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September 2018 Earphones Award Winners

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.


THE ANGRY CHEF'S GUIDE TO SPOTTING BULLSH*T IN THE WORLD OF FOOD
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

It's difficult not to break into a smile when narrator Jonathan Cowley dons the persona of the Angry Chef and begins his tirade on ridiculous claims about food and diets. Speaking with a British accent, Cowley adds humor to author Anthony Warner's frustration and explanations of the pseudoscience that celebrities use as the basis for their diet plans. Cowley's enthusiastic... Read More

ANY MAN
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Author Amber Tamblyn puts listeners directly into the minds and bodies of four very different men who have one thing in common--each has been brutally sexually assaulted by a woman named Maude. Each man is expertly performed by a different narrator in a unique voice reflecting his age, background, and attitude. A full cast of award-winning narrators tells the story as it... Read More

THE ART OF THE WASTED DAY
Earphones Award Winner
Personal Growth

In a nonlinear fashion, Patricia Hampl's essays moves from topic to topic--from place to biography to marriage--as she discusses the importance of daydreaming, solitude, and the pursuit of happiness. (For Hampl, pursuit is the key.) What makes this audiobook remarkable is Hampl's performance--gentle and wise, along with a dash of wry humor and an edge of melancholy. When Hampl,... Read More

BLOODY SUNDAY
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Ari Fliakos narrates the eighth book in the Dewey Andreas series. In a tensely plausible thriller, North Korea and Iran negotiate an exchange of technology that will elevate both countries to nuclear powers and allow North Korea to attack the U.S. After the events of previous books, Andreas is attempting to retire but finds himself drawn into a plan to prevent the exchange that... Read More

THE BOY AT THE DOOR
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

The prosperous Norwegian village where this addictive novel is set could be anywhere in the world, though the Scandinavian details fascinate. The three actors who voice Cecilia, a beautiful rich housewife, Tobias, an abandoned child, and Annika, a doomed junkie, are perfectly cast, have appealing voices, and do exactly what the story needs them to do. Cecilia especially is a... Read More

A BROTHERHOOD OF SPIES
Earphones Award Winner
History

Unlike many audiobooks that chronicle an era of history and get mired in details, Monte Reel's superb behind-the-scenes chronicle of the history of the CIA, the U-2 spy plane, and the saga of Francis Gary Powers reads like a thriller. The book succeeds in audio because of narrator Paul Michael's use of varying deliveries--from a staccato newsreel style for the various... Read More

CAN YOU TOLERATE THIS?
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Narrator Saskia Maarleveld is the perfect guide to the author's contemplation of both significant and smaller moments in her life. In these personal essays, Young is lyrical, quirky, self-effacing, and amusing. Maarleveld's narration is clear, deliberate, and droll. Topics range from a conversation with a psychic stranger on a plane to a young American with a rare bone disorder... Read More

THE CHILDREN'S GAME
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

This superb audiobook focuses on the efforts of Andrei Turov, a Russian who masterminds a plot to undermine democracy by faking the death of Vladimir Putin at the hands of American operatives. The plot appears to be succeeding until former CIA officer Chris Niles, who has a longstanding relationship with Turov, begins to put the pieces together. Todd McLaren's narration... Read More

THE CITY OF LOST FORTUNES
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Korey Jackson masterfully narrates an urban fantasy debut. Jude Dubuisson lives in New Orleans, a city lousy with gods, demigods, and supernatural beings of all kinds. Jude's fortune takes several unexpected turns after he attends a poker game with three of those beings. While Jackson portrays Jude as charming but world-weary, it is clear that he knows how to hustle and would... Read More

THE DARKEST TIME OF NIGHT
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Investigative TV journalist Finley employees a novelist's attention to detail, and narrator Suzanne Toren uses a gently nuanced delivery to pull back the curtain on a vast government conspiracy: People are being mysteriously snatched by "lights." This debut thriller features Lynn Roseworth, wife of a U.S. senator and grandmother of an abductee. Toren's delivery is compelling... Read More

DAY OF THE DEAD
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

The voice of Frieda Klein, the object of a serial murderer's obsession, is crucial to this riveting audiobook. She must be fiercely disciplined, yet unfailingly gentle and empathetic with others in order for the listener to understand why so many people love her. Beth Chalmers is impeccable. Whether you've been with this series from the beginning or are tuning in here for the... Read More

THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Derek Perkins returns for his sixth gripping performance of the Victorian Rebels series, leaving nothing on the table in this tension-riddled historical romance. The Rook is a man who has forgotten his past and built a life out of bloodshed and violence as a pirate king. When he captures Lorelai, the woman who saved his life 20 years prior, and takes her for his wife,... Read More

EAST OF INNOCENCE
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Rupert Degas hits ace after ace with his portrait of Daniel Connell, who was recently fired from his law firm for having more integrity than self-control. Having rallied hard to leave behind his past--absent mother, low-life father, crime-ridden neighborhood--Connell is now fending off volleys from dirty cops and underworld figures, all while trying to unravel the... Read More

THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Earphones Award Winner
Classics

Narrator David Shaw-Parker continues his marvelous tour of Trollope with this audiobook from the Palliser novels. Although the Pallisers are minor characters in this volume, we do get Shaw-Parker's memorable portrayal of the Duke of Omnium, as well as Lady Eustace's almost-but-not-quite-incomprehensible rural Scottish steward, Andy Gowran. Without doing full impersonations,... Read More

EVA'S STORY
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Ann Richardson's affecting narration makes listeners feel like they're accompanying young Eva Geiringer as she leaves her home in Amsterdam for a cattle car to Auschwitz. Perhaps even more painful are the chapters from her mother's viewpoint because mother and daughter are powerless when they see each other's pain and humiliation. Richardson believably delivers the shocking... Read More

FINDING LANGSTON
Earphones Award Winner
Children

In a light Southern drawl, narrator Dion Graham delivers the achingly mournful story of 11-year-old Langston. This first novel gracefully explores many themes of post-WWII African-American life through the first-person narrative of its young protagonist. Langston's beloved mother has died, and in an attempt to escape both memories and discrimination, his father joins the Great... Read More

HARBOR ME
Earphones Award Winner
Children

N'Jameh Camara narrates the emotive narrative of biracial Haley, who describes increasingly honest conversations among six classmates along with her own undisclosed truths. In this unique audio, six narrators represent characters in shared dialogues. Toshi Widoff-Woodson, portraying an African-American girl, is defensive and a bit spoiled. Dean Flanagan is reticent Ashton, a... Read More

IN SIGHT OF STARS
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Gae Polisner's realistic story about a teenager fighting mental illness is brought to life by narrator Michael Crouch. Klee (pronounced "Clay") wakes up to find himself in a mental health facility. Crouch takes listeners into Klee's journey, giving him a poignant, sometimes hesitant, voice during his sessions with Dr. Alvarez, his internal monologues, and his vivid memories. He... Read More

JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS
Earphones Award Winner
Children

Monika Felice Smith gives a perfect voice to Cora, the 12-year-old at the heart of Sarno's achingly beautiful debut novel about finding home in a world turned upside down. Since the death of her father, Cora must move from shelter to shelter to survive. Smith's emotionally connected narration wrings the pathos from Cora's situation without succumbing to melodrama. With her... Read More

THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Lauren Ezzo's emotionally charged narration gets under the skin of Romy Silvers. The teenage daughter of astronauts, and the sole survivor on the Space Shuttle INFINITY, is traveling on a multi-decade mission to colonize Earth2. After her parents' deaths in space, her only contact with humanity is messages from NASA that have a two-year delay. When a newer, faster ship is sent... Read More

MASTER ASSASSINS
Earphones Award Winner
Fantasy

Narrator Eric Michael Summerer is a master of dialogue and portraying the dynamics between characters. In this first audiobook of a new series, two brothers are drafted into the army of the Prophet. They are forced to flee when one of them kills a favorite of the leader. Summerer brings alive a bleak world violence and cruelty but brings out the humor as well. He also reflects... Read More

A MATCH MADE IN BED
Earphones Award Winner
Romantic Fiction

Narrator Mary Jane Wells, with her distinctive British voice and supreme knack for performance, delivers a beautiful historical romance with enough twists to keep the listener ensnared to the end. Spinster heiress Cassandra Holwell remembers Soren York from childhood but knows the now-grown Earl of Dewsberry must marry for money. When an inconvenient series of circumstances... Read More

A MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY AND OTHER STORIES
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

Strange forgotten towns, attics that transport one back in time, mystical visitors in the night--narrator Kirby Heyborne takes listeners through these subtly strange tales with the steady grace and tempo of a pro. As each story investigates a different aspect of the human condition, Heyborne is ready with a convincing voice suitable for the occasion--from the Hispanic accents... Read More

THE MERE WIFE
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Susan Bennett masterfully narrates a stunning retelling of BEOWULF that confronts all manner of monsters. Dana Mills went away to war and came back with a son she has to keep safe from everything; Willa Herot lives at Herot Hall with a son who has been given everything. Bennett portrays a wide cast of characters, including both Dana and Willa, and does a particularly good job... Read More

MIDNIGHT BLUE
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

A sensational narration by Imogen Church keeps this historical fiction engaging and exciting. Set in Amsterdam during Holland's Golden Age, this riveting story offers fascinating descriptions of social norms, extraordinary people, and ordinary routines. Catrin, a widow, leaves her village and moves to Amsterdam to work as a housekeeper, leaving behind questions surrounding her... Read More

OKAY FINE WHATEVER
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Courtney Hameister narrates this engaging, insightful, and at times hilarious account of her Okay Fine Whatever project, in which she grapples with her anxiety by deliberately exposing herself to uncomfortable new situations. Whether she's trying drugs with co-workers to unleash her creativity, undergoing a Brazilian wax, or participating in online dating, her perceptions of... Read More

