For Hot Summer Days, Try These Cold Cases on Audio

Cold cases are hot in crime writing today. This subgenre that unites fans of historical mysteries with those who appreciate the scientific methods and tools—from cell phones to DNA—of contemporary crime stories. Here are some recommended titles on audio, linked to their Booklist reviews.

 

Blacklight Blue, by Peter May, read by Simon Vance

Enzo Macleod, Peter May’s forensic expert and Scottish biologist teaching in Toulouse, always enjoys the challenge of beating the experts in solving cold cases. In Blacklight Blue, narrated by a master of accents, Macleod and his family are threatened as he investigates the case of a Parisian “rent boy” murdered 16 years earlier.

 
The Distant Echo, by Val McDermid, read by Tom Kotcher

Detective Karen Pirie now heads Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit in Edinburgh, but she got her start as the head of Fife’s Cold Case Review Team. The Distant Echo, a standout title from this era, is narrated in a Scottish brogue that adds authenticity to the characters and setting.

 

 

 Haunted Ground, by Erin M. Hart, read by Jennifer McMahon

Pathologist Nora Gavin’s investigations offer a change of pace: Many of her crimes and victims were ancient bodies found in Irish bogs. Often, though, there’s an accompanying contemporary crime, and the archaeological and historical details add to the pleasure of the series, as in the first, Haunted Ground. 

 

I’ve Got You Under My Skin, by Mary Higgins Clark, read by Jan Maxwell

Mary Higgins Clark, writing with Alafair Burke, gets in the cold case game Under Suspicion series, centered on a crime-solving reality show that investigates cold cases, with producer Laurie Moran leading the way. This is the first book in that series, with spot-on narration.

 

The Keeper of Lost Causes, by Jussi Adler-Olsen, read by Erik Davies

Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen takes readers inside the operation of Copenhagen’s Department Q, led by rather prickly Detective Carl Morck. If you thought cold cases were the safe side of police work, these will change your mind. This is the first book in the series, narrated in authentic, intelligible accents.

 

The Last Coyote, by Michael Connelly, read by Dick Hill

Michael Connelly’s rogue detective Harry Bosch—who sometimes works as a PI, and sometimes with the Los Angeles Police Department—has enjoyed a varied career in law enforcement and spent a few interesting few years on LAPD’s Open, Unsolved unit. But his first cold case is personal: he investigates his mother’s murder.

 

U is for Undertow, by Sue Grafton, read by Judy Kaye

Since they’re set in the 1980s, all of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone mysteries may seem like cold cases, but there are a few series entries that involve Kinsey in crimes committed long before the me decade. Undertow is the most recent of these, but you can also check out her skills in F is for Fugitive, K is for Killer, Q is for Quarry, and S is for Silence.

 

 

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About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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