HomeRecommendations & reviewsAudiobooks → Recommended new audiobooks #3

Recommended new audiobooks #3

Written by · Published Nov 21, 2017

Twelve Years a Slave, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

CD audiobooks

Pussy, by Howard Jacobson, read by Mike Grady

Pussy is the story of Prince Fracassus, heir presumptive to the Duchy of Origen, famed for its golden-gated skyscrapers and casinos, who passes his boyhood watching reality shows on TV, imagining himself to be the Roman Emperor Nero and fantasising about hookers. He is idle, boastful, thin-skinned and egotistic; has no manners, no curiosity, no knowledge, no idea and no words in which to express them. Could he, in that case, be the very leader to make the country great again?”

Persons Unknown, by Susie Steiner, read by Juanita McMahon

“As dusk falls a young man staggers through a park, far from home, bleeding heavily from a stab wound. He dies where he falls; cradled by a stranger, a woman’s name on his lips in his last seconds of life.

“DI Manon Bradshaw can’t help taking an interest - these days she only handles cold cases, but the man died just yards from the police station where she works. She’s horrified to discover that both victim and prime suspect are more closely linked to her than she could have imagined. And as the Cambridgeshire police force closes ranks against her, she is forced to contemplate the unthinkable. How well does she know her loved ones, and are they capable of murder?”

The Break, by Marian Keyes, read by Aoife McMahon

“The story of a relationship that everyone thought was forever and which is now in danger of being for never, The Break is about getting older and staying in love when life, real life, is trying to pull you apart.”

After Me Comes the Flood, by Sarah Perry, read by Leighton Pugh

“One hot summer’s day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind. He shuts up the bookshop no one ever comes to and drives out of London. When his car breaks down and he becomes lost on an isolated road, he goes looking for help, and stumbles into the grounds of a grand but dilapidated house. Its residents welcome him with open arms - but there’s more to this strange community than meets the eye. They all know him by name, they’ve prepared a room for him, and claim to have been waiting for him all along.

“As nights and days pass John finds himself drawn into a baffling menagerie. There is Hester, their matriarchal, controlling host; Alex and Claire, siblings full of child-like wonder and delusions; the mercurial Eve; Elijah - a faithless former preacher haunted by the Bible; and chain-smoking Walker, wreathed in smoke and hostility. Who are these people? And what do they intend for John?”

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, read by Bahni Turpin

“Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

“In Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can.”

The Babylon Idol, by Scott Mariani, read by Colin Mace

“When a sniper leaves Ben Hope’s friend fighting for his life, the former SAS major declares war on the men responsible. But what begins as a straightforward revenge mission gets complicated when a mysterious letter reveals Ben to be the real target. And his isn’t the only name on a crazed killer’s list. Professor Anna Manzini has no idea she’s in grave danger from a man she’d thought dead. She’s on the cusp of a major discovery: the location of the lost Babylon idol, a golden statue of immeasurable value.

“But when word of Anna’s work reaches her enemies, it sets off a cat-and-mouse chase that will lead Ben and Anna halfway across Europe and into the heart of war-torn Syria. To reach the precious idol first, Ben must keep one step ahead of a powerful maniac. If he fails, it won’t just be Ben and Anna’s lives in danger, but the world.”

I Am Behind You, by John Ajvide Lindqvist, translated by Marlaine Delargy, read by Peter Noble

“Molly wakes her mother to go to the toilet. The campsite is strangely blank. The toilet block has gone. Everything else has gone too. This is a place with no sun. No god. Just four families remain. Each has done something to bring them here - each denies they deserve it. Until they see what’s coming over the horizon, moving irrevocably towards them. Their worst mistake. Their darkest fear. And for just one of them, their homecoming.”

The Force, by Dan Winslow, read by Dion Graham

“Detective sergeant Denny Malone leads an elite unit to fight gangs, drugs and guns. For 18 years he’s been on the front lines, doing whatever it takes to survive in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean - including Malone himself.

“What only a few know is that Denny Malone is dirty: he and his partners have stolen millions of dollars in drugs and cash. Now he’s caught in a trap and being squeezed by the Feds, and he must walk a thin line of betrayal, while the city teeters on the brink of a racial conflagration that could destroy them all.”

The Boy Who Saw, by Simon Toyne, read by Joseph Balderrama

“‘Finishing what was begun.’ This is the message written in blood beside the body of an elderly tailor who has been tortured and murdered in the ancient town of Cordes. Hours before his death he had left a cryptic message for his granddaughter and her young son, Leo - one that puts them in immediate danger. The mother and her child are forced to go on the run, accompanied by the enigmatic Solomon Creed - a man found at the scene of the crime with no proper identification, no memory, only a strange belief that he is there to rescue Leo.”

