Perfect Audiobooks for Friday the 13th

This Friday the 13th, let the hair on the back of your neck stand a little taller with seven new horror and thriller audiobooks.

1. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian, narrated by Mark DeakinsErin Spencer and Grace Experience

The Flight Attendant

When Cassandra Bowden awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets. Afraid to call the police, Cassie begins to lie.
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2. Drifters by John L. Campbell, narrated by Richard Ferrone

Drifters

The survivors of the Omega Virus make a desperate effort to find the living. But the walking dead aren’t done with them yet. Helicopter pilot Vladimir Yurish is a man of his word. The last thing he wants is to abandon the safety of the U.S.S. Nimitz and his newly adopted son Ben. Still, a promise is a promise, no matter how close to death it brings him. 
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3. The Terminal List by Jack Carr, narrated by Ray Porter

The Terminal List

A Navy SEAL has nothing left to live for and everything to kill for after he discovers that the American government is behind the deaths of his team in this ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller. On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece’s entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent in to rescue them. 
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4. The French Girl by Lexie Elliott, narrated by Katharine McEwan

The French Girl

They were six university students from Oxford – friends and sometimes more than friends – spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway… until they met Severine, the girl next door. There are some things you can’t forgive. And there are some people you can’t forget… like Severine, who was never seen again.
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5. Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox, narrated by Federay Holmes

Fifty Fifty

What are the chances that convicted killer Sam Blue is innocent of the serial murders of three young women? Determined to clear his name, Detective Harriet Blue reassigns to a remote town where a found diary reveals a murderous plan. The clock is already ticking. Meanwhile, back in the city, a young woman holds the key to crack Harriet’s brother’s case wide open. If only she could escape the madmen holding her hostage.
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6. The Clarity by Keith Thomas, narrated by Robin Eller

The Clarity

Psychologist Matilda Deacon must protect 11-year old Ashanique, whose memory of past lives makes them both targets. When Ashanique claims to harbor the memories of the last soldier killed in World War I, Matilda is skeptical. But when she talks about being chased by the Night Doctors – a term also used by an unstable patient who was later found dead – Matilda realizes she may be telling the truth.
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7. Caribbean Rim by Randy Wayne White, narrated by George Guidall

Caribbean Rim

Murder, sunken treasure, and pirates send Doc Ford on a nightmare quest in the thrilling new novel in the New York Times-bestselling series. Marine biologist Doc Ford’s been known to help his friends out of jams occasionally, but he’s never faced a situation like this. Greed makes people do terrible things: rob, cheat, even kill. With stakes this high, there’s no way anyone will go quietly.
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STAFF PICK: Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Title: Only Child
Author: Rhiannon Navin
Narrator: Kivlighan De Montebello

First grader Zach Taylor’s school is the latest to be flocked by reporters and thrown into the headlines for the most devastating reason: it has been added to the long list of school shootings in the United States. Told from the perspective of a six-year-old boy facing trauma and loss, Only Child could easily and heartbreakingly pass as non-fiction.

Crammed in a coat closet that smells like pee and his teacher’s coffee breath, six-year-old Zach and his classmates listen to gunshots firing through the halls of their school. A gunman entered the building, taking 19 young lives and forever changing the once peaceful community and Taylor family. Growing up far faster than any child should, Zach is a stunning example of the wisdom, optimism, and forgiveness of children that is so often forgotten as we age.

In the aftermath of tragedy, the Taylor family struggles to cope. Zach’s mother focuses on pursuing justice against the shooter’s parents, holding them accountable for the pain their son caused, despite backlash from the community, while his father is more distant than ever. As Zach’s world begins to crumble around him, he loses himself in a magical world of books and art that help lead him, and the adults in his life, on a path of healing and forgiveness.

The author’s ability to storytell from the perspective of a six-year-old boy is striking. Rhiannon Navin dug so deep in subtle, aching ways that I found myself pausing it for the sake of gathering myself. What made the story even more compelling was the narration by young actor Kivlighan De Montebello, who perfectly portrays Zach and made me even more emotionally invested in the story. While I always prefer listening to audiobooks over print, I strongly encourage anyone interested in Only Child to listen to it in audio in order to get the most powerful experience.

