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A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker; narrated by David Rintoul Adult Fiction. In 1939, struggling writer Samuel Beckett leaves his family's home in Ireland for Paris, where he befriends James Joyce, begins a relationship with future wife Suzanne Dechevaux-Dumesnil, and -- after the Nazis occupy the city -- becomes involved with the French Resistance. In spare, evocative language, this biographical novel by the author of Longbourn examines how Beckett's life shaped his unique style and body of work. In this audio version, David Rintoul clearly distinguishes the different characters through his thoughtfully paced narration.
Dodgers by William Beverly; narrated by J.D. JacksonAdult Fiction. East, a Los Angeles gang member who works as a lookout, is only 16 when he goes with a group of younger teens to Wisconsin to kill a witness hiding out there. Along with his three companions (including his brother), he must traverse an entirely alien America, where as young black men they stand out far more than they did in L.A. Observant and cautious, East is a complex character, one who is good at what he does but not entirely hardened by his life. J.D. Jackson's narration of this "searing novel about crime, race, and coming-of-age" (Booklist) effectively conveys East's immaturity and uncertainty.
The After Party by Anton DiSclafani; narrated by Dorothy Dillingham BlueAdult Fiction. In the posh suburb of River Oaks, the socialites of 1950s Houston, Texas drown their sorrows with the many luxuries oil money affords. Against an atmospheric backdrop of debutante balls, cocktail parties, and garden-club luncheons, The After Party explores the complicated bond between rebellious glamour girl Joan Fortier and Cece Buchnan, her inseparable friend since childhood -- though as they grow older Joan's increasingly alarming behavior pulls the two apart. Narrator Dorothy Dillingham Blue effectively renders Cece's voice as she relates this vividly detailed story of a flawed reality lurking just below the socially respectable surface.
The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton; narrated by Ray PorterAdult Fiction. Rumors abound that this intriguing novel is a series debut; fans of brooding anti-heroes are likely to hope the rumors are true. Imprisoned for a murder he didn't actually commit, Nick Mason has accepted a dubious offer: get out 20 years early and live a life of comfort...if he agrees to follow the orders of an incarcerated crime boss without question. As the demands placed on him get ever more unconscionable (and more dangerous), Nick is increasingly ready to go straight. But of course it's not that easy. Narrator Ray Porter clearly differentiates among the voices of distinct characters in this Chicago-set novel.
Emperor of the Eight Islands by Lian Hearn; narrated by Neil ShahAdult Fiction. In Emperor of the Eight Islands, author Lian Hearn launches a new series that precedes her popular Tales of the Otori. After surviving his greedy uncle's plot to murder him and steal his inheritance, orphaned teen Kazumaru is taken in by sorcerer Shisoku, who dubs the lad Shikanoko, or "the deer's child." Taking possession of a magical mask, Shikanoko subsequently becomes involved in the conflict that's tearing society apart as warring factions vie for control of the empire. Voiced by Neil Shah, whose Japanese pronunciation adds a "tone of authenticity" (AudioFile) to the recording, the morally ambiguous characters come to life in the midst of political intrigue.
A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens; narrated by Steve WestAdult Fiction. After a decade of service to the Crown, Captain Robert Frobisher decides it's time to marry and start a family. But before he can take a wife, he must complete one last covert mission: investigate rumors of a slavers' camp in the Freetown Colony of West Africa (Sierra Leone). There, Robert meets Miss Aileen Hopkins, who's searching for her missing brother, a young naval officer. Since Aileen won't be dissuaded from seeking out danger, Robert agrees to assist her in her quest. A Buccaneer at Heart is the 2nd installment of the Adventurers Quartet, which follows the seafaring Frobisher family.
Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul by James McBride; narrated by Dominic HoffmanAdult Nonfiction. Prompted by a comment from James Brown's grandson, author James McBride decided to look into the complex life and legacy of the Godfather of Soul. With input from Brown's friends, family members, and colleagues, McBride paints a picture not just of the founder of funk but of the world that made him; musings on race, identity, influence, and the American South abound. While there are other, more traditional biographies of James Brown available, this one is unique as it adds cultural history, context, and a personal perspective. In the audiobook, narrator Dominic Hoffman's "determined to get it right" (Publishers Weekly) as he recreates Brown's maxims and slogans.
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead; narrated by Kristen SiehTeen Fiction. Facing an unwanted arranged marriage, the Countess of Rothford decides to run away and take her chances in Adoria, the New World. Adopting her maidservant's name and identity, the countess (now called Adelaide) joins the Glittering Court, a school that teaches upper-class manners to lower-class girls before sending them off to find husbands on the Adorian frontier. Well-bred Adelaide does her best to fit in, but keeping her secret isn't easy -- especially not after she finds herself falling for Cedric, the son of the Court's owner. Intriguing world-building, forbidden romance, and sweeping adventure all come together in this series debut from the author of the Vampire Academy series.
Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor by Clinton Romesha; narrated by Will DamronAdult Nonfiction. In 2009, the U.S. military decided to close a vulnerable string of outposts in Afghanistan that were meant to deter Taliban insurgents from free movement across the Pakistan border. Just as the closures were beginning, the Taliban launched a deadly, all-out assault at one location, Command Outpost Keating. In Red Platoon, Medal of Honor recipient Clinton Romesha recounts the firefight, preceding the account with a description of his own training, his troops' capabilities, and the conditions that exacerbated Keating's vulnerability. His riveting description of the battle itself provides vivid and sobering detail. Military history buffs and readers concerned about the war in Afghanistan will appreciate this book, clearly voiced by 2015 Voice Arts Award Winner Will Damron.
The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith; narrated by Edoardo BalleriniAdult Fiction. Parallel narratives unfold and eventually converge in this multi-layered novel, which explores the legacy of fictional 17th-century Dutch painter Sara de Vos, whose creation of her masterpiece At the Edge of a Wood provides one thread of the story. The other threads connect the 1957 theft of de Vos' masterpiece, its most recent owner, and the thief. In the audio version Edoardo Ballerini weaves the storylines together while skillfully imparting a "thrill of foreboding" (Publishers Weekly) as secrets are gradually revealed.
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