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The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries

Penzler’s latest is remarkable in size and scope, but listeners may want to enjoy in print rather than audio.

Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir

A candid account of marriage and motherhood, and an excellent choice for book groups.

A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon

Fans of Mary Janice Davidson will feel at home in this paranormal rom-com romp, but the complex themes also give it broader appeal for listeners who prefer multilayered romance.


An inessential audio purchase, except where interest in Dimaline’s works is high. Listeners would be better served by Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches or India Holton’s The League of Gentlewomen Witches.

The Murder of Madison Garcia

This twisty mystery will keep listeners guessing. Perfect for fans of Hannah Morrissey’s “Black Harbor” series.

A Spell of Good Things

Adébáyò․’s skill is apparent as she navigates Wúrào․lá’s and E․niò․la’s contrasting worlds, connecting the two through the choices they make and the tragedy that engulfs them both.

Black Foam

This uncomfortable but illuminating listen should appeal to listeners interested in exploring the intersection of identity, religion, and culture. Share with fans of Omer Friedland’s The Man Who Sold Air in the Holy Land or Ru Freeman’s Sleeping Alone.

The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration

The audience for Bittle’s important book goes well beyond policy wonks or climate activists, and this gripping audio is the perfect way to enjoy this notable book. Recommend to readers of Dahr Jamail’s The End of Ice or Elizabeth A. Rush’s Rising.

The Friendship Breakup

Cathryn’s thought-provoking debut may be billed as a “mom-com,” but one need not be a mom to appreciate it. A sure bet for fans of Jennifer Weiner.

The Applicant

Koca’s unflinching debut is reflective, radical, and brave. Recommended for those interested in literary fiction portraying contemporary artists’ lives and the gritty realities of immigration experiences.

Jellyfish Age Backwards: Nature’s Secrets to Longevity

This illuminating study of longevity is sure to be a hit with fans of Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones. Recommended as a first purchase.

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride

Despite some flaws, listeners will be caught up in Chokshi’s haunting, sensual world. An excellent fit for fans of Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River or Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

Nero: Matricide, Music, and Murder in Imperial Rome

A commendable study of the disinformation, gossip, and faulty scholarship that has clouded this infamous Roman Caesar, who just wanted to be a musician and poet. Highly recommended for large public and academic library collections.

Waco Rising: David Koresh, the FBI, and the Birth of America’s Modern Militias

A powerful book that challenges listeners to re-examine the events at Waco and the ramifications of willful misunderstanding, posturing, and aggression.

The Ghost Club

A captivating and surprisingly moving story about paranormal history, spiritualism, and the occult. True-crime fans will love this.

A Sinister Revenge

Raybourn has infused this mystery with wit, humor, and a core of genuine emotion that should make this novel popular, especially where historical mysteries circulate well. Highly recommended for all collections.

Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit and Glamour of an Icon

Eleanor Caudill’s perspicuous narration will compel listeners forward and gives Taylor’s frequent ballsy quotes appropriate rendering. An engrossing, gossipy listen.

Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

This essential and illuminating book nicely connects with Caroline Pennock’s On Savage Shores, Kevin Kruse and Julian Zelizer’s Myth America, and Nikole Hannah-Jones’s The 1619 Project.

The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family

An eye-opening and essential study revealing the dangers of mythologizing U.S. history.

The Girls Who Disappeared

Douglas’s (The Couple at Number 9) rural winter setting creates an eerie sense of place. Great for readers looking for a captivating mystery with big reveals.


This experimental horror novel is not for the faint of heart. For those brave enough to take it on, however, it offers a terrifying look into the trauma of womanhood and desire.

The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America

This groundbreaking and upsetting debut will appeal to listeners interested in social justice, economics, and inequality. Highly recommended.

Master Slave Husband Wife: An Epic Journey from Slavery to Freedom

This inspirational, exhilarating work, undoubtedly destined for a Hollywood adaptation, is an essential purchase for all libraries.

