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Spooky Scary Suspense Books
Boo! The Halloween season is approaching, and pumpkins are already jumping out of everyone’s fridges, TVs, and closets (especially after nights that we don’t talk about), so you might as well get yourself into the right mood. There’s no better time to read some suspense books than this – after all, not only is there the suspense of the holiday (which is not that suspenseful at all, come to think of it – kids go from door to door and collect sweets, right), but also the looming prospect of the energy crisis this Winter. Not to ruin your day or anything.
To take your mind off, get those chills running down your spine with these suspense books that’ll have you reaching for your lightsaber when you go to the toilet!
Today on Offer: Best Suspense Books
Let’s clear up the terminological mess: Suspense is not a literary genre, strictly speaking. It’s more of a denominator that unites other genres under an umbrella emotion that builds up as you read. Complex mysteries, crime novels full of plot twists and intrigue, and skin-crawling horror stories – all of them work together to create that feeling of dreading the next page but being unable to stop reading. If there ever was a culprit for sleepless nights because of ‘just one more chapter’, it was suspense.
Suspense doesn’t have to be strictly tied to horror, mystery, or crime – you can find it in any genre, as long as the story is written in a way that creates the tantalising atmosphere of possibilities, uncertainty, and even anxiety about what might happen. I mean, I can bet Romeo and Juliet was extremely successful when Shakespeare wrote it. Or Arthur Brooke before him. Or Luigi da Porto. Or Masuccio Salernitano, although his protagonists were called Mariotto and Ganozza. You get my point. With that said, let’s explore some of the best suspense books across genres.
Mystery Suspense Books for Curious Hearts
Mystery is always shrouded in a series of outlandish theories, supernatural forces, answers that breed more questions, and the endless spiral of long twisting hallways with many unlabelled doors. Why hallways? Beats me, but have you ever gone down one poorly lit snake of a construction? Not pleasant, I tell you.
To start you off on your Halloween prep, check out some of these titles:
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Let’s not beat about the bush; this book has become a mystery classic in the last couple of years, and for a good reason! When Amy Dunne disappears without a trace, her husband Nick is left to wonder what the actual heck happened and tries to find her. The police are not happy – the couple had some serious issues. But is Nick to blame for Amy’s disappearance? Guess you’ll have to read to find out.
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Ah, to be a famous painter married to a fashion photographer living in a luxurious house, curating exhibitions, and attending cocktail parties – what more could one wish from life? I guess shooting your husband five times might be the missing piece of that puzzle, and Alicia Berenson does precisely that. The snag? She refuses to say why she did it, much to the consternation of the public, her psychotherapist, and the readers.
- The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. This is a misleading title if I ever saw one (except for The Cat Who Saved Books – spoiler alert, the cat didn’t) because things are not so sweet. When a dead bird with a postage stamp plastered to its beak shows up at Flavia de Luce’s doorstep, she has no idea that the mystery has only just begun. Soon enough, another dead body may show up around her house, but how many skeletons are there really in the closets of her manor?
- Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Viridiana leads an ordinary (code: boring) life in Baja California, Mexico, when she meets a group of wealthy American tourists (probably there to get drunk and eat tacos before complaining how they taste nothing like Taco Bell). While they tell tall stories about how great life is in the US (and we all know it’s not really), Viridiana begins to dream. Until one of the tourists turns up dead. At this point, dreams may well turn into nightmares as she tries to figure out what happened.
- Amuse Bouche (A Russell Quant Mystery #1) by Anthony Bidulka. Wedding mysteries are the best mysteries, aren’t they? Well, maybe not when the groom is missing. The soon-to-be newlyweds are torn apart, with the private detective Russell Quaint left to connect all the suspects and save the day – if he can with all those meddling brothers, sisters, exes, waiters, neighbours, and priests.
If you run out of choices, add The Butterfly Garden, A Deadly Inside Scoop, and Doctor Sleep to your to-read pile and if you don’t feel like reading, listen to them instead on Audible.
Thriller Suspense Books and Why They’re Always Crime Suspense Books in Disguise
Everyone loves a good thriller – fast-paced, full of some badass characters, and an occasional shootout. The last one is also the reason why there’s always at least some sort of crime in thrillers – there would be nothing to be thrilled about if at least one person didn’t break a series of laws. Whether it’s a murder one is trying to solve, a mafia the protagonist has to escape or bring down, or a secret organisation, I’m sure any police station would have a thing or two to say about it.
