The cool weather of autumn has arrived, and with it, so do the atmospheric books. With the right blend of thrilling mysteries and spine-chilling tensions, suspense and thrillers are perfect for those foggy mornings and chilly nights. Here are some of our recommendations.
The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfeld
What it’s about: survival and resilience in the face of harrowing circumstances; the hunt for a killer who continues to evade the authorities while children’s bodies pile up; the failures of the legal system to protect those who need it the most.
Who it’s for: fans of private-eye mysteries; readers who can handle darker topics such as life on the street and child abuse.
Series alert: The Butterfly Girl is the second entry in the Naomi Cottle series, which follows the titular detective as she looks for missing children, including the cold case of her own younger sister.
Somebody’s Daughter by David Bell
Bye bye baby: Michael and Angela Frazier are enjoying a quiet dinner at home when Michael’s ex-wife Erica unexpectedly appears at their door, saying her daughter Felicity has been kidnapped and by the way, Michael is the girl’s father.
The search begins: Michael takes off with Erica to look for the child that he’s secretly always wanted, but each step towards Felicity reveals secrets that threaten the future of his marriage to Angela.
What sets it apart: the intensifying, intricately plotted narrative unfolds over the course of a single high-stakes 12-hour period.
You Were Made for This by Michelle Sacks
Picture it: a charming cottage in rural Sweden, where Sam and Merry Hurley have recently settled with their infant son Conor, leaving behind their fast-paced Manhattan lives.
Beneath the surface: Sam is keeping secrets from Merry, Merry is keeping secrets from Sam, and nobody’s secrets can stay buried after a visit from Merry’s captivating childhood friend Frank.
Reviewers say: This “unblinking look at beautiful people with ugly secrets has the voyeuristic fascination of a Bergman film” (Booklist).
Stolen Things by R.H. Herron
Starring: Cop-turned-911 dispatcher Laurie, who takes a call from her own daughter, JoJo.
What happens: Jojo’s rape, the murder of a man, and the disappearance of another teenage girl all seem connected to a pro football player who, like the two girls, is an activist against police brutality. And Laurie and JoJo seem best poised to save the missing girl.
Want a taste? “‘My daughter.’ The man’s words were a garbled gasp. ‘She’s gone.'”
The Whisper Man by Alex North
What happens: After the death of his wife, Tom Kennedy moves with his young son to a new town, hoping for a fresh start. But Featherbank has a dark past: 20 years previously, a serial killer known as “the Whisper Man” lured away young boys. And now it’s happening again.
Why you might like it: Dark and haunting, this intricately plotted thriller has supernatural overtones, well-depicted characters, and a menacing atmosphere.
For fans of: Sharon Bolton’s The Craftsman, another eerie tale of history repeating itself.
The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
What it is: A twist on the traditional locked-room thriller; a story about the team-building exercise from hell.
Starring: Wall Street colleagues Sylvie, Sam, Jules, and Vincent, who share a tangled web of connections, rivalries, and dark secrets.
What goes down: The four investment bankers share an elevator on their way to a training exercise, only to find that the elevator is the exercise and that they’ll have to work together if they want to survive.