The King’s (and Queen’s!) Speech: A Majesty of Narrators!

If you’re a fan of British royal family-themed fiction, then almost certainly you’re a fan of two things: The Crown on Netflix, and Philippa Gregory. Out now is a new audio version of The Queen’s Fool, narrated by Yolanda Kettle, which follows The Other Boleyn Girl, narrated by Vanessa Kirby. Both Kettle and Kirby have been *spoiler alert* recent love rivals in The Crown, which got us to thinking, which other books have been narrated by The Crown stars? Let’s take a look!

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Yolanda Kettle

Philippa Gregory does it again!

Hannah Green is a young girl who is placed in the Tudor court as a holy fool to Mary I. Hannah, who has many of her own secrets, ends up trapped between the Catholic Queen and Elizabeth, her Protestant sister. She must choose between living a safe life of a commoner or risking everything for the fame and fortune of the court.

Yolanda Kettle’s narration really brings Hannah’s character to life. She has a very youthful voice, which is very apt for the characters in this novel.

Publisher’s Summary:

Winter, 1553. Pursued by the Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee with her father from their home in Spain. But Hannah is no ordinary refugee; she has the gift of “Sight,” the ability to foresee the future, priceless in the troubled times of the Tudor court. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hired as a fool but working as a spy; promised in wedlock but in love with her master; endangered by the laws against heresy, treason, and witchcraft, Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up with her own yearnings and desires.

Teeming with vibrant period detail and peopled by characters seamlessly woven into the sweeping tapestry of history, The Queen’s Fool is a rich and emotionally resonant gem from a masterful storyteller.

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The Secretary by Renee Knight, narrated by Victoria Hamilton

Christine Butcher is a devoted and loyal secretary to Mina Appleton. She listens, watches, and is privy to secrets that she always keeps safe…

But those years of discretion come at a high price—which Christine discovers at her peril.

Victoria Hamilton’s (Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother) narration is perfect for this novel. Her calm voice adds an eerie and suspenseful tone to this thriller.

Publisher’s Summary:

From her first day as Personal Assistant to the celebrated Mina Appleton, Christine Butcher understands what is expected of her. Absolute loyalty. Absolute discretion. For twenty years, Christine has been a most devoted servant, a silent witness to everything in Mina’s life. So quiet, you would hardly know she is there.

Day after day, year after year, Christine has been there, invisible—watching, listening, absorbing all the secrets floating around her. Keeping them safe.
Christine is trusted. But those years of loyalty and discretion come with a high price. And eventually Christine will pay.

Yet, it would be a mistake to underestimate such a steadfast woman. Because as everyone is about to discover, there’s a dangerous line between obedience and obsession.

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Drama: An Actor’s Education by John Lithgow, narrated by John Lithgow

John Lithgow’s (Winston Churchill) memoir, which he narrates himself, is an absolute treat. He talks in depth about his life, his family, and his career, which has spanned decades and various genres. His stories about his parents are poignant and touching.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I love listening to authors narrating their own memoirs, since it adds real depth to the story being told. And of course, an actor with such gravitas as Lithgow brings much richness to the narration.

Publisher’s Summary:

Emmy Award-winner John Lithgow presents a charming, witty, and revealing memoir about his family, his work, and his life in Drama—an intimate story of insights and inspirational reflections from one of America’s most beloved actors. Lithgow pays tribute to his father, his greatest influence, and relives his collaborations with renowned performers and directors including Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse, Liv Ullmann, Meryl Streep, and Brian De Palma. A compelling reflection on the trials, triumphs, and changes across his long career, Lithgow’s Drama illuminates the inner life of a celebrated talent, and points the way forward for anyone aspiring to greatness in their own life.

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The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, narrated by Vanessa Kirby

When Mary Boleyn comes to court, she falls in love with Henry VIII. However, she’s forced to step aside for her sister, Anne, when the King’s attention for Mary starts to wain.

