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With Halloween almost here, I thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the spookiest audiobooks I have listened to. It is no secret that I am a huge audiobook listener, and there is nothing quite like consuming a thriller or mystery in that format. They are my go to audiobooks, along with nonfiction. Having a scary story told to you brings a chill to your bones!
The Sun Down Motel by Simon St. James
The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.
Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…
Length: 11 hrs
Narrator(s): Brittany Pressley & Kirsten Potter
The Sun Down Motel is the perfect audiobook for this time of year. It is atmospheric, paranormal, and has memorable characters. I posted a full review yesterday if you want to read more of my thoughts.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.
Length: 7 hrs and 57 mins
Narrator(s): Dan Bittner, Fred Berman, Gabra Zackman & Rebecca Soler
Sadie is one of those books that is meant to be listened to. There are alternating chapters, one of which is a podcast. It feels like you are listening to a real true crime podcast. This book was way darker than I expected, but it was absolutely incredible.
Don’t Look For Me by Wendy Walker
One night, Molly Clarke walked away from her life. The car abandoned miles from home. The note found at a nearby hotel. The shattered family that couldn’t be put back together. It happens all the time. Women disappear, desperate to leave their lives behind and start over. She doesn’t want to be found. Or at least, that’s the story. But is that what really happened to Molly Clarke?
The night Molly disappeared began with a storm, running out of gas, and a man in a truck offering her a ride to town. With him is a little girl who reminds her of the daughter she lost years ago. It feels like a sign. And Molly is overcome with the desire to be home, with her family—no matter how broken it is. She accepts the ride. But when the doors are locked shut, Molly begins to suspect she has made a terrible mistake.
When a new lead comes in after the search has ended, Molly’s daughter, Nicole, begins to wonder. Nothing about her mother’s disappearance makes sense.
Nicole returns to the small, desolate town where her mother was last seen to find the truth. The locals are kind and eager to help. The innkeeper. The bartender. Even the police. Until secrets begin to reveal themselves and she comes closer to the truth about that night—and the danger surrounding her.
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
Narrator(s): Therese Plummer
I just finished listening to Don’t Look For Me and it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. I made the mistake of listening to this while going on solo walks and I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. It was interesting because the reader knows what happened to Molly, but the family doesn’t. One of the most heart pounding books I have read in a long time.
Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre by Max Brooks
As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier’s eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.
But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town’s bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing–and too earth-shattering in its implications–to be forgotten.
In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate’s extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into the massacre and the legendary beasts behind it.
Kate’s is a tale of unexpected strength and resilience, of humanity’s defiance in the face of a terrible predator’s gaze, and inevitably, of savagery and death.
Yet it is also far more than that.
Because if what Kate Holland saw in those days is real, then we must accept the impossible. We must accept that the creature known as Bigfoot walks among us–and that it is a beast of terrible strength and ferocity.
Part survival narrative, part bloody horror tale, part scientific journey into the boundaries between truth and fiction, this is a Bigfoot story as only Max Brooks could chronicle it–and like none you’ve ever read before.
Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
Narrator(s): Judy Greer, Kai Ryssdal, Max Brooks, Jeff Daniels, Nathan Fillion, Mira Furlan, Terry Gross, Kimberly Guerrero, Kate Mulgrew & Steven Weber
Devolution is another book that reads like nonfiction. I felt like I was listening to a documentary. Judy Greer is also an incredible audiobook narrator. I just love her voice and how she brings characters to life! I have a full review of more of my thoughts.
Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a novel set in glamorous 1950s Mexico.
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Length: 10 hrs and 39 mins
Narrator(s): Frankie Corzo
I love Gothic literature, and Mexican Gothic is one of the most original books I have read within the genre. I love when the setting itself is a character, and the house comes alive in this story. The way the narrator describes what is happening adds to the creepiest level of the story.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
Narrator(s): Jot Davies, Chloe Massey, Olivia Dowd, Aoife McMahon, Sarah Ovens & Rich Keeble
If you are an Agatha Christie fan, you will love The Guest List! There are a lot of characters in this book, and I think having a full cast audiobook helped to keep track of everyone. There were so many twists and turns! I have a full review with more of my thoughts if you are interested.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.
Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
Narrator(s): Emily Lawrence
House of Salt and Sorrows is a retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses, and it is so creepy in a way that I wasn’t prepared for! The narration is excellent and it is incredible just how perfectly Emily Lawrence was able to capture the voice of each character. If you love isolated islands and a good ghost story, this is the book for you.
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
In the north of England, far from the intrusions of cities but not far from civilization, Silvie and her family are living as if they are ancient Britons, surviving by the tools and knowledge of the Iron Age.
For two weeks, the length of her father’s vacation, they join an anthropology course set to reenact life in simpler times. They are surrounded by forests of birch and rowan; they make stew from foraged roots and hunted rabbit. The students are fulfilling their coursework; Silvie’s father is fulfilling his lifelong obsession. He has raised her on stories of early man, taken her to witness rare artifacts, recounted time and again their rituals and beliefs—particularly their sacrifices to the bog. Mixing with the students, Silvie begins to see, hear, and imagine another kind of life, one that might include going to university, traveling beyond England, choosing her own clothes and food, speaking her mind.
The ancient Britons built ghost walls to ward off enemy invaders, rude barricades of stakes topped with ancestral skulls. When the group builds one of their own, they find a spiritual connection to the past. What comes next but human sacrifice?
A story at once mythic and strikingly timely, Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall urges us to wonder how far we have come from the “primitive minds” of our ancestors.
Length: 3 hrs and 28 mins
Narrator(s): Christine Hewitt
Ghost Wall is both the shortest and most literary book on this list, but it may also be the most chilling. This is a story that slowly reveals itself and makes the reader feel deeply uncomfortable. It is a book with a great deal of tension, and the narrator does an amazing job at capturing that. It is also a book that you can listen to in one day!
What is the best spooky audiobook that you have ever listened to?