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We asked some of today's most exciting new writers - Jon Steele, Marissa Meyer, Wiley Cash, Charlotte Rogan, Alma Katsu, Chris Pavone, Mark Henshaw, Honor Molloy, Julie Cross, and Maria Dueñas - to share the inspiration behind their captivating debuts (and did some research on a few more favorites). Which debut will you check out first?


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  • The Watchers

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jon Steele
    • Narrated By Jonathan Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (282)
    Performance
    (239)
    Story
    (241)

    Beneath Lausanne Cathedral, in Switzerland, there is a secret buried before time began.... Marc Rochat watches over the city at night from the belfry of the cathedral. He lives in a world of shadows and "beforetimes" and imaginary beings. Katherine Taylor, call girl and daydreamer, is about to discover that her real-life fairy tale is too good to be true. Jay Harper, private detective, wakes up in a crummy hotel room with no memory. Three lives, one purpose: save what's left of paradise before all hell breaks loose.

    Amber says: "Interesting Plot and Great Narrator"
    Jon Steele on The Watchers: In June of 2004, I’d quit television news and was hiding out in the south of France, with frequent visits to Lausanne to stare at the lake and mountains. One night, a friend and I were driving by Lausanne Cathedral and he pointed to a faint light on the lower balcony of the belfry. He told me it was the lantern of le guet de Lausanne…the watcher, the man who called the hour over Lausanne through the night as it had been done, each night, for 800 years. He said le guet de Lausanne was the last one of his kind in the world, and then he said, 'Would you like to meet him?' I knew, at once, there was a story to be told about this place and my imagination was desperate to find it.
  • Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Marissa Meyer
    • Narrated By Rebecca Soler
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8542)
    Performance
    (7716)
    Story
    (7739)

    Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.... Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle.

    Staaj says: "Surpised by how much I enjoyed it"
    Marissa Meyer on Cinder: Cinder started with a short story contest, for which I rewrote the fairy tale Puss in Boots with a sci-fi twist. It was so quirky and fun that I decided to expand it into an entire futuristic-fairy-tale universe. Some months later, I had a late-night vision of Cinderella running down the palace steps, but instead of losing her slipper, her foot fell off! Hence, my cyborg Cinderella was born.
  • A Land More Kind Than Home

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Wiley Cash
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan, Lorna Raver, Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (439)
    Performance
    (394)
    Story
    (389)

    For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can't help sneaking a look at something he's not supposed to - an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess's. It's a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he's not prepared.

    Cindy says: "So good it made me cry!"
    Wiley Cash on A Land More Kind Than Home: This novel is based on a tragedy that occurred in Chicago about a decade ago. I wanted to tell the story, but I'd never been to Chicago, and I couldn't speak for the people there. I decided to place this story in my native North Carolina, and once I did it just came to life. —Wiley Cash
  • The Lifeboat: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Charlotte Rogan
    • Narrated By Rebecca Gibel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (259)
    Performance
    (224)
    Story
    (223)

    Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life. In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband, Henry, across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found.

    Kathy says: "FELL FLAT"
    Charlotte Rogan on The Lifeboat: What do you do when murder is the price of survival? An old legal case about shipwrecked sailors inspired me to write The Lifeboat, which tells the story of Grace Winter, a 22-year-old woman who survives three weeks in an overcrowded lifeboat only to be put on trial for her life.
  • The Taker

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Alma Katsu
    • Narrated By Laurel Lefkow
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (355)
    Performance
    (318)
    Story
    (320)

    On the midnight shift at a hospital in rural Maine, Dr. Luke Findley is expecting another quiet evening of frostbite and the occasional domestic dispute. But the minute Lanore McIlvrae—Lanny—walks into his ER, she changes his life forever. A mysterious woman with a past and plenty of dark secrets, Lanny is unlike anyone Luke has ever met. He is inexplicably drawn to her...despite the fact that she is a murder suspect with a police escort.

    Jodie says: "Left wanting something more..."
    Alma Katsu on The Taker: I was inspired to write The Taker after a very spooky experience I had one night in the area around Concord, Massachusetts. I was driving home and had just passed an old Colonial-era farm when I thought I saw a man walking towards me on the side of the road. It was a foggy night and so I looked in the rearview mirror to make sure I'd passed him cleanly, only to see that he'd disappeared. Rather than become freaked out—which is what any sane person might do—being a writer, I started piecing together a story in my head. And because I adore Gothic fiction, it became a tragic love story. I imagined the man as a ghost pinned forever to that place, which I envisioned as his childhood home. He was trapped—he'd ..
  • The Language of Flowers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Vanessa Diffenbaugh
    • Narrated By Tara Sands
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2245)
    Performance
    (1962)
    Story
    (1966)

    A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it's been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude.