As Mary realizes her family’s ambition is overriding her own needs and wants, she decides not to take it lying down…

Vanessa Kirby’s (Princess Margaret) regal narration style is so appropriate for this historical listen. The determination and strength of Mary’s character really come through in her reading.

Publisher’s Summary:

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

With more than one million copies in print and adapted for the big screen, The Other Boleyn Girl is a riveting historical drama. It brings to light a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe, and survived a treacherous political landscape by following her heart.

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Forever and a Day: A James Bond Novel by Anthony Horowitz, narrated by Matthew Goode

Anthony Horowitz, a famous and talented writer in his own right, has taken on the character of James Bond to create an amazing origin story, with all of the excitement, intrigue, and passion that we all expect from the world’s favorite spy.

Matthew Goode (Lord Snowdon) is every inch the right narrator for this book, bringing the suaveness needed for the James Bond character.

Publisher Summary

A spy is dead. A legend is born. This is how it all began. The explosive prequel to Casino Royale, from bestselling author Anthony Horowitz.

Forever and a Day is the story of the birth of a legend, in the brutal underworld of the French Riviera, taking readers into the very beginning of James Bond’s illustrious career and the formation of his identity.

***

M laid down his pipe and stared at it tetchily. “We have no choice. We’re just going to bring forward this other chap you’ve been preparing. But you didn’t tell me his name.”

“‘It’s Bond, sir,’” the Chief of Staff replied. “James Bond.”

The sea keeps its secrets. But not this time. 

One body. Three bullets. 007 floats in the waters of Marseille, killed by an unknown hand. 

It’s time for a new agent to step up. Time for a new weapon in the war against organized crime. 

It’s time for James Bond to earn his license to kill.

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King, narrated by Michael C. Hall

If you had to pick an author who really symbolizes everything great about the horror genre, most of us would pick Stephen King.

Pet Sematary is a horror classic, centered around the character Louis Creed, who moves his family to a lovely small town that seems too good to be true.

Michael C. Hall (John F. Kennedy) is very compelling and right on the money as narrator for this book. With his background in thrillers in TV shows like Dexter, he brings a great presence to this listen.

Publisher’s Summary:

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job, and moves his family to the idyllic, rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Yet despite Ludlow’s tranquility, there’s an undercurrent of danger that lingers…like the graveyard in the woods near the Creed’s home, where generations of children have buried their beloved pets.

Behind the “pet sematary,” there is another burial ground, one that lures people to it with seductive promises…and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. An ominous fate befalls anyone who dares tamper with this forbidden place, as Louis is about to discover for himself…

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6 horror audiobooks scarier than the movies

Looking for a surefire way to get spooked this Halloween? These page to screen adaptations will trick and treat.

 

1. The Shining by Stephen King, narrated by Campbell Scott

The Shining

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote… and sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
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2. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, narrated by William Peter Blatty and Eliana Shaskan

The Exorcist

Summoned to a case of apparent possession, Father Karras is skeptical at first — then horrified. The victim, a 12-year-old named Regan, seems to be controlled by a malignant supernatural force that makes her swear, blaspheme, scream, and perform appalling acts. With his faith in God and humanity tested to the limit, Karras turns to the ultimate solution: exorcism.
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3. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin, narrated by Mia Farrow

Rosemary's Baby

She is a housewife: young, healthy, and blissfully happy. He is an actor: charismatic and ambitious. Their spacious, sun-filled apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is their dream home, which turns into an unspeakable nightmare. Enter the chilling world of Ira Levin, where terror is as near as your new neighbors and where evil wears the most innocent face of all.
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4. Psycho by Robert Bloch, narrated by Paul Michael Garcia

Psycho

It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates Motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty, but clean, and the manager seemed nice, if a little odd. Norman Bates, the reserved motel manager with a mother complex, and has been called the “first psychoanalytic thriller.”
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5. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, narrated by Thomas Harris

