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The Best Narrators You Haven't Heard of...Yet

We all have our favorite narrators, yet it's always exciting to discover a fresh new voice. And out of the most recent debuts and breakouts, here are 10 standout performances.


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  • Half-Blood Blues: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Esi Edugyan
    • Narrated By Kyle Riley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (48)

    The Hot Time Swingers, a popular jazz band, has been forbidden to play by the Nazis. Their young trumpet-player, Hieronymus Falk, declared a musical genius by none other than Louis Armstrong, is arrested in a Paris café. He is never heard from again. He was 20 years old, a German citizen. And he was black.

    julie says: "Slow start, but worth the time."
    Meet Kyle Riley: Cross Scott Brick with Will Patton, and you've got an idea of Kyle Riley's voice as Sid, the African American jazz protagonist narrating this Booker finalist. Riley's drawling Southern baritone and steady pacing make for a deceptively smooth and subtly revealing listen, as the author unfolds the truth about Sid's role in the disappearance of a jazz legend during WWII.
  • Before I Fall

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Lauren Oliver
    • Narrated By Sarah Drew
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (908)
    Performance
    (725)
    Story
    (726)

    Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact.

    Bluemoon says: "Great story... but not for kids!"
    Meet Sarah Drew: Fans of Grey’s Anatomy may already know Sarah Drew as Dr. April Kepner, but she’s also been quietly gaining an Audible fan base for her YA narration. As the voice behind Lauren Oliver’s best-selling books, she somehow magically captures the paradoxical duality of the teenage girl psyche: She gives us total naiveté, paired with an utter savviness of social politics. She also knows how deliver subtle, and cutting, contempt - lending her voice the side-eyed, judgmental quality that hits you when you walk into a cafeteria full of teenagers. She’s Jenna Lamia with snark. But it’s not all Mean Girls here - Sarah Drew can also express the hopefulness, the longing, the dreamy-eyed enthusiasm that comes with adolescence, ..
  • The Fault in Our Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By John Green
    • Narrated By Kate Rudd
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13388)
    Performance
    (12250)
    Story
    (12319)

    Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

    FanB14 says: "Sad Premise, Fantastic Story"
    Meet Kate Rudd: She might have you in tears, but you'll definitely want to listen to more from the extraordinary Kate Rudd. In John Green's most excellent The Fault in Our Stars, Rudd gives distinctive voice to two teens in love - one with terminal cancer - and an impressive assortment of other characters (male and female, young and old, American and Dutch). We can't wait to listen to more from her!
  • Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By David Wiedemer, Robert A. Wiedemer, Cindy S. Spitzer
    • Narrated By Christopher Kipiniak
    Overall
    (254)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (199)

    While the "experts" want us to believe that all is well (or will be soon), nothing could be further from the truth. The worldwide financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 was just a sneak preview of what is to come. But for those who act quickly and correctly, there is still time to protect yourself, your family, and your business in the next global money meltdown.

    David M. Weprin says: "Interesting, convincing, and well narrated advert."
    Meet Christopher Kipniak: It's no mistake that newcomer Christopher Kipniak is up for an Audie for Best Business Audiobook this year. And not just for any book, but for this his first, which he reads with just the right emphasis and pacing for easy and persuasive nonfiction listening.
  • Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Kevin Hearne
    • Narrated By Luke Daniels
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10984)
    Performance
    (9810)
    Story
    (9782)

    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....

    Chris says: "Finally, a modern day fantasy that really hits the"
    Meet Luke Daniels: He was one of the highest-rated narrators of 2011 and has quickly shot up listeners' lists for his "phenomenal" performance of Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series. "Superb", "awesome," and "perfection" are just a few of the other adjectives used to describe his characterizations (which include a talking dog!).
  • Faithful Place: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Tana French
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3924)
    Performance
    (2284)
    Story
    (2292)

    New York Times best-selling author Tana French has won the prestigious Edgar, Barry, Macavity, and Anthony awards. As her third novel featuring the Dublin Murder Squad opens, 19-year-old Frank Mackey is waiting in vain for Rosie, who he’s supposed to run away to London with. But when she doesn’t show, Frank leaves Dublin without her—thinking never to return.

