Albom, Mitch. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto. HarperAudio. ISBN 9780062420039. Read by Paul Stanley, George Guidall, Mike Hodge, Robin Miles, Christian Baskous, Tony Chiroldes, Kevin O’Neill, Adriana Sananes, & the author.
The voice of Music narrates the tale of Frankie Presto, a war orphan raised by a blind music teacher in a small Spanish town. At nine years old, Frankie is sent to America. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. But Frankie’s talent is touched by the gods, and his amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 20th century, from classical to jazz to rock and roll. Frankie becomes a pop star himself. But his gift is also his burden, as he realizes, through his music, he can actually affect people’s futures—with one string turning blue whenever a life is altered. At the height of his popularity, Frankie Presto vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, does he reappear—just before his spectacular death—to change one last life.
Bell, Matt. A Tree or a Person or a Wall: Stories. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501930652. Read by Karen Chilton, Andrea Gallo, Andrew Garman, & T. Ryder Smith.
A 19th-century minister builds an elaborate motor that will bring about the Second Coming. A man with rough hands locks a boy in a room with an albino ape. An apocalyptic army falls under a veil of forgetfulness. The story of Red Riding Hood is run through a potentially endless series of iterations. A father invents an elaborate, consuming game for his hospitalized son. Indexes, maps, a checkered shirt buried beneath a blanket of snow: they are scattered through these pages as clues to mysteries that may never be solved, lingering evidence of the violence and unknowability of the world. This collection brings together Bell’s previously published shorter fiction—the story collection How They Were Found and the novella Cataclysm Baby—long with seven dark and disturbing new stories.
Birch, Carol. Orphans of the Carnival. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681682587. Read by Heather Wilds.
Julia Pastrana stood apart from the other carnival acts. She was fluent in English, French, and Spanish, an accomplished musician with an exquisite singing voice, equally at ease riding horseback and turning pirouettes—but all anyone noticed was her utterly unusual face. Alternately vilified and celebrated, Julia toured the world, a bright, compassionate young woman who only wants people to see beyond her hairy visage—and perhaps, the chance for love. Theodore Lent, a boyishly charming showman, catapults Julia onto the global stage. As they travel the world, the two fall into an easy intimacy, but the question of whether Theo truly cares for Julia or if his management is just a gentler form of exploitation lingers heavily with every kind word.
Coelho, Paulo. The Spy. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524752293. Read by Hillary Huber & Paul Boehmer.
When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city. As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men. But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.
Colin, Beatrice. To Capture What We Cannot Keep. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427272904. Reader TBA.
In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris—a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family’s business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.
Cotterill, Colin. I Shot the Buddha. (Dr. Siri Paiboun, Bk. 11). Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501917226. Read by Clive Chafer.
Laos, 1979: Retired coroner Siri Paiboun and his wife, Madame Daeng, have never been able to turn away a misfit. As a result, they share their small Vientiane house with an assortment of homeless people, mendicants, and oddballs. One of these oddballs is Noo, a Buddhist monk, who rides out on his bicycle one day and never comes back, leaving only a cryptic note in the refrigerator: a plea to help a fellow monk escape across the Mekhong River to Thailand. Naturally, Siri can’t turn down the adventure, and soon he and his friends find themselves running afoul of Lao secret service officers and famous spiritualists.
Ferrante, Elena. The Beach at Night. Blackstone. ISBN 9781441700681. Read by Natalie Portman.
Mati is a five-year-old girl who talks a lot, especially to me. I’m her doll. Her father has just arrived—he comes to the beach every weekend. He’s brought her a black-and-white cat as a present. So until five minutes ago Mati was playing with me and now she’s playing with the cat, whom she’s named Minú. I’m lying on the sand, in the sun, and I don’t know what to do.
Flagg, Fannie. The Whole Town’s Talking. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735209770. Read by the author.
Elmwood Springs, MO, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it’s called, is anything but still. Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride, Katrina, and their neighbors and descendants live, love, die, and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways. Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking.
Goodwin, Daisy. Victoria. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427274359. Reader TBA.
In 1837, less than a month after her 18th birthday, Alexandrina Victoria became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone. One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
Herriman, Nancy. No Pity for the Dead. (Mystery of Old San Francisco, Bk. 2). Recorded Books. ISBN 9781490677149. Read by Stina Nielsen.
British-born nurse Celia Davies runs a free medical clinic to assist the poor women of San Francisco. She has earned the trust and friendship of many of the city’s downtrodden, including a young orphan named Owen. Owen works for a real estate company and discovered a dead body in the office’s basement. Celia turns to Detective Nick Greaves for help, only to learn that one of the main suspects—the husband of Celia’s dearest friend—is an old enemy of Nick’s. Now, Celia and Nick must put aside their personal feelings about the case—and each other—if they’re going to bring a killer to justice.
Higgins, Kristan. Until There Was You. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781490695433. Read by Xe Sands.