THE ORACLE YEAR
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Imagine being given 108 predictions of the future that all come true, one at a time. What would a person do with that knowledge? Everyman Will Dando does his best, while selling certain predictions for billions of dollars on the side. He posts the rest, so the world can learn from them. Narrator Charlie Thurston carefully leads the listener down the story's path with subtle... Read More

PIECES OF HER
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Once listeners start Karin Slaughter's new mystery, stopping won't be an option. From the first words, Kathleen Early's narration snares us in a labyrinthine web of lies, deceits, betrayals, and truths that span decades. Andrea Cooper thinks she knows her mother, Laura, better than anyone, but in one shocking, violent moment, Andy wonders who her mother really is. As more... Read More

PLANETSIDE
Earphones Award Winner
Science Fiction

A riveting listen from start to finish! A retired war hero is summoned to another planet to investigate the disappearance of a VIP's son. But he's not being told the whole story. This new sci-fi offers the perfect blend of science fiction, mystery, military strategy, humor, and momentum. R.C. Bray is the perfect narrator for Carl Butler, as his gruff voice fits the shrewd,... Read More

THE PRISON LETTERS OF NELSON MANDELA
Earphones Award Winner
Biography & Memoir

Atandwa Kani's portrayal of Nelson Mandela is so engrossing that listeners will be completely absorbed. This audiobook is composed of letters that Mandela wrote while imprisoned for decades for protesting against the government of South Africa and its system of Apartheid. The letters are in chronological order. Many were never delivered and are presented publicly here for the... Read More

THE ROMANOV EMPRESS
Earphones Award Winner
Historical Fiction

Katharine McEwan gives a first-rate performance as Maria "Minnie" Feodorovna, the Danish princess who became czarina of Russia, and mother of Nicholas, the last Romanov czar. McEwan is utterly believable as the young woman leaving home, expecting to marry the czarevich, heir to the Russian throne. McEwan fully becomes Minnie as she shares her dreams and disappointments, her... Read More

THE RUINOUS SWEEP
Earphones Award Winner
Young Adult

Author/narrator Tim Wynne-Jones's story begins with Bee's presence at her boyfriend Donovan's hospital bed in the ICU. She finds herself alternating between fury and horror that she seems to be the only one who refuses to believe he tried to commit suicide by throwing himself in front of a car after murdering his father. She needs to find out what really happened. Wynne-Jones's... Read More

THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Earphones Award Winner
Classics

Julian Rhind-Tutt sounds as if he's having as much excitement as the Scarlet Pimpernel in this classic adventure novel, which means that listeners do, too. A quick reminder: During the French Revolution, a disguised Englishman is saving French aristocrats from "Madame Guillotine" and secreting them to safety. Who could he be? Will they catch him? And how can one narrator be... Read More

THE SHEPHERD'S HUT
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Jaxie Clakton, the male protagonist in this gritty novel told in the first person, is one tough, foul-mouthed teenager. So it might be initially surprising to learn that the choice narrator for the audiobook is a 40-year-old woman, even if Kate Mulvaney's Western Australian accent is perfect for the novel's setting. But just minutes into this story of survival and an unlikely... Read More

SOUTHERNMOST
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Charlie Thurston deftly navigates this road story of a father and son on the run. Silas House's depiction of conflicted evangelical faith in the South begins with Pastor Asher Sharp, who makes an offer to help a gay couple following a flood and then loses his job and, after a messy divorce, custody of his precocious 9-year-old son, Justin, because of this act of... Read More

STANDING STILL
Earphones Award Winner
Mystery & Suspense

Narrator Cathleen McCarron passionately delivers this mystery set in Glasgow. During a festival parade several people go missing, and a body is found folded into a box. McCarron deftly portrays a grieving mother and outspoken Detective Inspector Freddie Costello. The story's settings include a well-rendered nursing home for retired entertainers, where The Duchess--an elderly... Read More

STORIES BY HEART
Earphones Award Winner
Poetry & Drama

With natural ease and absolute charm, Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award-winning actor John Lithgow lets the listener in on a not-so-well-kept secret: He loves the theater, and he loves a good story. In this superb one-man show he combines the two and dramatically delivers two short stories by two of his all-time favorite authors: "The Haircut," by underappreciated American... Read More

TEN ARGUMENTS FOR DELETING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS RIGHT NOW
Earphones Award Winner
Contemporary Culture

Narrator Oliver Wyman brings his full complement of vocalizations to this polemic on social media and what it is doing to us. His cadence and delivery are spot-on, and his modulation of tone is especially effective when delivering the recurrent exhortation: "Delete your accounts." Author Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality and longtime Silicon Valley guru, has created a... Read More

VOX
Earphones Award Winner
Fiction

Narrator Julia Whelan brings this realistic, thought-provoking debut to life with heart. She is the voice of Dr. Jean McClellan, once a renowned scientist, now a mostly mute, angry wife and mother who is looking for a way to reclaim her voice and personhood. Whelan expresses a range of emotions: regret for past disengagement, fear as she contemplates her daughter's life without... Read More

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