October brings out the ghosts, goblins, and skeletons in preparation for spooky season. There are more than plenty of scary movies to get you in the mood, but how about a spooky read to get you ready for this time of year? While I’m not one for horror and gore, I cannot get enough of mysteries and psychological thrillers. Truth be told, I am absolutely awful at reading the foreshadowing that goes into these books, so I am usually caught off guard with every twist and turn. (Please don’t take my English degree away.) I love a twist ending, a character you didn’t see coming, or a total mind-blowing moment. As the leaves rustle and the tree branches quiver in the chilled fall air, curl up with one of these spooky books that are sure to thrill and chill you to the bone.
All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson
Just before his college graduation, Harry Ackerson gets a spooky phone call from his stepmother: his father is dead and the police believe it’s suicide. He returns home to Maine to find out what happened, and meets Grace McGowan, a woman who says she’s new in town but seems too familiar to Harry. The two women both grow closer to Harry and, all the while, he thinks they might be hiding the secret behind his father’s death.
All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Ten years after her best friend, Corrine, went missing, Nicolette Ferrell thought she had sealed the heartache and moved on. But now she’s back in her hometown, hanging out with the same crowd, and at the top of the suspect list. Everything seems normal until their alibi for the night of Corrine’s disappearance, Annaleise Carter, also goes missing in a spooky turn of events.
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Jessica Farris is in desperate need of money and signs up to be a part of a psychology study—for which she will be generously compensated. Dr. Shields sees something brilliant in Jessica and offers her an extended role in the study. But as time goes on, Jessica is told what to wear, how to act, and what to do outside of the study room. Jessica begins to think Dr. Shields has other plans for her and can no longer trust everything she has to say.
Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
All Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with her Daddy—the only person who sees her as an innocent angel—but her mother keeps getting in the way. Suzette is on her last nerve, living in a strained household with a troublemaker daughter and her own deteriorating mental and physical health. Who will win the battle for this man’s heart: his daughter or his wife?
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Andy Barber is a well-respected and powerful assistant district attorney in Massachusetts with a loving and supportive family. When a young boy is murdered in their local park, Andy is quick to jump into action and find the killer. He is caught off guard when his fourteen-year-old son, Jacob, is charged with the murder of his classmate. How far will a family go to find the truth behind what happened that day?
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Libby Day’s mother and sisters were murdered when she was only seven and somehow she managed to survive. In court, she testified that her brother, Ben, was the killer. Now her past has come to haunt her when, 25 years later, a secret society tries to find new evidence to set Ben free. Libby agrees to help the club, but only if they’re willing to pay.
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
Imogen is a runaway heiress and orphan. Jule is a girl who is great at disappearing. Two best friends, a couple of murders, and some disguises lead to blurred lines and the emergence of a brand new person.
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Mia Dennett meets mysterious Colin Thatcher at a bar after her boyfriend stands her up. She thinks she’s safe leaving with him, but he takes her to a spooky, secluded cabin and hides her there, leaving her mother and a detective to figure out where she went. A twisted tale of emotional connections will cause the family’s world to split apart.
A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight
Lizzie has finally landed her dream job at an elite law firm when she gets a late-night phone call from an old friend. Zach Greyson is in trouble: his wife was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in their home and he’s the primary suspect. As Lizzie digs into the Greyson’s life together, things aren’t as they seem, and she begins to question everything.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
On an island off of Ireland, a glamorous group of people gather to witness the marriage of a successful bride and groom in a magazine-worthy wedding. As the celebrations begin, people start to show their true colors, and before long, someone turns up dead. Following six perspectives, this book will have readers guessing who did it and why from the very beginning.
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Amber Patterson dreams of a life of luxury and popularity—one like socialite Daphne Parrish lives every day. With a well-laid plan, she wiggles her way into the Parrish’s lives by becoming Daphne’s best friend, traveling the world with them, and getting closer to Jackson Parrish at the same time. But some secrets from Amber’s past may ruin her plans and cause her to return to her boring, simple life once again.
The Night Swim by Megan Goldin
Rachel Krall is an overnight sensation with the release of her true crime podcast. This season takes her to the town of Neapolis to live-cover a rape case from start to finish. Even though she does a great job concealing her identity, someone has left a spooky note on her windshield begging her to help find their sister’s killer. Rachel spends her time reporting on one case and investigating the other, all the while becoming dangerously tangled in the town’s social web.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Minnow Bly is sitting in juvenile detention trying to learn what real life is like outside of the Kevinian cult. She spent 12 years of her life following their rules, and when she rebelled, they took her hands, her family, and her trust away. Now, she struggles to find a way to face the truth of her past and help the FBI put together the pieces of what happened.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Sadie’s sister, Mattie, is found dead and Sadie is crushed. The police make a mess of the investigation, so Sadie takes it upon herself to find the clues that will lead to her sister getting justice. She all but disappears from the town and hasn’t been seen or heard from in weeks. When a radio personality overhears Sadie’s story at a truck stop, he decides to do his own investigation to find the missing girl to try and keep her from danger.
Saving Meghan by DJ Palmer
Becky Gerard would do anything for her daughter, Meghan. She’s been in and out of hospitals for most of her 15 years and seen by so many doctors she’s lost count. But when her symptoms suddenly change, the doctors suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Is there something medically wrong with Meghan or has her mother forced her to believe she’s sick when she is actually healthy?
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Alicia’s life seems perfect: she’s a famous painter and her husband, Gabriel, is a fashion photographer and they live in a beautiful home in London. One night, Gabriel comes home late and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and never speaks another word. Her notoriety shifts from painting to being the silent patient in a forensic unit, where Theo Faber hopes to get through to Alicia and help her to finally break her silence.
Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
Amber doesn’t remember what happened to her, but she does know three things: 1. She’s in a coma. 2. Her husband doesn’t love her anymore. 3. She lies sometimes. The plot line alternates between the present time in the hospital, one week before her accident, and some childhood memories and will make you second guess everything the narrator says.
The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke
Lila Bennett is full of bad decisions, but this time it’s split her life in two. In one life, she’s been taken hostage and is trapped in a concrete cell where her kidnapper forces her to face her blemished past. In the other, her life is slowly ripped apart as an unknown person exposes one secret from her past at a time. Her life as a criminal defense attorney and the choices she’s made in the courtroom are finally catching up to her, but which life’s path will end up being the truth?
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Featherbank is a town remembered for the abduction and murder of five residents and the criminal known as “The Whisper Man.” When a young boy goes missing, it looks too much like a repeat of those crimes to be ignored. Detectives are in a race against time to find the boy, and they must seek out the knowledge of The Whisper Man in prison to help solve the mystery.
You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Shay Miller wants love and friendship, but she can never seem to find it. Until the Moore sisters invite her into their inner circle—and they are the most glamorous people Shay has ever met. Shay will never see what the Moore sisters have planned coming.
Bonus Non-Fiction Read: Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Ever wonder what happens to a cadaver when it’s in the morgue or a science lab? This book explores the ins and outs of human cadaver use over the past 2,000 years in a very intriguing, a little spooky, and sometimes hilarious examination of postmortem life.
How can you possibly choose which one to read first? If you’re looking for more ways to add some spooky to the season, check out 31 Days of Halloween Fun…COVID edition!