Posey Osterhagen can’t complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she’s surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something’s missing. Something tall, brooding, and criminally good-looking. Something like Liam Murphy. When Posey was 16, the bad boy of Bellsford, NH, broke her heart. But now he’s back, sending Posey’s traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas.
Hoffman, Alice. Faithful. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781508225119. Read by Amber Tamblyn.
Shelby Richmond has an ordinary life on Long Island until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.
Honigford, Cheryl. The Darkness Knows. (Viv and Charlie, Bk. 1). Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501905049. Read by Julie McKay.
Bright lights. Big city. Brutal murder. Chicago, 1938. Late one night before the ten o’clock show, the body of a prominent radio actress is found dead in the station’s lounge. All the evidence points to murder.and one young, up-and-coming radio actress, Vivian Witchell, as the next victim. But Viv isn’t the type to leave her fate in the hands of others—she’s used to stealing the show. Alongside charming private detective Charlie Haverman, Vivian is thrust into a world of clues and motives, suspects and secrets. And with so much on the line, Viv finds her detective work doesn’t end when the “On-Air” lights go out.
Howard, Catherine Ryan. Distress Signals. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504757461. Read by Alan Smyth, Bronson Pinchot, & Suzanne Toren.
The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads “I’m sorry—S” sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her. Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate—and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get answers, Adam do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground.
Joseph, Nic. Boy, 9, Missing. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501918582. Read by Danny Campbell.
Twenty-three years ago, at a small dinner party in a Chicago suburb, Francis Scroll’s nine-year-old brother, Lucas, was found floating face down in his parents’ bathtub. Lucas’s friend Sam is the only person who can reveal the truth, but he is unable—or unwilling—to speak, and Lucas’s death is ruled a tragic accident. Francis is forced to confront the past he buried long ago when Sam’s own nine-year-old son goes missing, and all the evidence points to Francis’s vengeful father as the prime suspect.
Kay, Francesca. The Long Room. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681682662. Read by Michael Healy.
London. December 1981. When he first joined the Institute, Stephen Donaldson expected to encounter glamorous, high-risk espionage. Instead he gets the tape-recorded conversations of ancient communists and ineffectual revolutionaries—until the day he is assigned a new case: the ultra-secret PHOENIX, a suspected internal leak. The monotony of Donaldson’s routine is broken, but it’s not PHOENIX who captures his imagination: it’s the target’s wife, Helen. Beset by isolation and loneliness, Stephen becomes dangerously obsessed with Helen, risking his job to keep his fragile connection to her and inadvertently setting himself up for a fall that will change his life forever.
Lamb, Wally. I’ll Take You There. Blackstone. ISBN 9781441726056. Reader TBA.
One evening, while setting up a film in the projectionist booth, Felix Funicello is confronted by the ghost of Lois Weber, a trailblazing motion picture director from Hollywood’s silent film era. Lois invites Felix to revisit—and in some cases relive—scenes from his past as they are projected onto the cinema’s big screen. In these magical movies, the medium of film becomes the lens for Felix to reflect on the women who profoundly impacted his life. There’s his daughter Aliza, a writer who is trying to align her post-modern feminist beliefs with her lofty career ambitions; his sister, Frances, with whom he once shared a complicated bond of kindness and cruelty; and Verna, a fiery would-be contender for the 1951 Miss Rheingold competition.
Luce, Kelly. Pull Me Under. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504741279. Read by Amy McFadden.
When she was 12 years old, Rio Silvestri fatally stabbed a school bully. Rio, born Chizuru Akitani, is the Japanese American daughter of the revered violinist Hiro Akitani, a living national treasure in Japan and a man to whom Rio hasn’t spoken since she left her home country for the United States and a new identity after her violent crime. Her father’s death, along with a mysterious package that arrives on her doorstep in Boulder, CO, spurs her to return to Japan for the first time in 20 years. There she is forced to confront her past in ways she never imagined, pushing herself, her relationships with her husband and daughter, and her own sense of who she is to the brink.
Marias, Javier. Thus Bad Begins. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681682808. Read by Robert Fass.
Madrid, 1980. Juan de Vere, nearly finished with his university degree, takes a job as personal assistant to Eduardo Muriel, an eccentric, once-successful film director. Urbane, discreet, irreproachable, Muriel is an irresistible idol to the young man. But Muriel’s voluptuous wife, Beatriz, inhabits their home like an unwanted ghost; and on the periphery of their lives is Dr. Jorge Van Vechten, a family friend implicated in unsavory rumors that Muriel now asks Juan to investigate. As Juan draws closer to the truth, he uncovers only more questions. What is at the root of Muriel’s hostility toward his wife? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? What happened during the war?
Meyer, Stephenie. The Chemist. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478906568. Read by Ellen Archer.
She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival.
Murray, Sabrina. Valiant Gentlemen. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681683164. Read by David Colacci.
