My Favorite Mysteries

Just in time for Halloween, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite mysteries. Not all are of the traditional mystery genre (or even fiction), but they’re gripping mysteries nonetheless!

The Dry, by Jane Harper

Set in a small Australian town during a severe famine, Federal Agent Aaron Falk is forced to return to the hometown he left 20 years after being falsely accused of a heinous crime. An anonymous note lures Falk back when a childhood friend and his family are brutally murdered. The rural countryside hides ominous secrets as residents turn on one another in desperation. You can literally feel the heat, perspiration beading on your brow, and taste the dust of the devastated Australian landscape. An intricate, thrilling mystery that is exquisitely told. Read more

Death In Focus, by Anne Perry

In Perry’s newest series set in Europe in 1933, protagonist Elena Standish is a British photographer traveling with her sister. She meets a mysterious stranger who, upon his death, entrusts her to stop the assassination of prominent Nazi that the British MI6 has been set up to take the blame for, further inflaming an already impeding international crisis. No one is to be trusted as Elena runs for her life. In her journey to bring photographic proof of Nazi atrocities to her beloved grandfather, the former head of MI6, Elena evolves from a meek civilian into a fearless cunning, warrior. The ending is a stunner. Read more

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

This is a tour de force of the unreliable narrator. Rachel Watson is the main protagonist, an alcoholic still mourning her divorce from Tom, who left her for another woman, Anne Boyd. Rachel rides the train daily, past her former home where Tom and his new wife still reside, and fixates on young the couple living next door (Megan and Scott). When Megan disappears Rachel keeps having flashbacks of a brutal attack and tries to piece together a deadly mystery she believes occurred in an alcohol induced stupor. Read more

I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, Michelle McNamara

This brilliant true crime novel followers journalist Michelle McNamara on her obsessive quest to unmask the predator she dubbed “The Golden State Killer.” For over a decade beginning in the 1970s, a mysterious, vicious criminal terrorized California, committing over 50 sadistic rapes and a dozen homicides. McNamara died tragically in 2016 before her masterpiece was complete and the killer appended. The HBO documentary of the same name aired in summer 2020 expanding on the book, covering the arrest and conviction of killer Joseph James DeAngelo. Read more

Shadow Divers, by Robert Kurson

Also a true life mystery, but not in usual sense. Shadow Divers tells the riveting story of two amateur deep sea scuba divers, John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, who become obsessed with solving an incredible historical mystery. In 1991, 230 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and sixty miles off the New Jersey coast, Chatterton and Kohler discovered a World War II German U-boat. There was no record of an enemy submarine ever getting so close to American shores, even at the Pentagon. Over six years, an expert team of divers toiled to solve the mystery surrounding the sub amid razor sharp metal, twisted wires and human remains. Read more

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