The award is given by AudioFile to truly exceptional titles that excel in narrative voice and style, characterizations, suitability to audio, and enhancement of the text.
This is an audiobook from a more innocent time when the allegations of child abuse against Catholic priests were just emerging. Narrator Humphrey Bower sounds like a wise and kindly priest himself as he tells the story of a priest transferred to obscurity in Canada for preaching about birth control, the Vietnam War, and other hot topics. When he returns to his native Australia... Read More
Eve Dallas is on the trail of a serial killer who is creating death scenes from an author's mystery books. Narrator Susan Eriksen pulls out all the stops as she voices the characters in Robb's latest audiobook. The frustration and anxiety Eve feels at being one step behind the killer, as well as her soliloquies on her criminal mind, immerse the listener in the story. Ericksen... Read More
An excellent story combines with an excellent narration. Anne-Marie Piazza's proper English accent is perfect for this murder mystery set in Victorian London. Shortly after Kat Holloway is hired as a cook at a Mayfair mansion, her assistant is found bludgeoned to death in the larder. As the murder investigation unfolds into a scheme to assassinate the queen, Piazza perfectly... Read More
Jack de Golia is the consummate narrator for this clever story. James Gaffney (not his real name) is a "child killer for hire" who actually does the opposite--saves the kids and has them adopted. Listeners will thoroughly enjoy de Golia's rendering of the chubby, sloppy, witty, and kind 40-something Gaffney. Since it's generally affluent parents who hire him, he is also... Read More
Think rich, dark, smooth red wine--each sip revealing different tones. That is Dion Graham's voice performing Mosley's P.I., Joe King Oliver. His voice projects the violence, fear, and frustration that Oliver, an honest cop, experienced 10 years ago, when he was thrown in jail on fabricated charges. Now as a P.I., he's given the opportunity to get to the truth behind that setup... Read More
Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate of the United States Tracy K. Smith has a voice that is almost as beautiful as the imagery in this second collection of her work. She uses her voice well to clarify the structure of each poem and avoid the tics (such as that rising lilt at the end of each line) that make so many poets poor readers of their own work. Her reading is helped,... Read More
If Edward St. Aubyn's contemporary rendition of King Lear is inventive, hilarious, and bitter, and it is, Henry Goodman's performance of it is absolutely dazzling. St. Aubyn's Fool, for instance, is an alcoholic comedian who befriends Dunbar, a Rupert Murdoch figure, in the sanitarium where he's been committed by his awful daughters, Abigail and Megan, while they take over his... Read More
Narrator Cassandra Campbell's vocal confidence works well in conveying the gentle wisdom that pervades this overview of raising children from ages 1 to 3. With her elegant diction and wide phrasing range, her reading softens the author's observations and insights, making the material continue to sound personal hour after hour. Much of the author's previous writing has been... Read More
Clive Hayward passionately narrates Mary Shelley's timeless novel, commemorating its 200th anniversary. Listeners accompany Victor Frankenstein on his magnificent and horrific voyage around Europe and observe as he produces his terrifying yet powerful creation. Haywood artfully describes the beauties and hardships of the nineteenth century and convincingly depicts the story's... Read More
Artist Jeff Koons, financial wizard Warren Buffett, fitness coach Jillian Michaels, and 27 other leaders in their fields share their experiences and wisdom in this moving audio production. The three narrators chosen to read these first-person biographical sketches could not be more engaging or fun to hear. A surprising number of these achievers had rocky starts--they were... Read More
The rich tones of narrator Kate Reading's voice are a perfect fit for this poetic tale of the Brontë children's adventures in the imaginary wonderland of their own making. The story is filled with dazzling imagery and glorious wordplay, which Reading masterfully performs with a lilting style that highlights the beautiful alliteration and musical assonance of Valente's work. The... Read More
