When you have a long road trip ahead of you, the radio can be a great companion for a few hours, but it can quickly become tedious, especially when songs begin to repeat.
A great alternative to this is an audiobook. If you enjoy reading, but cannot read in the car, and would like some company while on a long road trip, they are the perfect option to consider.
There are thousands of different audiobooks available to purchase, and it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. When travelling, thriller and mystery books can be a particularly great option to consider. They draw you straight into the plot, and while you are looking at the passing landscape, this can help you to imagine the contents of the audiobook well (see also ‘15 Best Harry Potter Audiobooks For Long Road Trips‘).
Whether you are a lover of thriller books, or you are just getting started, we have created a list of the best thriller and mystery books you need to hear. We have included a good mix of classics, newer releases, and some young adults options for younger listeners too!
Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
Length: 17 hours and 4 minutes
Release Date: 09/18/18
If you are looking for a book that keeps you guessing throughout, it doesn’t get much better than 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. The narrator wakes up each day in a different body of a person that has attended the party, and needs to figure out who the killer is in a specific amount of time.
It is an audiobook that keeps you hooked and guessing. The narrator is fantastic, and this is a book that requires your 100% attention because the plot is so descriptive and intricate — in the best possible way!
Narrated by: Dan Stevens
Length: 6 hours and 37 minutes
Release Date: 09/10/13
Murder on the Orient Express is a classic Agatha Christie novel, that follows the detective Poirot. It’s typical a whodunit that suspects everyone on the Orient Express train to be the potential murder. It is a fantastic book that leaves you guessing throughout, and questioning each character, along with the motive behind the murder.
As this is a classic, listening to it is far easier than reading it, in some ways. Being under 7 hours in length, it is great for shorter road trips. It is a captivating book, and the narrator is fantastic.
Narrated by: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Length: 19 hours and 11 minutes
Release Date: 06/05/12
Gone Girl is a fantastic thriller that increased in popularity after the film’s release in 2014. It follows the disappearance of Amy, which happens 5 years after her marriage to Nick. Nick quickly becomes a suspect, and there are many questions surrounding the couple.
The audiobook builds up the suspense well, and it is just over 19 hours in length. Being a long book, it is great for longer road trips. It is captivating and well narrated. Even if you have seen the film, you will enjoy the book and the direction it takes.
Narrated by: Anna Massey
Length: 14 hours and 48 minutes
Release Date: 12/29/13
Rebecca is arguably one of the best modern classics. When you take into consideration that the book centers around a character that is never actually featured in the book, it’s incredible. Rebecca’s presence is still very much felt, and the audiobook is fantastic as portraying the slow gothic horror build up and suspense.
While this is not a typical thriller, it leaves you guessing throughout, and it is a truly haunting book. The two narrators are fantastic, and being just under 15 hours, this is a great length for the book.
Narrated by: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
Length: 10 hours and 58 minutes
Release Date: 01/13/15
The Girl on the Train is another book that was made even more popular when the film was released. It is another fantastic thriller/mystery that keeps the listener on their toes throughout. There are many twists and turns that keep you guessing, and the use of multiple narrators works well with the plot.
This is a fairly short audiobook that does not feel too dense. It flows well, and given that it features traveling, and a person on a train, it is the perfect companion for a road trip.
Narrated by: Dan Stevens
Length: 6 hours and 1 minute
Release Date: 09/10/13
And Then There Were None is another classic by Agatha Christie. When it comes to mystery and thriller books, they do not get much better than a Christie novel. While it may have been the most difficult book that she felt she wrote, it is an easy and captivating book that impresses readers over 80 years later.
It follows 10 strangers that were invited to Soldier Island by an unknown host. They are then accused of a bad crime, and the events follow from here. Dan Stevens narrates this book, and does a fantastic job at this.
Narrated by: Craig Wasson
Length: 30 hours and 40 minutes
Release Date: 11/08/11
When it comes to Stephen King books, the majority of people are more familiar with his older horror books, such as The Shining, and Pet Semetary. While his newer books are often underrated, 11-22-63 is an impressive modern King thriller.
It follows the assassination of JFK, and a time traveler that tries to prevent this from happening. IT features Sci-Fi elements, which puts an interesting twist on this thriller mystery. While the audiobook is a staggering 30 hours long, it does not feel like it is.
It is captivating, and interesting. The narrator holds the attention of the reader well, and it is a great option if you are travelling on a particularly long road trip.
Narrated by: Santino Fontana
Length: 11 hours and 6 minutes
Release Date: 09/30/14
You was recently adapted into a fantastic Netflix TV show that took the world by storm. It follows Beck, a budding writer, and Joe, a man that works in the local bookstore. Joe quickly becomes interested in Beck, and soon his obsession with her spirals out of control.
