16 best suspense audiobooks for gripping entertainment

16 best suspense audiobooks for gripping entertainment

In Reading Lists by Lanie Pemberton

16 best suspense audiobooks for gripping entertainment

If you’re anything like me, you love a good suspenseful plot — the kind of story where tension builds so slowly and thickly you can cut it with a knife, and you know at any moment the big reveal is going to knock your socks off.

In my opinion, these edge-of-your-seat stories are even better in audiobook format. Good suspense audiobooks make for epic listening sessions, allowing you to stay glued to the plot without skipping a beat even while doing chores, going for a run, or taking a road trip. Plus, I’ve found that a great narrator — from award-winning voice actors like Julia Whelan to your favorite celebrities — makes all that tantalizing uncertainty even more satisfying.

That’s why I’ve gathered the best suspense audiobooks of all time right here, ranging from award-winning titles to my tried-and-true favorites.

Looking for something ultra-suspenseful? Start with One by One by Ruth Ware — a story of a corporate retreat gone wrong by a writer who’s been compared to the great Agatha Christie. Plus, Imogen Church happens to be one of my favorite audiobook narrators (and an award-winning one at that.)

1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Michaelides’ lauded debut is among the top suspense audiobooks of recent years, especially if you like a satisfying — and astonishing — payoff to all that rising tension (AKA, a memorable twist). 

Painter Alicia is convicted of murdering her husband, but she refuses to talk after his death. Psychotherapist Dr. Faber is particularly determined to hear her side of the story. His systematic attempts to unlock the gruesome mystery accompany intriguing journal entries by Alicia.

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2. All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

Cosby, the acclaimed crime writer who brought us propulsive hits like Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears, never disappoints suspense fans. In 2023, Publishers Weekly called All the Sinners Bleed “easily the author’s strongest work to date.”

A fatal school shooting leads Sheriff Titus Crowne into a complex web of racially motivated crime, forcing him to reckon with his role as a Black law enforcement officer in the American South.

Narrator Adam Lazarre-White brings Cosby’s work to life once again, building tension in all the right ways and helping secure the 2024 Audie Award for Thriller/Suspense.


3. Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

Nugent doesn’t wrap up her stories in a tidy bow — and that’s what makes them so wonderfully creepy. 

Lydia has a dark secret (actually, she has a few). When her son begins to put two and two together, she’ll stop at nothing to keep her family intact. 

Lying in Wait is a mystery within a mystery, giving readers tantalizing snippets from the past and holding us in suspense until the eerie end.


4. Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll

Bright Young Women is a fictionalized account of Ted Bundy’s deadly attack on a sorority house in 1970s Florida. 

Knoll, author of Luckiest Girl Alive (which inspired a Netflix Original movie starring Mila Kunis), doesn’t name the killer. Instead, she focuses on the women who are most affected by his perverse actions and how they use their trauma to seek justice. Kirkus calls this suspenseful thriller “a stunning, engaging subversion of the Bundy myth — and the true-crime genre.”

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5. What Lies Between Us By John Marrs

No neighbor could guess what’s going on in the attic in Nina’s house. That’s where Maggie lives — in chains and surrounded by sound-proofing, paying for an unforgivable act committed decades ago. 

Marrs’ award-winning novel is impossible to predict — or stop reading. You’ll be waiting on tenterhooks to unravel what happened between Maggie and Nina, but, as you’ll realize, the truth is rarely black and white.

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6. One by One by Ruth Ware

This one may remind you of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, often considered one of the greatest mystery novels ever written. However, Ware’s book has a modern flare perfect for our always-connected, tech-driven age.

When an avalanche leaves employees of a tech startup snowed in at a resort in the French Alps, terror takes over, wiping out any chance of bonding. One by one, each member of the group must fight to survive.

Ware is one of my favorite authors, with books like In a Dark, Dark Wood and Zero Days enrapturing me from start to finish. But no matter how many of her suspense audiobooks I listen to, One by One remains my favorite. 

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This critically acclaimed Canadian thriller is a psychological saga for the ages, and the suspense is off the charts. 

Jake’s girlfriend is thinking of leaving him (as the title suggests), but she agrees to go to an awkward dinner with his parents on their farm. Things only get more tense, bizarre, and terrifying as the evening progresses. 

