Welcome to Brian’s Book Blog’s weekly New and Notable Audiobooks Post for the Week of November 23rd.

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

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Optional Retirement Plan by Chris Pourteau

Optional Retirement Plan by Chris Pourteau
Narrated by R. C. Bray
Aethon Books

When retiring isn’t an option, it’s kill or be killed.

Stacks Fischer is a killer for hire. For more than three decades, he’s loyally served the Syndicate Corporation as its most-feared and respected enforcer around the solar system. He’s buried the company’s dirty laundry six feet deep, no matter who had to be taken out to do it.

Now, Stacks has a problem – he’s losing his mind to incurable form of dementia, and unwittingly spilling corporate secrets in public.

When SynCorp decides Fischer has outlived his usefulness, they decide it’s time to permanently retire him. But Stacks isn’t quite ready to go. With every one of SynCorp’s Five Factions gunning for him – and his own mind slowly rebelling – Fischer leads a pack of would-be assassins in a final, deadly chase across the solar system.

The old hit man refuses to fade quietly into oblivion at the hands of his disease or the business he’s dedicated his life to. He’s choosing an Optional Retirement Plan.

Don’t miss this pulse-pounding science fiction thriller filled with twists that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It’s perfect for fans of Titanborn, The Expanse, and Minority Report.

Brightblade by C.T. Phipps, Michael Suttkus

Brightblade by C.T. Phipps, Michael Suttkus
Narrated by Heather Costa

Psychic. Superhero. Spy. Detective. Bounty hunter. Ashley Morgan has been many things and failed at all of them. The 28-year old has her whole life ahead of her but has already resigned herself to working a dead-end job bringing in the debt-ridden supernatural criminals of New Detroit.

A chance encounter with the vampire sheriff reveals a secret that motivates her to change her life forever: Her long-missing brother Arthur is alive (in a manner of speaking).

Ashley sets out on a quest to not only find him but also deal with old lovers, treacherous criminals, a magic sword, and a quest to raise an ancient vampire from the dead.

Brightblade is set in the same world as the Red Room series, The Bright Falls Mysteries, and Straight Outta Fangton.

Interstellar Caveman by Karl Beecher

Interstellar Caveman by Karl Beecher
Narrated by Steve West
Audible, Inc.

You think you’re struggling to find your place in the universe?

Consider poor old Colin Douglass, a terminally ill insurance agent who awakens from centuries in cryogenic freeze to find Earth is a devastated wasteland. Now, he’s being pursued by a homicidal interstellar tourist board, and calculating insurance dividends is as outdated as making stone axes.

Sci-fi-hating technophobe Colin embarks on a desperate struggle to find a cure for his illness, as well as a place for himself in this strange new galaxy where toilets talk back, and door handles are a long-forgotten relic. Only by teaming up with his rescuer, hard-boiled, space-traveling archaeologist Tyresa Jak (that’s Doctor Jak to you), can Colin hope to succeed before time runs out.

Along the way, this galactic odd-couple must evade the Erd Tourist Board – a powerful mega-corporation which will do anything to ensure the mythical Earth stays mythical – and deal with a crackpot religious cult who not only possess a cure for Colin’s illness, but who also believe there is more to this caveman from Earth than meets the eye….

Don’t miss the start of this side-splitting intergalactic adventure. It’s perfect for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Space Team.

The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight

The Fungus by Harry Adam Knight
Narrated by Ian Pringle
Valancourt Books LLC

When a brilliant scientist seeking to solve the problem of world hunger tries to create giant mushrooms through genetic manipulation, what could possibly go wrong?

The mutated spores escape the lab and spread across all of England. Toadstools grow to 20 feet tall, and a case of athlete’s foot can mean a grisly and horrible death.

But those who die quickly are the lucky ones. Those who survive infection by the fungus will be transformed into something unthinkably monstrous…

With a perfect mix of nightmarish horror and black humor, Harry Adam Knight’s cult classic The Fungus (1985) will grow on you.

The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman

The Subjugate by Amanda Bridgeman
Narrated by Lyssa Browne

In this captivating near-future SF thriller, two troubled homicide detectives race to find a serial killer in a town filled with surgically reformed murderers.

In a small religious community rocked by a spree of shocking murders, Detectives Salvi Brentt and Mitch Grenville find themselves surrounded by suspects. The Children of Christ have a tight grip on their people, and the Solme Complex neurally edit violent criminals – Subjugates – into placid servants called Serenes. In a town where purity and sin, temptation and repression live side by side, everyone has a motive. But as the bodies mount up, the frustrated detectives begin to crack under the pressure: their demons are coming to light, and who knows where that blurred line between man and monster truly lies.

Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens

Nothing More Dangerous by Allen Eskens
Narrated by Kevin Stillwell
Mulholland Books

“This powerful, unforgettable crime novel is a coming-of-age book to rival some of the best, such as William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace or Larry Watson’s Montana 1948…. A must-read.” (Library Journal, starred review)

A Library Journal Mystery Pick of the Month

In a small Southern town where loyalty to family and to “your people” carries the weight of a sacred oath, defying those unspoken rules can be a deadly proposition.

After 15 years of growing up in the Ozark hills with his widowed mother, high-school freshman Boady Sanden is beyond ready to move on. He dreams of glass towers and cityscapes, driven by his desire to be anywhere other than Jessup, Missouri. The new kid at St. Ignatius High School, if he isn’t being pushed around, he is being completely ignored. Even his beloved woods, his playground as a child and his sanctuary as he grew older, seem to be closing in on him, suffocating him.

