10 Atmospheric Mysteries & Thrillers
Part of what makes jump scares in movies frightening is the buildup beforehand. It’s the low music and slow close-up that helps build suspense. If you’re a fan of jump scares and the cathartic release afterward, these books may be a good starting point. Characters navigate around a multitude of personalities and to the deepest, darkest corners in order to find the truth. LA’s influencers. Nuns in New Orleans. Aspiring writers in a retreat. Everyone is playing a part in these thrillers and mysteries. It’ll take more than determination and persistence to uncover the truth.
Mae Pruett, LA’s “black-bag” publicist, works for one of the most sought-after crisis PR firms who protect some of the richest and most powerful clients. Her boss gets gunned down in a random attack and Mae takes it upon herself to investigate what happened. Her search takes her all around LA portraying a myriad of human lives and what it means when we’re faced with impossible odds.
In Crimea 1855, a serial killer terrorizes Florence Nightingale and her nurses. When the main suspect turns up dead, Inspector Charles Field closes the case. But twelve years later, Field discovers a woman’s body with her mouth covered by the killer’s signature embroidered rose. Is this the killer or a copycat? With his own family now at risk, Field must race against time to stop the killer before more bodies turn up.
Charlie Garner has a bad feeling. His ex-wife, Meg, has been missing for over a week and one quick peek into her home shows all her possessions packed up in boxes. Neighbors claim she’s running from bill collectors, but Charlie suspects something more sinister is afoot. Meg was last seen working at the local donut shop, a business run by a shadow group most refer to as ‘The Saucer People’; a space-age, evangelist cult who believe their compound to be the site of an extraterrestrial Second Coming.
Along with his brother, Felix, and beautiful, randy journalist Amelia “Scrappy” Moon, Charlie uncovers strange and frightening details about the compound (read: a massive, doomsday storehouse of weapons, a leashed chimpanzee!) When the body of their key informer is found dead with his arms ripped out of their sockets, Charlie knows he’s in danger but remains dogged in his quest to rescue Meg.
Brimming with colorful characters and Lansdale’s characteristic bounce, this rollicking crime novel examines the insidious rise of fringe groups and those under their sway with black comedy and glints of pathos.
The Golden Spoon
For six amateur bakers, competing in Bake Week is a dream come true.
When they arrive at Grafton Manor to compete, they're ready to do whatever it takes to win the ultimate The Golden Spoon.
But for the show's famous host, Betsy Martin, Bake Week is more than just a competition. Grafton Manor is her family's home and legacy —and Bake Week is her life's work. It's imperative that both continue to succeed.
But as the competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it's small acts of sabotage. Someone switching sugar for salt. A hob turned far too high.
But when a body is discovered, it's clear that for someone in the competition, The Golden Spoon is a prize worth killing for...
Magic City Blues
Kincaid’s assignment was to protect Abby Doyle, daughter of Birmingham’s most dangerous crime lord. But he discovers it’s all a set up after Abby’s fiancé gets murdered, forcing Kincaid to team up with BPD Laura D’Agostino. Together, they uncover secrets from people who wanted to be left alone and start developing unexpected feelings for one another. Will their relationship survive Kincaid’s most dangerous job as of yet?
In the hurricane-ravaged bottomlands of South Mississippi, where stores are closing and jobs are few, a fierce zealot has gained a foothold, capitalizing on the vulnerability of a dwindling population and a burning need for hope. As she preaches and promises salvation from the light of the pulpit, in the shadows she sows the seeds of violence.
Elsewhere, Jessie and her toddler, Jace, are on the run across the Mississippi/Louisiana line, in a resentful return to her childhood home and her desolate father. Holt, Jace's father, is missing and hunted by a brutish crowd, and an old man witnesses the wrong thing in the depths of night. In only a matter of days, all of their lives will collide, and be altered, in the maelstrom of the changing world.
Former punk rocker turned nun Sister Holiday doesn’t want to just wait around when Sister Sebastian’s School becomes the target of an arson spree. She decides to find the mysterious attacker herself, leading her on a quest the raises suspicions against her colleagues, students, and even her fellow Sisters of the Sublime Blood. She’ll need to reckon with her own past if she wants to solve this high-stakes mystery.
What Lies in the Woods
Kate Alice Marshall
Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes. And they were liars.
For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.
What to Read Next
Emily Hoang is a writer and editor, who is obsessed with haunted houses, ghosts, and dreams. More info can be found on her website.