Sonali Dev, Ralph Ellison, & Kristan Higgins | December Fiction on Audio

Ahmed, Saladin, Rae Carson, Mira Grant, & John Jackson Miller. Canto Bight: Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525596660. Reader TBA.
Welcome to the casino city of Canto Bight. A place where exotic aliens, captivating creatures, and other would-be high rollers are willing to risk everything to make their fortunes. Set across one fateful evening, these four original novellas explore the deception and danger of the lavish casino city. An honest salesman meets a career criminal as a dream vacation turns into the worst nightmare imaginable in a story by Ahmed. Dreams and schemes collide when a deal over a priceless bottle of wine becomes a struggle for survival as told by Grant. Old habits die hard when a servant is forced into the mad struggle for power among Canto Bight’s elite in a tale by Carson. A deadbeat gambler has one last chance to turn his luck around, all he has to do is survive one wild night as told by Miller.

Arden, Katherine. The Girl in the Tower. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525496557. Read by Kathleen Gati.
Vasilisa has grown up at the edge of a Russian wilderness, where there is truth in the fairy tales told around the fire. Vasilisa’s gift for seeing what others do not won her the attention of Morozko—Frost, the winter demon from the stories—and together they saved her people from destruction. But Frost’s aid comes at a cost, and her people have condemned her as a witch. She chooses adventure, dressing herself as a boy and setting off astride her magnificent stallion, Solovey. But after Vasilisa prevails in a skirmish with bandits, the Grand Prince of Moscow anoints her a hero for her exploits, and she is reunited with her beloved sister and brother, who are now part of the Grand Prince’s inner circle. She dares not reveal to the court that she is a girl, for if her deception were discovered it would have terrible consequences for herself and her family. Before she can untangle herself from Moscow’s intrigues—and as Frost provides counsel that may or may not be trustworthy—she will also confront an even graver threat lying in wait for all of Moscow itself.

Chiaverini, Jennifer. Enchantress of Numbers. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501960482. Reader TBA.
Estranged from Ada’s father, Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage–brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly–will shape her destiny. Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world. All the while, she passionately studies mathematics–ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman–falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents’ estrangement, and comes to terms with the unquenchable fire of her imagination.

Coleman, JaQuavis. Judas. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538481080. Reader TBA.
While a man rests in a hospital bed, recovering from a car crash that nearly took his life, he searches deep inside himself and pens an opus that will change his life forever. Writing under the name “Judas,” he completes an exposé that uncovers the secrets and truths of a crime figure on trial. The article gains national exposure, eventually winning a Pulitzer Prize. But when the story hits the national spotlight, Judas is pulled into a deep, dark abyss of the streets.

Dev, Sonali. A Distant Heart. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538475201. Reader TBA.
When Kimaya develops a rare form of aplastic anemia at the age of ten that severely compromises her immune system, she must be isolated in a laminar airflow room. Trapped in her ivory tower, she befriends the boy who shows up to wash her windows when he makes the math homework that befuddles her magically easy to understand. Rahul Savant was 13 when his father died taking a bullet for Kimi’s politician father. Rahul was left to take care of two younger siblings and his mother. He accepts Kimi’s father’s mentorship on the condition that he works off the charity as a servant in his home. As the years go by, Rahul and Kimi develop a unique and deep friendship. With Kimi’s encouragement, Rahul makes his way into the extremely selective Indian Civil Services Police Cadre. When Kimi is given a new lease on life via a life-saving procedure, she and Rahul must navigate their undeniable attraction, their lost friendship, complicated family dynamics, and a web of lies that cut too close to home to learn the real meaning of courage, loss, and love.

Eastman, Dawn. Unnatural Causes. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538505205. Read by Amanda Dolan.
Katie LeClair has finally settled down as the new doctor in Baxter, MI. After years of moving, schooling, and training, she wants nothing more than to find a place she can call home, and a small town outside of Ann Arbor seems perfect. Katie quickly gets to work building a life for herself in Baxter, and beyond reviving her love life, she also finds a pair of business partners in a team of father and son family practitioners. But that idyllic dream is immediately shattered when one of her patients is found dead. That wouldn’t be the worst thing, except the death is ruled a suicide, and as evidence has it, the suicide was a result of the medication Katie had prescribed. But she doesn’t remember writing it. When a closer investigation reveals it was murder, Katie is catapulted into an off-the-books investigation.

Ellison, Ralph. Flying Home and Other Stories. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525587675. Reader TBA.
Thirteen stories by the author of The Invisible Man that “approach the elegance of Chekhov” (Washington Post) and provide “early explorations of (Ellison’s) lifelong fascination with the ‘complex fate’ and ‘beautiful absurdity’ of American identity” (John Callahan).

Harrington, Rebecca. Penelope. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525531913. Read by Emily Rankin.
When Penelope O’Shaunessy, “an incoming freshman of average height and lank hair” steps into Harvard Yard for the first time she has lots of advice from her mother: “Don’t be too enthusiastic, don’t talk to people who seem to be getting annoyed, and for heaven’s sake, stop playing Tetris on your phone at parties.” Penelope needs this advice. She is the kind of girl who passes through much of her life with coffee spilled on her white shirt, who can’t quite tell when people are joking, and who, inevitably, always says the wrong thing. But no amount of coaching will prepare Penelope for the people she meets at school.

