13 Books That Will Give You Chills Even On the Hottest Days

Summer is the perfect time to pick up a chilling mystery or intense psychological thriller. Whether you are staying cool indoors or relaxing all day on the beach, summer days and nights provide the opportunity to catch up on all of the great books you may have missed. Here are 13 novels guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine on even the hottest summer days. 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

The Death of Mrs. Westaway is Ruth Ware’s fourth mystery novel, and one of her best. In a case of mistaken identity, young tarot reader Hal is invited to the funeral of a long-lost family member. When she leaves home to attend the funeral (and perhaps make a better life for herself), she quickly becomes entangled in her own web of lies. Neither sinister nor gory, The Death of Mrs. Westaway is reminiscent of classic Agatha Christie, perfect for readers who aren’t quite ready for more intense thrillers.  

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard 

Sara Shepard is famous for her twisty, dramatic mysteries (hello, Pretty Little Liars) and The Heiresses is no exception. The novel is about the wealthy New York family, the Saybrooks. They seem to have everything, but when one of the five Saybrook daughters dies under questionable circumstances, all of the family’s secrets are threatened to be revealed. Basically, The Heiresses is a grown up Pretty Little Liars, which makes it the perfect suspenseful beach read. 

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Gillian Flynn shot to literary stardom with the sensational Gone Girl, but her early works are just as impressive. Her debut novel, Sharp Objects, is one of her grittiest and most intense novels. Camille Preaker, a reporter, returns to her small hometown to investigate the murders of two young girls and reconnect with her family. In addition to the intensity of the murder mystery, Camille’s secret past adds another element of drama and suspense, keeping you turning pages until the shocking conclusion. If you love the novel, be sure to check out the mini-series, starring Amy Adams, currently airing on HBO. 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

If you are a fan of classic cinema and suspense, this one is for you. Anna is a woman who is unable to leave her home and spends her days watching classic films. Because of this, she seeks connection by spying on her neighbors with her camera. When she thinks she has witnessed a crime, her life starts to spiral out of control, and shocking truths about Anna and her neighbors are revealed. A tightly woven story, when you pick this one up, make sure your schedule is clear—you won’t want to put it down.  

Tangerine by Christine Mangan 

 

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Not quite a mystery but a suspenseful, psychological thriller set in the heat of 1950s Morocco, Tangerine is a fantastic debut novel and a great summer read. Alice is living in Morocco with her husband when her old college pal Lucy shows up. The two women are linked by a secret that is shocking and when that secret is revealed, the consequences impact both Alice and Lucy. You won’t be able to guess what will happen next as you rush to finish this novel. 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

This is considered to be one of the OG suspense novels. A young woman arrives at her new husband’s home only to realize that something is not quite right. The inspiration for countless novels and films, this classic is at the top of my reading list this summer. 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl  

A suspicious death puts a journalist on path to find a reclusive horror film director in this immersive read. Marisha Pessl has a unique voice that is both suspenseful and humorous, which makes Night Film all the more engaging and engrossing. Web pages, news articles and photos are featured throughout the novel, using multimedia to enhance the world of the story. This is a lengthy one, so the long days of summer make it the perfect time to tackle this fantastic novel. 

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls is a true horror novel. Quincy has survived a horrific crime and is working to move past the experience, but when the circumstances of the past come back to haunt her, things take a scary turn. This one is definitely dark, so you might want to avoid reading it before bed. 

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith 

 

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Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, is a fantastic addition to the world of mystery writers. P.I. Cormoran Strike is a veteran returning home to England. With his personal life in shambles, he and his assistant Robin, investigate the death of a young model. They are hoping to make enough money to pay next month’s rent but get so much more. Fans of Rowling’s writing style will love this literary thriller. And if you want more of Cormoran and Robin, don’t worry—The Cuckoo’s Calling is only the first novel in the series, and all three books have been turned into a TV series that is currently airing on Cinemax. 

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

This novel is another that falls more under the umbrella of a psychological thriller than terrifying mystery. Set in 1920s New York City, Rose, a typist, becomes friends with a mysterious woman named Odalie. Odalie has secrets of her own and doesn’t hesitate to introduce Rose to her mysterious life. The combination of the glamorous setting and unreliable narrator make this one a not to be missed. 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

 

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Widely considered to be a “modern classic,” The Secret History is a story about close knit college students at a small liberal arts college. Richard, a Californian, befriends a small group of students studying classics. After an accident one fateful night, Richard and his friends engage in a cover-up that creates even more problems for them. With references to philosophy and Ancient Greek culture, this is more of an intellectual read, but the last 100 pages will have you staying up late to find out what will happen!

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

 

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If you are in the mood for a quick, yet spooky read, this comic book is your perfect match. Written by one of the creators of RiverdaleThe Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a new take on the classic story of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Set in the 1960s, the vintage setting adds to the spookiness of spells and zombies. Make sure to check this one out before the television adaptation, starring Kiernan Shipka and Ross Lynch hits Netflix. 

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson 

 

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This YA mystery is an homage to Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie and all sorts of classic detectives. Teen detective Stevie arrives at a special boarding school where she hopes to solve a decades old cold case—but when one of her fellow students is murdered, Stevie finds herself connected to all sorts of mysteries. Featuring mystery, romance and plenty of teen angst, Truly Devious is the perfect read for fans of YA or mysteries. 

You can find these all of these novels at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or your local independent bookstore. You can also find them at your local library for a budget-friendly option!