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9 Big Summer Mystery Audiobooks for August

AudioFile’s Editors know the fun of finding the perfect mystery audiobook for summertime listening, whether it’s a new thriller from a favorite author like David Baldacci, or a funny tale of a surprising sleuth as in Jane Pek’s debut. Read on to find your next mysterious companion to bring along to the beach, on your summertime stroll, or as you settle in your backyard lounge chair.

 

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THE 6:20 MAN

by David Baldacci| Read by Zachary Webber, Christine Lakin, Mela Lee

AudioFile Earphones Awards

[Hachette Audio | 11.75 hrs.]

Listeners are treated to a young Jack Reacher-like ex-Army Ranger named Travis Devine, who is perfectly portrayed by narrator Zachary Webber. Devine is a trained fighting machine, and the complex story revolves around murders that are taking place in the financial institution he works for. Webber masterfully differentiates the other male characters, including a Russian hacker, by varying his timbre, pacing, and accents. Narrator Christine Lakin does an excellent job of providing well-matched voices for the key female characters, while Mela Lee does the same for the secondary female roles. The narrators’ performances are gripping—this is a page-turner of an audio experience.

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A SPY’S LIFE: Robert Harland, Book 1

by Henry Porter| Read by Matthew Lloyd Davies

AudioFile Earphones Award

[HighBridge Audio | 15.5 hrs.]

Matthew Lloyd Davies’s performance is intelligent, honest, and compelling in this intriguing story filled with spycraft and surprises. Robert Harland, ex-British spy, currently works for the UN secretary-general. After surviving a plane crash, which was possibly the result of sabotage, he’s drawn back into intelligence work. As narrator, Davies is the complete package. His voice is flexible, and his characterizations are completely credible, thanks to his top-notch acting. His British, Czech, and American accents are impressive, and he captures all the emotions packed into this terrific audiobook.

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KILLER VIEW

by Roy Johansen, Iris Johansen [Fore.]| Read by Elisabeth Rodgers

[Hachette Audio | 8.5 hrs.]

This is a fun audiobook. It’s fun for narrator Elisabeth Rodgers who clearly enjoys herself and whose delivery enhances the dialogue of the many memorable characters. And it’s fun for listeners, who will savor a light and entertaining story that quickly passes the time. The story focuses on PI Jessie Mercado, whose new client helps wealthy criminals prepare their personal lives and financial affairs for life in prison—but then one disappears. Rodgers captures every moment, creating personalities with styles as distinct as their dialogue.

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THE VERIFIERS

by Jane Pek| Read by Eunice Wong

AudioFile Earphones Award

[Random House Audio | 11.75 hrs.]

Eunice Wong performs this rightly praised debut novel with appropriate intensity and delicate humor; she is perfectly matched to the dry wit of Pek’s writing and her utterly charming heroine, Claudia Lin. Claudia has quit her boring finance gig and taken a position with a start-up investigating bad behavior in the online matchmaking industry. When a slightly mysterious client disappears, Claudia, guided by her close reading of a mystery series featuring a Ming dynasty inspector named Yuan, feels sure the woman was murdered. Detective story, rom-com, and funny but piquant family drama all at once, this audiobook is a find and a delight.

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CITY ON FIRE: City on Fire, Book 1

by Don Winslow| Read by Ari Fliakos

AudioFile Earphones Award

[Harper Audio | 9 hrs.]

Ari Fliakos brings a cool reserve as he narrates this 1980s gangster story based on Homer’s ILIAD. A truce between two criminal families breaks down when a beautiful woman sets young mobsters against each other. Fliakos shines as he depicts the heartbreaking tension between the men who love Pam, a stand-in for Helen of Troy. As the bodies stack up, and Fliakos lets an edge of menace into his tone, an evocative climax unfolds. CITY ON FIRE delivers for thirsty crime-fiction aficionados.

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BEAT THE DEVILS

by Josh Weiss| Read by Fred Berman

AudioFile Earphones Award

[Hachette Audio | 9.75 hrs.]

This audiobook is much more than a thriller. Set in an alternative history with red-scare flag bearer Joseph McCarthy as president, it blends fictional and real characters. As LAPD detective Morris Baker investigates two deaths, he becomes immersed in a cover-up that puts him in danger. Fred Berman handles the complex story beautifully and performs a range of accents without missing a beat. The Czechoslovakian-born Baker has an Eastern European intonation that never wavers. Federal agents grunt their way through their investigations. Berman also illuminates the theme of Baker’s Jewish identity. Berman’s narration perfectly renders the tone of this riveting—and scary—story.

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THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM

THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM

by Claudia Gray| Read by Billie Fulford-Brown

AudioFile Earphones Award

[Random House Audio | 12 hrs.]

Narrator Billie Fulford-Brown’s sparkling character portrayals and expressive tone create a theatrical experience of this enchanting Regency mystery featuring favorite characters from Austen’s novels. At Donwell Abbey, Emma Woodhouse-Knightley (EMMA) hosts a month-long gathering of her friends, including Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), Captain Frederick and Anne Wentworth (PERSUASION), and Fanny and Edmund Bertram (MANSFIELD PARK). When Mr. Wickham arrives and interrupts the festivities—and then is found dead—it becomes clear that nearly everyone had a motive for his murder. Fulford-Brown’s multidimensional characterizations are a marvel, and her male voices are especially impressive.

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EVERY CLOAK ROLLED IN BLOOD- Weldon Holland, Book 5

EVERY CLOAK ROLLED IN BLOOD: Weldon Holland, Book 5

by James Lee Burke| Read by Will Patton

AudioFile Earphones Award

[Simon & Schuster Audio | 7.25 hrs.]

James Lee Burke couldn’t have a better narrator than Will Patton to lend his voice and skill to the story of 86-year-old Aaron Broussard, a novelist living in Montana who is trying to find justice in an unjust world. Patton’s gruff but gentle voice tinged with the experiences of a hard life allows listeners to comprehend how Broussard deals with his complicated reality, either haunted by ghosts or in the throes of senility. Broussard must figure out what to do to make things right, even settling a centuries-old massacre.

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GIRL, FORGOTTEN

by Karin Slaughter| Read by Kathleen Early

AudioFile Earphones Award

[Blackstone Audio | 15.75 hrs.]

In this second book in Slaughter’s Andrea Oliver series, narrator Kathleen Early steps up to the challenge of voicing teens and then switching to an imperious female judge and a feisty female U.S. marshal. The plot moves back and forth from the troubled life of teenager Emily Vaughn in the 1980s to Oliver’s first assignment as a U.S. marshall in the present day. Early’s talent for evoking characters’ ages, genders, cultural backgrounds, and personalities shines through and will keep listeners glued to their earbuds. The secrets long held in the small town of Longbill Beach intertwine with Oliver’s troubled family background, providing insights into teenage pregnancy, domestic abuse, and the psychological impact of cults. A compelling listen.

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AudioFile Magazine—About: AudioFile is the place to discover more about audiobooks.  Every day, its reviews and recommendations tell you which audiobooks are worth your listening time. AudioFile reviews about 50 audiobooks a week, features narrator profiles, and awards exceptional performances with AudioFile’s Earphones Awards. AudioFile publishes in print, newsletters, and a blog, and podcasts daily recommendations on Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine.