January 9th New and Notable

January 9th New and Notable

Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobooks Post for the Week of January 9th.

Comment below on any I missed or what you’re excited about!

Authors, narrators, producers, and publishers — any of the books featured here are prime candidates for review.
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Refresh by Salim Lemelle

Refresh by Salim Lemelle
Narrated by Kevin Free
Audible Originals

Refresh is an explosive, powerful short story about a near-future dystopia in which citizens can commodify every waking moment of their lives with computer-generated augmented reality. But this ubiquitous, game-changing technology can create dangerous consequences, especially for society’s most vulnerable people.

Welcome to Refresh: with nothing but a pair of computerized contact lenses, the app allows you to immortalize and share your experiences in virtual reality, and to step right into the life of anyone you’d like—for the right price. And in the near-distant future, there is no longer a question of who uses the app, only how: to record and share special occasions, like weddings and vacations? Or to push the envelope towards something more controversial, more shocking, more sinister?

This thought-provoking listen follows a young Black man who, in order to profit from his own marginalization and to make a larger statement, hatches a plan for a confrontation with a police officer that’s sure to capture the attention his profile desperately needs. But when the lines between performance and experience are blurred, is he prepared for the reality of what’s at stake?

Refresh is both a compelling, futuristic tale and a gut-wrenching commentary on our world and the reality of being Black in America.

A Friend in the Dark by C.S. Poe, Gregory Ashe

A Friend in the Dark by C.S. Poe, Gregory Ashe
Narrated by Garrett Kiesel
Emporium Press

Rufus O’Callaghan has eked out a living on the streets of New York City by helping the police put away criminals as a confidential informant. But when Rufus shows up for an arranged meeting and finds his handler dead, his already-uncertain life is thrown into a tailspin. Now someone is trying to kill Rufus too, and he’s determined to find out why.

After leaving the Army under less than desirable circumstances, Sam Auden has drifted from town to town, hitching rides and catching Greyhounds, until he learns that a former Army buddy, now a police detective in New York City, has died by suicide. Sam knows that’s not right, and he immediately sets out to get answers.

As Rufus and Sam work together to learn the truth of their friend’s death, they find themselves entangled in a web of lies, cover-ups, and accelerating danger. And when they witness a suspect killed in cold blood, they realize they’re running out of time.

The Patriot by Nick Thacker

The Patriot by Nick Thacker
Narrated by Craig Van Ness
Hachette UK – Bookouture

“I can help you find the man who killed your wife.”

It’s the last thing Jake Parker expects to hear from an old friend from his military days at West Point, Lt. Colonel Douglas McDonnell. Officially, Jake’s wife, Mel, was an unlucky bystander during a sudden terrorist attack, but Jake has always felt there was a missing piece of the puzzle. When McDonnell tells him that his team has been tracking the group responsible, it’s Jake’s opportunity to finally lay Mel’s ghost to rest.

McDonnell believes that the terrorist cell is linked to one of the big pharma companies operating out of Puerto Rico, and he needs Jake’s skills on his team for one specific task: find the link and take them down. But as soon as Jake arrives, the plan begins to crumble. Focused on targeting the group members one at a time, the team on the ground won’t listen to Jake’s insistence that they look at the bigger picture.

When Jake meets biochemist Veronique, they hit it off. But when she confesses her fears that her employer is manufacturing a drug for the US market with deadly side effects, Jake realizes that the terrorists have raised the stakes, and more innocent lives are at risk if he doesn’t act fast. Then Veronique is kidnapped. Unable to trust anyone around him, Jake is pushed as never before to find Vero while taking down the evil organization before they strike at the US population….

A nonstop action thriller from a USA Today best-selling author.

Nova Terra: Titan and Greymane by Seth Ring

Nova Terra: Titan and Greymane by Seth Ring
Narrated by Eric Jason Martin
Podium Audio

Contains books one and two of the The Titan series, a litRPG gamelit adventure.

Titan, book 1

Nova Terra, your dreams, your world.

