Four Enthralling Mystery and Thriller Books for Spooky Season

Here at Her Campus Lasell, we are committed to spooky content.  Halloween (and Fall in general TBH) is the perfect time for the best movies, costumes, music, books, and more.  This week we’ll be breaking down the ultimate lists to have you celebrating Halloween the right way.

Halloween is right around the corner, and that calls for some spooky stories.  While movies like Hocus Pocus probably come to mind when you think of Halloween-themed fiction, not every book or movie for this time of year has to involve vampires or witches.  Sometimes, a solid mystery or thriller novel does the trick. You don’t even have to worry about blood or gore most of the time--there’s a difference between mystery/thriller and horror, and many thrillers aren’t that violent.  So if you’re looking for a thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat, look no further than these recommendations:

If blood grosses you out, but you still want to be on the edge of your seat: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus



Often described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, this YA thriller posits a seemingly simple mystery.  One Monday afternoon, five seniors at Bayview High walk into detention--Bronwyn the overachiever, Addy the beauty queen, Cooper the star athlete, Nate the troublemaker, and Simon the outcast--but only four walk out alive.  During detention, Simon somehow dies from apparent anaphylaxis caused by an allergic reaction, and Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate quickly become the main suspects of the murder investigation. Dubbed the “Bayview Four”, each of them attempts to make a case for their innocence.  The Bayview Four isn’t exactly reliable narrators though, so you’ll be kept guessing as to which one of them is lying. Full of suspense, but free of the blood and gore that many thrillers have, One of Us is Lying will blow your mind while still allowing you to sleep at night. 

If you’re open to something a little less conventional: Sadie by Courtney Summers


 In her most recent novel, Courtney Summers tells the intertwining stories of the titular character, a young woman struggling to process the murder of her younger sister, and radio personality West McCray.  West is working on a podcast about small, forgotten American towns when he stumbles upon the story of Sadie and Mattie Hunter. Left to fend for themselves, Sadie raised her younger sister to the best of her ability, so when Mattie is found dead one day at the age of 13, Sadie decides to bring the killer to justice.  West quickly becomes caught up in Sadie’s story and seeks out answers related to Mattie’s murder. The book alternates between West’s podcasts and Sadie’s first-person account, making for a unique reading experience that you won’t be able to put down (it’s also a pretty quick read that could easily be finished in a weekend).  Trigger warnings: absentee parents, alcohol/drug abuse, child abuse

If you need a history fix: The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton



Set in Victorian-era England, The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is like a macabre twist on Groundhog Day.  Every night for eight nights, socialite Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at exactly 11 pm.  The novel follows a young man named Aiden who relives the night of Evelyn’s death eight times, inhabiting a different body each night. Using each person’s strengths to his advantage, Aiden needs to figure out who murdered Evelyn in order to break the cycle.  This is also a gore-free thriller perfect for squeamish people, but it may keep you up at night guessing. It’s a hefty read at nearly 500 pages, but an enthralling one at that. 

If you want to feel all the feelings: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris


Behind Closed Doors is a domestic thriller that will have you feeling every strong emotion: anger, rage, righteousness.  It follows a woman named Grace Angel who appears to have the perfect life to outsiders: she lives in a big house with her adoring husband Jack and is devoted to helping her disabled sister Milly.  Her private life, however, is a far cry from her supposedly idyllic existence. Jack is emotionally abusive and controls every aspect of her life, going to far as to not let her leave the house. With help from her surprisingly clever sister, Grace plans to get revenge and escape.  She makes some questionable decisions in this book, but unlike a lot of thriller protagonists, it’s hard not to root for Grace.