Listeners, beware: You won't want to stop listening to narrator Julia Whelan's performance of this complex story of survival and family set in a 1970s Alaskan homesteading community. Ernt, a Vietnam POW survivor; his wife, Cora; and their teenage daughter, Leni--all newly arrived and ill-prepared to make it through a northern winter--have darker demons to face than Mother... Read More
Set in New York City at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic, this audiobook focuses on four transgender or gay teens who run away from home, finding even poverty and the harsh city streets to be better than the rejection of their families. Narrator Christian Barillas's respectful performance successfully navigates a potential obstacle course of stereotypes, starting with his... Read More
How appropriate that this audiobook memoir, an unlikely examination of life through brushes with death, is narrated by the talented Daisy Donovan. Her tone of voice exudes a veneer of vulnerability overlaying a steely strength, and her delivery is ideal for this collection of interconnected remembrances. Each new chapter title names the relevant body parts involved as the... Read More
Narrator John Keating takes on the twelfth story about Doctors O'Reilly and Laverty, who have their hands full with professional and personal quandaries in the rustic Irish village of Ballybucklebo during the late 1960s. O'Reilly is training a new doctor while keeping up with the unpredictable needs of his patients. Keating is masterful in his interpretations of the extensive... Read More
A.J. Jacobs, a contributing editor to ESQUIRE, is delightful delivering his amusing genealogical exploration of how we humans are all interconnected. His proposition, that we're all cousins related to the first man and woman in some degree of separation, spurs his attempts to put together the largest "family reunion" in history. Jacobs uses his signature humor to chart his... Read More
Irish maid Emma Rose--who has been dead for a century--is mostly content to stay on the sidelines, quietly haunting the Lambry mansion in the town of Benito, California. But lately, the foibles of human nature have been making her angry--and she's ready to tell her story. Narrator Lauren Ezzo embodies Emma Rose with a light brogue, as gossamer as the spirit herself and a strong... Read More
Kirsten Potter narrates a dark plot involving the brutal murder of an entire family, except for the eldest daughter, Roxy. Fast-talking, snarky detective D.D. Warren is on the case, and survivor turned vigilante Flora Dane assists despite D.D.'s protests. As they investigate the underfunded foster care system, both caregivers and social workers, Potter increases her pacing and... Read More
Between them, Graeme Malcolm and Jane Gardam have created a wise, bittersweet, and often funny exploration of love and individual fulfillment. The second volume in Gardam's Old Filth series, it begins in Hong Kong after WWII, as Betty MacIntosh prepares to marry barrister Edward Feathers. She loves him, while longing for something that the adoring but inchoate Edward may not be... Read More
Everyone knows the opening of Kafka's great story, with Gregor Samsa awakening as a giant insect, but not so many have read it all the way through. Benedict Cumberbatch's narration should increase its familiarity. He doesn't make the story any less weird and disturbing--no one could do that and be faithful to the text--but he does emphasize the paradoxical humanity of Gregor's... Read More
Dion Graham narrates this stirring audiobook splendidly. His narration shapes the mind and spirit of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American from San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood who pursues his dream to import coffee from his ancestral home. Graham delivers a fine reading of his harrowing experiences: He's detained at gunpoint, drives his coffee samples cross country... Read More
This engaging book about the lives of 15 gifted boys and girls is served well by Kirsten Potter's captivating performance. Speaking clearly in a tone that fits these narratives, she modulates the drama in her voice with taste and sensitive timing. The prodigies that Hulbert profiles are both well known and obscure, and they're all interesting. With her gift for narrative... Read More
The award for best sexy Boston accent officially goes to narrator Joe Arden for his depiction of 30-year old nightclub owner Gage Holt. Arden's gravelly Southie accent brings out Gage's rough upbringing and relationship-averse personality. When Gage meets Skyler, a psychology graduate student, they move quickly from sex to serious. Arden's voice for Skyler is low, which matches... Read More
