Celeste Ng, Sherry Thomas, & Jesmyn Ward | September Fiction on Audio

Abraham, Brad. Magicians Impossible. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538458136. Reader TBA.
Twenty-something bartender Jason Bishop’s world is shattered when his estranged father commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand, an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn, the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop’s murder and for the death of Jason’s mother years before, have Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities, providing he makes it through the training.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Half of a Yellow Sun. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524781712. Read by Zainab Jah.
Adichie’s latest is set during Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. Listeners experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a 13-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has abandoned her life in Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene.

Bolton, Sharon. Dead Woman Walking. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 978-1427290144. Reader TBA.
Just before dawn in the hills near the Scottish border, a man murders a young woman. At the same time, a hot-air balloon crashes out of the sky. There’s just one survivor. She’s seen the killer’s face—but he’s also seen hers. And he won’t rest until he’s eliminated the only witness to his crime. Alone, scared, trusting no one, she’s running to where she feels safe—but it could be the most dangerous place of all.

Davies, Peter Ho. The Fortunes. Brilliance. ISBN 9781531824402. Read by James Chen.
Inhabiting four lives—a railroad baron’s valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood’s first Chinese movie star, a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption—this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history, showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive—as much through love as blood.

Ellison, J.T. Lie to Me. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538472101. Reader TBA.
Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her. Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family, and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel.

Englander, Nathan. Dinner at the Center of the Earth. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525499985. Read by Mark Bramhall.
A prisoner in a secret cell. The guard who has watched over him a dozen years. An American waitress in Paris. A young Palestinian man in Berlin who strikes up an odd friendship with a wealthy Canadian businessman. And The General, Israel’s most controversial leader, who lies dying in a hospital, the only man who knows of the prisoner’s existence.

Gray, Juliana. A Strange Scottish Shore. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525499053. Reader TBA.
Scotland, 1906. A mysterious object discovered inside an ancient castle calls Maximilian Haywood, the new Duke of Olympia, and his fellow researcher Emmeline Truelove north to the remote Orkney Islands. No stranger to the study of anachronisms in archeological digs, Haywood is nevertheless puzzled by the artifact: a suit of clothing that, according to family legend, once belonged to a selkie who rose from the sea and married the castle’s first laird. But Haywood and Truelove soon realize they’re not the only ones interested in the selkie’s strange hide. When their mutual friend Lord Silverton vanishes in the night from an Edinburgh street, their quest takes a dangerous turn through time.

Hannah, Sophie. Keep Her Safe. HarperAudio. ISBN 978-0062694539. Reader TBA.
Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows flees her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied—by a man and a teenage girl. A simple mistake at the front desk—but soon Cara realizes that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving natural life sentences for her murder. Cara doesn’t know what to trust—everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes.

Hartwick, Cynthia. Ladies with Options. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781470314330. Read by Barbara McCulloh.
In Minnesota in 1983, the Larksdale ladies meet over coffee cake and crafts every Saturday morning. But one day, when they take a long, hard look at their finances, they realize they will be very poor in their old age. So they decide to become an investment club and earn enough for a more comfortable retirement. Their rise from modest investors to millionaires is an adventure that exceeds their wildest expectations.

Holahan, Cate. Lies She Told. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538452578. Read by Amy McFadden & Lisa Larsen.
Liza Cole has 30 days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. In the meantime, she’s struggling to start a family with her husband, who is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. With stresses weighing her down in both her professional and her personal lives, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth. Beth is a new mother who suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home alone caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River. Then the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the same river and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder.

Jones, Holly Goddard. The Salt Line. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525497790. Read by Hillary Huber.
In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line—a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a pop star and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife. Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks—and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence.

Kent, Hannah. The Good People. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781619699809. Reader TBA.
Bereft after the loss of her husband, Nora finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheal—a boy whom she recalls as having been a happy and healthy infant but now, in the wake of both his mother’s and grandfather’s deaths, can neither speak nor walk. Mary, a servant girl from more rural parts, comes to the valley to help Nora just as the rumors are spreading: the talk of unexplained misfortunes and illnesses, and the theory that deformed Micheal is a changeling, a fairy child to blame for the bad luck the valley has endured since his arrival. Determined to banish the evil in Micheal, Nora and Mary enlist the help of the elderly Nance, a recluse and wanderer once revered by her neighbors for her healing powers, but now condemned as a fraud and a threat by the new priest in town. As the trio’s situation grows more dire, their folkloric practices become increasingly daring—culminating, at last, in a stunning and irreversible act that will put all their lives in danger.

