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Settle in for a winter of excellent mystery listening. Among the five audiobook choices we’ve made, readers will find Ian Rankin and William McIlvanney’s prequel in the Laidlaw series. For decades, listeners have resonated with John le Carré’s author-read audiobooks, although his last title is capably narrated by Toby Jones. An ensemble cast of three narrators takes on Allen Eskens’s legal thriller. And for short-story lovers, Maxim Jakubowski’s anthology is a listening bonanza.


THE DARK REMAINS: A Laidlaw Investigation, Book 4

by William McIlvanney, Ian Rankin | Read by Brian Cox

Random House Audio | 6.5 hrs.

Narrator Brian Cox delivers a magnificent performance, captivating listeners with this well-crafted, gritty Scottish detective prequel from authors Ian Rankin and the late William McIlvanney. Cox transports the listener to the underworld of 1970s Glasgow, where the story follows newly assigned DC Jack Laidlaw as he navigates the Glasgow Crime Squad. Jam-packed with corruption, organized crime, and a final twist, this taut police procedural will leave the listener wanting more.




by Allen Eskens | Read by MacLeod Andrews, Christine Lakin, Tina Huang

Hachette Audio | 10 hrs.

A talented team of narrators perfectly presents this fast-paced, engaging legal thriller. Lila Nash is getting closer to her dream job working for the prosecutor in Hennepin County. When she begins working on the case of an attempted murder of a young woman, unexpected connections to other crimes and to her own troubled past come to light. Christine Lakin portrays Lila as determined and passionate. All the narrators perfectly capture the challenging police investigation, legal fight, and personal relationships.




by Rachel Howzell Hall | Read by Susan Dalian

Brilliance Audio | 12.5 hrs.

Listeners join Mickie, a digital archaeologist who is assigned to record the stories of 12 special mementos that have been collected by Nadia, the owner of a curiosity shop. After their first meeting, Nadia dies of an apparent suicide, and Mickie starts to realize there’s more to the stories than first meets the eye. Susan Dalian’s narration keeps the tension building in this thriller through her spot-on timing.




by John le Carré | Read by Toby Jones

Penguin Audio | 6.5 hrs.

-Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award-

John le Carré’s last novel does not disappoint, nor does Toby Jones’s performance. As always, the story is built around spies and their work, but this time the main concerns are loyalty and belonging. Jones takes on a range of accents, all thoroughly convincing, as is the spectrum of emotions the characters display—or pretend to display.




by Maxim Jakubowski (Ed.) | Read by Maxwell Caulfield, Gabrielle de Cuir, Justine Eyre, Alex Hyde-White, John Lee, Juliette Mills, Kate Orsini, John Rubinstein, Stefan Rudnicki, Maxim Jakubowski (Intro.)

Blackstone Audio | 11.5 hrs.

-Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award-

Nineteen prize-winning crime and mystery short stories are narrated by nine highly experienced voice actors. The stories dating from 1985 to 2020 were compiled by the gravelly voiced Maxim Jakubowski, who narrates the detailed introduction. All the narrators vocally embrace these stories filled with tantalizing twists and surprising conclusions. The short story format provides ample opportunity to cogitate on endings, contemplate ironic turns, and revel in the mastery of short stories by outstanding writers of mysteries and thrillers.



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