Picture in the Sand

A different kind of epic than The Ten Commandments, this novel focuses on Ali showing his love for and belief in his grandson by giving him not a tablet of principles but a story of human triumph that goes beyond Hollywood artifice.

On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

Author Pennock offers a bright narration, in a British accent, of her own prestigious, impressive book, which might surprise laypersons and even professional historians. An essential addition to academic and large public library collections.

Hell Bent

Fortgang’s and Axtell’s performances will have listeners eagerly awaiting the next book in Bardugo’s wholly engaging, well-narrated series.

Fake Money, Blue Smoke

Haven is a writer to watch. Share this highly recommended audio with fans of Steve Hamilton, Thomas Perry, and Brad Taylor.

Ghost Music

Chok’s graceful narration works in tandem with the otherworldly atmosphere that Yu has created. This unforgettable listen should please fans of Hiroko Oyamada.

Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga

A sometimes harrowing, sometimes gruesome, but always entertaining collection; listeners may want to take care not to listen near a forest! Fans of feminist folklore retellings will find much to love.

The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You

Magnusson’s wisdom combined with McElhone’s narration is an unbeatable combination. Recommend widely to listeners looking to embrace the aging process while enjoying every bit of goodness along the way.

The Bird Tattoo

This powerful and heartbreaking work thrums with the rhythm of Mikhail’s lyrical and poetic language. Share with listeners who wish to learn more about Daesh rule of Mosul.

Getting Lost

An interesting choice for libraries where patrons are looking for more of Ernaux’s work, but an optional purchase for most.

Godmersham Park: A Novel of the Austen Family

Highly recommended to fans of Jo Baker’s Longbourn, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, or the works of Miss Austen herself.

Summer Lightning

While readers of family sagas may enjoy, this is an optional purchase for most libraries.

The Boys from Biloxi

Fans of Grisham will enjoy this compelling mystery that delves into Biloxi’s gritty side and ends with a poignant twist.

A Quiet Retreat

This audio will appeal to listeners seeking an intricate, eerie suspense novel teeming with tension and twists. Recommended for fans of Marin Montgomery, Mary Kubica, and Rachel Hawkins.

Factory Girls

A testament to the strength and resilience of a teen on the cusp of adulthood. Fans of Derry Girls will love it.

G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century

Narrator Gabra Zackman provides a solid, clear presentation of Hoover’s life, giving momentum to Gage’s meticulous examination of this consequential figure. This impressive work will appeal to all historians and fans of the books of Ron Chernow, David McCullough, and Jon Meacham.

Karma of the Sun

This beautifully realized audio is an absolute must for fans of postapocalyptic fiction. Recommend to listeners who enjoy science fiction that’s based in fantasy rather than hard science.


An irresistible and supremely eloquent look inside the British royal family by the son who was forced to escape its stranglehold.


Recommended for library book clubs.

The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn

Logan’s debut novel will appeal to listeners who enjoy detailed settings and character growth, but those seeking strong mystery or suspense may want to look elsewhere.

Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew

Although Twitty’s latest is rather uneven, it is enhanced by his engaging narration. Share with listeners looking for an original analysis of food and cultural history.

The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern

Although some listeners may wish for more momentum to carry the story along, Chin’s touching tale speaks to the enduring bonds of family and community. Recommended for fans of Aimee Bender’s The Butterfly Lampshade or Therese Walsh’s The Moon Sisters.

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Audio In Depth March 2023


The Twyford Code

Puzzle fans will undoubtedly enjoy Hallett’s bighearted thriller. While listeners’ opportunity to solve the code is somewhat lost in the audio version, Judd’s exhilarating performance more than makes up for it.

No One Crosses the Wolf: A Memoir

Nikolidakis’s story is difficult to hear, but she leaves listeners with a message of positivity and redemption. An uplifting story that speaks to her bravery while providing hope that it is possible to find strength in oneself without turning to self-destructive coping mechanisms.


