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.
Think DA VINCI CODE, and you have the basics of this audiobook. Investigative reporter Ross Hunter follows a complex set of clues intended to prove God's existence. Along the way, he is confronted by deadly obstacles put in his path by competing forces and his own doubt. What makes this a great listen is the narrator, Hugh Bonneville. (Yes, "Downton Abbey's" Lord Grantham has... Read More
Narrator Rosalyn Landor portrays two determined souls who sweetly fall in love. When Adrian Hunter agrees to do a favor for his uncle, he doesn't expect to be married at gunpoint. When Camilla Worth meets the handsome valet, she too is shocked that a forced marriage is in the works. Landor does an exquisite job depicting the uncertainty and pain of both characters because of... Read More
Narrator Yetide Badaki's dynamic voice returns with this story of Sunny, an Igbo and American albino girl with the juju needed to save humanity. Badaki enlivens Sunny's character with a bright American accent and gives her friends varied Nigerian- and American-sounding voices. Continuing on from AKATA WITCH, Sunny, Chichi, Orlu, and Sasha are growing as scholars, pushing the... Read More
Nora Krug's narration adds to her graphic memoir in which she recounts her journey to understand the German concept of HEIMAT--"a place that a person is born into that makes for identity." She asks, "How do you know who you are, when you don't understand where you come from?" Krug courageously embarks on piecing together her German heritage--exploring historical records,... Read More
Joel Froomkin is an exceptional narrator for this eerie tale of a decaying house and a boy abandoned to the care of his housekeeper. Froomkin moves deftly between the older housekeeper, Ruth, and 9-year-old Samuel. We sympathize with young Samuel and his longing for his mother; his musings come to us in tender, vulnerable tones. This is in contrast with Ruth, whose personality... Read More
DCI Karen Pirie is back in a new police procedural narrated by the versatile Cathleen McCarron with a charming Scots accent. When a body with a bullet between the eyes is found among two long-buried historical motorcycles, a cold case warms up quickly. The only clues are a pair of Nikes and the fact that the body is at the storage site of stolen goods. At the same time,... Read More
This audiobook is an amazing piece of work. Narrator Matthew Lloyd Davies's delivery could only have been made better with snippets of the punk songs that inspired a generation to defy the tyranny of the East Berlin regime in the 1980s. Davies provides a sincere narration. While Americans enjoyed the music of the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and others, young East Berliners lived... Read More
To start, listeners will hear some of the most interesting letters ever signed by Louise Brooks and Noel Coward. Neither of them wrote those letters, though. Lee Israel did. Jane Curtin narrates the literary forger's memoirs in a defiant, often acerbic tone. Israel shares memories such as her delight in finding a $30 typewriter and her horror at having a nightmare in which Noel... Read More
The tempo of the musical introduction establishes the upbeat tone in this celebration of soul food. Narrator, author, and chef Carla Hall brings out the rich tastes, texture, and history of these recipes for every day and celebrations. She infuses heart and soul into her explanations of the origins of soul food, which is steeped in African-American history, and details how she... Read More
Brad Meltzer utilizes his skills as a thriller novelist to great effect in this true story of a plot to kidnap or even kill George Washington in the early years of the American Revolution. Scott Brick adds to the enjoyment with a gripping narration. Mensch and Meltzer's pacing and straightforward writing style adapt well to audio. Brick, in turn, makes the pages come alive. He... Read More
Karissa Vacker, as Allison, commands our attention from her first words. After a private plane crashes into a mountainside in Colorado, Allison awakens to find the pilot dead and her instincts on high alert. With the skill of one familiar with the outdoors, she gathers whatever supplies she can and flees the crash site. We sense she's running from something, but what? Enter... Read More
Narrator Christine Hewitt's insightful characterizations bring greater depth to Moss's nuanced and gripping novel. Set over the course of two hot summer weeks in Britain in the 1970s, the story follows an unlikely group of historical re-enactors whose attempt at living like Iron Age Britons goes terribly awry. An archaeology professor and three students are accompanied by a... Read More
With characters that ring vocally and emotionally true, narrator Amanda Dolan takes us to a place where achieving a state of happiness seems both obvious and impossible. In this acclaimed debut novel, young mother Daphne Nilson flees with her baby daughter from the malaise of her life. She lands in a northern California town as depressed as she is. Its residents have more... Read More
Listeners will vividly imagine icy seas and the raucous laughter of a Viking hall, thanks to Greg Patmore's atmospheric narration. Aestrid Karisson is kidnapped by Picts and then rescued by her father's mortal enemy, Veleif Kollsvein. Patmore's resonant timbre and authoritative tone make Veleif sound like a gruff Nordic bear. As Aestrid nearly spits with rage at Veleif's... Read More
Narrators Ben Bailey Smith and Lou Marie Kerr expertly intertwine multiple first-person points of view in this gritty debut audiobook about life and conflict in London, a city "that doesn't love you back." Characters from various class, religious, and ethnic backgrounds cross paths over a 48-hour period when racial tensions in the city are running high. Bailey Smith handles the... Read More
Narrator James Lance makes a jolly good show of this second novel commissioned by the P.G. Wodehouse estate. The plot has our man Jeeves and his gentleman, Bertie Wooster, engaged by a Lord MacAuslan to undertake a spot of counterespionage against the fascist-loving Roderick Spode, another Wodehouse creation. Joining these four as the audiobook's core characters are Bertie's... Read More
Listeners are in for a masterfully written story, powerfully performed. Handsome, manipulative, ambitious Maurice Swift is set on becoming a famous novelist and a father--no matter what it takes. The narration is so arresting that one feels like a voyeur while hearing Maurice manipulate, through seduction, his first victim, aging author Erich Ackermann. From there, listeners... Read More
