Best Crime, Mystery, And Thriller Books Of October 2019
Our list of best crime, mystery, and thriller books of October 2019 includes picks from a fantastic group of authors. From household names like John Sandford and Michael Connelly to amazing cozy titles such as Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs, these titles will bring joy to avid crime fiction and mystery fans.
Note: For our coverage of best crime, mystery, and thriller books of April and May 2019 here and here. The August and September 2019 lists can be viewed here and here.
What follows is our compiled list of latest and greatest of October 2019:
Criminal Beware (The Lykanos Chronicles Book 1) by Joseph Stone. California, 1922. A growing coastal city is gripped by terror. The savaged remains of a third victim are discovered in the central park. Police find no suspect or motive to explain the violent deaths, nor any link between the victims. Signs are posted throughout the city’s neighborhoods to warn: CRIMINAL BEWARE – You Are Being Watched
When Daniel Archer arrives in San Diego, he is seized by a dark vision of the city’s next murder. The young hotel executive has relocated from New York to take control of the luxurious U.S. Grant Hotel. Gabrielle Roussade, a wealthy young heiress and significant hotel shareholder, welcomes Archer with a dinner party thrown in his honor.
An evening of introductions and greetings is brought to a halt when Archer is assaulted by the terrifying image of a dinner guest’s throat being viciously ripped from his body.
When the man in Archer’s vision is found murdered days later, Roussade and her remaining guests find themselves at the center of a criminal investigation. In search of a protector, the young man becomes the heiress’s closest confidant and lover.
Bloody Genius by John Sandford. At the local state university, two feuding departments have faced off on the battleground of science and medicine. Each carries their views to extremes that may seem absurd, but highly educated people of sound mind and good intentions can reasonably disagree, right?
Then a renowned and confrontational scholar winds up dead, and Virgil Flowers is brought in to investigate . . . and as he probes the recent ideological unrest, he soon comes to realize he’s dealing with people who, on this one particular issue, are functionally crazy.
Among this group of wildly impassioned, diametrically opposed zealots lurks a killer, and it will be up to Virgil to sort the murderer from the mere maniacs.
The Lying Room by Nicci French. In this thrilling standalone from the internationally bestselling author of the Frieda Klein series, a married woman’s affair with her boss spirals into a dangerous game of chess with the police when she discovers he’s been murdered and she clears the crime scene of all evidence.
One little secret between a married woman, her lover, and a killer. It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel.
After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting?
An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair.
Belinda Blake and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by Heather Day Gilbert. Pet-sitter Belinda Blake is no stranger to dealing with wild animals, but she’s wary when the owner of the Greenwich, Connecticut, preserve asks her to help out with her “fluffy darlings.” Her caution seems justified on her very first day, when she discovers a tour guide—dead, bloodied, and surrounded by wolves in the enclosure.
Was it death by predator or something more sinister? The body count rises, but something’s not adding up. As she gets to know the rescued wolves and wolf-dog hybrids better, Belinda realizes that her human colleagues are not above suspicion. With help from her own “pack”—her pregnant sister, Red the chauffeur/bodyguard, and hunky farmer Jonas—Belinda is hot on the killer’s tail, but if she doesn’t find him soon, he’ll do more than muzzle her to keep the truth from escaping.
#NotReadyToDie by Cate Carlyle. Ginny’s life comes to a screeching halt one fateful Monday morning when a shooter invades Southwestern High School. In lockdown with both the homeroom sub and her secret crush Owen badly wounded, Ginny finds herself teamed up with Kayla, one of the “Barbies.”
They must try to keep their classmates alive amid terror and pain. With the uncertainty of everyone making it out alive growing with every minute, there’s only one thing Ginny knows for sure: no one is making it out unchanged.
Dachshund Through the Snow by David Rosenfelt. Lawyer Andy Carpenter and his wife, Laurie, have started a new Christmas tradition. Their local pet store has a Christmas tree, where instead of ornaments there are wishes from those in need. One poignant wish leads Andy to a child named Danny, whose selfless plea strikes a chord. Danny asked Santa for a coat for his mother, a sweater for his dachshund, Murphy, and for the safe return of his missing father.
It turns out Danny’s father doesn’t want to be found, he’s on the run after just being arrested for a murder that took place fourteen years ago – a murder that Danny’s mother swears he didn’t commit.
With his trademark humor and larger-than-life characters – including a police officer and his K-9 partner, Simon – Rosenfelt never fails to deliver as Andy and his eccentric crew dash to reunite a family in time for Christmas.
