Here are just a few chillers and thrillers to get you in the fall-ish mood!
The Likeness, Tana French
Supposedly there are about seven people in the world who look exactly like you, but what would you do if you found one of them – dead in a cabin in the woods? The Likeness takes undercover detective work and thrilling mind games to a whole new level, and French’s characters are so riveting and relatable, that as creepy and fantastical as they seem, I still couldn’t help wanting to be them. This book is part of a series called Dublin Murder Squad, but it does perfectly well as a stand-alone. A very fun (yes, really) psychological thriller, read this book if you’re a fan of Clare Mackintosh and Gilly Macmillan, but with a little less family drama.
Three, Ted Dekker
There’s not a lot I can say about this book without giving anything away, but I will say this – Three was the first book I felt the need to read with the lights on. This book had me changing my mind about who the culprit was about every other chapter, and in the end I was still surprised! Dekker does an excellent job of keeping the reader guessing without being spastic or just completely unreachable. Another perk – there’s nothing gross! So many mysteries and thrillers – especially the psychological ones – cross the line with too much sexual content, whether graphic or innuendo, and are too icky for my taste. You’re safe with this book though – now get ready to have to bejeezus scared out of you!
Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
I had a hard time not reading this book in black and white, and would recommend it to anyone in the mood for a cross between Downton Abbey and The Twilight Zone. It takes a few chapters to get into, but is totally worth the eerie slow build to the booming climax. Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation of this book won the 1941 Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Cinematography, and it’s no surprise. Du Maurier sets the stage with a mysterious husband, a vindictive housekeeper, a grand (haunted?) mansion by the sea, and a nameless woman who is living in the shadow of her husband’s suspiciously dead former wife. Chills, anyone?
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
This book is quite a bit different from the other ones on this list, but its autumnal qualities are just as mood-setting. Rather than keep you up all night, The Secret garden is the perfect story for a rainy day, cuddled up on the couch with a blanket and some steaming Irish Breakfast. Set in the dark, rolling moors of Yorkshire, it’s like a lighter, more readable Brontë work, complete with a foreboding manor, secluded relatives, and – you guessed it – a secret garden that has the ability to bring joy and purpose into the lives of a grumpy orphan and an even grumpier invalid. A sweet, easy read, this is the perfect book to break up your Halloween binge-reading.
UnWind, Neal Shusterman
I’m not a huge dystopian literature fan, but this series had me hooked from the very beginning. It’s creepy and off-putting to the point of being totally un-put-down-able, and is one of the most compelling and thought-provoking pieces of YA fiction I have ever read. At first, it seems so ridiculous and hyperbolic that it can’t be taken seriously at all, but as the story progresses the gravity of the issue comes into view, and before too long the forever controversial stakes of abortion are raised even higher. This book series was enjoyable to read, but very chilling – those with weak stomachs, be warned.
Also, check out these scary short stories!
- The Lottery, Shirley Jackson
- The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allen Poe
- Lamb to the Slaughter, Roald Dahl
- Royal Jelly, Roald Dahl
- Man from the South, Roald Dahl
- Philomel Cottage, Agatha Christie
- The Distributor, Richard Matheson
What are your favorite ghost stories and mysteries? Are there other genres that get you in the mood for fall? Comment below!