As the leaves fall and the air turns crisp, Halloween enthusiasts are already plotting their eerie escapades. What better way to get into the spirit of this haunting holiday than by delving into the gripping world of thriller books? 2023 has brought a fresh wave of spine-tingling narratives, with authors pushing the boundaries of suspense and horror. Whether you prefer psychological thrillers, supernatural mysteries, or heart-pounding crime dramas, this year’s bookshelves are brimming with captivating tales to keep you up well past the witching hour.
In this blog post, we’ll unveil the most chilling thriller books of 2023, handpicked to ensure that your Halloween season is filled with suspense, excitement, and a dash of the macabre. Each of these gripping reads is designed to send shivers down your spine and make your heart race in anticipation. So, grab a warm cup of apple cider, light some candles, and prepare to be immersed in the world of the unknown. With our carefully curated list, you’re in for a Halloween treat that’s as thrilling as it is terrifying.
The Best 2023 Halloween Thriller Books
by Stephen King
Holly by Stephen King is the triumphant comeback of beloved King character Holly Gibney. Holly’s progressive metamorphosis from a shy (but brave and ethical) recluse in Mr. Mercedes to Bill Hodges’s partner in Finders Keepers to a full-fledged, sharp, and occasionally tough private detective in The Outsider has been witnessed by readers. Holly is on her own in King’s new novel, up against a pair of horrifically evil and masterfully camouflaged foes.
When Penny Dahl contacts the Finders Keepers detective agency in search of her missing daughter, Holly is hesitant to take the job. Pete, her partner, has Covid. Her (complex) mother died recently. And Holly is supposed to be on leave. But something about Penny Dahl’s desperate voice makes Holly unable to refuse her.
Professors Rodney and Emily Harris reside just a few blocks away from where Bonnie Dahl vanished. They exemplify bourgeois respectability: married octogenarians who are committed to one other and semi-retired lifetime academics. They are, however, hiding an evil secret in the basement of their well-kept, book-lined home, one that may be connected to Bonnie’s abduction. And it will be practically impossible to figure out what they are up to: they are astute, patient, and vicious.
Mother-Daughter Murder Night
by Nina Simon
Lana Rubicon, a high-powered businesswoman, has a lot to be proud of: her sharp mind, immaculate taste, and the L.A. real estate empire she’s constructed. Lana is stuck counting otters instead of square footage 300 miles north of the city, convalescing in a peaceful seaside town with her adult daughter Beth and teenage granddaughter Jack, hoping that boredom doesn’t kill her before the cancer does.
Then Jack, who is small in stature but fiercely independent, comes across a dead body while kayaking. She rapidly becomes a suspect in the homicide inquiry, throwing the Rubicon ladies into disarray. Beth believes Lana should concentrate on her rehabilitation, but Lana has a better plan. She’ll put on her wig, track out the genuine murderer, defend her family, and demonstrate her continued dominance.
Lana uncovers a network of falsehoods, family vendettas, and land disputes hiding beneath the surface of a village filled by folksy conservationists and affluent ranchers with the help of Jack and Beth. But when their amateur spying ventures into increasingly dangerous terrain, the headstrong Rubicon women must learn to do something they’ve always avoided: rely on one another.
The Spy Coast
by Tess Gerritsen
After a disastrous assignment, former spy Maggie Bird moved to Purity, Maine, to forget her past. She lives quietly on her poultry farm, scared of repercussions from her early retirement.
Maggie understands a body in her driveway is a message from past enemies who haven’t forgotten her. Maggie asks her local CIA retiree pals to help her figure out who is trying to assassinate her and why. This “Martini Club” of retired spies wants to use their skills again to spice up their very dull new lives.
Jo Thibodeau, Purity’s acting police chief, complicates matters. Jo is more used to dealing with raucous visitors than homicide, so Maggie’s reluctance to divulge information and her weird group of pals, who always seem to be ahead of her, baffle her.
Maggie must confront a hidden career that took her from Bangkok to Istanbul, London to Malta, as Jo’s investigation collides with the Martini Club’s. Maggie may preserve her life with the help of her friends and the reluctant Jo Thibodeau as her spirits resurface.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Housemaid!
Two women. Secretive office. One awful, irreparable crime.
According to Dawn, an accountant at nutritional supplement business Vixed, everyone agrees. She never speaks correctly. Has no friends. She always arrives at her work around 8:45 a.m.
Natalie Farrell, a top sales rep for five years, is puzzled when Dawn doesn’t arrive at work one morning. She gets an alarming, anonymous call that alters everything.
Dawn not merely awkward, but she was being targeted by someone nearby. Through a tangled game of cat and mouse, Natalie is irreversibly tied to Dawn and wonders who’s the true victim?
One thing is certain: Dawn Schiff was disliked.
Enough to be killed.
by Joe Hill
At Willy and Marianne’s home in Maine, there are acres of meadow, plenty of fresh air, and a solitary bridle route through the forest that Willy likes to wander and daydream along. The creaking squeak of the wheels relaxes him as he carries his groceries home in a dilapidated old baby stroller. So are the adorable coos of a newborn, which Willy is aware are unreal. Can it? Wishes come true in this twisting thicket, but at a cost.
A compilation of terrifyingly spooky tales that will send chills down your spine and turn your mind, Creature Feature includes Joe Hill’s The Pram. They are frightening enough to read or listen to all at once.
All the Sinners Bleed
by S. A. Cosby
In Charon County, Virginia, Titus Crown is the county’s first Black sheriff. Only two murders have occurred on peaceful Charon in recent years. But Titus knows better than anyone that while his hometown might appear like a land of moonshine, cornbread, and honeysuckle, secrets always fester beneath the surface after years of working as an FBI agent.
