Binge-Worthy Seasonal Mystery Listening
By Ellen Quint, AudioFile
We may be approaching the tail end of summer with the opportunity for relax reading trickling down, but there’s still time to “binge-listen” to—as opposed to binge-watch—a few of the season’s hottest audio books.
Having tapped into Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford series for a recent post about Golden Voice narrator George Guidall, I decided to start my binge-listening there. First, I listened to Book 25 in the series, CARIBBEAN RIM. Then I went back to listen to the first book, SANIBEL FLATS, performed by another award-winning narrator, Dick Hill. Other narrators have stepped in over the life of the series. Guidall, however, having performed the last dozen or so audiobooks in the series, has cemented his reign over the Doc Ford universe.
The books are inhabited by strong, quirky, interesting characters, and the storylines are fast-paced and always instructive about fish, the sea, and Florida. I have only just started the series, but in between other listens, I’m looking forward to returning to Sanibel Island and visiting with Doc Ford and his hippie stoner—and super smart—friend Tomlinson.
While listeners do get to experience the characters growing and developing during the series, you won’t be at a disadvantage if you listen out of order. Author White puts in enough backstory to keep listeners on track. The same thing is true of the other series mentioned below.
For those daunted by taking on a well-established series with a long backlist of audiobooks, you might try BLACK AND BLUE, the third audiobook in David Rosenfelt’s Doug Brock police procedural series. Fred Berman returns to voice the New Jersey state trooper, who suffers from amnesia resulting from a gun injury, providing interesting challenges for him in his personal and professional life. Fans of Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series are treated to a cameo by the reluctant lawyer. Makes sense—they all live in New Jersey.
For a fun, light story, I always turn to Janet Evanovich. Since the next installment in the Stephanie Plum series won’t be released until November, I listened to her sixth book in the Fox and O’Hare series, THE BIG KAHUNA, read by Scott Brick. Listeners can go along for another audio roller-coaster ride, this time to Maui. Brick is the perfect narrator for the sarcastic, devilishly charming Nick Fox and the hard-driving FBI agent Kate O’Hare.
At ThrillerFest, I had the opportunity to meet Harlan Coben, the creator of the Myron Bolitar series. Speaking on a panel, Coben shared the challenges of keeping a series fresh and managing the personal and romantic life of aging protagonists. The 11th book in the series, HOME, is performed by actor Steven Weber, who brings Bolitar and his regular crew to life.
I just started to listen to the latest release in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, THE NEW GIRL, once again performed by George Guidall. As anticipated, it’s a gripping first couple of chapters. Note that the entire series is definitely binge-worthy!
Contemporary Thrillers for September from AudioFile Magazine
And just in time for back-to-real-life September, AudioFile Magazine has selected five more great thriller audiobooks that combine blow-you-away narrations with standout writing. Grab your earbuds and start listening.
by Barry Eisler, read by Barry Eisler
Barry Eisler aces his narration of his third Livia Lone thriller, as his compelling protagonist teams up with a Homeland Security detective to investigate the disappearance of local teenage girls.
by Peter Church, read by Peter Noble
Peter Noble has just the right pace for this tense thriller about the Dark Web and cybercrime in Cape Town, South Africa. With a computer hacker as the hero, it’s a fresh and unexpected story.
By Karen Ellis, read by Graham Halstead
A black teenager who runs afoul of the law, a spoiled young woman, a gay police detective, an autistic investigator, and more are vibrantly alive in Graham Halstead’s gripping performance of this intense thriller about the power of one bad choice.
Earphones Award Winner
By S. J. Rozan, read by Emily Woo Zeller
This long-awaited addition to the Lydia Chin and Bill Smith series, performed by Emily Woo Zeller in a star turn, takes the investigators to the Mississippi Delta to establish the innocence of a cousin who is accused of having murdered his father. Would that it were as easy as they hoped.
By Kate White, read by Cynthia Farrell
Cynthia Farrell’s straightforward narration has the right sound for this scary-but-engaging crime series, which introduces crime reporter and occasional sleuth Bailey Weggins. The murder victim is a church-going soccer mom out for her morning run. Be careful out there.
By Lisa Gray, read by Amy Landon
Narrator Amy Landon provides each character with a distinct tone that allows the dialogue to captivate listeners in this suspenseful story about an L.A. private investigator searching for clues to her mother’s murder 25 years earlier.