Monday, October 26, 2015

Top Ten Suspenseful Novels

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's theme is anything Halloween-related, and while I tend to steer away from anything scary (my recent recommendation of The Girl with All the Gifts notwithstanding) I do love mysteries, and there tend to be enough dead bodies in those books to satisfy the Halloween ambiance.

These aren't all strictly mysteries in the detective/crime-solving sense, but they do all have that kind of pattern of suspense/reveal to some extent. And there are quite a lot of dead bodies between them.

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
I debated which of the many Christie books to recommend, but this one seemed most appropriate as it doesn't involve any of Christie's famous detectives; it's just a straight-up terror-filled murder mystery, as guests on an island are picked off one by one.

2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
Each successive Robert Langdon book seems to me to go down in quality, but this one, the original, is still excellent. As the top candidates for the next pope are killed one by one, Robert — and the reader — have to figure out who is a friend and who is the enemy.

3. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Most of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries are so short that it's worth tackling the whole volume if you really want the experience. No list of classic mysteries would be complete without Conan Doyle's detective, and for good reason. Each story is a new adventure in deductive reasoning and crime solving.

4. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Told in out-of-sequence snippets meant to keep the reader guessing until the very end, this tribute to the Natalee Holloway and Amanda Knox cases is suspenseful and unnerving as we follow the case of a girl accused of killing her best friend while on vacation.

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is one of those that maybe can't be categorized as a classic mystery novel, but a pair of unreliable narrators and a trail of clues create mounting suspense and ultimately lead to a trip into the worst of human psychopathy.

6. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
As far as I can remember, there aren't any dead bodies in this one, but there is a mysterious theft, a series of clues, and a collection of intriguing and semi-unreliable narrators through whom the events of a single night are painstakingly pieced together.

7. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This one is not nearly as dark as the others, but it still contains lots of mystery and a series of clues. The fact that an unprofitable bookstore is the cover for a secret organization is only the beginning.

8. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Here's a mystery with a dash of the supernatural. Someone is replicating Jack the Ripper's killings in London, but the security cameras show no one's there. So who's doing the killing, and why? (Also, when is the next book in the series coming out already?)

9. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I read this a very long time ago, so about all I remember about it is 1) it's creepy, 2) there's a woman who died, possibly under mysterious circumstances, and 3) I enjoyed the book. Even if it's not quite a mystery, it definitely seems like an appropriate Halloween read.

10. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Cormoran Strike books are good old-fashioned detective stories, and I preferred this second one to the first. It has death, clues, and a final confrontation of the killer. (Also, why did no one tell me the third book was just released?)

What are your favorite mysteries, or other suspenseful books?

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