Netflix’s adaptation diverges from the source text, so this one’s well worth a listen even if you’ve already seen the movie.


8. I Will Find You by Harlan Coben

Coben is a master of suspense, mystery, and psychological thrills, with many of his works adapted into Netflix Original series (including The Stranger and Fool Me Once).

When a father who was wrongly convicted of brutally murdering his own son discovers his child may still be alive, he’ll stop at nothing to find him — even breaking out of federal prison. Tension mounts steadily as we follow Coben’s determined protagonist on a cat-and-mouse hunt for reunification, redemption, and the shocking truth.

I Will Find You’s narrator, Steven Weber, won the 2023 SOVAS (Society of Voice Arts and Sciences) Award for Best Voiceover in the Thriller category. The book was also a 2024 Audie Award finalist for Thriller/Suspense.


9. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Nella’s excited when another Black woman joins the very white publishing house where she works: she’s no longer the only Black employee! Her delight takes a turn for the sinister when threatening anonymous notes start showing up on her desk. Is her new coworker an ally or an enemy? 

A twisty and timely, funny and creepy suspense thriller with hints of Get Out, The Other Black Girl inspired a Hulu series produced by author Harris and actress Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation)

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10. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

I remember binge-listening to Dave's novel during Thanksgiving break a few years ago. I had planned to listen slowly over the long weekend, but the suspense made it impossible to press pause.

The Last Thing He Told Me quickly became one of the most popular releases of 2021, eventually inspiring an Apple TV+ series produced by Reese Witherspoon and starring Jennifer Garner. It was also an Audie Award finalist.

The story begins with a mysterious note, a missing person, and half a million dollars of questionable origin. As newlywed Hannah searches for her husband Owen amid growing police suspicion, her one goal is clear: Protect Owen’s daughter at all costs.

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11. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

Things turn deadly after a group of college friends, now in their 30s, reunite to celebrate New Year’s with a cozy getaway at a Scottish hunting lodge. Foley (The Paris Apartment) moves back and forth between before and after the murder without revealing the killer or the victim, ratcheting up the suspense all the while. 

If you love a good twist, The Hunting Party delivers — not just on who the killer is, but also their sinister motive.

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12. Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

Invisible Girl is a slow-burn with a surprisingly uplifting conclusion (after plenty of twists and turns, of course). A teenage girl’s disappearance sends dangerous shock waves reverberating through the lives of others, including her former therapist and a disgraced teacher with ties to incel groups.

Jewell’s books never disappoint, especially if you’re looking for suspense and shocking twists.

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13. Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark

As a semi-lonely, completely awkward middle schooler (homeschooled, no less), I found solace in books. The late Higgins Clark, dubbed the “Queen of Suspense,” sparked my love for mystery novels — a beloved hobby I enjoy to this day. 

After reading her debut, Where Are the Children?, I immediately devoured the rest of her bestselling catalog. Prepare to stay up until the early morning listening to this one. If you’re like I was all those years ago, you’ll be desperate to find out the next twist in this story about a mother’s dark past. 

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14. Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

Feeling overwhelmed by her pregnancy and disconnected from her workaholic husband, Helen is thrilled to meet Rachel in prenatal class. As their friendship blossoms, Rachel becomes more erratic, leading Helen to believe her friend may have dark secrets. 

This increasingly tense and unputdownable domestic mystery won the 2023 Audie for Thriller/Suspense.

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15. The Outsider by Stephen King

King may be called the “King of Horror,” but few of his works can be classified by a single genre. Most of them, including The Outsider, pack incredible suspense. The unsettling story begins when a seemingly straightforward investigation into a monstrous crime reveals supernatural forces at work.

This wild ride has been adapted into a Max series (formerly HBO Max) starring Jason Bateman. Audible included it in their definitive list of Stephen King’s 20 best audiobooks.

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16. Intensity by Dean Koontz

Koontz’s novel is aptly named, with tension rising steadily until the final epic showdown between good and evil. 

Chyna Shepherd is the sole survivor of a bloody home invasion. Instead of running for her life, Chyna follows the killer, intent on saving his next victim from a horrible fate. Intensity is a must-read — not just for its thrills but also for its badass final girl.

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About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer who loves reading crime thrillers and nonfiction about animals and the natural world. When not writing and reading (or writing about what to read), Lanie spends as much time as possible at the beach with her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.