Thrills and Chills: These Are the Best Horror Book Series in Audio

From ghosts and witches to demons and spirits, these listens cover every spooky trope and more.

Don’t wait for Halloween! Winter, spring, or summer—it’s always the right time of year to get all wrapped up in a horror series!  From paranormal frights to psychological thrillers grounded in reality, the horror genre offers a wealth and wide variety of gripping audiobooks. Whether you're looking for a listen that will quietly unnerve you with its dramatic tension or something to make you jump out of your seat at the sound of a terrifying monster, there is something for you. Check out the list below for some of our favorite spooky, creepy, and scary audiobook series.

The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the most iconic writers in all of horror, so it’s fitting that the Overlook Hotel is one of the genre's most memorable (and terrifying!) locales. In The Shining, we meet Jack Torrance, a struggling writer who is looking for a fresh start for himself and his family at the Overlook. But as the idyll of living in this large, beautiful domicile becomes more isolating and desolate, a looming sense of horror begins to grow. And at first, Jack's five-year-old son, Danny, is the only who seems to notice the sinister forces conspiring around the hotel that seek to cause him and his family harm. This horror classic is followed up by King’s 2013 sequel, Doctor Sleep, an equally unnerving story that focuses on Dan Torrance as an adult, still reeling from the effects of his time at the Overlook. The Shining is narrated by Campbell Scott and Doctor Sleep by Will Patton, and each narrator perfectly captures the tension and anxiety of these unforgettable stories.

Say Cheese and Die!

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

If children's literature has an answer to Stephen King, it is no doubt R. L. Stine, whose expansive Goosebumps series has been scaring the pants off of kids for close to three decades. In this celebrated series, listeners are introduced to all manner of ghosts, ghouls, frights, and monstrosities, often lurking in the plain view of everyday life. With more than 60 books in the Goosebumps oeuvre, there is really no bad place to start for anyone looking to dive in, but in my opinion, Say Cheese and Die!, which is narrated excellently by Johnny Heller, is one of the best installments in the entire series.

Patient Zero

If you love zombies, then you must meet Captain Joe Ledger, the former Baltimore detective promoted to the Homeland Security counterterrorism unit to stop bioweapons of mass destruction. He's the hero of his action-packed, multi-book series, all performed by fan-favorite narrator Ray Porter. The series kicks off when Ledger faces a most unusual problem: he must kill the same terrorist twice. In his new role on a rapid-response group called the Department of Military Sciences, Ledger must help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a bioweapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies—and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Beware: Once you enter Ledger's post-apocalyptic world, there's no going back!

Dread Nation

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

The worlds of alternate history and zombie horror come together in Justina Ireland's Dread Nation. Set during the time of the American Civil War, this novel depicts what happens when the war is interrupted by the reanimation of the dead. Jane McKeene, a young Black girl being educated to fight the zombie masses, must navigate the racial tensions of her society, as well as the mortal threat of the living dead, as she attempts to carve out her own destiny in immensely uncertain times. The sequel, Deathless Divide follows Jane as she tries to make it across the country to reunite with her mother. Each installment is narrated by Hall of Fame narrator Bahni Turpin, who turns in a masterful reading of Jane's journey.

The Three

The Three by Sarah Lotz

In four different parts of the world, four planes crash at the same time, leaving no survivors—except for three children. In news coverage of the unusual tragedy, these children are dubbed The Three, and each seems to be disturbed, presumably due to the traumatic event they have survived. However, when international attention reaches a fever pitch, and a religious cult begins ringing the bell of apocalypse, the children's behavior becomes increasingly unhinged. Narrators Andrew Wincott and Melanie McHugh offer tempered readings that highlight the subtle horror of Sarah Lotz's duology.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Inspired by the author's collection of vintage photographs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an unforgettable, heart-pounding series about an abandoned orphanage haunted by the presence of supernatural children. The first installment in this young adult horror book series finds Jacob traveling to a remote island off the coast of Wales, exploring the remains of the titular home for outcast youth. Most of the series is narrated by Kirby Heybourne, who captures the macabre overtones of the audiobooks with his focused, rhythmic narration.

