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Recommended new eAudiobooks #9

Written by · Published Aug 27, 2019

Boy Swallows Universe, The Unexpected Truth About Animals

See also: recommended new physical audiobooks

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Holy Island, by LJ Ross, read by Jonathan Keeble

“Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered, and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby priory.

“When former local girl Dr. Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface, making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.”

American By Day, by Derek B. Miller, read by Kaisa Hammarlund

“She knew it was a weird place. She’d heard the stories, seen the movies, read the books. But now police Chief Inspector Sigrid Ødegård has to leave her native Norway and actually go there; to that land across the Atlantic where her missing brother is implicated in the mysterious death of a prominent African-American academic. America. And not someplace interesting, either: upstate New York.

“It is election season, 2008, and Sigrid is plunged into a United States where race and identity, politics and promise, reverberate in every aspect of daily life. To find her older brother, she needs the help of the local police who appear to have already made up their minds about the case. Working with - or, if necessary, against — someone actually named Sheriff Irving ‘Irv’ Wylie, she must negotiate the local political minefields and navigate the back woods of the Adirondacks to uncover the truth before events escalate further.”

Black Klansman, written and read by Ron Stallworth

“When Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a P.O. box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he’ll receive a few brochures in the mail, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community. A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he’d never have to answer, ‘Would you like to join our cause?

“This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Ron answers the caller’s question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious, and incredible undercover investigations in history.”

Boy Swallows Universe, by Trent Dalton, read by Stig Wemyss

“An utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age from one of Australia’s most exciting new writers.”

“Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious criminal for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary drug dealer.

“But Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And he has to break into prison on Christmas Day, to save his mum.”

The Carer, by Deborah Moggach, read by Patience Tomlinson

“James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?

“Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane – changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.”

The Chestnut Man, by Søren Sveistrup, read by Charlotte Melén

“The police make a terrible discovery in a suburb of Copenhagen. A young woman has been killed and dumped at a playground. One of her hands has been cut off, and above her hangs a small doll made of chestnuts.

“Young detective Naia Thulin is assigned the case. Her partner is Mark Hess, a burned-out investigator who’s just been kicked out of Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. They soon discover a mysterious piece of evidence on the chestnut man - evidence connecting it to a girl who went missing a year earlier and is presumed dead, the daughter of politician Rosa Hartung. A man confessed to her murder, and the case is long since solved.

“Soon afterwards, another woman is found murdered, along with another chestnut man. Thulin and Hess suspect that there’s a connection between the Hartung case, the murdered women and a killer who is spreading fear throughout the country. But what is it?

“Thulin and Hess are racing against the clock, because it’s clear that the murderer is on a mission that is far from over…”

The Five, by Hallie Rubenhold, read by Louise Brealey

“Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

“What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

“For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.”

The Quaker, by Liam McIlvanny, read by Angus King

“It is 1969 and Glasgow has been brought to its knees by a serial killer spreading fear throughout the city. The Quaker has taken three women from the same nightclub and brutally murdered them in the backstreets.

“Now, six months later, the police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. They call in DI McCormack, a talented young detective from the Highlands. But his arrival is met with anger from a group of officers on the brink of despair.

“Soon another woman is found murdered in a run-down tenement flat. And McCormack follows a trail of secrets that will change the city – and his life – forever…”

Stepsister, by Jennifer Donnelly, read by Helen Duff

“Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition.

“Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty…”

Read Amélie’s review of Stepsister

The Unexpected Truth About Animals: a menagerie of the misunderstood, written and read by Lucy Cooke

“History is full of strange animal stories, invented by the brightest and most influential, from Aristotle to Disney, and they reveal as much about us and the things we believe as they do about the animals they misrepresent. We once thought that eels were born from sand, that swallows hibernated under water, and that bears gave birth to formless lumps that were licked into shape by their mothers.

“Zoologist Lucy Cooke unravels many such myths, revealing the facts she’s uncovered while sniffing out vultures, snooping on sloths and stalking drunk moose.”

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Airhead: the imperfect art of making news, written and read by Emily Maitlis

“As anchor for the BBC’s key political news programme, Newsnight, Emily Maitlis has interviewed some of the most powerful and controversial figures on the political scene. She plans each interview meticulously, knowing what she wants to ask and where she wants it to go, but as one of the most experienced journalists in her field she knows that no interview will ever go to plan. Anything can throw it - from the atmosphere in the room to her own feelings at the time to the mood of the subject. Often she leaves the interview with an entirely different perception of the interviewee, while sometimes it is all too sadly re-confirmed. Airhead explores just these moments. All we normally see are the interviews, but what were the conversations that preceded them or the shouting matches that ended them?

“From her interviews with US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton and the last five British Prime Ministers, to Hollywood film directors and powerful internet and entertainment moguls like Sheryl Sandberg and Simon Cowell, Maitlis explores how these powerful personalities came across. In the process she throws an illuminating torch on them, not just for what they represent, but as individuals in their own right - with all their flaws and charms.”

The Black Ascot, by Charles Todd, read by Simon Prebble

“An astonishing tip from a grateful ex-convict seems implausible — but Inspector Ian Rutledge is intrigued and brings it to his superior at Scotland Yard. Alan Barrington, who has evaded capture for ten years, is the suspect in an appalling murder during Black Ascot, the famous 1910 royal horserace honouring the late King Edward VII. His disappearance began a manhunt that consumed Britain for a decade. Now it appears that Barrington has returned to England, giving the Yard a last chance to retrieve its reputation and see justice done. Rutledge is put in charge of a quiet search under cover of a routine review of a cold case.