Narrator Kevin R. Free breathes dramatic urgency into Anderson's intense story about 15-year-old Abdi, who is forced to join the ruthless jihadi group al-Shabaab in Somalia. Free infuses his reading with raw emotion, giving each character a distinct voice--from the terrifying jihadi general's knife-edge roughness to the smooth, nasal drawl of the American black-ops agent.... Read More
Vikas Adam is the perfect narrator for this incredible novel. He delivers its lyrical style with energy and complete believability. After a Japanese cargo ship moving zoo animals from India to North America sinks, zookeeper's son Pi Patel is left alone on a 26-foot raft with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger with the incongruous name of Richard... Read More
Julian Rhind-Tutt is a narrator of one's dreams. He reads clearly in a melodious voice with spot-on pacing. He offers believable and interesting characterizations of everyone from Belgian Hercule Poirot to a working-class London tea-shop lady. And when the text offers context, such as "he laughed"--well, he has the character laugh. They also cough on cue. What is the audiobook... Read More
This audio production of Alan Arkin's short memoir is top-notch listening. The work is less about the details of the man's life and more about a very smart, very funny octogenarian's search for spiritual meaning. In his inimitable irreverent style, Arkin delivers anecdotes on a range of topics: his parents' conviction that everything would be better if people just lived the way... Read More
Narrator Sharon Rooney's distinctive Scottish brogue takes a little getting used to, but once that happens, it becomes obvious just how perfect her performance is. Sal and Peppa are sisters on the run from the police. In preparation, Sal watched Bear Grylls videos on YouTube to hone her survival skills. They hide out in the Galloway woods, trapping rabbits and catching pike... Read More
With its wonderful storytelling, beautifully narrated by John Derum, this unusual novel illustrates the difficulties of the immigrant experience as seen through the eyes of nine asylum seekers. After a storm destroys their boat, the survivors drift on the ocean in a dilapidated skiff. They have no idea where they are, and Derum's performance manifests their fear. Just when... Read More
With an easygoing narration, George Newbern delivers the keys to living an authentic and intentional life. In this examination of the teachings of the medieval philosopher Maimonides, we see the far-reaching benefits of applying his lessons to our contemporary lives filled with social media. Newbern's affable voice and conversational pace mirror the authors' positive message... Read More
Listeners first encountering Shakespeare's sonnets may have trouble with the language. Fortunately, James Anthony (who also introduces this audiobook) has put all of them into modern idiomatic English. After some explanatory notes by actor/novelist/poet Stephen Fry and an introduction by Anthony, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Paapa Essiedu narrates each original sonnet,... Read More
Narrator Suzy Jackson's assured, brassy tones and forceful delivery are an exceptional match for Sanderson's high-stakes, battle-driven space opera. Spensa is an aspiring fighter pilot on a distant planet, but her father's past military betrayal means she must face extraordinary odds to prove her worth on the battlefield. Jackson's gift for characterizations shines--she brings... Read More
Listening to Stephen Fry is always a treat, and this audiobook makes the treat even sweeter. Frequently joined by a number of historians, authors, and reenactors, Fry seems to be having a wonderful time recounting some of the fascinating arcana of the ostensibly tightly wound Victorian Era. With whimsical music to mark the short, informative, and entertaining chapters, Fry... Read More
This atmospheric work of historical fiction and magical realism takes place in nineteenth-century London. Narrator Sarah Coomes creates a variety of voices for the chimney sweeps--Cockney climbing kids who are the featured characters. Listeners meet Nan Sparrow, the legendary climber; a malevolent master; a soft-spoken Jewish immigrant; a gentle chimney sweep; and... Read More
Narrator Robin Miles's vocal repertoire shines as she brings the Vanderbeeker world to life. Casting about for summer vacation activities, the four find refuge with their beloved upstairs neighbors and then witness a medical emergency. What can a 5-, 7-, 9-, and two 13-year-olds do to calm their fears and be helpful? As they alight on a plan to create a garden in a seemingly... Read More
This new entry in the popular long-running series featuring FBI special agent Pendergast adds two new wrinkles for the sharp-as-a-tack investigator: a new boss and a new partner. Narrator Rene Auberjonois brings an acerbic delivery and deliberate pacing to his performance, encapsulating the tension between the two agents as they investigate a series of gory murders on the East... Read More
Andrew Eiden deftly delivers the author's examination of a popular literary genre through the lens of history. Through books, movies, and more, noted historian Poole traces the roots of modern horror to a singular event that shaped the world forever: WWI. His thesis is that the barbarism of war never fades. With his earnest intensity, Eiden sounds like an energetic history... Read More
Pete Cross provides a calm and compelling narration as he gently invites listeners to partake in enlightening lessons intended to inspire mindfulness. Enriching chapters accessibly explore aspects of mindfulness relating to such topics as aging, awakening, authenticity, war, empathy, and emotional domination. Cross's narration is engaging, at once persuasive and inquisitive but... Read More
Narrator Grover Gardner captures the essence of an underrated science fiction classic while highlighting its introspective musings. At the height of the Cold War, Dr. Lucas Martino works tirelessly on a mysterious project that explodes, leaving him disfigured. Martino stumbles home months later, rebuilt with robotic parts and unable to prove his identity. Gardner subtly layers... Read More
Narrator Jason Culp deftly gives voice to both sides of a dialogue between a student and a teacher that focuses on Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's storied life and unparalleled career as a human rights advocate. Culp subtly brings out Wiesel's distinct Eastern-European accent, contrasting it with the devout and curious tone of the young American Ariel Burger, who first met Wiesel... Read More
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