    Diana - Audible says: "You don't need a green thumb to enjoy this one"
    Vanessa Diffenbaugh on The Language of Flowers: A Novel: I discovered Kate Greenaway’s Language of Flowers in a used bookstore when I was 16, and couldn’t believe it was such a well-kept secret. How could something so beautiful and romantic be virtually unknown? When I started thinking about the book I wanted to write, Victoria and the language of flowers came to me simultaneously. I liked the complication of a young woman who has trouble connecting with others communicating through a forgotten language that almost no one understands.
  • You Came Back: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Christopher Coake
    • Narrated By Scott Holst
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (17)

    Thirty-something Midwesterner Mark Fife believes he has successfully moved past the accidental death of his young son, Brendan, as well as his subsequent divorce from his college sweetheart, Chloe. He's successful, he's in love again, and he believes he's mastered his own memories. But then he is contacted by a strange woman who tells him not only that she owns his old house, but that she believes it to be haunted by Brendan's ghost.

    Patrick says: "Good story, but not great"
    Christopher Coake on You Came Back: I wrote You Came Back(about a grieving father and husband confronted by a ghost) because I am always reminded that my current happiness—I'm remarried, some years after losing my first wife to cancer—is a result of past tragedy. I wanted to write a horror story...and I could think of nothing scarier, more devastating, than someone like me having to choose between a past and present, each full of love.
  • The Expats: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Chris Pavone
    • Narrated By Mozhan Marno
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (605)
    Performance
    (505)
    Story
    (510)

    Kate Moore is a working mother, struggling to make ends meet, to raise children, to keep a spark in her marriage... and to maintain an increasingly unbearable life-defining secret. So when her husband is offered a lucrative job in Luxembourg, she jumps at the chance to leave behind her double-life, to start anew. She begins to reinvent herself as an expat, finding her way in a language she doesn’t speak, doing the housewifely things she’s never before done - playdates and coffee mornings, daily cooking and never-ending laundry....

    Ariel says: "You Will Need to Pay Attention"
    Chris Pavone on The Expats: A few years ago, I became what's known in the expat world as a 'trailing spouse'—I followed my wife's job to Europe, where I could no longer continue the career I'd had, could no longer be the person I'd been. I needed to reinvent myself, in a foreign land and a foreign language, and in the equally foreign universe of raising children and keeping house. I started writing about this very real (and somewhat boring) circumstance, then I decided to make the story somewhat unreal (and completely un-boring) by adding spies and a stolen fortune and more than one long-play con to a cast of extraordinarily clever characters, all of them telling crucial lies to the most important people in their lives.
  • Red Cell: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Mark Henshaw
    • Narrated By Rob Patterson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (210)
    Story
    (213)

    Red Cell follows Kyra Stryker and Jonathan Burke, two outcasts in the Agency who are brought together in the Red Cell, the agency’s out-of-the-box think tank. Stryker is a young and beautiful agent who’s struggling to recover from a job gone bad, while Burke is a straight-laced analyst who’s pissed off all his colleagues. When a raid on Chinese spies in Taiwan ends in a shootout, CIA Director Cooke turns to the Red Cell to figure out why China is ready to invade the island nation without any fear of reprisal.

    Dr. Meggin McIntosh says: "Buy the Book Not the Audio"
    Mark Henshaw on Red Cell: Like so many other aspiring writers, I'd always had the bug and needed a swift kick from my spouse to get me moving. My wife decided that I had a talent that was going to waste, so she made a bet with me—I could buy a new MacBook if I would use it to write a novel within one year, but she got the laptop if I failed. It actually took five years to finish the book, but my wife was merciful and let me keep the computer.


    Red Cell grew out of my love for espionage stories that integrate real history into the plot. I don't want to give out any serious spoilers here, but I will say that during my research, I came across two real events that happened close together in time and space, the first involving ..

  • Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Honor Molloy
    • Narrated By Honor Molloy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    More savage than civilized, Noleen is a rare character from a Dublin long forgotten, where Nelson’s Pillar still stands in O’Connell Street - but not for long - and where untamed musicians gather in the O’Feeneys’ kitchen to raise a jar and the roof. Noleen’s father, a successful actor and scoundrel king of the city, does his best to destroy his family, while her mother tries to save it. Noleen schemes to make it through each Dublin day, cadging sweets and growing tough in the midst of chaos.

