Stories Set in the World of Black Mirror | February Fiction on Audio

Anderson, James. Lullaby Road. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501971907. Read by Graham Winton.
Winter has come to Highway 117, a remote road through the Utah desert trafficked only by oddballs, fugitives, and those looking to escape the world. So when local truck driver Ben Jones finds an abandoned, mute Hispanic child at a lonely gas station along his route, far from any semblance of proper civilization, he knows something has gone terribly awry. With the help of his eccentric neighbors, Ben sets out to help the kid and learn the truth. In the process he makes new friends and loses old ones, finds himself in mortal danger, and uncovers buried secrets far more painful than he could have imagined.

Austin, Lynn. Where We Belong. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501965258. Read by Mary Beth Light.
Despite Victorian society’s strict rules for women, Rebecca and Flora Hawes’ desire for adventure has led them to the Sinai Desert. Accompanied by their young butler and their maid, the sisters search for a biblical manuscript. On their exotic journey, they experience challenges and wonders, and recall the events that brought them to this time and place.

Blades, Nicole. Have You Met Nora? Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501968297. Read by Cherise Boothe.
She’s blossomed from wealthy surgeon’s beautiful daughter to elegant socialite to being the top fashion stylist in the country. And Nora Mackenzie is only days away from marrying into one of New York’s richest, most powerful families. But her fairy tale rise is rooted in an incredible deception-one scandal away from turning her perfect world to ashes… What no one knows is that Nora is the biracial daughter of a Caribbean woman and a long-gone white father. Adopted-and abused-by her mother’s employer, then sent to an exclusive boarding school to buy her silence, Nora found that “passing” as a white woman could give her everything she never had. Every golden opportunity she seized and every deception she worked kept that powerless, forgotten girl forever in the past. Now, an ex-classmate who Nora betrayed many years ago has returned to her life to even the score. She’s a woman who won’t be bought off, reasoned against, or pleaded with. Her machinations are turning Nora’s privilege into one gilded trap after another. Running out of choices, Nora must decide how far she will go to protect a lie or give up and finally face the truth.

Blaedel, Sara. The Undertaker’s Daughter. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781549170379. Reader TBA.
Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen, until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence. Her father—who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago—has died. And he’s left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin. Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things—hoping for some insight into his new life in America—before preparing the business for a quick sale. But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker’s daughter realizes she might be in over her head

Carey, Peter. A Long Way from Home. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501968228. Reader TBA.
Irene Bobs loves fast driving. Her husband is the best car salesman in southeastern Australia. Together they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal race around the ancient continent, over roads no car will ever quite survive. With them is their lanky, fair-haired navigator, Willie Bachhuber, a quiz show champion and failed schoolteacher who calls the turns and creeks crossings on a map that will remove them, without warning, from the white Australia they all know so well. This is a thrilling high-speed story that starts in one way, and then takes you someplace else. It is often funny, more so as the world gets stranger, and always a page-turner even as you learn a history these characters never knew themselves.

Cleeton, Chanel. Next Year in Havana. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538469743. Read by Kyla Garcia & Frankie Maria Corzo.
Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest—until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary. Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth. Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Darznik, Jasmin. Song of a Captive Bird. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525527336. Reader TBA.
All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh is told that Iranian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. It’s during the summer of 1950 that Forugh’s passion for poetry really takes flight—and that tradition seeks to clip her wings. Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing grows only stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.

Doctorow, Cory, Charlie Brooker, Sylvain Neuvel & Claire North. Black Mirror: Volume 1—A Literary Season. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525628668. Reader TBA.
Edited by Charlie Brooker, the creator of the hit Netflix original series Black Mirror, this book takes the very essence of the globally acclaimed cult TV show to create new, original, darkly satirical stories that tap into our collective unease about the modern world. This is Black Mirror in book form, allowed to roam through the imaginations of some of the leading names in contemporary fiction.

Emezi, Akwaeke. Freshwater. Blackstone. ISBN 9781684410408. Reader TBA.
Ada begins her life in the south of Nigeria as a troubled baby and a source of deep concern to her family. Her parents, Saul and Saachi, successfully prayed her into existence, but as she grows into a volatile and splintered child, it becomes clear that something went terribly awry. When Ada comes of age and moves to America for college, the group of selves within her grows in power and agency. A traumatic assault leads to a crystallization of her alternate selves: Asụghara and Saint Vincent. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind and these selves―now protective, now hedonistic―move into control, Ada’s life spirals in a dark and dangerous direction.

Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy 2. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501974816. Read by Jay Rodan, Lauren Irwin, Chris MacDonnell, and others.
From sorcerous bridges that link worlds to the simple traditions of country folk; from the mysterious natures of twins to the dangerous powers of obligation and contract. Laden with perils for both the adventurous and the unsuspecting, magic is ultimately a contradiction: endlessly powerful but never without consequence, and rigidly defined by rules of its own making. Includes stories by Garth Nix, K J Parker, Tony Ballantyne, James Bradley, Isobelle Carmody, Frances Hardinge, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Ellen Klages, Justina Robson, Christopher Rowe, Robert Shearman, Karin Tidbeck, Genevieve Valentine and Kaaron Warren.

Golden, Marita. The Wide Circumference of Love. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501989353. Reader TBA.
You just can’t plan for this kind of thing. Diane Tate certainly hasn’t. She never expected to slowly lose her talented husband to the debilitating effects of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. As a respected family court judge, she’s spent her life making tough calls, but when her sixty-eight-year-old husband’s health worsens and Diane is forced to move him into an assisted living facility, it seems her world is spinning out of control. As Gregory’s memory wavers and fades, Diane and her children must reexamine their connection to the man he once was-and learn to love the man he has become. For Diane’s daughter Lauren, it means honoring her father by following in his footsteps as a successful architect. For her son Sean, it means finding a way to repair the strained relationship with his father before it’s too late. Supporting her children in a changing landscape, Diane remains resolute in her goal to keep her family together-until her husband finds love with another resident of the facility. Suddenly faced with an uncertain future, Diane must choose a new path-and discover her own capacity for love.

Green, Ellen J. Twist of Faith. Brilliance. ISBN 9781543638806. Read by Angela Dawe.
After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us. Ava is certain that it’s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she’d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she’d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother’s lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder. When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what’s been buried in Ava’s nightmares isn’t just a crime. It’s a holy conspiracy.

Hannah, Kristin. The Great Alone. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427212689. Read by Julia Whelan.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier. Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown. At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources. But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

Herron, Mick. This Is What Happened. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501980138. Read by Steven Crossley.
Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice. Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk. Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero-if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.

Hodges, Cheris. Deadly Rumors. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501979996. Read by Shari Peele.
Elite investigator Zoe Harrington isn’t about to be fooled twice. She knows all the tempting by-any-means-necessary games FBI agent Carver Banks will use to close a case. So when he needs her help with a missing person case, she’s happy to charge him double the fee-and keep his sizzling moves at arm’s length. But when the search strikes too close to home, Zoe finds the passion between them reigniting past the danger point… Carver doesn’t want to deceive Zoe again. He’s never stopped wanting the sexy private detective who can match him play for passionate play. But she’s at the top of a hit list. And he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her out of harm’s way-until Zoe uncovers his true agenda. Now, how can he prove his love for her is real? And with time running out, will their one chance to survive mean losing each other forever?

Howard, Catherine Ryan. The Liar’s Girl. Blackstone. ISBN 9781504782487. Read by Alana Kerr Collings, Alan Smyth, & Gary Furlong.
Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin’s elite St. John’s College—and Ireland’s most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his five young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city’s Central Psychiatric Hospital. Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enroll in St. John’s and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed … and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer—and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who’d been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back. When a young woman’s body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess—but there’s only one person he’s prepared to confess it to. The last thing Alison wants is to be pulled back into the past she’s worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn’t set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.

Jackson, K.M. The Betting Vow. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501968419. Read by Diana Luke.
Leila Darling is past done with the supermodel thing, especially the mega-parties and high-profile flings that have done nothing but leave her alone and jaded. She’s got the talent to be a serious actress, but the industry sees her as a high-maintenance, impulsive party girl with a reputation for leaving men in the dust-especially TV producer Carter Bain. Carter’s had his eye on Leila for years, so when a bet gives him a chance to get close to her, he accepts. With the goal of getting Leila the image makeover she needs and Carter the star he desires, the game is on. Get married and stay married for six months. If Leila lasts, she gets her pick of his A-list roles. If Carter wins, she’ll take the hot sidekick part he’s offered. But as their “I do” turns up all kinds of heat, Leila and Carter find they have more in common than they ever imagined. Are these two prepared to put business aside and surrender the ultimate prize, their hearts?

Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage. HighBridge. ISBN 9781681688336. Read by Sean Crisden & Eisa Davis.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Kinsella, Sophie. Surprise Me. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525531784. Read by Jayne Entwhistle.
After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years—and panic sets in. They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all.

Lippman, Laura. Sunburn. HarperAudio. ISBN 9780062390127. Reader TBA.
They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through. Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets. Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?

