Listen Up!

earphones

Plug into into 2022’s crime/mystery/thriller hits and award nominees–all of them worthwhile in print, with some audio standouts..

Joe Country by Mick Herron

You can’t go wrong with Herron’s books about Slough House, the career dead-end for London’s MI5 security personnel who’ve suffered, let’s call them, lapses. If working for ill-tempered and slovenly Jackson Lamb weren’t disheartening enough, they have troubled back stories, and book by book you get to know them. Even better is that Joe Country is narrated by Gerard Doyle, who is just as good here as always.

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

This is a rare instance where I’d recommend you stick to print. In Hirahara’s WWII-era novel, a Japanese American family released from internment camp arrives in Chicago to rejoin their older daughter, only to learn she committed suicide the previous day. In that the younger daughter, Aki, sets out to discover the truth about her sister’s death, it’s a detective story; in that it’s set in a Nisei world with all its constraints and opportunities, it’s social history. Nominated for a Mary Higgins Clark Award from Mystery Writers of America (MWA) and an Agatha Award from Malice Domestic.

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Adam Lazarre-White does a spectacular job with his rendering of this story’s characters. And the two leads couldn’t be more different: Ike, a taciturn black landscape service owner, and Buddy Lee, a voluble white man down—way down—on his luck. Their sons fell in love and married, something both dads have trouble with. But the young men were happy—that is, until they were murdered. Now their fathers want to know who did it. It’s a compelling story, and Lazarre-White delivers it with feeling and humor. Nominated for an Audie Award by the Audio Publishers Association. Edgar award nominee for Best Novel from MWA.

Trouble is What I Do by Walter Mosley

Dion Graham narrates this story in Mosley’s popular series about private investigator Leonid McGill. In this story, his challenge is to protect an elderly Mississippi bluesman, upending the wealthy and the corrupt in the process, always a task to McGill’s taste. The reading is smooth as silk. Finalist for a 2021 Audie Award for Mystery.

Djinn Patrol in the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

This novel has three narrators—Indira Varma, Himesh Patel, and Antonio Aakeel. Ordinarily, I don’t find multiple narrators necessary. Most of story is told by nine-year-old Jai, and the actor conveys both his enthusiasm and naivete. When his schoolmates begin to disappear from their slum neighborhood without a trace, Jai and his friends decide to investigate. Author Anappara, a former journalist, based the story real-life child disappearances, which, in India, occur every eight minutes. 2021 Edgar Award for Best Novel.

2 thoughts on “Listen Up!

  1. I enjoy listening to audio books, except those that I’ve written, that is. 😉 Not that my audio books aren’t entertaining. The readers so a great job bringing my prose to life, but when you write a book, you sort of “hear” it one way, and a reader’s interpretation is sometimes different. This can be offsetting to an author’s ear, but certainly worth the risk.. Conversely, a skilled reader can really make a difference in an audio book rendition. I read one of my short stories once for a charity anthology project and found the experience exhausting. A good rule of thumb is that if an author his or her own book aloud, it’s often a mistake.

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