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5 True Crime Audiobooks to Keep You Up All Night

By: Ashley aka @bookishmommy

Audiobooks were always hit and miss for me UNTIL I discovered true crime audiobooks. I mean, what took me so long? I'm a huge true crime podcast fan and I love all the true crime documentaries (hello, Gayle Hinman???).

I host a monthly true crime book club over on Instagram (we use #bookishtruecrime to document our monthly selections) and I've been doing a hybrid of reading/listening and lemme tell ya, it's been the best thing ever.

If you've been iffy about audiobooks but you want to read more, I'm giving you FIVE true crime audiobooks that won't put you to sleep. In fact, they probably won't allow you to sleep ever again. (Tip: I always listen to my audiobooks at 1.5x speed, I find it helps with the pacing)

1. The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule and narrated by Lorelei King (18 hrs, 29 minutes)

This book is a CLASSIC! The Stranger Beside Me is the book that jump-started Ann Rule’s career as a big time, true crime author, where she describes the case about Ted Bundy - the man she called her friend and worked beside at the Seattle suicide hotline. This audiobook is over 18 hours but totally worth it. Supplemental reading: The Phantom Prince by Liz Kendall, Conversations with a Killer by Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth

2. Bind, Torture, Kill The Inside Story of BTK, the Serial Killer Next Door by L. Kelly, Hurst Laviana, Tim Potter, and Roy Wenzl and narrated by Keith Sellon-Wright (11 hours, 6 minutes)

While the BTK crimes are far more horrific than I ever knew, I was even more shocked to learn about the great lengths the Wichita detectives went to capture him. They were persistent and all their hard work paid off.

3. Devil's Knot The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt and narrated by Lorna Raver (15 hours, 47 minutes)


Have you heard about the West Memphis Three? Probably one of the most infuriating cases around where the investigation was completely botched right from the beginning. It’s described as a modern-day witch trial that took place in Arkansas in 1993. Anyway, if this interests you there are countless podcasts that further detail this case along with an HBO documentary that is very popular called Paradise Lost.


4. The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn and narrated by George Newbern (17 hours, 30 minutes)

If I hear the word CULT, I’m automatically in. One of the most famous cults has to be the Peoples Temple that was led by none other than the Reverend Jim Jones. The Road to Jonestown provides a lot of background information on Jim Jones and the controversy that surrounded him. I’m sure you all know how this ends but in case you don’t, I won't spoil it. Supplemental listening: Last Podcast on the Left has about three episodes on Jonestown.


5. American Predator by Maureen Callahan and narrated by Amy Landon (9 hours, 3 minutes)

An absolutely terrifying account of the crimes committed by serial killer Israel Keyes. You will not be able to turn this one off. Do not read or listen before bed - or when you're home alone.

I use LibroFM for all my audiobooks because each time you make a purchase, you directly support your local independent bookstore.

You can use my code MOMMY to get 3 audiobooks for $14.99.

Past/Upcoming #bookishtruecrime selections:

September 2019 - Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen

October 2019 - People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry

November 2019 - The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn

December 2019 - The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule

January 2020 - Stiff by Mary Roach

February 2020 - Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt

March 2020 - BTK by L. Kelly, Hurst Laviana, Tim Potter, and Roy Wenz

April 2020 - Killer Clown by Terry Sullivan

May 2020 - Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe

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1 comment

  • Some great choices (huge true crime everything fan:) I was fascinated by People who eat Darkness, mostly because it might be the only serial killer true crime I don’t already know every detail of. I know you know you’re stuff, but as a fan as well as a former Seattle dweller, if you haven’t read anything by Gregg Olsen I’d highly recommend his books. He write fiction too, but I only read his true crime books. Well written, many are crimes committed in WA (in some really obscure areas near where I grew up, Kitsap County is out there but he has found fascinating crazy stories committed in towns I’ve rarely heard of DJ that’s fun to me…) and like said majority of his books aren’t about criminals people have heard of like BTK, etc, yet they are still horrible and I always think “how have I never heard of this?!” Anyways I’m guessing you’ve heard of him, but never know. I’m about to start his newest true crime book, his book Starvation Heights is a fav for many, I personally couldn’t get into it, but would never discourage it as it’s so well liked, and he has two books about crimes in Amish Communities I liked and many many more. He co authored a few too. Sorry, I’m done! Thanks for the recs!

    • Lindsay Deale