True Crime Audiobooks to Keep You Up All Night

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The format that got me absolutely hooked on true crime was audiobooks. There’s something magical about a real-life mystery unfolding while you’re washing the dishes or driving to work or sitting in your car for a few minutes just to hear the end of the chapter. Have I ever been late to an event because I missed an outing while listening to true crime audiobooks? Yes. Yes I have. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

An added benefit of true crime audiobooks is that if you listen while driving, every time you come to a red light, the people around you hear a snippet of the wild story you’re listening to. I don’t make the rules, but it’s is always the most ridiculous and/or horrible scene that plays out in these moments.

Find below an extensive collection of true crime audiobooks covering all aspects of the genre: sexual assault, abuse of power, civil rights movements, identity theft, fraud, cults, drug cartels, prison life , etc. Yes, there is a murder. But not all true crime books are about serial killers. And not all true crime buffs have an unhealthy relationship with the genre. Some of us just like a mystery book that’s fact, not fiction.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: A Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Michelle McNamara had one goal: to find the Golden State killer. The serial rapist and murderer ravaged California for a decade, raping more than 50 women and killing 12 people. And then he disappeared. The case was not resolved. I’ll be gone in the dark is the exciting work of years of reviewing police records and investigations, and shortly after the book’s publication – and McNamara’s death – the Golden State Killer was arrested. If there’s only one true crime audiobook you listen to, this should be the one.

A graphic of the cover of Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller

Chanel Miller was only known as Emily Doe for years as she fought her rapist, Brock Turner, in court. Now she accesses the world, freely, as herself. know my name is a stunning and devastating memoir of trauma and strength made even more powerful when read in Miller’s voice.

The Least People Know About Us: Coverage of the Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets and Stolen Identity

The Least People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton

Axton Betz-Hamilton grew up in a whirlwind of anxiety. When she was 11, her parents had their identities stolen and they lived the rest of their lives in fear. Despite moving and changing their personal information, the identity thief followed them wherever they went. This true crime memoir will keep you tuning in long after bedtime to figure out how and why it kept happening to this particular family.

cover of My Friend Anna gyby Rachel DeLoache Williams

My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams

My friend Anna is a wild ride. When Rachel became friends with Anna Delvey, things were going well. The socialite was super good at scamming her friends out of thousands of dollars without them even noticing, and it wasn’t until Rachel was $62,000 in debt on her company credit card that she discovered the truth. This audiobook is impossible to put down until you get to the end.

cover of Faith Jones' Sex Cult Nun, showing the title of the book in enlarged white text on a blue background.  in the middle of the page is an image of a chain with a female gender symbol pendant (a circle with a cross attached)

Nun of Sex Cult: Breaking with the Children of God, a Wild and Radical Religious Cult by Faith Jones

Faith Jones didn’t just grow up in the Children of God – her grandfather was the founder. The extremist religious cult was known for its sexual practices and allegations of abuse and exploitation. But Jones survived, stole books to educate herself and, at 23, finally got out. Sex Cult Nun is an absolutely fascinating and disturbing true crime memoir made even better on audiobook.

Book cover of The Spy Who Couldn't Spell by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

Get ready for a real spy thriller. The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell is the crazy story of Brian Regan, a self-proclaimed CIA analyst with top secret clearance who had access to all sorts of defense systems, weapons depots and underground bunkers. He sent coded messages to the Libyan consulate, offering to sell classified US information. Those messages ended up at the FBI, where Special Agent Steven Carr spent years tracking down the traitor. Thing is, Regan is dyslexic, so her codes were even harder to crack than normal.

the sun is shining

The Sun Shines: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton with Lara Love Hardin

In 1985, at age 29, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with capital murder for a crime he did not commit. Being a poor black man in Alabama, he didn’t have the same legal system as the white people around him. So he spent nearly 30 years on death row. The sun is shining is his incredible memoir about the power of hope in the darkest times.

Cover of There Are No Dead Here by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno

There are no deaths here: A story of murder and denial in Colombia by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno

With the death in 1993 of notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, Colombians hoped for an end to dangerous and deadly drug cartels. But in the late 1990s, right-wing paramilitary groups linked to the cocaine industry arrived, leaving behind corruption, rape and torture. There are no dead here follows the stories of three ordinary Colombians – a journalist, a human rights activist, a prosecutor – who valiantly resisted violence and exposed corruption, despite assassins hot on their trail.

Cover of This Is Ear Hustle

This Is Ear Hustle: Unshakable Stories of Daily Prison Life by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods

Based on the popular podcast created and produced in the basement of San Quentin State Prison in California, It’s an earshot tells other untold stories about life behind bars. Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods – who was serving 31 years to life before his sentence was commuted in 2018 – expose the realities of prison life with the personal stories of those incarcerated. The printed book contains illustrations that the audiobook lacks, obviously, but it’s a moving listen nonetheless.

cover image for Trailed

Plot: One Woman’s Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders by Kathryn Miles

In 1996, two experienced, free-spirited hikers were brutally murdered while hiking in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Despite a joint investigation by the FBI, Virginia police, and the National Park Service, the case remained unsolved. Kathryn Miles became obsessed with the case, learning about the harsh reality of crime in national parks and the incompetence and negligence at crime scenes that lead to cases like this going cold. The part of Dragged what really shines is the national parks history and hiking safety commentary.

Cover of Unmasked by Paul Holes

Unmasked: My Life Solves America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes

Paul Holes is the hired detective who tracked down the Golden State Killer, and the real world of crime awaited his memoir. Unmasked covers his life from solving the most difficult cold cases and the price the work has taken on his life. It’s an incredibly personal book, detailing his angst and loss as well as his supreme victories in his career.

Cover of Write in Bone by Sue Black

Written in the Bones: Stories Hidden in What We Leave Behind by Sue Black

Sue Black is a forensic anthropologist and anatomist who studies human remains to determine a person’s identification and cause of death. Going down the human skeleton, starting with the skull, written in bone details the types of information our bones contain. Did you know that if that’s all that’s left, a person’s approximate age, gender, height, and weight can be determined? Complete with anecdotes from the wildest cases she’s worked on, this true-crime audiobook is absolutely riveting.

For more true crime, be sure to browse this list of must-read true crime authors, historical true crime books, and true crime books for those new to the genre.

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