Congratulations to the authors and narrators of the 2018 Best Audiobooks in the Mystery category. The competition is tough—AudioFile’s editors start with 2000 audiobooks in 9 categories that eventually get sorted down to 50 honorees (including the 6 in the Mystery category listed below).
What do all of these audiobooks have in common—what makes them rise to the top? They are all masterfully written by talented authors and read for us by narrators who manage to convincingly convey multiple characters while leaving room for our imaginations. Robin Whitten puts it so beautifully in the podcast about the Best Mystery Audiobooks, saying that the best narrators disappear into the story, becoming the voice that provides all the details while also inhabiting all of the characters.
DARK SACRED NIGHT
by Michael Connelly, read by Titus Welliver and Christine Lakin, Hachette Audio
DAY OF THE DEAD
by Nicci French, read by Beth Chalmers, Harper Audio
KINGDOM OF THE BLIND
by Louise Penny, read by Robert Bathurst, Macmillan Audio
by Robert Galbraith, read by Robert Glenister, Hachette Audio
THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY
by Ruth Ware, read by Imogen Church, Simon & Schuster Audio
THE OTHER WOMAN
by Daniel Silva, read by George Guidall, Harper Audio
I was so pleased to see Michael Connelly’s DARK SACRED NIGHT on the list, because the producers here pushed the envelope by having Titus Welliver, who has become the voice and the face of Harry Bosch, matched with Christine Lakin, playing his new “partner” Renée Ballard. It’s tricky to have two narrators voice the same characters, as Lakin had to play Bosch in her chapters, and Welliver had to do the same for Ballard in his chapters. Both have to be convincing enough not to pull the listener out of the story. Obviously, they make it work.
With Daniel Silva’s THE OTHER WOMAN, we have a perfect example of a masterful story writer paired with a masterful storyteller. George Guidall, who returns to narrate this latest edition in the Gabriel Allon series, meets the challenge of convincingly conveying multiple characters from different nationalities.
As for KINGDOM OF THE BLIND, author Louise Penny went to great lengths to select a successor to the late Ralph Cosham, the longtime narrator for the Three Pines mystery series. Listeners know how attached we become to a voice for a well-loved character. Well, it seems that she has found him in narrator Robert Bathurst—this is his fourth outing, and listeners have welcomed him into the fold (even if some of us have not quite forgiven him for dumping Edith Crawley at the altar in “Downton Abby”!).
I have listened to most of the audiobooks on the 2018 Best Mystery Audiobooks list, and I am very much looking forward to spending time with the rest. Just a thought: For mystery-loving audiophiles, the list can be a rich resource for holiday gifts. Enjoy!