King, Stephen & Owen King. Sleeping Beauties. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781508238126. Reader TBA.
In a near future in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain?

Krauss, Nicole. Forest Dark. Blackstone. ISBN 9780062694515. Reader TBA.
Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have been a force to be reckoned with for 68 years, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than 30 years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he has felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. But Epstein isn’t the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer’s block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality—and her own perception of life—that has been closed off to her.

Lagercrantz, David. The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524708993. Read by Simon Vance.
Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo, the brilliant hacker, the obstinate outsider, the volatile seeker of justice for herself and others—even she has never been able to uncover the most telling facts of her traumatic childhood, the secrets that might finally, fully explain her to herself. Now, when she sees a chance to uncover them once and for all, she enlists the help of Mikael Blomkvist, the editor of the muckraking investigative journal Millennium. And she will let nothing stop her—not the Islamists she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the prison gang leader who passes a death sentence on her; not the deadly reach of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudoscientific experiment known only as The Registry.

Land, Ali. Good Me Bad Me. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427290021. Read by Imogen Church.
Fifteen-year-old Milly was raised by a serial killer: her mother. When she finally breaks away and tells the police everything about her mother’s crimes and years of abuse, she is given a new identity and placed in an affluent foster family and an exclusive private school. She wrestles with being the daughter of a murderer and the love she still feels for her mother, despite her crimes, but her hopes are simple. Milly wants to be good. Then Milly’s foster sister, Phoebe, starts bullying her. A teacher may have discovered her secret. And her vulnerable best friend may be a perfect victim. As tensions rise and Milly begins to feel trapped by her shiny new life, she has to decide: Will she be good? Or is she bad?

McBride, James. Five-Carat Soul. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525497981. Read by Arthur Morey, Dominic Hoffman, Prentice Onayemi, & Nile Bullock.
These stories—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.

McDermott, Alice. The Ninth Hour. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427289193. Reader TBA.
On a dim winter afternoon a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife—“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, a Little Sister of the Sick Poor, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child. In Catholic Brooklyn, in the early part of the 20th century, decorum, superstition and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence, and yet his suicide, although never spoken of, reverberates through many lives.

Meades, Christopher. Hanna Who Fell from the Sky. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538471951. Read by Caitlin Kelly.
Hanna has never been outside her secluded community of Clearhaven. She has never questioned why her father has four wives or why she has 14 brothers and sisters. And in only one week, on her 18th birthday, Hanna will follow tradition and become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age. But just days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, an enigmatic stranger who challenges her to question her fate and to follow her own will. Then her mother tells her a secret—one that could grant Hanna the freedom she’s known only in her dreams. As her world unravels around her, Hanna must decide whether she was really meant for something greater than the claustrophobic world of Clearhaven.

Ng, Celeste. Little Fires Everywhere. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525498087. Read by Jennifer Lim.
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planne— from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist and single mother, who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But when friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Oksanen, Sofi. Norma. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525500506. Read by Fiona Hardingham.
When Anita Naakka jumps in front of an oncoming train, her daughter, Norma, is left alone with the secret they have spent their lives hiding: Norma has supernatural hair, sensitive to the slightest changes in her mood—and the moods of those around her—moving of its own accord, corkscrewing when danger is near. And so it is her hair that alerts her, while she talks with a strange man at her mother’s funeral, that her mother may not have taken her own life. Setting out to reconstruct Anita’s final months—sifting through puzzling cell phone records, bank statements, video files—Norma begins to realize that her mother knew more about her hair’s powers than she let on: a sinister truth beyond Norma’s imagining.

