As May is a month filled with family celebrations for Mother’s Day and graduations, it seems appropriate to focus on families in mysteries—and there are plenty to highlight.
Earphones Award winner ALL THE SINNERS BLEED by S.A. Cosby and narrated by Adam Lazarre-White draws listeners into the tale of Titus Crowne, the first Black sheriff in a small Virginia town who is faced with a live shooter situation at the high school, a neo-Confederate group on the march, and a serial killer terrifying the town. Underlying Titus’s motivation is his relationship with his mother, who died when he was a young boy, leaving him with the burden of guilt and a strong compulsion to serve. The crimes he is trying to solve also have at their source family relations. Cosby is not afraid to deal with issues of race, misogyny, violence, and faith. Lazarre-White provides a great voice for this compelling tale. This audiobook is due to be released June 6, 2023. Watch for my upcoming interview with author S.A. Cosby.
THE SANCTUARY by Katrine Engberg, narrated by Graeme Malcom, is a Nordic noir with family connections of all types woven through. We have sisters and brothers and parents and children, including a mother dealing with the complex emotions of giving up a child for adoption. These various storylines bring all of the characters together on Bornholm Island, where detective Jeppe Kørner has taken leave from his police work and is now working for a lumber business, chopping down trees. What seems like an idyllic place holds many secrets. Malcolm very effectively performs and differentiates all of the characters, making for a compelling listen.
Author Harlan Coben once again partners with award-winning narrator Steven Weber to bring listeners I WILL FIND YOU. David Burroughs is serving a life sentence for murdering his 3-year-old son. Five years into his sentence, his ex-sister-in-law comes to visit him in prison and shows him a photo which may be of his son, who was born with a distinctive birth mark. He escapes prison with the mission of finding his son and clearing his name. In true Coben fashion, the thrills are intense and are delivered flawlessly by Weber, who is in perfect step with the author.
My final recommendation for a mystery involving families is another Earphones Award winner, IT’S ONE OF US by J.T. Ellison and narrated by Golden Voice Julia Whelan. This story revolves around the sensitive issue of infertility and the emotional roller-coaster of wanting to become a mother. The plot also explores the secrets that can keep a marriage going—or that can turn spouses against each other. This is a tense thriller with layer after layer deepening the plot. Julia Whelan keeps the tension high and listeners glued to their earbuds.