There’s something special about discovering an author with their debut. You can be torn between taking a chance on someone new—let’s face it, committing hours of your time is a big deal—and finding the “next big thing.” In the world of mystery audiobooks, especially, there are so many long-running series (and longtime author-narrator partnerships) that we can count on new books coming out from our favorite authors on a regular basis. We’re creatures of habit, and we like what we know and are already comfortable with. However, in the case of audiobooks, sometimes a narrator can help nudge us in the direction of that discovery. If I know I enjoy listening to a particular performer, I’m more likely to take the plunge. How about you?
Have you discovered a new author, or even a new-to-you author, who you’ve checked out recently on audio? Did the narrator help you decide to listen? Or maybe you got a recommendation from a friend? What prompted you to take a risk on a new (to you) author?
Being a fan of Peter Berkrot’s work, I was immediately intrigued when I saw that he was narrating William L. Myers, Jr.’s debut audiobook, A CRIMINAL DEFENSE. Combine that with AudioFile‘s glowing review, and I’m ready to try A CRIMINAL DEFENSE for myself! How about you?
A CRIMINAL DEFENSE
by William L. Myers, Jr., Read by Peter Berkrot
AudioFile Earphones Award
Admit it—we’re fascinated with royalty. Just look at the commemorative plates/snowglobes/spoons your relatives scooped up to celebrate the marriage of William and Kate. In the British peerage, dukes are in the direct line of royal succession, and many ducal titles were originally created for the ruler’s siblings. In the Regency period (1811–1820), for example, a popular setting for historical romances, King George III’s progeny enjoyed the dukedoms of Cornwall, Rothesay, York, Albany, Clarence, Kent, Strathearn, Cumberland, Teviotdale, Sussex, and Cambridge, to name a few. For romance readers, dukes are the best of both worlds. They are figures of immense wealth and power (and, of course, they are handsome to boot), with the freedom to pursue outside interests—and maybe, in the world of romantic fantasy—to marry a commoner! Far from common, these six audiobooks about dukes will be a royal treat for listeners.
BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE: Season for Scandal, Book 3
by Kelly Bowen, read by Ashford McNab
Ashford McNab creates a believable cast of characters spanning from the highest to the lowest members of society, with dangerous dealings with the “devil” in a gambling parlor. A recommended title for those who prefer their romances unabashedly feminist and a little mysterious. You can start the series with DUKE OF MY HEART or dive right into BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DUKE!
IF THE DUKE DEMANDS: A Capturing the Carlisles Novel
by Anna Harrington, read by Justine Eyre
AudioFile Earphones Award
Narrator Justine Eyre’s voice is textured and full of emotion as she narrates the first in this Regenecy romance trilogy. Eyre gives each character a unique voice, from the determined-sounding Miranda Hodgkins to the deeper, more forceful tone of Sebastian Carlisle, the Duke of Trent.
THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE AND DUKES: Dear Lady Truelove
by Laura Lee Guhrke, read by Carolyn Morris
Narrator Carolyn Morris draws listeners into the historical romance of Henry, Duke of Torquil, and Irene Deverill, a publisher who has printed provocative columns. Morris helps listeners envision the world of the aristocracy that the characters inhabit and leaves them rooting for Henry and Irene to overcome their differences to find love together.
DUKE OF SIN: Maiden Lane, Book 9
by Elizabeth Hoyt, read by Ashford McNab
The Duke of Montgomery, Valentine Napier, is uncertain in his love of Bridget Crumb, his housekeeper. Narrator Ashford McNab convinces listeners that the despicable duke has hidden depths and motivations to redeem him as he and Bridget join forces to deal with secrets in both of their lives.
WHILE THE DUKE WAS SLEEPING: The Rogue Files, Book 1
by Sophie Jordan, read by Carmen Rose
AudioFile Earphones Award
Carmen Rose narrates heroine Poppy Fairchurch’s vulnerability and hero Struan Mackenzie’s no-nonsense temperament and virility in this historical romance. In Rose’s capable voice, the story, set in London and at the duke’s country home at Christmastime, is a satisfying romp.
NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED: The Third Rule of Scoundrels
by Sarah MacLean, read by Rosalyn Landor
Rosalyn Landor’s lovely British accent and engaging delivery provide the perfect pairing for this appealing historical romance. Handsome William Harrow is dubbed the “Killer Duke” after the apparent murder of his soon-to-be stepmother, young heiress Mara Lowe. If you love NO GOOD DUKE GOES UNPUNISHED, listen to the next in the series, NEVER JUDGE A LADY BY HER COVER!
