Every year around this time (aka the “spooky season”), there’s an influx of new thriller novels to quench our appetites. It’s only appropriate that we all celebrate Halloween and hours of horror movie marathons with books of equally pulse-pounding plotting, to keep us thoroughly entertained and a little bit on edge. So, without further ado, here’s a collection of some of our most anticipated thriller novels coming this season.
Andie’s Pick #1: This mind-bending thriller is at the top of my TBR pile! Reviewers have been saying they can’t say too much or they’ll give too much away, which only piques my curiosity and makes me want to get my hands on a copy of this book immediately. Everyone’s talking about a secret and I NEED to know what it is! From what I do know about Adam Hamdy’s THE OTHER SIDE OF NIGHT, the lives of a disgraced police officer, a prolific author, and an upstanding citizen are inextricably linked by a series of mysterious deaths. The story has been compared to Matt Haig’s THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY, which I loved (and which emotionally destroyed me), so I cannot wait to read this new book.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about the story’s incredible twist…like no crime novel I’ve ever read.” —James Patterson
For fans of Matt Haig and Anthony Horowitz, an “intriguing and thought-provoking” (Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish) novel in which the lives of a disgraced police officer, a prolific author, and an upstanding citizen are inextricably bound together by a series of mysterious deaths.
The Other Side of Night begins with a man named David Asha writing about his biggest regret: his sudden separation from his son, Elliot. In his grief, David tells a story.
Next, we step into the life of Harriet Kealty, a police officer trying to clear her name after a lapse of judgment. She discovers a curious inscription in a secondhand book—a plea: Help me, he’s trying to kill me. Who wrote this note? Who is “he”?
This note leads Harri to David Asha, who was last seen stepping off a cliff. Police suspect he couldn’t cope after his wife’s sudden death. Still, why would this man jump and leave behind his young son? Quickly, Harri’s attention zeroes in on a person she knows all too well.
Ben Elmys: once the love of her life. A surrogate father to Elliot Asha and trusted friend to the Ashas.
Ben may also be a murderer.
The Other Side of Night is a thought-provoking, moving “head-spinner of a novel” (John Connolly) with intriguing narratives and plot swerves that will leave you reeling. By the end, you’ll be shaken as each piece slots satisfyingly into place.
Nick’s Pick: There’s nothing that I love more than questioning my own existence, and when it comes to doing just that, there's nobody like Iain Reid to do so! Iain Reid has started out 2/2 for me so far with I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS and FOE, and this one will, I’m sure, make it 3/3. WE SPREAD promises to be a beautiful, stirring read that explores age and loneliness, all wrapped up in a compact, terrifying book! Exactly what I am looking for.
The author of the “evocative, spine-tingling, and razor-sharp” (Bustle) I’m Thinking of Ending Things that inspired the Netflix original movie and the “short, shocking psychological three-hander” (The Guardian) Foe returns with a new work of philosophical suspense.
Penny, an artist, has lived in the same apartment for decades, surrounded by the artifacts and keepsakes of her long life. She is resigned to the mundane rituals of old age, until things start to slip. Before her longtime partner passed away years earlier, provisions were made, unbeknownst to her, for a room in a unique long-term care residence, where Penny finds herself after one too many “incidents.”
Initially, surrounded by peers, conversing, eating, sleeping, looking out at the beautiful woods that surround the house, all is well. She even begins to paint again. But as the days start to blur together, Penny—with a growing sense of unrest and distrust—starts to lose her grip on the passage of time and on her place in the world. Is she succumbing to the subtly destructive effects of aging, or is she an unknowing participant in something more unsettling?
At once compassionate and uncanny, told in spare, hypnotic prose, Iain Reid’s genre-defying third novel explores questions of conformity, art, productivity, relationships, and what, ultimately, it means to grow old.
Emily’s Pick #1: This book has a premise that I find irresistible—especially as I’m such a fan of Only Murders in the Building. Four sixty-year-old women have been deadly assassins for decades, but now they’re being forced out by their own network. More skilled in hands-on work and social manipulation, they lack the certain technological training of their younger colleagues. To celebrate their retirement, their organization sends them on a luxury cruise, and then they learn that it’s more than their jobs that are being terminated—it’s their lives.
Aimee’s Pick: As a Constant Reader, there’s nothing more exciting for me than knowing a new Stephen King book is coming! FAIRY TALE is all the things I love about Stephen King—special nod to Dark Tower fans! But if you haven’t read the master storyteller before (or in a while), I envy you. This is a magical place to start or pick back up. And speaking of magic, what could be more fantastic than a boy, a loyal dog, and a parallel world—where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours. A starred review from Kirkus calls it, “A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.” In this new work full of suspense and mystery, let Stephen King take you into the depths of his imagination. You may not want to leave his conjured world, and you may never look at the moon, or a shed, the same way again. Book lovers—you just cannot miss this one!
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
“As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”
Sara’s Pick #1: Sometimes, home is not where the heart is. For Liz Rocher, this is true of her hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where she was one of the few Black residents in a mainly white town. But she braves small-town ignorance to return for the wedding of her best friend. However, when the bride's daughter, Caroline, goes missing, Liz connects the dots that someone, or something, has been kidnapping Black girls and brutally murdering them in this town for years. It's a race against time to find Caroline before she becomes yet another name on that list, and hopefully to stop the nightmare for good.
