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).

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).

Warming Up to Winter with Nordic Noir

E Quint on Lundegatan

E Quint on LundegatanAs I look up into the gray skies of Brooklyn and know that the winter sun, which has barely shown its face for days, will be disappearing behind the skyscrapers of Manhattan in an instant, I feel an affinity with the bleak and coffee-filled settings of Nordic Noir.

Many of us were introduced to the genre by Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO and David Largercrantz’s follow-ups, the latest one being THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE, all narrated by the award-winning Simon Vance. Having listened to all of the audiobooks numerous times, I am really looking forward to the next one, THE GIRL WHO LIVED TWICE, which is scheduled for release in August 2019. I actually went super fangirl on a recent trip to Stockholm and searched for Lisbeth Salander. At least I found the street where she grew up—Lundegarten. Ironically, I got to experience Sweden during the heat of summer with beautiful blue skies when the sun never sets. 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).

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).

10 Scary and Not-So-Scary Kids Audiobooks for Halloween

Get Your Young Listeners in a Trick-or-Treating Mood

Kids Audiobooks for Halloween

Kids Audiobooks for Halloween

Some people love to be scared at Halloween. I was never one of them. While for my friends, October means breaking out frightening stories of ghosts and ghouls, I prefer my Halloween listens to be cozy and maybe slightly spooky, but definitely on the tamer side of terrifying.

Here are some atmospheric stories perfect for chilly fall nights to get kids in the mood for Halloween—without being too scary. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

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).

5 Favorite Audiobook Series: Part 2

Hours of excellent audiobooks to love

Pillars of the Earth

Earlier this month I confessed my out-of-control love of audiobook series. When a narrator clicks with an author’s work, the results virtually transport me to another place or another time and introduce me to my new best friends. It’s such a joy to know I can return to that world again and again in each audiobook installment.

As I said a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop at just five series, so here’s another batch of serial reading that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Pillars of the Earth
A Column of Fire
Read more…

Candace Levy
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.

Celebrating the Fourth of July for Mystery Audiophiles

White House Thrillers for Vacation Listening

The President Is Missing

The President Is MissingHappy Fourth of July—a holiday to celebrate the birthday of this amazing country, eat ice cream, ooh and ahh over fireworks, and for audiophiles, maybe even walk along the beach listening to a great thriller. And why not focus on thrillers involving the White House? With the recent publication of THE PRESIDENT IS MISSING by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, a lot of attention has been paid to the relationship between U.S. presidents and mysteries. This new book is performed by a troupe of narrators, including Dennis Quaid, who voices the President. Craig Fehrman in his New York Times essay, The Mystery Buffs in the White House, tells of how presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton enjoyed mysteries of many genres.

As a setting for a mystery or a political thriller, what better place could there be than the White House, and the goings on there with the first family and the hundreds of folks in and out of the president’s entourage? 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).

Greetings from an audiobook lover’s London

Solve: Exploring London in real life and on audio

Sherlock and me

London, with its long history, winding streets, grey skies, and multinational population, has been and continues to be a brewing pot for mysteries, spy thrillers, and psychological dramas. Walk across Tower Bridge, down a twisted street, into a pub, and you will recognize a scene from one of your favorite audiobooks.

House of SpiesWhile Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series takes the listener all over the world, his latest, THE HOUSE OF SPIES, starts at Charing Cross Road, which is why I found myself right there looking cautiously for white vans with terrorists jumping out. With narrator George Guidall’s voice in my ears, I mainly worked at not getting run over by cars and busses speeding by from the wrong directions at intersections. Guidall’s rendition of Allon also followed me into the National Gallery of Art, where I imagined finding the multi-talented spy master and art restorer standing, with his head slightly tilted, contemplating Caravaggio’s The Supper at Emmaus. Although Silva is very clear that his characters are fictional, I still found myself looking for Julian Isherwood and his art gallery around St. James. This is the power of the characters that Silva has created and that Guidall now voices. 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).