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).

Gaining Insight Through Mysteries

In Celebration of Black History Month

As we close out Black History Month, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of African American authors, narrators, and characters to the mystery/thriller genre. There is such a wealth of audiobooks to focus on.

The Real Cool Killers
Cotton Comes to Harlem

Let’s start with the late author Chester Himes, who wrote a series of nine hardboiled crime novels featuring Harlem detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones set in the 1950s to the late 1960s.  The audiobooks, released in 2011 and 2012, were recorded by Golden Voice narrator Dion Graham and include THE REAL COOL KILLERS and COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (made into a movie in 1970). 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).

To my Valentine: Instead of chocolates, how about a romantic suspense audio?

Discover perfect Valentine’s Day listening

Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams
Stacey Abrams, who writes as Selena Montgomery

True confession: Romantic suspense is not my usual go-to genre. But Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, so I figure it’s time to get in the mood. While the “suspense” parts of romantic suspense titles can run the gamut from spy thrillers to amateur detective work and everything in between, the focus remains on the relationships and the interior emotional landscapes of the characters. There has to be the right balance of potential love and lust with danger, tension, and threats to the main players.

Reckless

My favorite so far in this venture into the genre comes from an unusual source—Stacey Abrams. Yes, the same Stacey Abrams who ran for Governor of Georgia and who provided the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address. In so doing, she became the first black woman and the first non-sitting public official to deliver the rebuttal. She’s a busy woman, because in addition to all that, she’s written eight novels under the nom de plume of Selena Montgomery. RECKLESS features a smart, strong black female lawyer. Narrated by Simone Daye, the characters and their stories come alive, and the balance between romance and suspense seems just right. 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).

Listening to Past Audie Award Winners

Taking Up Listening Challenge #8

Simon Vance at Audies 2018
Simon Vance at Audies 2018
Simon Vance at the 2018 Audie Awards

This year, the 2019 Audie Award winners will be announced in early March, versus previous years when the celebration took place in May. So, for us mystery audiophiles, it seems like this is an appropriate time to take on #8 in AudioFile’s 2019 Listening Challenge and prepare for the 2019 awards by catching up on previous winners. To see the full list of winners and hear samples from 2014–2018, check out AudioFile’s special feature on past Audie Awards (and look for the list of 2019 Audies finalists on February 4!).

Let’s start with the winner of the 2015 Audie Award for Mystery, THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), narrated by Robert Glenister. This is the second in the detective Cormoran Strike series. CAREER OF EVIL, Book 3 in this series, was the 2016 winner, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the fourth book in the series, LETHAL WHITE, wins the 2019 prize. 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).

Cozying up with a Cozy

Chilly Weather is Perfect for Cozy Mysteries

Wintery Listens

Wintery ListensBaby, it’s cold outside (for some of us). Time to cozy up with some cozies. The definition of “cozy”( or in the UK, “cosy”) seems to be very elastic. Agatha Christie, with her Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot series, is often cited as the originator of this mystery sub-genre. Listeners might enjoy the 2017 Audible Original full-cast recording of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. For those who have taken on the #ListeningChallenge2019, this would be a perfect way to breeze through Challenge #1: Listen to an audiobook performed by a full cast. 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).