Terrors in Earshot | Top Audiobooks for Horror Listeners

Somehow the fear is only amplified when it is audible. Discover the chills in these starred horror audiobooks.

Somehow the fear is only amplified when it is audible. Discover the chills in these starred horror audiobooks.

 Dumas, Luke. A History of Fear. S. & S. Audio. Dec. 2022. 11:39 hrs. ISBN 9781797148496. $23.99. HORROR

After infamous murderer Grayson Hale, a.k.a. the Devil’s Advocate, is found dead in his jail cell, a journalist uncovers a manuscript in which Hale describes how his killing of a classmate was orchestrated by the devil. In the manuscript, Hale is a U.S. postgrad studying in Edinburgh when a mysterious man hires him to write about the history of the devil in Scotland. From the beginning, it is apparent that the manuscript’s narrator has struggled psychologically, as he describes his affliction from Satanophobia since the age of 13 and a turbulent family history involving his cultish, religious father and heartless mother. With intensifying visions (or are they real?) of winged demons chasing Hale through the streets of Edinburgh and shadowy figures lurking in the shadows, the novel maintains an atmosphere of dread as it reaches its chilling conclusion. VERDICT Riveting literary horror superbly realized in audio, highlighted by narrator Graham Halstead, who effectively conveys Hale’s disintegrating mental state. Narrators Toni Frutin, Shiromi Arserio, Jennifer Aquino, and Gary Tiedemann further enhance the audio by giving voice to reporters, interviewees, and medical personnel.—Phillip Oliver

 Lux, Claudia. Sign Here. Books on Tape. Oct. 2022. 10:29 hrs. ISBN 9780593626320. $85.50. HORROR

Lux’s debut novel offers a truly original vision of hell and of selling one’s soul. Having worked for centuries in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell, Peyote “Pey” Trip is finally seeing his big plans come together. All he needs is another soul from the Harrison family to complete a “set,” even as he has to mentor new recruit and possible friend Calamity “Cal” Ganon. Meanwhile, the Harrison family heads over to their summer beach house with their daughter’s new friend Ruth, but Ruth is also the catalyst for the unearthing of dark family secrets. What starts off as a nod to Christopher Moore’s supernatural silliness (most pens don’t work in hell, and everyone uses tablet computers) grows darker as the two narratives progress. First, there’s Pey’s point of view, portrayed with dark humor and surprising humanity by MacLeod Andrews, and then there’s Brittany Pressley’s more reality-grounded narration of a family near collapse. VERDICT Lux creates a beautifully poignant tale of the consequences of desire, both of getting what we want and the pain of its being just out of reach.—James Gardner 

 Rumfitt, Alison. Tell Me I’m Worthless. Macmillan Audio. Jan. 2023. 8:32 hrs. ISBN 9781250882806. $19.99. HORROR

Rumfitt’s debut novel is a harrowing haunted-house story that pulses with real-world terrors. Three years ago, Alice, along with her friends Ila and Hannah, explored a haunted house, which changed them forever. In the present day, Hannah is still missing, while Alice and Ila try to forget the trauma they shared. But the house is beckoning them back, and the two women are unable to resist its siren call as they rediscover horrors, both within and without, that refuse to die. Narrator Nicky Endres narrates three distinct POVs (Alice, Ila, and the House), and her voice easily slithers between all three, demonstrating how the house dominates this story and the women’s lives. Rumfitt’s tale uses unflinching but not gratuitous depictions of sexual assault and visceral descriptions of body horror. Rumfitt also reveals the real challenges faced by trans people in today’s society, as Alice is a trans woman and Ila is markedly transphobic. VERDICT This book’s haunted house doesn’t stop at a few creaky floorboards, cold spots, and moans that could be dismissed as caused by the wind. Rumfitt’s house forces its victims (and listeners as well) to confront the horrors just outside their windows.—James Gardner

 Wurth, Erika T. White Horse. Macmillan Audio. Nov. 2022. 9:35 hrs. ISBN 9781250880482. $26.99. HORROR

Wurth’s chilling debut is a ghost story that blends Indigenous mysticism with modern sensibilities. Kari James, an urban Indigenous woman of Apache and Chickasaw descent, had her struggles growing up, with her mother abandoning her as an infant, her father permanently disabled, and she herself barely surviving her wild teen years. As an adult, she’s a waitress, a fan of heavy metal and Stephen King, and a favored patron of the Denver dive bar the White Horse. Life was normal until Kari’s cousin Debby gave her a bracelet that once belonged to Kari’s mother. It opens Kari’s eyes to a world where her dead mother’s ghost watches her, and a terrifying beast stalks her from the shadows. Kari soon discovers not just the borders of the supernatural world but who her mother really was. Wurth fills the world Kari occupies with urban grit and eclectic characters while also injecting brutal moments of terror. Narrator Tonantzin Carmelo’s portrayal of Kari imbues her with a rebellious and tenacious attitude that makes her immediately likable. VERDICT Fans of the supernatural rooted in realism, as well as of Indigenous authors such as Stephen Graham Jones, will want to accompany Kari on her spiritual and emotional journey.—James Gardner 

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