Only Child.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Audiobooks.com interview with Jody Gehrman, author and narrator of Watch Me

If you’re a fan of dark, twisted psychological thrillers, Jody Gehrman‘s Watch Me: A Gripping Psychological Thriller, will leave you guessing until the very end. Listen to our interview with the author to find out the inspiration behind the story, her advice for aspiring narrators and authors, and more!

 

Audiobooks.com: Watch Me is a psychological thriller about how far obsession can go. Where did the inspiration for the novel come from?

 

Jody: I’m a professor at a small college and I’ve been teaching at the college level for two decades, so I’ve seen a lot of changes on campus and was thinking about how much fear had entered into the campus equation in the last two decades. We were doing trainings about active shootings and what to do if God forbid that ever happened, and I was thinking about that and wanted to find a way to personalize that fear, to express it through two characters. At the same time, I had been thinking a lot about women – and certainly this happens to men, too, but especially women – when you turn a certain corner in your life and you no longer feel very visible or relevant. You start to feel less seen, and I realized how vulnerable that can make a person feel, especially if there’s someone who does give them that attention.

 

Audiobooks.com: You describe yourself as a lifelong audiobook lover. What ignited your passion for audiobooks and audio in general?

 

Jody: My obsession with it predates this wonderful renaissance we’re going through with audiobooks. I found a collection of tape cassettes at the library ages ago that were old, 1940s radio drama. I just fell in love with this form of storytelling and drama. there’s something so nurturing about coming home, doing the dishes, and having someone tell you a story. it’s the most fantastic, nurturing thing to just shut off and become the listener.

 

Audiobooks.com: Absolutely! So how did the opportunity to narrate your own novel arise?

 

Jody: I let Macmillan Audio know that I listened to one or two books a week and am really obsessed with [audiobooks], and had all kinds of ideas about narrators. They were open to that and I sent them a list of narrators. As I was listening to possible narrators for the role of Kate, I couldn’t fight this nagging feeling that I wanted to read it myself. So I told them I really do understand that sometimes, the author is not the best person to read their work. But I wanted them to audition me on equal footing with other narrators just to pick the person they felt would work best and so they asked me to do it. I absolutely loved reading my own work and kind of visiting it from that angle. It was a completely different perspective on the book for me.

 

Audiobooks.com: What do readers gain from listening to the audiobook that they miss out on if they just read the print version?

 

Jody: One of the things that struck me in listening to especially Holter [Graham]’s section was that he really brought out a lot of humor in the character, Sam, and he’s not inherently a funny character – he’s a really demented person, rather a scary brain to inhabit. i love the way he was able to make me laugh out loud. i don’t know that i would have that experience just reading the book.

 

Audiobooks.com: What advice would you give someone interested in narrating, writing a book, or both?

 

Jody: I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, but because I do listen to so many audiobooks, I notice a lot of things narrators do well and things they do not so well. I think a big part of it is trying to sink into the spirit of the work and not overdramatize.

Part of what a good narrator does is they disappear; they’re no longer thinking about their voice. they’re lost in the story.

The temptation for actors much of the time is to really have a huge variation in the voices – for example, for a man to go really high on the woman’s voices or vice versa for women. I think that’s mostly distracting. In my opinion, less is more.

If the hope is to be a novelist because you love to write, because you love to write more than anything, that’s the biggest secret to making it – indulging that love and writing as often as you can. I know most of us have busy lives and it’s hard to carve out space. Figure out a daily practice to keep working and use that love of writing to balance out the more crazy making aspects of the industry. For example, pitching, promoting and selling your work are necessary, but they’re not the heart of being a writer. The actual heart is writing.

 

Audiobooks.com: Do you think you’ll narrate any future novels you put out into the world?

 

Jody: I would love to. I don’t want to force it. If I write a character that isn’t in the right age range or demographic, I certainly would prefer that someone who fits better would be the person. But I’m also getting more interested in the issues of being in your late 30s and 40s and experiencing the changes you go through in those time periods, so maybe I will fit the right demographic. I certainly would love to do it again.

 

Watch Me.

Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor, the follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman a decade younger. She fears no one will ever truly look at or know her again. Except for Sam Grist, her most promising student. A talented writer who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, he’s not just there to be a great writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years. As he makes his way into her life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire.
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This interview has been condensed and edited. For the full interview, listen here.

 

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STAFF PICK: The Bear and the Nightingale by Jennifer Arden

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Narrator: 
Kathleen Gati

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses…

Such is the setting for Katherine Arden‘s debut novel, The Bear and the Nightingale. A lush retelling of Medieval Russian folklore and the first installment in the Winternight Trilogy, this 13-hour-long audiobook will quickly have you rooting for its feisty heroine Vasilisa “Vasya” Petrovna. A country lord’s daughter with the gift of Sight, Vasya can see the household spirits and magical creatures that are invisible to the rest of her community. Tradition dictates honoring these spirits, but when a priest comes to town, he demands that the people forsake their old faith for the new. Now, the natural balance that harbors prosperity is in jeopardy, and Vasya must strike out on her own to reckon with some very dark forces.

Narrator Kathleen Gati‘s rich Russian accent transported me to the cold, snowy forests and quaint village life of Vasya and her family, making this the perfect book to listen to in the dead of winter. While the story starts out slowly with lots of background and exposition, patience through these sections pays off: my commitment to Vasya and my depth of understanding as the story started to quicken was due to its slow beginnings.

Central to the tale is Vasya’s frustration with being born a woman, and the limited options available in Russia c. 900 CE; she can get married, or become a nun. Her journey towards independence, empowerment and agency are the most exciting parts of this book, even better than the magic and adventure of the story’s fantasy elements. This passionate passage highlights that focus:

“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant … or I must hide myself behind walls. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing.”

I loved Vasya’s awakening as a woman with power, both in the sense of her realizing her Sight and what a curse and blessing it is to her, and in the sense of her coming into her own as a person with ambitions and the desire for self-determination. Arden’s descriptive writing lovingly takes listeners along Vasya growth from girl to woman, and perfectly sets up what’s to come in the sequel.

If you’re looking for a slow-burning fantasy to pass the time during these last days of winter, The Bear and the Nightingale is a great listen. Read more and sample the audio.

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Celebrate International Women’s Day with Audiobooks

Every year on March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated to acknowledge the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements of women — and what better way to celebrate than by listening to audiobooks penned by incredible female authors?

I look forward to this day every year to see what governments, organizations, charities, corporations, and my friends are doing and saying to recognize the trailblazing women who have changed (and are changing) the world. The future, indeed, is female.

In addition to the many remarkable women in my life, reading books by female authors that depict both real and fictional lives of iconic and ordinary women has given me the support, guidance, and courage to move beyond glass ceilings and push for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We’ve rounded up a dozen inspiring books to celebrate some of our favorite female authors and feminist stories. Tell us in the comments who your favorite female authors or characters are and let us know how you’re celebrating International Women’s Day!

1. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena, narrated by Firdous Bamji, Neil Shah, Soneela Nankani, Lameece Issaq

A Girl Like That.In this young adult debut set in Saudi Arabia, where the law forbids romantic relationships outside of marriage, two teens fall in love with tragic consequences. Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: an Indian girl, a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a troublemaker whose romantic entanglements are the subject of endless gossip among the girls in her school.
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2. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, narrated by Hillary Rodham Clinton

What Happened.For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference, and an opponent who broke all the rules.
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3. Getting Off: One Woman’s Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction by Erica Garza, narrated by Joy Osmanski

Getting Off.

A courageous account of one woman’s unflinching and ultimately hopeful journey through sex and porn addiction. A fixation on porn and orgasm, strings of failed relationships and serial hook-ups with strangers, inevitable blackouts to blunt the shame – these are not things we often hear women share publicly, and not with the candor, eloquence and introspection Erica Garza brings to Getting Off.
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4. This Will Be My Undoing by Morgan Jerkins, narrated by Morgan Jerkins

This Will Be My Undoing.From one of the fiercest critics writing today, Morgan Jerkins’ highly-anticipated collection of linked essays interweaves her incisive commentary on pop culture, feminism, black history, misogyny, and racism with her own experiences to confront the very real challenges of being a black woman today — perfect for fans of Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist and Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me.
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5. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur, narrated by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey.Rupi Kaur reads milk and honey, her New York Times bestselling collection of poetry and prose about survival, the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache.
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6. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, narrated by Caroline Lee

