Let’s face it, most Halloween mystery books are cozies. I could list over 100 books either set at Halloween or with a Halloween / ghost story theme that are light mysteries fit for the whole family to read around those days of festivity. Finding serious crime mystery thrillers and detective novels set at Halloween is, however, not so easy.
I did manage to get several though, and in the process also widened a bit more my TBR (to be read) shelf, because why not. More books only means more happiness.
Without further ado, here are a few of the books I found. If you do know of additional ones, let me know in the comments sections to add them to the list.
Lost Souls by Michael Collins – It is Halloween in a small Midwest town and as usual, seasonal teenage pranks abound. When the body of a little girl dressed as an angel is discovered by the local police on a sidewalk on a pile of Autumn leaves, all signs point to a simple hit-and-run with tragic consequences. As the investigation unfolds, however, things are definitely not as they initially seemed. The town, already on shaky grounds, might just unravel in the middle of all the secrets, conspiracies and cover-ups. It’s a great story to read around the Halloween.
The Frozen Shroud by Martin Edwards – The 6th book in the Lake District Mystery series finds Daniel Kind leaving the Halloween party at Ravenbank. On the way home he comes across a dead woman, murdered just like two other women in the past – all at Halloween, all with a similar MO. DCI Hannah Scarlett who was best friends with the latest victim is not allowed officially anywher near the case, but nothing will stop her from finding the killer, even if it means reconnecting with Daniel and going behind the back of her colleagues at work.
Deadly Harvest by Heather Graham – I love Heather Graham’s books and the Flynn Brothers series is one of my favorites, along with her Krewe of Hunters series. It is Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts and a young woman is found dead, with her throat slashed and dressed as a scarecrow. Could this crime be the work of the legendary Harvest Man, which brings fear to every single citizen of this town? Jeremy Flynn goes to Salem to try to solve the crime since it could potentially be related to the missing wife of his ex-partner Brad. Could the dead woman be Brad’s wife afterall?
The Violet Hour by Daniel Judson – Caleb Rakowski is a competent auto mechanic in Bridgehampton who is working in an unlicenced garage on expensive rich people’s cars. On the side he is also sheltering a young woman and her child from her abusive husband. The story is about 3 days in Caleb’s life, Mischief Night, Halloween, and the Day of the Dead, where Cal is faced with some tough choices where he learns about himself more than he ever wanted to know.
The Animal Hour by Andrew Klavan – I remember having read this book some 20 years ago and having been quite affected by it back in the day. The book is a mix or mystery, thriller and horror, making you wonder what is going on every step of the way. It was quite the confusing roller-coaster until almost the end, when things come to their rightful conclusion.
Tricks by Ed McBain – Tricks is the 40th book in Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct crime mystery novel, with a story that literally takes place on a single Halloween day and night. There are several cases the precinct police officers are working on, including a series of liqueur store hold-ups and murders , the disappearance of a magician after a high-school show and a series of gruesome murders of local prostitutes, where Detective Eileen Burke has to pose as a prostitute as well in order to lure the killer into her net.
The Violet Hour by Richard Montanari – When Johnny Angel, a local priest, is found dead in a hotel room in Cleveland next to a dead prostitute, with a needle of heroin in his arm, the case gets media attention. But when a well known plastic surgeon meets his demise in the same way soon after, the police realizes that they have a serial killer on the loose. And when a third victim dies a horrible death as well, all bets are off, especially when writer Nicky Stella puts together that all the murdered folks were part of a Case Western Reserve University Halloween party twenty years ago. Who wants all of them after so many years and why?
A few more Halloween titles to check out:
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