Massey, Sujata. The Widows of Malabar Hill. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501980152. Read by Soneela Nankani.
Bombay, 1921: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Armed with a law degree from Oxford, Perveen also has a tragic personal history that makes her especially devoted to championing and protecting women’s legal rights. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen is going through the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on if they forfeit what their husband left them? Perveen is suspicious, especially since one of the widows has signed her form with an X-meaning she probably couldn’t even read the document. The Farid widows live in full purdah-in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts about the will were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.

Navin, Rhiannon. Only Child. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525589143. Read by Kivlighan de Montebello.
Squeezed into a coat closet with his classmates and teacher, first grader Zach Taylor can hear gunshots ringing through the halls of his school. A gunman has entered the building, taking nineteen lives and irrevocably changing the very fabric of this close-knit community. While Zach’s mother pursues a quest for justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them responsible for their son’s actions, Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and art. Armed with his newfound understanding, and with the optimism and stubbornness only a child could have, Zach sets out on a captivating journey towards healing and forgiveness, determined to help the adults in his life rediscover the universal truths of love and compassion needed to pull them through their darkest hours.

Oloomi, Azareen Van der Vliet. Call Me Zebra. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501976223. Reader TBA.
Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn’t fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago. Books are Zebra’s only companions-until she meets Ludo. Their connection is magnetic; their time together fraught. Zebra overwhelms him with her complex literary theories, her concern with death, and her obsession with history. He thinks she’s unhinged; she thinks he’s pedantic. Neither are wrong; neither can let the other go. They push and pull their way across the Mediterranean, wondering with each turn if their love, or lust, can free Zebra from her past?

Rivers, Francine. The Masterpiece. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501902208. Read by Susan Bennett.
A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want-money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist-an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison. Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship-and both their lives-forever.

Tanzer, Molly. Creatures of Will and Temper. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501956614. Read by Charlotte Gray.
Victorian London is a place of fluid social roles, vibrant arts culture, fin-de-siècle wonders . . . and dangerous underground diabolic cults. Fencer Evadne Gray cares for none of the former and knows nothing of the latter when she’s sent to London to chaperone her younger sister, aspiring art critic Dorina. Unfortunately for Evadne, she soon learns too much about all of it when Dorina meets their uncle’s friend, Lady Henrietta “Henry” Wotton. A semi-respectable aristocrat in public, in private she is secretly in the thrall of a demon obsessed with beauty and pleasure. When Lady Henry and Dorina immediately hit it off, Evadne abandons her chaperone duties and enrolls in a fencing school. There, she meets the fencing master she’s always dreamed of. But soon, George reveals he is more than just a teacher. He has dedicated himself to eradicating demons and their servants, and he needs Evadne’s help. As Evadne gets pulled further into this hidden world, she begins to suspect that Lady Henry might actually be a diabolist. Even worse, she believes Dorina may have joined her.

Townsend, Tracy. The Nine. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501964930. Read by Alyssa Bresnaham.
Black market courier Rowena Downshire is doing everything she can to stay off the streets and earn enough to pay her mother’s way to freedom. But an urgent and unexpected delivery leads her face to face with a creature out of nightmares. The Alchemist knows things few men have lived to tell about, but when a frightened and empty-handed courier shows up on his doorstep he knows better than to turn her away. What he discovers leads him to ask for help from the last man he wants to see-the former mercenary, Anselm Meteron. Reverend Phillip Chalmers awakes in a cell, bloodied and bruised, facing a creature twice his size. Translating a stolen book that writes itself may be his only hope for survival; however, he soon learns the text may have been written by the Creator himself, tracking the nine human subjects of his Grand Experiment. In the wrong hands, it could mean the end of humanity. This unlikely team must try to keep the book from those who would misuse it. But how can they be sure who the enemy is when they can barely trust each other?

Tursten, Helene. Protected by the Shadows. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501964862. Read by Suzanne Toren.
The gang warfare that has been brewing in Göteborg is about to explode. A member of a notorious biker gang has been set on fire—alive. Even in a culture where ritual killings are common, this brutal assault attracts the attention of both Irene’s unit and the Organized Crimes Unit. Anticipating a counterattack, the two units team up to patrol the lavish party of a rival gang, but that doesn’t stop another murder from occurring just outside the event hall. And that’s not the only thing going up in flames. Someone has planted a bomb under Irene Huss’s husband’s car. Fearing for her family’s safety, Irene sends her husband and daughters into hiding and takes up residence at a colleague’s apartment. Still, she can’t shake the feeling that she is being stalked. Somehow, the gangs are always one step ahead of the police. Someone is leaking information. But who? Irene’s life depends on discovering the answer.

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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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