The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen. After an unspeakable tragedy in Boston, Ava Collette flees to a remote village in Maine, where she rents an old house named Brodie’s Watch.
In that isolated seaside mansion, Ava finally feels at peace…until she glimpses the long-dead sea captain who still resides there.
Rumor has it that Captain Jeremiah Brodie has haunted the house for more than a century. One night, Ava confronts the apparition, who feels all too real, and who welcomes her into his world—and into his arms. Even as Ava questions her own sanity, she eagerly looks forward to the captain’s ghostly visits.
But she soon learns that the house she loves comes with a terrible secret, a secret that those in the village don’t want to reveal: Every woman who has ever lived in Brodie’s Watch has also died there. Is the ghost of Captain Brodie responsible, or is a flesh-and-blood killer at work? A killer who is even now circling closer to Ava?
Mumbo Gumbo Murder by Laura Childs; Terrie Farley Moran. A shocking murder strikes a sour note during Jazz Fest in the latest New Orleans Scrapbooking Mystery from New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs.
It’s Jazz Fest in New Orleans, and the giant puppets from the Beastmaster Puppet Theatre are parading through the French Quarter. Some are very spooky and veiled, others are tall and gangly, like strange aliens.
As the parade proceeds, Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava, follow behind, down Royal Street and past the food booths. Suddenly, they hear a terrible crash from Devon Dowling’s antiques shop. They rush inside to find Devon collapsed with blood streaming down the side of his face. Has he been shot? Stabbed?
911 is hastily called, and the police and EMTs show up. After the police examine Devon’s body, they tell Carmela and Ava that their friend was murdered with an icepick. They’re shocked beyond belief—and now Mimi, Devon’s little pug, is left homeless.
Carmela and Ava are determined to catch the murderer, but the list of suspects is long. How long do they have before they find themselves on the killer’s list?
A Bitter Feast by Deborah Crombie. One of our favorite titles for October.
Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, have been invited for a relaxing weekend in the Cotswolds, one of Britain’s most enchanting regions, famous for its rolling hills, golden cottages, and picturesque villages.
Duncan, Gemma, and their children are guests at Beck House, the family estate of Melody Talbot, Gemma’s detective sergeant. The Talbot family is wealthy, prominent, and powerful—Melody’s father is the publisher of one of London’s largest and most influential newspapers.
The centerpiece of this glorious fall getaway is a posh charity harvest luncheon catered by up-and-coming chef Viv Holland. After fifteen years in London’s cut-throat food scene, Viv has returned to the Gloucestershire valleys of her childhood and quickly made a name for herself with her innovative meals based on traditional cuisine but using fresh local ingredients. Attended by the local well-to-do as well as national press food bloggers and restaurant critics, the event could make Viv a star.
But a tragic car accident and a series of mysterious deaths rock the estate and pull Duncan and Gemma into the investigation. It soon becomes clear that the killer has a connection with Viv’s pub—or, perhaps, with Beck House itself.
Does the truth lie in the past? Or is it closer to home, tied up in the tangled relationships and bitter resentments between the staff at Beck House and Viv’s new pub? Or is it more personal, entwined with secrets hidden by Viv and those closest to her?
Before the Devil Fell by Neil Olson. Will Connor returns to his hometown, a village north of Boston, to care for his injured mother. He’s kept his distance from the town since high school, but once home he finds himself reexamining a horrific incident that took place during one of his mother’s “spirit circles.” His mother had embraced the hippie generation’s fascination with New Age and the arcane, but the unexpected death of a close friend put an end to the meetings of the modern-day coven. Or did it?
As Will looks deeper into his family’s history he discovers that her practices weren’t so much a passing fad but the latest link in a long tradition of New England witchcraft, which still seems to hold a strange power over the town. Will hopes that unearthing the facts about the death will put his questions to rest, but there are those willing to resort to violence to keep those secrets buried.
Bury the Lede by Gaby Dunn. One of our favorite graphic novels of the season and a great pick for October. Cub reporter Madison Jackson is young, scrappy, and hungry to prove that she deserves her coveted college internship at the premiere newspaper in town, The Boston Lede, so when her police scanner mentions a brutal murder tied to the prominent Boston Kennedys, Madison races to the crime scene, looking for the scoop of the century.
What she finds instead is the woman who’ll change her life forever: Dahlia Kennedy, celebrity socialite, now widow, covered in gore and the prime suspect in the murder of her husband and child. When Dahlia refuses to talk to anyone but Madison, they begin a dangerous game of cat and mouse that leads the young journalist down a twisted path.
