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.
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Chris Pavone; Mozhan Marnò (Read by)
Mozhan Marnò's performance of the latest installment in Chris Pavone's Kate Moore series is perfection. Her voice is beautiful, her French pronunciation expert, her foreigners speaking French with bad accents ditto. Pavone has a lot of backstory to fill in, which makes for a discursive setup, but Marnò creates tension and pace with attention to expression, personality, and background colors, and just listening to her change voices with the subtlest of inflections is entertainment aplenty. The plot, once it gets up to speed, is propulsive. There's a bomb at the Gard du Nord, a suicide bomber at the Louvre, and an American Master of the Universe on the brink of a huge market-making deal is about to have a seriously bad day. A multifaceted pleasure. B.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
A. M. Stuart
Upon the deaths of her husband and son in 1910, Harriet Gordon moves to Singapore from India in this eventful audiobook. When she shows up for the second day of her job as a typist, she finds Sir Oswald Newbold, her client, brutally murdered and his house ransacked. The crime introduces Harriet to the intriguing Inspector Curran and plunges her into its investigation. Narrator Saskia Maarleveld keeps listeners interested as she depicts images of colonial Singapore, with its blend of English and native cultures. Her voicings of the characters remind listeners of the conflicts that often arise among people of different cultures and classes, especially under colonial rule. Maarleveld's pacing moves the book along swiftly but comfortably and makes for enjoyable listening.
Sora Kim-Russell (Translator); Un-su Kim
From start to finish, narrator Arthur Lee infuses this unusual thriller with a somber, smoldering suspense. He depicts the inner workings of professional assassin Reseng in a low voice that thrums with danger. We are taken into a world of violence, murder, and ethical dilemmas. Should Reseng take his next assignment? Or should he question the people who give him orders? If he begins to think for himself, everything will change. Lee keeps us guessing until the final minutes. His steady pacing and understated delivery pull listeners deeper into the dark world of hired killers. Fans of the genre will hang on to every dramatic minute, not wanting the experience to end.
Charles Cumming; Charlie Anson (Read by)
In this vivid and clever new audiobook, Kit Carradine is a spy novelist who is asked by (he thinks) MI6 to do some real undercover work while at a writer's conference in Morocco. The plot is like the souk, full of unexpected alleys that leave you unsure where you are, with plenty of exotic sights and smells, trip wires, and betrayals. Almost no one besides Kit himself is who he seems to be at first or even at second, and there is a special pleasure in watching the bright and gallant amateur try to manage real spycraft without training against many very ugly customers. Charlie Anson's narration is smooth, consummately professional, and fluent with accents while maintaining pace at high speeds around the plot's many hairpin turns.
Serena Kent; TBD (Read by)
Narrator Antonia Beamish's delightful performance highlights the fun of this new mystery series set in a small French town. Middle-aged, newly divorced Penny buys a country house in Provence, looking forward to a relaxing retirement from the forensics lab of the British Home Office. When a body is discovered floating in her pool, the police say it was an accidental drowning, but Penny thinks it was murder and resolves to prove it. Beamish's capable dialogue has a hint of a theatrical tone as she captures the characters' quirky personalities. Her French accents set the mood, and the narrative is clear and engaging. Penny's background makes her a natural for amateur sleuthing as she makes new friends and samples local pastries.
From the perspective of a beloved nephew who is visiting his eccentric aunt in Sicily, narrator Matt Addis tells the story of Aunt Poldi, an expat from Germany, who boldly sleuths out clues to determine the cause of her employee's death. Matt narrates her exploits with wonder, pride, and shock. While the cast of characters is German and Sicilian, they are all delivered with a British accent, but the characters' voices are subtlety distinct. The plot takes some laborious turns, though the pace remains pleasant, and Addis conveys engagement with the story to its completion. A peek at Sicilian culture and interesting characters make this an enjoyable listen.