Best Mystery Audiobooks of 2018

6 Must-Listen Titles for Mystery Lovers

Best Mystery Audiobooks 2018Congratulations to the authors and narrators of the 2018 Best Audiobooks in the Mystery category. The competition is tough—AudioFile’s editors start with 2000 audiobooks in 9 categories that eventually get sorted down to 50 honorees (including the 6 in the Mystery category listed below).

What do all of these audiobooks have in common—what makes them rise to the top? They are all masterfully written by talented authors and read for us by narrators who manage to convincingly convey multiple characters while leaving room for our imaginations. Robin Whitten puts it so beautifully in the podcast about the Best Mystery Audiobooks, saying that the best narrators disappear into the story, becoming the voice that provides all the details while also inhabiting all of the characters. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

A Season to be Thankful—And Yes, That Includes Audiobooks

Which Audiobooks Are You Thankful For?

Wrecked

The Punishment She DeservesI know I’m dating myself, but I got hooked on audiobooks when I put cassette tapes into my “Walkman” and had to turn them over after 30 minutes to listen to the other side. I am a grateful witness to the evolution of audiobooks in the digital age that allows me to listen to Elizabeth George’s THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES—and just to have narrator Simon Vance’s voice in my head for 22.75 hours—without having to pause to switch over a single cassette. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Reflecting on Remembrance Day through WWI Mysteries

Ian Rutledge, Bess Crawford, and Maisie Dobbs

The Gate Keeper

The Gate KeeperNovember 11, 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of the formal end of WWI, observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Several years ago, while visiting Salisbury, England, on November 11, I personally experienced that moment when everything and everyone comes to a complete stop at 11 am to observe two minutes of silence to honor those who lost their lives fighting for their country.

To honor the 100th anniversary, I would like to call attention to several mystery series that are set during WWI and its aftermath. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Getting into the Spirit of the Halloween Spirits

Horror and Thriller Audiobooks for the Creepiest Season

The Outsider

Yes! Halloween, my favorite holiday. It’s autumn, and the leaves are showing off their inner beauty before the winter turns everything brown, white, and gray. There are the decorations and the costumes. Best of all, there’s the candy. (Oops, did I say that out loud?)

The OutsiderBut let’s face it—this is a holiday filled with horror. Audiobooks are particularly well suited to this genre—the tension, the anxiety, the fear when well narrated make for a totally gripping listen. Plus, you can always fast forward past the really scary parts. For those inclined, there is no better purveyor of horror than the master, Stephen King. For a frequent flyer like myself, I find even the review of FLIGHT OR FRIGHT too scary. This audiobook is a collection of 17 short stories of air travel horror written and read by King and others. Personally, I find just getting through security and all the challenges of flying today horrible enough. King, in addition, has given thrill seekers THE OUTSIDER, read by Earphones Award winner Will Patton. This book begins as a police procedural before it creeps into the seriously creepy. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

A New York Yankee in the Red Sox Court

3 Boston-based audiobook mysteries

Big Papi Bridge

Big Papi BridgeCan a New Yorker be a super appreciative fan of Boston-based audiobook mysteries? Well this one is. It’s October—baseball playoff season. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are heading to a showdown. And here I am a New York Yankees fan (don’t hate me) who is, for business reasons, in Red Sox Country—not just in Boston, but staying in the hotel of the Boston Red Sox with Fenway Park looming outside my hotel window.  Even a New Yorker can’t help but be impressed by the enthusiasm (dare I say fanaticism) of the fans—which, judging by the baseball caps, shirts, jackets, and umbrellas, is everyone. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

True Crime: Stranger Than Fiction

And At Least As Engaging

The Old Man and the GunIn my last Solve blog, I explored how post-9/11 thrillers capitalize on the fears and reality of our new normal, thus incorporating real-life events into fiction. Now, inspired by the opportunity to review THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN by David Grann and read by Mark Deakins, I feel like I am taking a step further away from fiction and into true crime audiobooks. This audiobook collects three of New Yorker staff writer David Grann’s true-crime articles, each about very different crimes and the characters who perpetrate them. Narrator Deakins provides a straightforward narration that’s easy to listen to, which feels like the right approach for Grann’s journalistic style. Although Grann personally interviews the criminals and their victims, friends, and family, he himself always remains outside of the story. All three stories are great listens. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Post-9/11 Thrillers

Truth or Fiction?