Silence of the Lambs

A serial killer stalking women has a purpose, although no one can fathom it. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is assigned to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist with a grisly history. His understanding of the killer, and of Clarice, form the crux of this brilliant, horrifying tale.
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6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, narrated by David Rintoul

Frankenstein

An experiment goes horribly wrong, and the monster swears revenge on his creator. Swiss student Victor Frankenstein uncovers the secret to bringing life to what is lifeless, and in assembling body parts to create a monster, ultimately sets the stage for his own destruction and that of everything he loves when the monster is rejected by society.
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STAFF PICK: The Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett

Post by Laura Laidman

Title: The Bus on Thursday
Author: Shirley Barrett
Narrator: Katherine Littrell

The tagline of The Bus on Thursday, “Bridget Jones meets The Exorcist,” didn’t just grab my attention — it had me hitting download the moment it was available. Balancing snappy comedic diaries with one of my all-time favorite horror movies was something I needed to get in my headphones immediately.

That, and I was also curious to see if it was actually doable.

I was really pleased that The Bus on Thursday was able to combine the fast paced, comedic timing and humility I was looking for and the dark, demonic mystery that has me dying for cooler weather, sweaters, and all things Halloween. In this hilariously evil audiobook from author and screenwriter Shirley Barrett, we meet Eleanor Mellett, a primary school teacher whose life is turned upside down after a bad breakup and a breast cancer diagnosis in her early 30s.

Eleanor finds herself out of work and being sliced, diced, and reconstructed, all while trying to figure out her love life and what comes next. Once she receives a clean bill of health, Eleanor knows she needs a fresh start — one that doesn’t involve her old job, ex, and best frenemy. That’s when she finds Talbingo, a small town in immediate need of a new teacher.

At first glance, Talbingo seems perfect. Nestled near the mountains with learning-hungry kids and friendly neighbors is exactly what Eleanor had in mind. But things aren’t exactly what they seem in this quaint Australian town. The last teacher has been declared missing, and the kids aren’t the biggest fans of their new teacher. There’s also a local priest who is convinced that Eleanor’s cancer isn’t a medical issue, but a demonic one.

Through witty blog posts, Eleanor invites us into her life and the craziness that is Talbingo. Day by day, readers learn about the overly attached teen that is getting too close in class, the handsome neighbor who may know more about the previous teacher’s absence than he lets on, the petite woman from church who is crying over her decoupage, and the rest of Talbingo’s more interesting residents.

The Bus on Thursday is a clever, fast-paced listen that kept me guessing with each minute. Is Eleanor possessed by a demon? Or is she just losing her mind due to the isolation of Talbingo? Is her new paramour the devil? Or is he just not looking for a commitment? Either way, Eleanor is hilarious and going through this journey with her kept me laughing and spooked at the same time — just in time for Halloween.

Eleanor’s blog is brought to life with fiery sass by the amazing Katherine Littrell. Her inflection, attitude, and heart really added to the story in a way that made me feel like Eleanor was a friend pouring her heart out to me rather than being just a character in the book. Even as she’s breaking down, she kept me laughing and I dreaded having to hit pause.

The Bus on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best Audiobooks For Books Lovers Day

Sans the pressure of chocolates and roses, Book Lovers Day is the Valentine’s Day for bookish people around the world. Celebrate with these great audiobooks (and tell us in the comments what listens you’ve been loving lately!).

 

1. Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, narrated by Imogen Church

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person, but also that she may be able to claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased… where it dawns on her that there is something very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
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2. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk, narrated by Gary VaynerchukRich RollAmy Schmittauer

Crushing It.

