Emily's Top 10 Thrillers for Halloween

Emily's Top 10 Thrillers for Halloween

'The colder months call for spooky, atmospheric reads if you ask me. Because of that, I've compiled a list of my top ten best thrilling and creepy reads. I've tried to include a variety of plots and characters with the themes in each of these books being completely different to the last ensuring you could read all ten and not confuse the plots. 

There are books that are so close to reality they're petrifying or others that read like an intense TV drama, I am sure there is something for everyone on this list!'

Emily from The Breakfast Book Club has once again teamed up with mybest UK to bring you this thrilling list of reads for the colder months. From top thriller writers such as Alex Michaelides and Rumaan Alam, dive into a new world and set the scene in a darkened room with your favourite cup of tea. All of Emily's picks are available from Amazon and Waterstones, so there's no need to rush out in the rain.

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Emily Woosey
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  • Alex Michaelides
    The Silent Patient

    Emily Woosey

    We are starting with one of my favourite thrillers ever. The Silent Patient follows therapist Theo and his patient Alicia who hasn’t spoken a word since she shot her husband. The plot doesn’t give anything away - I was constantly considering characters and their motives, all the way through I kept changing my mind.

    The chapters are short and the narrative is very well executed. One of my favourite things about this book is how it links with Greek mythology and Greek tragedies - I felt it added something extra to the novel that would have been lost without it! This is the perfect thriller - it's not spooky but it's definitely scary!
  • Alex North
    The Whisper Man

    Emily Woosey

    Now this book is definitely scary! I found myself jumping when my boyfriend unexpectedly opened doors because I was so freaked out. The suspense throughout this whole book was on another level! I never saw any of it coming and I genuinely couldn’t put it down and found myself just sat reading until I finished I had to know what happens!

    I love books where you can’t tell if it’s paranormal or not, as they say, it's the living you should be scared of! I really liked how the author introduced different characters and didn’t explain who they were. It left me trying to build links between characters... but I didn’t get any right. 

    Each chapter follows a different character as the story unfolds so you get to see an unbiased narrative. This book reminded me of a Jo Nesbo book and I love the Harry Hole series (more on that later) so that’s a huge compliment! I love this author's writing style and have another of his books to pick up this autumn!
  • Ruth Ware
    Turn of the Key

    Emily Woosey

    I've leant this book out to so many people - it's incredible! It all seems too good to be true when Rowan gets a live in nannying job with amazing pay in the beautiful Scottish highlands. That is until one of the children ends up dead.

    I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen with all the twists and turns along the way, it really kept me guessing! I didn’t expect it to be a scary as it was but it was actually quite creepy! Definitely not a nighttime read. 

    There is not much I can tell you about this without giving it all away but it is based on the same novel as The Haunting of Bly Manor so that gives you a good indication of the vibe of this book! There are definitely some similarities - both are perfect for this time of year! I would definitely recommend you pick this up and can’t wait to read more of Ruth Ware’s writing!
  • Lucy Foley
    The Guest List

    Emily Woosey

    I picked this up almost as soon as I bought it which is unheard of for me (my TBR is over 100 books long!) This was a slow burn and at first, I thought it wouldn’t be for me but it definitely picked up and I've passed this onto a few people now which is high praise! 

    I loved the way the story unfolded through the eyes of different people involved in the wedding giving an unobjective view! I will say I hated most of the characters - especially the men, they were the worst!

    Once it got going it was pacy and full of twists and turns that I would never have guessed! I felt like a living meme when I was finally putting them all together and figuring out what was going on! I loved it!

    Although this is a top ten thrillers ranking, I found this to be more of a mystery/who done it book but it’s worth the read at this time of year for the spooky atmosphere and isolated environment - it comes across perfectly in Foley's writing!
  • Rosamund Lupton
    Three Hours

    Emily Woosey

    The scariest thing about this is how real it could be. Three Hours tells the stories of children and teachers trapped inside an isolated school during a snowstorm when a gunman starts shooting. 

    Whilst this is a thriller it is also so much more - I was in floods of tears by the end of it! The author manages to create such a tense hostile environment it is petrifying. I also expected a book about school shootings to be set in America but this is set in Somerset making it all the more terrifying. 

