The best crime audiobooks for armchair detectives

20 June 2017

By Pan Macmillan

If you need a crime thriller fix but have no time to sit and read, these are some of the best crime books you can listen to.

As part of #LoveAudio week, we're listing just some of our crime books that are available as audiobooks, perfect for those without time to sit and read.
 

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances, read by Antonia Beamish


 

A girl. A boy. His mother. And the lie she'll wish she'd never told.

Laura has it all. A successful career, a long marriage to a rich husband, and a twenty-three year-old son, Daniel, who is kind, handsome, and talented. Then Daniel meets Cherry. Cherry is young, beautiful and smart but she hasn't had the same opportunities as Daniel. And she wants Laura's life.

Cherry comes to the family wide-eyed and wants to be welcomed with open arms, but Laura suspects she's not all that she seems.

When tragedy strikes, an unforgivable lie is told. It is an act of desperation, but the fall-out will change their lives forever.

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Need You Dead by Peter James, read by Daniel Weyman

Roy Grace, creation of the CWA Diamond Dagger award-winning author Peter James, faces his most mysterious case yet in Need You Dead.

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape her marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you've made. A chance photograph on a client's mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined.

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The Fix by David Baldacci, read by Kyf Brewer and Orlagh Cassidy


Walter Dabney is a family man. A loving husband and the father of four grown daughters, he's built a life many would be proud of.

But then the unthinkable happens.

Standing outside the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, Dabney shoots schoolteacher Anne Berkshire in cold blood before turning the gun on himself. One of the many witnesses is Amos Decker, a man who forgets nothing and sees what most miss. Baffled by what appears to be a seemingly senseless and random killing, Decker is thrust into the investigation to determine what drove this family man to pull the trigger.

As part of an FBI special task force, Decker and the team delve into the lives of Dabney and Berkshire to find a connection that doesn't seem to exist. What they do find are secrets that stretch back a lifetime and reveal a current plot of impending destruction that will send the world reeling, placing Decker and his team squarely in the crosshairs.

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Framed by Ronnie O'Sullivan, read by Nick Moran


 

The first in a gripping crime fiction series by snooker legend Ronnie O' Sullivan, Framed is a fast-paced, tightly plotted thriller.

Frankie James is a young man with a lot on his shoulders. His mother disappeared when he was sixteen; his father's in jail for armed robbery; and he owes rent on his Soho snooker club to one of London's toughest gangsters. Things, you'd think, can only get better. Actually, they're about to get a whole lot worse.

He always swore to his mum he'd keep his younger, wilder brother out of trouble, but when Jack turns up at the club, covered in someone else's blood, and with the cops hard on his heels, Frankie has no choice but to enter the sordid world of bent coppers, ruthless mobsters and twisted killers he's tried all his life to avoid.

But in the dog-eat-dog underworld of 1990s Soho - as a vicious gang war rages between London's two foremost crime families - will Frankie be tough enough, and smart enough to come out on top?

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint, read by Graham Halstead and Lauren Fortgang


It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery.

Noting Ruth's perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. Sent to cover the case on his first major assignment, tabloid reporter Pete Wonicke at first can't help but do the same. But the longer he spends watching Ruth, the more he learns about the darker workings of the police and the press. Soon, Pete begins to doubt everything he thought he knew.

Ruth Malone is enthralling, challenging and secretive - is she really capable of murder?

Haunting, intoxicating and heart-poundingly suspenseful, Little Deaths is a gripping novel about love, morality and obsession, exploring the capacity for good and evil within us all.

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The Bones of You by Debbie Howells, read by Charlie Sanderson and Jenny Funnell

Everyone has secrets. But some are more dangerous than others.

I have a gardener's inherent belief in the natural order of things. Soft-petalled flowers that go to seed. The resolute passage of the seasons. Swallows that fly thousands of miles to follow the eternal summer.

Children who don't die before their parents.

A community in shock

When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She'd come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her - perhaps better even than Rosie's own mother.

A family torn apart

Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?

A keeper of secrets

Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She's certain that someone in the village knows more than they're letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate's obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.

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Exposure by Aga Lesiewicz, read by Emma Sidi


 

You know that feeling. Your life's on track and all is going well. And then something monumental occurs that turns everything on its head. It happens to everyone but, for Kristin Ryder, it was much, much worse . . .

When up-and-coming photographer Kristin begins to receive anonymous emails, her life in a trendy loft in London's Hoxton with Anton, her ultra-cool, street-artist boyfriend, suddenly begins to feel unsafe. The emails come with sinister attachments that suggest the sender has an intimate knowledge of Kristin's past, and soon her life spirals out of control.

Who can she trust? And will she be able to discover the sender's identity before it's too late?

Breathtaking and shocking, Exposure by Aga Lesiewicz will grip you until the last snap of the camera shutter.

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How a Gunman Says Goodbye by Malcolm Mackay, read by Angus King.



How does a gunman retire?

Frank MacLeod was the best at what he does. Thoughtful. Efficient. Ruthless. But is he still the best?

A new job. A target. But something is about to go horribly wrong. Someone is going to end up dead.
Most gunmen say goodbye to the world with a bang. Frank’s still here. He’s lasted longer than he should have...

The breathtaking, devastating sequel to lauded debut The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, How a Gunman Says Goodbye will plunge the reader back into the Glasgow underworld, where criminal organisations war for prominence and those caught up in events are tested at every turn.
 

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Stay Dead by Jessie Keane, read by Karen Cass

Annie Carter finally believes that life is good. She and Max are back together and she has a new and uncomplicated life sunning herself in Barbados. It's what she's always dreamed of.

Then she gets the news that her old friend Dolly Farrell is dead, and suddenly she finds herself back in London and hunting down a murderer with only one thing on her mind... revenge. But the hunter can so quickly become the hunted, and Annie has been keeping too many secrets.

She's crossed and bettered a lot of people over the years, but this time the enemy is a lot closer to home and she may just have met her match...

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The Fact of a Body, written and read by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Before Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich begins a summer job at a law firm in Louisiana, working on the retrial defence of death-row convicted murderer and child molester, Ricky Langley, she thinks her position is clear. The child of two lawyers, she is staunchly anti death penalty. But the moment Ricky's face flashes on the screen as she reviews old tapes, the moment she hears him speak of his crimes, she is overcome with the feeling of wanting him to die. Shocked by her reaction, she digs deeper and deeper into the case, realizing that despite their vastly different circumstances, something in his story is unsettlingly, uncannily familiar.

Crime, even the darkest and most unspeakable acts, can happen to any one of us, and as Alexandria pores over the facts of the murder, she finds herself thrust into the complicated narrative of Ricky's childhood. And by examining minute details of Ricky's case, she is forced to face her own story, to unearth long-buried family secrets, to reckon with how her own past colours her view of his crime.

As enthralling as true-crime classics such as In Cold Blood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and broadcast phenomena such as Making a Murderer and Serial, The Fact of a Body is a groundbreaking, heart-stopping investigation into how the law is personal, composed of individual stories and proof that arriving at the truth is more complicated, and powerful, than we could ever imagine.

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