Spooky, Scary Audiobooks

Howdy, audiophiles!

What’s in your ears these days? I just finished listening to Robert Galbraith AKA JK Rowling’s fourth Cormoran Strike mystery, Lethal White. I really enjoyed it–-it could have used a little more editing–-but otherwise it was really entertaining. I really liked the first two in the series, but the third was a little gross for my taste (the book opens with a severed leg being sent to the detective agency) but I still finished it, so I suppose that’s an endorsement in and of itself.

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As it’s the spookiest, scariest month of the year, I wanted to highlight some of the most frightening audiobooks but, as a scaredy cat I’m not the best authority on horror. Right now, I’m listening to the Young Adult book Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, which is kind of like horror–-at least for me, because it’s novel about California running out of water. Coupled with that super scary report about climate change that was just released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is about as close to horror as I’m going to get. So I enlisted some help from my fellow rioters as well as scoured the internet for the horroristy horror audiobooks I could find.

Rioter Margaret Kingsbury told me what she’s listening to: “I’m listening to We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, read by Bernadette Dunne. Shirley Jackson does amazing things with character voice, and I love how Bernadette Dunne captures each character idiosyncrasy. Now when I read the title, I read it in Uncle Julian’s voice. It’s not heavy on the horror, but the creepiness slowly builds up, and the main character — Merricat — is so weirdly wonderful. It’s just under 6 hours, so a perfect quick listen.”

Rioter Jessica Woodbury also recommended The Good House by Tananarive Due (different from The Good House by Ann Leary, a book I’m always talking about how much I love). This Good House is “a story of ancient powers and modern retribution in a small Pacific Northwest town. When a young woman returns to her grandmother’s empty mansion, she is pitted against demonic forces that have poisoned her family for generations.”

I hunted through a bunch of horror audiobook lists which I’m compiling here. For descriptions of all the books, check out the links at the end of each list.

From Backpackerverse:

1) Doctor Sleep: A Novel by Stephen King

2) Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories by H. P. Lovecraft

3) Weaveworld by Clive Barker

4) Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus

5) The Haunting of Blackwood House by Darcy Coates

6) The Ghost Files (The Ghost Files – Book 1) by Apryl Baker

7) The Darkening by Paul Antony Jones

8) Alex by Adam J. Nicolai

9) The House on 211 by L. A. Maldonado

10) Wickers Bog: A Tale of Southern Gothic Horror by Mike Duran

Bustle put together a list of 13 audiobooks they think are “way more terrifying” than the written version:

  1. Amatka by Karin Tidbeck, narrated by Kirsten Potter
  2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, narrated by the author
  3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunn
  4. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle, narrated by Kevin R. Free
  5. The Good House by Tananarive Due, narrated by Robin Miles
  6. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, narrated by Kate Mulgrew
  7. You by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana
  8. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones, narrated by Jonathan Yen
  9. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, narrated by Joy Osmanski
  10. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, narrated by Amy Landon
  11. Welcome to Night Vale‘ by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, narrated by Cecil Baldwin, Dylan Marron, Retta, Thérèse Plummer, and Dan Bittner
  12. The Visitors by Catherine Burns, narrated by Kate Reading
  13. It by Stephen King, narrated by Steven Weber

With a name like Dead Good Books, you can count on these recs to scare the bejesus out of you.

  1. The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund, read by Gabrielle Glaisters
  2. It by Stephen King, read by Steven Weber
  3. Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent, read by Caoilfheann Dunne, David McFetridge and Lesley McGuire
  4. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, read by Sean Barrett
  5. Ghost Stories by E F Benson, read by Mark Gatiss
  6. Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, read by Hannah Murray
  7. Bird Box by Josh Malerman, read by Katharine Mangold
  8. Fear, ed. by Roald Dahl, read by Rory Kinnear, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Tom Felton and Kevin Eldon
  9. The House by Simon Lelic

Last but certainly not least, the great Amanda Nelson put together this list of scary audiobooks for Book Riot in 2016. Note that this is the *third* list on which Stephen King’s It appears, so you can be sure I will never, as long as I live, listen to that audiobook.

  1. It by Stephen King
  2. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  3. The Good House by Tananarive Due
  4. Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
  5. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  6. North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud
  7. My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland
  8. The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
  9. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
  10. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

10 Excellent Horror Audiobooks – Book Riot

What are your favorite horror audiobooks? Or mystery audiobooks that get you in the mood for Halloween? Let me know on twitter, where I’m msmacb or via email at

Until next week,