Then, exactly one year after Titus was elected, a former pupil shoots and kills a teacher at a school, prompting Titus’s deputies to shoot and kill the kid. As Titus looks into the shootings, he discovers awful crimes and a serial killer who has been prowling about Charon’s dirt roads and forest clearings while remaining undetected.
Sisters of the Lost Nation
by Nick Medina
Anna Horn is constantly keeping an eye on her back. For the bullies who harass her and the entitled guests at the casino on the reservation…and for the unnamed, intangible being that follows her everywhere—a reincarnation of an old tribal tale that wants to devour her whole.
Anna begins to wonder whether the horrors on the reserve aren’t only ancient because of the bizarre and sinister events that keep happening around the casino. Anna struggles with her position on the reservation and is urgently looking for the key she is certain is hidden in the myths of her tribe’s past as girls start going missing and the tribe scrambles to find answers.
When Grace goes missing, Anna will stop at nothing to bring her home. But the ancient and modern demons that plague the reserve are powerful, and often the most significant tales are those that are never shared.
Murder Your Employer
by Rupert Holmes
Who hasn’t momentarily imagined what the world would be like if the person who is the source of your suffering vanished? But then again, it’s unlikely that you’ve ever heard of The McMasters Conservatory, which is devoted to the perfect practice of the murderous arts. A student must have a moral justification for eliminating someone who sincerely merits neither a worse nor a better fate than death in order to be admitted. You might become a classmate’s target for practice on the campus of this “Poison Ivy League” university, which is hidden from even those who attend there…. where committing the ideal murder of someone whose passing will make the world a lot better place to live is getting away with it as one’s required graduation thesis.
Better the Blood
by Michael Bennett
Hana Westerman, a determined Mori detective, balances being a single mother, widespread prejudice, and the demands of her job at Auckland CIB. She follows a bizarre video to a crime site where she finds a guy ritualistically hanging in a hidden room along with a perplexing inward-curving inscription. She looks into the case after a second, seemingly unrelated death and finds a terrifying link to a notorious crime: During the cruel and savage British colonization of New Zealand 160 years prior, a group of colonial soldiers killed a Mori Chief without cause.
Hana understands that the killings are utu, a Mori custom used to atone for a transgression done eight generations earlier. The British troop consisted of six troops, and since two of them have died, there are now four more murders that could yet occur. Hana is thus on the prowl for the country’s first serial killer.
All the Dangerous Things
by Stacy Willingham
One year ago, as she and her husband were sleeping in the adjacent room, Mason, a toddler, was removed from his crib in the middle of the night, altering Isabelle Drake’s life forever. The authorities had nothing to go on in terms of evidence, and there were not many leads to follow. But Isabelle is unable to unwind until Mason is brought back to her, literally.
She hasn’t slept for a year, save for the occasional catnap or brief blackout during which she loses track of time.
Finding him has become the focus of Isabelle’s entire life, yet she is aware that she cannot continue in this manner indefinitely. She agrees to be interviewed by a true-crime podcaster in the hopes of releasing a new witness or hidden clue, but she feels uneasy about his curiosity in Isabelle’s history. Due to his persistent questioning and her extreme insomnia, which has brought up unsettling memories from her own childhood, Isabelle has begun to doubt her memory of the night Mason vanished and to question who she can trust—including herself. However, she is committed to uncovering the truth wherever it may lead.
The Bandit Queens
by Parini Shroff
Geeta’s bad-husband-lost five years ago. She lost him, as in, he abandoned her and she has no idea where he is. However, there is a rumor that Geeta murdered him in her isolated Indian hamlet. It’s a rumor that just won’t go away, too.
It seems there are benefits to being regarded as a “self-made” widow. Nobody bothers her, stalks her, or seeks to control (or wed) her. Even her business has benefited from it; nobody dared refuse to purchase her jewels.
Because other women are now seeking for Geeta’s “expertise,” which makes her an inadvertent advisor for spouse removal, freedom must look good on her.
And not all of them are politely requesting.
Geeta must find a method to safeguard the life she has created because of her dangerous reputation. However, even the best-laid plots of would-be widows frequently fail. What transpires next starts a series of events that will alter everything for not only Geeta but also for all the village’s female residents.
The White Lady
by Jacqueline Winspear
Elinor, a recalcitrant ex-spy with her own demons, finds herself up against one of London’s most dangerous organized criminal groups. She eventually exposes corruption from Scotland Yard to the highest levels of government.
The reclusive, reserved “Miss White,” as Elinor is known, resides in a village in rural Kent, England, and is somewhat of a mystery to her neighbors. She might, given that Elinor lives in a “grace and favor” home—a unique luxury given to devout Crown servants in appreciation of their contributions to the country. Shacklehurst’s inhabitants are unaware of how hazardous Elinor’s wartime work was or that their enigmatic neighbor is troubled by her background.
Susie, the daughter of Jim Mackie and Rose, a teenage farmworker, will be necessary to overcome Miss White’s frigid exterior; yet, Jim and Elinor share a trait. He shares her desire to move past his past. Elinor takes on the responsibility of guarding her neighbors, notably the bright-eyed Susie, when the ruthless Mackie criminal family wants the prodigal son’s return for a crucial mission. Elinor unintentionally embarks on a perilous route in her desire to learn the truth about the reasons why the family is pursuing Jim, but it is a path that ultimately leads to her freedom.