    Amazon Customer says: "Incredible"
    Meet Tim Gerard Reynolds: Tim Gerard Reynolds is as perfect a narrator as you can get for Tana French's fiery-yet-plagued-by-regrets Dublin detective Frank Mackey. A Dublin native himself, with just the right Irish brogue to boot, Reynolds brings his own hometown nostalgia - and shock at Dublin's changing streets - to Faithful Place. In this sample clip, Reynolds evokes the whirlwind passion and shock Mackey faces after a longtime love suddenly disappears.
  • Chasing Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Nora Roberts
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1921)
    Performance
    (1373)
    Story
    (1386)

    Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature. But there’s also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive firefighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend in the field. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday.

    M. Davis says: "Another winner by Roberts!"
    Meet Rebecca Lowman: With book performances that have ranged from literary fiction to tear-jerking romance and dystopian thrillers, Rebecca Lowman brings her talent for different voices to Nora Roberts' Chasing Fire. Fierce female firefighter? Check. Macho counterpart? Check. From sassy flirtation to drawling swagger, Lowman gets the fire going in this supenseful romance.
  • The Leopard: A Harry Hole Novel, Book 8

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett (translator)
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1203)
    Performance
    (998)
    Story
    (991)

    Two young women are found murdered in Oslo, both drowned in their own blood. Media coverage quickly reaches fever pitch: Could this be the work of a serial killer? The crime scenes offer no coherent clues, the police investigation is stalled, and the one man who might be able to help doesn't want to be found. Traumatized by his last case, Inspector Harry Hole has lost himself in the squalor of Hong Kong's opium dens. Yet when he is compelled, at last, to return to Norway - his father is dying - Harry's buried instincts begin to take over. Then a female MP is discovered brutally murdered.

    Charles Atkinson says: "Simply Fantastic! A great buy!"
    Meet Robin Sachs: Robin Sachs is an ideal narrator for Jo Nesbo’s evocative and, at times, creepy prose. Some narrators fail to achieve the right delivery in such terrain, but Sachs' gravelly voice strikes the perfect balance—bringing out Nesbo’s eloquence without sacrificing any of the suspense that keeps diehards coming back. Bravo!
  • Jacob: Nightwalkers Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Jacquelyn Frank
    • Narrated By Xe Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1207)
    Performance
    (1057)
    Story
    (1057)

    Since time began, there have been Nightwalkers - the races of the night who live in the shadows of the moonlight. Love with humans is absolutely forbidden, and one man makes certain to uphold this ancient law: Jacob, the Enforcer. For 700 years, he has resisted temptation. But not tonight... Jacob knows the excuses his people give when the madness overtakes them and they fall prey to their lust for humans. He's heard every one and still brought the trespassers to justice. Immune to forbidden desires, uncontrollable hungers....

    Dorothea says: "Awesome!"
    Meet Xe Sands: As Paula from McCall, Idaho says about Xe Sands, "It's the narration that makes Jacob pure gold to hear. The voices given - the personalities imbued and the interactions among the cast - make this such a great listen, they're amazing." And luckily listeners can catch Sands in five more Nightwalkers books...
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Stephen Greenblatt
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1093)
    Performance
    (947)
    Story
    (943)

    Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late 30s took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic by Lucretius—a beautiful poem containing the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles.

    Ethan M. says: "Very compelling history, a less compelling thesis"
    Meet Edoardo Ballerini: You may already know Edoardo Ballerini (The Sopranos, Romeo Must Die) from his roles in TV and film, but have you heard his narration of Stephen Greenblatt's National Book Award winner, The Swerve? Commanding yet graceful, Ballerini's performance is a fitting match for this illuminating listen on one powerful lost-then-found ancient manuscript.
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