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Gay Audiobook Reviews

By Brian Ramirez Kyle Patreon Email

I have a thing for audiobooks. They’re perfect both for commuting and for exercising, especially long walks and runs. It won’t surprise anyone to learn that I listen primarily—though not exclusively—to stories with gay erotic content. And if you want to call me a sap for appreciating the development of romance between strong, complicated men along the way, knock yourself out. Anyway, here are some of my favorites. I’ll add more periodically, alongside other site updates, so check back again.

Cut and Run
Cut and Run series, Book 1
By Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban
Narrated by Sawyer Allerde (13:53)
My rating: Star rating

The Cut and Run series, featuring FBI special agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett, was one of my first favorites when I started buying gay audiobooks. Both of these hard, deeply scarred men are intriguing from the outset, with an impressively crafted balance of strength and vulnerability, and every crisis makes them and their dynamic more fascinating. The first two books are key for establishing their relationship, and later, after acquiring a new narrator with book three (veteran Sean Crisden), their bond deepens as their lives, and the threats against them, get more complex. I keep coming back to these books because I love Ty and Zane and how the trouble they get into transforms them both individually and together.

Fatal Shadows
The Adrien English Mysteries, Book 1
By Josh Lanyon
Narrated by Chris Patton (5:24)
My rating: Star rating

Adrien English, mystery bookstore owner cum amateur sleuth, is a sensational character—smart, damaged, wry, and a lot stronger than he thinks he is. Josh Lanyon’s writing is funny, rich, and consistently captivating. It takes five books to develop both Adrien’s subtle, danger-driven evolution into a man more at ease in his own skin and the company of his family and friends, and his beautifully complex relationship with big, gruff homicide detective Jake Reardon, and it’s worth every minute—especially given Chris Patton’s spot-on narration. Fatal Shadows sets the stage, but you won’t get the true Adrien English experience unless you keep going.

By Perry Moore
Narrated by Michael Urie (11:17)
My rating: Star rating

For a lot of guys growing up, it’s hard to miss how much the comic book superhero secret identity thing overlaps with the double lives young gay people find themselves trapped in, as they weigh the risks of coming out against the heartache of keeping secrets. Hero is a pitch-perfect narrative of teen basketball star Thom Creed, who has to deal with hiding both his powers and his attraction to other guys. Perry Moore deftly keeps the story away from being “about” these tropes, keeping the focus on Thom and what happens to him as the world forces his hand and he figures out where he belongs in it. Michael Urie does a great job rendering a broad array of characters, and the audiobook also boasts a sweet preface by Stan Lee himself.

Kage trilogy, Book 1
By Maris Black
Narrated by J. F. Harding (8:02)
My rating: Star rating

Maris Black has a knack for developing rich characters through point-of-view perspective, and in Kage we become intimately familiar not only with the narrator, straight college jock Jamie Atwood, but also with the object of his instant obsession, aspiring mixed-martial-arts star Michael Kage. The first book stays with Jamie’s narrative, and yet it allows us to really get to know not only the relentless fighter Kage shows the world but the vulnerable young man only Jamie sees. The trilogy is driven by the irresistible gravitational pull between the two athletes, and how their connection is twisted, broken, and reforged by their own demons, both internal and, in Kage’s case, external. The pacing, story, characterization, and narration are all top-notch, and you even learn a bit about MMA fighting to boot.

Sinner’s Gin
Sinners series, Book 1
By Rhys Ford
Narrated by Tristan James (7:57)
My rating: Star rating

Rhys Ford likes the uke/seme dynamic—big tough guy meets smaller, beautiful guy—but Ford also likes to play with it, building up nuanced evocations of the contrasting lovers trope and then hurling them into a death-and-danger adventure plot, building an intricate love story between men transformed by bloodshed and mayhem. In the first story of the Sinners series, Miki St. John, orphan, rock star, survivor of a fatal accident that destroyed his band Sinner’s Gin, encounters tough, tender-hearted SFPD inspector Kane Morgan, and the instinct that draws the two stubborn men together only intensifies as the bodies start to drop. The series keeps up the fascinating bonding of the Morgan clan with strong, scappy survivors, and Tristan James is the ideal voice for it.

Somebody Killed His Editor
Holmes & Moriarity, Book 1
By Josh Lanyon
Narrated by Kevin R. Free (7:37)
My rating: Star rating

The fact that this series covers some of the same ground as the Adrien English mysteries, and yet comes off as both completely different and equally lovable, is a tribute to the storytelling prowess of Josh Lanyon. Christopher Holmes is a mystery writer who, yes, keeps getting caught up in bizarre murders through a mix of curiosity and very bad luck. But Holmes is just that bit more frantic and odds with himself, and his uncertain connection with the sexier (and better-selling) J.X. Moriarity is both sweetly engaging and a lot of fun. As with Adrien and Jake, the presence of J.X. serves to help Holmes understand himself, but the trip he takes is a little stranger (though just as bloody). The very talented Kevin R. Free has a grand time conveying Holmes’s put-upon stream of consciousness and biting humor.

Something Like Summer
Something Like series, Book 1
By Jay Bell
Narrated by Kevin R. Free (9:34)
My rating: Star rating

The lives of Benjamin Bentley, Tim Wyman, and Jace Holden—all outsiders in their own ways and all struggling with being gay—are drawn together over and over, despite setbacks, conflict, and tragedy. Something Like Summer tells Ben’s story, as he experiences passion with closeted jock Tim and love with steady flight attendant Jace, and how these emotions and connections change them all and keep changing them; then the second book tells Tim’s story, revealing all the things Ben didn’t know, and the third book tells who Jace was before he met Ben. Four further books expand on characters around them, but the core is the amazing, heartbreaking story of Ben, Jace, and Tim. Brilliantly and evocatively written from start to finish, and another triumph for master narrator Kevin R. Free.

Whyborne & Griffin, Book 1
By Jordan L. Hawk
Narrated by Julian G. Simmons (9:15)
My rating: Star rating

Percival Whyborne, scorned younger son of a railroad magnate, wants nothing more than to hole up in his office immersed in ancient writings; but a small book of arcane spells sets him on a dangerous path filled with magic and monsters. His unlooked-for partner is private detective Griffin Flaherty—handsome, enterprising, and traumatized by an encounter with these same monsters during his time with the Pinkertons. The first book, compelling on its own, is still only the beginning of what Whyborne becomes and of his deepening love with Griffin, as the hidden world of sorcery and unhuman beings is revealed to have potent and dangerous sway over the mundane. The series is great example of mystical/historical world building, in the service of interesting characters you want to adventure with.