    Elizabeth72 says: "Smart, haunting and beautiful"
    Honor Molloy on Smarty Girl: I grew up in a house filled with music and stories and song. Smarty Girl: Dublin Savage is a fictional version of that magical time when there was lively poetry to be heard on the streets and in the pubs and markets. It draws upon the story of my parents' love, their life in the theatre and what ultimately drove my mother and her six kids out of Ireland.
  • Ready Player One

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Cline
    • Narrated By Wil Wheaton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (107086)
    Performance
    (100258)
    Story
    (100063)

    At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, Ready Player One is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.

    Jim "The Impatient" says: "GOING OUTSIDE IS HIGHLY OVER RATED"
    Ernest Cline on Ready Player One: Ready Player One was born out of my lifelong love of science fiction, and my obsession with classic video games and 80s pop culture. By crafting a novel that centered around things I was incredibly passionate about, I was able to maintain my own interest in the story as I was writing it, while also giving myself an opportunity to celebrate the icons and pop culture of my youth.
  • Tempest: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Julie Cross
    • Narrated By Matthew Brown
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (68)

    In Julie Cross' Tempest, the year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy: he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies - nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors - it’s just harmless fun. That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot.

    Arwen says: "Sorry, I was not impressed."
    Julie Cross on Tempest: Tempest evolved after taking a premise from an old manuscript...guy witnesses girl friend's murder, jumps two years in the past and gets stuck there. I worked with my editor to create a brand new plot that had the action he was looking for and the epic love story I was dying to write. The layers of emotion, family drama, government thriller, and coming-of-age elements fell into place one by one as I wrote that first draft, so not exactly a big epiphany moment, but still a very enjoyable development process.
  • The Time In Between: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Maria Duenas
    • Narrated By Zilah Mendoza
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (344)
    Performance
    (300)
    Story
    (303)

    The thrilling, internationally bestselling novel about a haute couture seamstress who becomes an undercover spy for the British Secret Service during World War II. #1 bestseller in Spain with more than 1.5 million copies sold, The Time In Between has taken readers by storm with its unforgettable tale of adventure, tragedy, love, and war. Readers will fall in love with MarÍa DueÑas’s dazzlingly inspiring heroine, Sira Quiroga.

    Sarah A. Peyronnin says: "terrible narration"
    Maria Dueñas on The Time in Between: It all came originally from family memories. My mother, her parents, brothers and sisters lived in colonial Morocco for decades. The smells, the light and colors, the nostalgic scenes of that lost paradise remained in their hearts forever and were naturally transferred to their children. And so, when I thought about writing a novel, before having any plot or characters in mind, the only certainty I held was that, in a way or another, I would turn my eyes back to that legendary mixture of Europe and Africa to which my family once belonged.
  • Starters

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Lissa Price
    • Narrated By Rebecca Lowman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (154)
    Performance
    (139)
    Story
    (140)

    Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first - the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again.

    Lindsey says: "Zing! This book is 'ztupid!'"
    Lissa Price on Starters: I got the idea for Starters when I couldn’t get a flu shot at Costco. They had a shortage and were only giving it to the very young, the very old and the infirm. And I thought what if this were a killer flu and the only people left were the very young and the very old? What kind of world would that be?
  • The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 24 mins)
    • By Regina O'Melveny
    • Narrated By Katherine Kellgren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th-century Venice: a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entrée to this all-male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body. Then her father disappears, and Gabriella faces a crisis: She is no longer permitted to treat her patients, women who need her desperately, without her father's patronage. She sets out across Europe to find where - and why - he has gone.

    Dina says: "Not Motivated to Finish"
    Regina O'Melveny on The Book of Madness and Cures: The novel began with a desire for healing in poetry - the rich taxonomy of the maladies and the cures, and then leapt into prose and story; began with the search for my father and the reasons for his disappearance decades after his death, and then leapt into the unknown. My inspirations stemmed from my Italian mother's art studio full of books on Renaissance paintings, my journeys to Europe, madness in the family, dreams, and my daughter coming into her own wisdom as a doctor.
  • The Song of Achilles: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Madeline Miller
    • Narrated By Frazer Douglas
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1100)
    Performance
    (1020)
    Story
    (1019)

    Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

    Cariola says: "Didn't Expect to Like It, but I Was Swept Away"
    Madeline Miller on The Song of Achilles: I have loved ancient Greece since I was five and my mother began reading me the Greek myths. I was enthralled: by the larger-than-life gods, the epic adventures, and most particularly by the stories of the Trojan War, with its noble and deeply flawed heroes. "Sing, goddess, of the terrible rage of Achilles," begins the Iliad. The words resonated in me, lingering long after my mother had closed the book and turned out the light.


