Everyone knows that fall is horror season. Not that you ever need an excuse to read more thrillers, mysteries, and horror novels of all kinds, but there’s something especially satisfying about spooky reads during Halloween season. If you’re a fan of the mystery thriller genre and you’re looking for something fresh to read this fall, this list of books is going to explode your TBR. Maybe you’re tired of the same old horror tropes. Maybe you’re looking for thrillers with characters who share your experiences, or characters whose lives are different from yours. Whatever kind of spooky reads you’re craving, this list has got something for everyone, from dark domestic thrillers to vampire plagues.
You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile—always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet—and inspired more than one copycat.
Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree—and his victim—were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and suffering from dementia, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.
It's not long before things start to go wrong. Paul learns that Detective Amanda Beck is investigating another copycat that has struck in the nearby town of Featherbank. His mother is distressed, insistent that there's something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.
Nora Watts has built a life for herself, and revisiting her past isn't part of it. But then she gets a frantic phone call one night from the parents of the baby she gave up for adoption years before. That baby is a teenager now, and she's missing. Nora can't help but get involved, and she sets out to find the missing girl, a journey that turns into a dangerous deep-dive into her own troubled past.
Romance author Alyssa Cole makes her crime debut with this suspenseful social thriller about the sinister implications of gentrification. Sydney Green has lived her whole life in her beloved Brooklyn neighborhood. In an attempt to counteract the changes she sees around her every day, she starts a walking tour of the neighborhood that focuses on its untold history. But the more she learns about that history, the stranger all those changes seem. And when her neighbors start disappearing under mysterious circumstances, Sydney soon realizes that what's going on is even more dangerous than she thought.
My Sister, the Serial Killer is as darkly smart and subversive as the title makes it sound. It's the story of two Nigerian sisters: Ayoola, who has a habit of killing the men she dates, and Korede, who has a habit of cleaning up Ayoola's messes. But when Ayoola starts dating a man Korede has always loved, her family loyalty is put to the test. If you like character-driven crime novels and complex family relationships, you're going to want to pick this one up immediately.
Related: When Murder Is In The Family
Hye-young Pyun; Sora Kim-Russell (Translator)
A bestseller in Korea, The Hole is a psychological thriller about the horrors of loneliness and isolation. After a car crash that kills his wife leaves him paralyzed, Ogi, unable to move or speak, is left in the care of his mother-in-law. Neglected and isolated, alone in a bed, Ogi has only his thoughts and memories of his wife for company. His only view into the outside world is the holes he watches his mother-in-law digging in the garden. As you get deeper into this eerie and haunting novel, the many layers of Ogi's story begin to unfold, slowly revealing something truly sinister.
Sometimes the scariest books are the ones firmly rooted in reality, as in the case of The Perfect Nanny, a chilling novel that begins with a brutal crime, and then traces the hows and whys of that crime back to its roots. Myriam is a French-Moroccan lawyer desperate to return to work after having children. She can't believe her luck when she finds the seemingly perfect nanny in Louise, who is easygoing and willing to work late on short notice. But as Louise becomes entangled Myriam's life, that veneer of perfection begins to crack.
The Hollow Ones is the story of rookie FBI agent Odessa Hardwicke, whose career is upended when she witnesses her partner turn suddenly violent while apprehending a murderer. Forced to kill him in self-defense, Odessa, haunted by her own actions, takes a temporary desk assignment. But she can't get one image out of her head: a strange shadowy figure escaping from the agent's dead body. Her quest for answers leads her to a mysterious, centuries-old man. The problem is, she can't tell if he's a psychopath or humanity's only hope.
This creepy and epic vampire story begins when a dead woman walks out of a morgue in a small town in Arizona. As more dead bodies all over the US begin disappearing form morgues, all afflicted with the same strange disease that solidifies their blood, the truth becomes apparent. Soon the US, and then the world, is overrun with vampires. Successful and charismatic, they infiltrate all aspects of society, and things come to a head when one vampire decides to run for office. This kaleidoscopic history of the vampire uprising, told from multiple perspectives, is a genre-bending tour-de-force.
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