Cooler weather and ghosts, goblins, and huge skeletons appearing on lawns in the neighborhood announce the arrival of my favorite season—and my favorite holiday. The approach of Halloween inspires me to listen to horror audiobooks, and this year there are many to choose from. For me, successful horror stories need to have characters who are relatable, even likable, put into what appear to be ordinary situations that turn dark and unknowable with lots of terrifying twists and turns. Audiobooks are the perfect medium for delivering chills and thrills when performed by outstanding narrators.
For fans of Stephen King’s classic horror tale CARRIE, we have Earphones Award winner THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD by Tiffany D. Jackson, which is a retelling of the CARRIE story. The audiobook is read by a full cast, including Golden Voice JD Jackson, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Joy Nash, Christopher Salazar, and Karen Malina White. This updated version weaves themes of racism into the terrifying tale of bullying and revenge. This YA audiobook will keep adult listeners glued to their earbuds.
From horror master Dean Koontz we have THE BIG DARK SKY, read by Fajer Al-Kaisi. Listeners are transported to Montana for a thriller/sci-fi experience. Al-Kaisi effectively performs lead character Joanne Chase, who is drawn back to her childhood home along with a diverse and strange group of individuals. Plenty of bizarre twists and turns and a maniacal, super-powerful villain all come together for engaging entertainment.
A special take on the ghost story is SHUTTER by Ramona Emerson, read by Charley Flyte. This debut novel features forensic photographer Rita Todacheene, who solves crimes through her special ability to channel the spirits of victims. Listeners are given a window into life in New Mexico’s Navajo Nation as Oglala Lakota/Mohawk narrator Charley Flyte delivers this engrossing, haunting tale.
If you want to get the whole family together for a good fright night, you can go old-school with the recent Fireside Reading of Bram Stoker’s masterpiece, DRACULA. Gildart Jackson gives an Earphones Award-winning performance, bringing the original vampire to life. “Fireside Readings” are a series of offerings of classics read by Jackson that he started as live readings in front a fireplace during Covid—and you can hear the crackling fire in the background. You can catch DRACULA on the Audiobook Break podcast starting next week.
For my final recommendation, I'm circling back to Stephen King, who has now given us FAIRY TALE, read by Seth Numrich (and with an audio cameo by King himself). While it's more fantasy than horror, it features an engrossing and terrifying battle of good and evil—and it wouldn't be a King novel if it didn't get your heart racing. The protagonist is a 17-year-old who inherits wealth, mystery, and a huge responsibility from an old man living up the hill.