Getting an Earful at Thrillerfest XIV

The Expanding Audiobook Industry and the Power of Narration

Thrillerfest 2019

Thrillerfest 2019Did you know that while traditional publishing markets are static or declining, the audiobook industry has been seeing double-digit growth for each of the last seven years? So reported AudioFile publisher Michele Cobb at the session titled The World of Audiobooks at this year’s Thrillerfest.  Besides Michele, AudioFile was well represented on the panel by Founder and Editor Robin Whitten. Audible’s Stacy Creamer, award-winning narrators Richard Ferrone and Thérèse Plummer, and author David Hewson joined them. Moderated by author Jon Land, the panel addressed the growth and changes in the industry, the process and challenges of narrating, and the future of the audiobook industry 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).

4 Summer Listens: Relax with Tales of Murder and Mayhem

Lakeside listening

Lakeside listeningSummer: Hot days, time for play, for laying your head back in a cool lake and looking up at the puffy clouds. Time for barbecues, sangria, and sweet watermelon slices. Time for murder???

What constitutes a great summer mystery/suspense listen? Summer is a time to allow yourself the luxury of being totally captivated and carried away. For me that includes playing audiobooks that are funny, light, and filled with favorite characters, stories that take me away to different parts of the world, and plots that are so engaging you walk an extra mile just to keep listening. 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).

It’s No Mystery Why We Love Listening to Golden Voice Narrator George Guidall

George Guidall

George GuidallGolden Voice George Guidall has recorded more than 1,300 audiobooks. Just contemplate that for a moment! His audiography includes classics such as Cervantes’s DON QUIXOTE (almost 40 hours) and fiction such as Wally Lamb’s I’LL TAKE YOU THERE as well as biographies, memoirs, and nonfiction. For a full list, check out George Guidall’s website.

Most importantly, for readers of this blog, he is the voice of many of our favorite mystery/suspense series: Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series; Randy Wayne White’s Doc Ford series; and Craig Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire series. 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).

Audiobook Fan Goes Gaga for Golden Voices: Narrator January LaVoy’s Audiobook Mysteries

January LaVoy and Ellen Quint
January LaVoy and Ellen Quint
January LaVoy (l) and Ellen Quint

One of the privileges of being part of the AudioFile team is the opportunity to rub elbows on special occasions with stars of the audiobook universe. Imagine being in a New York recording studio surrounded by the people who have thrilled you with their performances again and again. That was me this week at the reception in honor of our five new Golden Voice recipients who have joined this very special class of narrators. A full cadre of Golden Voices was there to welcome their fellow narrators.

Let me focus on new Golden Voice honoree January LaVoy. You can read more about January in the latest issue of AudioFile Magazine and in her narrator profile. January has recorded more than 200 audiobooks: biographies as diverse as ELIZA HAMILTON and QUEEN BEY (about Beyoncé and Jay Z); science fiction, including VERSION CONTROL; and, of course, mysteries. January has one of those voices you would follow anywhere. As with her Golden Voices colleagues, she can make any genre come alive for the listener. That takes true talent. 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).

Audiobook Mysteries That Are All About Mom

The A List

The A ListMothers and crime fiction—it doesn’t exactly bring to mind the Hallmark version of Mother’s Day. Yet mystery authors find mothers to be a great source of motivation for their murder plots. I was struck by this while listening to J.A. Jance’s THE A LIST, narrated by Karen Ziemba. This audiobook features women who, desperate to become pregnant, use the services of a corrupt fertility doctor and end up paying the price of giving birth to children with serious genetic diseases. When the doctor is finally brought to justice, his mother uses her extensive financial resources to exact revenge against those whom she feels unjustly put her son behind bars. Earphones Award winner Ziemba masterfully performs all of the mothers, running the full gamut of “motherly” emotions from nurturer to protector to the extreme of “willing to kill for,” all in desperation to save their children. 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).

The Many Mysteries of the Big Apple: Audiobooks Set in Manhattan

Spring in NYC with EQ

Spring in NYC with EQSpringtime in Manhattan—yes, this is a city of steel, glass, cement, and towering testaments to man’s need for architectural dominance. But in between those structures there is green sprouting, forsythia blooming, daffodils popping up, beds of tulips waving in the breeze. Spring has come to the city, and it is glorious!

