If you enjoy mysteries, try listening to a series. Just as with reading a series, you come to know the characters and their strengths and foibles. But somehow you know them even more by their voices and cadences.
Try the Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow. This series has kept the same reader. Except for the15th entry, A Deeper Sleep, all of the books have been read by Marguerite Gavin. Kate is a former investigator for the Anchorage, Alaska, district attorney’s office and currently homesteads in a generic national park in Alaska. Her constant companion is Mutt, a wolf husky hybrid who gets the attention of anyone with whom she comes into contact. There is fascinating history of the Aleut tribe (of which Kate is a member) and a careful look into the ecology and culture of the area. Start with A Cold Day for Murder.
Another interesting series is the Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva. This series has been read by a variety of different actors. Allon is a former assassin for the Israeli Secret Service. Additionally, he is regarded as one of the world's greatest art restorers, specializing in Old Masters. Art and intrigue are great companions. Once, while chatting with a gentleman on an airport shuttle who was carrying a tattered Gabriel Allon novel, I learned that his novels are great “guidebooks” for some of the most well known European museums. Start with The Kill Artist.
I love Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series. Anna is a detective/park ranger who has assignments at national and state parks across the US. She is a serious woman with a strong, self-deprecating sense of humor. When the series begins with Track of the Cat, Anna has just fled New York City after the accidental death of her husband and is now going to work as a law enforcement ranger at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas. The newest title in the series, The Rope, is due to be released in January 2012 and will be set in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Series featuring plucky PI Kinsey Millhone makes for another enjoyable listen. Kinsey is a single 30-something when we meet her in Santa Theresa, CA (read: Santa Barbara). She lives alone in the garage apartment owned by her landlord, Henry, a feisty octogenarian baker who often invites her over for wine and freshly baked something. Begin with A is for Alibi. The latest, V is for Vengeance, is due to be published in November 2011. For me, the change in readers in this series has made a difference. Try this fun series and you be the judge.
If you want something local, try the Alan Gregory novels by Stephen White. Dr. Alan Gregory is a Boulder clinical psychologist with a thriving practice. In the series, Gregory’s wife, Lauren Crowder, Boulder County Assistant DA, battles Multiple Sclerosis. In real life, Stephen White battles the disease. The local flavor is fun – Gregory and his friend Sam Purdy go to Avalanche games, take in Broadway shows at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and eat at named restaurants in the Denver area (lunch is taken in Silver Plume, CO, at a place I have yet to find). Start with Privileged Information.