Aside from a lit fireplace and a mug of something hot, there’s no better compliment to a wintry day than an eerie tale. What’s more cozy that snuggling under a blanket as the snow blows outside—and a suspenseful book blows your mind?
To help wile away these final months of winter, we’ve compiled a list of chilling mystery and thriller reads. Detectives chase criminals through small towns, mothers vanish without a trace, and traitors run amok—all against the ominous backdrop of the eeriest season of the year.
This clever novel is told through a series of blogs that follow an unfortunate event. One winter night in Boston, a young woman witnesses a man jump to his death in front of a subway. Known only as “l.g. Fickel” online, she then turns to her blog to rehash her unfortunate brush with her concerned, supportive followers. Each night, fickel blogs about “Mr. Suicide,” discussing the ensuing investigation with an eerie foresight...Things take a turn when her blog name is discovered on the dead man’s computer, but it’s only the first of several damning coincidence connecting fickel to the man’s death. Is she truly the innocent victim she portrays herself to be, or is she actually a manipulator getting revenge on the cyber-bullies who’ve tortured her? Told through fickels’ blog entries, Peter Manus’ dark tale of obsession and deception will leave you questioning everything you think you know...
Night of the Ice Storm
In 1971, a massive ice storm hits the town of Bessemer, New York as two young men shoot the sh*t over a round of drinks. One of the mentions the driving range in his basement and offers the other to come along and see it. But the hazardous storm waylays their journey home, leading them instead to the basement of a priest. The evening ends, inexplicably, in murder.
Two decades later, reporter Ed Sperl finds himself irrevocably drawn to the unsolved case, which led to no charges or convictions. His snooping uncovers a surprising new connection—but will it be enough to finally give Bessemer residents some concrete answers? Only one thing is for certain: The killer is still out there, and he’s ready to strike again...
Looking to find the perfect blend between Stephen King and Ingmar Bergman? Look no further! Set during the Cold War, the story follows Halvard Starheim, who is haunted by the death of his friend, Jan, at the hands of Russian soldiers during an intelligence mission gone wrong. Hoping to understand the strange circumstances of Jan’s murder, Hal teams up with his friend’s widow and playboy journalist Rolf Berg, hoping to unmask the traitor who is colluding with the Soviets to kill innocent Norwegians. But amidst the hostile landscape, the trio will encounter other betrayals—and even an international conspiracy—that threaten to derail their mission.
A glamorous ski resort becomes the setting for a dark, unspeakable evil...Sandy, David, and Peter first met as bored teenagers vacationing with their parents on a small island. They found common ground in blood and violence, ultimately committing a crime that strengthened their “friendship” and set them on a path of destruction.
Now in their twenties, the sociopathic trio arrives at an exclusive resort to enjoy the company of the only people who can tolerate them: each other. But trouble starts to brew—as it inevitably does—when an interloper finds her way into their inner circle...Mary Margaret is no fool, but an expert manipulator who’s entirely aware of the damage she’s inflicting. Will Sandy, Peter, and David keep their sinister bond intact, or have they finally met an opponent capable of tearing them apart?
Jack Reacher is an ex-military police officer who doesn’t call anywhere home, leaving little to no trace of where he’s been. Strong, powerful, and quite intelligent, Reacher is a man who can fix any problem—even ones that have nothing to do with him. His 14th adventure finds him on a tour bus en route to snowy South Dakota with a crew of senior citizens.
But his destination is more than a tiny frozen town—it’s the home of one of the largest prisons in the US. It has also become the center of a volatile conflict: The leader of a biker gang has been arrested on drug charges, and the elderly witness is at the mercy of his cronies’ wrath. Reacher’s main is to keep the woman safe, but that’s easier said than done when you’re up against vengeful bikers, a criminal mastermind, and an anonymous assassin. There’s only 61 hours to get the job done, will it be enough time for our hero?
The Winter People
The town of West Hall, Vermont, has always been known for its strange disappearances and old legends—including the mystery surrounding Sara Harrison Shea. In 1908, Sara’s corpse was found in the field behind her house. The final months of her life were not happy ones: She’d been grieving the recent death of her daughter, desperate to get one more chance to see her again.
Jump to the present day, where 19-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse. When she wakes to find her mother missing, she and her younger sister, Fawn, search the house for clues. They not only find a trove of dark secrets, but Sara’s old diary, hidden under the floorboards. The discovery points to an unsettling parallel between the past and present—and Ruthie may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.
Once again, brillant, hard-bitten detective Lucas Davenport is at loose ends. Even if he wants to ride out the winter in his secluded cabin, he knows a criminal will be hiding just around the corner. This time, it’s the Iceman—a nefarious foe who’s desperate to stop a compromising photo from becoming public. The killer has already butchered a family with the (alleged) help of a priest, inciting terror throughout a small Wisconsin town.
After much persuasion from the intimidated local sheriff, Davenport agrees to take the lead on the investigation. But the Iceman and is rising body count isn’t the only thing worth worrying over—the town has plenty of other dark secrets and characters ready for a challenge. Davenport will try his best to sort through the evidence, but will he be able to take on so many enemies at once?
The Silent Girls
Everything may seem dead in the winter, but in this Vermont town, evil is very much alive. After his own sister was murdered, Frank Rath turned in his detective badge to become a private investigator. But now, his former colleagues need his help—a beautiful teenage girl is missing, and she may still be alive. As Frank investigates, other girls start meeting the same fate, forcing him to detangle a web of local intrigue and the painful memories of his own past.
Featured image: Simon Buchou / Unsplash