Then Thomas Elgin moves in across the road, and Boady’s life begins to twist and turn. Coming to know the Elgins – a black family settling into a community where notions of “us” and “them” carry the weight of history – forces Boady to rethink his understanding of the world he’s taken for granted. Secrets hidden in plain sight begin to unfold: the mother who wraps herself in the loss of her husband, the neighbor who carries the wounds of a mysterious past that he holds close, the quiet boss who is fighting his own hidden battle.

But the biggest secret of all is the disappearance of Lida Poe, the African-American woman who keeps the books at the local plastics factory. Word has it that Ms. Poe left town, along with a hundred thousand dollars of company money. Although Boady has never met the missing woman, he discovers that the threads of her life are woven into the deepest fabric of his world.

As the mystery of her fate plays out, Boady begins to see the stark lines of race and class that both bind and divide this small town – and he will be forced to choose sides.

#1 in Customer Service by Larry Correia
Narrated by Adam Baldwin, Larry Correia

No alien menace is too menacing, no galactic rift too rifty for the multiverse’s most-trusted Interdimensional Insurance Agent in these three brand-new adventures and two classic escapades.

Whether he’s underwriting for an overlord, or wearing a pocket protector in a pocket universe, Tom Stranger has just one policy: providing Quality Customer Service. With his trusty Combat Wombat at his side, and the world’s worst intern in his way, Tom vows to Insure and Protect. And nothing—not an invading skeleton army nor evil dolphin kidnappers nor misplacing his favorite bowtie—will stop him from kicking ass and adjusting claims.

Written by Audible #1 sci-fi and fantasy bestseller Larry Correia, and featuring the narrative stylings of Adam Baldwin, #1 in Customer Service: The Complete Adventures of Tom Stranger includes:

New in ths audio
“Doughnut Run”
Jimmy the Intern hands out doughnuts to the staff, and stumbles on an insidious conspiracy. Chaos and a perilous lack of glazeds ensues.

“Apocalypse Cow”
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse walk into a Waffle House. Tom and Jimmy walk out. Civilizations across the multiverse threaten to collapse. Perhaps Jimmy should have stayed to finish his breakfast.

“The Custies”
Will Stranger & Stranger be named Number One in Customer Service for the fourth year running?

Also included in this audio
“The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent”
Tom must uphold the reputation of Stranger & Stranger Insurance, all while battling tentacle monsters, legions of the damned, an evil call center in Nebraska, and his arch-nemesis, Jeff Conundrum.

“A Murder of Manatees”
The beloved Wendell the Manatee is kidnapped. Armed with his battle mechs and his elite corps of junior associates, can Tom find Wendell before he’s canned in oil? And can Jimmy the Intern channel his inner agent?

The Prophet Conspiracy by Bowen Greenwood

The Prophet Conspiracy by Bowen Greenwood
Narrated by Anneliese Rennie

Buried beneath the streets in the holy city of Jerusalem, American tourist Siobhan McLane discovers an ancient inscription hidden for 1,000 years. But the past will not give up its secrets easily. Before translation can even begin, terrorists want her dead, and she finds herself framed for murder. With a disgraced former government agent as her only ally, Siobhan will have to confront her own past and discover the truth about the history of the Middle East. Peace in the most volatile region on earth hinges on a 1,000-year-old lie, but she’ll need all her knowledge and all her courage to survive and warn the world.

The Chosen One by Walt Gragg

The Chosen One by Walt Gragg
Narrated by Peter Berkrot
Penguin Audio

A fundamentalist Islamic army is on the march in the Middle East, and the fight to stop the spread of madness will take everything the American military can muster in this novel from the author of The Red Line.

Two months ago, a new leader arose in the Islamic world, the Mahdi – or the Chosen One. He has rallied fundamentalist Muslim forces across the Middle East who have driven deep into Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Standing against them is an allied force made up primarily of the American military.

It’s a desperate fight. From armored battles in the desert to American carriers desperately dodging waves of cruise missiles, the Mahdi proves to have many tricks up his sleeve.

Marine Lieutenant Sam Erickson is in the thick of the fighting. He and his company have fought their way from a landing on the Mediterranean shore to the outskirts of Cairo. Now he finds himself at a critical juncture, but can he make the sacrifices necessary for the greater good?

Why Are We Yelling? by Buster Benson
Narrated by Buster Benson
Penguin Audio

Have you ever walked away from an argument and suddenly thought of all the brilliant things you wish you’d said? Do you avoid certain family members and colleagues because of bitter, festering tension that you can’t figure out how to address?

Now, finally, there’s a solution: a new framework that frees you from the trap of unproductive conflict and pointless arguing forever.

If the threat of raised voices, emotional outbursts, and public discord makes you want to hide under the conference room table, you’re not alone. Conflict, or the fear of it, can be exhausting. But as this powerful book argues, conflict doesn’t have to be unpleasant. In fact, properly channeled, conflict can be the most valuable tool we have at our disposal for deepening relationships, solving problems, and coming up with new ideas.

As the mastermind behind some of the highest-performing teams at Amazon, Twitter, and Slack, Buster Benson spent decades facilitating hard conversations in stressful environments. In this book, Buster reveals the psychological underpinnings of awkward, unproductive conflict and the critical habits anyone can learn to avoid it. Armed with a deeper understanding of how arguments, you’ll be able to:

Remain confident when you’re put on the spot
Diffuse tense moments with a few strategic questions
Facilitate creative solutions even when your team has radically different perspectives

Why Are We Yelling? will shatter your assumptions about what makes arguments productive. You’ll find yourself having fewer repetitive, predictable fights once you’re empowered to identify your biases, listen with an open mind, and communicate well.


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