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7 Frightfully Good Thrillers You Can’t Miss This Halloween

by  | October 8

Ah, October. The leaves are changing, the air is turning crisp, and pumpkin spice can be found just about everywhere. If you’re like me, the minute it’s October 1, you go into full Halloween mode. When I go digging through my TBR list this month, it’s to find something to sate my need for the thrilling and the chilling. If you’re in need of some recommendations as the temperature drops and the flannel comes out of storage, here are seven thrillers to get you in the spooky mood.

The Turn of the Key

The Turn of the Key

by Ruth Ware

No thriller list should be without a Ruth Ware work on it, and it’s not hard to see why. All of Ware’s books have you on the edge of your seat with mysterious characters, lush settings, and dark twists and turns in every chapter. In Ware’s latest novel, The Turn of the Key, Rowan Caine takes a position as a nanny in the Scottish Highlands, with her future looking bright with a picturesque family to look after. However, behind closed doors the house is a den of nightmares, and Rowan soon finds herself accused of murdering one of her charges. Reminiscent of Henry James’s famous short story “The Turn of the Screw,” The Turn of the Key continuously keeps the reader guessing as to what’s happening and who can be believed. If you’re the kind of person who loves unexpected twists, or endings that send you reeling, this is the book for you.

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The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

Love can make us do some strange things, but shooting one’s husband multiple times in the face before going totally mute isn’t usually one of them. That’s what artist Alicia does in The Silent Patient, and she soon becomes the one mystery everyone is trying to solve. Her psychotherapist, Theo, is obsessed not just with why she has committed this heinous crime, but also why she’s now mute: Is it that she can’t speak or simply won’t? The shocking details of the murder may drag you in, but the dynamic between Theo and Alicia is what really captures the imagination, especially as you realize that Theo might not be the most reliable narrator. A dark story that looks at how love can make us do some truly terrible things

(and become someone truly terrible), this book is a must-read for late at night (as long as you don’t have to get up early).

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Abigale Hall

Abigale Hall

by Lauren A. Forry

Who doesn’t love a good, ole-fashioned gothic ghost story? Dark corridors with ominous staff; ghosts wandering restlessly; protagonists desperately trying to survive the night in a creepy old house—it’s all the stuff that makes you want to run to hide under the covers. If you’re looking for a historical thriller that’ll get your blood running cold, Abigale Hall is the one for you. Forced from their London home in the aftermath of World War II, orphaned sisters Eliza and Rebecca find themselves working as servants for Mr. Brownawell at Abigale Hall. The staff is less than friendly, and there may or may not be the ghost of Brownawell’s former bride haunting the place. But what is really going on might surprise even the most ardent of gothic horror fans.

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The Line Between

The Line Between

by Tosca Lee

From historical fiction that uses the past to create fear, we move on to science fiction that sees a terrifying world that could be. Instead of a spooky ghost or a sadistic killer, what is haunting Wynter Roth, a young woman recently kicked out of a doomsday cult, is a disease released after the melting of the Alaskan permafrost. The nation descends into chaos as the disease causes its victims to go mad, literally, and Wynter might have the only means for a cure. But it’s never easy to try to save the world, and she’ll have to face off against agents trying to stop her or otherwise take the cure for themselves. A thrilling race against time in a world on the verge of breaking, The Line Between has all the great elements of a bone-chilling thriller. And if you’re as enthralled by these characters and their broken world as I think you will be, the sequel, A Single Light, was just published last month.

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The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place

by C. J. Tudor

Thrillers are known for mining dark and foreboding places, but none are quite so terrifying as the town of Arnhill. For Joe Thorne, it’s his childhood hometown and a place that holds a lot of bad memories. Still, he’s forced to go back there to take a lackluster job teaching in the local high school when events come to light concerning a death that seems to resemble his sister’s back in the day…and one he’s worried is going to have the same consequences. The Hiding Place is both a fascinating human drama and supernatural thriller, with the kind of twists that will have you glued to every word. At the same time, the brilliantly written wit will keep you entertained until it’s time for the big reveal. If you are ready for some ghastly, ghoulish reads, get ready for a trip to one hell of a scary town.

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Your Life Is Mine

Your Life Is Mine

by Nathan Ripley

Family has a huge impact on who you end up being, for better or worse. Filmmaker Blanche Potter is trying to distance herself from her childhood legacy and influence of her father, killer and cult leader Chuck Varner. However, when her mother ends up murdered, she begins to suspect that her father’s followers have played a bigger role in her death than the police are letting on, dragging Blanche back into a dark world she thought she had left behind. Your Life Is Mine asks what being exposed to the worst of humanity can do to a person, and how they can escape their past. This is the kind of close-quarters emotional thriller that will keep you looking over your shoulder and questioning everything—and everyone—you know.

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Before She Knew Him

Before She Knew Him

by Peter Swanson

How well do you know your neighbors? For Hen, the lovely couple next door seems to be just that—lovely and normal. But when she discovers a trophy that looks just like the one belonging to a murdered boy in their home, she starts to get suspicious. Before She Knew Him is another thriller that plays on the idea of an unreliable narrator (Hen is working to control her bipolar disorder, which can cause intense paranoia). But she’s not the only person we hear from; we also get chapters from the perspective of the neighbors, adding a layer of creepiness and misdirection that will keep readers guessing as the reveal draws near. If you’re a fan of thrillers like Hitchcock’s Rear Window or Disturbia, i.e., where the neighbors are clearly up to no good, this is the perfect novel for you.

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com