    Years later, when I became a student of Greek and Latin, I immediately sought out the Iliad. Achilles’ story was just as gripping as it had always been, and I found myself particularly moved by his desperate grief over the loss of his companion ..

  • A Conflict of Interest: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By David LeDoux
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3879)
    Performance
    (3320)
    Story
    (3323)

    Alex Miller is a criminal defense lawyer leading the life he always imagined. At thirty-five, he is the youngest partner at New York City's most prestigious law firm, with a beautiful wife and a perfect daughter. When Alex's father suddenly passes away, Alex is introduced to Michael Ohlig, a rich and powerful man who holds an almost mythical place in his family lore. But Alex is surprised when Ohlig admits that he's in serious legal trouble, accused of crimes involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Charles Atkinson says: "A man with no character seeks revenge..."
    Adam Mitzner on A Conflict of Interest: The first thing that I thought about when I began developing the plot in my own mind was actually the idea of Batman and comic book superheroes. And in particular this idea that we all sort of have a secret identity—there's the identity you have at work and the identity you have at home and the idea that they're all in some way a part of you. But which one is the real you? And that, I like to think is the theme that runs through A Conflict of Interest, this idea that you can be different things to different people and either have to come to grips with the fact that they're all you or pick the one that you feel is your truest self.
  • The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R.

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Carole DeSanti
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (52)

    Eugénie R., born in foie gras country, follows the man she loves to Paris but soon finds herself marooned. An outcast, she charts the treacherous waters of sexual commerce on a journey through artists’ ateliers and pawnshops, zinc bars and luxurious bordellos. Giving birth to a daughter she is forced to abandon, Eugénie spends the next 10 years fighting to get her back, falling in love along the way with an artist, a woman, and a revolutionary.

    Helen D. says: "Seduced and abandoned - and boring!"
    Carole DeSanti on The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R: In my first real publishing job, which will always stand as my favorite, a clairvoyant came to our offices to sell his book proposal. I was a skeptical intellectual at the time, thinking that I was headed to grad school, and gave him pretty short shrift. But he told me, among other things, that I’d had a 'past life' as a prostitute in France. I considered this something of a joke. However, after I was laid off when the company merged and downsized – which was a heartbreaking situation – I had time on my hands, was reading for the GRE’s and I procured a battered old copy of Zola’s Nana. I devoured it in a night — but it also bothered me: Zola’s heroine had no soul, no interior ..
  • The Yard

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Alex Grecian
    • Narrated By Toby Leonard Moore
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1631)
    Performance
    (1464)
    Story
    (1463)

    Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only 12 detectives - known as “The Murder Squad” - to investigate thousands of murders every month. Created after the Metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, The Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt. They have failed their citizens. When Walter Day, the squad’s newest hire, is assigned the case of the murdered detective, he finds a strange ally in the Yard’s first forensic pathologist, Dr. Bernard Kingsley.

    Sires says: "Excellent Narration, Book Needed Some Work"
    Alex Grecian on The Yard: I think I’m drawn back to the past and to England specifically because I read voraciously as a child (still do) and most of what I read was set in England. British writers tended to write better children’s stories, in my opinion, than American authors did. There was often an undercurrent of darkness and bitterness in British writing that I didn’t see in American books for children and young adults, which tended to be more upbeat and have happier endings. I never believed in happy endings. So after a steady diet of Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan and Chocolate Factories, rats and moles and lost shadows and rabbit holes, England somehow became, for me, the place where stories happen. Sure, I read the Hardy Boys ..
  • Overseas

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Beatriz Williams
    • Narrated By January LaVoy
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (407)
    Performance
    (359)
    Story
    (359)

    When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one’s more surprised than she is. Julian’s relentless energy and his extraordinary intellect electrify her, but she’s baffled by his sudden interest. Why would this handsome British billionaire—Manhattan’s most eligible bachelor—pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn’t had a boyfriend since college?

    bluebelle says: "Rare Find!"
    Beatriz Williams on Overseas: Though I pounded out the initial draft in a few frenzied weeks, you might say I've been writing Overseas all my life. It combines the two worlds I know best: the British experience in the First World War, and modern-day Wall Street. As the daughter of a British national, I spent my childhood absorbing English culture and literature, from Elizabethan plays to boarding-school slang. Even so, it wasn't until I took a college seminar on turn-of-the-century Europe that the period 1900-1918 really began to capture my imagination. So when I began to fiddle around with writing as an adult, the Edwardian period (and the First World War in particular) made a natural starting point.


    None of my

1-20of25results PREVIOUS12NEXT