Trapped in his own body by a debilitating medical condition, Xavier Lee seeks reprieve from his giant-sized problems through full immersion into the game world of Nova Terra. Billed as the first true alternate reality, Nova Terra runs parallel to the real world and promises to fulfill the fantasies and desires of those who dare plunge into its mysterious depths. In order to adjust to his new life of quests, skill mastery, and magic, Xavier will have to forget everything he knows. As he struggles to make the most of his new-found freedom, Xavier will have to learn to deal with a new body, new friends, and a new world that is much more than it seems.

Greymane, book 2

Betrayed and left for dead by his team, Thorn learned the hard way that the game world of Nova Terra is not all sunshine and roses. Stripped of his destiny, Thorn refuses to let what happened to him control his fate. But, betrayed once, can he really trust the people around him? His encounter with an ancient evil and a forgotten God has set him on the path of a ruler and on a crash course with one of the most powerful guilds in the game. He’ll need all the strength, cunning, and courage he can muster if he wants to come out on top.

Savage Road by Chris Hauty

Savage Road by Chris Hauty
Narrated by Marin Ireland
Simon & Schuster

Hayley Chill descends even deeper into the dangerous political web of Washington, DC, in this thrilling sequel to the “propulsive, page-turning, compelling” (C.J. Box, number one New York Times best-selling author) national best seller Deep State.

When a series of devastating cyber attacks rock the United States, Hayley Chill is tasked by the “deeper state” to track down their source. NSA analysts insist that Moscow is the culprit, but that accusation brings plenty of complications with Hayley directing the president as a double agent against the Russians. With increasing pressure on the president to steer him towards a devastating war, it’s up to Hayley to stop the mysterious computer hacker and prevent World War III – while also uncovering some shocking truths about her own life.

Magnificently crafted and superbly unpredictable, Savage Road is an edge-of-your-seat political thriller ideal for our times.

Bait Money by Max Allan Collins

Bait Money by Max Allan Collins
Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
Skyboat Media

The mob couldn’t kill him, the cops couldn’t catch him, and even time wouldn’t slow him down.

His name’s Nolan…a shrewd, restless tough guy with a talent for theft. With a lifetime of heists under his belt and a bullet in his side, he’s ready to retire. And the Mafia’s eager to help him along…permanently. They think he’s got a debt to pay – with his life. But after all these years, they might be willing to settle for 100 grand instead.

Nolan’s got to pull a bank job to try to save his ass. Trouble is, the only people willing to help him are a kid whose idea of danger comes out of comic books, a punk as green as the grass he smokes, and a sweet young thing who gets her kicks playing one man off another…and another….

It’s a desperate gamble – for the highest stakes – and Nolan’s down to his last chip….

The Retreat #5: Crucible by Stephen Knight, Craig DiLouie, Joe McKinney

The Retreat #5: Crucible by Stephen Knight, Craig DiLouie, Joe McKinney
Narrated by R.C. Bray
Self Published

After securing High Point Special Facility, Colonel Lee and his lightfighters of Tenth Mountain have been shot up, run out, and worn down. But another mission awaits – roll to Fort Stewart and extract Dr. Courtney Moreau, one of the engineers of the virus now devastating humanity, and whose immunity promises a fast track to a vaccine.

The bad news: Fort Stewart is under siege.

Bewilderness, Part Two: What Rough Beast by Jonathan Maberry

Bewilderness, Part Two: What Rough Beast by Jonathan Maberry
Narrated by Shayna Small
Audible Originals

The Gateway Project was going to save our world by opening up a doorway to infinite versions of our planet. But the threshold has gone completely out of control, sending all those other Earths onto a collision course with ours. Now, our reality is cracking apart.

Abby Corman did not open the Gateway, but she is the only one who knows how to close it. But an alien Hunter and her pack of deadly hellcats have stepped into our world, and they will stop at nothing to kill Abby. Because in a universe of parallel worlds, one Earth’s savior can be the worst criminal other Earths have ever known.

Bewilderness: What Rough Beast continues the gripping tale of science fiction horror as two women—one human, one alien—battle each other to save infinity.

