by Nicole Loughan
Every year I take a 600 mile road trip to the Midwest to visit my family and instead of listening to Sheryl Crow’s “Everyday is a Winding Road” we ditch the road music and opt for an audio book. I wish I could say I was expanding my horizons with worthwhile literature and thought provoking non-fiction, but that would be a lie. On our road trips we like to keep it exciting, funny and fast-paced so we don’t end up nodding off and swerving into the median. After six years of bi-annual road trips I have amassed a collection of my favorite audio books, all intended to keep you happy in your car and in your own lane of traffic.
Thriller – Dean Koontz wrote the thriller/mystery the husband good for a long road trip at 9.5 hours. It’s the story of a landscaper whose wife is kidnapped at ransomed for $2 million. The story starts giving us no clues as to why an ordinary man would be extorted for ransom and furthering the plot he is not allowed to tell the police, who already suspect something is up. As the clues unfold the main character gets in ever deeper trouble and you are left wondering how he is ever going to get out. It was a well paced book that kept us going between coffee breaks.
Mystery for women – The Stephanie Plum series gets a bad rap these days ever since Katherine Heigl died her locks brown to play the wisecracking bounty hunter. But the stories hold a unique charm, with mystery and humor that reflect Janet Evanovich’s East Coast upbringing. “One for the Money” is the eight and a half hour debut of the Stephanie Plum series. It introduced me to the mean streets of Trenton, cannoli and Tasty Cakes. The books were a mix of romance and mystery. The title character Stephanie Plum has two main love interests Burg cop Joe Morelli and mysterious bounty hunter Ranger. That book had moments where I laughed so hard I had to hit pause so I didn’t miss the next line. I highly recommend spending many hours of enjoyable listening from “One for the Money” all the way up to “Ten Big Ones.” The series has made its way up to 19, but I checked out after 10. I can recommend the first books in the series as a fun and guilty pleasure that will help the mile markers pass with ease.
Family friendly –“The Wish List” is a five and a half hour audio book penned by Eoin Colfer, best known for the Artemis Fowl series. ‘List” is a stand-alone fantasy story about a young girl who attempts to rob an old man with a friend and accidentally dies in the process. In the afterlife she learns that she did not do enough good deeds to get into heaven but not enough bad to go to hell either. She is sent back to try to make things right. Her attempt to make amends bring her to the man she and her friend tried to rob and the from there the interaction between the girl and the old man felt real. In the end it’s about wrong-choices and redemption. Book Common sense recommends it for ages 10 plus, there are some mature themes, violence and some characters smoke and drink.
Adults only – After all of the hoopla about “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” my husband and I finally checked out the sixteen hour audio behemoth from our local library. It’s a story about a shamed journalist given a chance to his reputation back but in order to do it he must research a decades old mysterious disappearance. In the course of his investigation he enlists the help of a very troubled young woman Lisbeth Salander and the plot gets very deep and very dark. I have to admit we accidentally put disc six in first and listened to about half of it before we realized what had happened. And the beginning of disk six was so awesome it kept us going when we got back to disc one and it was a little slow. I promised fast reads, which the end of Dragon Tattoo is, and decided the ending is worth the slump in the beginning. I beg you to do the work to get through the beginning, just make sure you start that right after your first cup of Joe and let the caffeine carry you to the good stuff.
Nicole Loughan is a professional writer and author. She loves mystery, humor and a little romance. Her books are packed with what she loves and are available through her website www.littlespotforstories.com.