And they do say quite a few things in these books:
- The Woman in the Window by A. J Finn. Anna Fox is a bit of a recluse – she doesn’t leave her apartment due to her massive fear of the outside world, so she spends her days reminiscing about the good old days, watching old movies, and drinking too much wine. Ah, and spying on her neighbours – because that’s just what you do. However, when she spots something she probably shouldn’t have, Anna is left paralysed and paranoid about the new family that has just moved in.
- Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris. Jack and Grace are your perfect couple. They have it all – the looks, the wealth, the love. But how come Grace never has time for coffee with her neighbours? And why is she so busy if she doesn’t work? And why on earth are there bars on one window of their house? So much for a picture-perfect marriage.
- The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Dan Brown’s books are not at all that bad as some literary elitists claim. In fact, they’re absolutely unputdownable. When Robert Langdon, the professor of symbology, gives a lecture about his newest book in Paris, he is hardly aware of the inner workings of the secret organisation that has been in operation for centuries. That is until he is summoned to decipher symbols on the dead body of the Louvre curator. And you thought going to conferences was boring.
- And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. ‘Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine.’ Soon enough, there will be none on that fateful weekend when ten strangers are invited to dine at a lavish manor. But who is behind the entire scheme? It would be ridiculous not to mention Agatha Christie in this list, but even more to give any other spoilers about this classic novel.
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. When you have a younger sister, you have certain duties: to help her in school, watch over her, and …dispose of her dead boyfriends as she kills them off? Korede does not quite agree with this whole arrangement, but she loves her sister and does it for her. Until her sister starts dating a man Korede is in love with. Knowing how those relationships usually end, Korede is forced to take a stand.
Don’t forget to check out Forty Acres, They All Fall Down, and Sometimes I Lie. And sure, everything Sherlock Holmes.
Romantic Suspense Books
Suspense is not only about murder and supernatural occurrences – quite often, it is about love, desire, and the good old ‘will-they-won’t-they’ game played by somewhat immature protagonists. Our list is somewhere in between all of those, with the following book recs:
- Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood. When a psychopath reveals his intention to murder a young woman, the priest listening to his confession breaks the rule of his trade and informs an elite detective Nick Buchanan about the situation. But can the detective find and stop the murderer who’s, for all he’s worth, hiding behind a series of false leads, drawing ever closer to his victim?
- Chill Factor by Sandra Brown. Multiple women have disappeared from a sleepy town in North Carolina – no hide or hair from any of them, except for a blue ribbon found near the places they were last seen. A charming situation for one Lilly Martin, who only ever wanted to finalise her divorce from her husband and chief of police. As she’s on the way out of town, a snow blizzard catches her, blocking her exit, until a familiar-looking man comes to her rescue. As they’re waiting out the storm, hints are dropped, and Lilly is left to wonder whether the friendly stranger is behind all those disappearances.
- The Starling by Ellie Masters. There is the legal sale of art and … not so legal. When a Van Gogh painting is stolen, Vivianne Faulks is paired up with a man who walks a fine balance between the two. As they try to unravel the mystery, emotions run wilder than expected, blurring yet another boundary – that of private and business lives.
- Untraceable by Laura Griffin. Alex Lowell is something of a witness-protection one-woman show. She helps people escape abusive situations and start their lives anew, disappearing completely from traceable memory. But when her client, Melanie, disappears for real in an attempt to escape her hostile husband, Alex realises that something has gone wrong. Enlisting the help of a homicide cop, Nathan, she sets out to solve the mystery, which may just run deeper than anticipated.
- Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover. A self-made woman Beyah Grim (yes, that’s her name, thank you very much) is on her way to carving out the path she has always dreamt of. Not that her non-existent family ever helped her achieve it. However, an unexpected death forces Beyah to spend the Summer with a father she barely knows and … you guessed it … his much younger neighbour Samson. Although Beyah and Samson have nothing in common, circumstances will pull them together as they grapple with a series of questions.
As you’ve noticed, romance suspense tends to be written by women. If you’re looking for a way to expand your collection, check out our article on women’s fiction! 😊
Suspense Books Come in Many Shapes and Forms
Whether romantic or chilling, suspense books are bound to keep you engrossed to the point of absolutely losing track of time, other obligations, and even the fact that your plants are giving you the stink eye because you haven’t watered them.
Crammed with intrigue, mystery, and an occasional hot stranger, suspense books belong to one of those genres that fans and non-fans just can’t put down. Spice up your pumpkin spice latte this Halloween season with some of our recommendations and stay tuned – there’s more where that came from 😉.