Last week I highlighted five outstanding female narrators. Now it is time for the guys; here is a quintet of readers who make listening a joy. Add them to the group showcased in Wyatt’s World last year (Jim Dale, Stephen Fry, Dion Graham, Simon Prebble, and David Timson), and the result is a can’t-miss group of narrators of note.
- The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman; read by Mark Bramhall (Penguin Audio).
Bramhall has a rich, appealingly gruff voice and is a master at both accents and pacing. The combination creates an enveloping audio experience that is a pure pleasure. Bramhall has read all the books in Grossman’s fantasy trilogy about modern-day magic and a land much like C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. This final title comes out in August.
- Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross; read by Edward Herrmann (Macmillan Audio).
An expert narrator who excels in reading nonfiction, Herrmann combines a deft hand at pacing with a voice that is blissful—smooth, inflected, and clear. Here he lends his talents to Ross’s biography of a legendary World War I combat flying ace.
- The Son by Jo Nesbø; read by Gildart Jackson (Random Audio).
Richly inflected voices, emotionally dimensional accents, and a deeply resonant tone characterize Jackson’s marvelous narration of Nesbø’s stand-alone novel about Sonny Lofthus, a man serving a prison sentence for crimes he did not commit—a man who will escape to seek justice for his father’s murder.
- Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta; read by Robert Petkoff (Blackstone Audio).
Through an ability to craft distinct characters and develop a tempo that keeps listeners fully invested, Petkoff creates immersive listening experiences. Here he reads Koryta’s latest thriller, a story about Jace Wilson, a teen witness to a murder, and the villainous Blackwell brothers who seek to murder Jace in turn.
- Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King; read by Will Patton (S. & S. Audio).
Patton has a voice that is joyfully easy on the ear. It is deep and a bit grumbly, with a lovely drawl. He can turn his hand to any genre as he is adroit at developing characterizations and mesmerizing momentum. Here he voices King’s crime story about a retired cop tracking a madman.