Big Little Lies.Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny, biting, and passionate, remembering everything and forgiving no one. Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare but pays a price for the illusion of perfection. Single mom Jane is so young, another mother mistakes her for a nanny. She comes with a mysterious past and a sadness beyond her years. They are at different crossroads, but all wind up in the same shocking place.
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7. The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips, narrated by Bahni Turpin

The Darkest Child.A new edition of this award-winning modern classic, the shade of a 13-year-old black girl’s skin can make the difference in her fate. Tangy Mae is the smartest of her mother’s ten children, but she is also the darkest-complected. The Quinns-all different skin shades, all with unknown fathers-live with their charismatic, beautiful, and tyrannical mother, Rozelle, in poverty on the fringes of a Georgia town where Jim Crow rules.
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8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal

The Bell Jar.

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under — maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies.
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9. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, narrated by Elisa Donovan

Lean In.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, ranked eighth on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, is one of America’s most galvanizing leaders, and an icon for millions of women juggling work and family. In Lean In, she urges women to take risks and seek new challenges, to find work that they love, and to remain passionately engaged with it at the highest levels throughout their lives.
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10. Wild by Cheryl Strayed, narrated by Bernadette Dunn

Wild.

A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Alone.
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11. Heart Talk by Cleo Wade, narrated by Cleo Wade

Heart Talk.

True to her hugely popular Instagram account, Cleo Wade brings her moving life lessons to Heart Talk, an inspiring, accessible, and spiritual book of wisdom for the new generation. Featuring over one hundred and twenty of Cleo’s original poems, mantras, and affirmations, including fan favorites and never before seen ones, this book is a daily pep talk to keep you feeling empowered and motivated.
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12. Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, narrated by Karissa Vacker

Red Clocks.In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.
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February’s Top 10 Audiobooks.com Member Downloads

Listen to this month’s roundup of the top fiction and non fiction titles downloaded by Audiobooks.com members.

Fiction

1. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, narrated by Julia Whelan

The Wife Between Us.When you listen to this audiobook, you will make many assumptions. You will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife. You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.
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2. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle, narrated by Hope Davis

Wrinkle In Time.

Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a “tesseract,” which, if you didn’t know, is a wrinkle in time. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

3. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, narrated by Sean Crisden and Elisa Davis

An American Marriage.Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. 
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4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, narrated by Wil Wheaton

Wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut-part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
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5. Still Me by Jojo Moyes, narrated by Anna Acton

Still Me.

Louisa Clark arrives in New York ready to start a new life, confident that she can embrace this new adventure and keep her relationship with Ambulance Sam alive across several thousand miles. She is thrown into the world of the superrich Gopniks: Leonard and his much younger second wife, Agnes, and a never-ending array of household staff and hangers-on.
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Non Fiction

1. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Leif Babin and Jocko Willink, narrated by Jocko Willnick

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead And WinIn Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin share hard-hitting, Navy SEAL combat stories that translate into lessons for business and life. With riveting first-hand accounts of making high-pressure decisions as Navy SEAL battlefield leaders, this book is equally gripping for leaders who seek to dominate other arenas. Read more and sample the audio.

 

 

2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg, narrated by Mike Chamberlain

Power of Habit.Named one of the best books of the year by The Wall Street Journal Financial Times and New York Times Bestseller. A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.
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3. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance, narrated by J. D. Vance


From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class, Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis, that of white working-class Americans.
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4. All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row by James Patterson, narrated by Alex Abramovich

All-American Murder.Football coaches, players, and fans called Aaron Hernandez unstoppable. His four-year-old daughter called him Daddy. The law called him inmate #174594. He was a college All-American who became the youngest player in the NFL and later a Super Bowl veteran. Aaron Hernandez’s every move as a professional athlete played out in the headlines, yet he led a secret life-one that ended in a maximum security prison.
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5. Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff, narrated by Holter Graham and Michael Wolff

Fire and Fury.With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time. The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous-and absolutely mesmerizing. Read more and sample the audio.

 

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