Fans of Madeline Miller, Jennifer Saint, and Natalie Haynes will enjoy this sweeping tale. This feminist retelling would be an excellent addition to any Greek myth collection.


An affecting, expressively told tale of a woman whose illness teaches her many wonderful things. Share with fans of Emma Straub and Rebecca Serle.

The Levee

This novella will grab listeners from the first moment and keep them guessing until the last.

Marigold and Rose: A Fiction

Though this work is as tiny as its infant narrators, the audio brings a perspective not often found, and by an award-winning wordsmith full of interesting ideas. Recommended for libraries with patrons who appreciate poetry.

A History of Fear

Riveting literary horror superbly realized in audio, highlighted by narrator Graham Halstead, who effectively conveys Hale’s disintegrating mental state. Narrators Toni Frutin, Shiromi Arserio, Jennifer Aquino, and Gary Tiedemann further enhance the audio by giving voice to reporters, interviewees, and medical personnel.

The Furrows

This slippery book twists and turns on itself in beautiful but confounding ways, blurring boundaries between truth and perception, reality and memory. Share with fans of Onyi Nwabineli’s Someday, Maybe.

How To Sell a Haunted House

Hendrix is poised to be one of the greats of horror fiction, and libraries will want to put this audio at the top of their lists. A must-add for any horror collection.

The Blue Window

Berne’s novel expertly highlights the internal struggles and effects of long-standing emotional trauma. A great selection for book clubs and lovers of drama, psychology, and family relationships.


This early work of Crouch, only recently brought to life as an audiobook, is ultimately a tale of how humanity, under the right circumstances, can become very inhumane.

No One Left To Come Looking for You

Spinal Tap fans will enjoy this Gen X romp, but the audio does not elevate the story, making this an optional purchase for most libraries.

By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners

An essential listen that should be a part of every collection. Burnham’s message that a true reckoning with the past can only happen with the help of informed, justice-minded citizens resonates.

The United States of Cryptids: A Tour of American Myths and Monsters

A fun listen for those interested in cryptozoology and a unique companion for travelers looking for adventures (translation: cryptid festivals), as all states are represented.

Bad Jews: A History of American Jewish Politics and Identities

Tamkin’s conclusion that Jews are so diverse that they cannot be categorized, and in fact, there are no “bad Jews,” resonates. While her study could have benefited from a deeper, more scholarly approach, this work should ignite conversations on both sides of the aisle.

Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis

An eye-opening exposé that encourages action and support for those experiencing substance-use disorder.

The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz To Warn the World

Freedland’s passion for Vrba’s story of courage and humanity shines throughout this incredible production.

Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family

A gripping and thought-provoking study of adoption, identity, and the challenging ways in which culture, politics, and economics intersect.

A Dress of Violet Taffeta

Fans of fashion, historical fiction, and women’s history will especially appreciate this novel. Share with those who enjoy the works of Marie Benedict and Jennifer Chiaverini.

Mad Honey

This gripping story has elements of great courtroom drama and incorporates social issues that have lately been at the forefront of public discussion. Expect high patron demand.

The Family Izquierdo

A glorious and sprawling tale of a family living close to the border, perfect for fans of Luis Alberto Urrea’s The House of Broken Angels.

The Chinese Groove

An enjoyable new-immigrant story that adds a fresh perspective to the genre. For fans of Jean Kwok, Lisa Ko, and Lyn Liao Butler.

One Woman’s War: A Novel of the Real Miss Moneypenny

Wells’s well-written and enthusiastically narrated novel is a winner. Share with fans of Jennifer Chiaverini and Beatriz Williams.

The Secret of Elephants

Devar’s performance of this riveting, cross-continental, generational family saga, with its sharp explorations of class, income, and gender inequality, should make Tailor’s debut a hit with armchair travelers as well as contemporary-fiction fans.

