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13 October Mystery, Thriller, And True Crime Books To Read

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Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

For everyone who melted away in the absurd summer heat this year (Mother Nature has got every right to be big mad at humans), we’re finally shedding the heat for cool temperatures. And that means it is time to trade our summer TBR stack for our fall TBR stack — AKA just pilling a ton more books onto the existing TBR stack. Mmmmmmm books.  

Clearly you’re here for mysteries, thrillers, and true crime so great news: I have a bunch of new October releases for you to enjoy. All you have to do is select your most comfy, cozy reading place during fall (or if you listen to audiobooks while intensely working out, that works too!) and maybe think about a snack (Halloween candy!) and a nice warm mug of something. I’m all about blankets and fluffy, huge socks for fall reading. Now for the books!

Whether you lean towards the thriller horror side of the genre or like to skip through the Victorian era with an amateur sleuth, I’ve got you covered. There’s a true crime based on what was a sensational case at the time, a fictional murder game, cozies (including some for food lovers!), translated crime, middle grade, and historical fiction.

Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie's Kitchen #3) book cover

Blackmail and Bibingka (Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #3)
by Mia P. Manansala

Calling all cozy mystery and foodie fans! Bonus if you like books set during Christmastime. Lila Macapagal should be fully focused on her new adventure of opening The Brew-ha Cafe but this is a cozy mystery so you know things are gonna get complicated. Which they do in the form of Tita Rosie’s son returning after years, which Lila isn’t thrilled about considering the blackmail letter stating he’s in some shady business. And then he lands himself as a murder suspect… If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Arsenic and Adobo.

Undercover Latina cover

Undercover Latina by Aya de León

Here’s an action spy middle grade title from an author with great adult crime novels (Uptown Thief; A Spy in the Struggle). Andréa Hernández-Baldoquín works for an international organization, the Factory, with her family of spies. Now at fourteen she’s given her first solo mission: pose as non-Latina white and befriend the estranged son of a white supremacist. What could go wrong? – I mean for starters she needs to never slip up and give away that she speaks Spanish, and her family is Mexican and Puerto Rican, all why crushing on a Latino friend of the target…

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking book cover

Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking (A Caribbean Kitchen Mystery #2) by Raquel V. Reyes

And another call for cozy mystery food lovers! This time we’re set in Miami, with the host of a local food show, mother, and of course amateur sleuth. It’s fall in Miami which means Halloween decorations in shorts-weather. What Miriam Quiñones-Smith was not expecting to find next to her tombstone yard decor was a real life dead body. But that’s only the start of the dead bodies, and Miriam is still having to deal with the mother-in-law from hell while trying to help organize a food festival. Naturally Miriam is going to have to investigate, keep her family together, and try not to get murdered in the process! If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Mango, Mambo, and Murder.

cover image for  Anywhere You Run

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris

For fans of historical mystery and sisters, this is the new novel from the author of All Her Little Secrets (a great 2021 title). Violet Richards kills the man who brutally attacked her, putting her in danger as a Black woman in Jackson, Mississippi with Jim Crow laws. So she flees to Georgia. Her older sister Marigold is also forced to flee, unmarried and pregnant, when the police show up for Violet. But did the sisters leave danger behind them?

Jackal by Erin E. Adams book cover

Jackal by Erin E. Adams

For fans of thrillers, horror, and missing girl plots. Liz Rocher returns to her Pennsylvania hometown for a friend’s wedding when the bride’s daughter goes missing, leaving behind bloody fabric from her clothes. The more Liz looks into the history of the town, the more dangerous the woods seem. This isn’t the first missing Black girl case, and it’s far from the only one…

cover image for Soul of a Killer

Soul of a Killer (Books & Biscuits Mystery #2) by Abby Collette

More cozy for food lovers, this time with twins. Keaton and Koby were separated as children who later united and opened Books & Biscuits (I want to go there!). Koby’s foster mother and a store employee both quarrel with a soon to be murder victim putting them on the suspect list! Looks like Keaton and Koby will have to put their sleuthing caps on to help clear their names. If you want to start at the beginning of the series, pick up Body and Soul Food.

the cover of The Storyteller's Death

The Storyteller’s Death by Ann Dávila Cardinal

For fans of family sagas, magical realism, and mystery. After Isla Larsen Sanchez’s father passes away her mother starts sending her in the summers to Puerto Rico to her grandmother and great-aunt. At 18, after her grandmother’s passing, she discovers she has now inherited her grandmother’s gift: dead family member’s stories unravel before her. It is all fun and games until she sees a murder play out.

cover image for Lady Joker vol 2

Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, Marie Iida (Translator), Allison Markin Powell (Translator)

This is the second part to Lady Joker, so start there if you haven’t already. This is a two part Japanese crime novel inspired by an unsolved true-crime. Five men in 1995, Tokyo, come together for revenge. They plan to kidnap the CEO of Japan’s largest beer conglomerate for money. What could go wrong?

cover image for A Doomful of Sugar

A Doomful of Sugar by Catherine Bruns

If you’re looking for a new cozy series, start here! This one is set in Vermont with an artisanal maple syrup business background for all the cozy fall vibes. Leila Khoury returns to her hometown to take over the family business after her father’s murder. Maybe he wasn’t as beloved as she thought? With family members under suspicion and a business to run, she’d better get to solving this case!

cover of the book Sinister Graves

Sinister Graves (Cash Blackbear Mysteries #3) by Marcie R. Rendon

This is a great crime series that follows a young Chippewa woman Renee Blackbear, known as Cash. She was in a car accident with her family as a toddler and ended up in foster care, with Sheriff Wheaton doing his best to look out for her. Now she’s an adult in college, urged on by Wheaton, and helping him out on cases: an unidentified Indigenous woman’s body is found after a flood leading Cash and Wheaton’s other charge to White Earth Reservation. If you want to start at the beginning, pick up Murder on the Red River.

cover image for In Myrtle Peril

In Myrtle Peril (Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries #4) by Elizabeth C. Bunce

A delightful middle grade series (super enjoyable for adults too) for fans of precocious tweens, amateur sleuths, and the Victorian era. Myrtle Hardcastle’s father is hired to prove/disprove a girl’s identity since she’s claiming the Snowcroft family fortune. Problem? She was supposedly lost at sea. So could this be her or a con artist? Myrtle will have plenty to solve, especially when her father witnesses a murder while in the hospital… If you’d like to start at the beginning, grab Premeditated Myrtle. Bonus: the audiobooks have a great narrator (Bethan Rose Young).

cover image for Dead Triangles

Deadly Triangle: The Famous Architect, His Wife, Their Chauffeur, and Murder Most Foul by Susan Goldenberg

For true crime, history, and sensational case readers. Architect Francis Mawson Rattenbury’s 1935 murder put his younger second wife and their chauffeur on trial together. You learn about Francis Mawson Rattenbury, his wife Alma, and how they came together and then later how George joined the picture. And then you’re taken into the trial, which at the time people lined up to get to sit in.

cover image for The Christmas Murder Game

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict

For fans of holiday books and murder games (fictional of course). In order to inherit a manor house, Lily and her cousins must partake in the annual treasure hunt while staying at the home over the Christmas week. But they aren’t playing a game to get the house but rather to solve a past mystery: what happened to Lily’s mom? It would make things much worse if, you know, they lost power and people started to die.

Want even more crime books? We’ve got you covered.