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Round Out Your Spooky Season With These Thrilling Mystery Books

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Content warning: This post discusses books with themes of violence, murder, suicide, abuse, mental health issues, drug abuse, sexual assault, racism, and/or homophobia. The fall season is officially here, and like most of you, I’m excited to lay down with a comfy blanket, light my Pumpkin Snickerdoodle candle, and just relax. I’ve even started playing jazz music on a low volume in the background to set the mood further. If it wasn’t obvious already, I love fall. But the one thing I love more than romanticizing this cozy season is a good book. Specifically, a good mystery book. Especially since it’s getting closer to Halloween, I’ve been stacking up on stories that will keep me guessing, intrigued, and a bit spooked.

Now if mystery isn’t your thing, that’s OK. There are other equally interesting books out there for you to try. I’d also recommend reading books that were banned in 2023, as there is a lot to learn from them. But for those of you who want to get a taste of the dark side, I’ve listed a few of my favorites and some that are definitely going on my TBR. 

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden ($10)

Millie has long passed rock bottom. She is living in her car with nowhere else to go and no means of making money. That is, until a housekeeping position comes up at the Winchesters’ house. The well-kept lawn, gorgeous structure, and marble hallways just screamed rich and perfect to anyone who passed by it.

When Nina Winchester, the lady of the house, meets Millie, she seems polite and kind, and soon after offers her the job. But things in the Winchester house are not as perfect as they may seem from the outside. For starters, Nina tends to tell the strangest lies, her husband looks broken, and their gardener always seems to be warning Millie about something… or someone. 

But Millie can’t complain. Because the Winchesters don’t know who she really is, and they don’t know what she’s capable of. So she does her job and does what she’s told because it’s much safer that way… or is it?  

The Perfect Marriage by Jeneva Rose ($10)

Riddle me this, riddle me that: If he cheated on you, would you take him back? Or, in this case, defend him in court?

Sarah Morgan is a successful defense attorney, and her husband, Adam, is a more than struggling writer… and cheater. One night, he invites his mistress Kelly Summers over to his and his wife’s second house, and they get drunk and have a grand time.

But things get tricky when Adam wakes up the next morning to find Kelly stabbed to death and her blood all over his hands. He can’t remember much of the night before, and he soon gets arrested for the murder of his mistress. Now, his wife has to defend him in court. Yikes.

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé ($10)

Everyone, please take a moment to bow down to the absolute masterpiece that is this book. It’s an interesting read, with a shocking twist, and it addresses real-life issues such as institutional racism and homophobia.

Niveus Private Academy is a prestigious school with talented students. Two such students are Devon and Chiamaka. Though these two have never run in the same social circles, they have a few things in common: First, they’re the only two Black students at this academy. Second, they were chosen to be prefects this year, and third, someone is definitely out to get them.

Very soon after they are elected to be prefects, an anonymous texter, Aces, starts sharing concerning information about who they really are. Devon’s private photos are leaked, and the school finds out just how its IT girl Chiamaka rose to fame. Secrets are exposed, lives are destroyed, and the school officials are of no help. Who is doing this? How do they know so much? And why are they targeting just these two?

Suicide notes from beautiful girls by Lynn Weingarten ($10)

This book has major trigger warnings such as abuse, suicide, mental health, drug abuse, and rape.

June knew Delia better than Delia knew herself, and vice versa. They were inseparable best friends bound by each other’s secrets and love. But one night when June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend were messing around, something happened that changed everything. 

When Delia is rumored to have burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed, June doesn’t believe it. She tells herself that it isn’t true. It can’t be true. Someone murdered Delia and June is determined to find out who and why, so she starts searching. But she could never have predicted what she was about to learn.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley ($13)

The wedding guests have arrived and the cell service is spotty, but the vibes are immaculate… for the most part.

The bride, an ambitious magazine publisher,  and the groom, a reality TV show star, are a match made in heaven. Their wedding is on an island near Ireland and the decorations are nothing short of magical. But all good things must come to an end, and as soon as the fun and joy begins, tension fills the air.

Secrets are revealed, the bridesmaid and a friend of the bride both begin to act strangely, and soon a body is found. Who did it? And why? 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides ($11)

At first, Alicia Berenson’s fame stemmed from the paintings she had created. But soon she became famous for something more sinister: murder.

Alicia seemed to have it all. Talent, a nice house, and a successful husband. But one evening, when her husband comes home late from work, instead of greeting him with a hug or a kiss, she kills him — and after that, she never spoke again.

The story of his murder and her refusal to speak makes her notorious, and her art’s value grows exponentially. Now, criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber wants to get to the end of this mystery. He wants her to talk. But will she?

Murder in the Family by Cara Hunter ($16)

When Luke Ryder is found dead in the garden of his family home, the police get to work right away. But despite there being two people who were in the house when the murder occurred, the investigation turns up with nothing. The case goes cold, and the family is left with unanswered questions.

That is, until Netflix comes out with a new series dedicated to investigating cold cases, Infamous. The team behind the series re-examines evidence and interviews witnesses. Soon the answers come out, and everyone is tuning in to see it.

A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson ($8)

When Andie Bell was murdered, the cops arrested Sal Singh and closed the case. But Pippa Fitz-Amobi wasn’t so sure they got it right. So when she’s tasked with choosing a topic for her final year project, she chooses to reinvestigate this case, starting with the family of the accused killer. But soon threats start coming, and she realizes that someone doesn’t want her to find the truth. How far will they go to stop her?

Exciting news: This book is being adapted into a series, and Wednesday star Emma Myers will be playing the main character!

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus ($10)

Five students, all from different social circles, get sent to detention. But only four of them would make it out alive. The death is ruled a homicide, and the surviving four students are labeled suspects. Why? Because the student who was murdered had planned on posting juicy gossip about every single one of the other students the day after detention. So who did it? And what secrets were they trying to protect?

Royal Blood by Aimée Carter ($12)

When Evan Bright gets sent to London to spend time with her father, the king, and his family, her identity is mysteriously revealed. Tabloids are begging to learn more about her, but Evan just wants to go out and have fun. But when a night meant to be thrilling ends in murder, she is labeled the No. 1 suspect.

As she tries to find out the truth about what happened, she learns secrets that were meant to be hidden — secrets that could ruin everything.

Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz ($11)

When social media influencer Amelia Ashley goes missing, and her blood is found in her boyfriend’s suitcase, people start asking questions. What happened during their vacation, and why did he return alone? A hacker tries to find digital clues, people begin suspecting the boyfriend, another missing girl’s story resurfaces, and the truth slowly starts coming out. 

The Fear by Natasha Preston ($9)

What’s your biggest fear? Snakes? Clowns? Death?

A meme asking this question started circulating around Rock Bay, and students reposted it with their answers. But soon, they all start dying one by one in the same way they said they feared. Confused and scared, Izzy decides to find out who is doing this to her classmates, so she sets out to catch the killer. But will they get to her first?

Tianna is a Her Campus National Writer and Pre-Law student. She writes for the Life and Career team but sometimes covers timely entertainment pieces. Beyond Her Campus, Tianna works as an Assistant Prose Editor for her school's literary magazine. She also runs a freelance writing business and has written for different publications in the past. When she's not studying or working, you might find her reading a mystery or romance book (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Ace of Spades being her favorites), rewatching the ICONIC Gilmore Girls Series, painting, making clay art, or listening to music.