For March, AudioFile’s Editors have found eight exciting audiobooks from female authors and narrators and focused on female characters, with everyone from much-loved crime fighting teams to small-town café owners hot on the case. Read on to discover all of the intense and lighthearted mysterious audiobooks we’ve selected this month—including one co-written and co-narrated by the always inspiring Dolly Parton.
RUN, ROSE, RUN
by James Patterson, Dolly Parton| Read by Dolly Parton, Kelsea Ballerini, Soneela Nankani, James Fouhey, Emily Zoo Zeller, and a Full Cast
[Hachette Audio | 9 hrs.]
This audiobook is not your typical James Patterson thriller—it’s an entertaining look at the country music industry through the adventures of newcomer AnnieLee. Coauthor Dolly Parton portrays retired country music superstar Ruthanna with humor, warmth, and attitude. Country music singer-songwriter Kelsea Ballerini portrays AnnieLee, who is determined to run from her past all the way to stardom. Soneela Nankani delivers the ongoing narrative in an easygoing style, and more narrators add to the cast to make for plenty of good storytelling to keep listeners engaged.
HOMICIDE AND HALO-HALO: Tita Rosie’s Kitchen, Book 2
by Mia P. Manansala| Read by Danice Cabanela
[Penguin Audio | 9 hrs.]
Narrator Danice Cabanela’s energetic voice brings listeners back to Shady Palms in this second delicious installment of the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen cozy mystery series. Lila Macapagal is still recovering from her recent entanglement in a murder at her family’s Filipino restaurant. Cabanela’s empathetic narration conveys all of Lila’s anxieties and uncertainties as she balances opening a new café, judging her town’s teen beauty pageant, possible romantic relationships—and unaddressed trauma. When her cousin is implicated in a murder, Lila and her nosy aunties investigate, and Cabanela’s dynamic narration captures the fun of the story.
by Nita Prose| Read by Lauren Ambrose
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Random House Audio | 9.5 hrs.]
Narrator Lauren Ambrose performs Nita Prose’s creatively crafted mystery featuring 25-year-old Molly Gray, a maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, who, while cleaning the suite, finds a regular resident dead. The police think Molly killed the man since all the clues point to her. Ambrose’s narration is “perfection,” as Molly herself would say. The story is told by Molly, who loves being a maid, is verbally precise, lacks social skills, has a tendency to be obsessive, and is rather naïve. She must save herself by solving the murder—but can she?
by Lisa Lutz| Read by Lisa Flanagan
[Random House Audio | 11.5 hrs.]
Lisa Flanagan is a talented narrator, and it shows in this complicated story of a college friendship that ends up having lifelong ramifications. She transitions smoothly between Luna and Owen, an unlikely pair who remain besties well into midlife. Flanagan shines as she capably portrays Owen’s confidence and Luna’s standoffishness, many times in the same sentence. This is a unique story told by a confident narrator who deftly guides us through the twists and turns of Luna and Owen’s friendship—and the several murders that follow them.
HER NAME IS KNIGHT: Nena Knight, Book 1
by Yasmin Angoe| Read by Tamika Katon-Donegal
[Brilliance Audio | 14.75 hrs.]
Narrator Tamika Katon-Donegal delivers Angoe’s debut thriller with the intensity it deserves. The plot has two interwoven timelines: The “before” chapters provide the backstory of Nena Knight as a teen in Ghana; the “after” chapters bring us into her current life as an elite assassin living in Miami. Katon-Donegal shines in the “before” chapters, delivered in the first person with a poetic rhythm. Her voicing of the terror and violence is at once captivating and horrifying. Katon-Donegal uses her skills with pace, tone, and accent to differentiate the many characters. The audiobook comes together to deliver a highly impactful listen.
by Hannah Morrissey| Read by Angela Dawe
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Macmillan Audio | 9 hrs.]
Narrator Angela Dawe assumes a millennial’s exasperated tone, endearing listeners to Hazel Greenlee, a wannabe novelist. Working the graveyard shift in a small Wisconsin town, the depressed, troubled Hazel is transcribing recorded reports in a grim police station. Hazel’s curiosity about a case involving a dead child thrusts her into a seamy murder. Dawe moves the narrative seamlessly between Hazel’s amateur detective life and her troubled home life. Dawe’s intelligent-sounding delivery of Hazel’s ambitious vocabulary and sometimes flowery observations continually reminds listeners of Hazel’s literary ambitions.
THE MIDNIGHT HOUR: Brighton Mysteries, Book 6
by Elly Griffiths| Read by Beth Eyre
[Mariner Books | 8.5 hrs.]
In Brighton, England, in the 1960s, PI Emma Holmes and her partner, Sam Collins, are called in to help investigate a death, with the added challenge that Emma’s police superintendent husband is leading the official investigation. Griffiths introduces the audiobook and explains the reason behind her choice of Beth Eyre as narrator. This revelation gives the listener interesting behind-the-scenes insight. A female voice helps to bring alive the strong female protagonists at the forefront of this procedural, and Eyre’s pitch-perfect timing keeps the plot moving forward, making for a fun listen.
FAMILY BUSINESS: Lydia Chin/Bill Smith, Book 14
by S.J. Rozan| Read by Emily Woo Zeller
AudioFile Earphones Award
[Blackstone Audio | 8.5 hrs.]
Emily Woo Zeller delivers a terrific narration of S.J. Rozan’s newest mystery, featuring New York City private eye Lydia Chin and her partner, Bill Smith. The complex, fast-paced, and witty story involves an old building, Chinatown’s Tong gang, a developer, the historic preservation society—and a murder. The ensuing tale involves family secrets, double-dealing, gunshots, crackling dialogue, and colorful details. Zeller convincingly transforms herself into a wide range of characters and performs remarkable multi-person conversations. Her audible smile adds to the humor and her pacing propels the action.
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.
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