A fine audiobook is a gem. Enjoy
15 Great Thriller Audiobooks
By T.A. Maclagan•March 13, 2020•7 min read
Loyal fans of the genre have seen a bounty of spine-tingling novels hitting retailers — including works from old masters like Stephen King and Harlan Coben, as well as fresh-faced talent like Oyinkan Braithwaite. If you want to find the best thriller audiobooks to lose yourself in, then look no further. We’ve curated a list of the best thriller audiobooks published in the last year. Read on to find the reason for your next all-nighter!
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Narrator: Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey
Why it’s worth a listen: One of the most imaginative thrillers of the decade is made all the more exciting with superb narration by Jack Hawkins and Louise Brealey. Alicia Berenson, a prominent artist, shoots her husband five times in the face — and then never speaks another word. Alicia’s refusal to talk leads to public notoriety and draws the interest of Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, who makes it his mission to unravel the mystery behind the murder. Hawkins and Brealey’s dark and edgy narration perfectly captures and heightens the novel’s suspenseful tone. Your spine will tingle, and even the most stoic listeners are likely to break a sweat at each surprising twist!
Recursion by Blake Crouch
Narrator: John Lindstrom and Abby Craden
Why it’s worth a listen: Soon to be a Netflix film by Shondaland, Recursion takes a mind-boggling look at time and reality for lovers of science fiction thrillers. When a disease sweeps the nation, people are driven mad with memories of a life they never lived. Police detective Barry Sutton and neuroscientist Helena Smith must join forces to uncover the truth before permanent chaos reigns. With multiple points of view and timelines, the Recursion audiobook deftly employs multiple narrators who help keep things easy to follow while capturing the emotionally tense undercurrent of the novel.
Run Away by Harlan Coben
Narrator: Steven Weber
Why it’s worth a listen: Simon Greene hasn’t seen his daughter in months when he finds her in Central Park, an echo of her former self. He begs her to come home only to see her run. Simon does the only thing he can think to do: He follows her into a world of drugs, crime, and danger. What lengths will a parent go to in order to save a child? You’ll have to listen to this page-turner to find out! If you’re a fan of audiobooks, you’ve probably heard the voice work of Steven Weber before, a favorite to narrate for King, Koontz, and Coben. He’s a master at delivering a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat story and does so once again in Coben’s Run Away.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
Narrator: Beata Pozniak
Why it’s worth a listen: Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a must-read for literary mystery fans. Reclusive and eccentric Janina lives in a remote Polish village and is paid to take care of the summer homes of rich Warsaw residents. Preferring animals to humans, her life is a quiet one until a local resident named Bigfoot is found dead. More murders soon follow. Believing she knows the culprit, Janina inserts herself into the investigation. Beata Poznick’s polish-accented narration helps give this novel a sense of place that goes beyond what reading it alone would provide. Poznick transports listeners to Poland, and her ability to convey both sardonic humor and the dark macabre, in turn, makes for a stellar listening experience.
The Missing American by Kwei Quartey
Narrator: Robin Miles
Why it’s worth a listen: In The Missing American, Quartey brings us to Accra, Ghana, where Gordon Tilson, a man who was “catfished” on Facebook and scammed out of thousands of dollars, has disappeared. Desperate for answers, his son hires private investigator Yemo Sowah, who begins to unravel a dense web of police corruption, organized crime, and political intrigue. This audiobook features compelling narration from Robin Miles that brings Ghana to life.
Deep State by Chris Hauty
Narrator: Marin Ireland
Why it’s worth a listen: When the White House chief of staff is found dead, an intern with an eye for detail discovers a clue that suggests foul play — and soon uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy to kill the newly elected president. What follows is a paranoia-soaked political thriller that will make readers sweat. The dead state is real — and many will die to keep that secret… Audiobook fans will love Marin Ireland’s voice work, which nails the character of no-nonsense Haley Chill, a former military boxer turned White House intern. Ireland keeps the tension building as the story unfolds at a breakneck pace!
The Institute by Stephen King
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Why it’s worth a listen: The Institute is Stephen King at his dark and sinister best. after Lucas Ellis’s parents are murdered, Lucas finds himself a resident of The Institute — where other kids with extra-normal abilities are brutally studied and exploited. The Institute is a horror-thriller with something important to say at its core. The only monsters in this story are of the human variety, making it all the more terrifying. Santino Fontana’s narration is eerily moody and macabre, ideal for a classic King novel. You’ll be afraid to keep listening… while also being utterly unable to stop.
