Are you that reader who stays up later than everyone else just to sit by the Christmas tree… and scare yourself silly with a thriller? We thought so. You’re in luck: This winter brings the release of exciting new titles from beloved authors like Sophie Hannah and Lyndsay Faye. Give yourself a break from all of the holiday cheer, and stress yourself out with one of these must-read mysteries and thrillers.
In a high-speed chase in the Swedish city of Helsingborg, police are stunned when the car they are following drives right into a nearby body of water. When the car is retrieved, the deceased driver turns out to be a well-known entrepreneur named Peter Brise. The police, including criminal investigator Fabian Risk, feel that the incident can likely be chalked up to suicide. But the autopsy results show something shocking: Brise has been dead for months and his body was preserved and somehow placed in the car. This makes no sense, because multiple people claim to have seen Brise alive in that window of time. Fabian Risk is on the case in this third installment in Stefan Ahnhem’s beloved series.
On shelves: December 4
Inspector Kosuke Iwata is done with the Tokyo Police Department. His last case with them took a huge toll on his life, and he has decided to make a fresh start for himself in Los Angeles, California. Once there, he opens up his own private investigation firm. Then, the mother of his late wife asks him to look into an unsolved case concerning the murder of her other daughter, a trans woman named Meredith. As Iwata learns more about Meredith’s death, he begins to suspect that there may be more victims of the same killer. Kirkus called Sins as Scarlet “a neonoir gem with a compelling story, solid prose, and a brooding, honorable, and all-too-human hero.”
On shelves: December 18
Tom Fitzwilliam has many admirers in Bristol, England. He’s had a big impact on the school in Melville Heights and now serves as its headmaster. He’s also been the object of a few crushes over the years, and why not? He seems like a good guy, and he is certainly charming. But there are people in town who aren’t sure that he’s the upstanding citizen that he appears to be. There are rumors about Tom, unpleasant rumors about things like stalking and inappropriate relationships, that have kept some of the townspeople from fully trusting him. Then a murder upends the community, and everyone’s secrets start to come out.
On shelves: December 26
Jessica Farris works as a makeup artist in New York City, and could use a little extra cash. That’s why she signs up to participate in the morality and ethics study she hears some of her clients talking about. The study is being conducted by Dr. Lydia Shields, and from the beginning, Jessica lies to Dr. Shields about her identity (she claims, instead, to be one of the women she heard talking about the study in the first place). The relationship between Jessica and Dr. Shields is unbalanced from the beginning, wrought with manipulation and control. Will Jessica be able to escape Dr. Shields’ clutches? You’ll have to read the latest from the duo that brought you The Wife Between Us to find out.
On shelves: January 8
This exciting new thriller from Lyndsay Faye takes readers back to 1921. Alice James is traveling west from New York City to Portland, Oregon via train, in hopes of getting away from a rather dangerous situation in the Big Apple. While on the train, she makes the acquaintance of a Pullman porter named Max who helps her get situated at the titular Paragon Hotel once she arrives at her destination. Alice is white, while the Paragon Hotel is all-black establishment, and her arrival causes a stir. Things are tense at the hotel: The Ku Klux Klan has made its presence known in Portland with all kinds of hateful displays. Alice will band together with her new friends and join the hunt when a local child goes missing.
On shelves: January 8
When Izzy del Torres, a young immigrant woman living in Detroit, vanishes during an Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid, no one is sure what to think. Police are baffled by another detail when her body is pulled from the Detroit River weeks after the fact: She is dressed up like Marie Antoinette. August Snow is a former member of the Detroit PD and lives in Mexicantown himself. He’s horrified by the crime, and even more disturbed by the fact that Izzy is one of several Mexicantown residents who have gone missing during an ICE raid, only to be found dead. Snow may not be an official cop anymore, but that won’t stop him from tracking down the killer, even if it puts him in grave danger.
On shelves: January 8
Travel to New Orleans in this 22nd installment in James Lee Burke’s popular Dave Robicheaux series. Detective Robicheaux is on the case again, and this time, it’s because of a grisly murder involving the crucifixion of a woman named Lucinda Arceneaux. That isn’t all: There’s a killer named Hugo Tillinger on the loose after his escape from a Texas prison hospital. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved: “With his lush, visionary prose and timeless literary themes of loss and redemption, Burke is in full command in this outing for his aging but still capable hero.” We are confident you’ll agree.
On shelves: January 8
First comes love, then comes marriage. Then comes… murder? In JoAnn Chaney’s latest, a husband named Matt reels in the aftermath of his wife’s death. He and Marie had been hiking when she stumbled off of a cliff. At least, that’s what Matt says happened. It would be easier to believe him, however, had his first wife Janice not also died rather suddenly. Detective Marion Spengler and Detective Ralph Loren are assigned to the case, and are charged with answering a basic question about Matt: Is he a sociopathic, wife-killing liar? Or is he just an extremely unlucky man who has lost both of his wives to unspeakable tragedies? This twisty thriller will keep your heart rate elevated right up to the final page.
On shelves: January 15
Caroline and Audrey are college roommates on a road trip together one winter night when a devastating car accident kills Caroline and leaves Audrey badly injured. The car accident doesn’t seem like much of an accident, however, and the people of the nearby town are reminded of a case from years back when another woman died in the Black Root River. Audrey takes it upon herself to learn what she can about the previous case and to find out who killed Caroline. In a starred review, Kirkus called The Current: “An apt title that functions as a beautiful metaphor for all the secrets and emotions roiling beneath the surface of every human life.”
On shelves: January 22
Take off that “best friends forever” locket. Billy Dead Mates is on the loose, and this serial killer specifically goes after sets of besties. Each time he kills, Billy leaves his victim with a small, nearly-blank white book. Kim Tribbeck receives one of the books, but she’s puzzled: She doesn’t have a best friend, and so it doesn’t seem like Billy should be after her. Plus, she hasn’t been murdered yet. The police immediately begin to investigate, looking into who could have given Kim the book and who might want to hurt her. We bet you’ll want to give your BFF a call after reading this one just to check in.
On shelves: February 19