Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors give “Earphones Awards” to the best new audiobooks — the listens that combine blow-you-away narrations with standout writing. BookTrib, thanks to our partnership with AudioFile, offers this month’s picks of the newest do-not-miss titles – memoirs and bios first, some fiction, and a history book that reads like the best thriller. Don’t forget your earbuds.

Cemetery Road (William Morrow)

By Greg Isles, read by Scott Brick

Scott Brick’s perfect timing, coupled with the cadence of his delivery, transforms this terrific audiobook into a must-listen.  In it, we meet journalist Marshall McEwan, who returns to his hometown to care for an ailing father, only to uncover dark secrets about the people who control every aspect of the town.

A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder (Tantor Audio)

By Victoria Hamilton, read by Heather Wilds

Heather Wilds delivers an intense narration of this gripping first mystery about the “Avengeress” aka Emmeline St. Germaine, who rescues the helpless.  In this case, after saving a 13-year-old scullery maid from being raped by her master, Emmeline discovers the next day that the man has been murdered and that she’s the chief suspect.  Wilds employs a wealth of British accents to color the characterizations, which adds to the pleasures of this involving new series.

The Other Americans (Random House Audio)

By Laila Lalami, read by Mozhan Marno, PJ Ochlan, Ozzie Rodriguez, Susan Nezami, Ali Nasser, Adenrele Ojo, Mark Bramhall, Max Adler, Meera Simhan

This ensemble reading of Pulitzer Prize winner Lalami’s new novel captures her evocative exploration of the American experience.  The hit-and-run death of an elderly Moroccan-American man in California resonates throughout a community, affecting from the man’s daughter, to the investigating police, to an illegal Mexican immigrant who witnessed the accident and fears coming forward.  Mozhan Marno as the daughter and Ozzie Rodriguez as the illegal immigrant stand out among this first-rate group of narrators.

The Path Made Clear (Macmillan Audio)

By Oprah Winfrey, read by Oprah Winfrey and a Full Cast

In this inspiring guide to self-motivation, Oprah Winfrey dips in and out of interview clips with trailblazers across various industries with her characteristic warmth, wit, and candor. In snippets scattered throughout the twenty-minute sections, we cozy up to dozens of guests, ranging from Sue Monk Kidd to Deepak Chopra to Joe Biden.  The result will be on many people’s playlists for months to come.

The Pioneers (Simon & Schuster Audio)

By David McCullough, read by John Bedford Lloyd

John Bedford Lloyd’s calm and measured performance honors historian David McCullough’s fine new book by using pacing and inflection to help listeners focus on the McCullough’s deep dive into the fascinating and little-known history of the post-Revolutionary War drive into the Ohio Territory.  The result is a feast for the ear, the mind, and the heart.

 

Save Me the Plums (Random House Audio)

By Ruth Reichl, read by Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl’s lively performance is as engaging as her writing in this memoir about her ten years as editor in chief of Gourmet magazine. It’s a juicy tale about food, publishing, and people – the unknown, famous, and infamous.  Reichl reads her work with appetite and articulation, making it a must listen for everyone who loves food and gossip, in other words, pretty much everyone.

Sisters Matsumoto (L.A. Theatre Works)

By Philip Kan Gotanda, read by Keiko Agena, June Angela, Ron Bottitta, Kurt Kanazawa, Suzy Nakamura, Greg Watanabe, Ryun Yu

Keiko Agena, June Angela, and Suzy Nakamura lead a stellar cast in a play about Japanese-American sisters who find hope, heartache, and hard-won humor when they return to their family farm in California after four long years locked away in a Japanese internment camp during WWII.  The performance is followed by an excellent panel discussion focusing on how 120,000 U.S. citizens, including George Takei of “Star Trek,” were “relocated” to camps during the war.

The Test (Blackstone Audio)

By Sylvain Neuvel, read by Neil Shah

Narrator Neil Shah offers unforgettable vocal interpretations for a wide range of characters in this chilling and all too believable dystopian story.  In the tradition of George Orwell’s 1984, the novella follows an immigrant to England who finds himself caught in a nightmare after taking what purports to be a citizenship test.  This is a thoughtful, timely, and absolutely mesmerizing listening experience.

We Must Be Brave (Penguin Audio)

By Frances Liardet, read by Jayne Entwistle, Juliet Mills

Jayne Entwistle perfectly captures the many characters, from children to old folks, in this moving story set in England between WWII and 2010.  We begin with Ellen Parr, who, while helping Blitz survivors evacuated to her village, takes in an abandoned child.  The war is experienced from a range of viewpoints as we get to know and love the woman and child whose lives will forever be changed by meeting. Juliet Mills’s spirited narration begins in 2010, when the woman and child are reunited in a conclusion that is satisfying without being sentimental.

 

Wicked Saints (Macmillan Audio)

By Emily A. Duncan, read by Natasha Soudek, Tristan Morris

In this atmospheric new fantasy series, we meet two stellar narrators – Natasha Soudek as Nadya, a Kalyazi cleric capable of casting spells, and Tristan Morris as Serefin, high prince of Tranavia. While running from Serefin and his soldiers, Nadya allies herself with a mysterious Tranavian defector.  Complications arise. Filled with irresistible accents and delicious intrigue, this is a listen to be savored.