From Gaby Dunn (Bad with Money, I Hate Everyone But You) and Claire Roe (Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Welcome Back) comes an all-new original graphic novel about the thrill of the chase and the dangers of going toe-to-toe with a potential killer.
A Book of Bones by John Connolly. Private Investigator Charlie Parker returns in this heart-pounding thriller as he seeks revenge against the darkest forces in the world, from the internationally bestselling author of the acclaimed The Woman in the Woods.
He is our best hope. He is our last hope.
On a lonely moor in northern England, the body of a young woman is discovered. In the south, a girl lies buried beneath a Saxon mound. To the southeast, the ruins of a priory hide a human skull.
Each is a sacrifice, a summons. And something in the darkness has heard the call.
Charlie Parker has also heard it and from the forests of Maine to the deserts of the Mexican border, from the canals of Amsterdam to the streets of London, he will track those who would cast the world into darkness. Parker fears no evil—but evil fears him.
The Night Fire (A Renée Ballard and Harry Bosch Novel) by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch and LAPD Detective Renée Ballard come together again on the murder case that obsessed Bosch’s mentor, the man who trained him—new from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.
Back when Harry Bosch was just a rookie homicide detective, he had an inspiring mentor who taught him to take the work personally and light the fire of relentlessness for every case. Now that mentor, John Jack Thompson, is dead, but after his funeral his widow gives Bosch a murder book that Thompson took with him when he left the LAPD 20 years before — the unsolved killing of a troubled young man in an alley used for drug deals.
Bosch brings the murder book to Renée Ballard and asks her to help him find what about the case lit Thompson’s fire all those years ago. That will be their starting point.
The bond between Bosch and Ballard tightens as they become a formidable investigative team. And they soon arrive at a worrying question: Did Thompson steal the murder book to work the case in retirement, or to make sure it never got solved?
January 1905: Holmes and Watson are summoned by Holmes’ brother Mycroft to undertake a clandestine investigation. An agent of the British Secret Service has been found floating in the Thames, carrying a manuscript smuggled into England at the cost of her life. The pages purport to be the minutes of a meeting of a secret group intent on nothing less than taking over the world.
Based on real events, the adventure takes the famed duo—in the company of a bewitching woman—aboard the Orient Express from Paris into the heart of Tsarist Russia, where Holmes and Watson attempt to trace the origins of this explosive document. On their heels are desperate men of unknown allegiance, determined to prevent them from achieving their task. And what they uncover is a conspiracy so vast as to challenge Sherlock Holmes as never before.
Double Crossfire by Anthony J. Tata. “How do you overturn an election?” It’s a question that has obsessed presidential candidate Jamie Carter ever since her loss to businessman and political neophyte President Jack Smart. In spite of the election results, she’s determined to take what she sees as her rightful place in the White House—through any means possible.
First, she establishes residency in North Carolina. Then, when the state’s Pro Tem of the US Senate is found dead, she is appointed to his position by her friend, the governor. Now, there are only three people who stand in her way: the Speaker of the House, the Vice President, and the President himself.
The countdown begins. The assassins are ready. But when one of them tries to kill the CIA Director under Jake Mahegan’s watch, the plan is momentarily disrupted. Jake is able to prevent one murder—but the conspiracy is too big, and too insidious, to stop now. Senator Jamie Carter is the mastermind behind one of the bloodiest coups ever conceived. Her highly trained killers are closing in on all the president’s men. And the course of American history will be changed forever—on Assassination Day.
The Other Wife by Claire McGowan. She’s a total stranger. But she knows who you are. Suzi did a bad thing. She’s paying for it now, pregnant, scared, and living in an isolated cottage with her jealous husband, Nick.
When Nora moves into the only house nearby, Suzi is delighted to have a friend. So much so that she’s almost tempted to tell Nora her terrible secret. But there’s more to Nora than meets the eye. It’s impossible—does she already know what Suzi did?
Meanwhile, Elle spends her days in her perfect home, fixated on keeping up appearances. But when her husband betrays her, it unravels a secret going all the way back to her childhood. She’ll do whatever it takes to hold on to him, even if that means murder. After all, she’s done it before…
Caught up in their own secrets and lies, these strangers will soon realise they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. When a shocking event brings them together, their lives will never be the same again.
