Best Audiobooks, April 2022 – The Washington Post

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Susan Straight’s compelling novel brings listeners through Southern California with a large number of characters whose personalities are enriched by the voices of three gifted narrators. Shaun Taylor-Corbett tells about the episodes dedicated to Johnny Frías, a California Highway Patrol police officer who shot and secretly buried a rapist, an act that eventually brings together the stories of the key players. Patricia R. Floyd takes on the sections dedicated to Matelasse Rodrigue, whose husband left her and their two young sons for an Instagram-inspired lifestyle. She also gives us Merry, grieving over her only child, her son, shot by an officer. Frankie Corzo is the voice of Ximena, an undocumented migrant from Oaxaca who rescues an abandoned infant, becomes a target of U.S. immigration and customs, and has to run from his precarious job. The intersecting stories are dominated by family origins – many go back before European settlement – as well as language and the attendant dangers of seeing or sounding Latin American when ICE comes to call. This is a moving, ultimately jubilant novel that will stay with you long after the last words have been said. (Recorded books, unabridged, 12¾ hours)

Let’s talk about audiobooks: best narrators, best listening speeds and why we like them to begin with

‘Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals’

Laurie Zaleski’s memories, on the other hand, are shocking, heartwarming and very funny. On the run from a brutal man, Zaleski’s mother, Annie, the author, and her two siblings took up residence in a wreck of a cabin in New Jersey Pine Barrens. Slowly, and in the face of persecution and vandalism from both local youth and her husband, Annie made the place a safe home for her children and eventually for hundreds of rescue animals. Zaleski’s account of her mother’s courage and determination is supportive, as is her own dedication and later establishment of a full-scale animal sanctuary. Most engaging of all are the stories of the animals, their personalities, eccentrics and strange friendships: llama and donkey, kitten and duck, horse and UPS driver. At first, the narrator Erin Moon’s lively, high-pitched voice seems more apt for a high school pep rally than a memoir, but once we get to know Zaleski’s mother – a woman who fought adversity with optimistic maxims – “The more you cry, the less you pee” – we see that Moon’s delivery could not be more appropriate. (Blackstone, Uabridged, 8¼ hours)

She cares for 24 pigs, 20 goats, 210 cats, a skunk and 345 other rescue animals – and that’s not even her daily job.

‘All the Queen’s Men’

Queen Elizabeth II, who is famously discreet and aware of duty, apparently also has a gift for discovery – or at least she has in SJ Bennett’s entertaining novel, in which Her Majesty takes on the role of scout and solves crimes committed in her various homes. . This follow-up to last year’s “The Windsor Knot” takes place in the summer of 2016: Brexit and the US presidential race dominate the news, but at Buckingham Palace, the Queen wants to know what happened to one of her favorite paintings. She seeks an answer and summons Assistant Private Secretary Rozie Oshodi, who was so helpful in clearing up past inconveniences. Soon, the painting’s mystery is overshadowed by the discovery of a housekeeper’s murdered body, followed by revelations of harassment with poison pens, slander, theft, fraud and yet another murder. Jane Copland tells the book, subtly changing the tone and manner to capture the many characters going on in this entertaining whodunnit – a word that would never pass Her Majesty’s lips. Copland favors the Queen with a slightly commanding voice, a voice that the actual Queen, if she listened to this account of her adventures, could not be mistaken. (HarperAudio, Uabridged, 10 hours)

Katherine A. Powers reviews audiobooks every month for The Washington Post.

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