Whenever October creeps back around, the spooky season always gets readers in the mood to devour spine-chilling, provocative reads that fulfill our desire for dark plots, twisted characters and complex cases to solve. Just as summer and spring usually make us feel like enjoying a charming, easy-to-follow read, the fall and winter months compel us to yearn for more unnerving tales. So don’t fight that intense urge to read these kinds of stories!
We’ve compiled a list of new October mysteries and thrillers you can look forward to reading that will introduce you to dysfunctional relationships, heinous murders and people who’ve vanished without a trace.
The Death of Us
The night that Ashley Hay opened the door for Liss Kehoe 15 years ago changed her life forever. That was the day she met Callan, Liss’ infant, who would become Ashley’s pride and joy from that moment forward. Liss was never heard from again, but Ashley always wondered whether the mysterious woman would eventually want to be more involved in Callan’s life. But recently, Liss’ car was found sunk in a pond on Kehoe's property, which raises a whole bunch of questions for Ashley. Was it an accident or a horrible scheme? Who is keeping dark secrets hidden in her community? And most importantly, is Ashley and her family safe?
One Puzzling Afternoon
Edie Green can keep a secret better than anyone she’s ever known; she’s kept a secret for her childhood friend Lucy for more than 60 years. This novel is told from alternating timelines, from when the two girls were teenagers in 1951 to when Edie is now living as an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia. This gripping mystery will have you feeling as desperate to find out the true details of 15-year-old Lucy’s disappearance as Edie is before her mind fails her and she can no longer remember her friend at all. Time is ticking, and to solve this mystery, every minute truly counts.
The Leftover Woman
Two women from very different worlds are bound by one thing—their love for a child. Jasmine Yang, a Chinese immigrant who has fled her abusive husband and has traveled to New York City completely alone, is in search of the daughter taken from her due to her country’s One Child Policy. Rebecca Whitney, a wealthy publishing executive, loves her career, husband, and wonderful, adopted Chinese daughter.
But after a scandal threatens to destroy everything Rebecca has worked hard to achieve, she wonders what role she is meant to play in her life, especially within her family. This novel explores motherhood, race, and immigration through riveting prose that will leave you feeling emotionally gut-punched in the most cathartic way possible.
The Alchemist of Monsters and Mayhem: An Accidental Alchemist Mystery
If you’re looking forward to a lighthearted mystery with fantasy elements that will have you chuckling throughout, then author Gigi Pandian’s new book is for you! Alchemist Zoe Faust’s boyfriend’s tea shop has been vandalized, so Zoe and her gargoyle investigative partner, Dorian, travel to an unsettling mansion in Portland to try to find the culprit. But instead, they end up finding more baffling questions they need to get to the bottom of. There are creepy carnivorous plants, mysterious topiary creatures, and a dead body killed by shrubs in the conservatory. They must figure out who the killer is in this convoluted case that is getting as tangled as twisted weeds.
The Scarecrow Murders
The charming town of Framlingham is preparing for its scarecrow festival, causing Penny and Izzy to have their hands full while helping the residents prepare their entries. Plans for the festivities are well underway when a woman falls to her demise at the castle. The two women must work together with a dressmaker, one of their adversaries they’re not too fond of, to discover what happened to that innocent woman and keep any more tragedies from marring the festive occasion.
What We Kept to Ourselves
In 1977, Sunny moved to Los Angeles with her husband from Korea, excited to start a new life, especially for their unborn child. Yet the dreams she had of America have fallen flat, and she feels isolated and disappointed. Then she meets someone at a bus stop one day who ends up playing a very crucial role in her life throughout the years. In 1999, it’s been one year since the Kim family lost the matriarch of their family—she simply vanished without a trace.
Her husband is struggling to bond with his grown kids while grieving the absence of his wife, when one day John finds the body of a stranger in their backyard. What’s even more perplexing is that this stranger is carrying a letter to Sunny. A novel about family ties, secrets, and the immigrant perspective, What We Kept to Ourselves will have you wondering if you can ever truly know your parents when pieces of their past can only be accessed if they are willing to divulge.
An excellent social commentary on how social media can affect the closest relationships in our lives, The List follows Ola Olajide, a successful journalist about to marry her fiancé, Michael. They appear to be the definition of what a “power couple” should be—attractive, successful, and popular. But this perception is shattered when one morning the couple realizes that Michael has been added to “The List,” a collection of names posted from an anonymous source that has supposedly performed scandalous, threatening acts against women. The novel will bring into question who we should believe by highlighting the pertinent modern-day issue of “cancel culture” while also emphasizing the very real problem of violence against women.
People to Follow
Although many could argue that reality TV shows could be detrimental to today’s youths, with their toxic drama and harmful beauty expectations, many wouldn’t expect these shows to be dangerous to the extent of putting their participants' lives at risk. But “In Real Life,” a new reality show that challenges popular social media influencers to spend three weeks living without the internet, starts to become #notcool when one of the group members is killed. A deranged sponsor threatens to uncover all of the participants’ deepest, darkest secrets. Who has created this sick game? Could it be one of their jealous social media followers, or is it perhaps one of the influencers themselves? Whatever the case, this is definitely not what they signed up for!
Midnight is the Darkest Hour
Described as “Where the Crawdads Sing meets Twilight” by New York Times-bestselling author Clare Mackintosh, this unnerving thriller highlights the role religion, power, and stories play in our lives. Librarian Ruth Cornier lives in Bottom Springs, Louisiana, a small town filled with God-fearing people who also dread the myths that terrorize their neighborhoods. Tales like the Low Man, a vampire-like entity said to creep into sinners' bedrooms and kill them on dark, moonless nights. The town’s paranoia starts to feel justified when a skull is discovered in a swamp next to carved symbols. Ruth enlists her friend Everett, a town outcast and kindred spirit, to help uncover the evil forces hiding within their town.
With stellar pacing and an intricately crafted plot, #1 New York Times-bestselling author John Sandford brings us a new fast-paced murder mystery thriller. Wealthy federal judge Alex Sand was gunned down with his two sons one evening while playing basketball at home. Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers need to piece together possible suspects—maybe someone who felt wronged by the judge, or someone who didn’t agree with Sand’s plan to donate to the local housing charity, Heart/Twin Cities? Or possibly even his grieving widow may have something to do with their deaths? You’ll want to see for yourself how this wild investigation comes to a heart-racing close.