Dawn

Xenogenesis by Octavia E. Butler

Often referred to as the grand dame of science fiction, Octavia E. Butler presents a post-apocalyptic world imbued with touches of horror in her superb Xenogenesis trilogy. The series begins with Dawn set 250 years after humans have devastated Earth with nuclear warfare. A survivor, Lilith Iyapo wakes up on a ship, with no knowledge of how she got there or why her captors decided to rescue her from the devastation back on her home planet. Narrating the entire trilogy, Aldrich Barrett turns in a masterful performance, granting a highly realistic edge to Lilith's inner thoughts.

The Taker

The Taker Trilogy by Alma Katsu

Romance, the paranormal, fantasy, and horror all coalesce in Alma Katsu's Taker trilogy. Beginning with The Taker, which finds a doctor at a rural hospital following a mysterious woman into a world beyond time and space, this series moves quickly and explodes with its various twists and frights. By the time listeners reach the final installment, The Descent it is nigh impossible to hit pause until the the tale reaches its stunning conclusion. Bolstered by the silky narration of Laurel Lefkow, this is a must-listen for anyone seeking a dynamic horror series.

Don't Stay Up Late

Fear Street by R. L. Stine

R. L. Stine, best known for his Goosebumps series, has also penned the excellently creepy Fear Street novels, which are intended for slightly older audiences. Like Goosebumps, these are all standalone stories that share some of the same plot elements, characters, and settings. Don't Stay Up Late follows Lisa, a young woman who, in the aftermath of a car accident that kills her father and hospitalizes her mother, takes a job babysitting her neighbor's son to distract herself from the horrible nightmares and dark thoughts she's been suffering. Brittany Pressley narrates, perfectly capturing Lisa's voice and emotional state as the seemingly simple task of babysitting a little boy turns into something much more sinister.

Minion

Vampire Huntress by L. A. Banks

Damali Richards is a successful hip-hop artist, known by mortals only for her musical output. But in the dark hours, Damali is known for her other talent: hunting vampires and demons. Although most in her world do not know such specters exist, Damali and her team of hunters know they are the only thing standing between humanity and destruction at the hands of evil, otherworldly forces. In Minion, Hillary Huber brings an authoritative reading to the early chapters of Damali's journey, as she begins her ascension into savior of the world.

Mr. Mercedes

Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King

Revving up with Mr. Mercedes, this horror series finds the master Stephen King at the top of his game. A retired cop, Bill Hodges remains haunted by an unsolved crime: the gruesome carnage of innocent people lined up to enter a job fair with a stolen Mercedes. Living a quiet, boring life, he is stoked back into action when the unknown driver sends him a letter threatening to commit an even greater and grislier mass murder. Now it’s up to Hodges, with a couple of unlikely allies, to stop the Mercedes Killer from striking again. Voicing the tough and dogged Hodges to a T, Will Patton narrates this suspense-packed trilogy.

Interview with the Vampire

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Anne Rice is practically synonymous with vampires, with the Vampire Chronicles being one of the most expansive horror fiction series ever. Across 13 books, including the perennial favorite Interview with the Vampire, listeners become acquainted with the vampires Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac, in a richly detailed 18th-century setting. Simon Vance lends his skilled voice to much of the series, bringing measured readings to the fantastical and spooky tales.

The Strain

This groundbreaking vampire trilogy, written by Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan, was the inspiration for the hit FX show of the same name. The action begins when a vampiric virus that has infected New York during an eclipse begins to spill out into the streets, and a motley crew of fighters must find a way to stop the contagion and save the city. We don't know what's better: the nail-biter plot or the fact that Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) performs it.

Boneshaker

The Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest

Steampunk meets paranormal horror in this alternate history horror series from Cherie Priest. In Boneshaker, an experimental gold harvester malfunctions terribly, wiping out several city blocks in downtown Seattle and unleashing a toxic gas that zombifies all who breathe it. Although that section of the city has been quarantined, anyone around can tell you it's only a matter of time before the trouble inside gets out. A host of narrators, including Wil Wheaton and Kate Reading, bring this clever synthesis of genres brilliantly to life.

The Girl from the Well

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Three hundred years prior to the events of The Girl from the Well, Okiku was murdered. The crime was gruesome and Okiku, just a little girl at the time, never found peace in the afterlife. Now, she haunts the streets of Japan where she was killed, using her spectral powers to hunt down and punish anyone who would do harm to children. When an American boy covered in strange tattoos arrives, Okiku is drawn to him, and the two begin a strange relationship. Tark is not a monster, but something evil lurks beneath his skin. Can Okiku protect him? This unrelenting horror series features Andi Arndt at the narrative helm for book one and Michael Crouch for book two, The Suffering. Each narrator endows the unsettling events with the requisite level of graveness, leading to an audiobook experience you'll still remember long after the final seconds play out.

