Ray Porter is an amazing performer, and his strong voice is never more convincing than in the narration of a crime audiobook. Covering some of the grittiest crime novels from the likes of Don Winslow and Jonathan Maberry, he brings the dark atmosphere and constant threats with a subtlety that chills readers to their core. So when I learned he would be giving voice to Steve Hamilton’s new series featuring Nick Mason, a man released from prison but indebted to a criminal kingpin, it seemed a natural choice.
Porter proved that he was indeed the right narrator in the first book of the series, THE SECOND LIFE OF NICK MASON, which earned him an Earphones Award. Now he’s returned for Hamilton’s high-octane follow-up, EXIT STRATEGY, where Mason is tasked with infiltrating the federal witness protection program while trying to dodge an assassin who has Mason in his sights.
If you haven’t checked this series out yet, now’s the time. With only the second book published, you’ll get in on the ground floor of an intense, fresh crime series from one of the genre’s greats. Fans of Hamilton’s Alex McKnight series or his Edgar Award-winning standalone, THE LOCK ARTIST, already know the man’s got serious writing chops. But those unfamiliar with his work are sure to be pleasantly surprised by this action-packed series.
Porter and Hamilton make an excellent team on this audiobook series. Here’s hoping there will be plenty more to follow.
AudioFile Magazine goes Behind the Mic with Dan Bittner to hear about his narration of HONESTLY BEN, an Earphones Award winner. Bill Konigsberg’s novel is a complex portrait of Ben, a scholarship student and baseball team captain at an elite East-coast boarding school. Ben is confused about his sexuality, namely his feelings for his ex-best friend, Rafe, and a cute girl at the neighboring school. Rafe and Ben briefly became more than just friends in the first novel in the series, OPENLY STRAIGHT, which was told from Rafe’s point of view.
“Growing up is messy and it’s complicated, and Bill nails it in his writing”—Narrator Dan Bittner
HONESTLY BEN: Openly Straight, Book 2
by Bill Konigsberg, read by Dan Bittner
AudioFile Earphones Award
HONESTLY BEN and OPENLY STRAIGHT are both about growing up and developing a sense of identity in the petri dish that is high school. Dan thoughtfully portrays Ben in all of his complicated emotions and sensitivities, along with the other jocks and wealthy classmates surrounding him at his high school. This novel will engage teen and adult listeners alike for its humor and its empathetic portrayal of learning about who you are.
Find more audiobooks narrated by Dan on our website!
This week two new audiobooks that caught my eye, and ear, are filled with humor, warmth, and family dynamics. Mother and daughter author duo, Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella, are pretty irresistible in their latest essay collection I NEED A LIFEGUARD EVERYWHERE BUT THE POOL. Smile from the title on in. Another writer who keeps me in stitches is Adrianna Trigiani. Her new audiobook KISS CARLO looks like a winner. With Edoardo Ballerini as the narrator, how could this sojourn with a postwar Italian-American family not be a delicious listen? (The story does include culinary specialties!)
When I talk about author-read memoirs, I always reserve the right to dispute whether the author IS actually the best narrator. In the case of John McEnroe’s BUT SERIOUSLY it seems like this just had to be the author. McEnroe gives the full-on assault of voice and personality. It’ll be love it or leave it, for sure.
The mash-up of MATCHUP sounds really intriguing to me. Lee Child edited a collection of short stories in which A-List thriller writers pair up their series’ protagonists: Lee Child and Kathy Reichs match Jack Reacher and Temperance Brennan; Lisa Scottoline and Nelson DeMille pair their Benny Rosato and John Corey. Add in talented narrators and, what a gang!
AudioFile Magazine chats with author CD Reiss about her award-winning audiobook MARRIAGE GAMES, and her views on the audio experience.
AudioFile Magazine: Your book MARRIAGE GAMES just won an Audie Award for Erotica, and you attended the Audies Gala in New York City in June. What was that experience like?
CD Reiss: I brought my 13-year-old son with me, and since I grew up in Brooklyn, there were a lot of family visits that week. I wasn’t thinking about business until I got there and met some narrators I love working with like Xe Sands, Andi Arndt, and Jeremy York. It was a lot of fun, the food was terrific, and to be honest, I was convinced I wasn’t going to win, so I just relaxed and had a good time.
When Andi won her first award [for DIRTY], I was so happy for her, and I became even more convinced MARRIAGE GAMES wouldn’t win because . . . who wins two awards in a night?
Andi, apparently. (more…)
“If it bleeds it leads” is a well-known newspaper aphorism that may explain the strong correlation between crime novels and current events. Many a crime plot has had its beginnings in a captivating story or headline. There are no shortages of stories about Jack the Ripper, large corporations contaminating water supplies, terrorist attacks, or high-profile unsolved murders. Often, the more outrageous the real-life scenario, the better. The true-life events trigger a “what if” question in the minds of great suspense writers, and then they run with it.
One of—if not THE—best crime novel of our time, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, was influenced by the news stories of the Scottsboro Boys that Harper Lee would have read as a child. And chillingly enough, a much more modern nonfiction story from Lee’s own Monroe County, Alabama, is told in Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY.
One murderer who intrigued a writer enough to put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—is Peter Manual, the man who terrorized Glasgow in the 1950s. Denise Mina crafts a fictionalized version of his story in THE LONG DROP.