Pearson, Ryne Douglas. Simple Simon. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781490660356. Read by George Guidall.
A doctor studying autism innocently gives 16-year-old Simon Lynch a magazine containing exercises for the mentally gifted. When Simon rapidly solves a number puzzle and phones in the correct answer, shadowy powers target him with deadly intent. FBI agent Art Jefferson comes to Simon’s aid, only to find that he too becomes a target. The unlikely pair must learn to trust each other while they struggle for survival.

Peery, Janet. The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427294289. Reader TBA.
On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, KS, the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch, retired judge Abel Campbell, prepared and hosted by their still-hale mother Hattie. But when Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out in his devil’s food cake, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety. Billy’s wayward adventures have too long consumed their lives, in particular Hattie’s. As the older children—Doro, Jesse, ClairBell, and Gideon—contend with their own troubles, they compete for the approval of the elderly parents they adore, but can’t quite forgive.

Penney, Stef. Under a Pole Star. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501959561. Read by Cathleen McCarron & Thomas Judd.
Flora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of 12. In 1889, the whaler’s daughter from Dundee, dubbed by the press “The Snow Queen,” sets out to become a scientist and explorer. She struggles to be taken seriously but determination and chance lead her back to northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition, despite the many who believe that a young woman has no place in this harsh world of men. Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition, led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When Jakob and Flora’s paths cross, it is a fateful meeting. All three become obsessed with the north, a place where violent extremes exist side by side: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; heroism and lies. Armitage’s ruthless desire to be the true leader of polar discovery takes him and his men on a mission whose tragic outcome will reverberate for years to come.

Rushdie, Salman. The Golden House. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525524724. Read by Vikas Adam.
On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, an enigmatic billionaire from foreign shores takes up residence in the architectural jewel of “the Gardens,” a cloistered community in New York’s Greenwich Village. The neighborhood is a bubble within a bubble, and the residents are immediately intrigued by the eccentric newcomer and his family. Along with his improbable name, untraceable accent, and unmistakable whiff of danger, Nero Golden has brought along his three adult sons: agoraphobic, alcoholic Petya, a brilliant recluse with a tortured mind; Apu, the flamboyant artist, sexually and spiritually omnivorous; and D, at 22 the baby of the family, harboring an explosive secret even from himself. There is no mother, no wife; at least not until Vasilisa, a sleek Russian expat, snags the septuagenarian Nero, becoming the queen to his king—a queen in want of an heir.

Sloan, Robin. Sourdough. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427289278. Read by Therese Plummer.
Lois Clary is a software engineer at General Dexterity, a San Francisco robotics company with world-changing ambitions. She codes all day and collapses at night, her human contact limited to the two brothers who run the neighborhood hole-in-the-wall from which she orders dinner every evening. Then, disaster! Visa issues. The brothers close up shop, and fast. But they have one last delivery for Lois: their culture, the sourdough starter used to bake their bread. Lois is no baker, but she could use a roommate, even if it is a needy colony of microorganisms. Soon, not only is she eating her own homemade bread, she’s providing loaves daily to the General Dexterity cafeteria. The company chef urges her to take her product to the farmer’s market, and a whole new world opens up. When Lois comes before the jury that decides who sells what at Bay Area markets, she encounters a close-knit club with no appetite for new members. But then, an alternative emerges: a secret market that aims to fuse food and technology. But who are these people, exactly?

Thomas, Sherry. A Conspiracy in Belgravia. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504759076. Read by Kate Reading.
Being shunned by society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she has had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she is not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office. Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother. In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body surfaces where least expected.

Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing. S. & S. Audio. ISBN 9781508237549. Reader TBA.
Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Whalen, Marybeth Mayhew. When We Were Worthy. Blackstone. ISBN 9781531877644. Read by Joshilyn Jackson.
When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, GA, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge. At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t.

Wheaton, Wil. Dead Trees Give No Shelter. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538478141. Read by the author.
Jay Turner is a broken and lonely man who has been adrift since his brother’s murder when they were children. Now, after twenty years away, Jay has come back to his hometown of Garron, Ohio, to uncover the truth about his brother’s death.

Whittall, Zoe. The Best Kind of People. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525494140. Read by Cassandra Campbell.
The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, CT. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes. Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, 17-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.

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