The Cows, by Dawn O’Porter, read by Karen Cass & Laura Kirman

“Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can - though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror. When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration and a life lesson to all. Sometimes it’s OK not to follow the herd.”

A Summer Revenge, by Tom Callaghan, read by Saul Reichlin

“Having resigned from Bishkek Murder Squad, Akyl Borubaev is a lone wolf with blood on his hands. Then the Minister of State Security promises Akyl his old life back - if Akyl finds his vanished mistress. The beautiful Natasha Sulonbekova has disappeared in Dubai with information that could destroy the Minister’s career.

“But when Borubaev arrives in Dubai - straight into a scene of horrific carnage - he learns that what Natasha is carrying is worth far more than a damaged reputation.”

The Dark Net, by Benjamin Percy, read by David Chandler

“The dark net is an online shadowland for criminals to operate anonymously, but when a demonic force begins to hack the minds of its users there is nowhere left to hide. With an unstoppable virus spreading throughout the net and an ancient evil threatening to break lose on the real world, it falls to four apparently random strangers to stop the rising darkness.”

The Darkness Within, by Lisa Stone, read by Jilly Bond

“When critically ill Jacob Wilson has a heart transplant, his behaviour becomes very strange. His worried parents and girlfriend try their best to understand his sudden mood swings, but as things worsen, they begin to live in terror of what they might find in their son’s bedroom next - and as Jacob’s personality morphs, so too do the lives of those around him.”

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“B” is for Burglar, by Sue Grafton, read by Mary Peiffer

“A wealthy woman needs to find her sister to settle a will. It looks routine … boring. Still, business is slow and even a private investigator has bills to pay, so Kinsey Millhone takes the case.

“But this is not routine and the deeper Kinsey digs the trickier things get. The client tries to call Kinsey off, an accusing husband surfaces and a double murder turns the case sinister. Kinsey feels adrift in a fog of distortion, where nothing - except danger - is quite what it seems.”

Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan, read by Juliet Stevenson

“Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services. The year is 1972. Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism and faces its fifth state of emergency. The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight goes on, especially in the cultural sphere.

“Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent on a ‘secret mission’ which brings her into the literary world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? And who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage – trust no one.”

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, written and read by Neil deGrasse Tyson

“What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mindexpanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and bestselling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day.

“While waiting for your morning coffee to brew, or while waiting for the bus, the train, or the plane to arrive, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry will reveal just what you need to be fluent and ready for the next cosmic headlines: from the Big Bang to black holes, from quarks to quantum mechanics, and from the search for planets to the search for life in the universe.”

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, written and read by Douglas Adams

"”Holistic detective” Dirk Gently has found a great gig. He’s been hired by a wealthy man in the record industry who claims quite a story — a seven-foot-tall, green-eyed, scythe-wielding monster is on his tail. Dirk pretends to understand the man’s ravings involving potatoes and a contract signed in blood coming due; when in reality, he is absorbed in thought … what might he do if he actually receives payment for his “services” — he could get rid of the refrigerator, which is so filthy inside that it has become the centrepiece of a showdown between himself and his cleaning woman.

“Dirk only comes to realize the man was truly in dire straits when he arrives late for a meeting at the man’s estate. The perimeter is swarming with police and inside, in a heavily barricaded room, lies his client with his head neatly removed and spinning several feet away on a turntable. Feeling guilty about not taking the guy seriously, Dirk stays on the case and confronts exploding airport check-in counters, the gods of Norse mythology, insulting horoscopes, a sinister nursing home, an I Ching calculator, an omnipotent being who gives his powers to a lawyer and an advertising executive (in exchange for clean linen), and an attractive American woman who gets angry when she can’t get pizza delivered in London.”

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Last Seen Alive, by Claire Douglas, read by Katie Clarkson-Hill

“Libby Hall never really wanted to be noticed. But after she saves the children in her care from a fire, she finds herself headline news. And horrified by the attention. It all reminds her of what happened nine years ago. The last time she saw her best friend alive.

“Which is why the house swap is such a godsend. Libby and her husband Jamie exchange their flat in Bath for a beautiful, secluded house in Cornwall. It’s a chance to heal their marriage – to stop its secrets tearing them apart.

“But this stylish Cornish home isn’t the getaway they’d hoped for. They make odd, even disturbing, discoveries in the house. It’s so isolated – yet Libby doesn’t feel entirely alone. As if she’s being watched.”

