Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobook Releases Post for the Week of January 18th.
Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!
Authors, narrators, producers, and publishers — any of the books featured here are prime candidates for review.
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A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
How do you start over after the end of the world?
Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes, and wasteland gangs.
In post-apocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past – until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on – even if they don’t want to.
Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.
Krista, Moira, Rob, and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before – and everything they still stand to lose. Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.
Qualityland by Marc-Uwe Kling
Narrated by Patricia Rodriguez
Grand Central Publishing
What if the perfect world wasn’t built for you?
Welcome to QualityLand, the best country on Earth. Here, a universal ranking system determines the social advantages and career opportunities of every member of society. An automated matchmaking service knows the best partners for everyone and helps with the break up when your ideal match (frequently) changes. And the foolproof algorithms of the biggest, most successful company in the world, TheShop, know what you want before you do and conveniently deliver to your doorstep before you even order it.
In QualityCity, Peter Jobless is a machine scrapper who can’t quite bring himself to destroy the imperfect machines sent his way, and has become the unwitting leader of a band of robotic misfits hidden in his home and workplace. One day, Peter receives a product from TheShop that he absolutely, positively knows he does not want, and which he decides, at great personal cost, to return. The only problem: doing so means proving the perfect algorithm of TheShop wrong, calling into question the very foundations of QualityLand itself.
Qualityland, Marc-Uwe Kling’s first book to be translated into English, is a brilliantly clever, illuminating satire in the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and George Orwell that offers a visionary, frightening, and all-too funny glimpse at a near future we may be hurtling toward faster than it’s at all comfortable to admit. So why delay any longer? TheShop already knows you’re going to love this book. You may as well head to the cash register, crack the covers, and see why that is for yourself.
Fresh Blood by Jessica Hicks
Narrated by Travis Baldree
He was climbing the corporate ladder, now he’s climbing the food chain.
Felix used to be a traveling salesman, drifting through the galaxy and hawking his wares. Used to be, that is, until a freak accident in an out-of-the-way system.
One rough landing later, Felix finds himself stranded on a wild, alien planet – front and center – in a deadly role he never auditioned for to entertain a secret audience.
The upside? A fellow passenger made it to the escape pod with Felix. With this reptilian stranger at his side, he’s not totally alone.
The downside? They don’t share a language. Worse, there’s not one scrap of survival know-how between them, and an ominous clawing is coming from outside the escape pod.
As if the struggle to avoid becoming lunch and finding some of their own wasn’t enough, an autonomous implant from an unknown source seeks to integrate them into the system.
Zed by Joanna Kavenna
Narrated by Elliot Hill
Random House Audio
A blistering, satirical novel about life under a global media and tech corporation that knows exactly what we think, what we want, and what we do – before we do.
One corporation has made a perfect world based on a perfect algorithm. Now, what to do with all these messy people?
Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle’s supposedly omniscient “lifechain” don’t work, or, they’ve been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle’s technotopia and life as we know it.
Dazzlingly original and darkly comic, Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human. It describes our moment – the ugliness and the beauty – perfectly. Kavenna is a prophet who has seen deeply into the present – and thrown back her head and laughed.
Burn the Dark by S. A. Hunt
Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets Stranger Things in award-winning author S. A. Hunt’s Burn the Dark, first in the Malus Domestica horror action-adventure series about a punk YouTuber on a mission to bring down witches, one vid at a time.
Robin is a YouTube celebrity gone-viral with her intensely-realistic witch hunter series. But even her millions of followers don’t know the truth: Her series isn’t fiction.
Her ultimate goal is to seek revenge against the coven of witches who wronged her mother long ago. Returning home to the rural town of Blackfield, Robin meets friends new and old on her quest for justice. But then, a mysterious threat known as the Red Lord interferes with her plans….
The Songbird Girls by Richard Parker
Narrated by David John
Detective Tom Fabian’s past is catching up with him. It has been years since the most high-profile case of his career – when his evidence put infamous serial killer Christopher Wisher behind bars forever. But when Wisher summons a reluctant Fabian to his prison cell to hand over a diary, he realises that Wisher’s twisted games are far from over.
Shortly after Fabian’s visit, Wisher is found dead in his cell. And a few days later, the police find a woman’s body bearing Wisher’s signature, a dead songbird. But the police never released this detail to the public…so who has Wisher been talking to?
Fabian is desperate to find the killer before another innocent life is taken. But as more bodies turn up, Fabian begins to realise that Wisher may have handed him the clues before he died. Is the twisted serial killer still pulling the strings from beyond the grave?
If you can’t get enough of crime thrillers by Adam Croft or Melinda Leigh, you will love The Songbird Girls.
Purgatory Bay by Bryan Gruley
Narrated by Scott Merriman
Twelve years ago, her life was torn apart. Now those who wronged her will pay.
Jubilee Rathman is a straight-A student and star soccer goalie destined for Princeton – until her family is brutally murdered. Twelve years later, she lives in a virtual fortress on Purgatory Bay near Bleak Harbor, plotting revenge on the people she considers responsible.
In her crosshairs is former reporter Michaela “Mikey” Deming, who Jubilee believes got her family in trouble with the Detroit mob. As retribution, Jubilee kidnaps Mikey’s sister and daughter, and that’s just the start in her ruthless quest for justice.