Sara’s Pick #2: When Irene Lamontaine, head of a famous soap company, dies, it threatens the lives of all who live and work in her Lavender House. See, the home is a space of total freedom, where residents can live as they truly are. But when it becomes clear that Irene's death is no accident, recently fired cop Andy Mills is brought in to investigate. Will he be seduced by the house's promise of freedom and acceptance, or can he uncover the darkness that lies beneath? Described as Knives Out with a queer twist, LAVENDER HOUSE is sure to sate any murder-mystery lover.
Emily’s Pick #2: Although SILVER UNDER NIGHTFALL falls squarely in the fantasy genre, its bloodthirsty vampires and detective plot is the reason it also gets grouped under “thriller” for me. With a famous vampire hunter father and traitorous vampire-loving mother, Remy’s had a hard time fitting in and forging his own path as a vampire hunter. But when a mutation creates a new sinister breed of vampires, he joins forces with a charming vampire couple, who teach him that it’s possible to love what you were raised to hate. As they traverse across a medieval-like realm, they encounter romance (their own, as a trio), politics, terrifying creatures, and more. After binge-watching What We Do in the Shadows, I know I’m going to need another vampire story to follow it up with—and this book promises to fill the void.
Full of court intrigue, queer romance, and terrifying monsters—this gothic epic fantasy will appeal to fans of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree and the adult animated series Castlevania.
Remy Pendergast is many things: the only son of the Duke of Valenbonne (though his father might wish otherwise), an elite bounty hunter of rogue vampires, and an outcast among his fellow Reapers. His mother was the subject of gossip even before she eloped with a vampire, giving rise to the rumors that Remy is half-vampire himself. Though the kingdom of Aluria barely tolerates him, Remy’s father has been shaping him into a weapon to fight for the kingdom at any cost.
When a terrifying new breed of vampire is sighted outside of the city, Remy prepares to investigate alone. But then he encounters the shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress Xiaodan Song and her infuriatingly arrogant fiancé, vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who may hold the key to defeating the creatures—though he knows associating with them won’t do his reputation any favors. When he’s offered a spot alongside them to find the truth about the mutating virus Rot that’s plaguing the kingdom, Remy faces a choice.
It’s one he’s certain he’ll regret.
But as the three face dangerous hardships during their journey, Remy develops fond and complicated feelings for the couple. He begins to question what he holds true about vampires, as well as the story behind his own family legacy. As the Rot continues to spread across the kingdom, Remy must decide where his loyalties lie: with his father and the kingdom he’s been trained all his life to defend or the vampires who might just be the death of him.
Emily’s Pick #3:The unique premise of BEFORE YOU KNEW MY NAME focuses, uniquely, both on the spirit of deceased 18-year-old Alice, and an Australian woman, Ruby, who discovers Alice’s body by the Hudson River. It’s a painful, emotional setup. Ruby can’t stop thinking about what happened to this Jane Doe—and why nobody has reported her missing. And, since Alice doesn’t know who killed her, and can’t seem to take the next step into the afterlife as a result, she follows Ruby as she retraces Alice’s last days—and eventually discovers her life story. This book explores the two characters at the center of this gruesome event (and the murder’s impact on them), and what arises when people are confronted with loneliness and trauma.
Winner of Crime Debut and Readers’ Choice Awards—Sisters in Crime
“A brave and timely novel.” —Clare Mackintosh, internationally bestselling author of Hostage
This is not just another novel about a dead girl. Two women—one alive, one dead—are brought together in the dark underbelly of New York City to solve a tragic murder.
When she arrived in New York on her eighteenth birthday carrying nothing but $600 cash and a stolen camera, Alice Lee was looking for a fresh start. Now, just one month later, she is the city’s latest Jane Doe. She may be dead but that doesn’t mean her story is over.
Meanwhile, Ruby Jones is also trying to reinvent herself. After travelling halfway around the world, she’s lonelier than ever in the Big Apple. Until she stumbles upon a woman’s body by the Hudson River, and suddenly finds herself unbreakably tied to the unknown dead woman.
Alice is sure Ruby is the key to solving the mystery of her short life and tragic death. Ruby just wants to forget what she saw…but she can’t seem to stop thinking about the young woman she found. If she keeps looking, can she give this unidentified Jane Doe the ending and closure she deserves?
A “heartbreaking, beautiful, and hugely important novel” (Rosie Walsh, New York Times bestselling author), Before You Knew My Name doesn’t just wonder whodunnit—it also asks who was she? And what did she leave behind?
