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Audiobook Thrillers: An Immersive Listening Experience

By: Cameron Phillips, Rose Cook and Kathryn Alley

Thrillers are enthralling. There are generally two writing formats to this genre: a more simplistic whodunnit and the second, how did they do it? Within both, the restoration of order tends to be the primary goal. Every clue connects to the previous one, creating a network of links leading to the ultimate solving of the puzzle. But, in addition to the typical formula, there are thrillers that play on ambiguity. The killer might get away, questions remain unanswered, the truth becomes slippery and double-edged. This is why thrillers are so fantastic, so here are our picks for our favourite recent thrillers.

Cameron’s Pick: The Ice Chasm, written and narrated by Nick Thacker

Whether it is The Thing or Season 4 of True Detective, a thriller amongst the ice is always exciting. There’s something about the setting being an almost inhospitable, inescapable land of white that makes for enthralling thrillers. 

Set in Antarctica in a Draconis Industries-owned research station, protagonist Harvey Bennett is sent to shut down a facility harbouring destructive technology, countered by a Chinese mission sent to acquire the same technology. Thacker’s descriptions of Antarctica are enough to capture the frigid and desolate landscape and provide a sense of self-isolation in which the characters and story are contained. Thacker employs fairly generic themes and motifs, such as anti-corporation threats on a global scale, but he does enough to combine these into something engaging. His narrative is serviceable, and he knows when to raise the tension – something he personifies during his narration. 

Rose’s Pick: None of This Is True, written by Lisa Jewell, narrated by Nicola Walker and Louise Brealey alongside a full cast

None of This Is True is the latest audiobook from Lisa Jewell and follows several bestselling psychological thrillers, including The Family Upstairs. This book has been written with the audio format in mind. The audiobook is not just a narration of the novel but provides a gripping listening experience, complete with original music, soundscapes and a whole cast of voices. 

The story follows Alix, a podcaster, who is celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub when she crosses paths with a woman called Josie Fair, who is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. A few days later, Alix bumps into Josie again, who tells her she has been listening to her podcast and feels she might be an interesting subject for her series as she tells Alix she is about to make serious changes in her life.

Alix learns more about Josie’s strange life, and although unnerved by her, she can’t resist telling her story through her podcast, which you also listen to throughout the audiobook. Soon Alix realises Josie has been hiding something dark, and she disappears. Alix is left behind and has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her and her family’s lives in danger.

Listening to this audiobook was an immersive experience, as the listener follows the story live with podcast episodes dispersed between the chapters. The suspense builds slowly at the beginning before reaching a twisty conclusion. A must-listen for all suspense and psychological thriller fans.

Kathryn’s Pick: His and Hers, written by Alice Feeney, narrated by Richard Armitage and Stephanie Racine

As a genre, the suspense and heart-racing nature of thrillers naturally lends itself to audiobooks. Page turners become gripping listens where one must hang on every word of the narrator, bringing the thriller to life in an entirely new way. His and Hers by Alice Feeney is no exception and brilliantly invites listeners into the classic world of whodunnit mixed with a Hitchcock-worthy twist. 

His and Hers follows Anna, a journalist who returns to her hometown to look into a murder that is surprisingly closer to her than she ever realised. Her ex-husband, Jack, is the detective on the case until they both become suspects in the heinous crime. Feeney’s story is masterfully written from three points of view: the woman’s, the man’s and the mysterious murderer’s. Here is where the medium of an audiobook lends itself to the story brilliantly. Audiences listen in horror as the raspy, unknown voice of the murderer shocks and sporadically presents new and confusing clues throughout the novel until you are left second-guessing everything. 


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