The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the most iconic writers in all of horror, so it’s fitting that the Overlook Hotel is one of the genre's most memorable (and terrifying!) locales. In The Shining, we meet Jack Torrance, a struggling writer who is looking for a fresh start for himself and his family at the Overlook. But as the idyll of living in this large, beautiful domicile becomes more isolating and desolate, a looming sense of horror begins to grow. And at first, Jack's five-year-old son, Danny, is the only who seems to notice the sinister forces conspiring around the hotel that seek to cause him and his family harm. This horror classic is followed up by King’s 2013 sequel, Doctor Sleep, an equally unnerving story that focuses on Dan Torrance as an adult, still reeling from the effects of his time at the Overlook. The Shining is narrated by Campbell Scott and Doctor Sleep by Will Patton, and each narrator perfectly captures the tension and anxiety of these unforgettable stories.

Say Cheese and Die!

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

If children's literature has an answer to Stephen King, it is no doubt R. L. Stine, whose expansive Goosebumps series has been scaring the pants off of kids for close to three decades. In this celebrated series, listeners are introduced to all manner of ghosts, ghouls, frights, and monstrosities, often lurking in the plain view of everyday life. With more than 60 books in the Goosebumps oeuvre, there is really no bad place to start for anyone looking to dive in, but in my opinion, Say Cheese and Die!, which is narrated excellently by Johnny Heller, is one of the best installments in the entire series.

Patient Zero

If you love zombies, then you must meet Captain Joe Ledger, the former Baltimore detective promoted to the Homeland Security counterterrorism unit to stop bioweapons of mass destruction. He's the hero of his action-packed, multi-book series, all performed by fan-favorite narrator Ray Porter. The series kicks off when Ledger faces a most unusual problem: he must kill the same terrorist twice. In his new role on a rapid-response group called the Department of Military Sciences, Ledger must help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a bioweapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies—and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Beware: Once you enter Ledger's post-apocalyptic world, there's no going back!

Dread Nation

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

The worlds of alternate history and zombie horror come together in Justina Ireland's Dread Nation. Set during the time of the American Civil War, this novel depicts what happens when the war is interrupted by the reanimation of the dead. Jane McKeene, a young Black girl being educated to fight the zombie masses, must navigate the racial tensions of her society, as well as the mortal threat of the living dead, as she attempts to carve out her own destiny in immensely uncertain times. The sequel, Deathless Divide follows Jane as she tries to make it across the country to reunite with her mother. Each installment is narrated by Hall of Fame narrator Bahni Turpin, who turns in a masterful reading of Jane's journey.

The Three

The Three by Sarah Lotz

In four different parts of the world, four planes crash at the same time, leaving no survivors—except for three children. In news coverage of the unusual tragedy, these children are dubbed The Three, and each seems to be disturbed, presumably due to the traumatic event they have survived. However, when international attention reaches a fever pitch, and a religious cult begins ringing the bell of apocalypse, the children's behavior becomes increasingly unhinged. Narrators Andrew Wincott and Melanie McHugh offer tempered readings that highlight the subtle horror of Sarah Lotz's duology.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Inspired by the author's collection of vintage photographs, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an unforgettable, heart-pounding series about an abandoned orphanage haunted by the presence of supernatural children. The first installment in this young adult horror book series finds Jacob traveling to a remote island off the coast of Wales, exploring the remains of the titular home for outcast youth. Most of the series is narrated by Kirby Heybourne, who captures the macabre overtones of the audiobooks with his focused, rhythmic narration.

Dawn

Xenogenesis by Octavia E. Butler

Often referred to as the grand dame of science fiction, Octavia E. Butler presents a post-apocalyptic world imbued with touches of horror in her superb Xenogenesis trilogy. The series begins with Dawn set 250 years after humans have devastated Earth with nuclear warfare. A survivor, Lilith Iyapo wakes up on a ship, with no knowledge of how she got there or why her captors decided to rescue her from the devastation back on her home planet. Narrating the entire trilogy, Aldrich Barrett turns in a masterful performance, granting a highly realistic edge to Lilith's inner thoughts.

