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The very best crime audiobooks of 2021

There’s never been a better time to get into audiobooks and crime fiction has led the field in 2021 with gripping recordings that offer listeners even more to make chilling stories come alive.

Here at Dead Good, we wanted to share some of our stellar recommendations of the best audiobooks of the year, chosen by real audio addicts, to give your ears a thrill.

Complete with famous narrators, multi-voice recordings, dramatizations and bonus content, there’s a plethora of aural treats across the full spectrum of the genre to surprise and delight. Headphones at the ready, you may be here for some time…

Here are the very best crime audiobooks of 2021.

The best crime audiobooks of 2021:

Win by Harlan Coben

Win by Harlan Coben, read by Steven Weber

This riveting thriller from the creator of Netflix’s Safe and The Stranger has twists, curve-balls and red herrings a’plenty that are guaranteed to keep you guessing.

Performed by a narrator who understands character through and through, this standout audiobook also features an interview between Harlan himself and actor Richard Armitage, star of Coben adaptations The Stranger and the forthcoming Stay Close.

Listen to a clip from the interview here.

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox, read by full cast

This multi-voice recording with students from Guildhall School of Music and Drama playing various roles brings Joseph Knox’s gripping standalone to life perfectly.

Presented like a true crime podcast, the audiobook explores the narrative with 17 actors playing 30 characters, resulting in an outstanding, authentic listen.

Listen to a clip here.

Girl A by Abigail Dean

Girl A by Abigail Dean, read by Holliday Grainger

Narrated beautifully by Holliday Grainger, who plays Robin in BBC One’s Strike adaptations, you’ll find yourself binge-listening to this dark, powerful tale.

With vivid descriptions that make the action easy to visualise, this one left us feeling fully immersed in the story.

Listen to a clip here.

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman, read by Lesley Manville

Following the phenomenal success of The Thursday Murder Club, actress Lesley Manville returned for Richard Osman’s follow-up, breathing life into our four favourite octogenarians and delivering another five-star performance.

You can also go behind the scenes and hear Richard Osman and Lesley delve into the world of the Thursday Murder Club with an exclusive interview.

Listen to a clip from the interview here.

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins

A Slow Fire Burning by Paula Hawkins, read by Rosamund Pike

The narration of Gone Girl and I Care A Lot‘s Rosamund Pike and writing of The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins is surely a match made in heaven.

Perfectly paced, with rich, believable characters, this is a brilliantly woven, expertly crafted story.

Listen to a clip here.

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz

A Line to Kill by Anthony Horowitz, read by Rory Kinnear

The voice of No Time to Die and The Imitation Game actor Rory Kinnear pairs perfectly with the latest Hawthorne and Horowitz mystery.

As an extra treat, there’s an exclusive interview between Anthony Horowitz and fellow author Adam Handy at the end where they discuss the book and crime writing.

Listen to a clip here.

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency: BBC Radio Casebook Volume 5 by Alexander McCall Smith

The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency: BBC Radio Casebook Volume 5 by Alexander McCall Smith, read by full cast including Janice Acquah and Nadine Marshall

This audiobook, adapted from Alexander McCall Smith’s popular books, is a great example of how novels can be brought to life with full-cast dramatisation.

The first-class cast give a hugely engaging, stellar performance that makes it feel like you’re listening to a TV show.

Listen to a clip here.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, read by Caroline Lee

From the author of Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers comes a compelling, suspenseful family drama narrated by fan favourite Caroline Lee.

At times moving, at times tense and at times funny, Caroline moves seamlessly through the story as it unfolds, capturing each character wonderfully.

Listen to a clip here.

Stone: The Complete Series 8 and 9 by Danny Brocklehurst

Stone: The Complete Series 8 and 9 by Danny Brocklehurst, read by full cast

This is the final instalment of the popular original radio crime series by BAFTA-winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehurst. It’s an excellent, hard-hitting, edge-of-your-seat crime fiction full of gritty, morally complex stories.

Starring Hugo Speer as DCI John Stone, Craig Cheetham as DI Mike Tanner and Deborah McAndrew as DS Sue Kelly, this full-cast drama will be much missed by fans of the show.

Listen to a clip here.

Silverview by John le Carré

Silverview by John le Carré, read by Toby Jones

Actor Toby Jones (Sherlock, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does more than justice to the final, mesmerising spy novel from master storyteller John le Carré.

Exploring the tension between public duty and private morals in the British Intelligence Service, this character driven tale is one to be savoured.

Listen to a clip here.

Magpie by Elizabeth Day

Magpie by Elizabeth Day, read by Tanya Reynolds

This emotional tale of parenthood and dysfunctional family narrated by Tana Reynolds – who you may recognise from Netflix’s Sex Education – is compulsively listenable.

It’s full of surprises and twists that will have you hooked from start to finish.

Listen to a clip here.

The Dick Francis BBC Radio Drama Collection by Dick Francis

The Dick Francis BBC Radio Drama Collection by Dick Francis, read by full cast including Bill Nighy, Nigel Havers and Siân Phillips

Dick Francis’s iconic and well-loved novels receive the full-cast dramatisation treatment in this superb collection featuring some well-known names.

Fans of these classic racing thrillers will find themselves racing through the fast-paced stories and bonus documentary on the life and work of the author.

Listen to a clip here.

1979 by Val McDermid

1979 by Val McDermid, read by Katie Leung

Scottish actress Katie Leung of Harry Potter fame narrates the first in a brand new series from crime fiction queen Val McDermid.

Following reporter Allie Burns as she tries to expose the criminal underbelly of respectable Scotland, it’s perfectly plotted and as gripping as they come.

Listen to a clip here.

There you have it – the best crime audiobooks of 2021! Have we missed any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below…

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