It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Halloween!! Time for all things creepy and chilling—and undeniably the perfect season to dig into a great thriller. I’ve been getting lots of questions about which Halloween reads are worthy of your TBR this year, so to make things easy for you, I’ve put together this list of recommended Halloween crime books!
Here’s the catch, though: just about every single book I cover on Crime by the Book could work for your Halloween TBR, so putting together this list was hard! To keep things easy to navigate, I decided to organize this list in an “If You Like That, Read This” format. Explore the list below based on your current favorites, and find a new creepy read perfect for your 2017 Halloween!
If you like psychological thrillers like BEHIND CLOSED DOORS by B.A. Paris and THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware, try:
HOUSE OF SPINES by Michael J. Malone
This Scottish psychological thriller blends the interpersonal secrets of domestic suspense with a gothic haunted house storyline. HOUSE OF SPINES follows a down-on-his-luck writer who inherits a gorgeous, remote mansion in the Scottish countryside. He can hardly believe his luck—and it turns out, he was right to doubt his apparent good fortune. As he moves in and begins his life in this new home, it becomes clear that there’s something a bit off with the house… and it might have its own plans for him. This book is chilling and addictive, and will thrill psychological suspense fans with its creepy atmosphere and the dark relationship that develops central to this story. // READ CBTB’S REVIEW
THE ICE TWINS by S.K. Tremayne
This is an “oldie but a goodie” recommendation! A commercial psychological thriller in the best sense, THE ICE TWINS is binge-able and easy to devour. It follows a couple who, following a tragic accident that results in the death of one of their twin daughters, decides to relocate to a remote island off the coast of Scotland. But things quickly become strange in their new home when their surviving daughter Kiristie begins to claim that she is, in fact, Lydia—the twin who died a year earlier. When husband Angus leaves on a business trip and a storm descends on the island, wife Sarah becomes increasingly disturbed and claustrophobic in her new surroundings, and alarmed by the increasingly bizarre behavior of her daughter… part ghost story and part mystery, THE ICE TWINS is chilling and completely entertaining.
If you like slow-burning and atmospheric Nordic Noir books like SNOWBLIND by Ragnar Jonasson, try:
THE UNDESIRED by Yrsa Sigurdardottir
Yrsa is the Queen of Icelandic Crime, and this book proves why. THE UNDESIRED is a compelling and deeply unnerving crime novel with a supernatural element, perfect for Scandinavian crime fans looking for something just a bit different for Halloween. Through dual storylines, THE UNDESIRED examines the shocking history of a juvenile detention center in rural Iceland. In the present day, a case worker investigates the alleged abuses of the center, while in the past, a young woman working at the center bears witness to its mysterious - and disturbing - happenings. Yrsa is a writer who never shies away from truly dark and chilling moments in her work, and THE UNDESIRED is proof of just how effective her brand of thriller is. This book gave me goosebumps in all the best ways! // READ CBTB’S REVIEW
THE CROW GIRL by Erik Axl Sund
There’s no supernatural element to THE CROW GIRL, but its unflinching examination of the worst in humanity is, to me, even more scary than any ghost story could be. Originally published as a trilogy in Sweden, THE CROW GIRL is a massive tome in its English edition. It begins with the discovery of the mutilated corpse of a boy in Stockholm. Detective Jeanette Kihlberg is tasked with investigating the gruesome crime, and her investigation quickly leads her into the heart of evil in her own city. Exploring themes ranging from misogyny to bigotry to mental illness, THE CROW GIRL is relentlessly dark, impeccably crafted, and deeply sensitive. This is one of my top two favorite books! // READ CBTB’S REVIEW // READ ABOUT CBTB'S LUNCH WITH ERIK AXL SUND
If you like cops vs. killers stories, or TV shows like Criminal Minds, try:
THE FOURTH MONKEY by J.D. Barker
Some books just seem made for the big screen—THE FOURTH MONKEY is one of them. Reading like a cross between THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and Se7en, this serial killer thriller is cinematic and gripping. THE FOURTH MONKEY also injects the genre with a unique twist: the serial killer at the core of this story dies at the beginning of the book. Using clues left behind in the killer's journal, the story's main detective finds himself in a race against time to get inside the head of the killer, and save an innocent woman who the killer kidnapped as his next intended victim. This book won't be the right choice if you want really realistic crime fiction, but it will be the right choice for a truly addictive and gripping Halloween read! // READ CBTB'S REVIEW
EENY MEENY by M.J. Arlidge (& the whole series!)
Will there ever be a wrong time to recommend Arlidge's DI Helen Grace series? I haven't found one yet! EENY MEENY is Book 1 in Arlidge's completely binge-worthy series following complex, troubled detective Helen Grace. EENY MEENY finds Helen facing off against a twisted villain: this killer kidnaps couples, and forces them to choose between them who will live, and who will die. (Think of it like the moral dilemma faced by the victims in Saw.) This entire series makes for fantastic Halloween reading, and it truly gets better and better as it goes. Helen is an engaging protagonist who breaks genre stereotypes and is practically guaranteed to make a fan out of you, if she hasn't already. // READ CBTB'S REVIEW
If you like literary fiction but are looking for something creepy to read this Halloween, try:
SECURITY by Gina Wohlsdorf
This book won’t be for everyone, but if it’s up your alley, you will love it. SECURITY reads like a cross between THE SHINING and Big Brother-like security. It’s gory, over the top, and masterfully constructed. Readers enter Manderley Resort, a brand-new luxury hotel that’s about to have its opulent grand opening. But someone is determined that Manderley should never open. The staff are being watched by an all-seeing, anonymous presence… and over a period of twelve hours, in bloody, gruesome fashion, the staff will be picked off one by one. SECURITY is shocking and razor-sharp, drawing inspiration from horror greats like Edgar Allan Poe, Daphne du Maurier, and Stephen King. This book has been relatively divisive, but I am team SECURITY all the way. // READ CBTB’S REVIEW
THE GRIP OF IT by Jac Jemc
A literary take on the classic "haunted house" story. Don't go into this book expecting something in-your-face scary, but do go into it expecting a wholly unusual and immersive reading experience. Readers follow a young couple who find their dream home, and move from the city to the suburbs. But as they settle in, things begin to feel a bit off, and it becomes increasingly clear that the house has its own plans for its new residents. The increasingly surreal events that begin to surround the couple are mirrored by their ever more unhinged mental state. Readers who want all-out scares won't find THE GRIP OF IT dark enough, but readers of literary fiction will love Jemc's immersive take on this classic horror trope. // READ CBTB'S REVIEW
What do you think? Have you read any of these books, or are any of them on your TBR? I'd love to hear from you!! Happy Halloween! xx A