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, read by various

“A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the evergreen classic novel.

“With their father away fighting in the American Civil War, the four March girls are facing a lean Christmas with their mother. But the sisters’ close bond and determination to make the best of things enables them to find happiness despite their poverty.

“As the years go by we follow their fortunes as they journey into womanhood. Meg the beauty, Jo the tomboy, shy Beth and precocious Amy will encounter adventure, hardship, joys and disappointments, and learn to meet the challenges of life as they become independent and make their way in the world. While marriage and motherhood may beckon for the sisters, their most enduring love is always for each other.”

Twelve Years a Slave, by Solomon Northup, read by Hugh Quarshie

“The horrifying tale of Solomon Northup, an educated, free black man living with his wife and children in New York State, whose life takes an appalling turn when he is kidnapped, drugged and sold into slavery.

“Shipped to New Orleans, he endures the life of a slave in Louisiana’s isolated plantation country. For twelve long years, he endures the unimaginable brutality and inhumanity of daily life, while keeping his dignity intact and dreaming of one day returning home to the arms of his family.”

Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey, read by Carole Boyd

“A stranger enters the inner sanctum of the Ashby family posing as Patrick Ashby, the heir to the family’s sizeable fortune. The stranger, Brat Farrar, has been carefully coached on Patrick’s mannerisms, appearance and every significant detail of Patrick’s early life, up to his 13th year when he disappeared and was thought to have drowned himself.

“It seems as if Brat is going to pull off this most incredible deception until old secrets emerge that threaten to jeopardise the imposter’s plan and his very life…”

The Store, by James Patterson & Richard DiLallo, read by Graham Halstead

“Imagine a future of unparalleled convenience. A powerful retailer, The Store, can deliver anything to your door, anticipating the needs and desires you didn’t even know you had. Most people are fine with that, but not Jacob and Megan Brandeis.

“New York writers whose livelihood is on the brink of extinction, Jacob and Megan are going undercover to dig up The Store’s secrets in a book that could change the entire American way of life – or put an end to Jacob’s.

“After a series of unsettling discoveries, Jacob and Megan’s worst fears about The Store seem like just the beginning. With nothing escaping The Store’s watchful eye, harbouring a secret that could get him killed, Jacob has to find a way to publish his exposé – before the truth dies with him.”

The Secret Life of Cows, written and read by Rosamund Young

“Cows are as varied as people. They can be highly intelligent or slow to understand; vain, considerate, proud, shy or inventive.

“Although much of a cow’s day is spent eating, they always find time for extracurricular activities such as babysitting, playing hide and seek, blackberry picking or fighting a tree.

“This is an affectionate record of a hitherto secret world.”

The Crown, by Robert Lacey, read by Alex Jennings

“Netflix’s original series The Crown painted a unique and intimate portrait of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. This official companion to the show is an in-depth exploration of the early years of Elizabeth II’s time as Queen (1947-1955), complete with extensive research.

“Princess Elizabeth never expected her father to die so suddenly, so young, leaving her not only a throne to fill, but a global institution to govern. Crowned at 25, already a wife and mother, follow the journey of a woman learning to become a queen.

“As the country lifted itself out of the shadow of war, the new Queen faced her own challenges. She had a mother and uncle to prove wrong, a relationship to save and a marriage that threatened her role as head of the Church. This is the story of how Elizabeth II drew on every ounce of strength and British reserve to deal with crises not only on the continent, but at home as well.”

No Middle Name, by Lee Child, read by Kerry Shale

“Jack ‘No Middle Name’ Reacher, lone wolf, knight errant, ex military cop, lover of women, scourge of the wicked and righter of wrongs, is the most iconic hero for our age. This is the first time all Lee Child’s shorter fiction featuring Jack Reacher has been collected into one volume. Heard together, these 12 stories shed new light on Reacher’s past, illuminating how he grew up and developed into the wandering avenger who has captured the imagination of millions around the world.

Dunbar: King Lear retold, by Edward St Aubyn, read by Henry Goodman

“Henry Dunbar, the once all-powerful head of a global corporation, is not having a good day. In his dotage he handed over care of the family firm to his two eldest daughters, Abby and Megan. But relations quickly soured, leaving him doubting the wisdom of past decisions…

“Now imprisoned in a care home in the Lake District with only a demented alcoholic comedian as company, Dunbar starts planning his escape. As he flees into the hills, his family is hot on his heels. But who will find him first, his beloved youngest daughter, Florence, or the tigresses Abby and Megan, so keen to divest him of his estate?”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.