Higgins, Kristan. Now That You Mention It. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781490641003. Reader TBA.
It’s been over a decade since Nora left her hometown of Scupper Island, ME, and very seldom looked back. She’s carved out a successful life in Boston where no one knows her as the awkward girl with the delinquent sister and the dad who left, but a not-as-dramatic-as-it-sounds brush with death has her taking stock of her life. Inspired to reconnect with her prickly mother and snarky teenage niece, Nora returns home for the summer, where she’s forced to face the people she’s spent the last ten years trying to avoid, and where some revelations about her family could either heal her, or send her scrambling back to Boston on the next ferry.

Hunter, Kristi Ann. An Inconvenient Beauty. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501968433. Read by Ann Marie Gideon.
Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge. Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she’ll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation. Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily ever after?

Jónasson, Ragnar. Nightblind. Blackstone. ISBN 9781470862794. Read by Will Damron & Paul Michael Garcia.
Ari Thór Arason is a local policeman whose tumultuous past and uneasy relationships with the villagers in an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland continue to haunt him. The peace of this close-knit community is shattered by the murder of a policeman―shot at point-blank range in the dead of night in a deserted house. With a killer on the loose and the dark Arctic winter closing in, it falls to Ari Thór to piece together a puzzle that involves tangled local politics, a compromised new mayor, and a psychiatric ward in Reykjavík where someone is being held against their will. Then a mysterious young woman moves to the area, on the run from something she dares not reveal, and it becomes all too clear that tragic events from the past are weaving a sinister spell that may threaten them all.

Khaw, Cassandra. Food of the Gods. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501969416. Read by Jonathan Yen.
Sorcerer and former triad soldier Rupert Wong’s life is more complicated than most. By day, he makes human hors d’oeuvres for a dynasty of ghouls; by night, he pushes pencils for the Ten Chinese Hells. Of course, it never seems to be enough to buy him a new car–or his restless, flesh-eating-ghost girlfriend passage from the reincarnation cycle–until opportunity comes smashing through his window. In Kuala Lumpur, where deities from a handful of major faiths tip-toe around each other and damned souls number in the millions, it’s important to tread carefully. Now the Dragon King of the South wants to throw Rupert right in it. The ocean god’s daughter and her once-mortal husband have been murdered, leaving a single clue: bloodied feathers from the Greek furies. It’s a clue that could start a war between pantheons, and Rupert’s stuck in the middle. Success promises wealth, power and freedom, and failure… doesn’t.

Knight, Michael. Eveningland. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501969348. Reader TBA.
Knight’s stories have been lauded by writers such Ann Patchett, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barry Hannah, and Richard Bausch. Here he presents a collection of interlinked stories set among the “right kind of Mobile family” in the years preceding a devastating hurricane. A teenage girl with a taste for violence holds a burglar hostage in her house on New Year’s Eve; a middle-aged couple examines the intricacies of their marriage as they prepare to throw a party; and a real estate mogul in the throes of grief buys up all the property on an island only to be accused of madness by his daughters.

Page, Katherine Hall. The Body in the Casket. Dreamscape. ISBN 9781520087443. Read by Tanya Eby.
Even though resourceful caterer Faith Fairchild has called the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford home for most of her adult life, she isn’t familiar with Havencrest, a privileged enclave, until the owner of Rowan House calls her about catering a weekend house party. While discussing the lavish party he’s planning for his 70th birthday, Max Dane, legendary Broadway musical producer/director, makes a startling confession: that one of the guests wants to kill him. Faith’s only clue is an ominous birthday gift he received the week before: an empty casket sent anonymously containing a 20-year-old playbill from his last production. Consequently, he has drawn his guest list for the party from its cast and crew, so Faith will have to keep one eye on the menu and the other on her host to prevent his birthday bash from becoming his final curtain.

Schaffhausen, Joanna. The Vanishing Season. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538494165. Read by Lauren Fortgang.
Ellery Hathaway knows a thing or two about serial killers, but not through her police training. She’s an officer in sleepy Woodbury, MA, where a bicycle theft still makes the newspapers. No one there knows she was once victim number 17 in the grisly story of serial killer Francis Michael Coben. The only victim who lived. When three people disappear from her town in three years, all around her birthday―the day she was kidnapped so long ago―Ellery fears someone knows her secret. Someone very dangerous. Her superiors dismiss her concerns, but Ellery knows the vanishing season is coming and anyone could be next.

Simons, Paullina. The Girl in Times Square. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538456484. Reader TBA.
Living in bustling New York City, Lily Quinn has plenty of distractions and is struggling to finish college as well as pay her rent. But that all pales in comparison when Amy, her best friend and roommate, disappears without a trace. Spencer O’Malley, a cynical NYPD detective assigned to Amy’s case, immediately captures Lily’s attention. Though he is wary and wrestling with his own demons, he, too, is irresistibly drawn to Lily. But fate has more in store for Lily than she ever expected. As she looks deeper into the mystery surrounding Amy’s disappearance, Lily finds answers she never imagined she’d find—answers that challenge everything she knows about her own life.

Strahan, Jonathan. Bridging Infinity. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501973840. Read by Suzie Althens, Soneela Nankani, & more.
Sense of wonder is the lifeblood of science fiction. When we encounter something on a truly staggering scale –metal spheres wrapped around stars, planets rebuilt and repurposed, landscapes transformed, starships bigger than worlds –we react viscerally. This collection puts humanity at the heart of these vast undertakings, as builder, as engineer, as adventurer, reimagining and rebuilding the world, the solar system, and even the entire universe. This continuation of the Infinity Project anthology series features bold new stories from Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, Zachary Brown, Pat Cadigan, Kameron Hurley, Scott Lynch, Vonda N. McIntyre, Hannu Rajaniemi, Allan Steele, and more.

Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

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

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