Recent Audio Book Picks

I listen to a ton of audiobooks, not only to keep up with research for the podcast, but for my enjoyment as well. I can listen to audiobooks anywhere and get to “read” twice as many books as I would if I had to depend solely on my Kindle or hard copies. 

I had a lively conversation with some great friends on Facebook with some friends about suggestions for new books and narrators and thought I might share some of my recent listens. Here goes.

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer

Who is Nola Brown?

Nola is a mystery. 

Nola is trouble. 

And Nola is supposed to be dead. 

Her body was found on a plane that mysteriously fell from the sky as it left a secret military base in the Alaskan wilderness. Her commanding officer verifies she’s dead. The US government confirms it. But Jim “Zig” Zigarowski has just found out the truth: Nola is still alive. And on the run. 

Zig works at Dover Air Force Base, helping put to rest the bodies of those who die on top-secret missions. Nola was a childhood friend of Zig’s daughter and someone who once saved his daughter’s life. So when Zig realizes Nola is still alive, he’s determined to find her. Yet as Zig digs into Nola’s past, he learns that trouble follows Nola everywhere she goes. 

Nola is the US Army’s artist-in-residence – a painter and trained soldier who rushes into battle, making art from war’s aftermath and sharing observations about today’s wars that would otherwise go overlooked. On her last mission, Nola saw something nobody was supposed to see, earning her an enemy unlike any other, one who will do whatever it takes to keep Nola quiet. 

Together, Nola and Zig will either reveal a sleight of hand being played at the highest levels of power or die trying to uncover the US Army’s most mysterious secret – a centuries-old conspiracy that traces back through history to the greatest escape artist of all: Harry Houdini.

My thoughts: Brad Meltzer is a day one buy for me. I had this book on pre-order, even though I received an ARC in hard copy from his publisher. This book is old-school Meltzer in the very best way. Highly recommended.

Also, catch Brad on episode 355. 

Supergods by Grant Morrison

From one of the most acclaimed and profound writers in the world of comics comes a thrilling and provocative exploration of humankind’s great modern myth: the superhero.

The first superhero comic ever published, Action Comics #1 in 1938, introduced the world to something both unprecedented and timeless: Superman, a caped god for the modern age. In a matter of years, the skies of the imaginary world were filled with strange mutants, aliens, and vigilantes: Batman, Wonder Woman, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and the X-Men – the list of names is as familiar as our own. In less than a century, they’ve gone from not existing at all to being everywhere we look: on our movie and television screens, in our video games and dreams. But what are they trying to tell us?

For Grant Morrison, arguably the greatest of contemporary chroniclers of the superworld, these heroes are powerful archetypes whose ongoing, decades-spanning story arcs reflect and predict the course of human existence: Through them we tell the story of ourselves, our troubled history, and our starry aspirations. In this exhilarating work of a lifetime, Morrison draws on art, science, mythology, and his own astonishing journeys through this shadow universe to provide the first true history of the superhero – why they matter, why they will always be with us, and what they tell us about who we are… and what we may yet become.

“Grant Morrison is one of the great comics writers of all time. I wish I didn’t have to compete with someone as good as him.” 
—Stan Lee

My thoughts: As weird, trippy, and imaginative as anything you would expect from the author of The Invisibles, the late 80s rebirth of the JLA, and so many other iconic storylines in recent comics history. If you love comics, you’ll love this.

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson

From the acclaimed author of Her Every Fear and The Kind Worth Killing comes a diabolically clever tale of obsession, revenge, and cold-blooded murder – a sly and brilliant guessing game of a novel in the vein of Ruth Ware, Paula Hawkins, and Patricia Highsmith. 

Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother, Alice, to be sexy and beautiful in an “otherworldly” way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead, and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father. 

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way. 

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous – even deadly – secrets…and that neither one is telling the truth.

My thoughts: This book had me mesmerized from the first chapter. With alternating timelines that left you unsettled and wondering whether you should feel sorry for or afraid of several characters. Also, I NEVER saw the end coming. Highly recommended.

Check out Peter on Episode 350.

Heir to the Empire: Star Wars Legends (The Thrawn Trilogy) (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy Book 1) by Timothy Zahn

It’s five years after the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and drove the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights.

But thousands of light-years away, the last of the Emperor’s warlords, Grand Admiral Thrawn, has taken command of the shattered Imperial fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the New Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build.

Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!

My thoughts: REAL Star Wars, Timothy Zahn. Nuff said. A lot of SW fans are going through a bit of burnout with the recent movies. This will cure what ails you.

Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old – when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power – plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish – to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

My thoughts: Now that the series is finished I thought I would finally dig into the Iron Druid Chronicles. This series is amazing and made more so by the impeccable narration from Luke Daniels. Seriously. Get this book and series!

I have tons more to share from my Audible library so I’ll make this a weekly post. In the meantime, stick a book in your ears!

If you aren’t an Audible subscriber, you can get a one-month free trial and a free audiobook at audibletrial.com/hank. If you cancel, the book is yours to keep at no cost. 

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