AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors tap “play” on scads of audiobooks every day, looking for blow-you-away narration and standout production. AudioFile is the country’s oldest independent source of audiobook reviews and exclusive audiobook information, including narrator interviews and videos, blogs, and our Behind the Mic podcast.
We’re excited to partner with Novel Suspects to make it easy for you to find your next audiobook.
Narrators Titus Welliver and Christine Lakin return to perform Connelly's newest offering in the Bosch/Ballard series. Connelly has solved the problem of the aging-out of his determined retired detective Harry Bosch. By pairing him with Renée Ballard, a young, relentless detective, we have the old guard complemented by the new and receptive mentee. They work day and night (Ballard is on the night shift) to tackle cold and very hot cases. The contrasts continue as listeners are treated to Welliver's deep, gravelly voice as Bosch, interwoven with Christin Lakin's light, softer intonations as Ballard. Each narrator delivers the individual chapters of their character, and together they deliver the dialogue between them. Bosch and Ballard make an unstoppable team as do Welliver and Lakin, who fully engage the listener.
Listening to James Lee Burke's Robicheaux series means walking into the dark, damp swamps of New Iberia, Louisiana, and the pain-ridden, tortured swamps of Robicheaux's mind. Narrator Will Patton's portrayal of the detective snares the listener in the rich descriptions and philosophizing woven through the action. Patton's rendition of Smiley Wimple, the psychotic, childlike murderer on a mission, is creepily on target. His voice for Robicheaux's friend Clete Purcell, however, is pinched and seems wrong for this big, generous hero. This audiobook is a continuation of Burke's series featuring Robicheaux. There is sufficient backstory, however, so the new listener can follow the narrative. Listeners will be kept thoroughly engaged as they view time, death, and good and evil through Robicheaux's fractured prism.
Narrator John Rubinstein draws listeners into this Alex Delaware mystery as layer upon layer of complications falls away. A beautiful unidentified young woman dressed in red is found dead in an upstairs bathroom at a wedding reception. Listeners hear the distressed bride and groom lamenting their choice of an unconventional theme and location for their wedding, which caused buzz on social media and may have been a factor in the murder. Rubinstein builds the suspense when it's discovered that the bathroom's existence was known only to the wedding attendants. Keeping listeners engaged, Rubinstein effectively moves Detective Delaware and Milo around Los Angeles as they work to identify the murderer.
Narrator Steven Weber is the perfect match for this thriller, which blends plot twists and suspense in equal portions. Simon and Ingrid Greene, a successful and apparently perfect couple, find their lives falling apart in the most dramatic of ways when their drug-addicted daughter disappears after dropping out of college. With seeming ease, Weber voices the cast of characters, who range from the most privileged to those at the edges of society. His characterizations mainly employ authentic-sounding accents and changes in tone. His timing helps to build the ever-increasing suspense, allowing the listener to savor every twist of the Greenes' situation.
With a remarkable ability to subtly distinguish myriad characters, Lucy Patterson masterfully narrates this thriller, the second featuring Detective Huldar and child psychologist Freyja. Ten years ago, a child wrote a series of initials on a letter for a school time capsule. Somehow, those letters are tied to a series of grisly murders. In a crisp British accent, Patterson handles the Icelandic names with ease. Listeners new to the trilogy will quickly find themselves immersed in the lives of the characters revolving around the mystery. Patterson excels at the interrogation scenes, moving seamlessly between the questioner and the questioned. Her timing and delivery, including subtle pauses and sighs, are transfixing. The story is grim, however, with harrowing glimpses of cruelty and violence toward children.
A new Rebus mystery narrated by James Macpherson, with his Scottish brogue and impeccable pacing, is always a satisfying experience. The gang's all here: Detective Inspector John Rebus is gruff, witty, and out of breath, thanks to emphysema; Siobhan Clarke is more measured, with crisp English undertones; and Malcolm Fox is a straight arrow, thoughtful and desperate to be part of the team. In this installment a body in a car is found by kids playing in the woods; the dead man has been missing for years. The new investigation appears to highlight the ineptitude, or even corruption, of the police (including Rebus) at the time the man went missing. Macpherson handles the twisty plot with ease, and since the crime boss, Big Ger Cafferty, is somehow involved, he gets to growl and snarl, too.
Saul Reichlin continues his narration of Kepler's Joona Linna series, set in Sweden. Detective Margot Silverman and her colleagues in the Swedish National Crime Unit track down a serial killer who posts voyeuristic videos of his victims. Silverman is joined by Detective Joona Linna and psychiatrist-hypnotist Erik Maria Bark as they search for the sadistic killer by hypnotizing suspects and investigating clues. Reichlin adopts a stiff, almost stilted, pace that drags the listener from one vicious murder to the next. The slow, pedantic narrative is interspersed with more fluid dialogue. Reichlin uses a combination of British-European pronunciations with nary a Scandinavian accent, although terms and place names audibly match country and language. Extremely violent murder scenes and explicit descriptions of sexual acts may disturb some listeners.