“Meticulously retracing the original inquiry, Rutledge begins to know Alan Barrington well, delving into relationships and secrets that hadn’t surfaced in 1910. But is he too close to finding his man? His sanity is suddenly brought into question by a shocking turn of events. His sister Frances, Melinda Crawford, and Dr. Fleming stand by him, but there is no greater shame than shell shock.

“Questioning himself, he realises that he cannot look back. The only way to save his career — much less his sanity — is to find Alan Barrington and bring him to justice. But is this elusive murderer still in England?”

The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read (and your Children Will Be Glad That You Did), written and read by Philippa Perry

“Every parent wants their child to be happy and every parent wants to avoid screwing them up. But how do you achieve that? In this absorbing, clever and funny book, renowned psychotherapist Philippa Perry tells us what really matters and what behaviour it is important to avoid - the vital dos and don’ts of parenting. Instead of mapping out the ‘perfect’ plan, Perry offers a big-picture look at the elements that lead to good parent-child relationships.”

The Ferry Girls, by Rosie Archer, read by Helen Lloyd

“Vee Smith is twenty-two when she starts work on Gosport’s ferries. She soon makes friends with the other women workers, and together they enjoy nights out dancing in Gosport. Vee even feels herself falling for Sam, the skipper of the ferry and her unhappily married boss.

“But Vee has a secret: her real name is Violetta Schmidt, and she is half-German. If her true nationality is discovered, she and her mother could find themselves interned as enemy aliens.”

Love Me Not, by M. J. Arlidge, read by Elizabeth Bower

“A woman’s body lies in the road. At first it looks like a tragic accident. But when Helen Grace arrives on the scene it’s clear she’s looking at a coldblooded killing. But why would anyone target a much-loved wife and mother?

“Across town, a shopkeeper is killed while his customers are left unharmed. But what lies behind the killer’s choices? Who lives? Who dies? Who’s next? The clock is ticking.

“If Helen can’t solve this deadly puzzle then more blood will be shed. But any mistake and it might be her own…”

The Hellfire Conspiracy, by Will Thomas, read by Antony Ferguson

“When Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn are hired to find a girl from the upper classes who has gone missing in the East End, they assume her kidnapping is the work of white slavers. But when they discover five girls have been murdered in Bethnal Green, taunting letters begin to arrive in Craig’s Court from a killer calling himself Mr. Miacca.

“Barker fears that Miacca might be part of the Hellfire Club, a group of powerful, hedonistic aristocrats performing Satanic rituals. He must track the fiend to his hideout, while Llewelyn confronts the man who put him in prison.”

Lamentation, by C. J. Sansom, read by Steven Crossley

“Summer, 1546. Shardlake is unexpectedly summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by Catherine Parr. She has written a radically Protestant confessional book, that must never come to the King’s attention. Now it has - inexplicably - vanished. Only one page has been found, clutched in the hand of a murdered London printer.

“Shardlake’s investigations take him from the backstreet printshops of London to the dark and labyrinthine world of the royal court; a world he had sworn never to enter again.”

Murder of the Bride, by Faith Martin, read by Gemma Dawson

“DI Hillary Greene is called out to attend a suspicious death at Three Oaks Farm in the picturesque village of Steeple Barton. The large farmhouse is filled with music and revellers, but when she steps into the farm’s cowshed, Hillary finds a dead bride. Dressed in a sumptuous white wedding gown, the young, beautiful redhead had clearly been strangled.

“But not everything is what it seems, and the victim turns out to be at the centre of a web of jealousy and intrigue in the close-knit village. Many of the villagers have a motive for murdering her but they’re not giving up their secrets easily. Can Hillary discover the real reason for this brutal crime and cope with the spiralling revelations about her dead ex-husband?”

Outside Looking In, by Michael Wood, read by August Ross

“At fourteen, Fergy is tired of his family’s lifestyle. He’s tired of living in a van with his parents, J. P. and Gussie, and his younger sister, Ooma. He’s sick of peddling honey and pamphlets of his father’s writings. And most of all he hates stealing things, even though J. P. says it’s all right to “reclaim” necessities from society. Fergy listens to J. P. talk about the evils of “the system,” and gradually Fergy realises that he no longer believes or respects his father. In fact, Fergy longs more than anything to be a part of that system! One day, when Fergy’s father steals a motor home from an elderly couple who have befriended them, Fergy knows the time has come to act. He’s fed up, and he has to escape.

“Early one morning, with Ooma in tow, Fergy runs away. Gussie’s wealthy parents live in Boston, and Fergy hopes that if he can find them, he and Ooma can have the “regular and normal” life he longs for. How Fergy comes to grips with his relationship with his parents and his own expectations makes a provocative, at times painful, but always absorbing story about a boy’s determination to make a better life for himself.”

Shamed, by Linda Castillo, read by Kathleen McInerney

“The peaceful town of Painters Mill is shattered when an Amish grandmother is brutally murdered on an abandoned farm. When Chief of Police Kate Burkholder arrives on the scene, she learns that the woman’s seven-year-old granddaughter is gone, abducted in plain sight. Kate knows time is against her—the longer the girl is missing, the less likely her safe return becomes. The girl’s family is a pillar of the Amish community, well-respected by all. But Kate soon realises they’re keeping secrets — and the sins of their past may be coming back to haunt them. What are they hiding and why?

“Kate’s investigation brings her to an isolated Old Order Amish settlement along the river, a community where family is everything and tradition is upheld with an iron fist. But the killer is close behind, drawing more victims into a twisted game of revenge. Left behind at each new crime scene are cryptic notes that lead Kate to a haunting and tragic secret. What she uncovers threatens to change everything she thought she knew about the family she’s fighting for, the Amish community as a whole—and her own beliefs.

“As time to find the missing girl runs out, Kate faces a harrowing choice that will test her convictions and leave one family forever changed.”

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.