2018 has been a good year for thrillers. From unsettling disappearances to twist-laden murder cases and gothic hauntings, you’ll find more than enough page-turning, edge-of-your-seat suspense. If you’re anything like me, though, it can be a little tough to find time for all the books in that ever-growing to-be-read pile. On that front, audiobooks are a godsend. There is no better way to get some reading in on a crowded commute, a long car ride, or an afternoon walk while running some errands. Here are a few of our favorite audiobook thrillers of 2018.
C. J. Tudor
Read by Euan Morton
This debut from C.J. Tudor is one of my favorites of the year. Juggling narrative threads that alternate between 1986 and the present, Tudor weaves a tale of the fallout from a single fateful summer when a group of friends found the body of a dismembered girl after following a series of figures drawn in chalk — figures similar to ones the kids used as a code to communicate throughout the summer. With a structure that lends itself well to cliffhanging chapters and more than a few twists, The Chalk Man is well worth a listen.
A. J. Finn
Read by Anna Marie Lee
With comparisons to Gillian Flynn and Tana French, The Woman in the Window had some pretty lofty expectations to live up to. Fortunately, it does, and in spades. It’s a twisting tale of love, loss and unraveling sanity. To say too much about the plot would give away the game, but in the well-hewn ode to all things Hitchcock, (the protagonist spends her time watching films like “Rebecca” and “Strangers on a Train”), 38-year-old Anna Fox hasn’t left her home in nearly a year and spends her time spying on her neighbors. When she sees something she shouldn’t, everything begins to unravel. Be forewarned: Once you start listening, you won’t be able to stop.
Read by Euan Morton
The efforts by Hogarth Press to have bestselling novelists reinvent the works of Shakespeare has been one of the most fascinating literary pursuits in recent memory – and with writers like Margaret Atwood and Gillian Flynn jumping on board, one of the most rewarding. The latest sees my current favorite Nordic Noir writer take on the story of Macbeth with predictably brilliant results. Setting the story in a run-down industrial town in the 1970’s, Nesbo turns this tale of madness, power, and ambition into page-turning, noir-tinged thriller.
Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Read by Julia Whelan
Great thrillers perfect the misdirect. They lead you headlong toward one assumption, before suddenly burning everything down in favor of something unexpected. It takes a fair degree of finesse and skill to pull off well. Clearly, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen have both. Buckle in, because odds are The Wife Between Us is not the story you’re expecting. It seems like a story of a jealous ex-wife. It seems like a story of obsession. Telling you too much here would spoil the fun, but this story of a potential love triangle and seemingly perfect marriage has more than enough turns to keep even the most seasoned thriller reader – or listener — guessing.
Read by Brona C. Titley
With Too Close to Breathe, Olivia Kiernan continues the story of Frankie Sheehan, a Dublin detective fresh off a case that nearly cost her her life. There’s no rest for Sheehan, and she’s soon pulled headlong into a complex case of a suicide that could very well be a murder. If you’re a fan of the character-driven thrills of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, you’ll certainly be into this.
An UNSUB Novel
Read by Hillary Huber
If you’re looking for something a little closer to a true crime tale, give Into the Black Nowhere a listen. Drawing inspiration from Ted Bundy, the novel centers on FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix as she takes on a dangerously charming and deadly serial killer. It’s a wholly unsettling dive into the mind of a killer, and filled with enough scares and suspense to keep you listening on the edge of your seat.
Read by Kirsten Potter
In this twist-laden follow-up to her 2016 novel Find Her, Lisa Gardner drops readers in with Detective D.D. Warren and Flora Dane in a race against the clock to save a young girl’s life, or perhaps bring her to justice. Four family members have been savagely murdered, and one is missing. The question is whether the missing sixteen-year-old girl was abducted, or if she is the culprit.
A Novel of Suspense
Read by Catherine Taber
This slow-burn thriller is as much a character study as it is an examination of obsession and grief. It follows an unnamed narrator in the search for her older sister, Rachel – a task the narrator has tirelessly pursued in the twelve years since Rachel went missing. As she ingratiates herself with her lone suspect, questions of obsession, morality, and the tenuous nature of sanity in the face of childhood trauma keep this one on constantly shifting narrative ground.
Read by Cristin Milioti
If you’re looking for something to hold you over until season two of “Big Little Lies” arrives on HBO, give The Perfect Mother a listen. The May Mothers are a group of new moms who all gave birth in the same month. After a night out ends with one of the babies missing from its crib, the May Mothers rally together. But as media scrutiny sets in and tensions rise, damaging secrets come to light, and the lives of those in this close knit group begin to fray and splinter under the strain.
Read by Abby Craden
Here and Gone opens with a woman fleeing with her children from her abusive marriage. After a run-in with a small-town sheriff, she’s taken into custody, but her children are nowhere to be found, and the authorities insist that her children weren’t with her. If they’re gone, she did something to them. Now she’s caught in a desperate fight to locate her lost children.
Simone St. James
Read by Rebecca Lowman
If you’re looking for a dose of supernatural to bolster the suspense, you need The Broken Girls in your life. It’s a haunting, gothic-tinged mystery centering on an abandoned girl’s boarding school that may be haunted. The book shifts between the 2014 investigation of a murder that occurred on the derelict grounds of the school, and 1950, when the school was still in operation. This one is a chilling and unsettling tale, you should probably listen in a well-lit room.