger to Kate and so will your tense curiosity. Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.

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