Blue Lights

Blue LightsTuesday morning 9/11/2001: I had just come up from the subway next to the World Trade Center plaza. A small crowd had formed and were all looking up and pointing. I followed their gaze to up to flames and smoke and what looked like debris pouring out of the upper floors of the North Tower. The walk to my office in the World Financial Center would take me directly through that plaza. In a state of confusion, I decided I would skip the office and just go home. I turned to walk toward the Brooklyn Bridge when suddenly a huge explosion shook the ground. Everyone started screaming and running. The second plane had just hit the South Tower.

Getting back to the safety of my apartment, I watched from my tenth-floor window with utter disbelief as the South Tower disappeared into a cloud, followed shortly after by the North Tower. Lives, buildings, everything gone. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

3 Mystery Listens for Kids, Tweens & Teens

Not Just for Grown-Ups

Dare You To Lie

As it’s the end of August and “Back to School” fever has taken over, I thought I would focus on Middle Grade and Young Adult offerings in the mystery/crime/horror category.

Greetings from Witness Protection!Strong female characters welcome! Jake Burt’s GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION! features 13-year-old Nicki Demere—she’s feisty, smart, and self-reliant. She’s also a pickpocket (having been trained by her grandmother) and a kleptomaniac. Nicki is living in an orphanage and going in and out of foster care when she’s recruited by the U.S. Marshals Service to help protect a family going into Witness Protection. Narrator Tara Sands strikes the right balance with Nicki’s voice, tone, and attitude. She is joined by a group of narrators who complete the cast of villains and other adults. This was a fun and engaging listen, even for a geezer like me. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Stretching Out of My Listening Comfort Zone

Trying Something New and Different

Who Is Vera Kelly?

The FallenOne of the things I love about being a reviewer for AudioFile Magazine is the opportunity to listen to new books I would not have chosen on my own. Frankly, I frequently find myself going back again and again to the same authors, narrators, and types of mysteries. Yet the mystery category covers many genres, including Cozies, Noir, Police Procedurals, P.I., Sherlock Holmes, Hard-boiled, Soft-boiled, Historical. And then there are Thrillers, Suspense, Horror, and Paranormal. And then there are sub-genres within all of these categories. The point is, with so many flavors, why stick with just plain vanilla or chocolate? Go for it—try something new and different.

While slightly out of my comfort zone, I have listened to and enjoyed David Baldacci’s Amos Decker series, most recently THE FALLEN. I find the lead character Amos Decker intriguing and sympathetic. He is known as the “memory man” as he has the special ability to remember everything. The audiobook, read by Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy, solves the challenge of male narrators performing female characters and visa versa. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Riding in on the Fog: Exploring Mysterious San Francisco

3 Audiobooks to Transport You to the West Coast

Ellen in San FranciscoI’m in San Francisco this week—city of hills to climb, cable cars, earthquakes, fantastic food, and a sense of mystery and magic that rolls in with the fog, making it the perfect setting for mysteries from hard-boiled crime to thrillers to cozies. In fact, Golden Gate Mysteries, compiled by Randal Brandt of the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkley, contains over 2,500 titles of mystery, detective, and crime fiction set at least in part in the San Francisco Bay area.

Dashiell Hammett, an originator of the hard-boiled genre of detective stories, lived and set his famous novel, THE MALTESE FALCON, in the San Francisco of the late 1920s. This 2008 recording is a dramatized, full-cast version, which brings to life the classic “noir” tale, with the slick-talking detective, the seductive and mysterious femme fatale, and the company of nefarious fellows. There have been so many take-offs of this classic that it is truly entertaining to listen to such a well-done version of the original. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).