BykeChic by L. Fergus

BykeChic by L. Fergus
Narrated by Madeline Stewart
Self Published

Kita’s given up on love. Not that there are many options, growing up a lesbian in the Mojave Desert. Plus, she’s barely getting by, struggling to hold on to her dad’s failing junkyard – all she has left of him.

When three vehicles from a shipment go missing, Kita tracks them down in an abandoned factory where she’s attacked by the evil Neophormes and rescued by their mortal enemies, the valiant biomechanical Velixen. Normally shy and reserved, Kita is enraptured by the aliens’ warrior leader Velositi.

Velositi is on a mission to find the Axiom of Command, an artifact that will save her planet by anointing a powerful leader. And she believes Kita is the key to finding it. The Neophormes have chased Velositi and her team across the galaxy, seeking the Axiom for their own ends.

Velositi is ready for danger. What she’s is not prepared for is falling in love with Kita.

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour
Narrated by Zeno Robinson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing

“Askaripour closes the deal on the first page of this mesmerizing novel, executing a high wire act full of verve and dark, comic energy.” (Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys)

“A hilarious, gleaming satire as radiant as its author. Askaripour has announced himself as a major talent of the school of Ralph Ellison, Paul Beatty, Fran Ross, and Ishmael Reed. Full of quick pacing, frenetic energy, absurd – yet spot on – twists and turns, and some of the funniest similes I’ve ever read, this novel is both balm and bomb.” (Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People)

For fans of Sorry to Bother You and The Wolf of Wall Street – a crackling, satirical debut novel about a young man given a shot at stardom as the lone Black salesman at a mysterious, cult-like, and wildly successful start-up where nothing is as it seems.

There’s nothing like a Black salesman on a mission.

An unambitious 22-year-old, Darren lives in a Bed-Stuy brownstone with his mother, who wants nothing more than to see him live up to his potential as the valedictorian of Bronx Science. But Darren is content working at Starbucks in the lobby of a Midtown office building, hanging out with his girlfriend, Soraya, and eating his mother’s home-cooked meals. All that changes when a chance encounter with Rhett Daniels, the silver-tongued CEO of Sumwun, NYC’s hottest tech start-up, results in an exclusive invitation for Darren to join an elite sales team on the 36th floor.

After enduring a “hell week” of training, Darren, the only Black person in the company, reimagines himself as “Buck”, a ruthless salesman unrecognizable to his friends and family. But when things turn tragic at home and Buck feels he’s hit rock bottom, he begins to hatch a plan to help young people of color infiltrate America’s sales force, setting off a chain of events that forever changes the game.

Black Buck is a hilarious, razor-sharp skewering of America’s workforce; it is a propulsive, crackling debut that explores ambition and race, and makes way for a necessary new vision of the American dream.

Girl, Alone by Blake Pierce

Girl, Alone by Blake Pierce
Narrated by Abigail Reno
Self Published

Girl, Alone (An Ella Dark FBI Suspense Thriller, Book 1) is the debut novel in a long-anticipated new series by number one best seller and USA Today best-selling author Blake Pierce, whose best seller Once Gone has received over 1,000 five star reviews.

FBI Agent Ella Dark, 29, is given her big chance to achieve her life’s dream: to join the Behavioral Crimes Unit. Ella has a hidden obsession: She has studied serial killers from the time she could read, devastated by the murder of her own sister. With her photographic memory, she has obtained an encyclopedic knowledge of every serial killer, every victim, and every case. Singled out for her brilliant mind, Ella is invited to join the big leagues.

But when a killer strikes in the swamps of Louisiana, Ella soon comes to learn that the real thing is nothing she could expect. Face to face with a real murder, a real killer, and a real ticking clock, Ella realizes she can’t rely on her knowledge. She must learn to trust her instinct, and allow herself to enter the dark canals of a real killer’s mind. If she gets it wrong, her career is at stake.

And so is the next victim’s life.

Will Ella’s talent be an asset? Or the source of her downfall?

A harrowing crime thriller featuring a brilliant and tortured FBI agent, the Ella Dark series is a riveting mystery, packed with suspense, twists, and turns, revelations, and driven by a breakneck pace that will keep you listening late into the night.

Books two and three in the series — Girl, Taken and Girl, Hunted — are also available.


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