Every month, AudioFile Magazine reviewers and editors select the best new audiobooks just for BookTrib’s readers. Let your summer relaxation be accompanied by July’s best audiobooks!

Night of the Living Rez: Stories

by Morgan Talty | Read by Darrell Dennis

[Recorded Books | 7 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Darrell Dennis narrates these 12 interconnected short stories with calculated restraint, empathy and a sure sense of the author’s voice. His gift for timing gives the Native American protagonist a powerful self-consciousness and convincing sense of his people (Maine’s Penobscot tribe) and their place. The central character, David, tells the first-person stories with a convincing tone and careful cadence. This debut collection captures the dark contours of the rez — drugs, drink, petty crime, lack of opportunity. The author has created an isolated and insular world.

Sister Mother Warrior

by Vanessa Riley | Read by Adjoa Andoh, Robin Miles

[Harper Audio | 18.75 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Golden Voice Adjoa Andoh narrates this sweeping account of Haiti’s pre-revolutionary era. The formidable audiobook is based on the true story of Marie-Claire Bonheur, the first empress of Haiti, and the rebellion that liberated its enslaved people, making Haiti the first post-colonial Black-led nation in the world. Andoh’s narration ranges from vulnerable to invincible, and her female characters are intensely powerful. Moving between action and stillness, hope and despair, Andoh expertly tackles all the drama, including horrendous atrocities. The investment of one’s time and attention to the epic tale is rewarded with a deeply satisfying story and performance.

The 6:20 Man

by David Baldacci | Read by Zachary Webber, Christine Lakin, Mela Lee

[Hachette Audio | 11.75 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Awards

Listeners are treated to a young Jack Reacher-like ex-Army Ranger named Travis Devine, who is perfectly portrayed by narrator Zachary Webber. Devine is a trained fighting machine, and the complex story revolves around murders that are taking place in the financial institution he works for. Webber masterfully differentiates the other male characters, including a Russian hacker, by varying his timbre, pacing and accents. Narrator Christine Lakin does an excellent job of providing well-matched voices for the key female characters, while Mela Lee does the same for the secondary female roles. The narrators’ performances are gripping — this is a page-turner of an audio experience.

Invisible Things

by Mat Johnson | Read by Nicole Lewis

[Random House Audio | 8.75 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Johnson’s allegorical novel gives Nicole Lewis the opportunity to shine in her portrayal of Nalini, a sociologist transported to New Roanoke, a community living in a terrarium on one of Jupiter’s moons. There, she decides to forgo writing her planned academic treatise in favor of a pop science manifesto. When the officers on a newly arriving ship announce the possibility of rescuing the residents of New Roanoke, they are surprisingly resistant — and so is the entity that watches over them. Lewis’s warm voice and dexterity with accents allow her to make each character realistic and unique, whether they’re determined to maintain the status quo or wanting to escape it. A mesmerizing story.

 What Souls Are Made of: A Wuthering Heights Remix (Remixed Classics, Book 4)

by Tasha Suri | Read by Alex Williams, Becca Hirani

[Macmillan Audio | 8.25 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Alex Williams and Becca Hirani give impassioned performances in a captivating retelling of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. A dark-skinned “boy from nowhere,” Heathcliff, flees the Heights after overhearing Cathy say he’s too lowborn to marry her. Williams embodies Heathcliff’s hurt and anger as he fights to forge his own life in Liverpool. Cathy feels endless guilt, and Hirani channels the character’s desperation to escape her obligations and the past that haunts her family. The narrators’ lyrical accents add to the rich atmosphere of the novel. Suri’s adaptation explores the story of these two teenagers who are desperately in love, while also underscoring the impact of British colonization. A powerful story beautifully told, highly recommended on audio.

Girl, Forgotten

by Karin Slaughter | Read by Kathleen Early

[Blackstone Audio | 15.75 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

In this second book in Slaughter’s Andrea Oliver series, narrator Kathleen Early steps up to the challenge of voicing teens and then switching to an imperious female judge and a feisty female U.S. marshal. The plot moves back and forth from the troubled life of teenager Emily Vaughn in the 1980s to Oliver’s first assignment as a U.S. marshal in the present day. Early’s talent for evoking characters’ ages, genders, cultural backgrounds and personalities shines through and will keep listeners glued to their earbuds. The secrets long held in the small town of Longbill Beach intertwine with Oliver’s troubled family background, providing insights into teenage pregnancy, domestic abuse and the psychological impact of cults. A compelling listen.

Iona Iverson’s Rule for Commuting

by Clare Pooley | Read by Clare Corbett

[Penguin Audio | 8.5 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

British narrator Clare Corbett enchants listeners with Clare Pooley’s quick wit and charm in a warm story about strangers on a commuter train who are brought together by an accident. As the group become friends, one of them, Iona, suddenly disappears from the scene, and the drama begins. Corbett dazzles as Iona Iverson, a nosy advice columnist and a force of nature in this uplifting and warmhearted romp. Thoroughly entertaining and an utter delight, this audiobook reminds listeners of the need for connection in a disconnected world.

Legends & Lattes: A Novel of High Fantasy and Low Stakes

by Travis Baldree | Read by Travis Baldree

[Macmillan Audio | 6.5 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Taking a break from narrating other authors’ audiobooks, Travis Baldree narrates his debut fantasy novel. Viv, a fierce orc warrior, has decided to retire. She’s discovered coffee, a gnomish delicacy and wants to open a café in Thune, a city where no one has heard of the beverage. Baldree has created a delightful set of characters, and he introduces the motley crew of disparate creatures that become involved with the café enterprise, including the intriguing Tandri. Using a variety of accents, he captures the cosmopolitan character of Thune. His vivid presentation of the flavors and smells of the café makes it easy to savor the scenes that take place there.

Anna: The Biography

by Amy Odell | Read by Imogen Church

[Simon & Schuster Audio | 15.5 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Imogen Church introduces Anna Wintour to listeners as a soft-spoken, young British socialite. This Anna developed her appetite for beautiful clothes as a teenager in 1960s London, where she left high school to devote herself to developing her role in this domain. (She later graduated.) Church’s expert performance captures the frenetic pace of the fashion world on Anna’s way to the top of the haute couture world as editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. Anna had two sides: her ambitious, driven side and her devoted, maternal side. Church delivers both with equal passion and delight in this delicious and masterful presentation.

August Kitko and the Mechas From Space

by Alex White | Read by Hayden Bishop

[Hachette Audio | 12.5 hrs.]

AudioFile Earphones Award

Hayden Bishop performs a symphonic first entry in a unique space opera blending sci-fi and music. Gus is a virtuoso pianist who is contemplating the end of existence as an alien race is systematically wiping out all sentient life in the universe. At his lowest moment, Gus is chosen to be an interpreter for a rebel alien faction. Bishop embodies every character with engaging ease. Action sequences are intense, but the witty banter between characters who are brimming with charm and humor steals the show. An intriguing mash-up of music, sci-fi action and feel-good emotional connections performed by a talented narrator.


This story appears through BookTrib’s partnership with AudioFile and contains material originating from the AudioFile website.