    This is so tense and atmospheric it really grips you, the twists and turns throughout are especially harrowing - as is seeing it through both the children's eyes and their parents. As I mentioned earlier I found the ending really emotional, I cried reading it and cried retelling my boyfriend half an hour later! I found it so incredible and the writing style was beautiful.
  • Allie Reynolds

    Emily Woosey

    This was my first read of 2021 and I was a little disappointed because I'm still unsure how anything can top it. I loved this book, it’s so gripping I couldn’t put it down! 

    The narrative jumps between the present day and ten years earlier with each chapter which makes you want to read on to find out what’s happened, even more so because I felt like each chapter was a cliffhanger. Because of this at some points, I knew the outcome of a scene but I was still shocked and definitely gasped a few times!

    I also loved the will they/won’t they relationships which you don’t always get in a thriller - perfect for the RomCom lover in me! This is one of the best thrillers I've ever read so if you read any book from this list make it this one!
  • Karin Slaughter
    False Witness

    Emily Woosey

    This book contains a lot of heavy subjects including murder, paedophilia, drug use, rape, suicide and child abuse. Following on from that warning it seems really strange to say I enjoyed this book, but I did. It gave me The Sinner vibes (Season 1) and I would love to see this turned into a Netflix show. As you can see from the warnings it has all the characteristics Netflix like their dramas to have!

    This book kept shocking me, by the end of the first chapter I could tell it was going to be a good crime thriller as I was already completely shocked, it's full of twists and turns and there are little drops of information fed to you throughout that bring the story full circle at the end. 

    As I said, a perfect Netflix series! The book does mention COVID a lot, as it is set in 2021, so it's relevant to society and there is an author's note at the end explaining why this choice was made. It didn't take away from the story for me but I know a lot of people don't want to read about it yet! This is definitely one to pick up if you like crime thrillers but not for the faint-hearted!
  • Rumaan Alam
    Leave the World Behind

    Emily Woosey

    I’ve seen a few mixed reviews for this one but I really enjoyed it! I loved that it was shorter than most thrillers, although when I say thriller I’m not sure if that’s the correct description for this book! It definitely has a more 'this could happen so I'm scared' vibe as opposed to murders or paranormal activity!

    There is definitely suspense and a lot of the time you are wondering what’s going on. It’s set in a sort of apocalypse, whilst Amanda and Clay are on holiday with their two children. The holiday home's owners turn up heading them to stay as their NYC apartment is in a blackout and no longer safe. I won’t tell you any more about what happens in case I spoil it. 

    Although the ending did leave me with more questions than it answered it didn't put me off enough to stop me recommending it - it will be a love/hate ending though! Also - they're making a Netflix movie based on the book with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington (which is perfect casting) so it's one to pick up before it hits our screens!
  • Jo Nesbo
    The Snowman

    Emily Woosey

    When I was putting this list together, I had nine books and knew one was missing and it's this! I don't have a copy of this as I read it a few years ago so I have never actually featured it on Instagram or mentioned it which is bizarre to me as this is one of my all-time favourite books. 

    You know the type of thriller when you're up until 3 am because you can’t put it down and then you can't sleep anyway because you're scared? That is this book.

    There were so many twists and turns I loved it - I never guessed what was happening and I could never have predicted the ending. I really wish I could read this again for the first time. It is a part of the Harry Hole series, I started with this one but it does reference relationships from previous books - I didn’t feel I missed anything though! p.s. there’s a film based on this book, don't let it put you off reading as I was majorly disappointed by it!
  • Tana French
    The Searcher

    Emily Woosey

    This was my first Tana French novel - I loved the Dublin Murders series on TV last year so I kind of knew I’d like her writing. One thing I will say is I found Dublin Murders took an episode or so to be hooked and this was the same - it’s such a slow burn but I am assuming that’s the style! This wasn’t the thriller I was expecting - I found it more suspenseful with thrilling elements. 

    There were one or two twists and turns, and French definitely planted enough suspects to keep you guessing. But I did find myself guessing correctly towards the end, so I didn’t get an ‘a-ha’ moment, but I enjoyed it. I liked the characters and found myself rooting for them from the beginning. 

    There is definitely suspense from the very beginning, and I didn’t know who to trust! I really enjoyed the writing style and plot - I was in a reading slump before this and although it doesn’t sound like a good one to get you out of it, it really helped me - I had to know what happens!

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