Blame it on the heat, but I've been on something of a true crime kick recently. From podcasts hosted by investigative journalists to documentaries that shed light on unsolved crimes, I've been delving into the dark world of murder and mystery. After binge-watching all 13 episodes of Netflix's The Staircase and streaming all 11 episodes of the new season of In the Dark, naturally, I turned to Audible in search of new true crime content to consume.
After streaming dozens of audiobooks (thank goodness for that unlimited Audible subscription), I'm sharing a list of the best true crime audiobooks guaranteed to give you chills. Yes, even in the summer heat. Spanning a chilling investigation into an elusive rapist-turned-murderer to a mesmerizing memoir in which a true crime addict reveals the ramifications of his obsession with the macabre has had on his life, these stories are too gripping to not download right now. Now, put down that psychological thriller and grab your headphones—here are 13 true crime audiobooks to binge-stream stat.
Black K Klansman
Written by: Ron Stallworth
Narrated by: Ron Stallworth
Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
In this true crime memoir, Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in Colorado Springs Police Department history, recounts his experience infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan with the help of his white colleagues. PSA: Listen to Black K Klansman before you see the major motion picture by the same name.
Promising review: "I loved Ron's discussion of his encounters with evil. Truthfully: I was especially interested because I have family in Colorado Springs and I knew the locations Ron mentioned. That said, the story—both scary and gripping—was narrated with pride and compassion. Loved it!"
I'll Be Gone In the Dark
Written by: Michelle McNamara
Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Arguably one of the most-anticipated audiobooks of the year, I'll Be Gone in the Dark delves into the investigation of the mysterious Golden State Killer, the elusive rapist turned murderer who terrorized California in the '80s and '90s.
Promising review: "Loved it! It was like listening to a police documentary with a soap opera story in the undertones. This is definitely a 'coffee and cold rainy window' type listen."
Written by: John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker
Narrated by: Richard M. Davidson
Length: 15 hrs and 14 mins
Mindhunter offers a behind-the-scenes look into John E. Douglas's 25-year career in the FBI Investigative Support Unit. The detective, known for using psychological profiling to get into the minds of serial killers and criminals, was also the subject of the Netflix original series by the same name.
Promising review: "It does not get any better than this. Love the insight into criminal behavior and what makes them tick. This audiobook was very insightful. Kept me wanting more."
Written by: John Carreyrou
Narrated by: Will Damron
Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
In Bad Blood, Will Dameron narrates John Carreyrou's unraveling of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and CEO of Theranos, who was deemed the "female Steve Jobs" by Silicon Valley—until she was revealed as a fraud. Described as "a riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron," this audiobook is a must-listen.
Promising review: "The best journalism that I've ever been exposed to. This is how you tell a complex story and keep it interesting. The narrator is absolutely spot-on perfect."
Bind, Torture, Kill
Written by: Roy Wenzl, Tim Potter, L. Kelly, Hurst Laviana
Narrated by: Keith Sellon-Wright
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
This audiobook brings to life the book written by four award-winning journalists who covered the notorious BTK case for over 20 years. Bind, Kill, Torture will have you riveted until the very last second, even if you already know how the story ends.
Promising review: "I was captivated listening to this. I never knew all the vivid details of how things evolved and progressed in this case. The stalking, the murders. Taunting the police with his cryptic messages, leaving them stumped. For years. What a story!"
True Crime Addict
Written by: James Renner
Narrated by: James Renner
Length: 6 hrs and 44 mins
Written and narrated by James Renner, True Crime Addict is a memoir in which Renner chronicles his obsessive investigation into the mysterious disappearance of Maura Murray, a college student who went missing after a car crash in rural New Hampshire in 2004, and the ramifications that the fixation has had on his life.
Promising review: "This book is the audio equivalent of a page-turner. I was pleasantly surprised by the author's honesty and personal insight. He chose to be real with his readers, and that elevated this book from true crime/journalistic gumshoe to something closer to literary non-fiction."
