The best mystery thrillers so thoroughly absorb readers in their storytelling grasp that they can feel like they’re really happening to you. The talented authors who’ve penned the six chilling crime books in this roundup each carefully layer tension and suspense all while ratcheting up the stakes. The mysteries highlighted here achieve twists and turns while sending shivers down your back. Be sure to clear your schedule when you start one—these thrillers will not let you go until the end.
by Noah Hawley
With aching suspense and riveting pacing, Noah Hawley’s Before the Fall is a must-read page turner. A private plane departing Martha’s Vineyard for New York drops from the sky, plunging into the water and killing everyone on board except for a painter and the son of wealthy parents. As the tragedy attracts more and more attention, conspiracy theories begin to brew, questioning why so many influential and powerful people were on board and why the two survivors, in particular, managed to get out alive. Hawley builds escalating tension into this on-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller, keeping readers on their toes until the very last pages.
by Mira Grant
This creature feature pits a zombie uprising against a grizzled resistance making a last stand for humanity. In an alternate 2014, medicine had cured cancer and eliminated the common cold. Riding high off its success, scientists and physicians never see the new plague coming, a terrifying pandemic that latches onto a host and pursues one mission: FEED, as in, feed on humans. In The Rising, Mira Grant's Newsflesh series is captured in its entirety, each of the three books in the series (Feed, Deadline, Blackout) compiled in a single volume readers can devour at once. Get ready to marathon read this paranormal dystopian horror saga.
In Susanne Johnson’s chilling thriller suspense debut The Forbidden Place, the trauma of biologist Nathalie’s past slams into her present when she returns to her Swedish hometown. Nestled in the remote wetlands, Mossmarken carries with it a storied past when people would leave offerings to the gods in its marsh. For Nathalie, painful memories have made her avoid Mossmarken, but an opportunity to study the peat bogs proves irresistible. Yet once Nathalie finds herself back in her old community, suspicious activity begins to surface. First, a man is found on the marsh unconscious with gold in his pockets, just like the legendary human sacrifices. Next, someone digs a grave in the mire, but it vanishes the next day. Nathalie’s professional interests soon blur with her personal need to confront her demons in an epic, page-turning clash of good vs. evil.
With gasp-worthy twists and propulsive velocity, The Woman in the Dark is an essential domestic thriller debut. After Sarah loses her mother, her husband Patrick suspects her accidental overdose was not a mistake. Believing a change of scenery could help, Patrick moves Sarah and their teenaged kids back into his old coastal home he grew up in. But the sunny, happy memories of Patrick’s childhood clash with the house’s more recent past when a family was murdered there. Now known as the Murder House, the home seems to cling to its brutal history. And when strange and suspicious events start to multiply, Sarah begins to doubt everything and everyone…including her husband and the truth about the Murder House.
Marcus Connelly is after one thing: revenge. When his daughter is murdered by a drifter commonly known by his nickname “Mr. Shivers,” Marcus embarks on a journey through Dustbowl America in this Great Depression-era thriller suspense novel. The quest to track Mr. Shivers and bring him to justice drives Marcus to travel the country via railroads, relying on hitchhiking hoboes to help him find the murderer who has plagues not just Marcus, but a whole host of others. With echoes of Stephen King’s Americana and the period detail of Dennis Lehane's historical crime books, Jackson Bennett’s Mr. Shivers is a character-driven story readers will race through to reach the final shocking conclusion.
by Rob Zombie
With B. K. Evenson
From horror master actor and filmmaker Rob Zombie, a blood-curdling tale set in Salem, Massachusetts. Thirty-seven-year-old DJ Heidi is treading water, suffering from depression and battling through addiction. At the radio station, Heidi receives a wooden box with a peculiar mark on it. When she plays the record of the band, who call themselves “The Lords,” an uprising of evil ripples through the town and murders creep closer and closer to Heidi. Can she stop the horror from spreading? You’ll tear through this blood-curdling horror novel to find out.
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