Getting into the Spirit of the Halloween Spirits

Horror and Thriller Audiobooks for the Creepiest Season

Yes! Halloween, my favorite holiday. It’s autumn, and the leaves are showing off their inner beauty before the winter turns everything brown, white, and gray. There are the decorations and the costumes. Best of all, there’s the candy. (Oops, did I say that out loud?)

The OutsiderBut let’s face it—this is a holiday filled with horror. Audiobooks are particularly well suited to this genre—the tension, the anxiety, the fear when well narrated make for a totally gripping listen. Plus, you can always fast forward past the really scary parts. For those inclined, there is no better purveyor of horror than the master, Stephen King. For a frequent flyer like myself, I find even the review of FLIGHT OR FRIGHT too scary. This audiobook is a collection of 17 short stories of air travel horror written and read by King and others. Personally, I find just getting through security and all the challenges of flying today horrible enough. King, in addition, has given thrill seekers THE OUTSIDER, read by Earphones Award winner Will Patton. This book begins as a police procedural before it creeps into the seriously creepy.

Here is where I confess: I am one of those people who have their hands over their eyes through most of the horror movies that others can’t get enough of, and I would do the audiobook equivalent—have my hands over my ears to block out most horror audiobooks.

Field of BonesMy take for this holiday, then, is to come as close as I am comfortable by suggesting some great audiobooks that have a reference to Halloween-like themes (bones, ghosts, people haunted by pasts) and that fall more clearly into the mystery/suspense genre.

FIELD OF BONES, the 18th in J.A. Jance’s Sheriff Joanna Brady series, deftly read by Hillary Huber, provides the small-town atmosphere and cast of characters we have grown to appreciate over the series. There is enough horror in this tale in terms of the acts of a demented sexual offender/serial killer to quality as a good Halloween listen.

Holy GhostIf ghosts do it for you, you might enjoy HOLY GHOST by John Sandford, read by Eric Conger. Truth be told, this ghost is clearly a manmade one, but the book, the 11th in the Virgil Flowers series, still provides an engaging listen and a brief escape from all the ghoulishness surrounding the holiday.

What could be scarier than discovering in a random act of violence that everything you believed you knew about the person who is at the center of your life, your mother, turns out to be a sham? That is the plot line in Karin Slaughter’s PIECES OF HER. Earphone Awards winner Kathleen Early returns to narrate this standalone thriller. Slaughter’s character-driven thrillers, masterfully performed by Early, make for captivating listens.

So, whether you’re into tricks or treats, there are audiobooks to happily accompany you through this season.

Behind the Mic Podcast

Listen in to our new Behind the Mic with AudioFile Magazine podcast for more mystery recommendations, including the thrilling DAY OF THE DEAD.

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

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