There are some fantastic horror audiobooks coming out in the next few months, and I suggest a few below I’m especially looking forward to. But while you’re waiting for the release date or for your name to rise to the top of your library’s hold list, there are plenty of similar backlist titles full of things that bump just as loudly in the night.
All the White Spaces
Fans of historical horror will want to check out All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes (S. & S. Audio, Apr. 2022, narrated by Scott Turner Schofield), in which Jonathan, a trans man grieving the loss of his brothers in the Great War, hides out on a ship bound for Antarctica. The difficult voyage results in them having to overwinter somewhere that doesn’t appear on any of their maps. And unfortunately for Jonathan and the rest of the crew, there’s something malevolent out on the ice.
- Dan Simmons’s The Terror (Hachette Audio, 2017, narrated by Tom Sellwood) is likely the first book horror fans think of when the topic of polar expeditions beset by supernatural threats comes up. In it, the crew of the HMS Terror is stranded inside the Arctic Circle and forced to try to escape over the ice, as they’re pursued by something terrifying. Fans of the author may also want to try Abominable (Hachette Audio, 2013, narrated by Kevin T. Collins), in which four climbers on Mount Everest in 1924 are stalked by someone…or something.
- Endurance (Blackstone, 2008, narrated by Simon Prebble) is Alfred Lansing’s classic account of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition, in which his ship was crushed by ice floes, leading the crew to float on pack ice and small open boats across some of the most treacherous water on the planet. A work of nonfiction that truly reads like a novel, this is for listeners who love the adventure and survival-against-the-elements aspects of Wilkes’s work.
- Christopher Golden sets his cold-weather survival story, Ararat (Blackstone, 2017, narrated by Robert Fass), in Turkey. An avalanche on Mount Ararat reveals a buried ship that many believe to be Noah’s Ark. But when a group of archaelogists, scholars, and filmmakers open an elaborate coffin inside the ship, they find a strange, horned creature instead of the human corpse they were expecting. And when a blizzard strands them, they realize that they are stuck on the mountain with a horrifying presence.
- Waubgeshig Rice’s Moon of the Crusted Snow (ECW, 2018, narrated by Billy Merasty) is a post-apocalyptic Arctic survival story in which a small northern Anishinaabe community is cut off from other people. Winter is coming, resources are dwindling, and people are scared. Then a visitor arrives, bringing word of disintegrating societies to the south, and the community must decide how to handle an influx of outsiders.
- The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kieran (Neil Gaiman Presents/Audible Studios, 2012, narrated by Suzy Jackson) may seem a slightly odd listen-alike for a work of historical horror. But listeners who enjoy the atmospheric writing and unhurried pace of Wilkes’s tale will luxuriate in Kiernan’s story of a schizophrenic woman, Imp; Imp’s trans girlfriend Abalyn; and their attempts to get to the bottom of Imp’s obsession with a shape-changing ghost.
- Though it doesn’t yet have an audio version, fans of the subgenre will definitely want to track down a copy of Taaqtumi: An Anthology of Arctic Horror Stories, compiled by Neil Christopher (Inhabit Media, 2019), with stories by authors including Richard Van Camp, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, Aviaq Johnston, and others.
Just Like Mother
Anne Heltzel’s Just Like Mother (Macmillan Audio, May 2022, narrated by Elizabeth Evans) features cousins coming back into each other’s lives two decades after having escaped from a cult. Maeve built a life for herself in New York City, while Andrea built a fortune in the fertility industry. When they reconnect and spend more time together, Maeve finds herself confronting memories of their childhood, unaware of terrors that are about to be unleashed.
- In Stephanie Wrobel’s This Might Hurt (Penguin Random House Audio, Feb. 2022, narrated by Laurel Lefkow) Natalie sets out to remove her sister Kit from a secretive group that promises to help members become their Maximized Selves before a mysterious blackmailer can reveal Natalie’s darkest secret to her sister.
- Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (Macmillan Audio, 2021, narrated by Karen Chilton) is the story of Vern, who escapes her restrictive religious community while pregnant and gives birth to twins in the woods. The community doesn’t want to let her go, however, and Vern begins an inexplicable transformation in order to protect her children and herself.
- In Ania Alhborn’s Within These Walls (Tantor, 2015, narrated by R.C. Bray), a cult leader reaches out from prison to a true crime writer, promising to tell the whole story of how his followers died. For…reasons, the writer decides to live and work in the house where the cult members’ lives came to an end, but soon realizes he may not be alone.
- Rachel Harrison’s The Return (Penguin Random House Audio, 2020, narrated by Sarah Scott) features a group of friends reuniting at a kooky hotel in New York’s Hudson Valley after one of them, who had disappeared for two years after going for a walk in the woods, reappears. At first the others can’t put their fingers on how she’s changed…until it becomes very clear.
- In Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed (Hachette Audio, 2017, narrated by Laurence Bouvard), ten families established a new society after an apocalyptic event, developing a complicated, damaging system of rules and processes to ensure their survival. Then one summer, one of the girls sees something she shouldn’t, leading to an uprising.
Friend of the Devil
Stephen Lloyd’s Friend of the Devil (Penguin Random House Audio, May 2022, narrated by Chris Ciulla) features Sam, a detective dispatched to a remote, exclusive boarding school to investigate the disappearance of a rare book. But when students start dying violently, he teams up with school reporter Harriet and uncovers a supernatural mystery.
- In Catherine House (HarperAudio, 2020, narrated by Inés del Castillo), Elizabeth Thomas imagines a hyper-exclusive university that all but guarantees success for its graduates. In return, students agree to stay at the school without leaving or having any contact with the outside world for three years. As new student Ines adjusts to life at Catherine House, she begins to suspect that something sinister is going on.
- M.L. Rio’s If We Were Villains (Macmillan Audio, 2017, narrated by Robert Petkoff) finds Oliver Marks being released after 10 years in jail for murder and the detective who put him away wanting to finally know the truth about how a member of Oliver’s university acting troupe died and whether the rest of the group shared any culpability for the death.
- The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read (JournalStone, 2020, narrated by Elaine Wise) centers on a student, Charley, at the Old Cross School for Boys growing suspicious about the number of kids who’ve “gone home” or “run away,” never to be heard from again. He teams up with the gardener and school nurse to investigate unexplained blood and the mysterious figure he’s seen in the hallways at night.
- In Bunny by Mona Awad (Penguin Random House Audio, 2019, narrated by Sophie Amoss), Samantha is a student at a small, selective MFA program. She’s initially scornful of the rich girls who make up the bulk of her class—until they invite her to participate in their arcane “workshopping” rituals.
- Simone St. James’s The Broken Girls (Penguin Random House Audio, 2018 narrated by Rebecca Lowman) features Fiona, a journalist still grieving the sister who was murdered near the ruins of Idylwild Hall two decades earlier. Rumors about the school being haunted were already circulating in its heyday, and when Fiona learns that a restoration of the ruins has uncovered something shocking, she finds that her sister’s death is a piece in a much larger puzzle.