Written by: Robert Kolker
Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Length: 11 hrs and 10 mins
In this true crime audiobook, narrator Sean Pratt recounts award-winning journalist Robert Kolker's reporting on the search for a serial killer who's still at large on Long Island. Lost Girls boasts unsolved murder and internet prostitution, but don't mistake it for a fictional thriller—it's a true story.
Promising review: "This was an enlightening (if somewhat depressing) look into the dangers of the modern sex trade, especially in the Craigslist era. I wouldn't call it an enjoyable listen, but informative and well-told."
You Think You Know Me
Written by: Ryan Green
Narrated by: Steve White
Length: 3 hrs and 42 mins
You Think You Know Me tells the exceedingly strange yet true story of Herb Baumeister and the horror at Fox Hollow Farm. As the reviewer notes below, no one will ever know for sure what happened, but this audiobook represents best-selling author Ryan Green's findings after what was discovered in the wake of Baumeister's suicide.
Promising review: "No one will ever know the truth about this case, but the author paints an engaging tale of an evil man and what he did. The story that Ryan Green imagined is chilling and interesting at the same time, and narrator Steve White does a good job of pulling you into the story."
The Michigan Murders
Written by: Edward Keyes
Narrated by: Pete Cross
Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
The Michigan Murders recounts the compelling story of how a young Eastern Michigan University student turned serial killer eluded the police and terrorized southeastern Michigan for two years.
Promising review: "Even if you're familiar with the crime, this book keeps you locked in! So interesting, I would recommend this to anyone wanting a true crime book or even just a good book in general."
Written by: Rabia Chaudry
Narrated by: Rabia Chaudry
Length: 14 hrs and 31 mins
With 4.8 stars and over 4988 reviews, Adnan's Story is one of the highest rated true crime audiobooks on Audible. Fans of true crime podcasts will recognize Adnan's name from Serial, Sarah Koenig's compulsively listenable series about the supposed murderer. Adnan's Story picks up where Serial leaves off, delving into previously undisclosed details about the case.
Promising review: "I am one of those people that was sucked in by Serial, listened to it multiple times and then listened to everything Adnan related. Even after following along with Serial, Undisclosed, the Truth & Justice Podcast, and Twitter, there is still so much to experience in this book. You get a real understanding of how devastating this was for everyone. I could not stop listening."
The Girl on the Velvet Swing
Written by: Simon Baatz
Narrated by: Christine Lakin
Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
Honestly, to describe the plot of The Girl on the Velvet Swing would give too much away. So you're going to have to trust us when we tell you this gripping, fascinating look at life in 20th-century America is well worth a listen.
Promising review: "This book is a very thorough re-telling of the 'crime of the century.' Was it murder? Was Thaw insane due to believing that White had raped his wife? To reveal any more would spoil the story, but this tale has more twists and turns than you can believe."
Killers of the Flower Moon
Written by: David Grann
Narrated by: Will Patton, Ann Marie Lee, Danny Campbell
Length: 9 hrs and 4 mins
Compelling and utterly devastating, Killers of the Flower Moon is a work of narrative nonfiction that exposes "one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history," as the description aptly puts it. Consider this required listening on a chapter in American history that you didn't learn in school.
Promising review: "This is a great story, an important story, an amazing story that has been hidden from you. Everyone should read or listen to it. This is a true American crime story, a story full of villains and honest to god-heroes. If you loved Boys in the Boat or Unbroken, don't miss this one. It's top-notch research and storytelling."
The Feather Thief
Written by: Kirk Wallace Johnson
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
Unlike the other true crime audiobooks on this list, The Feather Thief does not involve murder. Instead, it's a gripping tale about one of the biggest heists of the century in which an obsessive hobbyist pilfers one of the most important collections of birds in natural history—and walks free. You won't be able to stop listening.
Promising review: "I was expecting this story to be purely about the heist—what lead to it, how it was done, and what happened after—but it was so much more. The book provides fascinating details on the original collection of the feathers, the cultural shifts in the feather trade, and Victorian fly tying as an art. None of these subjects held any previous interest for me—I was just looking for a good true crime story—but the way in which the topics are discussed and entwined with the heist itself is beautifully done and truly fascinating."
Ed. note: Reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
This story was originally published on July 15, 2018, and has since been updated.
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