If you are looking for a book that is so shocking it will make you want to gasp out loud, this is the book to read. The narrator does a fantastic job at portraying the plot and keeping readers interested and shocked. It is a fantastic thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Narrated by: Jack Hawkins, Louise Brealey
Length: 8 hours and 51 minutes
Release Date: 02/05/19
The Silent Patient is a popular book that was a debut novel for Alex Michaelides. The plot follows Theo who is a psychotherapist, and works with a silent patient Alicia. He attempts to ask her about her life, and why she chose to shoot her husband, Gabriel.
There are many twists and turns within the book, and the end is definitely a shocking one. What is great about the audiobook is that it has two narrators, to match the voices within the story. It is not too long, and is an audiobook you will struggle to put down between driving sessions.
Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes
Release Date: 12/09/08
Shutter Island is another book that was made into a movie adaptation, and many people don’t realize it was a book first and foremost. It follows Teddy and Chuck who investigate the disappearance of Rachel Solando, who was a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital on Shutter Island.
The plot is an interesting one, and the ending is very hard to guess! It is a fairly short book that you can listen to quite quickly. The narrator does a fantastic job and tells the story.
Narrated by: Donna Tartt
Length: 22 hours and 3 minutes
Release Date: 12/31/06
If you love books with dark academia, you will want to listen to The Secret History, as it is where it all began. While this is a long audiobook, being just over 22 hours in length, it is worth every minute of listening time.
It has a fantastic, yet twisted plot that will leave you shocked and intrigued. While it is a dark novel, it will keep you captivated throughout. As the author has narrated this book, the emphasis is in the correct places, and she narrates the novel perfectly.
Narrated by: Tavia Gilbert
Length: 8 hours and 52 minutes
Release Date: 9/15/17
When it comes to thriller and mystery books, Shari Larpena is a great choice of authors to choose. She has written some fantastic books, including A Stranger in the House. Tavia Gilbert is particularly talented at narrating this book, and it is a fairly short listen, making it perfect for shorter road trips.
This is a physiological thriller that will keep you guessing and wondering what will happen next. It focuses on Karen and Tom who are happy newlyweds. But after Karen returns home from hospital after a crash, all is not as it seems. The plot is intricate, and very interesting.
Narrated by: Paul Michael
Length: 16 hours and 59 minutes
Release Date: 1/1/06
There are not many people that haven’t heard of The Da Vinci Code before. However, if you are one of the few people that have not yet read it, and are put off by its length, we would recommend listening to this audiobook (see also ‘15 Best Fantasy Audiobooks For Your Travels‘). It is brilliantly narrated, and once you begin, you will not want to stop listening.
While it is technically the second book in the series, you can still listen to it first without there being any confusion. The plot follows a clue left in Da Vinci’s famous painting, that potentially shifts the foundation of Christianity. It is interesting, and will certainly leave you questioning what happens.
Narrated by: Kim Mai Guest, MacLeod Andrews, Shannon McManus, Robbie Daymond
Length: 10 hours and 43 minutes
Release Date: 5/30/17
If you enjoy Young Adult books, or are looking for an easy and entertaining thriller, One of Us is Lying is a great option to consider. It has a school setting, and is another whodunit type novel. It has The Breakfast Club vibes, with different characters from different social groups, all of which have secrets they want to hide.
Each character has its own narrator, which helps to differentiate them easily, and the audiobook is fantastic. It follows the story clearly, and is not confusing in any way. It is not too long, and there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.
Narrated by: Bailey Carr, Marisa Calin, Michael Crouch, Gopal Divan, Robert Fass, Kevin R. Free, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Carol Monda, Patricia Santomasso, Shezi Sardar, Amanda Thickpenny
Length: 10 hours and 53 minutes
Release Date: 02/04/20
Last, but certainly not least, we have A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder. This is another popular YA book that has a great premise and a good narration cast. The way in which the audiobook is set out makes it feel as though the book is a drama being performed. It is both impressive and captivating.
The audiobook is a good length, and it follows an 18-year girl called Pippa, who looks into the closed case and death of Andie Bell. She believes there’s more to the case than meets the eye, and is determined to uncover the truth.
We hope you have found this article helpful. As you can see, there are many great audiobook options available on Audible. While these mysteries and thrillers are very different from each other, they are great options to consider.
Before purchasing, we would recommend listening to a sample of each book to see which one sounds the most interesting to you. They are all intriguing and will leave you guessing throughout.
As these audiobooks engross the listener, they help to pass the many hours spent travelling, and will certainly keep you shocked and entertained.