Whether you love fantasy, suspense, crime, or horror fiction, the American writer Stephen King isn’t a stranger to you. After all, most of his books have movie and television miniseries adaptations.
Audiobook fans won’t be left behind either, thanks to the best Stephen King audiobooks, such as the ones we included on this list.
1. The Institute: A Novel
Narrator: Santino Fontana
An unforgettable story about the evil children face, this novel is terrifying but enthralling. This Stephen King masterpiece is included in the New York Times’ list of 100 Notable Books and is a 2020 Thriller or Suspense Audie awardee.
12-year-old Luke Ellis is a kid with special abilities. His parents were murdered before he was kidnapped and brought to a facility called The Institute. The room he was placed in mimics his bedroom but has no windows. Right outside are other rooms occupied by kids who also have supernatural powers.
Meeting the other kids, he later learns that the building has two areas: the Front Half and the Back Half. In the Front Half, the director and staff experiment and torture the kids to help enhance their special talents and develop other supernatural powers. Even worst, those who refuse receive brutal and inhumane punishments.
Once they see positive outcomes in the children, they graduate to the Back Half and never come back. Not wanting to be one of the graduates, Luke desperately tries to escape from the facility where no one ever succeeded.
2. The Green Mile (The Complete Serial Novel)
Narrator: Frank Muller
Yet another of Stephen King’s most talked-about small or rural town fiction novels, the six-volume The Green Mile was included in the New York Times bestseller list. It has a thought-provoking, philosophical, moving story that will hit you to the core.
If you’ve watched the film adaptation and loved it, you will love the audiobook version even more.
The Green Mile is a Cold Mountain Penitentiary housing inmates who’ve committed the most horrendous crimes and await their death via an electric chair. The lives of Paul Edgecombe and his fellow correctional officers change when they meet some of the most unforgettable inmates, including (and most especially) John Coffey.
Accused of committing a horrific crime, he is known as the gentle giant because, despite being tall and having a powerfully built body, he’s very empathetic. Other prisoners who made their prison guard lives not as simple as they used to be are:
- Eduard “Del” Delacroix, a Cajun artist who is accused of murder and rape
- William “Billy the Kid” or “Wild Bill” Wharton, a cheerful, unhinged person accused of committing multiple murders
3. The Eyes of the Dragon
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
This novel is Stephen King’s take on a classic fairy tale focusing on the battle between good and evil in a quasi-medieval setting. This paranormal fantasy has multi-dimensional and complex characters. It is filled with supernatural powers or magic to keep you intrigued and hooked, whether you’re a tween, teenager, college student, professional, or a stay-at-home parent.
King Roland, whose righthand is an evil magician named Randall Flagg, rules the Kingdom of Delain. He has a good-hearted wife, Queen Sasha, with whom he has two sons, Peter and Thomas. Sadly, she died after giving birth to the younger prince.
If that wasn’t unfortunate enough, the king gets murdered. The evidence points to the noble prince, Peter, who was supposed to take his father’s place. So as not to put the kingdom at risk, the 12-year-old, innocent prince, Thomas, was crowned the new king.
Being young, inexperienced, and fearful, he allows Flagg to use enormous power and magic tricks. Meanwhile, Peter tries all the means he can think of to escape his imprisonment to prove his innocence.
4. Pet Sematary
Narrator: Michael C. Hall
Whether you’re an old-time or new Stephen King fan, you most likely haven’t missed the film adaptation of this horror fiction. After all, most fans consider it the scariest novel the American author has ever written.
With the resurrection, deaths, and supernatural elements combined with the award-winning film actor and singer’s audiobook narration, this version will surely give you the chills while listening.
Louis Creed is a Chicago-based doctor married to Rachel and has two children, Ellie and Gage. Upon his appointment as the University of Maine Health Service Director, they moved to a large house in Ludlow’s rural town.
Although it is a tranquil place every family raising young children would love to be in, speeding trucks frequented the highway running past their house. Also, in the woods near their new home, there is a pet sematary where generations of kids buried their pets. Right next to it is a burial ground filled with hidden truths.
5. Billy Summers
Narrator: Paul Sparks
Any audiobook veteran who love Stephen King will have heard of Billy Summers. Not only is this masterpiece from the American author included in the New York Times Bestseller list but also on Esquire’s latest Best Books of the Year list.
It is a suspense crime thriller combining luck, love, fate, heroism, and redemption that audiobook listeners will talk about for a long time.
Dalton Smith, David Lockridge, or Billy Summers is a hitman who has one rule: to kill the evilest criminals in the country.
As a highly respected Iraq War veteran and sniper, he is the best in the business, not only in terms of a sure-kill hit. He also makes no mistake of leaving behind any clues or evidence that can incriminate him.
Deciding to retire, he gets offered one last assignment he can’t resist because it will ensure he’ll have a very comfortable retirement life. However, it is a job that changes the course of his life as he meets new people and discovers secrets.
6. Just After Sunset
Narrator: Multiple, including Stephen King
Got a secret obsession to Stephen King’s stories? A Stephen King collection of short horror stories like Just After Sunset is one you wouldn’t want to miss out on during the audiobook season.
Each of these stories was published in different years in different publications like Esquire, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. Thanks to these compiled audiobook versions, you can binge-listen and be frightened.
Here are the 14 titles, in order of when they were originally published, in the Just After Sunset short story collection and their plots:
- N: A story that follows the truth about the death of a psychiatrist and the main suspect, his paranoid, delusional patient with OCD he referred to as “N.” in his notes.
