The thriller genre is so vast and varied, it can offer a plethora of different stories and will appeal to a wide range of readers. Whether you’re a hardcore thriller fan or a complete newbie, these 20 best thriller audiobooks are guaranteed to spark your interest and keep you hooked.
Everyone is interested in different things, so whether you’re a fan of gritty military espionage or emotive domestic thrillers, there’s something here for everyone.
Reading thrillers can be a very intense experience. Many of the storylines are packed with action, suspense, and twists. Reading these books yourself will still be thrilling but having them read to you adds another dimension of drama and will really captivate your attention.
Many people find audiobooks useful because they don’t allow for procrastination. Audiobooks can help you stay consistent and will help you smash your reading goals. Not only will you read books faster but you’re likely to enjoy them more because of the atmosphere created by someone else reading to you.
If you’re someone who has to read a lot for work or school, the last thing you’re going to want to do is read in your own time. Even if the material is completely different, the act of reading can get dull quickly, especially if you’ve connected it to work or studying. Using audiobooks can help you enjoy the stories you’ve been meaning to read in a different way that doesn’t feel like extended work.
Without further ado, here are the top thriller audiobooks to try out.
The Best Thriller Audiobooks to Listen to
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
The Silent Patient is one of the most famous psychological thrillers of all time, and for good reason! It’s a brilliant novel that follows Alicia Berenson. Alicia’s life is seemingly perfect – she has a big house, a great husband, and a successful career. Out of the blue, Alicia shoots her husband 5 times in the head and hasn’t spoken a word about it since.
Criminal psychotherapist Theo is eager to work with Alicia and try to understand why Alicia shot her husband so suddenly. But what Theo discovers is far bigger than he expects – what seemed like an out-of-control dispute between husband and wife soon grows into something far broader and the lives of others come under the microscope as new secrets emerge.
A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins
Well-known for the international best-seller The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins is back with a new gripping thriller that will remain unpredictable until the last second.
A Slow Fire Burning starts at the scene of a crime – a young man is brutally murdered in a houseboat on the Thames, which propels the women in his life into the public eye. Laura, a one-night-stand, was the last person seen with him, Miriam, a suspicious neighbor is obviously hiding something, and Carla, his devastated aunt, must now grieve another family member.
All three women are thrown into the investigation and are all eager for revenge. But the real question is – how far are they willing to go?
The Simple Truth by David Baldacci
Legal crime writer, Baldacci, has written a new story, this time concentrating on the link between a death row inmate, a Supreme Court clerk, and the story that continues to claim lives.
The Simple Truth connects a recent murder with a crime committed 2 decades ago. This novel dives into family secrets, romance, corrupt systems, and justice and maintains rigorous suspense the whole way through.
A Time to Kill by John Grisham
In Mississippi, a 10-year-old black girl is killed by two drunk white men. The town reacts with outrage but no one is as devastated as her father, who decides to take matters into his own hands. He goes on a rampage, eager to get revenge, and provokes widespread fear across the town.
A Time to Kill is gripping, suspenseful, and packed with intense scenes. However, Grisham still manages to maintain his legal basis, honing in on defense attorney Jake Brigance.
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Robert Galbraith, better known as J.K. Rowling, is an excellent mystery that investigates a suicide and dives into the mindset of a military veteran. The Cuckoo’s Calling has a gripping story at its core but simultaneously criticizes the wealth divide and the justice system in one fell swoop.
Following an intriguing protagonist, this story is well worth the hype and will soon hit your screens in a brand new crime drama series, so be sure to experience the book first!
No Plan B by Lee Child
This novel is an installation in Child’s Jack Reacher series, which we highly recommend you read in full. In these books, Jack Reacher investigates suspicious crimes and frequently plunges himself into danger and No Plan B is not an exception.
In Colorado, a woman is alleged to have committed suicide by throwing herself under a moving bus. But Jack witnessed it himself – a man pushed her to her death and subtly stole her purse in the process.
When another homicide is labeled an accident, Jack knows something bigger is at play and he suspects the authorities are behind it. With a serial killer moving fast, Jack has no time to lose.
The Girlfriend by K.L. Slater
After the death of her husband, Jennifer’s family is crumbling. Overwhelmed by grief, Jennifer doesn’t know what to do or where to turn, until a beautiful woman arrives on her doorstep. Inviting her and the cute little boy in her arms inside, Jennifer has no idea what she’s in for.
The woman has one message – I was your husband’s girlfriend, this is his son, and I own this house. Jennifer now has no husband, no home, and no way of supporting her family, but why should she trust this woman? And what in the world is she going to do next?
The Girlfriend is an unpredictable and tense psychological thriller that will delve deep into characters and make you doubt everyone involved.
You by Caroline Kepnes
Now a wildly popular Netflix series starring Penn Badley, You is the ultimate psychological thriller for those of you looking for a twisted, chilling, and scandalous story to sink your teeth into.
