Recommend New Scary Authors Please!
May 15, 2014 11:07 AM   Subscribe

I live on audiobooks, and I prefer less serious literature because I listen to them when I'm working or driving. For the last few months, I have been having trouble finding a book that really engages me that I want to stick to, and I need some help finding new authors. I'm especially interested in mysteries and thrillers.

Authors I love and have read everything from: Stephen King, Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child, Ann Rule, Gillian Flynn, John Grisham, Shirley Jackson, Audrey Niffenegger, Chuck Palahniuk. Jeffrey Eugenides.

I read a bunch of Dean Koontz, David Baldacci, Michael Connelly, and James Patterson, but their books got so repetitive that I've given up.

Recent perfect books have been:
You Should Have Know by Christina Delaine
The Good Father by Noah Hawley
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Any similar authors or books you can suggest would be greatly appreciated!
posted by elvissa to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't listened to the audiobooks, but Tana French and Cornelia Read are two mystery authors who Gillian Flynn reminds me of.
posted by Kriesa at 11:11 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agnes and the Hitman was pretty good, though I read it in the pulp.
posted by tilde at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2014

I've read most of the authors you've read. Feel the same way about Connolly/Koontz. Tana French is amazing. I've read both Andrew Gross (The Ty Hauck series) and Brad Meltzer and neither one of them have enough books to have gotten repetitive yet, to me. Tess Gerritsen also has a set of medical thrillers that are terrific. Greg Isles is great but he can be a little over-the-line squicky for me. I figure you've read Patricia Cornwell but if not, she's good. A little dramaz for me, but a good storyline. If you like the forensic stuff you should try Jefferson Bass, a pseudonym for a writing pair that goes deep into Body Farm stuff. So good.
posted by jessamyn at 11:28 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a big fan of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries as narrated by Stephen Prichard. They are great books to begin with, and good narration.

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files as narrated by James Marsters might also interest you. Excellent narration and good books. Not really mysteries though, they are urban fantasy quasi-detective fiction.

I'll plug PG Wodehouse as read by Martin Jarvis too, even though they aren't mysteries or thrillers. Wonderful books, fantastic narration. Try Code of the Woosters.
posted by pseudonick at 11:29 AM on May 15, 2014

I've been reading the novels of Christopher Buehlman. Great writing and a wicked sense of humor that doesn't distract from the spooky.
posted by eustacescrubb at 11:30 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

John Connolly's "Charlie Parker" series is great, and there are lots of them.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2014

Ruth Rendell is very creepy. Her narrative voice is distant. She loves to choose people without morals as her viewpoint characters. Not particularly gory, but definitely hurtful — stealing babies from strollers, turning children against their parents, that sort of thing. She also writes as Barbara Vine, but I prefer RR's work.
posted by Jesse the K at 11:31 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you like Stephen King, you might want to check out the work of his son, Joe Hill. Can't vouch for the audiobooks, but I've read three of Hill's books, and I, despite not being a fan of horror, enjoyed them.
posted by xenization at 11:38 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Harlan Coben's missing person type mysteries hit the same spots in me that Dean Koontz's novels do, only without the supernatural elements. Maybe try a few of those (but they get repetitive too, so only a few).
posted by Night_owl at 11:40 AM on May 15, 2014

Mo Hayder!
posted by something something at 11:40 AM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also live on audiobooks! On the dark and gripping side, I can vouch for the readers on:
Dark Matter
The Third Policeman (more on the literary side, but best book ever ever and creepy and gripping)
Night Watch
Rebecca (and pretty much any Daphne Du Maurier)
(though I lean towards magic stuff happening, not all of these are supernatural)
posted by Erasmouse at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Try Walter Mosley. Devil in a Blue Dress is his classic.
Very readable, and not your classic detective at all.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:44 AM on May 15, 2014

I think you'd really like Erin Kelly's psychological mystery/thriller novels.
posted by tiger tiger at 11:47 AM on May 15, 2014

One of the most low-key creepy books I've read is "The Little Stranger" by Sarah Waters. It has a fantastic punchline that is revealed literally in the last sentence of the book.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2014

Try some Ed McBain. I loved his 87th precinct police procedurals, which are dated in a good way (giving you flavor of the times) and his Matthew Hope books about a Florida lawyer are good as well.

