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Extended Audio Sample Speakers of the Dead: A Novel, by J. Aaron Sanders Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: J. Aaron Sanders Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Walt Whitman Mysteries Release Date:
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Speakers of the Dead is a mystery novel centering around the investigative exploits of a young Walt Whitman, in which the reporter-cum-poet navigates the seedy underbelly of New York City’s body-snatching industry in an attempt to exonerate his friend of a wrongful murder charge.

The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena’s behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her.

Walt’s estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham’s murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham’s involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena’s deaths.

Fast-paced and gripping, Speakers of the Dead is a vibrant reimagining of one of America’s most beloved literary figures.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Boldly plotted and compulsively readable, Speakers of the Dead is a welcome discovery for any fan of literary history thrillers.”

    Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Gorgeous and emotional…[Speakers of the Dead presents] Sanders as an exceptionally skillful and poetic writer.”

    Lamda Literary Review

  • “This elegant literary mystery from Sanders makes a fine debut, bringing to vivid life one of America’s greatest poets and presenting a fresh perspective on a less familiar period of US history.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “The author addresses the then-controversial issue of anatomical dissection and imbues all his characters, even the villains, with humanity.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Mark Bramhall’s performance is entrancing, grabbing the listener with an understated delivery that increases in intensity as events unfold…The novel has many levels that highlight different traits in Whitman, and Bramhall convincingly portrays each facet of his character. He’s particularly adept at conveying dialogue, defining even secondary characters with tones and inflections that complement every aspect of this thoroughly enjoyable story.”


  • “Sanders’ confident prose and deft storytelling come together in a transporting novel that is at once a mystery, a tragedy, and a tale of deep friendship…Riveting and haunting.”

    Rae Meadows, author of Mercy Train

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