Lauren’s Pick: The bestselling author of THE ONLY GOOD INDIANS and MY HEART IS A CHAINSAW, Stephen Graham Jones, is back with a mind-blowing haunted house tale, THE BABYSITTER LIVES. This novel is available exclusively as an audiobook—and warning: you’ll want to listen with the lights on! With all the twists and turns, I found myself saying “ten more minutes,” before taking a breather, until I had devoured the audiobook in one day. The story centers around high school senior Charlotte, who agrees to babysit the Wilbanks twins. She plans to put the six-year-olds to bed early and spend a quiet night studying for the SATs, but it’s the night before Halloween—the twins are eager to show off their costumes and excitement is in the air. What starts out as a normal night quickly turns dark as Charlotte realizes that things are not quite what they seem and finds herself in every babysitter’s worst nightmare: they’re not alone in the house. Fans of Jordan Peele will love this coiling story, which will keep you guessing until the very end.
Only on Audio! A new horror novel from the bestselling author of The Only Good Indians and My Heart is a Chainsaw.
A mother carries her six-year-old daughter into the tiled bathroom where the bathtub is already running, is still running, is overflowing, and for a moment the girl calms, seeing her little brother floating facedown in the water, his hair a golden halo around him, but then this mother is guiding her face-first down into that water, that, as it turns out, isn’t just water but scalding water, and eleven years later her scream is the drawer screeching out of the counter by the sink.
When high school senior Charlotte agrees to babysit the Wilbanks twins, she plans to put the six-year-olds to bed early and spend a quiet night studying: the SATs are tomorrow, and checking the Native American/Alaskan Native box on all the forms doesn’t mean jack if you choke on test day.
But tomorrow is also Halloween, and the twins are eager to show off their costumes—Ron is a nurse, in an old-fashioned white skirt-uniform, and Desi has an Authentic Squaw costume, complete with buckskin and feathered headdress. Excitement is in the air.
Charlotte’s last babysitting gig almost ended in tragedy, when her young charge sleepwalked unnoticed into the middle of the street, only to be found unharmed by Charlotte’s mother. Charlotte vows to be extra careful this time. But the house is filled with mysterious noises and secrets that only the twins understand, echoes of horrors that Charlotte gradually realizes took place in the house eleven years ago. Soon Charlotte has to admit that every babysitter’s worst nightmare has come true: they’re not alone in the house.
The Babysitter Lives is a mind-bending haunted house tale from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.
Featuring a note from the author.
Shauneice’s Pick #1: I absolutely can’t wait to read THE CLOISTERS by Katy Hays. The story follows Ann Stilwell, a curatorial associate to The Cloisters Museum in NYC, who uncovers 15th-century tarot cards that seem to have some fortune-telling powers—and are therefore highly coveted by sinister divination scholars.
I’m a fan of The Cloisters, so I’m especially excited to get a behind-the-scenes perspective of the gothic architecture, the artifacts within, and the surrounding gardens. Plus, the magical plot element of the tarot cards adds an extra level of intrigue to an already mysterious place with a lot of grand history. (Did I also mention the plot involves a murder?)
The Secret History meets Ninth House in this sinister, atmospheric novel following a circle of researchers as they uncover a mysterious deck of tarot cards and shocking secrets in New York’s famed Met Cloisters.
When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.
Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.
A haunting and magical blend of genres, The Cloisters is a gripping debut that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Andie’s Pick #2: Detective John Corey is back! In this latest installment, Corey is called out of retirement when his former lover, Detective Beth Penrose, appears with a job offer, and Corey has to once again make some decisions about his career—and about reuniting with Beth Penrose. (I mean, a mystery and a will-they-won’t-they relationship? Consider my interest piqued.) The hunt is on for an apparent serial killer, and Corey digs deep into the case (based on a real unsolved case of nine women on Long Island). Nelson DeMille is a crème de la crème writer of crime fiction, and I could not be more excited to read THE MAZE. For fans of the genre, don’t sleep on this one.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille returns with a blistering thriller featuring his most popular series character, former NYPD homicide detective John Corey, called out of retirement to investigate a string of grisly murders much too close to home.
In his dazzling #1 bestseller, Plum Island, Nelson DeMille introduced readers to NYPD Homicide Detective John Corey, who we first meet sitting on the back porch of his uncle’s waterfront estate on Long Island, convalescing from wounds incurred in the line of duty. A visit from the local Chief of Police results in the legendary Detective Corey becoming involved in the investigation of the murders of a married couple who were scientists at the top-secret biological research facility on Plum Island.
Fast forward through six more bestselling John Corey novels and The Maze opens with Corey on the same porch, but now in forced retirement from his last job as a Federal Agent with the Diplomatic Surveillance Group. Corey is restless and looking for action, so when his former lover, Detective Beth Penrose, appears with a job offer, Corey has to once again make some decisions about his career—and about reuniting with Beth Penrose.
Inspired by, and based on the actual and still unsolved Gilgo Beach murders, The Maze takes the reader on a dangerous hunt for an apparent serial killer who has murdered nine—and maybe more—prostitutes and hidden their bodies in the thick undergrowth on a lonely stretch of beach.
As Corey digs deeper into this case, which has made national news, he comes to suspect that the failure of the local police to solve this sensational case may not be a result of their inexperience and incompetence—it may be something else. Something more sinister.
The Maze features John Corey’s politically incorrect humor, matched by his brilliant and unorthodox investigative skills along with the surprising and shocking plot twists that are the trademark of the #1 New York Times bestselling author, Nelson DeMille.
Photo credit: iStock / Nando Vidal