All His Pretty Girls by Charly Cox. Detective Alyssa Wyatt is hunting a serial killer. She doesn’t know that he’s hunting her.
A woman is found naked, badly beaten and barely alive in the New Mexico mountains. The shocking discovery plunges Albuquerque Detective Alyssa Wyatt into a case that will test her to the limit.
It appears that Callie McCormick is the latest plaything of a shadowy psychopath that leaves a long shadow on the streets of New Mexico – an individual linked to a string of deaths but leaving no evidence.
But when Alyssa makes a breakthrough that just might reveal the killer, she unknowingly puts herself in the crosshairs of a brutal maniac – one with an old score to settle.
Because the killer knows Alyssa very well, even if she doesn’t know him. And he’s determined that she’ll know his name – even if he has to extract his deadly revenge on her and everything she loves.
The launch of a dark, gripping, completely unputdownable crime thriller series, All His Pretty Girlsintroduces Albuquerque detective Alyssa Wyatt. Fans of Kendra Elliot, Melinda Leigh and Angela Marsons will be utterly engrossed.
Let Justice Descend by Lisa Black. In this taut, brilliantly twisted new thriller from bestselling author Lisa Black, forensics expert Maggie Gardiner and Cleveland detective Jack Renner investigate the bizarre murder of a senator with secrets to hide. This is one of Mystery Tribune’s October favorites.
Three days before a key election, U.S. Senator Diane Cragin is electrocuted on her own doorstep—a shocking twist in an already brutal political race. Cragin’s chief of staff is quick to blame rival Joey Green, a city development director who’s had his hand in every till in town for over twenty years.
Maggie and Jack have their own theories, especially after discovering a fortune in cash in the senator’s safe. But as they follow the money through the treacherous landscape of Cleveland politics, they find many more millions in play—and more suspects.
As Jack says, “Anyone can be dangerous, when they have what they think is a good reason.” He should know. Now a Herald reporter is perilously close to discovering the truth about Jack’s penchant for acting as both detective and executioner. With each passing hour, the stresses of the impending election expose new fractures and corruption at the city’s highest levels. And as one murder leads to another, and another, Maggie and Jack’s only hope of stopping a killer is an alliance that’s growing ever more fragile.
Penny for Your Secrets by Anna Lee Huber. England, 1919. In Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery, former Secret Service agent Verity Kent is finding that life after wartime offers its own share of danger.
The Great War may be over, but for many, there are still obstacles on the home front. Reconciling with her estranged husband makes Verity sympathetic to her friend Ada’s marital difficulties.
Bourgeois-bred Ada, recently married to the Marquess of Rockham, is overwhelmed trying to navigate the ways of the aristocracy. And when Lord Rockham is discovered shot through the heart with a bullet from Ada’s revolver, Verity fears her friend has made a fatal blunder.
While striving to prove Ada’s innocence, Verity is called upon for another favor. The sister of a former Secret Service colleague has been killed in what authorities believe was a home invasion gone wrong. The victim’s war work—censoring letters sent by soldiers from the front—exposed her to sensitive, disturbing material. Verity begins to suspect these two unlikely cases may be linked. But as the connections deepen, the consequences—not just for Verity, but for Britain—grow more menacing than she could have imagined.
Christmas Sweets by Joanne Fluke; Laura Levine; Leslie Meier. Gathered in one volume for the very first time, here are three yuletide tales of mystery, murder, and romance, featuring your favorite sleuths.
The Twelve Desserts of Christmas by Joanne Fluke: It’s the perfect mix of naughty and nice when two lovestruck boarding school teachers watch six kids over Christmas break. But when someone wants the cozy couple’s romance to burn out faster than a scorched fruitcake, it’s Hannah Swensen to the rescue, armed with her sleuthing skills—and twelve deliciously festive recipes.
Nightmare on Elf Street by Laura Levine: Aside from the mortifying costume, how bad can a gig as a mall Santa’s elf be? Jaine Austen finds out when she’s teamed up with the Santa from Hell. But things go from bad to worse when he’s found murdered on the job—and Jaine is a suspect. Now all she wants for Christmas is to find the real killer.
The Christmas Thief by Leslie Meier: Elizabeth Stone is ready for a white Christmas in Tinker’s Cove, Maine—until a fancy Yule ball at the Florida hotel where she works dumps snow on her plans. The sponsor’s jewels have gone missing and the police are asking about her ties to a cute mystery guest. Good thing Elizabeth’s mother, Lucy Stone, flew down to surprise her. ‘Tis the season for a little investigating.