1845 in search of the Northwest Passage, the
fabled waterway over the Arctic that would
link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Within
two years, both ships, the Terror and the
Erebus, were abandoned, trapped in ice, leaving
129 crew members lost in the Arctic. Journalist Watson briefly describes Franklin’s mission
before turning to those who searched, fruitlessly, until the ships were found, in 2014, to
discover the fate of the expedition—where it
failed and why. Hillgartner provides a crisp
and authoritative reading. He lures listeners into this danger-filled adventure and the
obsessive search in a smoky baritone that
matches the bleak landscape and outcome of
this ill-fated voyage of discovery. Information
from Inuit oral history figures prominently,
and Hillgartner fluently pronounces Inuit
names and phrases. His lively reading calls
attention to the interesting personalities and
historical details that should intrigue fans of
true adventure stories. —Joyce Saricks
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage
Murders and the Birth of the FBI.
By David Grann. Read by Will Patton and
2017. 9hr. Books on Tape, CD, $40 (9780307747464).
Grann has written several tales: a brief history of the Osage Indian Nation in Oklahoma,
a murder mystery, and the story of how the FBI
came to be under J. Edgar Hoover. Made conspicuously wealthy in the 1920s by oil fields
under their reservation, the Osage became targets of a series of unsolved murders that were
eventually unraveled by a nascent FBI. Three
voices effectively personify the main characters to give the recording unusual depth. Ann
Marie Lee narrates the section on the murders,
which focuses particularly on those involving
Mollie Burkhart’s family. She gently underscores Burkhart’s disbelief at the horror her
family experienced. Patton details Tom White’s
investigation into the cases, with his deep
drawl vividly personifying the lawman. Finally,
Danny Campbell reads Grann’s present-day
summation of the aftermath and his research
in a milder tone. The use of multiple readers
to build on the story’s natural arc makes this an
extremely effective recording. —Jane Philbrick
One Perfect Lie.
By Lisa Scottoline. Read by George
2017. 9hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427282095).
We all recognize that lovely town with the
nicest people: a safe, charming place where
the biggest hurdle is the kids making the var-
sity baseball team. But, oh, the underbelly!
Newbern’s subtle reading depicts just such a
place, where an undercover cop must infil-
trate a group of teen boys to stop a bombing.
There’s no shortage of suspects: star-pitcher
Raz grieves the recent loss of his dad, and
teammate Evan keeps secrets from his mom.
Jordan’s behavior challenges his single mom;
he just made varsity—and new, possibly dan-
Imaginative world building, dangerous encounters, and humor characterize these audiobooks for adults, reviewed
between May 2015 and August 2017. —Joyce Saricks
The Abyss beyond Dreams. By Peter F. Hamilton. Read by
John Lee. 2014. 22.5hr. Tantor, CD, $59.99 (9781494505325).
Lee’s utterly enthralling performance immerses listeners
in political intrigue and fierce action, as Nigel Sheldon enters
the Void, a pocket universe filled with hostile aliens attacking
a stranded human civilization in the far future.
Armada. By Ernest Cline. Read by Wil Wheaton. 2015.
12hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45 (9780804149136).
From his classroom window, teenager Zack sees the
impossible: an alien spaceship from his favorite video
game. Wheaton expertly voices Zack, spiking his account
with humor, dread, and heartwarming moments.
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. By Stephen King. Read by Stephen King and others. 2015.
19hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $49.99 (9781442388505).
Acclaimed narrators read these wide-ranging stories and poems featuring characters
grappling with mortality, morality, regret, and growing up.
Borne. By Jeff VanderMeer. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2017. 12.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $34.95
Turpin’s hypnotic narration highlights the lyrical prose and layered story line in this post-
ecological-disaster sci-fi drama in which scavenger Rachel discovers the mysterious Borne.
A Darker Shade of Magic. By V. E. Schwab. Read by Steven Crossley. 2015. 11.5hr. Tantor, CD, $39.99 (9781494540756).
Crossley’s commanding narration entices listeners into the world of Kell, a rare
magician and traveler able to move between three parallel Londons. Officially, he’s a messenger, but a deal gone bad in his side job as smuggler threatens London’s existence.
The Fireman. By Joe Hill. Read by Kate Mulgrew. 2016. 22.5hr. Harper, CD, $65.99
When Harper Grayson becomes infected with the Dragonscale virus, she is rescued
by the Fireman, but her flight to safety is fraught with danger. Mulgrew’s splendid performance invites listeners to join Harper’s perilous journey.
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. By Lois McMaster Bujold. Read by Grover Gardner. 2016. 12.5hr. Blackstone, CD, $105 (9781504667036).
Family dynamics and witty dialogue drive this nineteenth series entry as Cordelia
Vorkosigan plans to retire. Gardner’s companionable reading affectionately evokes familiar
Secondhand Souls. By Christopher Moore. Read by Fisher Stevens. 2015. 10hr. Harper,
CD, $39.99 (9780062374110).
Horror and humor merge in this tale of San Francisco death-merchant Charles Asher,
who has fallen behind in collecting souls—with disastrous results. Stevens’ lively performance elevates the clever wordplay and underlines the novel’s snarky glee.
Sorcerer to the Crown. By Zen Cho. Read by Jenny Sterlin. 2015. 13hr. Recorded Books,
CD, $123.75 (9781490691411).
Sterlin transports listeners to a fantasy-world Regency England in which the young
Sorcerer Royal seeks to restore the country’s stores of magic. She expertly captures the
humor and wit in this historical fantasy, filled with adventure, romance, and politics.
Welcome to Night Vale. By Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. Read by Cecil Baldwin. 2015.
12hr. Harper, CD, $39.99 (9780062351463).
Narrator Baldwin shares a playfully malevolent and wholly unique experience in this
podcast-based novel that combines the pleasures of The X-Files and Twin Peaks with a
motley crew of characters, a fast pace, and a tone that reflects both tension and humor.
TOP 10 ADULT SF/FANTASY & HORROR ON AUDIO
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