The Taker

The Taker Trilogy by Alma Katsu

Romance, the paranormal, fantasy, and horror all coalesce in Alma Katsu's Taker trilogy. Beginning with The Taker, which finds a doctor at a rural hospital following a mysterious woman into a world beyond time and space, this series moves quickly and explodes with its various twists and frights. By the time listeners reach the final installment, The Descent it is nigh impossible to hit pause until the the tale reaches its stunning conclusion. Bolstered by the silky narration of Laurel Lefkow, this is a must-listen for anyone seeking a dynamic horror series.

Don't Stay Up Late

Fear Street by R. L. Stine

R. L. Stine, best known for his Goosebumps series, has also penned the excellently creepy Fear Street novels, which are intended for slightly older audiences. Like Goosebumps, these are all standalone stories that share some of the same plot elements, characters, and settings. Don't Stay Up Late follows Lisa, a young woman who, in the aftermath of a car accident that kills her father and hospitalizes her mother, takes a job babysitting her neighbor's son to distract herself from the horrible nightmares and dark thoughts she's been suffering. Brittany Pressley narrates, perfectly capturing Lisa's voice and emotional state as the seemingly simple task of babysitting a little boy turns into something much more sinister.

Minion

Vampire Huntress by L. A. Banks

Damali Richards is a successful hip-hop artist, known by mortals only for her musical output. But in the dark hours, Damali is known for her other talent: hunting vampires and demons. Although most in her world do not know such specters exist, Damali and her team of hunters know they are the only thing standing between humanity and destruction at the hands of evil, otherworldly forces. In Minion, Hillary Huber brings an authoritative reading to the early chapters of Damali's journey, as she begins her ascension into savior of the world.

Mr. Mercedes

Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King

Revving up with Mr. Mercedes, this horror series finds the master Stephen King at the top of his game. A retired cop, Bill Hodges remains haunted by an unsolved crime: the gruesome carnage of innocent people lined up to enter a job fair with a stolen Mercedes. Living a quiet, boring life, he is stoked back into action when the unknown driver sends him a letter threatening to commit an even greater and grislier mass murder. Now it’s up to Hodges, with a couple of unlikely allies, to stop the Mercedes Killer from striking again. Voicing the tough and dogged Hodges to a T, Will Patton narrates this suspense-packed trilogy.

Interview with the Vampire

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Anne Rice is practically synonymous with vampires, with the Vampire Chronicles being one of the most expansive horror fiction series ever. Across 13 books, including the perennial favorite Interview with the Vampire, listeners become acquainted with the vampires Lestat de Lioncourt and Louis de Pointe du Lac, in a richly detailed 18th-century setting. Simon Vance lends his skilled voice to much of the series, bringing measured readings to the fantastical and spooky tales.

The Strain

This groundbreaking vampire trilogy, written by Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan, was the inspiration for the hit FX show of the same name. The action begins when a vampiric virus that has infected New York during an eclipse begins to spill out into the streets, and a motley crew of fighters must find a way to stop the contagion and save the city. We don't know what's better: the nail-biter plot or the fact that Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy) performs it.

Boneshaker

The Clockwork Century by Cherie Priest

Steampunk meets paranormal horror in this alternate history horror series from Cherie Priest. In Boneshaker, an experimental gold harvester malfunctions terribly, wiping out several city blocks in downtown Seattle and unleashing a toxic gas that zombifies all who breathe it. Although that section of the city has been quarantined, anyone around can tell you it's only a matter of time before the trouble inside gets out. A host of narrators, including Wil Wheaton and Kate Reading, bring this clever synthesis of genres brilliantly to life.

The Girl from the Well

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Three hundred years prior to the events of The Girl from the Well, Okiku was murdered. The crime was gruesome and Okiku, just a little girl at the time, never found peace in the afterlife. Now, she haunts the streets of Japan where she was killed, using her spectral powers to hunt down and punish anyone who would do harm to children. When an American boy covered in strange tattoos arrives, Okiku is drawn to him, and the two begin a strange relationship. Tark is not a monster, but something evil lurks beneath his skin. Can Okiku protect him? This unrelenting horror series features Andi Arndt at the narrative helm for book one and Michael Crouch for book two, The Suffering. Each narrator endows the unsettling events with the requisite level of graveness, leading to an audiobook experience you'll still remember long after the final seconds play out.


D.R. Baker is a writer and musician based in New York City. Their work has appeared at Book Riot, Submittable, HowlRound, and others. 

Up Next