When World War I breaks out, humanitarian and Irish patriot Roger Casement and his friend Herbert Ward’s longstanding political differences finally come to a head. When Ward and his teenage sons leave to fight on the front lines for England, Casement begins to work alongside the Germans to help free Ireland from British rule. What results is tragic and riveting, as both men are forced to confront notions of love and betrayal in the face of the vastly different tracks their lives have taken.
Overholt, Cuyler. A Deadly Affection. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501918513. Read by Carly Robins.
New York City, 1907. After a family tragedy for which she blames herself, Dr. Genevieve Summerford wants nothing more than to succeed in her new career as a psychiatrist and win back the respect of her family and peers. That goal is thrown into jeopardy, however, when one of her patients is arrested for murder—a murder Genevieve fears she may have unwittingly provoked. Desperate to prove to herself and the authorities that her patient is innocent, she is forced to enlist the aid of an influential Tammany captain who once worked for her family as a stable boy, and whose motives for helping her now are open to doubt. Forging an uneasy alliance, the two uncover an astonishing secret about one of the city’s most powerful families.
Reay, Katherine. A Portrait of Emily Price. Thomas Nelson on Brilliance. ISBN 9781531833619. Reader TBA.
Emily Price, art restorer and would-be artist, is in Atlanta, is enthralled by chef Benito Hillam, who is in town from Italy visiting his brother Joseph, Emily’s boss. When she accepts his marriage proposal, Emily follows Ben home to Italy. Emily is transported into a new world, but instead of allowing Italy to change her, she tries to change Italy, alienating Ben’s tight-knit Italian family, except Ben’s father, Henry. The elderly man takes Emily under his wing, and she begins to transform, growing wings as Italy’s beauty begins to take hold of her spirit, and her art and life begin to blossom. But when long-hidden family secrets are unearthed and past hurts become fresh again, Emily is left to wonder whether she really fits into Ben’s world.
Rice, Anne. Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantic. (Vampire Chronicles, Bk. 12). Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735205956. Read by Simon Vance.
The vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, is a hero, leader, irresistible force, and irrepressible spirit, battling (and ultimately reconciling with) an otherworldly form that has somehow taken possession of his undead body and soul. This ancient and mysterious power and unearthly spirit of vampire lore has all the force, history, and insidious reach of the unknowable universe. It is through this spirit, previously considered benign for thousands of vampire years, that listeners come to be told the hypnotic tale of a great sea power of ancient times; a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent—and of how and why and in what manner and with what far-reaching purpose this force came to build and rule the great legendary empire of centuries ago that thrived in the Atlantic Ocean.
Sjón. Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501926204. Read by Vikas Adam.
Mani Steinn is queer in a society in which the idea of homosexuality is beyond the furthest extreme. His city, Reykjavik in 1918, is homogeneous and isolated and seems entirely defenseless against the Spanish flu, which has already torn through Europe, Asia, and North America and is now lapping up on Iceland’s shores. And if the flu doesn’t do it, there’s always the threat that war will spread all the way north. And yet the outside world has also brought Icelanders cinema. And there’s nothing like a dark, silent room with a film from Europe flickering on the screen to help you escape, to transport you, to make you feel like everything is going to be all right. For Mani Steinn, the question is whether, at Reykjavik’s darkest hour, he should retreat all the way into this imaginary world, or if he should engage with the society that has so soundly rejected him.
Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780735205635. Reader TBA.
Two brown girls dream of being dancers, but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
Swanson, Kiki. The Score. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501908323. Read by Cami Darian, Mirron Willis, & Madison Vaughn.
She’s bright, beautiful, and a criminal at heart. A Virginia Beach street hustler turned identity theft mastermind, Lauren Kelly’s always had a taste for the finer things—Chanel, Prada, AmEx black cards—and Matt Connors, her lover and accomplice. When their partner, Yancy, stumbles onto a tycoon’s $3 million bank account, everything’s golden—until Lauren discovers Yancy and Matt are planning the ultimate double-cross. Fortunately, Lauren’s one step ahead of Matt. Once she disappears with every last dollar, they’ll have no doubt they picked the wrong woman to play. But all three of them picked the wrong man to rip off.
Witemeyer, Karen. No Other Will Do. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501918643. Reader TBA.
Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, TX. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight—and she knows just the one. Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve. As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.
Yoke, Selina Siak Chin. The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds. Brilliance. ISBN 9781531834845. Read by Christine Rendel.
Facing challenges in an increasingly colonial world, Chye Hoon, a rebellious young girl, must learn to embrace her mixed Malayan-Chinese identity and her destiny as a cook, rather than following her dream of attending school like her brother. Amidst the smells of chiles and garlic frying, Chye Hoon begins to appreciate the richness of her traditions, eventually marrying Wong Peng Choon, a Chinese man. Together, they have ten children. At last, she can pass on the stories she has heard—magical tales of men from the sea—and her warrior’s courage, along with her wonderful kueh (cakes). But the cultural shift towards the West has begun and Chye Hoon finds herself afraid of losing the heritage she so prizes.