Narrator Stefan Rudnicki's rich, authoritative baritone brings gravity to the listening experience of Otis Redding's life and rise to fame. The result is a rewarding audiobook filled with historical perspective and context. Gould's task is daunting: reconstructing the story of a man whose music is universally loved while having little direct documentation. Impressively, the... Read More
Narrator Christopher Lane's first few sentences sound so powerful that it takes a moment to shift one's attention to this audiobook's rich message. But once listeners start connecting with that message, they'll find his relaxed pace and total comfort with his craft perfect for the authors' advice. They looked at the best performers in athletics, the arts, and intellectual... Read More
Listening to a fine writer who is also an accomplished narrator is one of the unique pleasures of audiobooks. Of the six people Shorto's history of the Revolutionary War era singles out, only George Washington is a familiar figure. The others--who include a freed slave who became Connecticut landowner, an Iroquois warrior who sided with the British, and an abused wife who left... Read More
Regularly overshadowed by Harlem and Chicago, Pittsburgh was also a major force in the black renaissance of the first half of the twentieth century. Whitaker's book opens a window on this vibrant sector of black culture. Prentice Onayemi offers an engaging, easy-on-the-ears narration. His mellow tone carries listeners through some overly detailed passages. He varies his tone to... Read More
Narrator Bahni Turpin's impassioned voice clearly conveys the gravity of this book on race and racism. The accessible audiobook is aimed at those who are working to fight the systemic oppression impacting people of color. Turpin walks listeners through each chapter, allowing them time to absorb the impact of topics from Affirmative Action to police brutality. Key points are... Read More
Tamora Pierce's legions of fans will be not be disappointed with what could easily be mistaken for a full-cast performance of her long-awaited novel by narrator Ariadne Meyers. Listeners familiar with Numair will meet him here as Arram Draper when he becomes best friends with Ozorne, still just a prince of Carthak, and Varice. They are just beginning their studies at the... Read More
So you think you know the fourth president of the USA. Allow John Mayer to explain how you haven't even scratched the surface of this multifaceted and complex Founding Father. One feels like one is sitting in a classroom learning about the most interesting man in America. As Madison masterfully evolved, so Mayer does throughout this massive work. His ability to keep the... Read More
This edition of a previously published work by veteran travel enthusiast and guidebook author Rick Steves has been updated to reflect current events weighing heavily upon the global political landscape. Steves's pleasant, down-to-earth delivery will be familiar to listeners who have watched his travel shows on PBS. He argues for travel's importance in building relationships... Read More
What's the audiobook equivalent of a page-turner? That's what narrator Tavia Gilbert delivers in this mystery, in which two girls disappear from a strip mall parking lot. The desperate search for them brings together Max Caplan, a former police detective, now a P.I, and prickly Alice Vega, a bounty hunter who has earned a reputation for finding missing children. They follow... Read More
Listeners will enjoy hearing this cute yet cheeky performance by Janina Edwards. Career-driven Alexa gets locked in an elevator with good-looking Dr. Drew when the power goes out. Immediately, they hit it off, and Alexa agrees to be Drew's last minute plus-one at a wedding. But what was a fake date could possibly turn into a real relationship. Edwards fully expresses all the... Read More
Employing a beautifully rhythmic tone and exquisite pacing, Bronson Pinchot reprises his role as narrator in Mafi's dark companion to FURTHERMORE. Pinchot charts the macabre tale of Laylee, a 13-year-old mordeshoor, the last of her kind, who washes and prepares the dead for their journey to the next realm. Worked to the point of collapse, suspicious Laylee spurns assistance... Read More
Like its predecessor, AUTUMN, WINTER focuses on connected characters in a post-Brexit world. It's almost Christmas, and Art Cleves has hired the enigmatic Lux to play his girlfriend on an overdue trip to see his mother, Sophia. When they arrive, Sophia's condition causes them to send for his mother's estranged sister, Iris. The foursome's interchanges and recollections are at... Read More
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