Also worth a try is Jonathan Kellerman., whose Alex Delaware/Milo Sturgis combo is quite interesting.
posted by bearwife at 12:21 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since you said you were looking for new authors, you might consider signing up to receive the "Daily Deal" email from Each day a different audio book is featured and always priced under $5. Or you could just check their website each day. But at that price, I'm more willing to try books I normally would skip past. Especially since audio books can be an expensive habit if you really love them.
Daily deals feature a wide variety of genres and even newer books sometimes. Through the deals, I bought Goldfinch by Donna Tartt less than 2 months after the book was released which was fantastic.
posted by MuckWeh at 12:57 PM on May 15, 2014

More votes for Erin Kelly, Tana French and Gillian Flynn, adding:

As soon as they're available in audio, grab everything by Belinda Bauer - starting with Blacklands.
Ditto for Sophie Hannah. Brilliantly atmospheric books.
I liked a lot of Scott Turow's early books.
John Hart's thrillers are also a great read and I'm sure they transfer well to audio.
posted by humph at 1:15 PM on May 15, 2014

If you don't know the works of James Lee Burke you are in for a real treat. Very literate mystery writer, won many many awards, most or all available in audio book format.
posted by jcworth at 1:31 PM on May 15, 2014

A few mystery/thriller audiobooks I've enjoyed:

I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippmann. (I've enjoyed several of her books, but I think this was the only one I listened to).

The Prey series by John Sandford is quite good in audio format.

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr: I finished this one recently. Part of the series about park ranger Anna Pigeon, but I think still accessible if you aren't familiar with earlier books.

Neil Gaiman read his own books The Graveyard Book and Coraline, which were plenty creepy.
posted by maryrussell at 2:27 PM on May 15, 2014

The Shining Girls Time traveling serial killer and a victim who escapes.

Let the Right One In One of the scariest books I've read.

World War Z Set after the zombie apocalypse, a collection of stories from survivors around the world. Heard excellent things about the audiobook version.

The Passage and its sequel are both good.
posted by haunted_pomegranate at 2:50 PM on May 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm listening to the audiobook of NOS4R2 by Joe Hill (Stephen King's son, as mentioned above) at the moment. It's read by Kate Mulgrew, and I think you'd dig it.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 4:18 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Robert McCammon is quite good - I especially enjoyed Speaks The Nightbird. I do consider it more historical fiction than horror though. That said, you will usually find it in the horror section of bookshops. Ramsey Campbell is talented in both the short and long-form story department- I adore Cold Print, which is full of Lovecraftian horror, but am not as big a fan of his full length novels and other short stories (as they tend to lack that overt Lovecraft influence I adore so much). However, he is a legend right up there with Stephen King for a reason. I agree with other posters that Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist is amazing. Another novel of his, Handling the Undead, is enjoyable but does veer off into spiritual matters (which may not be for everyone). It is a very fascinating zombie novel which is more psychologically distressing than violent. You may feel Agatha Christie is not quite be what you are looking for, but I must recommend Endless Night - it really stands out from her usual detective fare that most people know her for - it is extremely dark and horrifying - in my opinion much more intense than, and quite different from, her other works.
posted by partly squamous and partly rugose at 4:37 PM on May 15, 2014

Scott Smith only has two novels (sadly) but I love them both. A Simple Plan and The Ruins. The audio clips I just listened to makes me think the narrations are pretty decent.
posted by ELind at 7:48 PM on May 15, 2014

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley is good. I both read it and listened to it. I'm waiting for his second book.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 8:35 PM on May 15, 2014

I haven't listened to the audiobook, but seconding "Dark Matter" by Michelle Paver as a simple but engrossing ghost story set at an Arctic field station in the 1930s. I found it via a AskMeFi recommendation, too!
posted by dahliachewswell at 11:06 AM on May 16, 2014

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