Do you have a favorite duke whose tales you love? What is it about dukes that keeps you coming back for more stories? Share your favorites with us in the comments!
Sunday is Mother’s Day (don’t forget your mom!), so I wanted to highlight some of my favorite moms in crime fiction. Let’s face it, in detective fiction, the moms are usually relegated to smaller supporting roles, with some exceptions. It’s hard to fight crime and raise kids at the same time. Not impossible, though, as Deborah Crombie’s Gemma James illustrates. Granted, she has some help from her husband and partner in crime, Duncan Kincaid.
Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan is a mother with a grown daughter. That frees up more of her time to investigate all those bones!
Olivia Spellman in Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files series can be a questionable mother at times, but she definitely provides plenty of humor.
Mysteries with amateur sleuths feature more mothers, such as Diane Mott Davidson’s single mom, Goldy Bear Schultz; Karen MacInerney’s stay-at-home mom, Margie Peterson; and of course Donna Andrews’s Meg Langslow, mother of twins.
And the thriller sub-genre often puts the mother front and center—sometimes in disturbing ways. Thrillers show us just how fierce mothers can be, like Marcus Sakey’s Anna Reed in GOOD PEOPLE, Carla Buckley’s THE DEEPEST SECRET, or Gregg Hurwitz’s DON’T LOOK BACK.
Moms help make the world go ’round, and that’s certainly true in the mystery and suspense realm. Who are some of YOUR favorite moms of mystery?
This month’s hot picks are some of the most diverse, intriguing titles I’ve seen in a while . . . all gathered together! For romance lovers who like to delve deeply into exotic worldbuilding, these titles are unusual gems. Each title listed below has a brief description and a quote from the review as well as a link to the full review. Props to our awesome team of romance reviewers who selected and reviewed these titles.
It’s all about… Hotelier Portia Carmichael finds a peripatetic cowboy from her past too tempting to resist.
Audiobook love: “Kim Staunton makes the journey comforting and familiar, thanks to her heartfelt delivery.”
The Colonel’s Lady
by Laura Frantz, read by Laura Jennings
Books & Such Literary Agency
It’s all about… Set on the Kentucky frontier in 1779, Colonel Cassius McLinn reluctantly welcomes a group of women to Fort Endeavor, becoming intrigued by Virginian Roxanna Rowan.
Audiobook love: “Narrator Laura Jennings’s use of accents and pacing brings the various characters to life, moving deftly from the twang of the Kentucky soldiers to the pensive cadence of Roxanna and brusque Irish brogue of McLinn.”
It’s all about… Lady Pandora Ravenel prefers the board games she creates to society’s games, but her unwilling association with Lord St. Vincent involves high stakes for both of them.
Audiobook love: “Mary Jane Wells perfectly captures Pandora’s naïveté, outspokenness, and frustration with a society that marginalizes women.”
It’s all about… Earthling Emma Watson falls for extraterrestrial warrior Ha’ven Ha’darra on their way to his home planet.
Audiobook love: “P.J. Ochlan’s framing builds anticipation when Ha’ven’s spaceship crashes in unknown territory and when Ha’ven’s enemies kidnap Emma.”
It’s all about… Charlene Beckett impersonates her half-sister in her dealings with James, the dashing Duke of Harland.
Audiobook love: “Beverley Crick’s upper-crust British accents are spot-on for Bell’s romance.”
by Lynette Vinet, read by Elaine Claxton
It’s all about… Norman keep holder Amberlie accepts an arranged marriage to Saxon warrior Tedric of Woodrose.
Audiobook love: “Narrator Elaine Claxton delivers both the sophisticated French accents of the Normans and the distinctly more plebian English accents of the Saxons.”
Salt Hendon Collection: Salt Bride, Salt Redux, Salt Angel
by Lucinda Brant, read by Alex Wyndham
Sprigleaf Pty Ltd
It’s all about… These Georgian romances full of villains and historical detail should not be missed.
Audiobook love: “Alex Wyndham takes Brandt’s romantic suspense, set in England in the late 1700s, and creates a vocal tapestry of characters, from the highest nobility to the lowest of servants…”
What the Heiress Wants
by Kristina Knight, read by Carly Robins
It’s all about… Miranda leaves her family’s business to work for rival Connor Reeves. What will happen when he discovers her true identity?
Audiobook love: “Carly Robins’s narration reflects the sensual charm and determination of publishing heiress Miranda Clayton.”
Here’s the hard part — choosing which one to listen to! (My advice — don’t limit yourself to just one!)
Want even more ideas? Visit our site to find more new romance audiobooks here!