Carefully narrated by a sociopath, this story follows the life of Joe, who finds himself easily infatuated with multiple women. What starts as an innocent crush soon develops into something a lot more sinister, and before you know it, Joe has blood on his hands. How far is Joe willing to go for love? And will he ever find it if he keeps up these destructive habits?
The Family Plot by Megan Collins
Isolated on an eerie island in a mysterious mansion in the heart of a creepy wood, Dahlia’s upbringing was like no other. Her parents were obsessed with true crime and cannot overcome the disappearance of her brother Andy.
All this now seems like a distant memory, but following her father’s death, Dahlia must go back to her childhood home. Just before burying her father’s body, another skeleton is found in his plot – Andy’s. It provides some evidence that sheds light on what happened – an ax mark divides his skull and reopens the investigation. The Family Plot follows Dahlia as she slowly begins suspecting that the cause of Andy’s death might be a lot closer to home than she originally thought.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl is one of the most famous psychological and crime thrillers ever written. It follows Nick, a devastated husband whose wife, Amy, ran away on their wedding anniversary.
However, after finding Amy’s diary, it soon becomes clear that their relationship wasn’t as perfect as it seemed and maybe Amy’s disappearance is an escape. But Amy proves herself untrustworthy and with heaps of evidence piling up against him, will Nick get framed for this?
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
On a night out, Louise meets David, a married man who will do anything to protect his marriage. So the kiss with Louise must be brushed under the carpet and forgotten.
But when Louise and David begin working together, their sexual tension is undeniable and things get out of hand. Then Louise bumps into Adele, who just happens to be David’s wife. The classic love triangle story right? Wrong. Behind Her Eyes is one of the most unpredictable books of the decade, so be prepared for jaw-dropping revelations.
56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
Set in the all-too-familiar COVID-19 pandemic, Ciara and Oliver start dating and quickly decide to move in together to avoid however many months apart.
56 Days quickly flip from heart-warming romance to chilling murder mystery as detectives arrive at Oliver’s house to find a rotting corpse.
The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong
26-year-old Yu-jin has no recollection of what happened last night. He wakes up confused and soon discovers his murdered mother at the bottom of the stairs. Yu-jin must trace his steps and find out the truth of what happened.
The Good Son is a shocking story that uncovers this twisted mother-son relationship.
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
After revealing a secret, Diana and Kit’s friendship is forever changed. Over 10 years later, their paths unexpectedly cross and they are forced to participate in dangerous mind games that will inevitably destroy at least one of them.
Give Me Your Hand is gripping, unpredictable, and worth every second of listening.
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
The Silence of the Lambs is well-known for its complex and captivating characterization of Hannibal Lecter, the psychopathic genius who always seems one step ahead.
Gritty, intense, and brutal are just a few words to describe this iconic novel.
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Set in the dark, regimented Soviet Union, Leo Demidov is keen to serve his country and has spent years working for State Security. But even loyal members of the state can’t rely on an easy life.
Child 44 follows Leo’s downfall as he uncovers the truth about a murder case and the state that entraps him.
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
It’s 1976 in Jamaica, and Bob Marley has just escaped an attempted assassination. Riddled with fear, he flees with no intention of returning for at least 2 years.
A Brief History of Seven Killings delves into Jamaica’s dangerous history, providing insightful and gripping stories of drug dealers and radical politics.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a well-known enthralling story about the disappearance of a young woman connected to one of the wealthiest Swedish families.
But the investigation only delves into the corruption, danger, and secrecy hidden within the family.
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
Set in rural Poland, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a revealing whodunit murder mystery that hones in on Janina, who dives into the investigation following the murder of her neighbor.
Heaven, My Home by Attica Locke
When 9-year-old Levi King goes missing, Darren Mathews, despite his own struggles, must investigate. Clues send him to a small Texan town founded in deep racist attitudes.
Heaven, My Home is a story of corruption, blackmail, racism, and mystery.
Many hardcore literature fans may be skeptical about audiobooks and we get it, it’s a big adjustment. But the way that audiobooks can help readers visualize and allow them to delve a little deeper into stories is unmatched. Audiobooks combine the qualities of film and literature – they really do provide the best of both worlds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best thriller book of all time?
It depends on your taste, but The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Silent Patient are two of the best-selling thriller books of all time.
What is the most popular audiobook?
Although it’s not a thriller, Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming, is one of the most-listened-to audiobooks.
What is the best way to listen to audiobooks?
There are many audiobooks available on apps like Spotify or Apple Books, but you can also invest in audiobook-specific apps like Audible, Scribd, and Audiobooks.com.
Why should I switch from physical books to audiobooks?
Audiobooks are more convenient, especially for those who are consistently busy. While there are plenty of benefits to physical books, audiobooks can increase reading speeds, and pronunciation, and are all in the same place on one app.
What’s a good horror thriller?
Although the horror subgenre isn’t covered a lot in this article, it’s still very popular among many readers. Books like The Shining, Tender is the Flesh, and The Only Good Indians are all brilliant horror thrillers.
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