11. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Simon & Schuster
Shane Leonard
Retired detective Bill Hodges is on the trail of a killer who’s toying with him in return. But Bill must act quickly, before thousands more lives are put at risk. Both antagonist and protagonist are fleshed out with remarkable fullness, which caused me to get even more involved in this book — I couldn’t put it down.
—Kaily P.

12. Playing with Fire by Tess Garritsen

Ballantine Books
OMG Tess Gerritsen, give me my life back! I’ve never been so consumed by a book — let alone one about a…diabolical cursed violin score, toddler psychopath, and WWII-era Italy? Yeah, I was as skeptical as you probably are, but somehow it all works. I couldn’t stop tearing through the pages to see how Gerritsen brought everything together in the end. What a whirlwind!
—Azarea L.

13. Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

MacLehose Press
Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty Images
The novel begins with a young woman trapped in a box suspended in an empty warehouse, naked with a bowl of dog food, waiting and listening to the rats coming for her. From here you are introduced to a unique French detective investigating murders around Paris who has twisted demons of his own. Nobody in the book is who you think they are. Will Alex escape? How is she connected to the detective? Fast-paced, intricate, and utterly compelling — you won’ be able to put it down.
—Stephanie B.

14. In the Woods by Tana French

Kathrin Baumbach
“As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, Rob Ryan. He is gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours. Twenty years later, an eerily similar tragedy gives Rob, now a Dublin Murder Squad detective, the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.” —from the publisher
French has a powerful way of playing with the characters’ minds — which in turn messes with yours!
—Kristy K.
The ending is utterly incredible and original. Read all of her books!
—Jane Kelly

15. Serena by Ron Rash

Ulf Andersen
The beautiful bride Serena is cruel, cunning, and seductive. She will clearcut native forests, her enemies, and anything in her way. In her, Ron Rash has created one of literatures best villainesses, an icon of primal, bloodless terror.
—Tina D.

16. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Library of Congress
“Late one night, a drawing teacher meets a mysterious woman dressed in white. Who is she, and what is her connection to the teacher’s new pupil, a beautiful heiress? Told from multiple perspectives, The Woman in White builds into a thrilling tale of mistaken identity, psychological drama, dark desires, and haunting Gothic horror.” —from the publisher
I had no idea where it was going. I flipped through the pages so rapidly they could have caught fire.
—Stephanie Molnar
A veritable forefather of the genre, it’s unbelievable how modern this feels despite being published in 1860. The Woman in White is a masterpiece that everyone should read.
—Satu, Finland

17. The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

St. Martin’s Press
What do you do when you learn that the sister you thought committed suicide as a teenager is actually alive and living under a new identity? I would freak the fuck out. But Riley MacPherson gets to work digging into the many mysteries of her sister’s — and entire family’s — past, giving us one helluva ride/read.

18. The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Black Lizard
“Disgraced crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist has no idea of the levels of conspiracy he will uncover when is enlisted to investigate the unsolved disappearance nearly forty years ago of a Swedish industrialist’s niece. And when the pierced and tattooed computer savant Lisbeth Salander joins him, together they unearth layers and layers of secrets and scandals that permeate the highest levels of society, from politics to finance to the legal system itself—at the bottom of which lies unimaginable cruelty perpetrated on the weak. In the course of these three shocking, unputdownable thrillers, we encounter one of the most heroic of survivors, as she battles some of the most heartless villains ever imagined.” —from the publisher
This the by far the most gripping series I’ve ever read. Finishing the last book left me in a book hangover for many days. Disturbing, shocking and hands-down brilliant. 
—Fathima T.
It wasn’t until after I finished that I realized how much I’m going to miss these characters. The magic of Stieg is unconquerable.
—Harsha Dhiman

19. The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani

As far as Las Vegas goes, this set-up might not even sound that strange: a teenage girl found murdered, conjoined twins as the suspects, and an unlikely transcontinental duo left to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. But throw enough prostitutes, psychopaths, and South African fairy tails into the mix, and you have yourself a dizzying funhouse mirror-version of a crime novel that leaves you spinning — and grinning — throughout. 
—Beverly Y.

20. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

For starters, this book is downright bizarre! You spend the first 100 pages in a state of utter confusion, but somewhere along the line it just draws you completely into the life of the geeks and the circus! By the end you care so much about Oly that you are racing through in hopes she gets the happy ending you wish for, while scared to continue in case she doesn’t! Not a stereotypically suspenseful novel, but I was gripped till the end.
—Helena K.

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