The Vibrant Years

Recommended where stand-alone contemporary romances are popular, with some production reservations.

The House in the Orchard

Gothic fans should enjoy this atmospheric historical tale, with Porter’s measured narration heightening the tension and instability in the slowly developing saga, full of richly drawn, marvelously unreliable characters.

New York Stories, Vol. 1

Recommended for libraries refreshing their audio classics.

The Passenger

This latest from literary giant McCarthy lives up to the hype and is a must-add to any collection.

The Full Catastrophe

This tender and affirming audio is a must-listen. Recommend to listeners who enjoyed Douglas Stewart’s Shuggie Bain and Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex.

Tell Me I’m Worthless

This book’s haunted house doesn’t stop at a few creaky floorboards, cold spots, and moans that could be dismissed as caused by the wind. Rumfitt’s house forces its victims (and listeners as well) to confront the horrors just outside their windows.

Nights of Plague

Ghazalla’s soothing voice will draw listeners into this captivating story. While set in a very different era, this is a timely listen in the ongoing age of COVID.

The Bandit Queens

From beginning to end, Nankani inhabits characters of all genders, castes, and faiths and applies impeccable comic timing for a funny, dramatic experience with broad appeal. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

The Hero of This Book

A surprising and thought-provoking audio, narrated with genuine emotion. Listeners won’t want to miss this tale of a heroic mother who raised an amazing writer.

The Picture Bride

This sensitive production will transport listeners into the past. Share with fans of Min Jin Lee and Lisa See.

The Frederick Sisters Are Living the Dream

Zusy’s casual writing style and talent for dialogue are perfectly realized in audio. An outstanding production that may be even better than the physical book.

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone

Listening to these gentle souls orbit each other as they solve the mysteries around their homes is a salve to the heart.


Goodman’s affecting character development makes this a heartrending portrait of adolescence, studded with moments of joy and hope for the future. Recently selected for Jenna Bush Hager’s book club, this is a must-add to any collection.

Such a Pretty Girl

Greenwood’s (Keeping Lucy) latest is a troubling look into the bohemian lifestyles of artists and actors in 1970s New York. Suggest to historical-fiction readers and fans of Tessa Hadley, Janelle Brown, and Ashley Audrain.

The Circus Train

Though set during the Holocaust, this uplifting and sensitive story offers a heartwarming look into the lives of two young people. Perfect for fans of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

Walking on Cowrie Shells: Stories

Nkweti’s rich heritage and nuanced writing shines throughout every story in this stunning collection. Share this important work, which details the complexity and diversity of the African diaspora experience, with fans of Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky.

Idol, Burning

While Mirai’s performance is excellent, this novella is best experienced in print.

Signal Fires

This novel, delving into the thoughts of the characters and reflecting on the bonds that connect all people, is an excellent fit for fans of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes or Ethan Joella’s A Little Hope.

Liberation Day: Stories

There is a reason Saunders is often cited as one of the finest short-story writers working today. Each story in this collection has the potential to be an all-time favorite, and the addition of superstar narrators makes this an essential purchase for all public libraries.

How Not To Drown in a Glass of Water

A brilliantly narrated immigrant story, spiked with heart and flair, that will have patrons rooting for Cara’s success. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

Mr. Wilder and Me

Coe’s fans will be delighted; a perfect choice for all cinephiles.

We All Want Impossible Things

This audio will appeal to listeners seeking authentic and emotional relationship fiction with a bittersweet balance of humor and heartache. Recommended for fans of Rebecca Serle, Jojo Moyes, and Ann Patchett.

When We Were Sisters

Asghar’s poignant debut shines with moments of piercing beauty despite the heaviness that governs the sisters’ lives. A tough but gorgeous listen.

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

Ford’s many fans will be delighted by this spellbinding psychological saga. Perfect for listeners who enjoy the works of Isabel Allende and Lisa See.

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