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!

A Better Man (Macmillan Audio) by Louise Penny, read by Robert Bathhurst

A woman is missing, her father is frantic, and her abusive husband is the prime suspect. Robert Bathurst’s intelligent narration captures every nuance of Louise Penny’s eighteenth Quebecois mystery featuring Inspector Armand Gamache.

Chances Are… (Random House Audio) by Richard Russo, read by Fred Sanders

Narrator Fred Sanders beautifully paces this involving story of three former college roommates reuniting forty plus years after graduation.  They’re grappling with many issues, including what happened to their fourth friend, who disappeared after their last get-together.

Delayed Rays of a Star (Random House Audio) by Amanda Lee Koe, read by Orlagh Cassidy, Amanda Lee Koe

At the Berlin Press Ball of 1928, Chinese-American Hollywood actress Anna May Wong meets German actress Marlene Dietrich and Nazi propagandist filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in this captivating novel that hints at the world that is about to spiral out of control.  Throughout, Orlagh Cassidy delivers amazing performances as the women and the people in their orbits.

Paper Son (Blackstone Audio) by S.J. Rozan, read by Emily Woo Zeller

At the Berlin Press Ball of 1928, Chinese-American Hollywood actress Anna May Wong meets German actress Marlene Dietrich and Nazi propagandist filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in this captivating novel that hints at the world that is about to spiral out of control.  Throughout, Orlagh Cassidy delivers amazing performances as the women and the people in their orbits.

The Plus One (Penguin Audio) by Sarah Archer, read by Lauren Fortgang

What happens when you build a robot to be your date at a family wedding?  A robot you dub Ethan.  In this funny, thought-provoking tale, Lauren Fortgang believably portrays everyone from frazzled Kelly and her micromanaging mother to Ethan, who’s a robot to fall for.

The Queen (Hachette Audio) by Josh Levin, read by January LaVoy

In a nuanced narration, January LaVoy brings humanity to the original ‘welfare queen’, who was imprisoned for what may have been the least of her crimes.  Both victim and perpetrator, Linda Taylor was emblematic of social fears and excesses in the 1970s.  It makes for a fascinating story, which LaVoy performs perfectly.

The New Girl (HarperAudio) by Daniel Silva, read by George Guidall

The nineteenth in Silva’s much-loved suspense series featuring Gabriel Allon of Israeli Intelligence offers a terrific plot and a wonderful narrator in George Guidall, who has long been the voice of the series. His English, French, German, Israeli, and Arab accents are perfect and his pacing is expert as Allon helps the Crown Prince of the House of Saud rescue his 12-year old daughter from kidnappers.

Tidelands (Simon & Schuster Audio) by Philippa Gregory, read by Louise Brealey

Louise Brealey’s exceptional narration gives life to Philippa’s Gregory’s captivating new historical fiction series set on the Isle of Wight in 1648.  Following his defeat in England’s Civil War, King Charles has been exiled to the island.  And it’s there that local herbalist and midwife Alinor encounters a disguised Catholic priest.  More than that, we will not reveal.

Watership Down (Blackstone Audio) by Richard Adams, read by Peter Capaldi

Peter Capaldi’s resonant Scottish voice is ideal for this rerelease of Adams’s 1972 classic about a group of rabbits who are fleeing impending disaster.  This is your chance to revisit the magical tale or to encounter it for the first time, for Capaldi crafts more than 20 distinctive voices and paces the epic adventure so skillfully that you’ll be glued to your earbuds until the end.

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