Perhaps it’s this sense of intense pace, of the energy, of cycles of death and renewal, that mystery writers find so inspiring. Recently, I listened to BLOOD OATH by Linda Fairstein, narrated by Golden Voice Barbara Rosenblat, who has become the voice of Alex Cooper and her posse. In each audiobook in the series, Fairstein shares with listeners the rich background on a different landmark or historic area of New York City. Even for a New Yorker like myself, I pick up facts about the architecture and history of this city. In this, the 20th audiobook in the series, a murder takes place under what is referred to as the “Bridge of Sighs” (after the original in Venice) that connects the court house in lower Manhattan to “the Tombs” (the jail).  Of course, the real NYC bridge has none of the architectural interest of its Venetian namesake. 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).

Audio Mysteries and the Power of Houses of Worship

Ellen at Notre Dame

Ellen at Notre DameWatching the spire of Notre Dame go up in flames and finally collapse left me gasping. Like many of us who have been fortunate enough to travel to Paris, I have gazed up in awe at that beautiful cathedral. When I was a student in Paris (many years ago), I would walk around Notre Dame every morning on my way to school. On our most recent visit, I climbed the steps to the top of the towers to be face to face with the gargoyles and peer down across the rooftops of this amazing city. While feeling heartbroken over this disaster, I’ve been encouraged to see the social media response reflecting the connection that people all over the world feel to Notre Dame.

Cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, and all houses of worship are so much more than bricks and mortar. They capture beliefs, spirits, faith, hope, fears, celebrations, and grief. They can provide sanctuary and they can divide. And they also inspire. Perhaps that is why they are at the center of so many mysteries and thrillers. 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).

Explore Colorado, Arizona, and California with Mystery Audiobooks from Out West

Escape to the west on audio

San Francisco through my hotel window
San Francisco through my hotel window
San Francisco through my hotel window

Having traveled this past week to Denver and San Francisco, I thought I’d share some of my favorite mystery/thriller audiobooks that revel in the color, the light, and the landscape of the western United States.

Since my trip started in Colorado, I want to highlight Stephen White’s Dr. Alan Gregory series. The final book (number 20), COMPOUND FRACTURES, is narrated by Golden Voice Dick Hill, who performed many of the books in the series. I must confess, however, that my favorite in the series is THE PROGRAM, narrated by Earphones Award Winner Sandra Burr. The books feature Boulder, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies, as the backdrop for the serious crime solving and ethical struggles of psychologist Alan Gregory and his sometimes friend, police detective Sam Purdy. I was sorry to have the series end, but Dick Hill’s performance of the dramatic conclusion seemed like a good way to close the book on this one. 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).

St. Patrick’s Day Every Day: 6 Irish Mysteries

Discover a bounty of Irish listening

The Ruin
Oscar Wilde and Ellen Quint in Dublin
Oscar Wilde and Ellen Quint in Dublin

While St. Patrick’s Day gives us just one day to focus on all things Irish, I would need years to explore the wonderful bounty that is the world of mysteries that take place on the Emerald Isle. But what a delightful assignment that would be.  Delving into the world of Irish mysteries takes me back to my last trip to Ireland where I got to explore Dublin while listening to audiobooks. Catch this picture of me with the one and only Oscar Wilde.

Ireland has a rich history of oral storytelling, which makes these mysteries so well-suited for audiobooks. The stories are atmospheric and complex with multi-layered characters, and the narrators enchant with charming Irish lilts, making for a captivating listening experience. 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).

The 2019 Audies Gala: Through the Eyes of a Mystery fan

Even Better Than the Oscars

Tan France Hosts the 2019 Audie Awards

Tan France Hosts the 2019 Audie AwardsI find myself frequently trying to explain what “The Audies” are to  non-audiophiles. I say they are the Oscars for audiobooks. What I should say is that the Audies are even better than the Oscars. After all, for this year’s ceremonies, we had a fine host in Tan France (“Queer Eye” fashion expert). The Oscars could learn a few things from the Audie ceremonies—such as, the only acceptance speeches are by the winners of the Best Female Narrator, Best Male Narrator, and Audiobook of the Year categories. All other award winners are announced and stand at their seats and get cheered. So, the ceremonies begin and end on time! Oh, and the best part this year was that while the awards were being announced, the audience (including me) got to munch on delicious mini pastries and assorted desserts. 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).