13 spooky thrillers to get you in the Halloween spirit
Halloween is almost here, and we can’t wait! We’ve been getting in the spooky spirit all October long with Halloween home decor, seriously scary horror movies, and terrifying Halloween makeup tutorials. Oh, and searching for the perfect Halloween costume, of course.
If that’s still not enough, look no further than your bookshelf. Nothing gets our blood pumping and our hair standing on end quite like a scary story. From unsolved murders to eerie short stories, these books will definitely put you in the Halloween spirit. But we’re warning you now — you might have to sleep with one eye open!
1. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
This book is about secrets. But not just secrets that we keep from each other — ones we keep from ourselves, too. When Karen wakes up in the hospital after a car crash, she can’t remember anything. Or is it that she’s trying to forget? So much suspense. So many twists. Good luck sleeping tonight.
2. Girl in Snow by Dany Kukafka
After teenager Lucinda Hayes is murdered in a small town and found buried under a light dusting of snow, there are three people who feel her loss particularly hard: the boy who loved her, the girl who wanted to be her, and the officer assigned to her case. Girl in Snow is a mystery told from three perspectives that packs an especially chilling punch.
3. The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer
For many kids, finding out you’re adopted can be difficult news to process. But not for Ruby — she’s overjoyed. Determined to escape her abusive parents and find her birth parents, Ruby runs away into the woods with her suitcase and her imaginary friend. She has a hard time determining who’s good and who’s bad, and what’s real and what’s not — and you will too. With The Doll Funeral, Kate Hamer establishes a new sub-genre of fiction: the whimsical mystery.
4. Righteous by Joe Ide
Last year, Joe Ide burst onto the scene with IQ, a thriller about a perceptive man of the same name determined to solve all the crimes the LAPD ignores. The story continues in Righteous with IQ uncovering a secret about the death of his own brother. Get in on the ground floor with Ide’s series now, because it’s already in development for a TV show.
5. Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah
It started innocently enough. There was a mix-up at the front desk, and Cara let herself into the wrong hotel room. Except inside the room, Cara catches a glimpse of Melody Chapa, the famous murder victim who’s all over the news — alive. Or did she? And what is she going to do about it next?
6. It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
Nothing builds suspense quite like a non-linear timeline. It’s Always the Husband jumps back and forth between the past and the present, telling the story of three friends. Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny used to be the best of friends. As the story unfolds, we learn why they grew to hate each other. But do they hate each other so much that it could have led to murder? Or, as is often assumed, is it always the husband that’s guilty?
7. Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner
Detective Manon Bradshaw is at it again. If you liked Susie Steiner’s Missing, Presumed, you’ll flip for Persons Unknown. This go-around, a man is stabbed to death outside of Manon’s the police station. The case gets complicated quickly when her Black son Fly is caught by a security camera walking past the body wearing a hoodie. Manon gets taken off the official investigation, and it’s a race against the clock to solve the case on her own and prove Fly’s innocence.
8. I See You by Clare Mackintosh
When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classified ads of the newspaper, she has questions. Who put it there? Why did they do it? Why does it feature a new woman the next day? And does it have anything to do with the guy she sees staring at her every morning on her commute? We’re warning you: I See You will stay in your head for days. Pick it up in paperback on November 7th!
9. The Best of Richard Matheson by Richard Matheson
Even if you don’t recognize the name Richard Matheson, you’ve certainly felt his influence. The legendary writer was a major inspiration to names like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, Stephen Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams. And now, Matheson’s spooky short stories — arguably his best work — are celebrated in his first-ever career retrospective. Just in time for Halloween!
10. Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
Three years ago, sisters Emma and Cass Tanner disappeared. Now, Cass is back — alone. With the help of Abby, a forensic psychologist who has been interested in the girls’ case for years, they begin the search for Emma. And the journey is not for the faint of heart. Emma in the Night is disturbing in the best way possible.
11. A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
What do we love more than a mystery? A gripping YA mystery with a complex queer anti-hero protagonist. A Line in the Dark tells the story of Jess, a girl content with going unnoticed who has a crush on her best friend. But when the book shifts — trust us, you’ll know when it happens — the story goes from a complicated YA love triangle to a thrilling whodunit.
12. The Walls by Hollie Overton
Thanks to her job at the Texas Department of Corrections, Kristy Tucker knows the ins and outs of murder. She knows that in order to get away with it, you need an unidentifiable murder weapon, a remote location, and an airtight alibi. So she decides to do just that: Plan the perfect crime, kill her abusive husband, and get away with it.
13. Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge
Repeat after us: The call is coming from inside the house — the big house. In the latest Helen Grace installment, someone frames the detective for a murder she didn’t commit. As more and more of her fellow inmates are murdered, it’s clear the killings are an inside job. It’s up to Helen to expose the person who framed her before she’s next.