Bleak Harbor police chief Katya Malone, still reeling from her failure to find a kidnapped boy, leads the investigation. She’s determined to keep history from repeating, but Jubilee is more cunning than Malone can imagine.
All Mikey and Katya can do is follow Jubilee’s dangerous trail of clues. But in Bleak Harbor, nothing is what it seems, and no one can be trusted. As an ominous end draws ever nearer, the women must face the misdeeds of the past to find the kidnapping victims before it’s too late.
Fatal Justice by Sally Rigby
Narrated by Clare Corbett
A vigilante’s on the loose, dishing out their kind of justice…
A string of mutilated bodies sees Detective Chief Inspector Whitney Walker back in action. But when she discovers the victims have all been grooming young girls, she fears a vigilante is on the loose. And while she understands the motive, no one is above the law.
Once again, she turns to forensic psychologist, Dr Georgina Cavendish, to unravel the cryptic clues. But will they be able to save the next victim from a gruesome death?
Fatal Justice is the second book in the Cavendish & Walker crime fiction series. If you like your mysteries dark, and with a twist, listen to Sally Rigby’s book today.
Includes a special bonus note from the author.
The Bookworm Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts
Narrated by Heather Wynne
This spinoff of The Replacement Crush featuring Amy and Toff is sure to melt your heart.
Shy bookworm Amy McIntyre is about to compete for the chance to interview her favorite author, who hasn’t spoken to the press in years. The only way to win is to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, but that level of confidence has never come easy.
The solution? A competition coach. The problem? The best person for the job is the guy she’s secretly crushing on…local surfer celebrity Toff Nichols.
He’s a player. He’s a heartthrob. He makes her forget basic things, like how to breathe. How can she feel any confidence around him?
To her surprise, Toff agrees to help. And he’s an excellent teacher. Amy feels braver – maybe even brave enough to admit her feelings for him. When their late night practices become less about coaching and more about making out, Amy’s newfound confidence wavers.
But does Toff really like her or is this just another lesson?
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
Narrated by Bahni Turpin
From debut author Janae Marks comes a captivating mystery full of heart, as one courageous girl questions assumptions, searches for the truth, and does what she believes is right – even in the face of great opposition. A perfect book for fans of Front Desk and All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook!
Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her 12th birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?
A crime he says he never committed.
Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.
But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.
Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown
Narrated by Echo Brown
This program is read by the author.
Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism – all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age story for fans of Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together and Ibi Zoboi’s American Street.
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic…everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor.
Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.
The Wild One by Nick Petrie
Narrated by Stephen Mendel
War veteran Peter Ash tracks a murderer and his criminal family through the most forbidding and stark landscape he has ever encountered, in the latest thriller from the best-selling author of The Drifter.
Losing ground in his fight against post-traumatic claustrophobia, war veteran Peter Ash has no intention of getting on an airplane – until a grieving woman asks Peter to find her eight-year-old grandson. The woman’s daughter has been murdered. Erik, the dead daughter’s husband, is the sole suspect, and he has taken his young son and fled to Iceland for the protection of Erik’s lawless family.
Finding the boy becomes more complicated when Peter is met at the airport by a man from the United States embassy. For reasons both unknown and unofficial, it seems that Peter’s own government doesn’t want him in Iceland. The police give Peter two days of sightseeing in Reykjavik before he must report back for the first available seat home…and when they realize Peter isn’t going home until he accomplishes his mission, they start hunting him, too.
From the northernmost European capital to a rustbound fishing vessel to a remote farm a stone’s throw from the arctic, Peter must confront his growing PTSD and the most powerful Icelandic snowstorm in a generation to find a killer, save an eight-year-old boy, and keep himself out of an Icelandic prison – or a cold Icelandic grave.
Strange Exit by Parker Peevyhouse
Narrated by Caitlin Davies
Strange Exit is a suspenseful, near-future, stand-alone thriller by Parker Peevyhouse, perfect for fans of Kass Morgan’s The 100 and Patrick Ness’ More Than This.
Seventeen-year-old Lake spends her days searching a strange, post-apocalyptic landscape for people who have forgotten one very important thing: This isn’t reality. Everyone she meets is a passenger aboard a ship that’s been orbiting Earth since a nuclear event. The simulation that was supposed to prepare them all for life after the apocalypse has trapped their minds in a shared virtual reality and their bodies in stasis chambers.
No one can get off the ship until all of the passengers are out of the sim, and no one can get out of the sim unless they believe it’s a simulation. It’s up to Lake to help them remember.
When Lake reveals the truth to a fellow passenger, 17-year-old Taren, he joins her mission to find everyone, persuade them that they’ve forgotten reality, and wake them up. But time’s running out before the simulation completely deconstructs, and soon Taren is deciding who’s worth saving and who must be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, Lake has no choice but to pit herself against Taren in a race to find the secret heart of the sim, where something awaits that will either save them or destroy them all.
The Debriefing by Jeffery Deaver
Narrated by Scott Merriman
International bestselling author Jeffery Deaver explores the borderline between lies and loyalty in a story of a brotherhood on the brink.
In the wake of a disastrous firefight with a Mexican cartel, two El Paso police officers find themselves in a military hospital facing a debriefing about what went wrong. As their accounts unfold, Tony, a by-the-book cop, begins to believe that hotheaded Matt might have divided loyalties. Could he have intentionally led the team into a trap that saw the death of a beloved senior officer? Or is the truth even more terrifying than Tony dares to imagine?
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