In this lively, practical, and inspiring audiobook, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone will know exactly how to amplify their personal brand. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on old standbys and emerging platforms. For those with more experience, Crushing It! provides innovative tips and tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies.
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3. The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, narrated by Dennis Quaid

The President Is Missing

Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view… The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in years.
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4. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, narrated by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face

With wry wit and hard-earned wisdom, popular online personality and founder of TheChicSite.com founder Rachel Hollis helps readers break free from the lies keeping them from the joy-filled and exuberant life they are meant to have.
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5. Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, narrated by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water.

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you? Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banked with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon in Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving, they find something in the water.
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6. Factfulness by Hans RoslingOla Rosling, and Anna Rosling, narrated by Richard Harries

Factfulness.

When asked simple questions about global trends, we get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess us. Factfulness reveals the instincts that distort our perspective. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think.
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7. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, narrated by Gabra Zackman

I'll Be Gone In The Dark.

For more than 10 years, a mysterious and violent predator committed 50 sexual assaults in California before perpetrating 10 sadistic murders. Then he disappeared. Three decades later, true crime journalist Michelle McNamara was determined to find the violent psychopath she called “the Golden State Killer” by poring over police reports and interviewing victims.
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8. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, narrated by John CurlessTim Gerard ReynoldsJulian Elfer, and Aedin Moloney

Iron Gold.

Honor and betrayal fuel a caste-shattering revolution. Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned.
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7 Chilling Summer Listens

If the air conditioner doesn’t give you goosebumps this summer, these thrillers will.

 

1. A Blood Thing by James Hankins, narrated by Timothy Andrés Pabon

A Blood Thing.

Governor Andrew Kane, is at a public meet-and-greet when a stranger slips him a phone and whispers, “Keep this… you’re going to need it after the arrest.” Hours later, Andrew’s brother is framed for murder, and discovers there is only one way to free him: answer the phone and agree to a blackmailer’s demands. He complies, but the stranger isn’t done. He has another little condition. Then another. And another…
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2. Unwelcome Guests by Anna Willett, narrated by Cat Gould

Unwelcome Guests

A weekend getaway in an isolated country house is just what Caitlin needs to fix her relationship with husband Eli. Her spirits are up as they enter the retreat and cool off in the nearby lake. But her husband is cold and dismissive so Caitlin decides to drown her sorrows, and heads into the wine cellar. What she finds there will change their lives forever.
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3. Her Pretty Face by Robyn Harding, narrated by Kirby HeyborneCassandra CampbellRebekkah Ross

Her Pretty Face

Frances Metcalfe thought her troubled son getting accepted into an elite school would change their lives. But after an incident that ostracizes the Metcalfes, she feels more alone than ever. Until she meets Kate Randolph. Kate is everything Frances is not: beautiful, wealthy, powerful, and confident. As they bond, a secret erupts. One of these women is not who she seems. Her real name is Amber Kunik. And she’s a murderer.
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4. The Cabin At The End Of The World by Paul Tremblay, narrated by Amy Landon

The Cabin At The End Of The World.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet lake. As Wen catches bugs, a stranger appears. Leonard is the large, young, and friendly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and says, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault.” Three more strangers arrive, beginning a gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival.
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5. Half Moon Bay by Alice Laplante, narrated by Gabra Zackman

Half Moon Bay

Jane loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in an accident. Devastated, she makes one tiny stab at a new life: she moves to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. She is able to cobble together some version of a job, friends, and peace. And then, children begin to disappear. As the disappearances continue, her neighbors wonder is if it is Jane herself who has unleashed the horror of loss.
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6. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini and Graham Winton

The Fifth To Die

Detective Porter has been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath frozen waters, she is identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 
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7. Last Girl by J. G. Hetherton, narrated by Laura Jennings

Last Girl Gone

Fired from the Boston Globe, Laura Chambers takes a job with the local paper. The work is boring – at least until a missing girl turns up dead. Years earlier, child after child disappeared, a reign of terror the town desperately wants to forget. Now that terror has returned to seize another girl. And another. And another. She dives deeper into a case, only to discover the truth may be far closer to home than she could have imagined.
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New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

 

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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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