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
Narrator: JD Jackson
Why it’s worth a listen: After a boy goes missing in a small lakeside town, Black Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is called in to investigate. Still haunted by his last case, Texas Ranger Darren Matthews is called in to investigate after a boy goes missing in a small lakeside town. But Matthews, a Black man, soon realizes that deep-seated prejudices may prevent him from discovering the truth of what happened to the boy. In a narration displaying the “range of a grand piano” (AudioFile), JD Jackson’s powerful baritone breathes life into Locke’s densely layered Texas setting. This captivating thriller is both timely and profound.
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Why it’s worth a listen: Tarryn Fisher delivers yet again with The Wives, a breathtaking novel of psychological suspense. Thursday is married to man who has two other wives she’s never met. It’s a non-traditional arrangement, but one Thursday is at peace with, as her husband is the man of her dreams. Thursday’s world is upended, however, when she learns her husband may not be who he seems. Narrator Lauren Fortgang delivers Fisher’s sassy dialogue with aplomb while also ratcheting up the suspense elements through her vocal intensity. Listeners will be captivated.
The Ninja Daughter by Tori Eldridge
Narrator: Natalie Naudus
Why it’s worth a listen: When Chinese Norwegian ninja Lily Wong must protect a woman and her son she previously rescued, she’s forced to take on the Ukrainian mob, sex traffickers, and even her own family in this fast-paced thriller written by a real-life ninja! Read by award-winning narrator Natalie Naudus, The Ninja Daughter is the perfect addition to your audiobook library.
Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha
Narrator: Greta Jung and Glenn Davis
Why it’s worth a listen: A split-second decision can change everything. Your House Will Pay explores the lives of two families struggling to survive in a 1990s Los Angeles rife with racial tensions and violence. Fans of deep character development will find a lot to love in this richly told novel. Voice artists Great Jung and Glenn Davis perfectly complement each other and do a splendid job of bringing the characters to life, making it easy for listeners to sympathize with their emotions. Given the gritty nature of the subject material, this audiobook might make you intentionally uncomfortable, which is an integral part of this listening experience.
Dead to Her by Sarah Pinborough
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Why it’s worth a listen: Dead to Her is a pulse-pounding thriller dripping with dark, sultry southern ambiance! With not one but two strong but unreliable narrators, this audiobook will keep you guessing at every turn. Marcie Maddox is the second wife of elite Jason, and struggles to keep him interested. Things begin to spiral even more when Jason’s boss brings home his own second wife, Keisha — and titillating sparks fly between Keisha and Jason. But Marcie will stop at nothing to protect what she rightfully earned… Saskia Maarleveld’s narration makes listeners feel the stifling heat of a southern summer in which jealousy reigns supreme.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Why it’s worth a listen: Set during the Cold War, American Spy introduces us to Marie Mitchell, a Black intelligence officer stuck in a racist environment where she’s constantly overlooked. When an opportunity to join a discreet task force emerges, Marie soon finds herself in the middle of an international conspiracy involving a romantic relationship with “Africa’s Che Guevara” that will challenge everything she believes about loyalty, love, and family. Bahni Turpin’s effortlessly compelling narration will have you listening for hours on end.
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Narrator: Barrie Kreinik and Dylan Moore
Why it’s worth a listen: Fans of psychological suspense with a mile-high creep factor will be drawn in by Pekkanen and Hendricks masterful thriller. Shay Millers’ life is seemingly dead-end when she meets the sisters, who invite her into their inner circle. Shay would die to be liked by her new friends, and that’s just what they have in mind! Told from both Shay and the Moore sisters’ perspectives, the audiobook features two skilled narrators in Barrie Kreinik and Dylan Moore, who help to ensure that the different points of view remain clear. Kreinik and Moore’s phenomenal narration adds additional layers of suspense to the story.
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Narrator: Adepero Oduye
Why it’s worth a listen: Oyinkan Braithwaite hits it out of the park in her debut thriller, My Sister, the Serial Killer, which is set in Lagos, Nigeria. Those looking for a campy read loaded with dark wit will love this page-turning thriller about two sisters, one with a slight sociopathic tendency to leave bodies in her wake. With enviable comedic timing, Adepero Oduye’s narration is pure perfection and ups the novel’s noirish ambiance to great effect.