December 31

My Favourite Audiobooks – 2017

Earlier this year my day job changed and my daily commute suddenly involved 5 hours of driving. This ate into my reading time but a subscription to Audible meant I could listen to all the books I wasn’t getting a chance to read.

So after six months and many, many miles I thought I would share the books I enjoyed the most.

It should be noted that three audiobooks made it into the list of My Ten Favourite Books of 2017 it should come as no surprise that they are also included here (the first three).

 

 

Whiteout – Ragnar Jonasson

Whiteout sees the return of Jonasson’s popular Icelandic cop Ari Thor What made Whiteout special for me was the way the author took the smallest cast of possible suspects and made a brilliant “whodunnit” murder mystery. I have compared Ragnar Jonasson’s works to that of Agatha Christie in the past…Whiteout only reaffirms my assertion.

 

 

 

The Beauty of Murder – AK Benedict

The audiobook of The Beauty of Murder was recommended to me by JS Law (author of The Dark Beneath). Boy did he call that right! The Beauty of Murder is a serial killer story in which the killer has the ability to travel through time. Loved that twist and it gave The Beauty of Murder an edge which most books simply didn’t have. The time travel is not just a clever gimmick though, this is a wonderfully compassionate and clever story. With much of the action taking place in and around Cambridge University (with a Philosophy Lecturer as a lead character) it throws up some interesting discussion points too. Hugely enjoyable but with one of the saddest moments of my reading year too…

 

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson

I was captivated by this tale which takes the reader from WW2 concentration camps to present day and shows how a serial killer was able to stay hidden for decades.

Two narrators on the audiobook really highlighted the “then” and “now” side to Block 46 and the story was outstanding.

 

 

 

 

This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

I generally don’t read non-fiction, however, both my parents worked for the NHS and I grew up hearing about life in and around hospitals. When I learned of Adam Kay’s “secret diaries of a junior Doctor” I knew I had to read this book.

It was magnificent. I laughed, winced and shed a tear over his tales. Dr Adam narrates his own book and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Funny, graphic, sweary and over all too soon – I loved this!

 

 

Dark Suits and Sad Songs – Denzil Meyrick

My first DCI Daley thriller and I have already bought more in the series.

An explosive opening throws Daily into a political thriller which will have him facing unknown foes both from home and from far overseas.

With his home life in a shambles, his oldest friend and colleague battling a drink problem and an international hitman loose in his home town Daley is going to have a busy few days.

All with added UFO sightings too!

 

 

From The Cradle – Louise Voss & Mark Edwards

A chilling kidnap tale which kept me hooked.

The heart of the story is the investigation into the missing children and it was great following the ebb and flow of their enquries.

Louise Voss and Mark Edwards kept the twists and surprises coming throughout the story and it had an ending I would never have seen coming.

 

 

Storm Front – John Sandford

I love John Sandford’s books and the Virgil Flowers series (of which Storm Front is one) are well worth seeking out.  They are consistently great crime thrillers yet Flowers brings the humour to his investigations which made Storm Front great listening.

 

 

Quieter Than Killing – Sarah Hilary

I am a huge fan of the Marnie Rome series but this was the first time I had “met” Marnie in audiobook.  The narration by Imogen Church was fantastic, bringing much loved characters to life.

Quieter Than Killing is a great read but then I have never been disappointed in a Sarah Hilary novel – she writes stories with an edge.

Marnie is investigating a series of vicious beatings across London but she cannot tell if she is hunting a single person or a vigilante group. It is not long before the stakes are raised and danger will lie ahead.

 

The Girl in the Ice – Robert Bryndza

The first Erika Foster thriller and a dark and murderous tale from a frozen London. This was one of the first books I listened to (two more in the series soon followed) and I became a firm fan of Robert Bryndza’s wonderful thrillers.

 

Chase – Shaun Hutson

My last pick was the chilling Chase. I love a horror tale and Mr Hutson writes some of the best. An English couple are on a driving holiday in remote USA but the trip will bring them face to face with forces they could not have ever envisaged. Their dream holiday, tinged with tragedy even before they set off, becomes a nightmare roadtrip.

After rescuing a young girl from two killers the couple flee to keep the girl safe – the killers are in pursuit and they know the area far better than the holidaymakers.

Chilling and as nasty as I had anticipated – great listening.

 

 

 

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August 17

Block 46 – Johana Gustawsson – Audio

Evil remembers…

Falkenberg, Sweden. The mutilated body of talented young jewellery designer, Linnea Blix, is found in a snow-swept marina.
Hampstead Heath, London. The body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s.
Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again.

Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald?

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French truecrime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

 

Another from my unexpected (but very enjoyable) Audiobook Season – today I get to rave about Block 46.

First the audiobook experience.  Very positive!  The narration duties are split for Block 46 – the majority of the book is delivered by Patricia Rodriguez with the “historical” elements (which I shall come to shortly) picked up by Mark Meadows. The two voices work wonderfully – both actors are to be commended for bringing the story to life around me.

Block 46 is a modern day murder mystery but it holds a link to 1944 and a concentration camp in Germany (the aforementioned Historical element of the tale). In London Alexis Castells attends the launch of a new jewellery collection designed by her friend Linnea Blix – despite the importance of the night Linnea does not appear. Alexis travels to Sweden where Linnea would often stay “on retreat” but as she arrives in snowy Falkenberg Linnea’s body is found.

While Alexis gets swept up in the investigation into Linnea’s murder – kept in the loop through a friendship with criminal profiler Emily Roy – the reader gets to slip back in time where we encounter Erich Hebner.  A German national in a German concentration camp.  Erich is doing what he can to survive but when Johana Gustawsson begins to outline some of the terrors which Erich, and the other prisoners, endure each day it becomes impossible to see how he will escape from this Hell.

Narrative swings to present day, the murder investigation reveals some unexpected connections to London. Then we are back in wartime Germany and Erich’s story moves on…he has been granted a rare opportunity to contribute to the German “war effort” but how will he feel about helping when he learns he is going to Block 46. Nobody every comes out of Block 46 alive.

I cannot praise this book enough – at times harrowing but always compelling. It threw up the classic reading dilemma – so good I want to reach the end to find out what happened. But I don’t want to reach the end as I was enjoying it so much.

 

Block 46 is published by Orenda Books and is available in paperback, digital and audiobook.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Block-Roy-Castells-Johana-Gustawsson/dp/1910633704/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502917618&sr=1-1

 

 

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