In our forced stay-at-home situation, many of us are consuming content at an accelerated pace. I heard one comedian claiming to have gotten to the end of Netflix. Fortunately for audiophiles, and particularly mystery/thriller fans, we can always count on new additions to our favorite audiobook series to listen to. And even if you haven’t listened to the audiobooks in a particular series before, you should be able to pick up on the characters and story lines and be inspired to go back to the beginning; that should keep you busy.
For Lucas Davenport fans, author John Sandford gives us MASKED PREY, Book 30 in the Davenport series. Narrator Richard Ferrone returns to voice our favorite characters, Lucas and his fellow U.S. Marshalls Bob and Rae. Ferrone has found a perfect voice for Davenport while also being able to modify his deep gravelly voice to convincingly voice female characters. The plot is very timely, revolving around our obsession with social media and the extent to which the world is influenced by what we consume online. Davenport is called in to investigate potentially dangerous far right groups. One of these group’s members identify themselves as “involuntary celibates” (incels). This was a term I was unfamiliar with but lo and behold, it showed up again in another audiobook.
That audiobook is Michael Connelly’s FAIR WARNING, which is Book 3 in the series featuring journalist Jack McEvoy. The audiobook features two narrators, Peter Giles, who voices Jack McEvoy and the chapters he is featured in, and Zach Villa, who narrates the chapters featuring the evil serial killer known as The Shrike. This engaging, well-narrated book is chilling in its focus on the potentially frightening use of the DNA we innocently send to companies to track our ancestry and the lack of oversight of these companies. The “incels” in this audiobook come into play as the computer and DNA specialists who enable the serial killer. There is a special treat for listeners at the conclusion of the audiobook: It turns out that Fair Warning is a real news organization, and Myron Levin (whose name is used in Connelly’s book) is the real live editor. They have a lively discussion about the state of journalism in our new world of social media and alternative facts.
And any Connelly fans who haven’t already indulged will find THE NIGHT FIRE (Harry Bosch, Book 22/Renée Ballard, Book 3) an engaging listen. Titus Welliver, who plays Bosch in the Amazon Prime series, delivers the perfect irascible Bosch interwoven with Christine Lakin’s pleasant voice for Ballard. A winning combination.
If you get some comfort from spending time with a fictionalized version of our current political situation, you might enjoy THE BIG LIE, Book 16 in the Jack Swyteck series by James Grippando. This audiobook earned narrator Jonathan Davis an Earphones Award.
And for those of us who are finding our present situation a bit too much, why not escape into post-WWI England with Charles Todd’s A DIVIDED LOYALTY (Book 22) narrated by Simon Prebble? The mother/son team that constitutes Charles Todd is exceptional at historical detail, drawing listeners into another place and time. At times it’s a relief to go back to a time when computer searches and smart phones that provide instant information don’t exist. Detective work had to be done by “shoe leather,” pounding the streets and actually talking to people. Yes, a much slower pace that is reflected in the writing and narration—but an engaging and thoughtful listening experience.
Stay safe, and listen on!