- The Cat From Hell: Halston is a hitman tasked to end the life of an unusual target, a cat, which seems like an easy job for the amount of money he was offered.
- Stationary Bike: Wanting to solve his high cholesterol problems, Richard Sefkitz rides the stationary bike in his apartment building’s basement. He finds a way to make it more exciting but soon starts to have strange and scary thoughts of being followed by someone while riding the bike.
- Harvey’s Dream: This well-written story by Stephen King uncovers whether or not Harvey’s (one of the main characters) dream is really just a dream.
- Rest Stop: This is one of the best audiobooks for writers because the main character, John Dykstra, is an author. Needing a rest stop after drinking lots of beer during his mystery writer’s group meetup, he overhears what seems like ongoing domestic abuse.
- The Things They Left Behind: Scott Staley suffers from survivor’s guilt and starts to notice that the belongings of his colleagues who died in the 9/11 attack suddenly appear in his apartment.
- Willa: A man searching for his fiancé, Willa, finds her in a small town where they both uncover a heart-wrenching truth.
- Graduation Afternoon: The unexpected turns of events shift the mood of a high school graduation party held at a suburban Connecticut home.
- The Gingerbread Girl: Emily finds running her best way to deal with the loss of her child, but it’s also what turns her life around to something unimaginable.
- Ayana: A series of miracles begins after Ayana, a mysterious girl, healed a man with pancreatic cancer.
- Mute: Monette is a book salesman who picks up a deaf and mute hitchhiker. The guy falls asleep during their travel, so he starts venting about his marital problems. After leaving the bathroom at a rest stop, unfortunate events began happening.
- A Very Tight Place: Because of a conflict on property rights and the death of a dog, Curtis Johnson finds himself fighting for his life.
- The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates: This story by Stephen King portrays the eternal love of a husband to his wife, even after his demise.
Narrator: Eli Wallach
As expected from the American author, this powerful story talks about many real-world issues like death, birth, insanity, and homosexuality that will make you forget it’s fiction. Combine that with how well the audiobook narrator tells the story, and you have a 25-hour-long Stephen King taped book you will look forward to listening to after you hit the pause button.
Ralph Roberts is a Derry, Maine, resident who started to have difficulty sleeping after his wife died. Each night became worse than the previous one, leading him to start walking late at night. Suddenly, he observes strange things around the neighborhood. Although they could be hallucinations due to his lack of sleep, his instincts tell him otherwise.
His friend Lois Chasse is among the few who could see the auras and other unusual elements. The difference is that she could interpret them. Learning about all these, they get entangled with the ongoing conflict between the Random and Purpose, where they discover other realities.
8. Under the Dome: A Novel
Narrator: Raul Esparza
Our next entry on our best Stephen King audiobooks is a science fiction that reveals the good and evil within a person when conflicted with uncontrollable and unexplainable circumstances. With over 34 hours of listening time, ensure you set your audiobook clocks early during your binge day.
Retired US Army captain and Iraq War veteran Dale “Barbie” Barbara plans on leaving the town of Chester’s Mill in Maine. Unfortunately, one normal, beautiful fall day, an invisible force field or glass-like barrier suddenly appears and isolates it from the whole country and the world.
He teams up with some brave citizens, including Julia Shumway, a newspaper company owner. They plan on solving the mystery behind the dome before running out of time.
Standing in their way is James “Big Jim” Rennie, one of the town’s most influential and popular citizens. He uses the unfortunate event to create chaos and take over Chester’s Mill.
Narrator: Holter Graham
Yet another powerful story written by Stephen King, UR will trigger or awaken your fear of modern technology or high-tech gadgets. It isn’t the typical horror and thriller novels that talk about a haunted city or supernatural powers. Instead, it opens up a new dimension that fiction lovers will surely enjoy.
Wesley Smith is a book lover and English instructor mending a broken heart after his breakup with his girlfriend. Haunted by the last words his ex told him, he purchased a Kindle but was given a unique pink version.
As he explores his Kindle, he finds an unusual “UR” function and starts exploring it. By doing so, he begins to have a glimpse of unimaginable realities.
10. Four Past Midnight
Last on our list is another collection of Stephen King novels narrated by some of the best audiobook performers to match the stories’ content quality. You’ll find four books belonging to the thriller and horror genres and written to keep you up at night.
The following are quick overviews of the different novellas or books included in the collection:
- The Langoliers: This Stephen King masterpiece centers on the story of the 11 passengers who survived a difficult flight from Los Angeles to Boston, only to find themselves in a place comparable to a haunted city or an empty world.
- Secret Window, Secret Garden: One of Stephen King’s novellas comparable to his best-selling novel The Dark Half, the Secret Window, Secret Garden will let you into the life of a depressed writer.
- The Library Policeman: Junction City, Iowa, is the last place the people will consider the perfect hiding spot for evils. However, Sam Peebles feels and thinks otherwise, leading him to find the truth to prove he isn’t going insane.
- The Sun Dog: As one of Stephen King’s creepiest stories, this novella solves the mystery behind the black dog that appears in every photo Kevin Delevan captures using his Polaroid camera.
Listen To the Best Stephen King Audiobooks Now!
There you have it; our top Stephen King audiobook recommendations you can start listening to while taking some time off from your busy schedule. Whether you listen to any of them at home with your speaker volume up or at the town park wearing earbuds or headphones, these selections surely won’t disappoint!
Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.