One of the great things about being a mystery reader is all the exciting sub-genres. There’s the locked room mystery, where a seemingly impossible crime has been committed; the isolated mystery, where characters in peril are cut off from the world; the amnesia mysteries, where a character can’t remember what happened. But one of the most popular sub-genres of mystery is certainly when a character returns home to revisit the past. You can go home again—but something or someone from your past will probably want to kill you.
You know the genre. An illness or death in the family, or a job, brings the main character back to the hometown they couldn’t wait to leave in the rearview mirror all those years ago. And while they’re there, they take up with an old flame and learn a dark secret, or the body of a person thought to have moved away is discovered. There are so many variations of the story, but whatever the circumstances, they are all equally exciting to read. That’s why we made you this list of seven great thrillers that revisit the past. So take off your coat, hang it in the closet with the skeletons, and stay awhile.
Police detective Hannah Duncker left her hometown many years ago after her father was convicted of murder. And the shame of her father's actions kept her away until she decided to become a police officer and help the community. But the murder of a fifteen-year-old boy brings Hannah back to all her old haunts and face to face with people from her past, and not everyone is ready to forget.
by Attica Locke
A great start to a series by one of the biggest names in mystery suspense novels writing today. Darren Mathews was thrilled to get the heck out of his racist small Texas town, but unfortunately, he couldn't manage to stay away for good. Now the only Black Texas Ranger in East Texas, Darren is sent to investigate two suspicious deaths after he runs into trouble at work. But what he finds in the incredibly small town is a powder keg of racial tensions waiting to explode.
This novel is perfect for people who like super creepy suspense books! When Paul Adams was young, his friend Charlie Crabtree committed a terrible murder—and then disappeared. Crabtree hasn't been since, but his crime is the stuff of internet legend. Many years later, Paul returns to his hometown of Featherbank to visit his ailing mother and discovers the police are investigating a copycat murder. But if Charlie Crabtree is back, where is he? Or was even he the real killer at all?
The last thing reporter Camille Preaker wants is an assignment back in her hometown. But if she wants to prove herself to her boss after returning from a stay at a psych hospital, she'll have to take it. So that's how Camille winds up covering the murder of two young girls and staying with her demanding and emotionally withholding mother and teenage sister. But as Camille digs deeper into the present, she uncovers more about the past.
by Peter Craig
This suspense novel is about a father trying to atone for the sins of his past by helping his teenage daughter in her hour of need. John Link's daughter Lydia ran away from home at 14 and has been involved in shady dealings the last few years. But when she's involved in a job that erupts into violence, she becomes a target and runs to the only person she can think to help her: her father, who is fresh out of prison. But Link soon realizes that it's going to take everything he has, and more, to keep his daughter safe.
Abby Williams was relieved to escape her small-town life in Indiana and all the drama that came with it. Now, a decade later, she's an environmental lawyer who is assigned to investigate a factory that supplies jobs to most of the residents in her hometown. Not only is Abby seen as the enemy upon her return, but she soon gets mixed up with a few faces from her past and discovers things about one of her popular classmates who ran away their senior year that may instead point to foul play.
It has been eight years since Anahera Rawiri fled her small New Zealand town, running away from the ghosts of the past toward what she thought was a bright future. But when her life's plans are shattered, she reluctantly returns home to pick up the pieces. There she teams up with a new police officer running from his own ghosts to help him solve the disappearance of a local jogger.
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